There is a so-called Law of Three that governs our existence, whether in an everyday environment or a TEOTWAWKI situation:
- Survival is only possible for three minutes without oxygen
- Survival is only possible for three hours without warmth
- Survival is only possible for three days without water
- Survival is only possible for three weeks without nourishment
Despite the unoriginal name, it’s a good mantra to live by, and one that is especially relevant to the survivalists amongst us. It could be argued that everyone is a survivalist, but some are just more determined to carry on if/when the SHTF. We’ve looked at the best shelters here, so let’s move on to water.
Water weighs about 8lbs per gallon, and everyone needs approximately 1 gallon of water a day for drinking and hygiene purposes. We can forgo the long soak in the tub, but being clean(ish) can help fight any infections heading our way, especially if we have open wounds. And don’t forget that in the event of exposure to radiation, washing the dust off with water is crucial.
Dehydration occurs when you lose more water – through perspiration, urination, and even the moisture in our breath, than you take in, and it can be a killer, especially for the young, elderly or sick. The symptoms range from fatigue, thirst, and dark colored urine through extreme confusion, irrational anger, and hallucinations, and finally seizures, strokes and heart attacks. So, let’s keep up those fluids, people!
Water Purification Methods
Most natural sources of fresh water contain toxins and pathogens, including protozoa, bacteria and viruses, which can all be pretty deadly if ingested. These need to be killed off or removed before the water is safe to drink, but what’s the best way to achieve that?
Boiling water is standard stuff when you’re out in the woods, and a rolling, or bubbling, boil for at least three minutes can be an effective way to make water drinkable, but it depends on the type of contamination contained in the water. Boiling water also results in evaporation and lessens the amount of water available, which in a survival situation is a definite no-no.
Playing on the safe side, there are more reliable, convenient methods that remove a greater variety of contaminates, decreasing the risks of getting sick through trying to keep hydrated (now that would be an ironic way to go, wouldn’t it?)
Water Purification Tablets
For a simple, no hassle method of purifying water, tablets are efficient, space saving and most brands will kill off bacteria, algae, protozoa and viruses effectively. Generally, one tablet purifies 2 pints of water, and they usually take at least thirty minutes until the water is safe to drink.
Water Filtration Systems
Designed to filter out protozoa and bacteria, a water filtration system lacks the ability to catch viruses, and being so small, they can slip through the filters, and be ingested. Often called a microfilter, they are considered to give good protection when traveling through the US and Canada. Most waterborne viruses are transferred primarily through human waste, and generally there is less risk of this here than in other parts of the world.
Water Purification Systems
A water purification system targets protozoa, bacteria and viruses. Some models use chemicals to do this, while others favor a gravity powered system. For a bug out location, the latter is probably a better option, as there is no need to stock up on extras, when space and time may be at a premium.
We’ve tried out the most popular tools that transform contaminated water into a drinkable substance and here’s our findings.
Contained in a little bottle, this pack contains 50 tiny tablets, each one capable of turning 1 ½ pints of contaminated water into clean, drinkable water.
After the recommended thirty minutes wait, our water certainly looked cleaner, but before partaking, we did test it, and found it free of any harmful organisms. With a shelf life of four years, you can store these tablets and forget about them until the time comes. Used by the military, the active ingredients consist of Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide 16.7% and 6.68% Titratable Iodine. The packet states that the tablets are not for long term use, but they are great to rely on in an emergency situation.
The water, once purified, does have a slight metallic taste, but for the sake of survival, who cares!
These tablets are an effective, hassle-free method of acquiring safe drinking water, and every backpacker or survivalist should carry a pack.
Capable of an output of 4 pints a minute, this super speedy purifier is highly efficient at producing lots of drinkable water. With a gravity assist system included, and featuring a self clean pre-filter, this is looking great, so far.
Without the need for iodine, this simple-to-use system produces delicious, contaminate-free drinking water. Offering trail bike mounting options, but equally able to be used in a static situation, it includes a 36” hose feed, and carrying bag.
Some may consider this a little pricey, but, honestly, we consider it worth the money for the peace of mind provided.
Removing pesticides, protozoa, bacteria and viruses, this purifier would be infinitely useful in a SHTF disaster.
Sawyer Products are known for their reliability and efficiency, and this purifier continues that trend. Removing protozoa, bacteria, viruses and microplastics, it provides clean drinking water at an output of 2 pints per minute via a gravity system.
This Sawyer purifier needs nothing other than gravity to work, thus ensuring you don’t have to fill up valuable storage space with cartridges. It comes with a faucet adapter to allow for easy cleaning, but is simple enough to keep hygienic without the use of a faucet.
Again, the price may put you off, but we ask you, what is the price of survival?
Small and lightweight, every BOS should have one!