Steel Wool an Incredible Alternative to Char Cloth

Steel Wool Fire Starter

Steel Wool is inexpensive, lightweight and is a much better alternative to char cloth when used for making fires. Steel wool takes a spark just as easily as char cloth but burns a lot hotter than char cloth and can even be used if it gets wet.

Another plus to steel wool is that you can use batteries to ignite it. So check out this excellent video by The Outdoor Gear Review to see how well it works and throw some in your fire kit because you never know when it might come in handy.


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What Not To Do As a Prepper

What Not To Do As a Prepper

Headlines August 2015:

Feds charge 3 men in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are accused of prepping for martial law as reported by the Associated Press (John Moritz, AP, 2015).

If you did not read any further than the headlines, you would walk away with the wrong impression. Obviously the author wanted people to believe at first blush that the government is arresting people for prepping, and in particular for prepping for martial law and for Jade Helm.

The author also mentioned stockpiling guns, ammo, and tactical gear, and did so in such a way as to make anyone not reading the full story believe the three were arrested for gathering firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear, arrested for prepping in other words.

However, this is not the case. It is how the men were prepping that prompted an investigation, because they, according to the report, conspired to commit criminal acts of violence. The investigation ultimately lead to charges being brought by the FBI. The men also bragged about what they were doing apparently to anyone that would listen. 

They conspired among themselves to commit crimes, and they ultimately talked to someone that tipped off the authorities about their criminal conspiracies.

The article mentions a number of times that the men were stockpiling weapons, ammunition, and tactical gear. None of which is illegal except for the firearms if you cannot legally own a firearm. One of the men however, had past convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine, which prevented him from possessing a firearm, according to the report. One of the other men is accused of trying to buy an assault rifle and ammunition for the man who could not legally own a firearm. It is of course illegal to make straw purchases.

The article states the men had planned on making explosive devices using tennis balls, and dummy hand grenades. They are also accused of attempting to make pipe bombs.

It is unclear if the three had actually made any explosive devices, but they may have been gathering the materials with the intentions of doing so. They talked and they had planned with others, and the authorities apparently moved in before any of the three could make or test out their explosives. The three had stated they had planned on testing the devices in the area (John Moritz, AP, 2015).

Did the Men Plan On Using the Explosive Devices as Booby Traps?

It’s not clear if they were planning this or not, but if they were concerned about Jade Helm and Martial law, then they may have been planning to fortify their homes and/or encampments to avoid being carted off to some so-called FEMA camp by special operation teams.

There are numerous articles about booby traps, what the best ones are, how to make them, and where to set them and so forth on the Internet and the articles seem to be directed at Preppers. Booby Traps are designed to maim, kill, and to slow the advancement of enemy forces, and they are used as simple harassment device in some cases as well.

If you set out deadly traps around your home, what are the chances an innocent civilian or yourself or even a member of your own family will be maimed or killed before a special operations team coming to haul you off to a converted Wal-Mart store trips the traps. The chances are very high, so booby traps are not a good idea, unless you are in a combat situation against a defined enemy force. Early alarms systems however, are a good idea, but people tend to get the two confused for some reason.

Obviously None of Us Know the Full Story Yet but There Is a Lesson Here

Regardless of what your preparations are, you need to keep them to yourself. It is perplexing why people insist on telling others all of their plans. People post online all the time what their plans are, whom they want to hurt, what house they have robbed or plan to rob and so on. However, they are criminals and you really do not expect much from them.

However, Preppers that simply want to be prepared, and not break the law are getting a bad name, because of the three idiots in the report. Being a braggart means you lack self-confidence and need validation, so there is no need to brag, or to tell anyone, unless there is a well defined reason someone needs to know.

It is legal and well within your rights to gather supplies and stockpile weapons and ammunition if you can legally own a firearm. You can buy all of the canned goods, flashlights, beans bullets, and blankets you want, who is stopping you, unless you for some reason cannot own a firearm, but that does not mean, you cannot gather everything else up. Gather up as much as you want.

