Water

From Waste to Water Reservoir: Building a Rain Barrel from a Trash Can

Guest post by Garret Stembridge

Environmentally friendly rain barrels can be made from pretty much any 55 – 60 gallon container, but one of the most readily available is a basic trash can. Other options include reusing old plastic pickle barrels, soda barrels or any barrel that once carried food-grade materials in it.

From Waste to Water Reservoir: Building a Rain Barrel from a Trash Can

A simple trash can works for rain barrel water collection

By making sure the previous contents of your recycled barrel were food-grade, you can feel more secure about using the water collected in it to feed your vegetable garden or wash your dog. Barrels that contained harsh chemicals are often hard to scrub out entirely and could still contain traces of toxins.

The basic rain barrel

Regardless of what barrel type you choose, your basic rain barrel consists of four parts:

  • The barrel to hold the collected rain water
  • A screened inlet that lets in rain water but keeps out leaves, mosquitoes and small animals
  • An outlet near the bottom that can be opened and closed
  • An overflow near the top, in case your barrel reaches capacity

Equipment

DIY rain barrels can be as elaborate or simple as you want them to be. This project gives you the basic model but it can easily be added on to and expanded to fit your rain gardening needs. To build a trash can rain barrel, you’ll need:

  • A 55 – 60 gallon trash can (lid optional, but recommended)
  • Window screen (instead of purchasing new, consider cutting it out of an old screen window or door)
  • 1 garden hose, ½” diameter (standard)
  • ½” boiler drain (spigot)
  • 1, ½” conduit lock nut
  • 2, ½” flat metal washers
  • 2, ½” rubber washers
  • Grease pencil or marker
  • staple gun
  • pliers
  • utility knife
  • scissors
  • screwdriver
  • 2 – 4 old cinder blocks or gravel
  • caulking gun and silicone (optional)

Instructions

  • Creating the outlet: This part is a lot easier if you have a ½” hole-boring drill bit for an electric drill, but if you’re doing this project by hand, draw a ½” cross hatch a couple inches from the bottom of the barrel and use it to cut out a ½” diameter circle through which you can thread your boiler drain. When cutting, a little less is better than a little more. If the opening is too big, even the rubber washers can’t stop a leak. Be sure to thread a flat metal washer and then a rubber washer on the boiler drain before threading the drain through the opening.
  • At this point, if you are using silicone, coat the boiler drain threads and opening before threading the boiler drain into place.
  • Seal the boiler drain on the interior with the rubber washer first, then the flat metal washer and finally the lock nut. The rubber washers should be directly against the trash can on both sides. Use the pliers to tighten. The hose will attach to the boiler drain to direct your rainwater for use.
  • Attach the screen: Take your screen and drape it over the top of the uncovered trash can. Using the staple gun, staple the screen in place, pulling it tight as you go to keep it from sagging. Use the scissors to cut off the excess and to give it a finished look.
  • Prep the lid: Even though you don’t necessarily need a lid for your rain barrel – the screen will keep out larger debris and most insects – a lid will keep yard critters from potentially falling in and will give the finished product a cleaner look. If you’re using the lid, cut out a square opening large enough to accommodate the downpour spout on your gutter.
  • Cut an overflow: A few inches below the top of the barrel, cut a hole roughly 1″ in diameter for excess water to escape. If you want to direct the water away from the house, follow the same instructions for installing the first boiler drain except instead of a boiler drain spigot, use a ½” PVC male adapter so that you can attach a hose directly to the overflow outlet and run the hose away from your house.
  • Prep your gutter: Locate your gutter down spout and measure enough room to fit not only your rain barrel, but the barrel stand (gravel or cinder blocks – see below) and the extra length of gutter spout you’ll need to attach to the end to direct the water into the rain barrel. Cut the down spout using your utility knife and attach the gutter spout.
  • Place your rain barrel: Before putting the rain barrel under the gutter spout, prep the ground underneath either with a pile of gravel or 2 – 4 leveled cinder blocks. This will ensure that your rain barrel stays in place even in the heaviest downpour and doesn’t retain water around its base. Once in place, adjust the rain barrel so that the gutter spout flows through the lid opening and you’re done!

Rain barrel water can be used for pretty much any ‘gray water’ purpose, from watering the garden to washing the car, filling bird baths and keeping your compost pile damp.

What do you use your rain barrel water for? Where have you found suitable containers for creating rain barrels?

About the author: Garret Stembridge is a member of the Internet marketing team at Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self storage facilities. Garret often writes about sustainable practices for the home and for businesses. Their East Tampa, Florida self storage facility has been retrofitted to reduce energy consumption, and can be found here.

Related articles

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps, Water | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Water: The 2nd Essential Pillar of Preparedness for SmartPreppers

by Todd Walker

Part 2 ~ Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Given enough time without water, you die! It’s that simple.

In our second post in the series, The Essential Pillars of Preparedness for SmartPreppers, let’s take a look at how not to die from dehydration. I thought I’d be able to cover food as well, but it’ll take up a whole post next time.

Getting started on your preparedness journey can be a daunting task. Having potable water is essential for short-term emergencies and long-term survival. At any time you find yourself in a scenario without water for an extended time (three days or so), you’re in a survival situation.

Before you go buy cases of bottled water and 55 gallon drums, think about the storage space needed for water. Also keep in mind that water weighs over 8 pounds per gallon. DRG and I don’t personally store tons of potable water. But we do have several methods to produce drinking water in an emergency. We also have access to a nearby natural water source.

Water Facts

Our bodies, depending on age, gender, and body type, are made of between 77% to 45% water. We can’t survive without water. When building this Pillar, consider your activity level, availability, nearby natural water sources, filtration equipment, storage capabilities, and climate.

Whatever recommendations you’ve read on how much H2O you need, double it. Natural disasters equal lots of manual labor, which increases your bodies need to re-hydrate. If you’ve ever pulled up soaked carpet and pad after a flood, you know the amount of labor and physical exertion involved.

The recommended one gallon per day per person does not include water for hygiene, cooking, pets, and livestock.

I’m a Container Freak

How important are containers? Whole civilizations have been built around these puppies. For thousands of years, lumps of clay on a potter’s wheel turned into bottles, jars, and jugs to store liquids.

If you’re not a potter, here are some simple options for water storage containers.

  • Used drink containers: Two liter soda containers can be cleaned and re-purposed. Since I don’t drink soda, I needed another source. I’ve got an unlimited supply of one gallon jugs from my school. The concession stand sells a sugary, frozen slushy type drink to help wash down the SAD (Standard American Diet) meals from the lunch line. The artificial flavoring comes in 4 – 1 gallon jugs per case. They are HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) and coded with a #2 inside the recycle symbol on the bottom of the container. I collect these when they’re empty, place them into their handy shipping box, and take them home. I clean them with hot soapy water, a diluted bleach/water solution, and refill with water. They stack very well in the boxes. The boxes also block light to prevent algae growth. [Note: Warnings about reusing plastic milk and sugary drink bottles for water storage abound on the internet. Some say the sugars can’t be completely removed from the plastic which enables bacteria growth. Do your own due diligence before using these containers.]

