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How to Survive Without Water

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Stuck in the wilderness with nary a drop of water in your canteen? Don’t worry. You can survive this situation and live to tell an incredibly interesting tale.

1. Get Motivated

You can survive without water, but not for long. The average human can hold out for three to five days without a sip of water, but dehydration will set in and lead to all sorts of problems, like confusion, lethargy, and rapid heartbeat, well before then. You’re going to need to find some water, pronto.

2. Don’t Sweat It

Before you start searching for water, stop to consider an obvious conundrum. If you don’t have any new fluids to put in your body, you should be doing what you can to conserve what’s already in there. Try to limit any activities that will make you perspire, which will only speed up the dehydration process.

3. Break Into Snow Business

Short of finding a stream, river, or lake – try following animals or their tracks to one of these godsends – there’s no easier source of hydration than snow or freshwater ice. Don’t just start munching on snowballs, though. Eating water while it’s still frozen will lower your body temperature, which will actually increase your dehydration. Melt your frosty finds into liquid water, and you’ll be good to go.

4. Go Bananas

If you’re in the jungle, seek out a banana tree. With a little help from a knife – you didn’t venture into the jungle without a knife, did you? – a banana tree can become a personal water fountain. Hack away all but the bottom foot or so of the tree, and carve a bowl into the top of the remaining stump. The tree’s roots will draw fluids up into the trunk, and the bowl will fill with water.

5. Make Gravity Work for You

In a desert, water can be tougher to find, but if you’re lucky, gravity will have done some of the heavy lifting for you. Water flows downhill, so walk downhill whenever you can to search for fluids in valleys or crevices. If that doesn’t work – and if you happen to be toting a machete – hack your way into a cactus and squeeze the moisture out of the pulp. You can also put the pulp in your mouth and suck out the water, but be careful not to eat it.
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With these techniques, you should be able to stay hydrated long enough to make it back to civilization. Once you’re revitalized, you’ll probably be sick of drinking water, so crack open a cold Dos Equis while you tell your story.

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How to Shave With a Straight Razor
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Our Be More Interesting series will teach you new skills to wow your friends. Today, Max Silvestri learns to shave with a straight razor. 

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How to Cross a River Without a Bridge
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Need to cross a roaring river? It’s always best to find a bridge, but if you absolutely must make it to the other side on your own, a few easy steps can keep you high and relatively dry.

1. Scout Around

Invest a little time in finding the best place to make your crossing. Avoid bends in the river, where water whips around the fastest. Once you find a suitable spot, walk downstream a few hundred feet to make sure there aren’t any hazards. It’s always good to know about the pesky 30-foot waterfall around the bend.

2. Don’t Be Narrow-Minded

They look tempting, but narrow crossings can be the most dangerous—they’re often the deepest part of the river. Look for the widest section instead. Keep an eye out for mild ripples—which are safe to cross—and avoid whitecaps, which can be treacherously slippery.

3. Ditch Your Duds

If the water will reach your knees, strip down to your skivvies - your pride isn’t worth getting hypothermia from wet clothes. Even if the river is shallow, remove your socks and put on a second pair of shoes if you have them. If you’re backpacking, unbuckle your front straps so you can quickly slip out of your pack if you fall.

4. Shuffle Up

Face upstream, lean into the current, and move across the river with shuffling sidesteps. You’re less likely to fall while sidestepping since you don’t lift your feet as high. If you’re with a group, link arms. The technique creates more contact points with the streambed and gives everyone a more solid footing.

5. Become a Bump on a Log

If the rapids are too fast, shuffling across may be a bad idea. Look for a log that spans the whole river instead. But don’t walk on it! Wet wood can be dangerously slippery. Instead, straddle the log and scoot along until you reach the other side.

6. Float Away

In situations where the river is deep but the current isn’t very swift, a football or soccer ball can be a handy improvised flotation device. Tether it to your wrist and grab on when you get tired of swimming. Or hug it with one arm as you sidestroke for extra buoyancy.
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Once you make it to the opposite shore, dry off and toast your successful crossing with a round of Dos Equis.

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