Idiots who build or attempt to build explosive devices are breaking the law plain and simple. They are a menace to everyone one of us. They are not Preppers. They are idiots that read too many headlines without reading the full story. They fall for every conspiracy theory put forth on the Internet. They do not do their own research, because they want to believe, and do not want to listen to anyone that may make sense and that might upset their world views. They only talk to those that believe what they believe, so it is no wonder they are now behind bars.

John Moritz, AP. (2015, August). Retrieved 2015, from

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How Light and Other Factors Affect Your Stored Water

UV Light Stored Water

Bottled water and tap water if exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight and/or heat sources may develop algae, or mold (IBWA, 2015).

BPA and Sunlight/Heat

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic has for 50 years been the choice for food and beverage product containers. It is lightweight, shatter-resistant, and transparent, making it ideal for food and beverage storage.

FDA’s current assessment is that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods. Studies suggest however, that heat and light have an effect on how quickly and how much BPA will leach from the plastics in water bottles and other food packaging.

Cool and dark are the recommended environments for storing bottled water. While the FDA has stated that commercially bottled water has an indefinite shelf-life the packaging does not, and how your water is stored will have an effect on how long the packaging remains intact.

If you were to fill plastic water bottles that had been previously used, and you did not properly sanitize the container, and then you left the clear plastic bottles where direct or even indirect sunlight will reach them, you may very well see mold and algae developing inside the sealed containers.

Any water you draw from your tap should only be placed in approved water containers, (food grade containers), and only after proper cleaning of the containers. UV light will encourage algae growth so it is important that water be stored in the dark or stored in non-transparent containers.

Temperature swings will also have an impact. Bottled water stored in a hot car over the summer months will not last nearly as long as bottled water stored in a cool environment away from light and high heat and/or temperature swings.

Water stored for long periods will go stale, because of the lack of dissolved oxygen. Fish aquariums, for example, use bubble stones and other methods to aerate the water so there is always a certain level of dissolved oxygen in the water. 

The bubbles created by the aeration rise to the top and collect dissolved oxygen from the air and then disperse it throughout the water. Obviously you cannot put aerators in your bottles and uncapping them to shake to create bubbles may cause some contaminates to enter the water.

Proper rotation is the key to fresh water. Water in and of itself has an indefinite shelf life, but how it is stored, what it is stored in, and where it is stored will have an effect.

Glass is an option, but it is transparent and it is heavy. It can be easily sterilized and the containers can be used repeatedly however, as long as the cap remains intact. Glass is hard to transport, because of the weight and the fact it has to be packed a certain way to prevent shattering.

Stainless Steel is an option as well, but again it is heavy, but it is not transparent so sunlight/artificial light has little effect, but water provided by a municipality would contain sodium hypochlorite (bleach), which will corrode stainless steel over time.

If you were to store water in Stainless Steel drums that were properly sterilized and the water was treated correctly you could safely store the water for years if sealed tightly. Once you open a container then you should use the entire contents.

Plastic has been for decades the choice for food storage because of the weight, durability, and ease of manufacturing. BPA is a concern, but as of now there is no medical evidence to show the amounts you be ingesting would have an effect on you. Of course it is a personal choice whether you use plastics that contain BPA, but if you do not choose plastic you will need reliable storage container options.

IBWA. (2015). Retrieved August 2015, from

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Bottling Storing Your Own Water

Bottling and Storing Your Own Water

According to the CDC any water that is not commercially bottled should be discarded after six months (CDC, 2014).

“Commercially Bottled Water”, according to the FDA, “is considered to have an indefinite safety shelf life if it is produced in accordance with CGMP and quality standard regulations and is stored in an unopened, properly sealed container”.


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Shelter Building: The Basics

Shelter Building Basics

A previous article talked about the importance of shelter placement, so we will not discuss shelter locations in great detail other than to say it may be one of the more important aspects when it comes to your safety. Today’s article will discuss other aspects of shelters such as size, and materials and why you need one regardless of temperature and weather.


