Survival. This falls cleanly into the category of things that once you need it it’s too late to learn it, so prepare yourself in advance by learning what you need to know now. Whether you get lost in the wilderness without supplies, get hit by a natural disaster, or end up in an emergency by any other cause, you will have limited time to fend for yourself before you risk becoming a statistic. In this upcoming series, we’ll be laying out the most vital survival skills you will need–in order of urgency–to get you through the first 24 hours, starting with #1: Water.
Of all the things that you need to stay alive, water is the most vital. Statistically, a person can survive three days without water, but that number is pretty arbitrary as it discludes just about every practical factor, like how much water your body uses specifically, your age, the climate that you’re in (good luck if you’re in a warm climate and sweating), your current condition (if you’re injured or sick the number goes way down again), and more. In extreme enough weather or conditions those three days will sometimes meltdown into a matter of hours. So whether you’re trapped indoors without power or stuck on the side of a mountain, water is your first priority. Here’s how to find it:
Below are various methods for finding water.
- Check the Weather: The easiest way to find water is if it’s being delivered to you, by means of rain or snow. This is also your best bet at clean, uncontaminated water, if you are able to collect it. The best way would be to place a waterproof tarp or cloth out over a divot in the earth (you can dig one if necessary) and allow the water to collect there naturally.
- Newton’s Law: If it isn’t raining or snowing, you’ll have to hunt down water on your own. Like everything else on earth, water is under the influence of gravity, which means if you’re on a hill, odds are the water is flowing down. Look for fissures or between hills to find water sources and even if you don’t see any right away, take the time to listen for it.
- Go For Green: If this fails, search around you for signs of life. Like humans, all living things need water and so will naturally congregate around it, whether they are animals or plants. Look for larger amounts of wildlife or thicker plant-life in a specific spot–odds are, they’ve found water first and you can tap into their source.
- Dig: If even that fails, find a spot of damp soil or even a dry riverbed and dig–this might reveal some groundwater. This can even work in the desert. It’s handy to have a tactical shovel on hand to prepare for this eventuality, but if you don’t have a shovel, use your hands, or rocks and sticks to dig–groundwater is sometimes just a few feet underground.
Beware of stagnant water–that is any water that isn’t flowing or is gathered in a pool without movement or agitation. Stagnant water will pick up bacteria and parasites that will kill you. The stronger flow of the water the less likely these are present since they love still water. Mosquitos carrying even more diseases–like malaria–breed in stagnant water as well. If you have any other option, do not drink stagnant water. Whether you’re at home or away, it’s a good idea to bring something with you that you can carry water in so you aren’t stuck in one spot. Hydration bladders are great for this.
In order of best to worst, here are the kinds of water to collect:
- Rain or snow: This is the best since the cycle of rain helps purify water. It’s important to note that this only remains the best option if you are collecting it directly from the sky into a receptacle and not after it hits the ground.
- Fast-moving water: The fast movement of the water prevent bacteria and parasites from finding a home
- Groundwater: this is fast-moving underground, so the same thing applies, though the chances of it getting contaminated while you extract it are higher, so it falls below fast-moving water on the list.
- Still/Stagnant Water: This is by far your worst option due to the odds of it being contaminated and should only be considered if there are absolutely no other options.
However, no matter where you get your water from, you can guarantee its safety (from a microbial standpoint) by boiling it, so always boil water if you can. Unless you’re carrying around a personal water filtration system–like purifying tablets or a lifestraw–it’s still possible that the water you want to drink has bacteria or parasites in it that will make your situation so much worse and destroy your chances of survival. Of course, to boil anything you need to build a fire, which we will address in part 2 of this series.
Being in an emergency is a situation no one wants, and many don’t ever want to predict, but it can happen to anyone and the only time you can prepare is in advance. In addition to learning the above skills, there are many ways you can prepare yourself so you aren’t left combing the nearby terrain for water in an emergency: Bring water with you. This applies both for at-home–storing a few liters of water in case of an emergency–as well as on the road and especially in the wilderness. Make sure you’re taking enough water with you to stay hydrated and make sure the container you’re storing it in is sturdy, durable, and efficient for carrying around. We highly recommend water bladders or reservoirs for this, since they are optimized for an active lifestyle and will keep your water safe for long amounts of time, while still being easy to carry and access. Source Tactical’s water bladders also come with Hydration packs for easy carry and are low maintenance (though we’ve written a maintenance how-to here for your convenience.)
Another thing to have on hand is a tactical backpack packed with the essentials. Above we’ve mentioned a few–like a tactical shovel and a waterproof tarp, that can exponentially increase your chances of survival in any emergency. By preparing yourself in advance, both with equipment and skills, you can ensure that no matter the emergency, you will stay alive long enough to get help.
If you’re the owner of a hydration pack, you may know that maintenance and care can be tricky – depending on the brand and model. Here’s a look how to be at ease and know you’ve always got tasty fresh source of hydration with you.
Take Good Care Of Your Backpack
The backpack is the heart-piece of your equipment and deserves extra attention and care. Whether you regularly brush it down, wipe it with cloth or throw it in the washing machine, depends on how muddy and dirty you go – and on the make of your pack (pay attention to the tag, and to the care & use directions that come with your pack).
Here’s general advice on how to give the pack some love and attention before a serious outing – and especially after pulling it out of storage, say after the winter months:
- Open all pouches and pockets, make sure the zippers are zipping just fine.
- Check for brittle plastic pieces and order replacements if needed.
- Check the seams for potential ruptures.
- Clean the pack inside and outside with a cloth, mild soap and warm water.
- Check if the backpack still fits your back properly.
- Then air it in a dry place until heading outdoors.
One last thing: don’t wait till the last minute to go over this checklist! Give yourself a few days to react and possibly get an upgrade from our line of tactical backpacks in all sizes.
As we’re talking Hydration Packs, the care and use of the backpack (or any pouch or pack) is important, but any dirt is mostly a cosmetic problem. Not so with the actual water bladder: any dirt or pollution may cause a bad taste and worst case a health-issue. So here’s an in-depth look at the hydration bladder hygiene.
How To Clean a Hydration Bladder
How often should you clean your tactical hydration bladder? First answer: it depends on the brand. If used with regular water, SOURCE reservoirs do not require specific cleaning, drying or draining. If used with sweetened, flavored and isotonic drinks, or before extended storage, we recommend the following cleaning procedure:
Step 1: Clean the Reservoir
- Disconnect the drinking tube and remove the Widepac closure from the bladder
- Wash the bladder with soapy, lukewarm water and scrub with a soft brush if needed; rinse well;
- Hang the bladder upside down and let it air-dry – do NOT use a hairdryer!
- Pro-tip: Place the drinking tube or a paper tissue or any other non-sharp object inside the bladder, to keep the bladder-walls apart.
Step 2: Clean the Drinking Tube
- To clean the tube, connect it to the bladder;
- Open or disconnect the valve and press water through the tube by rolling up the reservoir top-down; rinse the tube with soapy, lukewarm water;
- To clean the tube thoroughly from residue of sweetened drinks, consider cleaning it with our Tube Brush
- Pro-tip: To dry the tube, hold the tube by the valve and swing it a few rounds in a circle (only recommended outside with plenty of airspace).
Step 3: Clean the Drinking Valve
- After regular use with water, the valve does not need to be disassembled and cleaned; just rinse it with soapy, lukewarm water.
- Deep-cleaning the valve is only recommended when your valve got pushed deep into the mud or if it’s for some other reason completely messy and dirty; disassemble the Helix drinking valve as pictured below.
How to Store Your Tactical Hydration Bladder
- Make sure that all components of your Hydration System are completely dry.
- Connect all parts (bladder, drinking hose and drinking valve).
- Store the Hydration System in a clean and dry place (no direct sunlight and no extreme temperatures).
SOURCE Hydration Technologies
Our tactical hydration bladders are extremely low maintenance, reliable and durable, thanks to a number of hydration technologies which SOURCE has developed over the course of the last decades.
One main advantage of SOURCE bladders in comparison with market competitors is the GlassLike technology: made of multilayer Polyethylene (PE), our reservoirs are 2,000 % smoother than those made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), which is used by most other major brands.
With the surface smooth as glass, biofilm and bacteria cannot build up, thus preventing any moldy taste in the water. Additionally, we have embedded an antimicrobial agent inside the multilayer film of the bladder and drinking tube – the GrungeGuard – to guarantee a fully functional bladder over years of use.
Click here to find out more about our revolutionary SOURCE Hydration Technologies.
So you’re planning your next getaway. Scaling Mount Rainier in Washington, perhaps? Finding your way along the Mist Trail of Yosemite? Exploring the Canyonlands in Utah? Or maybe, traversing the Devil’s Ridge? However it is that you’re planning to put your limits to the test, you should know better than anyone that preparation is key for a successful trek.
From navigation tools and keeping yourself warm, to lighting and emergency gear, we know that a simple trip to your local camping store usually just won’t cut it. What you need is tactical gear that was built with durability in mind and used in extreme conditions by professionals across the world.
We’ve put together a list of important details to look out for when gearing up to blaze the next trail.
Whether your plan involves hiking past daylight or camping overnight, it’s always a good idea to have some extra sources of light to help you out. Having a tactical flashlight/torch can be extremely handy. As far as lumens go (the measure of light emitted), while most smaller flashlights will have around 100, we recommend to aim for 250-300. That should give you a good kick of light in any situation.
If you want to take your lighting game to the next level and have some packing space to spare, why not bring a lantern? Especially if you are planning on camping, lanterns can be an extremely convenient form of lighting to have around your camp. For lanterns, lumen levels of above 500 should be able to suitably light your area.
Whether your plan is to devour a day-trip or spend longer venturing through nature, you’ll most likely be taking a backpack with you. You know by now, though, that not just any backpack will do. You need a tactical backpack that will reduce your chances of suffering from an injury while providing a more comfortable journey. For this, weight distribution is key. Backpacks with correct weight distribution technology will help take stress off your back and disperse it across your shoulders and hip.
Back injuries will definitely keep you at home or incapacitate you en route, so it’s wise to equip yourself with gear that will keep you going.
While some hikes may have clear routes/markers to follow, others might just be an open exploration of nature. Either way, it is a good idea to have a navigation aide.
Those who want to challenge themselves might be satisfied with just a map of the area, or possibly a compass to help with orientation. If the environment you are heading into is particularly tough, you may even want to bring a GPS device. Unlike the GPS we use on our phone that require mobile service, you should make sure your device is based on satellite communication technologies so that you can navigate any terrain.
The cold can be exhausting if not outright debilitating. Whether you’re in extreme cold conditions or staying somewhere that experiences a temperature drop overnight, having some extra padding can come in handy.
Sleeping well on these excursions is key, and that’s why it is important to match your sleeping bag to your expected conditions. A sleeping bag crafted for -20 degree conditions might be too hot to sleep in if your night is expected to drop to 0 degrees. Apart from that, making sure the sleeping bag is both water resistant and made with a thermal interior is also something important to look out for. Speaking of thermals, bringing thermal clothes is another great idea for your trek. Keep in mind that even in hotter climates the temperature can sink drastically at night-time.
Lastly, while not completely essential, getting hold of heating packs can be an added form of luxury on your trip. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can usually be inserted into your gloves, clothing, or sleeping bag, to keep you extra toasty.
One of the best ways to keep yourself hydrated are tactical hydration packs/bladders. They are an easy and comfortable way of carrying water with you throughout your trek without the need to lug around heavy bottles. The great thing about them is that one filling of a suitable bladder will usually be enough for the day, saving you the hassle of refilling. If you want to make your trip a bit more comfortable, get a hydration pack that uses taste-free technology to avoid that plastic flavour that comes with most tubes.
Another useful item to have is a water filtration aide. These compact filtration systems will enable you to drink from natural water sources you encounter en route, without carrying excessive amounts of water with you. Also, they do not require the use of any additional tablets/chemicals!
No matter how seasoned an adventurer you are, there are some things that are vital to have in case you find yourself in a pinch. A first aid kit is the obvious first step, but it’s also important to make sure it includes useful items. Wound coverings such as gauze padding and bandages are important, as are antiseptic creams/liquids (iodine, Neosporin, etc.). Lastly, including a small pair of scissors can be useful in many different situations.
