Water from Thin Air: How to Harvest Fog and Dew in Post-Collapse Environments

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Water from Thin Air: How to Harvest Fog and Dew in Post-Collapse Environments

Want to secure a water supply no matter where you are? This guide will teach you how to harvest water from the air with easy-to-follow instructions.

This is essential for anyone serious about survival. Ready to learn more? Let's begin.

Must-Have Water Harvesting Tools

While mastering water collection techniques is crucial, having the right tools can make all the difference. Stockpiling the following types of water-harvesting products ensures you can collect water efficiently in any environment:

  1. Fog Nets: These specially designed nets capture water droplets from fog. Lightweight and easy to set up, they provide a consistent source of water in fog-prone areas.
  2. Dew Traps: Simple yet effective, dew traps collect moisture from the air overnight. They are portable and require minimal setup, making them a versatile tool for any survivalist.
  3.  Solar Stills: Solar stills use the sun’s heat to evaporate water, which then condenses and is collected. They are particularly useful in arid environments where fog and dew are less common.
  4. Plastic Bags: Clear plastic bags can collect water from plants through transpiration. Place the bag over leafy branches and secure it with string. Water condenses inside the bag over several hours.

Advanced Techniques for Harvesting Fog and Dew

In the event you run out of commercial water-harvesting tools, knowing some alternative methods can be crucial. Here are advanced techniques leveraging natural processes to collect water.

Two large nets set up between to poles to harvest fog.


Why It Works: Fog harvesting relies on capturing tiny water droplets from the air as fog passes through a mesh or net, which then condenses and drips into a collection container.

How To:

  1. Setting Up the Net: Find a location with consistent fog, preferably at a high elevation or near a coast where fog is common. Use sturdy poles or branches to create a frame for your net. Secure the net tightly between the poles, ensuring it is taut but not overstretched. Position the net at an angle to maximize exposure to the fog.
  2. Creating a Collection System: Place a collection container, such as a bucket or a plastic bottle, at the base of the net. Make sure the container is positioned to catch water dripping from the net. You can use a funnel to direct the water more efficiently into the container.
  3. Monitoring and Maintenance: Regularly check the net and container to ensure they are functioning correctly. Remove any debris that may accumulate on the net and adjust the angle if necessary to optimize water collection. Keep an eye on weather patterns to predict the best times for fog harvesting.
  4. Maximizing Efficiency: If possible, set up multiple nets in different locations to increase your water yield. Experiment with different mesh sizes to find what works best in your specific environment. Track your results and adjust your setup as needed.

Extra Tips for Success:

  • Material Choice: Use fine mesh or fabric that can effectively capture small water droplets. If a commercial net is unavailable, repurpose materials like mosquito netting, fine fabric, or even old curtains.
  • Elevation: Higher elevations tend to have more consistent fog. Look for ridges, hills, or other elevated areas to set up your nets.
  • Orientation: Position the nets perpendicular to the direction of prevailing winds to ensure they catch as much fog as possible.

Related Read: How to Find Water in the Wild... in Winter

A man wearing gloves using shears to cut through a ground sheet that is covered in dew.


Why It Works: Dew collection takes advantage of the condensation process, where moisture in the air condenses on a cool surface overnight and is collected in a container.

How To:

  1. Selecting the Location: Choose an open area with good air circulation where dew is likely to form, such as grassy fields or near bodies of water. Avoid areas with heavy vegetation that might obstruct dew formation.
  2. Setting Up the Sheet: Lay a large plastic sheet, tarp, or similar material flat on the ground in the selected area. Ensure the sheet is clean and free from contaminants. Secure the edges of the sheet with stakes or rocks to keep it in place. Create a slight slope towards the center of the sheet to direct the collected dew into a central point.
  3. Optimizing Dew Collection: To maximize dew collection, you can elevate the sheet slightly above the ground using small sticks or rocks. This allows air to circulate underneath, increasing the condensation process. Leave the sheet overnight, as dew typically forms in the early morning hours when temperatures drop.
  4. Collecting the Dew: In the morning, carefully gather the sheet and funnel the collected dew into a clean container. Use a small cup or a funnel to direct the water into a bottle or other storage vessel. Be gentle to avoid spilling any collected water.

Extra Tips for Success:

  • Multiple Sheets: Use multiple sheets in different locations to increase your water yield.
  • Material Quality: Ensure the sheet is free from holes and tears to maximize water collection.
  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the sheet clean to prevent contamination of the collected water. Rinse it with clean water regularly and store in a dry place when not in use.
A diagram showing how to construct a solar still to harvest water.


Why It Works: A solar still uses solar energy to evaporate water, which then condenses on a cooler surface and is collected.

How To:

  1. Preparing the Site: Choose a sunny location with loose soil where you can dig a hole. Ensure the area is free from contaminants and close to a water source if available.
  2. Digging the Hole: Dig a hole about three feet wide and two feet deep. The size can vary depending on the materials available and the amount of water you aim to collect. Make sure the hole has sloping sides to prevent the plastic sheet from touching the bottom.
  3. Setting Up the Still: Place a container in the center of the hole to collect the condensed water. Fill the hole around the container with moist soil, vegetation, or any available water source. Cover the hole with a clear plastic sheet, securing the edges with rocks or soil to create an airtight seal.
  4. Creating the Condensation Point: Place a small rock or weight in the center of the plastic sheet above the container. This will create a dip in the sheet, allowing the condensed water to drip into the container. Ensure the plastic sheet does not touch the sides of the hole or the collection container.
  5. Collecting the Water: Leave the solar still in direct sunlight. As the sun heats the soil and vegetation, water vapor will rise, condense on the plastic sheet, and drip into the collection container. Check the still periodically and collect the water from the container.

Extra Tips for Success:

  • Multiple Stills: Set up multiple solar stills to increase your water yield.
  • Maximize Moisture: Add additional moist materials, like fresh vegetation or wet cloth, to increase the amount of water vapor.
  • Seal Tight: Ensure the plastic sheet is tightly secured to prevent air leakage and maximize condensation.

Related Read: The Water Whisperer's Guide to Surviving in Any Arid Terrain

A white sheet laid out on a green lawn.


Why It Works: Cloth can absorb dew, then be wrung out to collect water.

How To:

  1. Choosing the Cloth: Use a clean, absorbent cloth such as a towel, shirt, or blanket. Ensure the cloth is free from contaminants.
  2. Laying Out the Cloth: Spread the cloth flat on the ground or over vegetation in the evening. Choose an area with good air circulation where dew is likely to form.
  3. Collecting the Dew: Leave the cloth overnight to absorb dew. In the morning, carefully gather the cloth and wring it out into a clean container. Repeat the process as needed to collect more water.
  4. Maximizing Absorption: For increased efficiency, use multiple pieces of cloth in different locations. Ensure each cloth is spread out flat and has maximum exposure to the air.

Extra Tips for Success:

  • Multiple Cloths: Use several pieces of cloth to increase water collection.
  • Clean Cloths: Keep the cloths clean to avoid contamination of the collected water.
  • Location: Choose locations with high humidity and good air circulation for better dew formation.

By preparing adequately and practicing these methods, you can ensure a steady supply of water, even in the harshest conditions. Maintaining hydration is crucial for survival, and these techniques will help you stay prepared and resilient.

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