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Melting Snow and Boiling for Drinking Water

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  • Melting Snow and Boiling for Drinking Water

    Last year I packed a canteen cup full of icy snow that I had to chop up with an e-tool. It took over an hour @ 7500 ft to melt and boil. The end result was about 1/2 a canteen cup of water. Lessons learned - add small amounts of snow gradually and stir or improvise a lid/cover.




  • #2
    Good info .... yeah that packed snow served as it's own insulation.

    O.W.
    Things are seldom what they seem.

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    • #3
      A little tip is to put a tiny bit of water in the bottom if you have any before you put the snow in, it will act as a conductor of heat and melt the snow better... will also keep you from burning the snow.. believe it or not you can scorch snow tastes terrible.

      Depending on the scenario make sure you protect your cup or canteen from the wind, in winter cool air can REALLY pull heat from your cup and double or triple melting/boiling time

      So use a wind screen, or if in snow dig yourself a small hole in the snow to put your stove in to protect from the wind

      Feed new snow into the pot as you go along, never pack it full

      don't pack the snow in tightly and if you can break it up into pieces

      Additionally use a cover or lid to speed up the process
      Last edited by Diesel; 05-12-2011, 04:46 PM.
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      • #4
        Thanks for the tips.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Diesel View Post
          A little tip is to put a tiny bit of water in the bottom if you have any before you put the snow in, it will act as a conductor of heat and melt the snow better... will also keep you from burning the snow.. believe it or not you can scorch snow tastes terrible.

          Depending on the scenario make sure you protect your cup or canteen from the wind, in winter cool air can REALLY pull heat from your cup and double or triple melting/boiling time

          So use a wind screen, or if in snow dig yourself a small hole in the snow to put your stove in to protect from the wind

          Feed new snow into the pot as you go along, never pack it full

          don't pack the snow in tightly and if you can break it up into pieces

          Additionally use a cover or lid to speed up the process
          The truth....is spoken here....in my first wilderness survival class....this was a point made early in the game....there was a lot of snow....a LOT of snow...:)
          Live like you'll die tomorrow, learn like you'll live forever.

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          • #6
            Good lessons learned, plus what D said. If I'm anywhere near water in winter or can find ice I always use it before snow. Often snow contains shit for water and that makes for a fuel and labor (more "fuel" gathering wood in the deep snow) intensive chore. bullocks!
            Well, for me, the action is the juice.....I'm in.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mags View Post
              Good lessons learned, plus what D said. If I'm anywhere near water in winter or can find ice I always use it before snow. Often snow contains shit for water and that makes for a fuel and labor (more "fuel" gathering wood in the deep snow) intensive chore. bullocks!
              I'm with you there Mags. Given the choice, I would always melt ice before snow. it yields a lot more water for the effort. One thing to remember when melting snow, snow is 17 parts air to 1 part water. Ice is 3-1.

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              • #8
                You should always add a little water to the botton of whatever you are using or just melt enough snow to get water in the bottom then add snow after that.

                Melting ice is far more effective because it contains more water. Ice water should be boiled though. As for snow it does not have to be boiled if it is fresh.

                Another option is to fill a sack with snow. I use a leg from one of my old BDU pants. Tie off the bottom, fill with snow and tie the top off to something which will allow it to be hung next to the fire and place a container underneath. This is called a water generator. It works VERY well and I use this alot. If I suspect the snow was dirty the sack will filter out most of the larger debris and then once collected you can boil it.

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                • #9
                  melt ice before snow ice yields more water
                  Survival is not the art of living it's the art of existing

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                  • #10
                    Usually the snow closer to the ground has a higher water content.

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                    • #11
                      good job testing your skills! So many people just assume they'll melt snow if they get into a survival situation. They never test the skill!
                      Follow my wilderness travel blog at samexplores.com

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                      • #12
                        It is all ways good to learn things before your life depends on it.

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                        • #13
                          Do you mean that there is the possibility that ice/snow will not melt if you heat it?

                          I never knew that despiration would change the laws of physics.

                          The best lesson to be learned here is that in winter carring a slightly larger container for the snow melt might be a good idea.

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