Welcome to our new Magazine format! All new content will now be brought to you in this easy, new format. All our older content can still be found by scrolling below. Simply click the ">" to start the magazine and navigate via your arrow keys.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Answering Your Questions On Water Storage

Water droplet blue bg07 320x213 300x199 Answering Your Questions On Water StorageRecently I’ve had a number of specific reader questions about water storage.  While many of them were answered directly, I thought I’d take some time and clean them up and post the answers for everyone else to take advantage of as well.

Where Can I Find 55 Gallon Drums?

Well, there’s quite a few ways you can go here.  The first decision you need to make is new or used.  If you want to go with new drums, you can get them from a bunch of places online.  Just do a google search and you’ll find a few places.  I don’t really have anyone specific to recommend in this case.  For a new drum you’re looking at about $60 or so, plus shipping costs in most cases.
If you go used, you can save a ton of money, first off.  I buy my used drums for $15 – $20 locally.  What I recommend is that you take two approaches.
First, keep an eye on Craigslist.  You can usually find drums there. Beware of the ones that have just been sitting around outside.  Probably not what you’re looking for.
The second thing is to look around for local food service companies like bakeries and restaurants.  Call them up, tell them what you’re looking for, and see if they have any that they’d be willing to sell.  This is what I did, and I now have a regular source for once-used drums from a local bakery.
WARNING:  If you buy a used drum, make sure you know what was in it.  Don’t risk drums that were used for any sort of chemical, including soaps and detergents.  I would also suggest avoiding anything that’s particularly strong tasting, such as soy sauce or even worse … pickles!  In any case, you should sanitize your water barrels like I describe in this post.

Do I Need To Treat My Water Before I Store It?

The short version is … if you’re on a municipal supply that is generally safe to drink, no.  If you’re on a well, then yes, you should.
Be sure that the water you are treating is drinking-quality water to begin with. To treat water for storage, use liquid household chlorine bleach (it should contain 5.25% sodium hypochlorite).
Do not use bleach with soaps or scents added!
Add the bleach according to these measurements, using a clean, uncontaminated medicine dropper.
1 Quart = 4 drops
2 Quarts / 0.5 Gallon = 8 drops = 1/8 teaspoon
1 Gallon = 16 drops = 1/4 teaspoon
2 Gallons = 32 drops = ½ teaspoon
4 Gallons = 64 drops = 1 teaspoon
12 Gallons = 192 drops = 1 Tablespoon
24 Gallons = 384 drops = 1/8 cup which is 2 Tablespoons
55 Gallons = 880 drops = 5 Tablespoons which is 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon (approximately!)
Stir the water and allow it to stand for 30 minutes. Chlorine should be detectable by odor after the 30 minute waiting period. If the water does not smell like chlorine at that point, repeat the dose and let it stand another 15 minutes and check the smell again.

How Much Does The Environment Matter When Storing Water?

Honestly, temperature doesn’t matter much, other than the fact that it’s hard to use water when it’s frozen.  This does tend to be less of a problem when you’re storing larger containers.  The thermal mass of 55 gallons of water is much higher than a gallon jug, so it’s much less likely to freeze.
I personally store all of our water in the garage.  I have yet to have any major freezing issues.  And the heat just doesn’t phase the water at all.
Now sunlight is another story.  Sunlight will make your water grow algae and it’ll turn green.  Not very appetizing! If this happens, you need to toss the water and re-sanitize the container.  This is one reason why I like the garage and the dark blue plastic barrels.  Sunlight isn’t much of an issue!

Where Do I get Water For Storage?

The tap.  Really.  For bulk storage, there’s not really much better.  Even if you have to filter it, it’s still much cheaper than most of the alternatives.  Now that said, I always store 500ml bottles of water for easy use.  We go through them pretty quickly, so they rotate and are never stored all that long.  It’s great for shorter term preps, that’s for sure.
Please don’t go buy expensive water for storage.  You’re just wasting your money.

Wrapping up

Be sure to check out my other water posts for more details!  And if you have any questions about anything, please let me know!

Guest Post: Bug Out Guide and Checklist By Westfalia

Evacuation in case of a major disaster or crisis is a subject that is often discussed among survivalists. The situation that you are trying to prepare for is a scenario when you will be forced to leave your home because of some kind of Natural or Man Made disaster. I recommend that you make a Risk Assessment and check for possible threats in your proximity that may force you to take this kind of action. Examples events can be a hurricane, flooding, dam brake or nuclear power plant meltdown. A Bug Out Bag (BOB) is a bag with all the equipment that you need to survive for a few days on your own. A BOB can also be called a 72 hour bag/kit, Get Out Of Dodge (GOOD) Bag or I’m Never Coming Home (INCH) Bag.

If you’re going to be bugging out there is a chance that normal communication like travelling by roads with cars or buses will not function as normally or stop working completely due to heavy traffic and you will be forced to make your escape by foot. Plan ahead and check possible routes on maps. Will different scenarios affect your route, will roads be under water in case of a dam brake etc. Next I recommend that you take your car, bike or simply go by foot on the best routes that you can identify. Write down the information you notice, is there anywhere you can find shelter, landmarks and where can water be found? Water is the most critical aspect and must govern your planning.

If you have to leave by foot you will have to carry all your equipment, this will not be an easy task for an untrained individual. Get in shape by training at least three times a week and take walks with your BOB to train the muscles in your back, the same for the shoes: start wearing them before you have to use them to prevent blisters. Get your teeth fixed as well, there an excellent tool if there not broken or damaged. If you never been camping or hiking make sure that you do that, there is no better way to learn what you really will need. I recommend this equipment for a BOB, or the following things when you go camping or hiking.


[ ] Long sleeve base layer shirt (I recommend Merino wool)
[ ] Short sleeve base layer shirt
[ ] Change of underwear
[ ] Hat or Watch cap
[ ] Gloves
[ ] Buff, Scarf or Shemag
[ ] Shell jacket (Waterproof and wind proof)
[ ] Warm long sleeve shirt
[ ] Heavy duty pants
[ ] Poncho, Rain Clothing,
Bivanorak or Fjellduk
[ ] Hiking boots
[ ] 2 pair of Extra socks
[ ] Watch with a button compass on the wrist band


Choose a backpack with a steel or aluminum frame, if you’re going to carry a heavy load over some distance you’re going to need a pack with stability. If the frame is internal or external is a question of what you prefer, both have advantages and disadvantages. Backpacks with external frames are generally stronger and can be used to carry other things than your bag like a wounded person or a heavy tank of water. Packs with an internal frame are often lighter and have a more slim design. Pack your items in waterproof bags; use different colors so that you know what’s inside the different bags. A waterproof backpack cover can also help keeping your equipment dry. Cell phones and other electronic equipment are vulnerable to dirt and water; get a waterproof bag or container to store them in. Pack certain equipment like your first aid kit in a location that is easily accessible if you would need them. Always put the same items in the same location in your bag so you don’t have to spend much time looking for your items, this also makes easier to see if something would be missing from your pack. Always carry at least one knife and your pocket survival kit on your person in case you would lose your backpack.

[ ] Sleeping bag, Sleeping bag liners helps to extend the lifetime of your sleeping bag
[ ] Sleeping mattress, Hammock or
Hennessy Hammock
[ ] Tarp, Tent,
Bivanorak, Fjellduk or Bivi-bag

[ ] Flashlight or/and Headlamp (LED)
[ ] Extra batteries (Lithium)
[ ] Matches in waterproof container
[ ] Lighter
[ ] Fire steel
[ ] Tinder
Survival Knives
[ ] Fixed blade knife
[ ] Back up knife: examples could be a Folding knife, Compact fixed blade knife, Multi Tool or Swiss Army Knife
[ ] Sharpener
Pocket Survival Kit
[ ] Matches
[ ] Fire steel
[ ] Snare wire
[ ] Wire saw
[ ] Sewing kit
[ ] Button compass
[ ] Safety pins
[ ] Whistle
[ ] Candle
[ ] Compact LED lamp
[ ] Compact knife or razor blade
[ ] Fishing kit
[ ] Pencil
[ ] Water purification tablets
[ ] Painkillers
[ ] Anti diarrhea tablets
[ ] Antihistamines
[ ] Antibiotics
[ ] Condom or Alok Sak


