How to Melt Snow for Water


Melt Snow for Drinking Water

By Gary Benton



Melting snow should be done slowly using coals or a tripod as in the illustration above. If the snow is melted to quickly or over a high flame it will scorch, which leaves a burnt smell and taste to the water. Snow may be melted in any metal container, birth bark, or clay container. Do not eat snow and allow it to melt in your mouth, as this will lower your body temperature and may lead to hypothermia.

Try to find ice, because it will give you more water than snow of equal size. Remember, ice may have to be strained first to remove twigs or other debris. All water sources from nature should be purified before drinking, even ice and snow.

To make the tripod, cut three poles of equal length, and tie them together at the top. Using a tee-shirt or other material if you have it, with the material to the legs of the tripod, and then force them open as show above. At the bottom of the material you'll need a hole so the melting snow can seep into your collection container on the ground.

Place the tripod close enough to the fire that it's exposed to the heat but not direct flames. Fill the container with ice or snow, then allow it to melt. At first, you may have to reposition your catching container a few times so it's lined up and collecting the falling water. This process takes time and it's not fast, so don't attempt to rush the job. If you need water quickly, melt the snow in a container over a couple of glowing coals, stirring it frequently to avoid burning or scorching.


Melt Snow


Gary Benton has over 45 years of outdoor experience in camping, hiking, fishing, and other activities. He's no armchair survival man, he's walked the walk from the arctic to the desert and all the area in between. Gary has an associates degree in Search and Rescue, Survival Operations, a B.S. in Industrial Occupational safety, and all but his thesis completed for a M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
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