Wilderness Distillation

posted in: Water | 0

When you are in the wilderness, one of the most important priorities for survival is clean drinking water. Treat all water you find as contaminated, even if it looks clean, refreshing and enticing.

Without water you will dehydrate and that can lead to all sorts of complications. There are lots of ways by which you can make contaminated water drinkable. The one we look at here is the method that uses fire. The important part of the process is heat. As long as enough heat is generated for the water to form vapour, and a way to trap that heat to condense back into liquid form, drinking water can be made from contaminated water. The way to do that is through the process of distillation. You can use the immense power of that awesome renewable energy that is the Sun. The solar distillation process uses fire as the heat source, instead of the Sun. This is a faster process and a lot more water can be collected in a much shorter time compared to distilling with the help of the Sun.

Take two containers that will hold your water, one for the contaminated water and the other for distilled water. If you do not have them in your pack, scrounge around and you should be able to find two bottles. Even if they are made of plastic. The one other item you will need is a pipe or tube of some sort.

Drill holes in the caps of the two bottles, large enough for the pipe to fit snugly inside them. Now you should have the two bottles connected to each other with the pipe or tube.

I have heard people say that you cannot put a plastic bottle on a fire, it will melt. No it will not.

Fill one bottle with contaminated water and put this on the fire. Do not worry, it will not melt. It will shrink and change shape, but as long as there is water inside, it will not melt; an empty plastic bottle will immediate melt Since it will shrink, the quantity of water contained in the bottle will reduce and you need to pour water out of the bottle to accommodate this shrinkage.

As the water heats up and comes to a boil, it will start to evaporate. With no place for the steam to go but through the pipe, that is what it will do. The vapour will travel through the pipe and into the collecting container where it will condense. If the collecting bottle is colder, for instance, by being immersed in water, the condensation will be faster and more water can be collected faster.

You should have a litre of water in less than an hour.

Distilling in plastic bottle is not recommended since the plastic from the bottle will leech into the water as it is boiling. But when you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration (which can lead to other issues), this is one way you can ensure that you have clean drinking water.

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