The world seems to have gotten a little sideways in the last year and a half. While the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 was, at most, an inconvenience for most of us, the reality is that it was a perfect lesson in preparedness. When hysteria hits the mainstream outlets, you can see essentials disappear in a matter of hours. This article is designed to give you a blueprint to help you get the basics of preparedness. This isn’t a prepper or doomsday article, just a review of the basics.

If you’re just getting started and don’t know where to begin, consider a scenario where you and your family will be without power, water, or outside assistance for at least 10 days. Think that won’t happen where you live? Look at Hurricane Katrina, super-storm Sandy, fires on the west coast, etc. It can happen anywhere and if you’re in the middle of it, these tips could save your life. At the end of each section, we’ll provide links to the items discussed so you can begin to accumulate the most important things first.

There are four critical basic needs.

  • 1-Water
  • 2-Food
  • 3-Shelter
  • 4-Security

Each of these needs must be considered and prepared for if you want to have the basics of emergency preparedness covered.

In this first article of a four-part series, we’ll cover water.


Under typical conditions, we can go about three weeks without food but only 3 days without water. The only thing that may have a higher priority than water in a survival situation is shelter when immediate cold exposure is a risk.

To determine the quantity of water you need, figure one gallon per person, per day. If you have a family of five that’s fifty gallons for a 10-day scenario. One gallon should generally be enough for both personal hydration and cooking needs.

There are two important elements when considering water – storage and purification.


In a situation where the water supply is interrupted or severely contaminated, you’ll want to have stored water. Make sure the storage containers are BPA-free and won’t leach chemicals, odors, or taste into the water. Again, if you are just getting started, figure two, 5-gallon containers per person to prepare for a 10-day need.


Having stored water is important but there may be situations where your stored water is not enough or is destroyed by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake where your water storage is destroyed or inaccessible. In a situation like this, you’ll need a way to purify water. There are several options: personal filters, high-volume filters, and tablets. If each of your family members has their own filtration device that may be enough, but it’s also wise to consider a high-volume filter system that can purify water in bulk.

It's also important to have purification tablets as a backup. When it comes to water, have multiple options for gathering, storing, and purifying the most critical need for our bodies.

Product Recommendations

Here are quick links to the items you’ll want to get water checked off your prep list. These are our favorite solutions but there are many options in each category. Do your research and pick what you feel most comfortable with.

Total Cost per person for water preparedness for 10 days: $325 high end - $115 just the basics

NRS Scepter 5 Gallon Water Container

4 Stars

This 5-gallon container features a single carrying handle and screw-top cap that locks securely in the closed position. The small spout makes it easier to fill water bottles, and a breather hole with its own cap provides great airflow for easy pouring. Built to military specifications, it's made of seamless all-plastic construction and is tough, lightweight, permanently colored, and will never rust. Manufactured from food-grade, BPA-free polyethylene that won't add taste, odor, or any chemicals to the water.

Price Container 5 Gallon Natural Water Cube Jug - Clear

5 Stars

This is a plastic 5-gallon natural water cube jug with a vent and cap. Its square shape makes it easy to store while minimizing wasted space. The sturdy handle makes it easy to transport, and the air hole and twist cap make for easy water flow and pouring. The plastic is durable and made from food-grade, BPA-free materials so no chemicals or flavors will leak into your water. All in all this jug is perfect for camping, travel, the zombie apocalypse, emergency preparedness, recycling, weekend sporting events, and ATV outings.

Platypus Gravityworks 4 Liter Water Filter

5 Stars

Delivering four liters of filtered water in just 2.5 minutes with no pumping, there’s simply no easier or faster way to get safe water away from home than this gravity-powered filter. Its 8L capacity is great for large groups and the Platy™ zip opening collects water easily, even in challenging situations.

  • Weighs just 10.75 oz. (305 g)
  • 8L capacity lets you easily transport and store water for groups.
  • Backflushes in 4 seconds
  • No additional tools or parts required for maintenance.
  • Clean storage reservoir with shutoff clamp makes dispensing water a breeze.
  • Meets all EPA & NSF guidelines for the removal of bacteria and protozoa

Katadyn Hiker Microfilter Water Filter

5 Stars

Very compact and lightweight - only 11 ounces. The lowest maintenance backpacking filter available. Unique, pleated cartridge design provides fast and easy pumping. Convenient and handy for 12 people (e.g. while hiking or trekking). Compatible with hydration bladders. Includes: Prefilter, bottle adapter and carry bag

  • Capacity: 200 Gallons
  • Capacity: 750 Letters
  • Dimensions: 3"x6.5"x2.4"
  • Output: 1 liter per minute
  • Weight: 11 oz
  • BPA Free

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets and PA Plus Neutralizer

5 Stars

The most trusted name in water purification products, Potable Aqua is used by various militaries and relief organizations around the world. Potable Aqua products provide time-tested, simple-to-use water treatment options for campers, backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Makes questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink.