Clean water makes civilization. And don’t worry, we’re not trying to summarize thousands of years of human history. So how do we shorten this up for a proper discussion under our big three categories (survival, prepping, and disaster preparedness)?
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Your go bags should at least contain a proper jug, canteen, thermos, or collapsible water container. Your disaster preparation kit should contain several of the same, and larger options. The go bag should have at least one filtration straw, and maybe a portable hand pump purifier, your call. The disaster prep kit should definitely have at least one of those filter straws, a hand pump purifier, maybe something larger scale if you have the space. Good filtration jugs are all over the place now, and more and more people have them right next to the sink. They are wonderful inventions that do the vast majority of the work anyone will need for their water. But there are still invisible nasties that can get through typical kitchen filtration options.
Think It Through: Water From Source To Faucet
And as with many things that go from good solid disaster preparation into the overall philosophy of prepping and self-sufficiency, you have to figure out your own cutoff point. It can be something of a moving target, especially early on in your journey. For example, William Randolph Hearst not only bought the land on which he planted his incongruous castle on the west coast of California, he bought the rising hills and mountains he could see all the way to a natural water supply that could have supported a city, much less his own not-so-humble abode. Just because that’s out of reach for the vast majority of us… in terms of prepper philosophy? Totally consistent. His only problem in some end-of-the-world scenario would become how to protect the source and the pipeline over all that terrain.
And this is a critical point in the prepping universe. Fairly or unfairly, preppers have a reputation among those who don’t know us, as paranoid kooks. It’s not that we think everyone is about to get us, it’s that we love to take prepping to all the logical extremes we can imagine. How can we call ourselves prepared if we’re not planning for as many eventualities as we can possibly accommodate? And how naive would anyone be to think that all people, in the midst of a disaster, will behave with manners and follow the moral precepts of civilization? We’re not prepping in order to hoard from people we want to live with, help, trade with, and rebuild with… we’re prepping for the obvious truth that a certain percentage of people when plunged into desperate raw survival circumstances will do whatever they can to live. And that leads to something worse. We have words like bandit, barbarian, marauding horde, and gang for a reason, and that reason is human nature.
But back to water. In many places it has become against ordinances to dig your own well. There are even places where it has become illegal to collect rainwater falling on one’s own property, as such precipitation is being prevented from entering the water table. We’re curious whether someday that one will end up in front of the Supreme Court, but in the meantime, nobody can stop you from preparing for an eventuality we hope will never happen.
Think of it this way… when a hurricane is approaching or an earthquake hits, most people have heard it’s a good idea to fill your tubs with water, as you are able. Obviously, it’s the single largest non-leaking container most people possess. If you don’t have a tub, consider purchasing some collapsible water jugs. They store in a small space but expand to hold a fair bit of life-saving fluid. Find the largest you can reasonably store in an out of the way nook. But the key factor to keep in mind is there are disasters that can take out the things we always take for granted, like clean, running water, ready in our faucets.
Become a Chemist
What do you do when that is no longer an option, and the tub runneth dry?
The answer depends on where you are. Since we can’t detail every circumstance without creating a tome, instead we can give you the path. However it is you need to find your next source of water, you have to be equipped to make that water safe. The good news is, unlike the desperate survival situation where scavenging a random oily tarp and fire-sanitizing a used tuna can as a water catcher represents a life-saving gift of good fortune… preppers can turn their noses up at such scraps.
We suggest having iodine, chlorine tabs, and any other safe, recognized purification chemicals on hand in your stores. Keep bleach around, even if we don’t recommend it as a water purifier, even in miniscule doses as some do, it has a host of other uses, as does iodine, and practically any other chemical you can safely store. Make sure you have whichever kitchen or camping filtration devices you’ve settled upon, and a good year’s supply of replacement filters, if not more. They last well and in a true end-of-civilization event could become valuable for bartering. Do that, and it means you’ve got a reasonable base of disaster preparation.
The transition into prepping starts with figuring out what you can and can’t handle on your property.
Treat Prepper Knowledge Like a Buffet Line
There is so much information out there on prepping that you need to learn to be choosy. Treat all that prepper knowledge and advice like a buffet line: take what you want and leave the rest. Do you have room for a fantastic rain and condensation collector…a large cistern or even a mini-water tower? Research your options for purchasing and storing such a large asset, or actually installing without using. Even the most modern materials aren’t one hundred percent immune to the passage of time and the encroachment of mold, although they’re getting pretty close. Would the same space on your property be able to contain a backhoe instead? Because a backhoe could help you construct a water containment facility with earth, wood, cement, tarping, and channels dug … and still be available to aid in a million other tasks and chores that could make life so much easier. Maybe storing gasoline as safely as possible next to a backhoe is your best route, just like fire in the wilderness can lead to clean water.
See? That’s how you need to think. It can be easy to get lost in all the possibilities. Preppers are always resisting, and not resisting, urges to dive into research that could lead to a PhD in Chemistry, or to a job as a master carpenter, or a city planner. They study history and learn random things, like the reason certain beautiful old Japanese villas are made of a certain type of wood, charred by man, is because that wood, once blackened, is immune both to the region’s termites and the local molds. In other regions, on other continents, that’s not only useless trivia, it could lead to precisely the wrong decisions. But the point is, such fascinating history teaches preppers that there are principles that apply all over the world, but also local lessons that apply nowhere else. And each one finds their own lines, their own preferences, and their own ways of solving the same potential eventualities, which may never come to pass.
This is why our List of All Things is always going to be evolving. And why it may be our list which we have fun with for the rest of our lives, but might not necessarily match your own. Because prepping is a way of thinking, and perhaps even a way of art, that transcends any list of items to acquire.
And the reason we focus on all three broad categories: survival, prepping, and disaster preparation is not just for the obvious fact they are intertwined, but in many cases one leads to and contributes to the other. Which gets us to the summary: if you’ve got your go bag packed right, then you have what you need in order to at least filter water, and probably boil it. If you’ve got your disaster prep kit packed, then you’ve also got extra water storage containers that can last a family through days and weeks. And then if you want to take it to a true prepper level, it depends on your location, and your own growing philosophy.