You can survive without water, but not for long. The average human can hold out for three to five days without a sip of water, but dehydration will set in and lead to all sorts of problems, like confusion, lethargy, and rapid heartbeat, well before then. You’re going to need to find some water, pronto.
Before you start searching for water, stop to consider an obvious conundrum. If you don’t have any new fluids to put in your body, you should be doing what you can to conserve what’s already in there. Try to limit any activities that will make you perspire, which will only speed up the dehydration process.
Short of finding a stream, river, or lake – try following animals or their tracks to one of these godsends – there’s no easier source of hydration than snow or freshwater ice. Don’t just start munching on snowballs, though. Eating water while it’s still frozen will lower your body temperature, which will actually increase your dehydration. Melt your frosty finds into liquid water, and you’ll be good to go.
If you’re in the jungle, seek out a banana tree. With a little help from a knife – you didn’t venture into the jungle without a knife, did you? – a banana tree can become a personal water fountain. Hack away all but the bottom foot or so of the tree, and carve a bowl into the top of the remaining stump. The tree’s roots will draw fluids up into the trunk, and the bowl will fill with water.
In a desert, water can be tougher to find, but if you’re lucky, gravity will have done some of the heavy lifting for you. Water flows downhill, so walk downhill whenever you can to search for fluids in valleys or crevices. If that doesn’t work – and if you happen to be toting a machete – hack your way into a cactus and squeeze the moisture out of the pulp. You can also put the pulp in your mouth and suck out the water, but be careful not to eat it.
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With these techniques, you should be able to stay hydrated long enough to make it back to civilization. Once you’re revitalized, you’ll probably be sick of drinking water, so crack open a cold Dos Equis while you tell your story.