hAnyone who’s spent some time in the wilderness can tell you that there is a significant difference between spending a few days in the woods and spending a few days at home or in a hotel room. One obvious difference is the lack of available luxuries, such as your TV, refrigerator, or bed, but we often times overlook just how few and far between other vital resources can be, such as food, shelter, and water. Water is one of the most important elements of surviving in the outdoors, and sometimes we find ourselves without it. When this happens, it’s helpful to know where to find water sources wherever you may be, and today I’ve provided you with a few tips on how to do this.

In higher, cooler regions where snow or visible streams are nowhere to be found, it’s smart to pay close attention to the local wildlife. Insects, birds, and other animals will tend to stick close to water sources, so keep an eye out for them. You can also use binoculars or scout around to locate game trails that will often lead to hidden springs or rivers.

In drier parts of the world, such as deserts, where water is almost unheard of, you’ll want to seek out any available trees. Deciduous trees, such as willows or cottonwood, mean there’s water around, but often times you’ll have to do some digging to discover it once you’ve found the trees.

In low areas, such as canyons, where a rigorous climb will be in your future, use your eyes to locate pools of water. Often times, pools indicate springs in the ground, and larger pools will signal a reliable constant source of water.

Of course, it’s beneficial also to keep purification tablets, portable filter, or iodine on hand whenever you venture into the wilderness for a long period of time. Being able to filter your water when you find some will go a long way towards ensuring you don’t pick up any harmful bacteria or pathogens. There are even water bottles—from Camelbak, Katadyn, or Brita—with built in filters. These appeal to many outdoorsmen because they streamline your carry weight and don’t cost a lot.

In an emergency situation where you’re miles from civilization and a lengthy stay in the woods is inevitable, finding water will be one of your top priorities. In different types of regions or climates, where you’ll locate your nearest source of water will vary, though. Learn to look for exterior elements that my signal a nearby river, spring, or lake, and you’ll be in better shape.