In cold weather you want it just big enough for your body, and whatever gear you have. The smaller the shelter the easier it is to heat and to retain your body heat. You also do not want to expend a lot of energy and materials building your shelter.


If you start out unprepared to shelter overnight or even shelter for a few hours then you will have to construct a debris hut or find a natural shelter. Something as simple as breaking a frigid wind or blocking the hot rays of the sun can save your life.

In cold weather however, you will need to insulate your body from the cold ground, so you will need materials such as leaves, pine boughs, pine needles, and dried grasses for ground insulation. A simple waterproof ground cloth would not provide enough ground insulation in cold weather.

Mylar blankets can be used for emergency shelters if you have cordage and other means of securing the material, otherwise a slight breeze can carry the blanket away. Use the blankets along with forest debris. Once you have a debris hut built line the inside with a Mylar blanket to reflect heat in cold weather and use on the outside in the summer to reflect the hot rays of the sun away from the shelter.

Once you have the poles in place any forest debris can be used to help repel rain and snow and to block cold winds and even the sun. Your shelter can be as simple as placing some stout saplings against a fallen log or you can build a tepee style shelter by creating a tripod and filling in the sides with saplings and forest debris.

You can scoop out the soil under a fallen log to create a body sized depression. Pile some debris on one side to create an ad hoc lean to shelter. Build your fire so it reflects into the depression, but of course be careful not to set fire to your new home.

Soil and snow make great insulators for the sides of your hut, but it will require some work to make your hut as warm as possible. It is important to set out on your day hike or other outdoor adventure prepared to shelter overnight. Tarps and Mylar blankets and even the heavier Mylar blankets are lightweight and can be carried in any pack or even folded/rolled and lashed to your body.

For those that think they do not need a shelter at night in the woods in the summer months probably should never get caught in the woods after dark. Once the sun goes down you can get ground fog which can soak your clothing and settle on your skin, and then once the temperature drops you may very well feel cold. Hypothermia can develop at temperatures around 50° F. Cool air combined with high humidity/moisture could spell problems.

You cannot simply drop to the ground and go to sleep. You need some protection from insects, four legged predators, and even reptiles to some extent. Shelter is important and it must be planned for, and be adequate any time you spend a night in the woods.

Pack for the seasons. In the winter a tarp/poncho may not be sufficient for overnight. They are ideal for blocking cold winds for a few hours, or providing shade in the hot sun, but for overnight in extreme cold you may have to use a tarp or poncho along with forest debris to make a warm shelter. Know the terrain and weather patterns before you set out so you can pack your kit accordingly.

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Did You Reassess Your Preparedness Level after the New Yorker Story?

West Coast Map Earthquake

The New Yorker published a story July 20th, 2015, in which they detailed the destruction a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami would cause in areas of the Pacific Northwest. The story is called The Really Big One (Schulz, 2015).

The danger zone that the article is referring to lies just north of the San Andreas Fault line. It is known as the Cascadia subduction zone, and it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and ends near Vancouver Island Canada.

There are a lot of technical details in the article and it is easy to get lost in the weeds when reading it, but the take away is that essentially experts predict that a massive quake could happen along the fault line any day now.

According to FEMA everything west of Interstate 5 would be toast if what has been described were to occur. Well if it were to occur there would of course be massive destruction and likely any estimation made before the quake would be a conservative estimation, because no one knows for sure.

The story had a visceral impact and some people panicked. The New Yorker is considered a reputable magazine in many quarters, and not some doom and gloom website that is always predicting the sky will fall tomorrow. When tomorrow comes there is always another tomorrow in which the sky will fall. This article resonated with people and according to some retailers emergency kits are flying off the shelves, because of the news story.

Sales of emergency-preparedness kits have skyrocketed after The New Yorker last week published a story about how an earthquake would destroy the Pacific Northwest (Lacitis, 2015).

American Preparedness CEO Steve O’Donnell was quoted as saying that his company sold an average month’s worth of emergency kits in a single day right after the story was published (Lacitis, 2015).

Another company that retrofits homes for earthquakes stated the waiting list for clients went from 3.5 months to six months after the story came out. People wanted on the waiting list for the services the company provides.

Experts reveal what most of us already know and that is that things go in cycles. People will be hyper vigilant and eager to prepare for a period, and then it wears off. Emergency kits will be hot items for a time and then taper off.

However, according to a survey conducted by the city of Seattle only 25 percent of the citizens are prepared. This is good news to some extent because the national average is only four percent, only four percent of the population is ready for a crisis. That leaves far too many not prepared, and those unprepared may be as big of a problem as the crisis itself in the days after.

Kits prepackaged for you and ready to use right off the shelf are apparently popular, because people will spend money so they do not have to worry about gathering the items here and there themselves.

The kits however could be put together at home, and it might be cheaper to do it yourself, and you can control the quality of the items as well. It is the convenience factor for some, so the kits are popular.

Those that buy the kits, and then stick them in a closet without inventorying the items are only buying the kits based on the emotions at the time. Everyone is buying them so “I better get one too” is how some see things. A few do not even know why they need to prepare, but they get caught up in the rush. The city of Seattle is now recommending that everyone have 10 to 14 days worth of supplies so why not just buy one that is ready to use may be the thinking of some people.

Preparedness Has To Be Taken Seriously

Earthquakes are not a new development, but the story reminded people that live in earthquake prone areas that the big one could come at anytime. If the so-called big one did strike, then ten days or even 14 days worth of supplies would probably not be enough.

You do not prepare because someone else says it is the thing to do. You have to know why you must be prepared, and then know what you need to be prepared. You may very well survive the event, but can you survive the days and weeks after.

It really is unfortunate that it takes a glaring news headline to spurn people into action and yet given all of the alarm generated only 25 percent of the people living in Seattle have prepared for such an event.

Experts have been predicting the big one for years and it could in theory happen any day now, and the fact that no one knows, means you do have to be prepared for it to happen any day now.

Lacitis, E. (2015, July). Retrieved 2015, from

Schulz, K. (2015, July). The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015, from

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The Best of This and That When It Comes To Survival Gear

Survival Gear

You have read the claims and watched the videos where someone claims that theirs’ is the best method, or the best tool and so forth. The saying, the best tool is the one that you have with you still holds true. However when you have a choice, choose wisely.

The best method is the one you know how to implement when in a survival situation, and not some theory that you discovered by watching a YouTube video, a video that may have taken 12 days of filming to get it just right. You do not want to go into the woods with theories. You want uncomplicated methods and tools that work under any condition.

When your fingers are stiff from the cold, and your pulse is racing you want tools that do not need a lot of manipulation for them to work and you want uncomplicated methods that can literally be performed by anyone in any situation.

They need to work when you are not on top of your game. Anyone can do anything in their garages or backyard if given enough time and resources, but out in the wilds there are no editing of videos, no second takes, and no coffee breaks to discuss theories.

You can literally go broke trying to keep up with the “Jones’s” when it comes to survival gear. Survival gear envy is what we will call it going forward.

If you do not know what you need and why you need it, someone will come along and enlighten you and then likely lighten your wallet or purse at the same time. Educate yourself so you only purchase what you need, and not what someone else tells you, that you need.

The point is, if you have to watch a video on how to properly use a survival knife, or to start a fire with a magnesium stick, for example, then you do not have enough hands on experience, and there is only one way to gain practical experience.

Technology and bush craft do not mix well in most cases. When in the wilds it is what skills and knowledge you bring with you that will keep you alive, and not what you can learn by surfing the Internet, because once away from the tentacles of technology, you have nowhere to surf, but inside your own mind to find the answers. If you go to the woods uneducated you may not leave.

How Do You Decide What You Need

To decide what you need, you must know what you need to do in the wilds to survive. Match the gear to the task, and to your own skill level and knowledge. If you have never used a handheld GPS system, for example, and assume you can learn once you get lost, then you should leave it home, or better yet sell it and buy a map and a compass.