[ ] One or Two Water bottles (Nalgene or SIGG)
[ ] Water bladder for your backpack; Camelback, Nalgene or similar system.
[ ] Water purification tablets
[ ] Water purification filter


[ ] Freeze dried food or Meals Ready to Eat (MRE:s) minimum 6 meals for 72 hours
[ ] Powerbars, Flapjack, beef jerky, trail mix or other snacks
[ ] Tea, coffee, sugar and powdered milk
[ ] Salt and Pepper

[ ] Stove: Multi Fuel Stove, Kelly Kettle, Trangia, Ebsit or Jetboil
[ ] Fuel for your stove
[ ] Cooking vessels
[ ] Spork (Or Knife, Fork and Spoon)
[ ] Cup
[ ] Steel wool, mop and washing up liquid (I recommend Fairy)
[ ] P-38 can opener

[ ] Map
[ ] Waterproof container for map
[ ] Compass
[ ] Cash or Gold/Silver
[ ] Notebook
[ ] Pen


[ ] Roll of toilet paper (in waterproof bag)
[ ] Soap
[ ] Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Dental Floss
[ ] Razor
[ ] Hand disinfection
[ ] Insect repellant
[ ] Sun block or Skin care lotion

[ ] 550 Paracord
[ ] First aid kit
[ ] Blister kit
[ ] Sunglasses

Other equipment that can be useful depending on the scenario

It is impossible to bring all equipment that can be needed during a survival situation, choices must be made. Examples of equipment that can be useful are a compact radio or scanner, this may allow you to receive news, weather reports and listen to how government agencies are responding to an event. An Axe, Compact Shovel, Kukri, Machete, Folding Saw or Parang can be a useful tool for collecting firewood and constructing shelter. Binoculars can be a useful tool for scouting terrain and spotting potential threats and problems. A Global Positions System (GPS) device with topographic maps is an extremely useful tool, especially when navigating into unknown terrain or low visibility conditions. For signaling a signal mirror, chemical light sticks or emergency flares can be useful. Spare parts and repair kits for your stove, tents and sleeping mattress can be useful especially under long lasting emergencies.

An extra pair of shoes in addition to your hiking boots like a pair of running shoes, light weight hiking shoes or
Five Fingers can be an extremely useful addition if your boots get wet when moving around or when you established a camp.

A pair of trekking poles can be a great addition for keeping balance when going trough rough terrain, especially when wearing a heavy pack. For people with bad knees this can be a great help, trekking poles also make it easier to move around if you would suffer a sprained ankle.

Other personal needs may be medications or an extra pair of glasses. A compact Survival Handbook or memory cards may also be useful addition in an emergency.

Test all your equipment and learn how to use it.

• A fully equipped Bug Out Bag can allow an individual to easier cope with a number of potential threats.
• If for some reason help or security can’t be reached after a few days of travel the individual will have access to important equipped needed. During a large scale disaster it will be hard for government agencies being able to supply a large number of people with basic necessities; in this case you will have to make do with what you have.


• A fully equipped Bug Out Bag will have a high weight that will slow down the pace during an evacuation by foot compared to a low weight evacuation kit. The weight means that an individual must be well-trained in order to carry it over long distances.
• Buying all the equipment needed for a complete Bug Out Bag is a high cost, especially if high quality equipment preferred.


A fully equipped Bug Out Bag contains equipment that makes it possible to survive with very little or no external assistance. The major disadvantage is the high weight that must be carried; if a vehicle is available the weight does not matter as much, the high cost is also a disadvantage. If you decide to build a Bug Out Bag use it for other activities like hiking, camping and hunting so that you get familiar with the equipment. This also gives you a chance to enjoy the investment you made and enjoy outdoors activities. An alternative to going for the fully equipped Bug Out Bag is to build a Light Weight alternative.

No matter how much equipment a BOB contains it will never contain all the equipment that you may need in all situations. You will have to improvise and make do with what’s available. Learning how to build fires, create shelter, navigate, preparing food and other survival skills are more important than what equipment you choose to carry with you. The people around you are another critical aspect, having a friend by your side is often a much more important aspect for survival than having the perfect equipment.

Also see the posts
Light Weight Bug Out Bag & Get Home Bag (GHB)
This is an article from The Free Online Survival Guide that can be found on the blog Sibi Totique.