  • Emergency water: Don’t forget that your hot water heater contains 40 gallons (depending on the size) of potable water. In an emergency, simply shut off the power source (gas shut off or electrical breaker labeled in your breaker box, right?). Even if the power is out at your house, it’s wise to take this step if you’re forced to drain your water heater. If the power is restored to your empty water heater, you’ll be replacing the heating elements on a dry water tank. Next, attach a garden hose to the bottom valve. Open the pressure relief valve on the top or side of the water heater and fill those used drink containers you’ve been hoarding.
    • Toilet tank water. A typical tank (NOT the bowl) will hold over 3 gallons of water. To keep from stirring up the sediment in the tank, scoop the water,  or disconnect the fill-line from the bottom of the tank and drain into a container. Yes, it’s potable – unless you put bowl cleaning chemical cakes in the tank. [If in doubt, don’t drink from the toilet tank.] Reconnect the fill line so you can still use the toilet to flush waste. With a bucket/container, refill the tank with non-potable water. Now you’ve still got the convenience of flushing with the handle. The ladies will appreciate the extra effort.
    • Bath Tub. Plug your tub and fill it with water if you have an early warning of possible disasters bearing down on you. This water can be used, as mentioned above, to flush toilet, personal hygiene, and even drinking. If you have to resort to drinking from the tub, you’ll want to disinfect the water by boiling and chemical treatment. Don’t want to drink from the container (tub) after all those dirty showers? Buy one of these…
    • Water BOB. For $30.00 you can add 100 gallons of potable water to you bath tub. I have no experience with water bobs. Do you?
    • Drain your pipes. In a two-story home, open the tap on the upper floor and collect the water from the pipes at the lowest faucet in your home. On single story homes, find the lowest water spigot (usually an outside garden hose bib) and follow the same advice in the previous line.
    • Kiddy pools and other outside containers can be tapped in an absolute emergency. Be sure to filter, boil and disinfect water from these sources before drinking.
    • Water from natural sources such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks should be filtered, boiled, and treated before drinking. Drinking unsafe water can turn a short-term emergency into a dehydrating, diarrhea disaster – or worse.

On The Go Water

If you had to get out of dodge on foot, having lightweight water filters would come in handy. Remember, water weighs over 8 pounds per gallon. It would be crazy to try to physically carry enough water in your kit for three days on your back.

I’ve got a MSR filter for my 72 hour kit. DRG packs the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter that weighs only 3 ounces. We both have 2 liter water bladders attached to our bags allowing us to drink while walking or hiking.

We both keep a 32 ounce metal water bottle with a metal cup in our kits. Both bottle and cup can be used to boil water if our other filters options fail or are not available. We also carry chemical treatment in our bags – iodine and purification tablets. Don’t forget to add a cotton bandana for pre-filtering debris from open water sources.

Stationary Filter

For the home, it’s wise to have a gravity fed filter like our Royal Berkey. Can’t afford the Royal Berkey? Buy the filters and make your own. Also, Prepper Helper has an article comparing popular water filtration systems if you’re in the market for one.

Yes, it takes electricity over at your city water works to treat and pump H2O to your tap. Even if you have well water, power is need to pressurize your water lines. A manual hand pump, solar-powered pump, or gravity fed cistern adds another layer of redundancy to your water preps.

If all else fails, you can always fall back on cans of dehydrated water ;)

dehydrated water

Breathing, perspiring, and urinating are a few normal bodily functions that cause fluid loss. You’re losing hydration by just taking the time to read this article. So, drink up SmartPreppers!

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

How are you building this essential Pillar of Preparedness? The comment section is open, as always.

Essential Pillars of Preparedness Series

Categories: Gear, Potable Water, Preparedness, Water | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Sawyer Water Filter: Dirt Road Girl’s New Squeeze

by Todd Walker

A coffee shop and the Army Surplus Store were my two favorite hangouts while Dirt Road Girl was hospitalized during her battle with cancer last year. When I got a break, I’d walk a block, grab a cup of joe, cross the street, and browse cool man stuff.

Last week DRG and I visited the surplus store again. On the door was a 8 1/2 x 11 inch sign stating, “ATTENTION PREPPERS – WE HAVE SAWYER SQUEEZE WATER FILTERS IN STOCK!”

Bam!

DRG needed a portable water filter for her 72 Hour Bag. I carry a MSR water filter in my bag. But what if we had to split up. Or she had to get out of dodge own her on? She needed her own filter that was simple to use and lightweight.

I love my MSR MiniWorks EX. It’s easy to clean in the field with no tools, attaches to my MSR Dromedary Bag, and removes bacteria and protozoa including giardia and cryptosporidia. The only drawback is it’s weight – about a pound with the accessories.

Pound, smound! One pound doesn’t seem like much, but I wanted to make DRG’s bag as light and efficient as possible. Every ounce she shaves off saves energy.

We picked up a Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter. It weighs 3 ounces.

sawyer squeeze water filter

DRG’s new squeeze!

With my yellow jacket stings shrinking, I set to the woods to do some testing. The weight, box and all its contents, was hardly noticeable in my test bag. I brought along my new Pathfinder cook set. A separate review is coming on this bad boy, I promise!

For three ounces, this is what you get:

  • The filter ~ Hollow-fiber membrane with a pore size of 0.1. The MSR pore size is 0.2. Both are effective for filtering out parasites and bacteria.
  • Three mylar squeeze bags ~ 16 fl. oz.: 9 x 5 / 32 fl. oz.: 11 x 6 / 64 fl. oz.: 12 x 8 inches
  • A 60 cc syringe to back flush the filter (with clean water) to maintain proper flow as needed. You could also use this item to flush wounds in the field and other redundant uses.
Only three ounces dry.

Only three ounces dry.

Out of the Box Simplicity

There’s no breaking in this filter or big learning curve. Just fill one of the mylar bags with ‘dirty’ water from a creek or pond, screw on the filter to the bag, and start drinking. I filled the 64 oz. bag and filtered the water into my 32 oz. Pathfinder bottle in under a minute.

One hand squeezing, one hand holding the camera.

One hand squeezing, one hand holding the camera.

It’s important to wipe excess unfiltered water from the bag before transferring to your clean container. Drops of unfiltered water containing bacteria, protozoa, and cysts could cross-contaminate what you think is safe drinking water.

The filter comes with a pop-up spout found on some water bottles. This allows you to drink directly from the filter with a mylar bag of unfiltered water attached. Or you can squeeze water into a clean mylar bag or container for later use. The filter will also fit standard treads of water/soda bottles. I tried a cheapo brand water bottle and the male treads would not tighten in the filter. ‘Standard’ threads do fit.

