|Water, water, everywhere|
But what if you're camped in a vast expanse of snow where everything is frozen? Then, you might well remember the old lament, "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink." But lament no more: These tips will help you find wateror make it.
In freezing cold weather, look for flowing water. A lake may be frozen solid, while a stream or even a tiny spring might be flowing well.
Don't forget to filter or boil water: Freezing temperatures do not kill all the parasites that could be lurking in there.
If you expect to have to melt water, bring along a backpacking snow-shovel (you'll need it anyway, for setting up camp, and it's a safety item in avalanche country) and a couple of big black plastic garbage bags. Shovel snow into the garbage bags and set them in the sun. In a couple of hours, you'll either have some melt water, which can be funneled into a pot, or you'll have almost-melted snow that will melt very quickly when it is heated. It takes an enormous volume of snow to make water, so as the snow starts to shrink in volume (which it will do as it starts to melt), add more snow to the bags.
For faster results, melt snow over either a fire or a stove. First, shovel the snow into a bag or a big pile. (That way, you'll have all your snow together when you're ready to start melting it.) When you start your stove (or fire), pour a little bit of water you've already got on hand into the pot before you add any snow. This is important: If you try to start with snow, the heat will scorch it, and you will actually end up "burning" your water! Once the water is warm, slowly add snow, wait till it warms up, then add more. Don't add it too quickly, or it will turn into an icy mess.
Melting snow takes a lot of fuel and time, so always fill your water bottles whenever you encounter running water.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication