Water is one of the most abundant substances on Earth, and it’s absolutely vital for the human body to function properly. Without it, the body would shut down and drink itself. Unfortunately many people know very little about finding water when they desperately need it. But if you ever find yourself eluding zombies in the wilderness without a source of water, you’ll have nothing to fear! There are many ways to gather water without access to rivers or streams. And one way to do this is to build a solar still.

Solar Still

The Solar Still: This is really nothing more than a piece of plastic, rocks and a container. And with a little improvisation, you can easily make this entirely with found materials. For example; the plastic sheeting can be replaced with a piece of tent, large banana leaves or a t-shirt. And the collection container can be almost anything that holds liquid. However, it’s the humidity of a jungle that really makes this still work. Of course, you might be able to get away with this in a deciduous environment such as a forest. But the solar still can be used as long as you have some foliage around to place in the hole you dig.

Dew Leaf

Morning Dew: Dew is simply water in the form of droplets which appear on thin, exposed objects in the morning or evening due to condensation. As the exposed surface cools by radiating its heat, atmospheric moisture condenses at a rate greater than that at which it can evaporate, resulting in the formation of water droplets. In order to gather water in the morning, just walk through the foliage in socks and then ring out your clothes into a container that can hold water. Of course you might pick up some unwanted debris from the ground, but a little bit of roughage never hurt anyone!

Desert Water

Underground & Wildlife: If you ever find yourself trapped in a desert environment, the best way to find water would be to dig for it. This is because water often collects underground at a certain depth. Simply find a damp spot at the base of a hill and start digging! Another way is to watch local wildlife since these creatures will almost always lead you to a safe source of drinking water such as natural springs and reservoirs.

Water is a precious commodity that most people take for granted but will do almost anything to acquire when they are desperate. However, unlike the movies where a cowboy goes up to a cactus, hacks off the top and drinks from it… you cannot do this in real life. The reason is that most barrel cacti are poisonous and contain a noxious fluid that is very high in alkalis. These will overtax your kidneys and cause even more problems.

My best suggestion is to find a cool, shady place out of the wind and simply relax. In triple digit heat, a healthy person can survive for approximately 48 hours. If you are able to find shade, this means that you have also probably found some type of foliage which suggests there is water in the area (unless they are cacti, then you’re out of luck). So take your time and think about what you are doing. As I’ve said before in previous articles, undue haste makes waste! This is doubly true when any unnecessary activity could cost you dearly.

I understand that there are MANY ways of gathering water. And I also understand that this article does not cover the filtration of water or the purification (which I will cover in a later article.) However, three days can seem like an eternity without an adequate source of water. And in my opinion, the options above are the best to offer long term solutions while stranded for any period of time. I hope this article will help when you need it most. If you have any other questions or ones that you would like me to review, please leave a comment below and I will get right on it. There will also be many videos coming on these topics and more, so stay tuned. And as always, what you don’t know can eat you!


  1. You might want to practice these techniques and practice them a lot more under ideal and non-threatening situations before you actually need them. Because trust me they are time consuming and difficult, and when you have something nasty bird dogging you, will not the time for learning and experimentation.

  2. A few notes: parts of the smoky mountains are actually classified as a temperate rainforest, because they get so much rain, and it’s so humid. And the solar still is good for more than sapping the water out of vegetation, if you line the bottom (or use a cook pot), you can put really muddy dirty water in there. The main problem with solar stills is that they need plenty of heat to work, and they can take days to produce a very small amount of water, but you can expedite the process by using a metal container over a heat source. You just want to remember to keep the low enough to not melt you plastic (or bent metal) lid (an upside down lid from a pot works well), and keep your water catcher off the bottom of the pot, put a few rocks under the it or something.
    You can also get water from what you eat. I know fruits and veggies may be hard to come by, but it is something to keep in mind. Citrus fruits, melons, and berries are all pretty full of liquid. And I think it’s always a good idea to know your surroundings, know which native plants are poisonous or good, etc.

    • Thanks for all the amazing information. Those extra helpful tips might help save a life one day, especially during the inevitable zombie apocalypse!

    • Cameron A. Carlson, LT


      Thank you very much for the reply! I value the input and appreciate the time you take to read the article! I will take your information and put it to good use! Also, you couldn’t be more right. Thanks again for the post!



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