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Water Trap Survival Tip

March 28, 2013

Here's a great survival "trick" to ensure that you always have water.  This water gathering method is taught by the US military, to pilots and air-crewmen to help them survive a forced landing in hostile territory.

The only tools needed are a black plastic garbage bag and some kind of water container such as an empty can or a cup.  This "water trap" works well even in the desert.

First, cut the black garbage bag along one side and across the bottom to make a large flat sheet of black plastic.

Next, dig a hole in the ground about 12 inches smaller than the shortest side of the plastic sheet.  For example, if your plastic sheet measures 48" by 36", make your hole roughly 24" in diameter.  In this case, the hole should be roughly 18" deep and have angled sides. (see illustration)

Now place the water gathering can in the bottom of the hole, in the center.  Gather whatever vegetation is available in the area, enough to line the sides of your hole all the way around.  In a desert environment, cactus works very well for this water trap, but any vegetation will suffice.  Slicing cactus or other thick leafed vegetation exposes the moisture and results in more efficient water collection.

Once the vegetation is in place, cover the hole with your black plastic sheet, pulling it taught all around and bury the edges to prevent air from escaping.

Finally, place a small stone or even a handfull of sand on the center of the sheet to create a low point above your can.

Wait a few hours while the sun heats up the interior of your hole and causes the moisture in the vegetation to evaporate.  The water vapor will accumulate on the underside of the plastic sheet and as it condenses, it will flow to the low point under your stone and drip into your container.

On a warm day, this method will produce about one cup of water per hour.  Set up several of these water traps to get more water.

Remember to add several large black plastic bags to your bug out bag and you'll always have water no matter where you find yourself stranded.

About the author: James Brewster
James Brewster

Jim Brewster is a former US Navy Aircrew Combat Cameraman with extensive training in desert, jungle and cold weather survival.  He is a dedicated American patriot whose only king is our Creator.

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