7 Unique Ways to Find Water in the Wild

By James Barton โ€ข  Updated: 04/16/18 โ€ข  9 min read

Surviving even for a couple of days without water in the wilderness could be impossibility. Dehydration can kill you in just hours where temperatures are high. Thus finding water is one of the most basic and vital skills you must hone as a survivor.

The popular belief is that you need warmth more than anything in the wilderness. Lack of water has serious and compounding effects on your body. As long as you are outdoors even when temperatures are down, your body will still lose water. This happens as you breathe out, pass urine, sneeze or go for a long call.

But what can you do if you cannot see any sources of water around? Does that mean you cannot find water to drink and use for other purposes? The answer is no:  you can still find water. You only need to know the secret ways to do it. Here, we intend to share with you some 7 unique ways to find water in the wild.

Find A Water Source in The Wild

Source 1: Rainfall

Nature provides the best solution to all our needs. Rain provides the easiest way to obtain water from the wilderness. However, you cannot predict when it is likely to rain. According to experts, rainwater is the safest water to drink.

You can use a canteen, a cup, tarp, rain jackets or any container to collect water as it rains. If you do not have any of these items, then you can improvise one. You can use old plastics such as water bottle or a water-resistant piece of cloth. Simply shape the cloth or plastic into the shape of a bowl by pleating it. Hold the pleats with pins if possible or just use your hands.

If you are not able to trap rainwater then you can obtain water from rushing runoffs. Such rushing waters are often clear and clean. However, you still need to purify it before drinking. If you cannot see where the water is, simply observe the behavior of birds above. They have the tendency to fly in circles above areas with rushing waters because of availability of insects.  

Source 2: Heavy Morning Dew

Heavy morning dew could be the best source of water in the wilderness. To obtain water, simply tie rags and tufts of fine grass around your ankles and walk on the dew covered grass before the sun rises. The grass tufts or rags will absorb water.

Wring the water into a container. Repeat the process and collect as much water as you need or until the dew supply is over. If you do it correctly, you can collect as much as a liter of water within an hour of collection. Such water could contain bacteria. So, you will need to purify the water before you consume it.

Source 3:  Follow the Direction of Insects

Bees and ants often form lines where they travel to and from whatever direction. In most cases, we are not concerned about their movements. A unique way to find water in the wilderness is to follow the direction of these insects. Pay close interest on the insects that tend to go into a hole in a tree stem.

In many cases, the bees and ants get water pulled in the hole in the tree trunk. If you find water, you can siphon it with plastic tubing. Alternatively, you can scoop the water with a cup or an improvised dipper. In case the inlet of the hole is too small and you cannot widen it then stuff a cloth into hole. It will absorb the water. You can then wring the water from the cloth into a container.

Source 4: Rock Crevices and Tree Crotches

This source may not provide you with too much water. However, little water is better than no water. It is one of the last resorts if the situation is dire. Rock crevices and tree crotches are places to look into if you are stranded in the wilderness and you are looking for water.

water source
Rocks can hold water

A reliable sign that you will find water in a rock crevice of tree crotch is the presence of bird droppings around. Birds can sense the presence of water. Finding their droppings here means they have found water and usually come to drink it. Believe me, there is water in there even if you cannot see it. You can then collect water in the manner we have already discussed.


Source 4: Certain Fruits and Vegetables

Certain fruits and vegetables prefer growing in soils rich in water. Others store water in specialized structures including leaves, stems and roots. Most fruits store water in their pulp. Cacti and fleshy/pulpy vegetation such as bananas are succulent.

To get water from them, simply put them is some kind of container. Smash them into a pulp to collect the liquid in their substance. The liquid may not be much but it can sustain you until you return to modern world.

This unique method of getting water is more practical in tropical environments where fruits and vegetables are there is abundance. Of keen interest should be coconut. If you can get hold of unripe, green coconut fruit, then you are lucky. It contains abundant coconut milk which will quench your thirst. However, you need to proceed carefully as coconut milk is a potent laxative. It could dehydrate you.

Source 5: Take Advantage of Plant Transpiration

Transpiration is the process by which moisture transported from plant roots settles on the underside of its leaves. From there, the moisture will evaporate into the air. Naturally, the water vapor carried into the atmosphere condenses to form rain.

You can take advantage of this process by interrupting it the evaporation stage. Early in the morning, tie a bag or anything you can make into a bag around a leafy green branch. Ensure the bag is as large as it could get to increase the amount of water you cannot collect.

Put some kind of weight (such as a rock) inside the bag. It will weigh the bag a little bit to provide an area for water collection. As the day progresses, the plant will transpire. Rather than the moisture escaping into the atmosphere, it will collect at the bottom of the bag. Ensure you collect water from non-poisonous herb.

Source 6: Get Water from an Underground Still

An underground still is perhaps the most reliable way to find water in the wild. The method can collect fairly large amount of water. Besides, you will have a rough idea of how much water you are likely to get from your still. There are also above ground stills but underground tills are much better. The above ground variety is ideal if you are too exhausted to dig a hole.

Here is how to go about digging an underground still:

Things you will need:

Steps to follow:
  1. Pick an areas the receives good quality of sunlight most of the day
  2. Dig a pit in the shape of a bowl. It should measure 3 inches by 2 inches deep. Sink an additional hole inside the pit to hold the container.
  3. You can attach your drinking tube to the floor of the container. This step is optional. Just skip this step if you did not bring or improvise a drinking tube or straw.
  4. Put your container inside the pit and run the tubing (if any) up outside the hole.
  5. Cover the hole with the clear plastic sheeting. You can keep it in firmly in place by the use of rocks and soil.
  6. You can then put a small rock on top of the plastic sheeting. This will allow the sheet to hang and form and inverted funnel over the open container.
  7. Drink the water collected in the container via the drinking tube or straw. Otherwise, you can remove the sheeting to collect the container bearing water. Restore the container once you have transferred the water into another container.

It is almost a guarantee that you will find water at a depth of 2 inches. The sunโ€™s heat will react with the moisture in the pit to form water vapor that condenses onto the plastic sheeting. The inverted funnel will channel the water into the container. You can get as much as 5 to 10 liters of water each day. A good idea is to have more than 1 solar still to provide you with enough water for all your needs.

Source 7: Condense Water from Metals

This is perhaps the most unique way to obtain water in the wild. However, it is a skill worth mastering if you have no other option. The extreme variation in daytime and night temperatures can cause moisture to condense on metal surfaces.

You can wake up early in the morning before sunrise to collect the water. This is because the water will evaporate in minutes once the sun rises. You can use a cloth to absorb the water and then wring it into a container. The amount of water you can get by this method is little. However, it is worth trying out.


While there are many other ways of finding water in the wilderness, these 7 are the unique ones. You must know how to find water in the wilderness. You could have every other necessary item. However, without water, death will ensue in just a few days at best. Try out each of these ways so that you can master the art before a survival situation arises. Any one of the ways could save your life.

James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.