How to Clean Water-Survival

How to Make a Transpiration Bag

A transpiration bag, one of the best ways to make clean water to drink

Image used with permission from

A transpiration bag is a very simple concept. If you were to find yourself in a survival situation and no water accessible this could be your ticket to survival. The transpiration bag is one of many ways available to make water, depending on the items you have available during your survival situation. This technique will be only effective in an area that has green vegetation around that contains water. If the leaves on the tree are dead, you cannot expect to be able to get any water out of them. For instance if you are in the desert, The transpiration bag will not be an effective means to make clean water.

Things you will need to make a transpiration bag

  • A plastic bag of some sort: The bag should be transparent if possible, but any bag that will hold water will work if you are in a critical survival situation. 
  • Fresh green vegetation: Such as nice green leaves on tree, sagebrush, even grass. Any plant that is green is likely to contain water for you to use.
  • A piece of string to tighten the bag around the branch.

How to assemble the Transpiration bag and how it works

To make the transpiration bag you will need to wrap your bag around the living piece of plant life. Find a rock or similar small and somewhat dense item and place it on the bottom of the bag in the corner. This rock will draw all of the water to one isolated spot in the bag and allow it to accumulate there. Wrap your piece of string around the bag in a secure fashion (as shown in the image above). Don’t expect to get a lot of water out of this because it will not produce a whole lot. The best way to ensure you will have enough is to make a series of these bags and place them all over the tree available. To get your water from the bag you can either use a straw slid through the top of the bag, or cut a hole in the corner where your water accumulates. This hole will need to be retied with a strong piece of string to prevent any water from escaping before your next collection cycle.

The transpiration bag will work well in some situations. There are other methods that might be more effective for your situation. Be aware that using poisonous plant life for this method will create poisonous liquid. Extreme caution is advised. 

The Water Filter Tripod

To Make a Water filter tripod you will only need a few items. The rest you can get from nature.

You will need

  • Three sticks to make the tripod
  • 3 towels or similar cloth type materialMake a water tripod filter, a home made water filter from natural materials
  • Grass from the surrounding area. Live or dead will both work
  • Charcoal from a recent fire that is well burned.
  • A small amount of string to tie the tops of the tripod together
  • Bucket or cup to catch your filtered water.

The assembly of this water filter tripod is pretty strait forward. You should be able to gather most information from the image on the right. Tie your tripod together and attach the three pieces of material to your sticks.

In the top layer of the tripod you will want to put the grass this will help to filter a lot of the larger type material out before your water gets to the next layer. The second layer is sand. This will clear out a lot of the smallest matter from your water. The final layer is the charcoal. This will remove any odors, and improve the overall taste of the water before consumption.


How to Make a water Still (solar still) for a survival situation

How to clean water in survival using a solar still. To make the solar still you will need a can or cup, something to catch water, a piece of plastic sheeting, or a bag, and a few rocks.

  • You will need to dig a hole in the ground. Try to find a spot that will likely be moist.
  • Place your water receptacle directly in the center of the bottom of the hole.
  • ​Lay your plastic sheet over the hole you created.
  • Put a heavy item, or rock in the center of the plastic. This will make a low point to concentrate the water to this spot, where it will drip into your cup below.
  •  You will also need a few rocks, to put around the top of the plastic to hold it secure.  You could also use dirt if you needed to.

Around the perimeter of your still you should dig a shallow trench. This will be where you will deposit your urine (if the ground has little to no moisture content).  You would also pour saltwater into this trench. Make sure to dig you trench about 12″ from your still, this will allow the sand and dirt to filter your water partially before it is evaporated.  You can also shred up plants and put it into your still. The sun will extract moisture content  from these as well.

Using these examples you will know how to clean water when and if the time arises.