Thursday, April 24, 2008

Make Mine Dry And Crunchy

I want it. The backpacker's dream. Light water for my reactor.

Water is essential for life. Without it we couldn't go fishing or shampoo our hamsters. Or remain flexible enough to do sit ups. Your body is somewhere between 45% and 75% water, depending on how squishy you are. Bone and muscle have lower water content. Fat, internal organs, and blood have higher water content, up over 80% for blood, which is why it dribbles out when you poke a hole in your hide.

"The human body is 90% water at birth. The water content in the body of a grown-up person decreases to 70%. The water content drops to 50% with age." I got this off the internet, so it must be true. And if that doesn't fully qualify it, then the source was Pravda. Ir-forking-refutable.

The universe as a whole is a thirsty place, and it's after our precious bodily fluids, which makes hanging onto what you have ever more important.

Example: In 1965 a NASA test subject at the Manned Spacecraft Center was briefly and accidentally exposed to near vacuum while wearing a leaky space suit. He recovered OK, but his last memory before entering the inky blackness of unconsciousness was of the water on his tongue boiling away into the vacuum chamber.

Think about that one. Give space a chance and it will suck you dry. Even a phony sort of space in a cage here on earth. Backpackers know this. Water is always on a backpacker's mind. And on a backpacker's back.

Water is heavy. Try carrying a 24-hour supply of water sometime. In the summer, when the temperature is in the 90s. Maybe you can, but you won't carry much else. One gallon of U.S. water weighs 8.3 pounds. That might not sound too bad until you lift it. Try.

Next time you're out grocery shopping pick up a five pound bag of flour. Grab a 10 pound bag if you can find one. Sugar will do, too. Heavy isn't it? OK, now pick up two more 10 pound bags and one fiver. Actually, six or seven five-pound bags would be about right. With containers of water you always have to juggle a lot, so six or seven bags would be about right.

Now you have the weight of a day's water and the complexity that goes with it.

Throw in a week's worth of food, your shelter and bedding, spare clothes, odds and ends, and you have your own one ring circus. You can break into a sweat just thinking about it.

This is where dehydrated water comes in. I don't know why no one got this right before now. Must have been a technical thing, but it's here, finally. This is a backpacker's dream. You can carry any amount of water you want. It never goes stale. There is no expiration date, and it contains no fat, no salt, no cholesterol, no artificial colors or flavors.

Tired and thirsty? Just stop, break out your biggest bottle, pop open a can of this stuff, and you're just about set. All you need to do is pour it into your bottle and add water. A little light stirring and you're in the promised land. Drink up, mate. Tastes just like the stuff back home.

No only that, it's better. Dehydrated water is certified dihydrogen monoxide free. This is important for several reasons.

You have to ask yourself if you really want to put into your body something that can kill you if you inhale even small quantities of it. Something emitted from all coal-burning power plants. Something which in gaseous form frequently causes severe burns, and even corrodes metal. Think about whether you really want a substance in your drinking water supply that can short out electrical circuits and nurture cancerous tumors.

Done thinking yet? Well, dehydrated water has absolutely none of that stuff. Not a single molecule. This is even better than what you get from your kitchen tap, or even triple-distilled, multiply-deionized water from the purest glass bottle.

And it gets even better yet. You can now buy clever zero-volume bottles to carry your dehydrated water in.

These, called Klein bottles, were invented way back in 1882 by Felix Klein, a world-famous German mathematician. The only missing ingredient was dehydrated water, which we've finally achieved. You can get these bottles in any size you want. Remember, they have zero volume, so the size really doesn't matter -- get it as big or as small as you want, but of course the small ones are lightest.

Ready yet?

If you want to get dehydrated water you can order as many cans as you want. This might sound wasteful at $5 a can, but remember it never goes bad. So while it is pricey, you can keep it handy forever in your gear closet, waiting for one of those hot, dry trips.

If you need something to wash down with your dry water, why not try a few canned cheeseburgers?

Each has 257 calories per 100g serving. Eiweiss is 14%, and fett of course is 12.6%. Kohlenhydrate brings up the rear at a relatively hefty 21.8%. (Babelfish translates kohlenhydrate as "coal hydrates", for what it's worth.) Cost? Only 3.95 Euros.

Wait. That's about $6.30. Well, OK, if it's made by Germans and comes in a can it must be good. They also have "Trekking-Kekse", trekking cookies. You can eat a canned cheeseburger, then toss your cookies and watch them trek away. All for only about a month's pay.

Or if not canned cheeseburgers, then have some powdered peanut butter with your waterless water. A company named Bell Plantation makes it. After no doubt years of market research they decided to name it "PB2". Bell roasts peanuts and then squeezes out the oil. "What remains is our famous powdered peanut butter." Yummy. What remains. Is what. You eat. Then.

Get a 4-pack of PB2 for $15.96, if ordered online, or spring for a semi truck load (26 Pallets at $2.69 a jar) for only $93,999.36. But if you do buy the semi load you have to call. Sorry, no online orders that big no matter what the limit on your credit card.

Next year (or maybe even before this year is out) we will finally get true, 100% American-made freeze dried water in powder, cube or crystal form. Buy it in a bag or a box, sprinkle it on anything, stir and eat.

What could be better?


Acme klein bottles
Bernard Foods dehydrated water label
Canned cheeseburgers
Canned cheeseburgers reviewed
Powdered peanut butter
Pravda story
Stupidiotic Dehydrated Water
Old can of dehydrated water by David Reeves, Flickr