One of the basic skills for winter trips is making water.  This is one of my least favorite tasks, due to the incredibly high boredom and concentration factors.  You do nothing but sit there watching the pot and adding snow and ice.  Here are some hints and tips to make it go faster.

First, I recommend having a good windscreen, a heat exchanger of some sort, and a nice wide pot with a tight fitting lid.  All of these increase efficiency.  For one person, making their entire water supply, a 2 liter pot is about the minimum size.

Second, start with some water in the pot.  Heat this water up a bit before you start adding snow or ice, and add the snow or ice slowly so that you don’t cause a bunch of sudden condensation on your pot.

Third, use ice as much as possible instead of snow.  Ice is far denser and thus produces more water from less material.  If you have to use snow, pack the snow as much as possible.  A good heavy bag like a trash compactor bag or stuff sack works well for holding the supply of snow as you pack it.

Finally, if you can, use alternative methods to create water, as they save fuel.  For example, black plastic bags are great.  You can lay one down in the sun, and pile some snow on it.  The sun will create some melt water with very little effort on your part.

Another method is to pack snow into a water bottle that you keep in your clothes as you move.  Your body heat will melt the snow, and the cold bottle will help you keep cool while you work.

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