Keep in mind that this filter, like all other filters on the market, will not remove viruses. Have a way to treat viruses via chemicals or boiling. Don’t roll the dice with water. Keep chemical treatments and fire in your kits.

Capacity

This little Sawyer is rated (guaranteed) for 1,000,000 gallons. That’s not a typo. One Million! I have no way of ever testing to see if they are right. I don’t think DRG will ever get close to that number. It would take a lot of Platypus bottles to equal a million gallons. No way we will ever squeeze that much water. It may become a family heirloom.

I’ve seen videos of the Sawyer used at home to filter water from a 5 gallon bucket. I like this guy’s gravity inline filter set up:

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/JoEzc-ij3sc?feature=player_detailpage&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

You can’t live long without water. Whether you’re an ultralight backpacker, prepper, or outdoor enthusiast, you’ll want to have a safe, effective way to create potable water. The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter is a great way to do that.

Before storing your filter after use, back flush the filter with a diluted bleach water mx from the included syringe. This will help dislodge any clogs and clean up any nasties left from dirty water. Shake all the excess water you can from the filter. You can even blow through clean end to help this process.

Enjoying a cup of wild ginger tea with DRG's new squeeze!

Enjoying a cup of wild ginger tea from DRG’s new squeeze!

I would recommend this lightweight, simple-to-use water filtering system. For under $50.00, you can add one to all you kits. I’m buying one for my get home bag. I may add one as a back up to my MRS filter in my B.O.B.

Stay hydrated, my friends!

Anyone have a new squeeze and want to share tips and experiences? Please leave comments if you do.

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

Be a SmartPrepper and follow us here on our blog, Twitter, and Pinterest. We’d also appreciate a ‘like’, comments, and shares on our new Facebook page. Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Gear, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Water | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Camouflaging DiY Rain Barrels for Frontyard Gardens

by Todd Walker

The resilient front yard transformation has begun in earnest at our home. Growing food – not lawns requires a certain amount of stealth. Hiding a rain barrel in plain sight was my next project on Dirt Road Girl’s honey-boo list.

I bought two food grade 55 gallon barrels months ago. One was for the DRG Compost Tumbler. I finally turned the other one into a rain barrel. The problem is that this white barrel against a red brick wall stuck out like a red fox in a chicken coop.

Camouflage was needed. Keep in mind this for our front yard not a war zone. We’ll cover that later.

Tools and material needed

The materials and a few tools for the job

The materials and a few tools for the job

Material List

  1. One 3 x 4 inch PVC reducer
  2. One 3/4 inch PVC male thread to glue adapter
  3. One 3/4 inch PVC tee with glue ends
  4. One 3/4 inch PVC 90 degree bends with glue ends
  5. One 3/4 inch PVC 90 degree bend – one end female threads – one end glue
  6. PVC cement/glue
  7. One 3/4 inch PVC cap – if you plan on adding more rain barrels at a later date as I’m planning to do
  8. One 3/4 inch PVC ball valve with glue ends
  9. Teflon and pipe dope (you could use just one of these, but I like to over do it working with water)
  10. One 3/4 inch male thread (brass) adapter with a male threaded garden hose on the other end
  11. Burlap and twine
  12. Window screen and hose clamp

Tools List

  1. Bunghole wrench – homemade from scrap lumber
  2. Jig saw
  3. Adjustable wrench or pliers
  4. Drill and bits
  5. Tin snips or metal-cutting blade a circular saw
  6. 3 feet of 3/4 inch PVC pipe – I’d recommend heavy walled schedule 40 for this application

Step 1: Remove the two-inch bunghole so you can rinse the barrel out. Some recommend a chlorox-water mix. Since my barrel contained vinegar, I just rinsed with water. Vinegar is a great alternative to bleach for cleaning anyway.

homemade bunghole tool

Homemade bunghole tool cut from a scrap 2×2. Worked great for loosening and tightening.

Step 2: Turn the barrel upside down so that the lid is on the ground. Place the 3 inch side of the 3×4 inch reducer on the barrel bottom a couple of inches from the edge of the barrel – trace the circle of the fitting on the barrel. Drill a starter hole on the inside of the circle. This allows you to insert the blade of your jig saw to make the circular cut. Tip: I had DRG hold the cutout with a pair of needle nose pliers so it didn’t fall into the barrel when the cut was finished.

Cutting the 3 inch filling hole

Cutting the 3 inch filling hole

Step 3: Flip the barrel back over. Remove the bunghole with your homemade 2×2 wrench. Being the first-born male of a master plumber and general tinkerer, I carefully clamped the bunghole in a vise and cut through the 2 inch and 3/4 inch threads with a hacks saw. This removed the extra nipple (non-threaded) portion allowing me to attach a 3/4 inch male adapter in the center of the 2 inch bunghole cap. Do Not cut through the threaded part of the bunghole cap.

Step 4: Once the cap of the 3/4 inch female center is removed, add teflon and pipe dope to the 2 inch threads of the bunghole cap and screw the cap back into the barrel hole. Tighten with your 2×2 wrench. Be careful not to over tighten and strip the treads. Now apply teflon (5 to 7 revolutions) to the 3/4 inch male adapter. Tighten hand-tight and just a half turn with a wrench.

Step 5: I built a stand for the rain barrel out of old 4x4s and half a shipping pallet. I’ve used cement blocks for rain barrel stands before this project. Whatever material you have available would work.

Once the barrel is in place on its stand, you’re ready to start cutting and putting together your drain assembly. Cut two pieces of 3/4 inch PVC pipe 5 inches long. These measurements depend on what your stand measurements are.

(Note: I made several mistakes at this point in my project. I didn’t account for the barrel sitting on a pallet and glued up my drain beforehand. Then it hit me. How am I am going to the drain through the pallet stand? I recommend you dry fit the parts – check for fit – then glue it with the barrel in place on the stand.) Below is a picture of me realizing my stupid mistake.

Don't strip the treads when tightening.

Don’t strip the treads when tightening. That would be two stupid mistakes for me.

Step 6: Assemble the drain. With the adapter tightened into the center of the bunghole cap, apply PVC glue to the female end of the adapter and the end of one of the 5 inch pieces of pipe you just cut. Mate the two together and give the pipe a 1/4 turn (do this to all your glue joints) to ensure a good seal.

Now glue a 3/4 inch elbow to the end of the other 5 inch piece of pipe. Then glue the elbow to the 5 inch drop piece attached to the bunghole cap. This should give you an inch or so of pipe sticking out (stub-out) in front of your pallet stand.

Glue the 3/4 inch PVC tee to the stub-out with the open ends running parallel to the stand. On one end (closest to my garden area) of the tee, glue a 3 inch piece of 3/4 inch pipe. Then glue the ball valve to the other end of the 3 inch piece. Cut another 3 inch piece and glue it to the open end of your ball valve.

