Water is essential for life and water is critical in an emergency situation. You should always have a supply of water handy in our hiking pack, car, and home. Always use rugged, BPA-free water containers that have tight seals. The general rule is one gallon of water per day per person. This amount can vary greatly depending on one’s needs, climate, etc. You will use about half for drinking and half for hygiene and cleaning. FEMA recommends storing at least three days of water per person. Be sure to have sufficient water for:
- Personal: When outdoors always carry water in either a hydration pack or bottles. Your water must be easy to carry and access. Hydration packs are excellent for carrying water, basic supplies, food, etc.
- Vehicle: Always carry at least a few bottles of water in your vehicle. Rotate the water to ensure freshness. Always carry a portable water filter in your vehicle emergency kit.
- Home: Store a larger quantity of emergency water in your home. You never know when the water supply could be affected. A water pipe could break and you may not have water in your home for several days. Emergency water in your home can make a very inconvenient situation much more bearable. Be sure to have a home water filter (0.02 micron filter highly recommended).
There are many other factors when treating and storing water. Be sure to use a good water filter (details), store water in rugged and BPA-free containers, and know about long-term water storage (details).
Hiking/Vehicle KitsThere are a number of ways to carry water in your vehicle and hiking kits. I use a hydration pack for hiking because it makes drinking very easy and it also has room for some supplies. I also use Sawyer water pouches in the car kit. These pouches are inexpensive, effective, and rugged.
Home Water Storage
Home water storage may require different types of containers depending on the amount of water required. Larger containers store more water but are inconvenient to use. Smaller containers offer less capacity but are easier to use. The larger containers generally provide much greater storage capacity at a lower cost.
You could use the large containers (such as 55-gallon) to store the bulk of your emergency water. To use the water remove it from the large container and filter the water into one of the small containers. This allows you to store large quantities of water and to make the water easy to use.
The smaller, easy access water containers should be easy to store and carry. I like containers that I can hold without having to move my arms away from my body and ones that will not touch the ground with my arms extended. I like the 3.5-gallon WaterBricks because they are durable, BPA-free, cost effective, stackable, easy to carry, and available through a number of suppliers. There are also a variety of small water containers that would work well for daily use.