Trading Theory for ACTION!

by Todd Walker

“But they said it ought to work…”

Ever been exhausted, terrified, paralyzed, and barely alive by assuming what ‘they’ said was true.

Maybe not yet. But a sure way to experience the above statement is to trust armchair theorists on equipment, skills, and knowledge!

Dangerous theories float down the preparedness river like a redneck flotilla on the 4th of July. Trusting theory without verifying will capsize your rubber inner tube faster than Bubba can drain a 12 oz. can of PBR. Preppers read theory and buy stuff, boatloads of shiny stuff and the latest must-know survival strategy.

Knowing and doing are two different animals.

We know we need water to live. A loud wake up call blared in West Virginia when a chemical spill contaminated the area water supply. Storing emergency water is smart and recommended.

Here’s the thing though…

Stored water runs out.

Learn how to produce potable H2O. Water distillation systems are popular among third world countries for creating clean drinking water.

“They said it ought to work…” – Distillation works. But…

Distilling water only removes chemicals with a higher boiling point than water. Contaminants with a lower boiling point end up in your ‘distilled’ batch. Chlorine, insecticides, and pesticides vaporize at lower temperatures than water and wind up in your ‘distilled’ container also.

I’ve read that distilling water removes radiation. Chime in if you know. I’ve not done enough research to make that call. Here are some options in this article.


Build redundancy in your water plan. We have three 55 gallon food grade barrels full of rain water that can be filtered in our Big Berkey. If your budget won’t allow a factory made, solid carbon water filter? Build your own…

Build your knowledge base. Knowing enough stuff to talk intelligently at a dinner party is fine. But what you’re preparing for falls short of a dinner party atmosphere.

DRG and I attended our first meet up with a group of like-minded preppers yesterday. One lesson stuck in my mind. The more I know about preparedness, the more I realize how much I don’t know … and need to learn. And practice!

You must start Doing the Stuff to test theories and develop real skills. I know the science behind making a friction fire. To date, primitive fire has eluded me. Even on my bow drill on training wheels!


The completed kit after the first trial. Notice the black punk at the base of the hole.

That’s the main reason we started the Doing the Stuff Network. Members trade theory for action by committing to learn a minimum of one new skill this year. Of course, most won’t settle for just one new skill. Doing the Stuff becomes a lifestyle.

We act, analyze, and adjust. Don’t assume you know how to do the stuff! You’re familiar with the saying, “When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” In good times, this applied to me more than I want to admit.

When you’re in the furnace, the crucible of life, you need to know what works and how to come out alive. But some of you want more than just survival? Doing the Stuff can help you thrive – even if your world as you know it doesn’t end.

Preparedness is not accidental. Make the choice to live deliberately. Acquire skills. Start Doing. Trade theory for action!

Keep Doing the Stuff,


P.S. To join the Doing the Stuff Network, read this first before joining. Also, if you find value in our blog, consider voting for us by clicking on the Top Prepper Website icon on the left sidebar.

Categories: Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Post navigation

10 thoughts on “Trading Theory for ACTION!

  1. Water & radiation:
    a dangerous mix. I would definitely distill water if there was a radiation issue and nothing clean, but it won’t remove radioactive contamination. It will remove some contaminants that are radioactive such as cesium 137, but it will not make the water safe. The water itself will be unstable. You’d have to wait it out (half-life), if you follow conventional nuclear physics. I bought and keep an old civil defense rad meter for such reasons. They’re are a couple of low tech ways of measuring radiation, but the rad meters are easier. That said however there is a simple way to decontaminate most radiation: HHO. Please don’t call it Brown’s Gas. He was a snake oil salesman, trying and succeeding in profiting off of those less informed than him in chemistry. Him aside though, electrolyzing water into it’s constituent atoms, and then recombining them via ignition will eliminate radioactivity in water. If used on nuclear waste it can reduce radioactivity approximately 97%. It’s the only cost effective treatment of radiation outside biological organisms and time. A couple of species of mushroom are also effective at biological remediation, but they are slow.


