You can use stills in various areas of the world. They draw moisture from the ground and from plant material. You need certain materials to build a still, and you need time to let it collect the water. It takes about 24 hours to get 0.5 to 1 liter of water. There are two types of aboveground stills you can make.

Vegetation Bag Still

To make the vegetation bag still. You need a sunny slope on which to place the still, a clear plastic bag, green leafy vegetation, and a small rock To make this aboveground still, you need a sunny slope on which to place the still, a clear plastic bag, green leafy vegetation, and a small rock (Figure 6-6).

To make the still:

  • Fill the bag with air by turning the opening into the breeze or by “scooping” air into the bag.
  • Fill the plastic bag half to three-fourths full of green leafy vegetation. Be sure to remove all hard sticks or sharp spines that might puncture the bag.

CAUTION: Do not use poisonous vegetation. It will provide poisonous liquid.

  • Place a small rock or similar item in the bag.
  • Close the bag and tie the mouth securely as close to the end of the bag as possible to keep the maximum amount of air space. If you have a piece of tubing, a small straw, or a hollow reed, insert one end in the mouth of the bag before you tie it securely. Then tie off or plug the tubing so that air will not escape. This tubing will allow you to drain out condensed water without untying the bag.
  • Place the bag, mouth downhill, on a slope in full sunlight. Position the mouth of the bag slightly higher than the low point in the bag.
  • Settle the bag in place so that the rock works itself into the low point in the bag.

To get the condensed water from the still, loosen the tie around the bag’s mouth and tip the bag so that the water collected around the rock will drain out. Then retie the mouth securely and reposition the still to allow further condensation.

Change the vegetation in the bag after extracting most of the water from it. This will ensure maximum output of water.

Transpiration Bag Still

Making a transpiration bag still is similar to the vegetation bag, only easier. Simply tie the plastic bag over a leafy tree limb with a tube inserted, and tie the mouth of the bag off tightly around the branch to form an airtight seal. Tie the end of the limb so that it hangs below the level of the mouth of the bag. The water will collect there (Figure 6-7).

The same limb may be used for 3 to 5 days without causing long-term harm to the limb. It will heal itself within a few hours of removing the bag.

Read how to make a belowground still here.

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