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Survival Water & Hydration

Water and hydration should be your next order of business in a survival situation (obviously assuming you don't have any immediately urgent needs like drowning, bleeding, or other threats of physical harm). Having attended to your need for clean, breathable air and your core body temperature, your next prioritiy needs to be making sure you have clean, drinkable water. Water is hands down the next highest priority in your survival scenario. There may be a time in your future when this currently abundant and inexpensive resource becomes precious and scarce. But if you are willing make some simple and inexpensive preparations, water easily becomes one less thing for you and your family to worry about in a SHTF scenario.

Remember the "Rule of Threes" : You can only live for 3 minutes without air. You can only live for 3 hours without fire/shelter. Without water, you can only live for three days... and in some circumstances less than that.

In a modern society, water is one of the most precious resources we have at our disposal, yet it is completely taken for granted. For most of us water is so inexpensive and so easy to access due to our elaborate infrastructure. The vast majority of us are usually always within a few seconds to a few minutes to a water source like a faucet or drinking fountain at any given moment... but what if this "access" was completely shut down in an instant? What would you do? What would you drink? How would you bath? What would you use to cook with? Wash your hands with? Do you have a back-up plan?

Or maybe you don't think that this "grid shut down" scenario is likely to happen? Well, believe it or not, disaster/crisis scenarios like this actually happen far more than you may realize. Regardless of how likely or unlikely you think it might be that your water supply could ever become contaminated (or some other water supply related crisis), one thing is certain: If something like this does happen to you and you don't have any water stored or a way to make water potable again... you and your family are going to be pretty miserable. Making the necessary preparations to ensure that you and your family have the water they need during a crisis scenario is so easy and so inexpensive... Why would anyone be so foolish as to not do it?

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Drinking, bathing, watering your lawn, washing your car, power-washing your home, relieving yourself… all of this is so easy for us on a daily basis thanks to the water that freely flows from our sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, hoses and faucets. All we have to do is turn a knob or pull of a lever, and perfectly drinkable water flows out! We use our water liberally because… we can! It costs us so little and is so accessible that we can literally be care free about our water usage.

Most of us take our free-flowing drinking water completely for granted because we are so used to having constant access to it. Rarely are any of us without water for any meaningful length of time. But even without our modern infrustructure of pipes, resevoirs, dams, water towers, and spigots... water would still an extremely abundant resource for the vast majority of us. Water is found all around us in lakes, rivers, streams, canals, creeks, puddles, drainage ditches, creeks, reservoirs and so on. Unfortunately, most of this water all around us is probably not fit to drink (at least not in it's present state), but usually this is easily rectified.

Now I am not not one of those self-righteous idealogues who actually seem to enjoy mocking modern society for enjoying the luxuries (like running water) that we have been afforded through technology, progress, and innovation. To the contrary, I have never understood the absurd reasoning certain popular "survivalists" seem to embrace causing them to whine and cry about a "wasteful society" and our need to constantly be conserving a resource that is as plentiful as water is. Think about it... water literally falls from the sky!

Sure, I absolutely grasp the concept of seasonal drought and the resulting water shortages… but some people actually believe that in general water is a finite resource and that we should all be constantly conserving water. How does this make any kind of sense at all? Sure, I understand that only part of the world's water supply is drinkable and there are some places in the world where people don't have good access to water... but isn't this more of an infrastructure problem than it is a water shortage problem? Yes, it is.

Unlike some survivalists, I actually fully advocate the liberal usage of water. I don't see doing this as "wasteful" in any way. (How can you "waste" something if shortly after you use it it goes right back into the "hydrological cycle" again? Are you "wasting" air when breath it in? Think about it.) If you are willing to pay for the water you use, then I have no problem with you using as much water as you need/want to use. I don't like the idea of anyone telling me how much water I can or can't use. I believe in the individual right of each citizen to choose how much water they want to consume. Personally… I happen to use the perfect amount of water every day! I know, impressive, right? It just happens to be exactly the right amount, every time! I have it down to a science!

But all humor aside, even as plentiful, accessible, and affordable water is for us today, we should NEVER take water for granted. If/when you find yourself In a survival situation where water is suddenly scarse or you have to work hard to make it drinkable… your attitude toward water will change completely. Whether the grid goes down for a few days or weeks… or God forbid it goes down for several months or even years... what would you do? How would you go about getting the clean water that your family will need so desperately?

So what kind of steps can we take now to make sure that we have the water we need during a crisis? What steps can one take to make sure that their family has water when so many others will not? Would making such preparations be cost prohibitive? Impractical? Crazy? Not at all.

There are many clever ways to procure water in a survivals situation. Some of these methods are simple, obvious, cost effective and require very little in terms of investment. In contrast, a few other methods are a bit more resourceful, inventive and less obvious. We are going to cover both categories so that you are armed with multilple methods for procuring the water that your family will need even in the event of a long-term disaster. Here are some terrific options to consider for your disaster plan in regard to keeping your loved ones hydrated:

Melting snow with a camping kettle and gas camp stove for drinking water.

Classic Nalgene 1 liter lexan water bottle.





Why we need water?

As we indicated previously, it is said that you can live without water for 3 days. Now this is just a guideline and in no way does it consider your specific circumstances. If you are in an extremely hot and dry climate and are doing a lot of physical activity, you could easily die of dehydration well before this 72 hour expiration date.

Our bodies need water to stay alive. Hydration is an important part of our...

While hydration may be the most important need met by water, it is not the only need. Not by a long shot. Cooking, washing, etc.

How much do we really need?

Most of us are familiar with the adage of "One gallon per person per day" for survival, but is this actually true? Shooting for at least a gallon per day is actually really great if practical, but this is not always practical. For starters, carrying 72 hours worth of water in or on a pack based on this and

What happens if we don't get it?

How long can we go without it?

Conserving Water

On average our bodies tend to lose 1 - 1.5 litres of water a day with normal daily activity. "Normal activity" includes sweating, breathing and urinating. VOMITING, diarrhea...

Survival water concerns (contaminants, disease, biological, pollutants)

Making water drinkable (boil, filtration, chemical, UV, desalination, other)


Not all water needs to be potable! (Grey Water)

Prepping: Storing water (Bottled water in pantry, freezer, vehicle, pack) Water barrels/tanks. TUB LINER!!

Locating water (water goes down hill, underground, collects in crevices, ice, snow, vegetation, vines, coconuts, cactus, etc.)Digging a well

Rivers, streams lakes, ponds, springs, puddles, waterfalls, etc.

Less Obvious Water Sources:

Seepage Well (natural filter), crevices, hears of plants, vines, transpiration bags, solar stills, etc.

Urban water sources (water heaters, toilet tanks, water tanks, collect run off from gutters, etc.)

COLLECTING water (roof, gutters, etc.)


  • Filter (natural filters like soil, sand and charcoal… cloth like bandana or sock… commercial)
  • Chemical Treatments
  • UV
Heat (pasteurization vs. boiling)

Distillation and Desalination

Gray Water


Stainless steel water bottle by Kleen Canteen and stainless steel cup with collapsible handle. Perfect companions for making potable water!

Food safe recycled plastic water bottle reused and refilled with more water. This one has a built in handle!

Classic green Nalgene lexan water bottle.



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