1.) Can you start a fire with wet matches and wet tinder? No of course not, so you need fire starting materials that are impervious to moisture. Therefore, you should know by now that you need a magnesium stick, a Ferro rod, and tinder protected from moisture. Simple, cheap, and easy to pack, it really is that simple. If you complicate it, then it will be complicated.

2.) Can you build a shelter from forest debris? Maybe you can, and maybe not depending on the area and it depends on how honest you are when evaluating your own skills. Do not assume you can, know you can, and again there is only one way of knowing, and that is by doing. Carry a shelter, so you are always assured of having a shelter, again very simple. 

3.) Can you carry enough water with you to survive for three days, five days a week? Probably not, because of the weight, so what do you need to have with you. You need the means to collect, filter and purify water. Purification tablets, coffee filters, cheesecloth, charcoal and/or a pot in which to boil water, simple and easy to pack and by no means complicated.

4.) Do you know what plants and trees can be used to treat wounds, stomach problems, tooth aches and so on. If not then of course, you need a quality first aid kit. Take your time and spend a little money to make sure your medical supplies are high quality and of sufficient quantity.

Two low dosage pain reliever pills will not cut it, so add on to any kit you buy off the shelf. Research what you need, or ask your doctor. Some of the items are just fillers, so know what you need and what you do not need as a practical matter.

5.) Can you navigate without a compass and map, can you walk in a straight line without a compass. Not many can, so you need a compass and a map of the area, and if you are not willing to take the time to get topographical maps of the area you expect to be in then stay home.

6.) Most people cannot find food just lying around the forest. It takes years of experience and that means hands on experience out in the woods to discover what is safe to eat and what is not, as far as wild edibles are concerned.

Most people know that anything with fur and feathers is edible, but animals will not offer themselves up on a platter for your dining pleasure. Fishing however, is a reliable means of gathering food with little skill needed, so carry a small fishing kit.

Pack as many protein bars, bags of trail mix and beef jerky as you can. You can sustain yourself for days on this type of food as long as you have clean drinking water.

To hunt successfully, you would need hunting tools and materials. Snares and traps are fine if you have the skill, otherwise it usually is an effort in futility, and may even result in a few bruised or worse, fingers or toes, if you do not know how to set a deadfall properly.

Stick with what you know works unless you are properly geared up for hunting and take that literally about geared up. You would need a firearm, or a long bow, a crossbow, or a hunting slingshot to stay well fed.

You have seen the survival reality show stars go for days without any substantial amount of food, and you can too, but you want to bring food with you not only for energy but for psychological reasons as well.

People panic over food when there is none to be had, and so some people will eat things they should not thinking they are edible, just to satisfy their food anxiety. People do not starve to death three days into being lost, but they do panic, so know this, and prepare for it.

Your Priorities Are:

  • Rendering First Aid To Yourself If Required
  • Constructing A Shelter
  • Making Fire
  • Having Water With You and The Means to Filter And Purifying a Water Source
  • Know How To Self Rescue Or Aid Your Rescuers by Having Signaling Materials
  • Knowing How To Navigate
  • Having a Food Supply or Know How To Obtain Food In The Wild

Some may disagree with the priorities themselves, or what you should do first, but that is ok because, what you do and when, is largely dependent upon what bush craft training and skills you have and your mindset.

Knowing what the priorities are allow you to gather the gear, materials and gain the skills needed to ensure you can meet the requirements of survival. Your objective is to survive until rescued.

To Accomplish Certain Tasks There Are Items You Need That Have Not Been Mentioned

  • Fixed Bladed Knife
  • Cordage and Paracord is Recommended
  • Multi-Tool
  • Snare Wire
  • Machete, ax or folding saw


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Camper Bug Out Shelter

Using a Camper as a Bug out Shelter

A previous article talked about travel trailers/campers, and motor homes as bug-out-vehicles, but this article will discuss campers as bug-out shelters. What this would mean however, is placing a camper at your bug-out location before the crisis struck. A camper would likely be less expensive than building a cabin/house and a camper would offer more protection than a canvas or nylon tent.

