Survival Containers for Water Purification and Shelter Overnight: Week 4 - 2013

Week 4 of the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program included learning how to make survival containers (coal-burned bowls) for water purification and an overnight trip to build and stay in survival group shelters.

Here's a few photo highlights:

Using hot coals from a fire to burn down into a log to make a survival container that water can be boiled in. Blowing air onto the coals makes them hotter and thus burns into the wood faster.

Instructor, Georgie, is coal-burning into a side of a log to make a survival water vessel.

This survival container is getting burned in deeper into the log. A sharp rock or knife can be used to scrape out the charred wood in between adding fresh sets of hot coals.

Here's the finished survival containers. Now stream water can be put in the bowls and small red-hot rocks from a fire can be added to boil (and thus purify) the stream water for drinking.

The other part of the week consisted of making group survival shelters and staying in them overnight. Here is the rough frame of a debris tipi type of shelter.

First a small fire pit is created in the center and then the walls are stuffed with leaf litter debris (in this case the branches and leaves of the non-native invasive plant, Japanese knotweed).

One of the groups works on securing roof poles.

This group is excited about their progress. The shelters are completed by adding a lot of small branches then debris to the roof to keep rain and wind out (leaving a small opening for smoke to escape).

After a busy afternoon of construction, the shelters were completed after dark. Everyone survived the night curled up in their cozy fire-heated survival shelters!

Learn about the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program, our in-depth, nine-month course that trains students to teach and apply wilderness survival, permaculture, ethnobotany, wildlife tracking, and outdoor leadership skills.


(360) 793-8709

wilderness survival school catalogRequest Information:
Receive a free copy of our brochure and Wilderness Certification Program Catalog:

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.
We respect your privacy and never sell, trade, or share your information.

Visit the Course Calendar:

course calendar

Recent News at Alderleaf:

Alderleaf in the Media:

Alderleaf in the media

Find us on Facebook:

wilderness survival guideJoin our eNewsletter:
And receive a free copy of our survival mini-guide, Thriving in the Outdoors: The Six Keys to Wilderness Survival!

Learn more