Another useful emergency tool is a satcom beacon. At the touch of a button, these beacons can send out distress signals to the nearest emergency responders, alerting them that you’re in trouble. This little device is extremely convenient to carry with you and can make an enormous difference if you find yourself in a problematic situation.
For even the most rugged adventurers
No matter how many mountains you have scaled, valleys you have trudged through, or storms you have weathered, it’s always a good idea to take a critical look at your gear. Making sure you have the right backpack, hydration and emergency gear, lighting equipment, etc., can upgrade your hiking experience—not only making your experience more enjoyable, but also allowing you to push yourself further and take on bigger and tougher challenges.
Registration for competitors at the British Royal Navy and Army Telemark Skiing Championship 2019 has begun. Over 100 racers attended the kick-off event at Pralognan-la-Vanoise in the Savoie region, France.
Competitors were greeted at the registration with a gift bag provided by SOURCE containing useful items to be used during the event. Racing is hard work so each competitor received a SOURCE Liquitainer to ensure they are all rehydrated and at their best when racing.
The Liquitainer is especially handy as it folds flat and can be rolled up and stowed in a pocket when empty. Other useful items are the neck warmer and Sandal Bag (great for keeping trainers in). The Source key ring makes a great wallet for loose change for the all-important Après-Ski!
The race training begins now with competitors being divided up into race training groups depending on ability. Actual racing starts on Friday with the Qualification Race. We will keep you posted as the event progresses.
The Championships also termed Ex Telemark Titan 2019 is sponsored by SOURCE and attended by members of SOURCE’s UK agent, Phil Craigie and Al Kendrick, who both plan on racing at the champs. We will hear more from Phil and Al in the next blog, and we will keep you up to date here, and on our Source Tactical Gear Facebook Page.
For more detail visit Army Winter Sports Association Official Page (awsa.org.uk).
When you’re out fishing, paddling, hiking, hunting, biking or climbing you will have different requirements and needs regarding your outdoor gear – including your hydration system. We invited serial adventurer and outdoor blogger Chris and Antonia to elaborate on their setup in different situations.
The basic checklist for a hydration system stays the same, whatever you do with it: taste-free, low maintenance, reliable, durable, easy to handle and drink. We’ve got you covered with our proprietary SOURCE hydration technology and decades of experience, millions of bladders sold and used around the world.
Depending what adventure you have planned, you will have different requirements regarding the shape, extensions, functionality of the bladder. We asked the authors of ExploreBorders.com adventure blog about their setup.
Whether we are hiking, climbing or paddling – Source offers various hydration systems for different activities in a variety of temperature ranges. In addition, there are numerous extras that are compatible and that can be exchanged if need be. We want to briefly introduce you to our favorite setups here.
Hydration for Hiking
On our hiking tours, we use the WXP 3L Storm Valve Hydration System. The hydration system from SOURCE’s Tactical Gear line is super easy to fill. The drinking tube is covered with a woven fabric and thus UV protected – especially on sunny days a big plus.
The Storm Valve mouthpiece has a good water flow: it’s not a bite-valve and the water flows without having to be sucked. This makes drinking on the go very easy. Also that way you can easily use the valve as a tap and wash your hands on the go.
Even when hiking in colder regions, such as our trekking tour in northern Sweden, we use our hydration bladders. So that the water does not freeze so fast, we use the Source Widepac Insulator. But not only the bladder has to be insulated – the liquid should also not freeze inside the drinking tube! Therefore, there is an extra Tube Insulation Sleeve for extra cold temperatures.
As a little tip, we also recommend blowing the water back into the bladder as soon as you finish drinking, to avoid a frozen drinking tube or mouthpiece.
Note: The gadgets for insulation, of course, not only work in cold weather! If it’s hot outside, they keep the liquid cold longer.
Hydration for Paddling, Kayaking
The paddling again defines its very own demands to a hydration pack. Whether in a kayak or a canoe, a backpack is rarely worn. But usually a life jacket. Many lifejackets have an extra compartment for a hydration bladder on the back. To minimize the hump, the tray is relatively flat, but quite wide. Exactly for this form there is the specially designed drinking bladder Durabag Kayak: Not only does it fit in life jackets, but it can also be attached to the boat or deck. Handy is also the extra long, sheathed drinking tube, which allows a relaxed drinking even if the bladder is not on the body.
To have the bladder better protected outside the life jacket, better isolated and easier to attach, the bladder has its own bag. This is made of durable material, which protects the liquid at the same time from heat or cold. In addition, the bag is provided with a number of attachment loops.
This is why the Durabag Kayak has its safe place on board … no matter whether on the relaxed paddle on the Elbe or in stormy seas off the coast of Norway.
Get the essential info on SOURCE Hydration Technology in this new YouTube clip. In 65 seconds you’ll find out about SOURCE Hydration advantages and tips concerning the care and use of our SOURCE WXP Hydration System.
In this clip, Nir offers a quick overview of our WXP Hydration System, our Glass Like Technology, the available Storm and Helix valves, and essential infos about the care and use. Thanks to our advanced SOURCE hydration film, maintenance of our bladders is minimal: When used with water only, empty the bladder, hang it for drying, and store away until the next use.
“Since the start of the Obstacle Course Racing phenomenon, it was clear the sport was lacking in the level of female participation and representation,” says Melanie Faville, one of the founders of the WOR Women of Obstacle Racing movement.
Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) continues to be one of the fastest growing sports. Millions of participants sign up annually to test their physical and mental grit by running up mountains, maneuvering through mud, climbing walls, crawling under barbed wire, suffering electrocution and any other obstacle that is thrown at them. The sport of OCR is quickly growing as it appeals to everyone from the weekend warrior to the fittest athletes in the world.
Mother of two boys – Member of ‘Women of Obstacle Racing’
Melanie Faville, member of the Women of Obstacle Racing WOR Pro Team approached us recently about Hydration Systems for testing and feedback. As it is: Obstacle Racing asks for maximum flexibility and durability of all gear. This was the ideal opportunity to test our Trail Running-proof SOURCE DUNE Hydration Pack under new extra tough conditions.
First running for stress relief …
Also, we were impressed with Faville’s approach to sports and to life. She is a mother of two young energetic boys, and she shares her love for fitness and Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) with her “amazingly supportive husband”, as she tells us in an email about herself. But how did she get into Obstacle Course Racing?
“I have a past that’s sprinkled with athletics and I’ve always taken part in some sort of sport or outdoor adventure.” After her children were born, she got into running, first just “to relieve stress”, then races, and over the last years Obstacle Course Racing.
… now WOR Pro Team Member
She is part of an active community, a team called Team Burgh counting about 100 members, with a core group training on a daily basis. Proudly she adds: “I am currently a WOR (Women of Obstacle Racing) Pro Team member. A group of women in the Obstacle Racing circuit that promote and empower women to go beyond what they may think they are capable of.”
Faville is happy to share her passion, to inspire and to encourage healthy living. And to encourage more women to sign up for OCR. We’ll have her feedback on the SOURCE DUNE Hydration Pack pack here in our blog in the coming weeks.
When we learned about Operation Enduring Warrior earlier this year, we were immediately happy and proud to contribute our SOURCE Hydration Systems for their latest operation.
Operation Enduring Warrior is a veteran operated non-profit organization whose mission is to honor, empower and motivate America’s wounded military service members. Enduring Warriors’ physical, mental and emotional rehabilitative cycle is modeled to overcome adversity and hardship through innovation, teamwork and perseverance; ultimately enabling Wounded Warriors’ lives to go in directions they once thought impossible.
We are proud to see our Hydration Systems put to good use – and all sorts of abuse. All the best from the SOURCE Crew – keep up the important work!
Over the last days we received a bunch of videos and pictures showing the US Marine Corps’ live tests with a new robotic pack mule created by Google-owned Boston Dynamics. It’s a four legged robot, designed to follow soldiers in the field, serving as carriers for heavy equipment – such as water.
The live test (also reported in UKs The Independent) shows four SOURCE AquaSource Water Tankers on the back of the robot-creature. Videos and pictures look amazing and we’re proud to know our AquaSource is part of the test.
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