These famous words were written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Now to be honest I’ve heard this saying many a time whilst fishing in the ocean or looking at a mud puddle and not put a lot of thought to it, but, water is a precious thing to have whilst traveling. These days I won’t even go to the corner store without a litre of water by my side.
It is said that we can only last 3 to 4 days without water and in some parts of Australia I would say less. A lack of water causes dehydration, which may result in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. So what steps should we take to make sure we have our precious water?
As mentioned before I will carry a litre with me whilst around town, but if traveling some kilometers I will have a 5 litre bottle. Then of course what if I head off for a week with the family the dog and supplies? Well I estimate that I would need approximately 20 litres a day, this includes drinking, cooking and showering. So if I’m gone for a five day jaunt I would need to carry 100 litres of water!!! That’s a lot of water and 1 litre of water weights approximately 1kg so if my math serves me right I would be carrying an extra 100 kilograms in my vehicle.
Most travelers would have facilities to accommodate such a load e.g. a camper trailer or caravan but what if you’re not traveling with these luxuries. I found that traveling along the coast there is always a plentiful supply of water, it’s when you head inland that you have to calculate and plan ahead. Most fuel stations have water so you can always top up your supply when refueling or stopping for a cup of tea along the way. Maybe even phone ahead to see if there is a sufficient amount of water for you to take. A lot of parks and rest areas are now equipped with some sort of water source, it’s just sensible to plan ahead and keep up the supply. Then there are the real adventurers who get of the beaten track and have to collect their water as they go.
I have seen many a contraption for collecting water from creeks, rivers, the occasional dam and bore holes, all with varying degrees of success. I’ve always been a bit fussy with my water quality. The option is to boil to kill the bacteria/germs that may be present in the water but there is also the option of filtering your water before it goes into your storage tank. The best device I have found for this is a simple water pump with the right attachments, a twin housing assembly which has a sediment filter and a carbon filter (silver infused). The silver is a known bacteria fighter and is the preferred option when filtering water from a flowing stream or similar. Now you can always boil the finished product but I have found with this simple system the water taste fantastic and is very clean.
Make sure it is manufactured according to NSF and Water Manufacturers Association Standards there are some cheap imports out there and you don’t want your unit to crack or fall apart out in the sticks!!
I got the crew from Cooee Water Ph 1300026633 to make up a similar pump with filters for me. Only difference, I have two filters on the unit and I can detach the pump and use water mains pressure when filling my tanks.
So remember keep tabs on your water supply, drink plenty of it and enjoy your travels. Remember for us adults, there is no harm in finishing off the day with a glass of red or maybe some amber fluid…..don’t filter that though as it may take away the ambiance, not mention the taste!!