Getting Drinking Water from Vines

Not every source of ground water that you come across in the wilderness will be drinkable.  It could be stagnant swamp water or contaminated after a flood.  If you do find a clean water source you might not be able to stay near it.  For these reasons and more it is important to know alternative methods of getting your drinking water.  Wild grapevines are a great source of drinking water in situations like this.


First, you need to identify the vine.  I have included pictures of the vine itself and the leaves, these should help, but there might not be any leaves visible, or you might be desperate and want to try vine even if you can’t identify it.  If this is the case, always use the “universal edibility test”.  The water that comes from the vine should be clear, not colored or milky.  It should not have any strong odors, it should only smell a little earthy or woody.  If it causes any irritation or tastes bitter spit it out and do not continue to use that vine.

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Next, after determining that you have a vine that will give you drinkable water find the area of the vine that is best to harvest water from.  Ideally you are looking for an area where the vine dips down low and the rises again.  This will determine the quantity of the water you can collect, not the quality so you can harvest from a vine that isn’t the perfect shape.

Next, shave the bark off the vine at the low point of the dip.  Even as you start to remove the bark the water should start dripping.  Using a knife or sharp stone, create a groove or channel to direct the drips to one area making them easier to collect.

Finally, place a container under the drip.  If you have more than one container it would be a good idea to do this at more than one vine.  Under good conditions, you could get more than 1 pint of water, per vine, per hour.  After a couple of hours, the healing process of the vine will stop the dripping and the liquid will become more gelatinous.


Water is one of the most important factors in your survival.  Don’t have a one-dimensional strategy for water collection.  The more versatile your skills are at collecting water the greater chance for survival you have.

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