Go ahead and attach the threaded end of the brass fitting to the female end of the last 90 degree elbow before gluing it to the open end of the pipe sticking out of the ball valve. Remember not to over-tighten.

Now glue the 3/4 inch glue end of the elbow to the end of the pipe.

Cut an 8 inch piece of pipe and glue it to the open end of the tee. Glue the cap on the end of this pipe. Your drain assembly is complete. To add more barrels, simple cut the pipe at the capped end and couple it to your next rain barrel drain assembly.

completed drain assembly

The completed drain assembly. The right side is capped and will allow me to add more rain barrels in the future.

Gutter Time

I moved the down spot on our gutter from the front corner to the side corner on the front of our house. The holly bush will help hide the barrel on the stand.

Step 7: Attach mesh screening to the 4 inch side of the reducer with a hose clamp. This will keep debris and mosquitoes out of your barrel. Place the 3 inch side of the reducer back into the hole on top of the barrel.

debris screen

I used a 10 x 10 inch piece of scrap window screen for the debris trap. Once you secure it with a hose clamp (or in my case – two smaller hose clamps joined together) trim off the excess screen under the clamp.

Step 8: With the barrel on its stand, measure the distance between the downspout and the 3 x 4 inch reducer sitting in the hole on top of the barrel. Cut a piece of gutter the proper length and secure it to the wall so that it directs rain water into the 4 inch opening at the top of the barrel. Note: Leave about two inches of space between the downspout and the top of the 4 inch reducer. This allows you room to remove the reducer to wash out collected debris periodically.

Step 9: Camouflage your barrel (optional). DRG and I picked up 3 yards of burlap from a fabric store for under $10. It’s 4 feet wide so it covered the barrel with some left over. Wrap the barrel with the burlap and tie it on with natural cordage. I tied jute twine on the bottom and top rims and two more in the middle of the barrel. Then I laced the top flaps together with more twine to insure it didn’t slide down the rain barrel.

It's not camo paint, but it blends in very well in the front yard.

It’s not camo paint, but it blends in very well in the front yard.

Now pray for rain. We just got an inch of rain last night. A 1,000 square foot roof will yield 600 gallons of water with one inch of rain. Needless to say, our barrel runneth over.

I check the pressure with the barrel being full and it will water the garden with no problem – or chlorine – or fluoride tainted city water. A water bucket is the next option if the water pressure gets too low to reach the garden.

Not only that, it’ll save us money on our water and sewer bill. Plus, it adds one more layer of resilience to our home.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Homesteading, Resilience, Water | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Resilience: Bloom Where You’re Planted

by Todd Walker

 

hanging bucket tomato plants, five gallon bucket planter

Bloom where you’re planted!

Ever wake up in a homeless shelter on Christmas eve?

I wasn’t a stereotypical homeless guy. I had money in my pocket and bank account. I had family and friends that I could have stayed with. How did a middle class guy with two college degrees wind up spending the holidays in an old warehouse for Christmas? Doesn’t matter. What mattered was that I had a roof over my head, food, and water – and I bounced back.

During my four months of “homeless” living, I came to appreciate the amenities most of us take for granted: Hot showers, warmth, privacy, security, protection, and a place to rest. We humans need shelter. We can’t survive without it. Since we have to have these survival basics, make them as resilient as possible.

I’ve owned many houses in my life. In fact, I use to buy, fix, and sell homes before the housing bubble burst. Just after that disaster, DRG and I decided to sell our personal residence and move to her hometown to help with her aging parents. With a contract on our home and a two weeks to get out, we decided to rent a house 5 minutes from her parents. This would be a temporary arrangement until we found a place to buy. We thought we’d be there for a month of two. This “small” window turned into three years.

Bloom where you’re planted

In our move to this small house, we had to adapt from living in a 2,500 sq. ft. house to a 1,000 sq. ft. We chose this small house because it had a 1,000 sq. ft. shop in the backyard. We stored all our extra stuff there. Besides, it was temporary. Side note: This shop became the best Man Cave ever.

About six months into our temporary living arrangement, we decided not to buy and we needed to start adding value to our little rental. Our landlord basically gave us carte blanch on improving the house. We were the best tenants he ever had. We repainted the interior walls, kitchen cabinets, and I even replaced the galvanized water lines under the house.

Our next priority was a garden. The shop took up most of our available garden space. On this small city lot, we discovered new places to grow our own food. Our main area became a raised bed (12′ x 15′) next to the back deck. We added containers of assorted veggies on the deck since it received full sun. Each year we added more resilience and value: new spots to grow food, a rainwater irrigation system, compost station, and an outdoor kitchen.

Was this our dream homestead? Not hardly. But we made the best of it. I think many people believe they have to wait for the ideal situation to become more prepared and self-reliant. Don’t get caught in that trap. Bloom where you’re planted. Like the Atlanta Rhythm Section song, we added a touch of country to our city. “It ain’t much, but it’s home.” You house and home is a key resource in building resilience.

Rural or Urban?

What should you do if you live in a less than ideal situation? Not everyone can afford to uproot and move to a piece of rural property or farmstead. Many love urban living or choose the lifestyle for jobs. The problem I see with city dwelling is dependence on the big systems: Power grid, food distribution system, municipal water supply, etc. The system is fragile to say the least. You don’t have to look far for examples of how failure in one strand of this interconnected web creates a cascade effect. Panic, havoc, and mayhem results. Then the very people dependent on the big systems scream for someone to come rescue them. Urban dwellers and even suburbanites religiously put their faith in the fragile system. One hiccup can – and often does – bring the whole system to its knees.

What’s the solution?

Go local. Become less dependent on the big system. This lessens the impact of the total fail that is coming. I touched on my plan for building community to deal with the unknown unknowns here. Our most overlooked resource may be watching TV on the sofa next door. Becoming a local producer is our goal.

DRG and I can’t wait to get back to our roots of country living. Until then, our plan is to build resilient resources for our family in the following areas:

Water

If your locale is dependent on water being piped in from hundreds of miles away by electric pumping stations, an extended power outage would cause a big die off in your big city. Water is essential for life. A plan for resilient water resources should include:

  • Rainwater collection. While it’s still ‘legal’, do your due diligence and set up a collection system.
  • Well water. If you have funds available, dig a well. You’ll be in the same boat as those dependent on electricity to pump water unless you have the ability to draw water out of the ground with alternative power. You’ve got a genset to handle the power needs of your pump. Great. Fuel will eventually run out. How about a hand pump? or gravity feed cistern? We have three deep wells on our family property. The bad part is that two of them are dependent on the electrical grid. The other well was abandoned and capped years ago. I’m doing research now to install an alternative pumping method for this abandoned well.
  • Freshwater spring. If you’re in a position to purchase property, look for land with a sustainable spring or well. Creeks, ponds, and lakes come in handy for livestock, fish, irrigation of crops, and emergency water supplies.

Food Freedom

Why is it important to know where you food comes from? We are what we eat. If you don’t want to eat the GMO fruits and vegetables from the Industrial Food Machine, what’s an individual to do. Grow your own – or at least a portion of your own food. Not only will you be eating healthier, you’re one step closer to developing self-reliance and resilience.

My long-term food storage plan only runs for six months (not recommended by the experts). I don’t store what the mainstream experts advise. Food storage is prudent but not sustainable. It runs out because we eat it – duh.

Growing our own food has been a challenge in our neighborhood. Our backyard has one tiny spot that gets about 4 to 5 hours of good sun. This past year I moved most of our garden to our full-sun front yard. I know. I run the risk of upsetting our manicured lawn neighbors. Luckily we’ve had no complaints with our foodscape near the house. Julie Bass was not as fortunate in her Michigan neighborhood.

WARNING: The Food Police are bored. What will they come up with next to make our life hell for their own amusement. (I shamelessly adapted Norseman’s fine quote from a video referring to Mother Nature’s fury: “The mountain is bored. What’s it going to do to make my life hell for its own amusement?”)

DRG and I are planning to expand into the weed infested front yard even more this year. We’ll keep some of the weeds growing for medicinal uses. We figure the beautification committee won’t mess with us if we do a gradual take over of the yard – as long it has ‘curb appeal’. It can only add value to our home since the housing bubble deflated. Wait ’til we start raising resilient backyard chickens as a science experiment for my science class.

There’s a 80 year-old man down the street that has a killer garden every year on the corner of a main intersection. He built the corner up with raised beds and packs the plants into a small garden. He sells his excess produce at his booth at our local farmers market each week. He faces the same problem we do – lack of sun in his backyard. Solution: Bloom where you’re planted.

I don’t have a plan yet for dealing with neighborly snitches. I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress and any resistance we face in our foodscaping project. Maybe I can bribe pesky snitches with fresh tomatoes.

Here’s an ambitious couple’s resilient garden. The pictures (before and after) below are an example of creative resilience over at Resilient Communities. These neighbors to our north (Canada) bloomed where they were planted :)

Resilience

Resilience comes from the Latin word resilio which basically means having the ability to “bounce back” from some unknown surprise.

Even if we’re paying attention, surprises happen. If we’re still breathing, we’re resilient to some degree. Our bodies are hardwired to survive. We have to do our part though. Anytime we find ourselves without the basics of survival – food, water, shelter, protection – we’ve crossed over into a survival situation.

It’s not too late. We still have time to build resources that make us more resilient. Every step you make to disconnect from the system’s ball and chain – to start connecting with your family, friends, and community – the more self-reliant, independent, and resilient you and those closest to you become.

Want to start connecting to build resilience? What’s your strategy?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Gardening, Gear, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Water | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Huh…It Must Be Something in the Water

by Daisy Luther

January 8, 2013

There’s definitely something in the water, and none of it is good.  There is so much garbage in our water that you practically need an advanced degree in chemistry to just to figure it out.  It’s not a subject that can be ignored, though, because water is the most vital and life-sustaining substance that we can store. We want to store the most pure, high-quality consumables that we can, in order to maintain our optimum wellness during any type of disaster scenario, and that includes the water we store.

Most preppers know the “Survival Rule of Three”:

3 minutes without air

3 days without water

3 weeks without food

Based on that heirchy, if the SHTF and you’re still breathing, your next focus needs to be on drinking water.  A well-prepared person will have that taken care of this by storing at least a one month supply of water for all members of the household, including pets. The basic rule for water storage is one gallon per day per person (and pet), and more if it is hot weather or you will be doing strenuous physical labor.

When I first began prepping, I used to get people to give me their empty 2 liter soda pop bottles. I blithely filled those bottles up with tap water and squirreled them away in my attic.  I had, quite literally, hundreds of 2 liter bottles full of water. I’d washed them carefully, filled them up from my faucet, and added a drop of unscented chlorine bleach, just as all the prepping forums recommended.

Then I began to learn more about the dangers that were rife in tap water.  I switched to bottled water….then began to learn about contaminants in bottled water.  I was stymied – how do you provide your family with a proper water supply when it all seems to be contaminated?  Moreover, what are you supposed to drink on a day to day basis?  I had already cut out all sugary beverages – we drank nothing but water throughout the day.  But was I still poisoning my family?

Environmentally Toxic Tap Water

The toxins present in municipal water supplies vary from city to city.  In the US Midwest, for example, there are high levels of pesticides (in particular, weed killer) due to agricultural practices that contaminate the groundwater (this also affects well water in the area).   In 22 states with military contractors, percholate, the explosive component of rocket fuel, has been found in the tap water.   In 2008, the AP released a report informing us that water treatment centers were unable to remove all traces of pharmaceutical drugs from the water supply.  (The drugs were introduced into the water by human and animal urine.)

To determine the extent of drinking water contamination, an Associated Press investigative team surveyed the water providers of the 50 largest cities in the United States and 52 smaller communities, analyzed federal databases and scientific reports, and interviewed government and corporate officials.

The investigation found widespread evidence of drinking water contaminated with both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including painkillers, hormones, antibiotics, anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, and drugs for cancer or heart disease. Of the 28 major cities that tested their water supplies for pharmaceuticals, only two said those tests showed no pharmaceutical contamination. In Philadelphia, 56 different drugs and drug byproducts were found in treated drinking water, and 63 were found in the city’s watershed.

Source

Also found in tap water are contaminants like aluminum, arsenic and lead (more on lead below).

Chemical Cocktails – It’s All for Your Own Good

If the outside contaminants aren’t enough of a worry, how about the chemicals that are deliberately added to the water supply by the treatment facilities themselves?

First of all, in North America, tap water is chlorinated.  This removes disease-causing bacteria, which is great, but it also creates numerous toxic by-products, like chloroform and trihalomethanes.  According to Dr. Michael J. Plewa, a genetic toxicology expert at the University of Illinois, chlorinated water is carcinogenic. “Individuals who consume chlorinated drinking water have an elevated risk of cancer of the bladder, stomach, pancreas, kidney and rectum as well as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Some facilities are also adding ammonia to the chlorinated water, which creates “chloraminated” water. Anyone who has ever cleaned a house knows that mixing bleach (chlorine) and ammonia is a no-no – so why are the facilities doing so?  Apparently it reduces the carcinogenic by-products created by adding chlorine – which must be done to meet EPA standards.  Unfortunately, it creates a brand new variety of toxins.  Fish and reptiles die when subjected to chloraminated water, and the effects on humans are just now being studied.

To make matters worse, chloraminated water reacts with the lead in water pipes, releasing yet another toxin into the public water system.  In Washington DC, when chloramination of the water first began, lead levels were found to be 4,800 times the UN’s acceptable level for the toxic heavy metal!

No discussion on water would be complete without a dishonorable mention for the inclusion of fluoride any many municipalities.  The fluoride added to the water supply is sodium fluoride, and is also sold as pesticide, bearing the warning “deadly to humans”.

While the talking heads of media and government are telling consumers that the fluoride in drinking water will assure them of good dental health, people are actually being poisoned.  The consumption of fluoride lowers IQs, causes infertility, has been linked to cancer and causes hardening of the arteries.  In fact, one study “published in the January edition of the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, the research highlights the fact that mass fluoride exposure may be to blame for the cardiovascular disease epidemic that takes more lives each year than cancer. In 2008, cardiovascular killed 17 million people. According to the authors of the study: “The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.”” (Source)

It’s also important to note that the inclusion of fluoride in drinking water has no discernible positive effect on dental health. In fact, it can cause dental fluorosis,  a visible overexposure to fluoride resulting in  subtle white flecks in the tooth enamel all the way to a pronounced brown staining,.

“Health Ranger” Mike Adams blows the lid off fluoride in this 9 minute video.

Bottled Isn’t Better

To add to the frustration, most bottled water is not that much safer than tap water.  In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 38 contaminants in the top 10 brands of bottled water sold in the United States.  The contaminants included disinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue, and pain medication, to name a few. Two brands, Walmart and Giant, were chemically identical to tap water, but sold at approximately 1900 times the price of the water from your faucet. In fact, according to some reports, more than 40% of bottled waters on the market are nothing more than tap water (including Pepsi’s Aquafina).

In a report, the Environmental Protection Agency warns consumers that you just don’t know what you are getting with bottled water.  ”Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all. Bottled water costs much more than tap water on a per gallon basis… Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, or a certain method of treatment.”

Another issue with bottled water is that chemicals leach into the water from the bottle it is contained in.   Chemicals like BPA and phthalates mimic hormones in your body, causing symptoms like brain damage, early puberty, prostrate problems, decreased sperm counts, decreased immune functions, obesity and learning issues.

What Can You Do?

With all of the bad news about the water supply, you’re probably feeling as frustrated as I was.  The good news is, there are actions you can take to ensure the best possible supply of water in our  increasingly contaminated world.

Get spring water right from the source.

Absolutely the best option for drinking water is finding a spring nearby and filling your own bottles with it.  There is probably a spring nearby with water free for the taking.  Use this interactive map to find a spring close to you. (Unfortunately, not all countries are represented on this map, but the US and many European countries are.) Spring water is naturally filtered by the earth, leaving a clear delicious water loaded with healthy minerals. Even better, in many places, spring water is free – just bring your containers and fill them up!

Filter your water.

Get a good, gravity fed water filter.  This will allow you to remove many of the toxins found in tap water or surface water.  I have the Big Berkey and have been very pleased with it.  If your municipality adds fluoride to the water, it is necessary to also purchase a specific filter to remove the fluoride. A gravity fed filter does not require power to work, making it an excellent choice post-disaster.

 Choose your containers carefully.

Glass is the most healthful option for water storage, however large glass containers full of water are heavy and can break.   If you are using plastic containers,the safest ones are marked Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) or High density polyethylene (HDPE).  Plastic containers that formerly contained juice or water are already compromised from the enzymes in those liquids. Water stored in plastic bottles should not be exposed to extremes of temperature, as this can also cause the plastic to leach chemicals into the water.

Reverse Osmosis and distillation alone are not enough.

The purification processes of Reverse Osmosis and distillation do not remove do not remove bacteria, viruses, or certain chemicals.  These processes, while good, should be followed by filtration.

 Water stored or purified with bleach should be filtered.

If you store your water with a couple of drops of bleach in it, you should put it through your water filter if possible.  I no longer store my water with bleach because I use my stored water on a rotating basis.  We only drink spring water, and the 5 gallon jugs are used within 6 weeks.

Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Categories: Preparedness, Self-reliance, Water | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Individual Preparedness Plan: Weak Preps Become Strong

You’ll never be the best, but you can be good enough.

Lay aside your dreams of grandeur for a moment. At one point I wanted to write a book. Dreams of being a bestselling author use to bounce around in my head. Then I woke up. I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I do. I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been writing this blog for less than a year. What makes me think that I could write stuff that millions of folks would line up to buy? I’d settle for hundreds.

Yep, I’ve come to a place of reality. I no longer have to write my masterpiece. What a relief. My mind bending activity focuses on being good enough now. The same goes for preparedness. My survival is not dependent on my being the best survivalist on the planet.

Is mediocre good enough?

In my Preparedness Wheel analogy, spokes (individually weak) intersect at the hub to strengthen the wheel. I mentioned this concept the other day when I told you about Dirt Road Girl’s radiation treatments. Weak beams of radiation are directed towards the tumor in several directions. One beam is so weak it causes little to no damage (according to our doctor) as it passes through healthy tissue. But when all the beams intersect at the target, the dosage is multiplied many times. It’s like a horrible car crash of radiation beams delivering devastation and destruction. The tumor screams in agony and dies.

Even our weakest attempts to prep for emergencies can add power to our IPP (Individual Preparedness Plan). Instead of causing a pile of twisted metal and mangled bodies, minor preps help us navigate safely through deadly crossroads. Over time, and with proper aim, the little stuff starts to build strength. Preparedness and self-reliance happens at the intersection of ‘weak’ preps.

Your individual needs will determine the nature and scope of the spokes in your Preparedness Wheel. We will all have a different looking wheel. Before you build a fancy wheel with lots of bling, make sure you have the basic spokes. Once your wheel is rolling, customize it to your individual needs.

Here is the first spoke to help you on your journey to preparedness and self-reliance.

Water is life

Our bodies, depending on age, gender, and body type, are made of between 77% to 45% water. We need it to function. We can’t survive without it. When building this spoke, consider your activity level, availability, storage capabilities, and climate.

I’m a Container Freak. How important are they? Whole civilizations have been built around containers. For thousands of years lumps of clay on a potter’s wheel has been turned into bottles, jars, and jugs to store liquids. You don’t have a potter’s wheel? No problem. Simply save used food grade containers. I’ve got empty plastic coffee containers (with handles) hanging from a string under my shop. DRG wonders how I’ll ever use all these. They could be forced into service as water containers. I mostly use them now for odd hardware storage in my shop. But you never know, right. Below are some options for getting your drink on.

  • Used drink containers: Two liter soda containers can be cleaned and re-purposed. I’ve got an unlimited supply of one gallon jugs from my school. The concession stand sells a sugary, frozen slushy type drink to unsuspecting student consumers to wash down the SAD (Standard American Diet) meals from the lunch line. The artificial flavoring comes in 4 – 1 gallon jugs per case. They are HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) and coded with a #2 inside the recycle symbol on the bottom of the container. I collect these when they’re empty, place them into their handy shipping box, and take them home. I clean them with hot soapy water and refill with tap water. They stack very well in the boxes. The boxes also block light to prevent algae growth in my liquid storage. I’ve tasted water from these jugs with hardly a hint of flavoring. I’m ahead of the curve when it comes to buying expensive “flavored” water WTSHTF.

4 gallon jugs per case

  • Emergency water:Don’t forget that your hot water heater contains 40 gallons (depending on the size) of potable water. In an emergency, simply shut off the power source (gas shut off or electrical). Electrical should be labeled in the breaker box. If not, identify the correct breaker and label with a permanent marker. Even if the power is out at your house, it’s wise to take this step. If the power is restored to your empty water heater, you’ll be replacing the heating elements. Next, attach a garden hose to the bottom valve. Open the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater and fill those used drink containers you’ve been hoarding. Don’t forget these sources below either…
    • Toilet tank water. A typical tank (NOT the bowl) will hold will hold over 3 gallons of water. Even the government regulated 1.6 gallon/flush toilets hold that much. To keep from stirring up the sediment in the tank by scooping the water out when needed, disconnect the fill-line from the bottom of the tank. Unless the connector nut is really tight, you should be able to use your super-human strength to loosen it. If not, use a pair of pliers. Sit a container under the outlet and collect the water. Yes, it’s potable – unless you put bowl cleaning chemical cakes in the tank. If in doubt. Don’t drink from the toilet tank. Reconnect the fill line so you can still use the toilet to flush waste with a bucket of water you scooped from the tub or other source. With a bucket/container, refill the tank with water. Now you’ve still got the convenience of flushing with the handle. The ladies will appreciate the extra effort.
    • Bath Tub. Plug your tub and fill it with water if you have an early warning of possible disasters bearing down on you. This water can be used, as mentioned above, to flush toilet, personal hygiene, and even drinking. If you have to resort to drinking from the tub, you’ll want to disinfect the water by boiling and chemical treatment. You do have an alternative method of cooking, right? Don’t want to drink from the container (tub) after all those dirty showers? Try this…
    • Water BOB. For $30.00 you can add 100 gallons of potable water to you bath tub. I haven’t tried one of these yet. I’d love to hear feedback for any who has.
    • Drain your pipes. In a two story home, open the tap on the upper floor and collect the water in the pipes from the lowest faucet in your home. On single story homes, find the lowest water spigot (usually an outside garden hose bib) and follow the same advice in the previous line.
    • Mosquito pools. Bird baths, kiddy pools, and other outside containers can be tapped in an absolute emergency. Be sure to filter, boil and disinfect water from these sources before drinking.
  • Make your own potable water. I’ve got a MSR (Mountain Survival Research) brand filter for my hiking/BOB. For the home, it’s wise to have a gravity fed filter in case electricity is lost. Yes, it takes electricity over at the city water works to pump H2O to your tap. Even if you have well water, power is need to pressurize your water lines – unless you have a manual hand pump. Then forget what I just said. Can’t afford the Royal Berkey? Buy the filters and make your own. Or try this one. Also, Prepper Helper has an article comparing common water filtration systems. You can read it here.
  • Lightweight Collapsible Container. Creek Stewart, author of Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, has a great article on water storage containers on his site Willow Haven Outdoors.
  • Pictured below is my mobile filtration system. I keep these in my BOB (Bug Out Bag). They are lightweight, durable, and functional.

L to R: MSR water filter, G.I. issue canteen with nesting cup, MSR bladder

  • Yard Sale Containers. I picked up these two blue containers at a yard sale for $2.00. The previous owner said she used them one time on a hunting trip and threw them in the corner of her garage. They hold 7 gallons each. Lots of emergency storage solutions can be found at yard/estate sales.

Cleaned with hot soapy water then refilled with tap water

Preparedness and self-reliance, like any other skill, takes time. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint. For those waking up to our fragile world and the need to prepare for uncertain times, information overload is a real threat to your success. Your fears are only heightened by the gap between your new-found knowledge and your needed action steps. The last thing you need is fear mongering and ‘experts’ berating you for not being prepared for TEOTWAWKI. [Sarcasm on] No worries my friend, they’ll sell you an all-you’ll-ever-need-kit to get you through the zombie apocalypse [Sarcasm off]. I’m a huge fan of free-markets. Just beware of who you get your advice from. What we all needed is a healthy dose of sensible, practical, Regular Guy common sense on our journey together. Here are few of my Regular Guy & Gal resources. Check out my Blogroll & Resources tab for more.

Prepper Website

Living Freedom

Ready Nutrition

Backdoor Survival

The Survivalist Blog

Prepography

Alt-Market

The Survival Mom

Perhaps you found this helpful. Next week we’ll continue the Individual Preparedness Plan series by adding another spoke to our Preparedness Wheel: Food Storage – How hard can it be?

If you found this info helpful, I sure would appreciate y’all sharing it with family, friends, and social networks.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

 

Categories: Frugal Preps, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Potable Water, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Water | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s In Your Canteen?

Today’s post was originally published by Claire Wolfe on her Freedom Living blog. It is reprinted here with permission. Please pay her a visit and check out the rest of her preparedness series and musing on liberty and preparedness.

__________________________________

Preparedness priorities, part VI

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Storing water

Again, I’m going to deal with the simple stuff here. I won’t cover things like rainwater catchment systems, homemade water towers, or underground cisterns. Once again, I’m just sticking with things anybody could do simply.

The most basic thing

Everybody should have a few days supply of water in every vehicle and every bug-out bag. The “official” recommendation is a three-day supply. A week is better, but water is heavy and three days supply will get you through most mobile emergencies.

As with everything else, we need to evaluate our own circumstances and needs. Do you live in a wet or dry climate? A cool one or a hot one? Is your typical vehicle trip across town, across country, or into the back country where you could get stuck and die? Might you have to live in your vehicle without outside assistance for a few days or a week after a natural disaster? Is there a chance you’ll have to exert yourself and therefore require more water than average?

The very, very easiest, no-brainer thing to do is buy Coast Guard approved pre-sealed emergency water packets.

They’re handy. They store and carry well. They can be tucked into little spots here and there without taking up one big mass of space. They can last years without attention. They’re designed to prevent nasties from getting inside. They’re even cheap as survival preps go, only about $8 for a three-day supply for one person.

But they’re expensive as water goes.

In other words, they’re a good solution if you might have to carry your water in a bug-out kit or tuck it under the seats of your vehicle. For home storage there are better ways to go. Ditto if your vehicle has plenty of good storage space.

Other portable or semi-portable water storage

If you expect to have to carry your water on your back, another option is hydration packs (the ultimate of which is the GeigerRig).

Hydration packs range in price from $15 hardware-store crap (which I guarantee you’ll regret once you’re sucking desperately on their slow & faulty valves) to … well, GeigerRigs and CamelBaks.

There are also old-fashioned canteens and more newfangled totes. I’m always on the lookout for these at garage sales (more about safety aspects of buying used containers next time). They’re not ideal solutions, but I currently have things like these with my bug-out bag and in my vehicles:

They cost me $1 apiece and the time it took to clean and fill them.

Read the rest here

Categories: DIY Preparedness, Frugal Preps, Potable Water, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Water | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Potassium permanganate: The Most Useful Survival Chemical

Today’s post is reprinted with permission from Urban Survival Podcast hosts Aaron and Jonathan who are two city boys with a lifetime affinity for the outdoors, but a love of the city, passion for survival topics, and Libertarian Ideals. Check out their site In The Rabbit Hole with a focus on the things that matter most: What’s likely to happen. Then preparing for it in a rational and productive way.

Refreshing vision gentlemen! If you believe an alien invasion is eminent, their site isn’t for you. If you want help prioritizing your steps to preparedness for life’s curve balls, then you’ll find sound advice.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

__________________________________________

Source: In The Rabbit Hole

by Aaron Frankel on July 28, 2011

Potassium permanganate sample full 300x196 Potassium permanganate: The Most Useful Survival Chemical

When people think about survival tools, chemicals are usually not one of the first things that come to mind. Potassium permanganate should though.

Also known as KMnO4, Condy’s Crystals and permanganate of potash, Potassium permanganate is a jack of all survival trades.When it comes to survival, the more you know, the more you can do with less. Like wilderness medicine, it also often becomes about improvising with less than ideal tools.I first learned about the usefulness of this chemical while watching a Survivor Man episode titled Sonoran Desert. In the Sonoran Desert episode (Season 1 Episode 2), Les Stroud demonstrates how mixing Potassium permanganate and glycerin will start a chemical fire. Intrigued, I did some digging.

Turns out it’s not just good for making fires. It’s also good for:

  • Purifying water.
  • Creating an antiseptic solution.
  • As an anti-fungal treatment for the hands and feet.
  • As a cholera disinfectant
  • Treating canker sores
  • Marking snow as an emergency signal.

Proceed with caution, however. The information provided in this article is intended for emergency situations only. Caution should be exercised when using any of the following information.

Potassium permanganate will start a fire when mixed with a couple of different compounds. Glycerin is the most common, but antifreeze will also do the trick. Antifreeze seems to create a reaction that is a little more violent. Be very careful when using either. The reaction is not always immediate. It can take several seconds for the reaction to start a fire – let it be.

Read the rest here

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, First Aid, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Water | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

4 Light-weight Collapsible Survival Water Storage Containers

[SS Note: Creek Stewart, author of Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, has a great article on water storage containers on his site. Check out his site and book.]

Source: Willow Haven Outdoors

March 5, 2012 By

There  is a reason why I post so much about WATER.

WATER IS CRITICAL TO OUR SURVIVAL!

Some experts say that the next greatest world resource shortage will be WATER.  In many parts of the world, access to clean drinking water is already almost nonexistent.  The ability to source, carry, store and disinfect water should be at the top of your survival preps and skill sets.

There are all kinds of different skills and products that are relevant to a discussion about SURVIVAL H2O.  Today, I’d like to discuss 4 SMALL Collapsible Containers with BIG Potential.

First, why COLLAPSIBLE?

In many aspects of survival, portability is key.  Containers that are collapsible make sense to the survivalist for several reasons:

  • They weigh less
  • They take us less space
  • Can be carried easily in a BOB or BOV
Collapsible containers, however, are typically not as durable as their rigid counterparts.  You will have to decide when portability outweighs durability.
Below are 4 Collapsible Water Containers that I own – each have a slightly different place and purpose in my survival tool chest of products.  I detail why I own them, what I plan on or currently use them for, and where you can get them should you decide to add them to your survival preps.

The Water Bob

As you can see in the photo above, the Water Bob is a collapsible water liner that fits in your bath tub.  In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, the Water Bob can be deployed in a matter of minutes and holds a staggering 100 gallons of water.
The Water Bob also comes with a siphon for drawing out smaller portions of water.  Sure, you can just fill your bath tub up with no liner if you are desperate, but the food grade liner protects the water from A) Your nasty bath tub and B) Dust, debris, insects and air-born particles.
If you are limited on space for water storage in your house or apartment and you have a bath tub, the Water Bob might be a good solution for you.  If you see this fitting into your survival mix, you can order one at http://www.waterbob.com/  for $24.95.

The 5-Gallon Collapsible Container

I bought this container from http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/MLT4945-1.html for $9.97.  Versions of this style container can be found in almost any camping section at any big box retailer.  I’ve seem them in hunting stores like Gander Mountain and even Wal-mart.  These are a great light-weight, portable solution for toting water from a water source back to camp or a Bug Out Location.  They can also be frozen.  This one is fitted with an easy ON/OFF spigot which is a nice feature.

The Jolly Tank

The Jolly Tank is my new favorite survival water storage container.  My friend (and occasional Guest Author on this site and owner of www.realitysurvival.com)  JJ Johnson recently introduced me to the Jolly Tank.  I’ve been in the survival biz for 15 years and have never seen this particular product.  It holds 2 gallons of water or fuel (6 hour limit on fuel) and folds down to about the size of your wallet.  And, it only weighs a few ounces.  I’ve added one of these to my BOB, my Bronco and also to my in-home safe room.  Trust me, I need one in my Bronco – that thing SUCKS THE GAS.
JJ has done an excellent review on this item at http://www.realitysurvival.com/jolly-tank/.  He also sells them for $10.  Other than his site, I don’t know of anywhere else to get them.

The Platypus Water Bottle

I’ve used a Collapsible Platypus Bottle ( http://cascadedesigns.com/platypus ) for as long as I can remember.  I use it as 1 of my 3 Bug Out Bag water containers.  I have the 2 liter version and it literally rolls up into nothing when empty.  It’s the best use of space I can think of in a BOB.  I’ve used the same one for over 10 years so I can attest to its durability.  I love that I can reduce the bulk in my pack as I consume the water in this bottle.  It is just one of those items that makes sense.

The Big Drawback

The obvious drawback of collapsible containers in their thin walled design.  Though most of them are surprisingly durable, they are definitely more susceptible to being cut or punctured.  This needs to be taken into consideration when using and packing these types of containers.  In a survival scenario where weight is critical, the pros of these containers certainly OUTWEIGH the cons.
Are you using a collapsible container that the rest of us should know about?  If so, tell us about it in the comments below.
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,
Creek

Similar Posts:

About Willow Haven Outdoor & Creek Stewart
Creek Stewart is the Owner and Lead Instructor at Willow Haven Outdoor – a leading Survival and Preparedness Training Facility located on 21-acres in Central Indiana.  For more information on Survival Courses and Clinics offered at WHO, click HERE.  Creek is also author of the new book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit.  His book is currently available for preorder on AMAZON.COM for only $11.20 – LIMITED TIME ONLY.  If you enjoy Creek’s Blog Posts, you will also enjoy his new book.  You can contact Creek directly at creek@willowhavenoutdoor.com.
Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, equipment, Potable Water, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Water | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,602 other followers

%d bloggers like this: