… maybe not so much where I’m headed?
I’m about, maybe, one hundred yards from Quincy Bay, and have a pretty nice view of the Boston skyline. My neighborhood has an abundance of maples,oaks, and sycamores. There is no shortage of vegetation around here with the amount of precipitation we receive. On average, Boston receives 43.76″ of rainfall, and an additional 44″ of snow annually. Compared to Phoenix, with 8.06″ annual rainfall, or Albuquerque, with 14.21″ annually, my glass is more than half full.
how much wood can a woodchuck chuck?
Let’s see, I need water to drink. I have my hygiene to think of as well. I’ll need water for food preparation too. FEMA suggests that a normal active person needs to drink two quarts of water a day. Of course, as you would assume, there are plenty of variables that effect how much one should consume. The heat, one’s weight, and an illness can all effect how much water we would need to consume. So FEMA’s recommendation is to store one gallon per person per day.
Now the National Parks Service recommends that we should drink 2 liters (or a half gallon) of water per day, and I intend to stay off the grid a lot more than one day. So with this information and various other sources on the internet, I am planning to bring a gallon a day for myself. The maximum amount of time one can stay at most dispersed camping sites is fourteen days. I am not sure if I will attempt to do a full fourteen days, but irregardless, I plan to have 17.5 gallons when I arrive at my campsite.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average individual in my community of Quincy Massachusetts uses 44 gallons of water a day. There is even one town in Massachusetts that averages 100 gallons of water a day per person. That’s 800 pounds of water, a day, for one individual. That is a lot of water. I am sure this includes watering your lawn, washing your car, etcetera. So how is this New Englander going to manage living off the grid with no water or electricity?
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Charles Caleb Colton
I like camels. They are fascinating creatures. Most of us know that the dromedary camel’s hump is a reservoir storage for water. Actually, that hump is a reservoir of fatty tissue which will metabolize as needed to supply our ungulate friend with water. Did you also know that hump is BPA free too! Now, there is a lot of discussion going back and forth wether Bisphenol A (BPA) plastics are harmful or not. So for now, I am going to lean towards staying away from using them as my camel hump, aka water storage.
For conserving space reasons, I will opt to use collapsable BPA free plastic water jug that can hold five gallons of water or forty pounds of water. For me, that is a manageable weight to contend with. I’ll also use a non-collapsable 2.5 gallon container with a spigot for easier dispensing.
The Dowsing Rod
Here in New England, finding tap water is a fairly easy process. So heading out west will be a completely new experience for me. I have never ever seen a vending machine that dispenses water here in the North East. Well that is sure going to change soon. So the nomadic lifestyle I am about to embark on I will need to to adapt, and look for potable water spigots, at gas stations, and rest areas. National Forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) ranger stations should be able to accommodate me as well. Public restrooms have faucets as well.
Several years ago I spent two weeks in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota and my only source of water were the lakes and rivers that made up the BWCA. There was no shortage there, but all that water had to be filtered. Light and takes up little space, I depended on the Katadyn Hiker Pro. On the NotSoMad Libation Scale of One to Ten, this little gadget gets a twelve. When and if I run into a situation where no potable water is available but there is a water source, I will be glad I have this accompanying me in the South West.
To fulfill my 17.5 gallon (140 pounds) imitation camel hump, I still need to purchase one more 5 gallon collapsable jug. I will try to wait to fill my water storage containers until I get as close as possible to my destination. This will reduce the additional weight to the travel time aboard the NSN Dromedary. That’s the name of my little SUV. I just came up with that.
Other considerations for water consumption aside from cooking and consumption are bathing, hygiene, cleaning, and the toilet. Yup, after decades of using pit toilets, vault toilets, call it what you will, I’ve been very lucky not to have been attacked by the slimy, fanged creatures that live in them. So for safety reasons, I have decided to purchase a portable toilet, which has a three gallon holding tank, and a five gallon black water tank. We will talk more about that shit when we hit the road in February.