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18334Solar Stills When You Least Expect Them

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  • Dave Womble
    Nov 28, 2007
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      One of the biggest factors I have seen is "how much moisture is coming
      out of the ground?". I haven't made a solar still intentionally but I
      have seen its effect many times while backpacking. When hammocking I
      sometimes get a lot of moisture on the under side of my tarp and many
      times that is from condensation from the moisture evaporating from the
      ground and/or vegetation on the ground. Sometimes it is so pronounced
      that it occurs between the time I set up my tarp, mess around camp and
      cook my dinner... I will have condensation on the underside of my tarp
      before I have even been under the tarp.

      One of the more noticeable occurrences was when I tarped and slept on
      the ground using either a plastic ground sheet or a Tyvek ground
      sheet. When I used a plastic ground sheet, the underside of it would
      often be slightly muddy even on dry ground after a night of sleeping
      and I didn't have much problem with condensation on the underside of
      my tarp. When I used a Tyvek ground sheet, the underside of it would
      be dry on dry ground after a night of sleeping but I often had
      problems with condensation on the underside of my tarp... in fact,
      there were times I would have condensation on the underside of my tarp
      between the time I set up my tarp, messed around camp and cooked my

      Looking back on those situations, I think I was lucky that I didn't
      get into a situation when I was using a Tyvek ground sheet where I got
      into trouble because not only is it not a vapor barrier, I don't think
      it is waterproof to a very high pressure and I worry that you might
      get ground water pushing through it from you body weight if the ground
      was saturated with water, like laying in or on a puddle of water in
      heavy rains. At the time I appreciated that I didn't have to deal with
      a slightly muddy piece of plastic in the morning even when the ground
      was dry.

      Dave Womble
      aka Youngblood 2000
      designer of the Speer Segmented Pad Extender, SnugFit Underquilt, and

      was Re: [Hammock Camping] Re: female 'pee bottles' was Panda High Peak
      as a sleep...

      Best idea is to try this out before deciding to rely on it. The amount
      of sweat spent in digging a hole 3 foot wide and 3 foot deep is amazing,
      especially when one has no shovel. I have tried using smaller set-ups.
      They have always been disappointing. The essential design criteria is
      that the slope of the plastic needs to be steep enough so that the water
      runs off it.

      I am reading a desert survival book this week. In that book, the solar
      still is called idol worship. It seems like a good idea, but does not
      accomplish much.


      amendment2@... wrote:
      > Almost, in a solar still, you line around the inside with the urine and
      > other moisture bearing vegetation. In the center you put a clean
      container and
      > distilled water condenses on the plastic, runs to the low point,
      drips into
      > the clean container. Best idea is to put a long small diameter hose
      from the
      > inside bottom of the container up to the outside of the still so you can
      > drink the water without disturbing the distilling action of the still.
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