Melting Ice and Snow For Drinking Water

This post was last updated on July 1st, 2021 at 08:35 am

Methods for Melting Ice and Snow and Why it’s a Good Idea to Do So

Often times eating snow can feel like a good way to wet your whistle, and many times it’s totally fine to do so. However eating cold snow when you are sitting in cold weather and not moving can drop your core temperature and cause big problems. So it is only advisable to eat snow and ice when you are moving frequently and are already warm. When you are sitting at camp in wet clothes or are chilly the snow or ice should be melted prior to consumption. It will also be a lot more satisfying when you put it in your body.

Melting Ice and Snow on a Tilted Rock

This is an easy process that only requires a few rocks and a small fire. By making a tilted table like platform to hold your packed snow or ice you can heat it from below with a little fire. Funnel the water using smaller rocks or sticks into a camping cup or pan rested below the lip of your large rock. The beauty of drinking snow and ice is the fact that you wont need to filter the water.


  • Try not to use rocks that are porous, as they may have soaked up a lot of water. Water saturated rocks have been known to explode when exposed to high temperatures. Rocks taken from the bed of a river should be a last resort, as they have a higher probability of being extremely saturated with water.
  • Melting sea ice that is some distance from the coast would be better than more recently frozen ice, due to a lower salt content in areas such as coastal Alaska or British Columbia.

As you can see, this is an effective means to melt ice. You could also use this method for cooking items over a fire as well.

Melting snow in a Sock or Tied Up Clothing

This is a very easy method to melt large quantities of snow easily.

  1. Simply load up a sock or any piece of clothing with a bunch of snow.
  2. Hang it a few feet away from your fire with a catch pan of some sort.
  3. Enjoy the great drinking water!

I like this method because the water will usually still be very cold when it hits your pan. Nothing quenches the thirst quite like a cold glass of mountain snow water.

Place a large quantity of snow in a sock and hang it near your fire. With a catch pan or cup in place you will be enjoying fresh water in no time.

Using these 2 methods you should easily be able to melt snow if you have a fire. If no fire is available you can always pack your water bottle full of snow and put it in your pocket. This will give you a bit of water, but it often takes a very long time if your bottle isn’t almost right against your skin.