April 17, 2015 Comments (0) Adventure, Gear, How To, Safety and Survival, Travel Hacks, Travel Tips

Travel Hacks Friday: Drinking Salt Water

drinking salt water

Welcome to Another Travel Hacks Friday. As part of a new series, every Friday, we will be introducing new travel hacks for outdoor and urban adventures. We will scour the web for the best and most practical hacks, as well as dig into our reserves and share our own awesome moments of ingenuity!


It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for another travel hack! For this weeks hack I’m going to show you how you can start drinking salt water. This is more of a survival hack then a travel hack but considering 96.5% of the earth is covered in ocean water, you intrepid adventurers may one day find yourself surrounded by nothing but seawater. And if that doesn’t convince you to read on, think “zombie apocalypse!”

Depending on temperature, level of activity, physical state and the environment you’re in, generally you can survive without water for 3-5 days. But it would probably be painful as your body cannibalizes itself and you slowly wither away into nothingness. For most of us, who will find themselves in less extreme circumstances, being thirsty just plain sucks.

The ocean is beautiful to look at but is completely and utterly undrinkable. The level of salt in seawater is much higher than what we physically can process, so even if you could stomach the saltiness, the seawater will ultimately increase the rate of dehydration through increased urination. The more you drink, the thirstier you’ll become.

So the idea is to desalinate the seawater in order to make it fit for human consumption through evaporation and collection. As the water begins to evaporate and separates from the salt, the captured vapors will condense into safe, drinkable water. The methods below will both take some time, but I’m guessing if you’re using this trick, you’re not in a rush to go anywhere.

So, you lucky adventurers, here are two hacks for the price of one:

Drinking Salt Water Method 1: Boil – Evaporate – Collect:


  1. Fire source: Jetboil, stove, campfire,
  2. Pot or any container that can boil water
  3. Lid slightly larger than pot
  4. Receptacle

This water desalination technique assumes you have access to gear and/or can start a fire.

Drinking Salt Water

JetBoil Setup


  1. Setup your pot on the Jetboil or Fire
  2. Pour saltwater into the pot
  3. Place the lid on the pot so that it is slightly tilted to one side and hanging off the edge of the pot. The condensed water will travel down to the lowest point.
  4. Place a receptacle right under the lowest point of the lid
  5. Start the fire source
  6. Bring to a boil
  7. Now wait for the droplets of drinkable water to fall into receptacle



Here’s a slowmo video of it working with sound effects (slowmo makes everything so cool!)










Drinking Salt Water Method 2: Solar Desalination


  1. Bowl or any type of container that doesn’t leak
  2. Plastic wrap or waterproof sheeting of some sort
  3. A smaller container or cup shorter than height of bowl
  4. Rocks

This survival hack is when you don’t have access to much gear, but oddly might have some plastic wrap with you. Depending on the materials you have access to, you’ll probably have to get creative with this technique. But it does work. This is a saltwater variation of a solar-still.

  1. Fill the bowl ¾ of the way with saltwater
  2. Place cup inside of the bowl, but ensure the lip of the cup is above the saltwater. You may need to add a weight to the cup to keep it from floating around
  3. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap or sheeting. The more airtight the seal around the bowl, the quicker and more water you can collect
  4. Place a rock or weight of some sort on the wrap right above the cup. This is so that it creates a dip for the water to travel down and drip into the cup. Make sure the weight is not so heavy where it tears the wrap or brings down the entire system.
  5. Place the bowl in direct sunlight. As the sun evaporates the saltwater, the vapor will condense and collect on the wrap, dripping into the cup. It does take an extremely long time. So I hope you’re not thirsty.
  6. Now go fishing

These desalination techniques are for very extreme circumstances where drinking water is just not accessible. In most areas you’ll probably find a good source of fresh water or be able to extract dew and needn’t even consider drinking salt water. But the need to survive never happens at the moment of your choosing. Having another tool in your arsenal makes you that much more prepared for anything – and that includes the zombie apocalypse.


Have some survival hacks of your own?  Please share!

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I'm an aspiring scuba diver, novice spelunker and avid adventurer.I have a penchant for always getting lost with an established track record for choosing the worst places to eat. With a healthy aversion to staying in one place for too long, I am the ceaseless wanderer and explorer. I recently traded in the suit for a backpack, and am now pursuing to live a life of sustained travel. I travel to learn, I travel to live and I travel in search of adventure.
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