    • benadrit, thank you for sharing your knowledge here! I had no idea about HHO or Brown’s Gas. Just learned something new. Thanks for contributing to the discussion.


  2. Most of the most dangerous radioactive contaminants can be eliminated by distillation, but not all. You really have to think of it just like any other contaminant, the heavy stuff and less volatile chemicals can be removed by evaporation, but any radioactive element or chemical that would normally gas off at boiling point still will. The good part is that many of these, like Iodine, have short half lives thus by simply setting the evaporated water aside for a few days will clear most of it up. The problem with any type of non biological contaminant, or lifeforms that will survive temperatures at or near the boiling point, is the danger of carryover. This is when water droplets are carried up the outlet tubing by the exiting steam. Obviously even tiny water droplets can contain radioactive particles or a form of bacteria capable of surviving in a hot environment. We in North America can probably discount the survival of the bacteria as long as there is not a gross amount of carryover as in a boil over.

    The most dangerous radioactive particles are also the heaviest, and they will end up in the bottom of your boiler. If possible you should avoid boiling the kettle dry, instead leave a small amount of water, enough to completely submerse the bottom of the container, and dump this liquid in a safe place away from the camp. Then clean out your boiler and start another batch. If you are talking about small amounts of contamination then this procedure would not have to be carried out every time, just don’t let your pot boil dry.

    If you are handy at making things out of metal then you can form, or adapt a device that will greatly reduce the chance of carryover in a distiller. Water droplets can not make sharp turns and bends like steam, so if you force the steam to exit through a series of bends and angles it will block the water droplets and they will fall back into the pot.

    It is also possible to build a downstream vent for hot radioactive or chemical gasses (Chlorine/Florine). In order to do this you can simply insert a “Tee” connection near the point where the steam is entering the condensation coil. Point the connection coming off of the Tee up and attach a larger diameter piece of pipe, for a 3/8″ tubing you could adapt to maybe a 1-1 1/2″ pipe or whatever is available. At the top of this larger pipe install a nipple to reduce the size back down a little. This should catch and vent most of the gas while allowing the heavier steam to flow into the cooling coil. The length of the vent pipe will depend largely on the pressure of the exiting steam, it must take more head pressure for the steam to exit through the vent than through the cooling coil. It is possible that at low pressures a simple long tube coming straight up will be enough to vent the gas without the need for increasing the diameter of the vent pipe.

    My own personal distiller is adapted from an old pressure cooker. I drilled new holes in the side to install a fill valve and a level gauge. I boil the water at low pressure and send it straight to the cooling coil with the assumption that water contaminated with bacteria or viruses will be my main concern. This is my level 3 backup system, my first 2 plans are a Sawyer filter and a Berkey filter.

    I hope that this helps, email me if you have any questions.


    • Wow Pete, what a value adding comment! We have Sawyer and Berkey as well. Is tritium removed via distillation? I’ve read it’s not.

      How would you recommend that we dispose of the stuff in the boiler under a heavy contamination scenario? I’ll stop now with all the questions. Check your email… in coming.

      Thanks again for all your help Pete!


      • Ideally you would dispose of the contaminated water by digging a 2 foot deep or deeper hole with post hole diggers or the equivalent, poor the waste in and then cover it up. I know that I will probably get flack for this method, but it is obviously already in the environment or you would not need to remove it from your drinking water, and there is no practical long term storage method. You would dispose of contaminated clothing in a similar manner, just do it as far away from people and farmland as possible and in aerated soil.

        There is no easy way to remove tritium that I know of, you will just have to find a tritium free source of water. As long as the water is flowing and not downstream of a nuclear facility then you should be safe from tritium.

        If you distill radioactive water for an extended period of time, depending on the level of contamination, your distiller will itself become radioactive. You will then want to store it away from people and incorporate distance and shielding as much as possible while using it. In a case that severe you are going to have huge problems to worry about anyway, and you are probably living underground if you are not already dead.


      • Thank you!


  3. Wow, great info


  4. Thank you for expanding the info Pete.


  5. Pingback: Julie's Weekly Roundup 1.18.14 - Home Ready Home

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: