Access to safe drinking water is the first concern you want to address when planning the contents of your bug out bag, and if you’re bugging out on foot, you’ll require much more water than a typical day. You should have a few Nalgene bottles (the standard bottle for hikers), but carrying enough water for an extended trip is not realistic.
Water is Heavy
One gallon of water weighs 8.345 pounds (3.785 kilograms). Add that to the many other items you’ll inevitable want/need to pack, and then go for a long hike. Then imagine doing that for several days. Unless you’re in stellar shape, your back will ache, your legs will tire, your feet will blister, and you’ll start moving at an exceptionally slow speed—if at all. You need to think like an Appalachian Trail hiker, looking for any opportunity to cut weight wherever you can. Surely you can’t carry that much weight in water, so that means you need…
Water purification and filtration devices allow you to safely drink whatever water you might find while bugging out. A babbling brook? Pond? Mud puddle? These are all sources of drinking water, but it’s only safe drinking water if you filter it.
You have many choices in the devices you can use, from larger water filters that will serve small groups to simple Iodine tablets. Larger filters will churn clean water out fast, but they’re heavier and bulkier. Iodine tablets are small and lightweight, and they will kill bacteria and viruses, but they won’t do much to improve taste or clean out floaties. Is there a happy medium between heavy/bulky and light/tiny? There is…
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
I typically carry all the water I need when I go for a day hike, but I recently purchased a LifeStraw off Amazon to toss into my backpack just in case I end up needing more (or inadvertently spill the water I’m carrying). Upon unpacking and holding the thing in my hand, it became very clear – this is a must for bug out bags.
Even if you already have a water filter, or pack Iodine tablets, you should always subscribe the prepper mantra: “two is one and one is none.” Reasonable redundancy is essential to self-reliance and survival. What if your heavier water filter busts, or you accidentally tip your Iodine tablets over into a stream? The LifeStraw can be the first or second line of defense. The LifeStraw advantages are clear:
- It removes 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.999% of waterborne parasites.
- It removes microplastics (we live in a polluted world after all).
- Long life – it will filter up to 1,000 gallons of water.
- Weight – it weighs only 2.4 ounces!
- Size – it is 8.7 x 1 x 1 inches, making it easily stowable.
- Price – it can be had for under $20!
If you have experience with the LifeStraw, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. If you have other means of filtering water, what are they?