By John Campbell
I call this the water and hydration kit mainly because it deals with purifying water and hydration. This kit will also replace electrolytes that are lost while sweating. Drinking water alone (all day) will leave you feeling thirsty. Although water is key to hydration it still does not have everything your body needs to replace electrolytes. The reason we still feel thirsty is that wile we sweat we loose valuable salts and sugars that must be replaced. Being thirsty even after drinking plenty of water can be remedied by simply eating a piece of candy. There are also powdered sports drinks that can be readily carried and added to your canteen. Remember, If you use these beverage powders in your canteen it can promote the growth of bacteria. Keep your canteen clean and clean it regularly especially after using sugary drink mixes. While using iodine or chlorine dioxide tablets or drops also aids in killing this bacteria or even molds and fungus.
This kit is small and fairly inexpensive to construct. Most of these items I found at local surplus stores as well as my grocery store. These small items can prove to be a real life saver as well as adding some comfort while in the field. Keep in mind I do not suggest drinking hot liquids during the hotter times of the year. Drinking hot liquids in the heat will raise your core temperature and cause further issues. This kit is fully capable of cooling your water as well as an aid to keep your core temp down.
This kit has few contents but is part of my main survival kit. It has the capability to hydrate, replace electrolytes, purify water, or even mask the taste of treated water. Some of these items I like to use during the colder times of year. There is nothing more comforting than a nice hot cup of tea or bullion. This also has the ability to warm you from the inside. The contents include:
1. Wire handled canteen cup with stove for boiling water or making tea, and bullion.
2. One quart canteen
3. Zip lock bag with candy and assorted teas
4. Two bandannas for filtering sediment, keeping cool by soaking (if there is enough water) you can also soak the bandanna and wrap it around your canteen. When this is suspended above the ground it will cool the water inside. This works like an evaporative cooler. This is also an awesome first aid Item. There are virtually hundreds of uses for a bandanna.
5. Propel powder for electrolyte replacement
6. Trioxane fuel, used with the stove.
7. Chlor-Floc tablets. These are military issued water purification tablet.
8. 2% tincture of iodine for water purification or as an antiseptic for cuts.
9. A zip lock bag with bullion cubes and 2 feet of coiled aquarium tubing. The zip lock bags can also be used as vegetation bags to help supplement your water. I suggest carrying several of these as well as large clear plastic bags for use as a transpiration bag.
This kit may seem simple or even silly for that matter but in a situation, it will save your life, if nothing else a lot of discomfort. I have used non-lubricated latex condoms to store and carry water. This is not a bad idea, just be very careful. Condoms can break, as many parents know! Large sheets of plastic along with some type of tubing can be carried to allow you to construct a solar still (very dangerous, I suggest reading my Survival in the Southwest Book for more info and my thoughts on this method) This can also be set up as a rain catch and as a shelter. The tubing is great for getting that hard to reach water in cracks and crevices.
Anything that has to do with water is extremely important in the desert. One of the items I really suggest people carry is a stainless steel water bottle. These will give you a container to boil water in should there be no other method available to disinfect your drinking water. The Guyot (Nalgene) bottle is one of those that I highly recommend. I also recommend the GSI Glacier Cup that nest perfectly with the Nalgene bottle. There is no noticeable weight gain when carrying both items and they fit in the Maxpedition or the Condor 10×4 bottle carrier. Another added bonus of having the stainless steel bottle is the fact that you can cook in it and use it as a char container.
When using these bottles for boiling water be very careful when handling them or removing them from the fire. My suggestion for doing this safely is to make a handle for the bottle. I made one out of two quick release drier clamps and some #10 copper wire. I chose copper because as it is heated I can use a bandanna folded 3 to 4 times to fashion a hot pot holder to remove it from the fire. Once I set it down it takes very little time for the copper to cool down enough to handle like the bottle like a mug.
The items I chose for this kit are just that, a choice. You do not have to carry these exact items. In fact you can base your kit around this or completely build your own based on your personal preferences.