Trying to pull a camper as you evacuate during a crisis may be problematic. You may not even be able to bug-out in a vehicle let alone with a camper attached, but if you can get out on foot, and make it to your bug-out shelter/camper then you have increased your chances of survival dramatically.

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Dealing with Boredom in a Wilderness Survival Situation

Boredom Wilderness Survival

Some it seems simply cannot stand the prosperity of the moment, because it is boring to survive the moment”.

The above is an excerpt from a previous article about boredom. This article however, will focus more closely on boredom in a wilderness survival situation, because boredom can become your enemy, and it has to be dealt with.

Your psychological state is incredibly important, and when your mind wanders from survival tasks, you essentially have become bored with what is going on. Your own mind may very well become your worst enemy if you let it get the best of you.

Boredom can cause you to eat more food or drink more water. In a survival situation you will look forward to meal times, you need to look forward to meals times to gain a sense of normalcy. You have to establish routines like establishing certain times to eat to prevent boredom. Eating all of your food at one time, because you need entertainment is not developing a sense of normalcy and routine.

Boredom can cause you to do things to try and correct the problem, if you will, and action on your part is not always warranted in a survival situation. Staying put and being patience is often times the best course of action, or lack of action as it were, makes more sense in some cases.

Some of you are already thinking it is impossible to become bored in a wilderness survival situation, because you will be doing things 22 hours a day to survive. First, if you do not get the proper rest you will not survive long, so there has to be plenty of down time, and this is when the mind wanders. Once the shelter is built and a fire is going and it is raining hard, you would likely have to be under cover. Wandering in the rain because you are bored or impatience is not a good idea.

Being Prepared Cannot Be Stressed Enough

If you have to spend all of your time working on survival then you did not prepare properly. Food gathering, cooking, and shelter repair will take a considerable amount of your time, but you still need time for resting. There will be eight to 12 hours of downtime in most cases, and you will not be sleeping the entire time.

If you suddenly find yourself lost or stranded then boredom is the last thing you would have to worry about in the first 24 hours, but if you hunker down in place to wait for rescue then boredom can become a problem after the first 24 hours.

If you had researched survival items to carry on day hikes or camping trips, you may find a pencil and paper on the list of survival items. You may at first assume that the writing tools are so you can leave notes for others to make it easier to find you.

Well heavy dew in the morning, rain, or snow would destroy the notes, not to mention the wind and animals, so why a pencil and paper then. It is good for you the survivor that’s why. Keep a journal and make notes about weather patterns and about animal habits or simply doodle. Draw a map of the area, mark water sources you may have passed by the previous day and yes in some cases, you can leave notes for others that may be out searching for you.

There are any numbers of things that you can do to stay busy, but in a survival situation you want to focus on tasks that enhance your ability to sustain yourself. Weaving fish traps, sharpening spears for fishing, for example, all take time and occupy the mind and these things can be done during your downtime. People get impatient, and then want to go looking for help, when help is out looking for them, and this can put you in an even worse situation.

Dependency on technology has to some extent created impatience. Everyone expects an immediate answer to questions now, because Google and other search engines have spoiled us all. With technology, you have an immediate answer at your fingertips. That is until you are in a survival situation and technology is not available. If you do not have the answers in a survival situation there is no one to ask, no buttons to push and no Internet to surf.

If you become lost or stranded and it was not on purpose, then over time, and in fact, in just a few hours boredom can become a real problem.

You may want to revisit your survival pack to make sure you do have certain items that can help with boredom during a survival situation. Cards, pencils, paper, and even certain games can be easily packed, and they may end up playing a part, a large part, in your survival.

If you are prepared with a shelter, tools, food, and water for a few days and/or the means to collect, filter and purify a source then there is not much to do once you are settled in after the first day. After you have explored the area for hidden dangers, such as predator dens, snake/reptile dens and have located a reliable water source you would want to settle in and wait for rescuers.

