Transpiration Bag

Water is one of the three most important elements for survival, and in some circumstances, it might be the most important.  Even in temperate environments with plenty of vegetation, it can be hard to find sources of water.  But if you have a plastic bag, all you need to do is find the vegetation.  I have already written about in-ground stills that use vegetation and sunlight to harvest water, here is an easier way, that can yield greater results.  It’s called a transpiration bag and this is how to use one.


  • The only piece of gear that you will need is a plastic bag, a clear one preferably. If you have tubing that will make accessing the water easier but it isn’t necessary.
  • Find a lush tree or shrub, the healthiest one available to you. Preferably with wide green leaves.  It cannot be a plant that contains toxins in the leaves.
  • Put the bag over a clump of vegetation at shoulder height, fitting as much of the green material inside as you can, while being careful not to puncture the bag.
  • Put a clean stone into the bag so that it weighs down the bottom corner. This is where the water will collect.
  • Tie off the open end of the bag. Make as good of a seal as you can.
  • Bend the branch down so that the bottom of the bag is lower than the tied end. Tie it to a stake if you have to, but to not break the branch.
  • If you have more than one bag, find another plant and repeat the same process.
  • Depending on the weather and the plant you are using it could take several hours or more to collect enough water to make it worth your efforts.
  • The process can be repeated for several days on the same plant if it is of adequate size.


The water that you gather will be clean, it might have a bad taste depending on the plant you used, but it will not require boiling to be safe for drinking.

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