Disaster Essentials


Store water away today. Prepare to make clean water tomorrow. It's your first real step to being prepared. Explore your water supply solutions 

For fear of overstating how important water is... Well, ever read Dune? Water is all around us. But what happens when you turn on the tap and nothing comes out? It is terrifying, a reverberation of olden times. Where are you going to get water? Just look at  Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Residents were drinking out of polluted puddles, desperate. 

So, more than anything, figuring out water solutions NOW is essential. It's one of those things in which a little planning — and buying the right gear — will make all the difference.

The approach is simple, and two-pronged. See box to the right.



WATER SOLUTIONS fall into 2 categories: JUMP to either.

  1. STORING WATER. Smart ways to store away water TODAY (before a disaster hits).

  2. CLEANING WATER. Solutions to make dirty water drinkable TOMORROW (after that stored water has long since run out).


Can I store water indefinitely?
No. Water in sealed containers should still be cycled out and replaced every year.

How many gallons per person?
The general rule is a minimum of 2 gallons per person a day. But that's only for drinking and not personal needs. 

Why not just buy bottled water? 
Water in plastic bottles evaporates. It also simply doesn't store or transport as well, esp. in large quantities.



While it might seem like you can simply buy a bunch of bottled water from the grocery store and be done with it, that doesn't really work. (Though it's better than nothing.) Bottled water evaporates in storage and isn't particularly durable. You need to be able to store large amounts of water in a stackable fashion (especially in apartments or small houses), and a LOT of water in big barrels whenever possible.


Importance: Important

Bottom line: Water storage that fits under cabinets.

Recommended for: Apartments/home.

No. units recommended: 1-2.

You’ll also need: Ability to disinfect water for longterm solutions.

Be aware: Our first container leaked. Fill it up first and make sure there are no issues.



Importance: Crucial. Read our extended review here.

Bottom line: The easiest way to store water in small spaces like apartments. Each carries 3.5 gallons in a hardy, stackable, container. Small-space must-have.

Recommended for: Apartments! 

No. units recommended: 10 bricks = 35 gallons. You want 2-3 gal per person a day just for drinking.

You’ll also need: Ability to disinfect water for longterm solutions

Be aware: You can also store grains and other materials in these.


Review & field notes of the Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Container. Seven gallons is nearly enough water for a family of four in a day; or two people for several days. (We're talking drinking water; not other uses.) Which shows that more water is needed. But it's a start. We've got our Aqua-Tainer in a cabinet, where it fits easily. You can stack it in closets as well. However, it is NOT easy to transport. So the Aqua-Tianer actually serves as a backup.


Our must-have is the brilliant WaterBrick. Review & field notes of the WaterBrick.Please read our extended and full review here, which includes tips and storage solutions.



Importance: Crucial.

Bottom line:  Buy one (or two), fill them up, and forget about them for a year. If you need water in an emergency, you'll have it.  

Recommended for: Home shelter; Away shelter.

No. units recommended: 1-2.

You’ll also need: Ability to disinfect water for longterm solutions. This comes w/pump, opener, & 2 water treatment bottles.

Be aware: Do NOT place barrel directly on a concrete floor. Rather put it up on two-by-fours or a roller. Chemicals in concrete can leach into the barrel and water itself. Water should be emptied and refilled every year or so.
Also, you'll need to fill this up with clean water at the beginning, or disinfect water in the barrel if you put in water that isn't clean.



Your stored water is eventually going to run out. (Bummer.) That means you may need to collect rainwater or gather water from streams, rivers, or lakes. That water will not be safe to drink. While you can boil it, or dose it with a few drops of unscented chlorine, one of the best solutions will be to use a camp-style filter.


More than any other item, we recommend these key products from LifeStraw. They are used throughout the Third World, and are hugely effective. They also come in a variety of sizes and styles. We counsel getting one filter that can handle a lot of volume, such as the Mission or the Family, and enough of the personal straws to carry with you in your go-bag, vehicle, and luggage when on trips. For each, the overall concept is the same. They take out 99.9 percent out of the bad stuff, and the units themselves generally last thousands of gallons of use. They are, literally, life savers.


Importance: Luxury.

Bottom line: Looking for the hardcore LifeStraw? Want to help your entire neighborhood or community? 

Recommended for: Communities.

No. units recommended: 1.





Importance: Crucial.

Bottom line: The Mission will provide clean water in bountiful and long-lasting supplies. This LifeStraw is great for longterm use, as it will clean 4,700 gallons of water. (!) It's also the most capacious LifeStraw, using either a 1.3- or 3.1-gallon bag to hold the dirty water. This is the filter you want to keep at your apartment, house, and away-shelter. If you're going to buy one thing today...

Recommended for: Home and away shelters, go bag.

Importance: Crucial.

Bottom line: The Flex filter even takes out some heavy minerals. Works as a straw, in a water bottle, or even a hydration pack. Fits anywhere, and means you have access to clean water anywhere. Not as ideal for longterm use.

Recommended for: Home, go bag, vehicles, away shelter.

No. units recommended: 1 for each member of your family; ideally in each shelter and go bag.

No product

Review & field notes on LifeStraw Mission, LifeStraw Personal Water filter, LifeStraw Family purifier, and LifeStraw Community. We’ve used LifeStraw products for our water needs in a number of situations, including a week-long backcountry canoe trip in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, and in our country home in Pennsylvania’s Poconos, where we've lost power more times in the past year than we care to think about. We have 100 percent faith in them, and for good reason.

The purifiers, namely the Mission and the Family, will each clean 4,700 gallons of water. They also eliminate nearly all viruses, in addition to bacteria and protozoa such as Giardia, which will leave you very sick indeed. The LifeStraw Flex, unlike the regular LifeStraw personal water filters, is also designed to reduce lead. It is highly transportable, and is available with a soft, foldable bottle. All the products are  easy to use, and have got all the real-world field testing you can imagine in locales like Haiti after the earthquake.


NOTE: The LifeStraw products will NOT filter out chemicals, seawater, or radioactive materials. The company counsels against filtering near mine tailings or downriver from agricultural operations (ie, chicken farms and cattle). Dry out the products after using. The good news is that there are no moving parts or chemicals, and are claimed to last indefinitely in storage. Still, try to keep them from freezing, which can damage them. Lastly, you’ll know they have reached the end of their life cycle when they simply stop working… ie, no more water will come out. Dead simple, right?


Importance: Important

Bottom line: Ability to filter lots of water.

Recommended for: Apartments, Home and away shelters.

No. units recommended: 1-2. This is a good backup unit, in addition to the Mission LifeStraw (above).




No product

Importance: Luxury.

Bottom line: Looking for the hardcore LifeStraw? Want to help your entire neighborhood or community? 

Recommended for: Communities.

No. units recommended: 1.




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