You would maintain a signal fire, and put out other signaling devices, but you should not be wandering all over the area, because you would be burning energy that you cannot afford to waste. Wandering without a purpose would also cause you to drink more water and would increase your chances of an injury or an encounter with a wild animal or reptile.

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Water Bottles: Is the Packaging Now To Flimsy for Storage

Plastic Water Bottle

Water bottles, the small ones up to gallon containers and even the three gallon containers, have become so flimsy that you might as well be drinking water from Ziploc bags. They should market them as collapsible, because some of the bottles will almost collapse when you try to open them. Some, if not many of the bottles today, are not ideal for long-term water storage, because of how thin the material is.

The packaging now makes it more difficult to store them long-term, because they are easily punctured and they will crack and begin to leak sitting on the shelf. The material becomes brittle and cracks even when not being handled.

Supposedly the bottles are made this way to cut down on the amount of plastics in landfills. The manufactures have come out ahead however, because of the reduced costs of materials that go into producing the bottles.

According to it can take up to 450 years for the average plastic beverage bottle to decompose. Therefore, the reasoning is that the less material in a plastic beverage bottle the less time it takes to decompose completely. This of course begs the question, why do they feel so cheap that they may not last the trip home from the grocery store then (Michigan Water, 2015).

Of course, there are water bottles that are rather sturdy, and can be refilled repeatedly for storage of water. You will likely pay more, but you buy less often if you can refill them from your tap or other reliable source.

The point is of course is that in many situations, you would need reliable water storage containers that can be easily transported, and can take a little rough handling in a backpack or vehicle. The cheap bottles you buy at the store may not hold up long enough in the trunk of your car to get a case home.


Gallon or small plastic jugs that vinegar was sold in are ideal, because the plastic is heavy and will hold up well even after repeated fillings.

Only use containers that had contained products for human consumption. Any container that is to be used for water storage should be cleaned and sanitized before adding drinking water.

Most plastic soda bottles are still heavy enough to refill a number of times, but you will need to clean the bottles several times to remove the taste of the soda, and remember to clean/sanitize the caps as well. The liter bottles seem to be less sturdy than the 20 ounce soda bottles or even the smaller ones, but they can be refilled several times with drinking water for storage.

Food grade plastic water containers manufactured specifically for water storage are probably the best alternative. You can purchase up to five gallon containers for water storage in most camping sections of Wal-Mart’s or other retailers. Some of the containers even have wheels and handles for easier transport. These are ideal for long term storage because they can be transported in most vehicles.

The bigger containers 10 gallons and up, are primarily for storage at home or at a bug-out retreat. Ten gallons of water weighs over 80 pounds making the containers difficult to move, and store in some cases, if you live on an upper floor or have sub-floors. Weight is a factor when it comes to water storage. Water weighs roughly 8.3 pounds per gallon and then you would need to add the weight of the container.

One 50 gallon barrel of water would weigh over 400 pounds, so make sure you have the capability to store water in large amounts. Remember you have to fill the larger containers, such as 50 gallon barrels, in place unless you have the means to move this much weight after they are filled.

The average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons per day and showers, baths, laundry, toilet flushing, dishwashing, oral care, hand washing, drinking and cooking account for the usage. You cannot store 100 gallons per person per day to use when the SHTF, but you have to store enough to give you time to seek other sources (USGS, n.d.).

Private Wells are a good option, but beyond that your options are limited, because public sources will run out fast. Even lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams on private land may not be reliable sources in the long-term. The local authorities in some cases, along with desperate people can overtake the sources with or without your consent during an extended crisis.

You will need between three and five gallons per person per day during a crisis. This allows for drinking water, cooking, bathing, oral care, and medical treatment. Water usage has to be calculated carefully. Your needs may differ from others, so put pencil to paper and come up with an amount and then add 15 percent more.

Michigan Water. (2015). Retrieved 2015, from

USGS. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

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