Questions about living for extended time periods in the forest

  1. Assume you have a solar shower. Do you need to purify the water before you shower? I know all forms of life other than human drink creek water, but all you need is a small amount of certain water borne bacteria to make you wish you had purified your water. I assume showering would be safe but what about water getting into open orifices like the mouth, nose and eyes? Do you need to purify the water first to avoid that 1 in 100 chance of getting a serious illness or is the risk so small it doesn’t matter? I assume/hope I can just throw a few drops of bleach into the water to purify it. If so then this question is moot as its an easy precaution to take.

  2. What is the best source of energy in regards to startup cost, long term costs and reliability? Is it propane, mini windmills, solar, no.2 oil, kerosene gasoline generator, water turbine or what? Power would be for a battery recharger, single or double burner stove & small freezer. And maybe a heater in winter, if i’m there in winter. I am assuming propane but i’m worried about leaks.

  3. What does a GPS device do exactly? Can you put in the coordinates of your tent/cabin and save them, walk anywhere you want, then use the GPS to either retrace yoru steps or create a new path that leads back to your coordinates because it’ll tell you you need to go X meters in Y direction? I assume that is what a GPS does but I bet it also has a ton of other features I don’t know about. I notice GPS now start at $99. The $99 models do not have maps of south america and roadmaps, but I wouldn’t need those anyway, all I’d need is a compass and something that tracks where I am and where my cabin is and that can remember paths.

I can only address the first one and a little of the second.

When I was in high school I used to run sheep in the high country of Colorado through the summer. I would go up in late May or early June and come down in late August. I drank spring-fed stream water and did fine. When I bathed (which wasn’t a great deal because the water was very cold) I used the stream. I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick from bathing in fresh water.

Although my grandfather did claim that bathing in general shortened one’s life. He lived past 90 so he may have had a point.

I used a small kerosene stove or just cooked over a campfire. I had a small kerosene heater when the nights got really cold. My acomodations were a sheepherder’s wagon.


Not being any kind of expert please keep in mind that what i write is just a personal opinion.
1,WATER i would expect that there is on the market a testing kit with which you can determine the potability of drinking water.That being stated probably if the water is flowing from a source above highly populated areas you may be safe drinking it with out concern,try small portions and wait to see if you start feeling sickly.
2,POWER if your needs be small and this woodland expedition is for a short period of time a small 750 to 1000 watt generator may be what you need,although they can be rather pricey over 500.00 dollar,they are quite light and not to difficult to pack in the only drawback is the fuel.There are water powered generators on the market,there is a magazine you may have seen called “MOTHER EARTH NEWS” you may find links in there for altenitive power sources.
3, GPS an amazing device,absolutely amazing , yet it is electronic and subject to failure as all devices are wont.I would heartily suggest that you take a couple of good {don’t skimp} compasses with you and maybe also acourse in land navigation couldn’t hurt.

                              Thats it for my  two cents.
                              Best of LUCK to you!

You can most assurdedly take a shower with normal lake water. Depending on where you are you can also drink it untreated, right out of the lake. That doesn’t mean you should though. Giardia is not a fun thing to have.
I would think your most viable solution is normal wood. Abundant and free. Keeping it dry is another problem. Of course there is the matter of using it to power batteries, or rather the inability of it.
GPS uses satellites to pinpoint where you are. Depending on models you can get all kinds of funky options. I have a garmin GPS and love it. But you should always have a normal compass. You don’t want to rely on the GPS solely. Turning them on only when you need to will help you save batteries. Otherwise, in my case, it will last maybe only a couple days. With my gps, I can set waypoints to where I want to go and can then use them to backtrack. Depending on the weather, it’s accurate to about 35 feet. Never seen it lower than that.

In N. America (and probably much of the rest of the world), if the water looks more or less clean enough to shower in, the chance of it causing you a problem is really low. Purifying shower water would probably put you well into the lunatic fringe of wilderness dwellers.

By listening to signals from several satellites, tells you where you are and how to get to a destination. GPS receivers are quite useful when you’re in an unfamiliar area. But they have drawbacks, such as the fact that they use batteries (fresh ones being scarce in the forest) and the signals they receive can be attenuated by trees & leaves. Near where you live and operate, it’s probably best to learn the area so you don’t depend on a fallible electronic gadget.