One of the most import survival techniques is the ability to get a large abundance of fresh water. But what happens if you only access to salt water?
This is a problem facing many people stuck drifting in a boat or stranged on a beach away from society or a freshwater stream. Without the ability to drive off the salt crystals from the H20 you won’t last long.
Our body’s cant tolerate drinking sea water. In fact, if you do you will become very sick and usually throw up very soon. One way to drive off the fresh water from the salt solution is to use evaporation.
Depending on the tools and cooking utensils available you may have to resort to some simple DIY hacking of your cooking pot. If you have a pot and lid this process can be easy.
Making a simple freshwater distiller
Getting the fresh water out of salt uses a process based on evaporation and condensation. In this procedure, we are making our freshwater distiller at home to pack away for emergencies.
We have reviewed an emergency water filtration system called the LifeStraw mission a while back which filters out impurities and bacteria. Unfortunately, it won’t filter out salt crystals so we are off to make our cheap freshwater distiller.
- Small metal stove pot with matching metal lid
- 2m long length clear plastic hose.
- Drill and drill bit the size of the outside diameter of your plastic hose.
Drill a small 5mm hole into your pot lid. This is the size of my plastic hose pipe. This is where the steam will flow through which we will need to capture. Steam will be pure water leaving behind the heavier salt crystals in the brine solution.
If you have access to some rubber tubing now is a good time to poke it through the hole you have drilled and tape it to the pot lid for a good seal. The longer the tube the better. The tube will act as a condenser which will cool the steam and force it back into a liquid.
We can now drain the tube into a cup.
How to Use two glass bottles to make a salt water distiller
If you are stranded on a desert island surrounded by the sea lets hope you can find two floating glass bottles.
- 2 Glass Bottles
- At least one metal container
- Some wet sand
What we are going to make is a freshwater distiller powered by sand, water, and fire. It helps if both bottles have the same sized cap opening. Fill one of the glass bottles halfway with sea water and place it in the metal tray. Fill this tray with dry sand.
Place the other bottle next to it so that both of the bottle openings touch. It’s good if this battle can also be placed in a metal tray for convenience, but if you don’t have one that’s fine. Place wet sand around the bottle to help with keeping it cool.
Now we are going to light the fire under the bottle with the sea water in it. The metal tray and sand will stop the glass bottle from melting. The sand will get very hot around the sea water bottle and over time will evaporate the sea water.
This steam will flow through to the cold bottle which will cause the steam to condense back into water droplets. It’s a good idea to rotate the cold bottle every few minutes to keep it cool. You will lose some steam as the bottles are not a complete seal.
After about 20 minutes you will have enough fresh water in the cold bottle to keep you alive. Continue to repeat this process for extra fresh water. Take care to fully cool the hot glass bottle before touching it.
Let’s just hope some empty beer bottles wash up on the beach you are stranded on. At the end of the day, there are so many options to evaporate the sea water. The hardest part is working out a safe method to capture the steam and condense it back into the pure fresh water that is safe to drink.