Water procurement is arguably one of the most important subjects in survival, bushcraft, emergency preparedness or backpacking. In previous articles we discuss the importance of water to the human body and the effects of dehydration. While most survival manuals cover the solar still as a way to procure water, they often forget to mention another method for attaining water. Vegetation bags or transpiration bags can be used to collect water.
What is transpiration?
We know that plants take carbon dioxide and convert it into organic compounds using sunlight. This process uses carbon dioxide and water giving us the oxygen we breath as a by-product. During photosynthesis the leaves open to allow passage of carbon dioxide and Transpiration occurs when water evaporates from a plant. The plant will absorb water through the roots. The minerals and nutrients are carried through the plant and during this process both oxygen and water are released. In short, transpiration is a process in which water from the ground is carried through the plant to carry nutrients and cool down. This process releases oxygen and water to the atmosphere. As a survivalist we can use this vapor to collect water for drinking.
There are several advantages to the transpiration bag:
* little effort is required to place the bags therefore not much energy is spent.
* The water from the plants will be a clean source of water
* The bags collect water while you work on other important tasks such as shelter building.
We placed three bags along a tree line. For testing purposes we places one bag in the shade, one in partial sun and the last bag in direct sunlight.
As the water condenses on the bag, it drips down to the lowest point. A few hours in the sun and we can see a fair amount of water collecting at the bottom of the bag. Gathering this water takes minimal energy from the survivalist and can be a great addition to other sources. We would still want to collect rain water, and dew if possible.
At the end of the day we collect the water from all three bags. We were able to collect a little over a cup of water. The bag in direct sunlight supplied a half of cup of water. While many aspects can determine the amount of water a plant transpires, it seems placing the bag in direct sunlight directly affects the amount of vapor produced. We used the same type of plant on all three bags. We would obviously want to stay away from any toxic plants for this process.
IMPORTANT : Do not use this method on a poisonous / toxic plant
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