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The Source of All Life

Hopefully, by this point, you've identified your key objectives. What trouble you can most likely expect and your best options to deal with it... even if only vaguely. Keep working on it. Refine & Rethink constantly, but while you do that let's talk... water.

If you're thinking about short term survival issues, storing water is generally no big deal. The basic rule of thumb is 1 gallon/person/day, but keep in mind you might have a lot of add water foods.... and bathing or washing dishes. **Don't forget your pets.** It might be more realistic to consider 2 or 3 gallons per day.

You can buy various kinds of bottled, canned, or bagged water. You can "can" your own water in mason jars. You can fill soda and Gatorade-type bottles. You can buy big reusable water jugs (they usually store 5 or 7 gallons). You can get the big bathtub water bags and hope you have time to fill it before disaster strikes. You can get barrels or big water tanks. There are many, many options out there.  There is a huge misconception that water goes bad. Properly stored water DOES NOT GO BAD. The plastic it's stored in might. **You should never store water in reused milk jugs as the plastic is biodegradable and intended to breakdown.**

Before you do anything beyond a few cases of water bottles, SERIOUSLY ASSESS YOUR PROBABLE SITUATION.

If you have a large family, buying a ton of cases of water might not be feasible. If you're worried about an earthquake or a tornado, storing water in glass jars is pretty fricken dumb. If a wildfire is your concern, a large 300 gallon tank is not going to go with you when you inevitably have to run for your life. See what I'm saying?

My friend in Utah pays a company that comes to her house once a year (I think, maybe twice) and fills a huge tank, like 2 or 3 hundred gallons. Awesome. She lives in the desert, has a family of 4, and plans to bug in.
For me, I'm in Oregon and my major concern is dam failure after a large earthquake. I'm going to have to move, and move fast. I don't store water for grand scale emergencies.
I. Live. In. Oregon. There is water everywhere.
So I store about a week's worth of water, for bad weather situations and minor emergencies, and I focus on water purification.

There are lots and lots of different ways to get drinkable water. There's no way in hell I can remember them all right now, but I'll do my best.

In the bush you can catch rainwater, dig a gypsy well, make a solar still, get water from transpiration (This guy is a fucking moron... but I want you to see the process), or from plants in one of these ways.
None of these are an ideal "plan", but good to know as a back up to your back up plan.

So lets say we actually have water and just need to make it potable. Again, there are lots of options.

First is probably boiling. A rapid boil of 1 minute will make it completely safe of all pathogens (NOTE: not necessarily chemicals). While boiling is pretty safe, it's pretty inconvenient. Make a fire, boil water, let water cool, IMO not ideal.

 Iodine, bleach, and purifying tablets. These are handy, but an important thing to note is that these expire and lose potency, and water temperature makes a HUGE difference. 6 drops of bleach will purify 1 gallon of water, 12 if the water is cloudy (let the water rest for 30 minutes) but if the water is cold, it might take longer or more bleach. (kinna iffy in my book) and bleach starts to degrade at about 3 months, so while you might think "Hey, I'll just toss a few gallons of bleach in my stash and be set for years", think again.

If you didn't go to the above link, please do and pay special attention to the filtration section. We're going to talk filters now.

In survival talk, we basically focus on two types of filters; personal filters and large capacity gravity filters.

In the personal filter market, there are (again, imo) 3 brands; Life Straw, Survivor Filter, and Sawyer.
There are a million off-brand "straw-type" products for much cheaper prices, but as far as I can tell, you get what you pay for. Pay attention to the microns. The main three seem to be fairly interchangeable, with slight benefits here and there.

Personally, for straws, I prefer the Lifestraw. The basic reason is that when the filters are done, they simply stop working. No guessing. (Cuz I'm pretty sure I can't keep track of 1000 liters if I'm sipping from a stream.) I think that if I haven't sourced a more reliable system of water after 1000 liters, maybe I don't deserve water. HOWEVER, some people prefer the removable, replaceable, or cleanable filters of the Survivor Filter straw. (and honestly, I've never used a Sawyer, so I can't really comment.) You really have to just decide which makes more sense for you. As far as stats and reviews go, I'd say these all tie.

Each of these companies makes a high volume filter. I have two of the Survivor Filter Pro pump systems. I like these because of the filters that I so don't like in the straw (lol, odd how that works huh?) and because they are lightweight and compact and fit well into a pack. I also loved that my son opened the package and put it together, no problem. (That's huge in my book.) (Also, this is a family business and they always answer emails and Facebook messages promptly and are quite personable and friendly.) *Note, these are pumps* (For deals on Survivor Filter products, join their Facebook page.. they always have contests and giveaways!!)

On Black Friday, I saw the LifeStraw Family 1.0 systems for a great price. I ordered them for my parents and the in-laws. These are gravity-based filtration systems and ideal for... older people. (hell, I want one for me too!!!) These do tend to be a bit more expensive, but I watch the Amazon Lightening Deals and have gotten some great deals on Lifestraw products. Another issue with the Family 1.0 is that it isn't very compact. If I have to bug out on foot... it's going to take up too much room in my pack.

Again, I feel you can't really go wrong with either of these three brands, you just need to ASSESS YOUR NEEDS and pick what fits you best.

The next kind of filter to cover is the BIG more everyday filters. These would be the Berkey, JMCC, Alexapure, etc. These remove EVERYTHING from the water... to the point that it's a miracle you still get water. Seriously, all that other stuff plus fluoride, heavy metals, the stain on your soul... (ok, maybe not quite holy water...) I don't have one of these... they're expensive and not very portable, and I personally find that filtering tap water through coffee grounds keeps me extremely healthy. BUT, that said, everyone I know who has some form of one of these, swears it's the most awesome thing on the planet.

In a nutshell, you just need to figure out what makes sense to you and your plan. Then remember 2 is one and 1 is none.
In my household, we each have a LifeStraw personal filter in our BOBs, one in my fiance's car, and two Survivor Filter Pros, one in our BOBs, and one in my Tahoe. Each of us has a single-walled stainless steel water bottle that water can be boiled in (plus the Lifestraw store nicely inside), and we each have water purification tablets... and iodine.
**Note, do not boil water in a double-walled water bottle. Bad things will happen.**

There are plenty of things I skipped over. Water can be purified with UV and with ozone or by filtering through sphagnum moss.... but hell if I know how you'd KNOW it's actually worked... so I wouldn't count on it... ever. If I've missed something worth investigation and debate, let me know.

Aaaaand I just thought of something I forgot. You should probably know how to build your own water filter. There are lots of ways to do it, but this is probably the easiest. Ok.. I'm having a hell of a time finding a decent link for a gravel/sand/charcoal barrel biofilter... Here we are!!

Til later!!

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