The key word is “BEFORE.” Try one of these methods before you need it. Be anticipatory and BEFORE you decide to melt snow, check the quality of it.
Be certain to collect clean and fresh snow. Avoid discolored and stained ice. Being patient since melting can take a while, especially when you’re out in the freezing wilderness.
It takes quite a bit of snow (is primarily made of air) to make a small amount of water. Clean ice, if you can find it, will actually produce more water in less time.
A rough figure is if you fill a pot with nine inches of snow you will get one inch of water.
If you have electricity or gas and your stove is working, it’s best to place the clean snow in large pot there.
It takes as much energy to turn ice to water as it takes to boil water that starts at room temperature.
The latent heat of fusion is ~80 calories for ice. The definition of a calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of water one degree Celsius. So if room temperature is 20 degrees C (~70 degrees F) then it takes ~80 calories of energy to boil a gram of water.
How To Melt Snow For Survival | 3 Ways
Learning how to melt snow is an effective life hack you need to survive! Here are three ways you can turn ice into hydrating water.
1. Boiling It
Boiling is one of the most basic skills you need to learn on how to melt snow. If you have a pot and some fire, you have it made with little worries about being dehydrated.
If you don’t have a stove available (gas and/or electricity is out and no suitable fireplace), try this:
Having a modern camping stove is best, but a pot of snow over a fire pit or outside grill will also work. Start with a small amount of ice at first, then add more along the way. Never fill the pot with snow to the brim to avoid overflowing.
Keep the lid on at all times to maintain the heat. With higher temperatures, the snow will melt easier and quicker.
2. Do the Bandana Trick
If a pot or kettle is unavailable an empty jar or cup can serve as a temporary container for the snow.
Grab a bandana, shirt, towel, or cloth and place a lump of snow on top. Tie the corners up to form a sack, then hang it around a stick or branch over the container.
Much like roasting a marshmallow, put the bag of snow near a fire and allow it to embrace the heat of the flames. This will help the snow melt and drip; it may take some time, but it will fill up the cup or jar.
3. What if you have no fire source?
A mountain man at the Royal Gorge in Colorado taught me this trick in 2005. On a sunny day, get a large BLACK plastic trash bag (larger the better and black absorbs more heat). Make an indentation or “bowl” in the snow in a location that will have Sunlight.
Spread the bag over the space that has the “bowl” (larger means more water). Sprinkle snow along the slopes of the “bowl” so as the sun heat absorbs on the black plastic, the snow will melt into the bowl.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
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George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.