72 Hour Kit Series Week #2: Making Water Safe


Welcome to week #2 in the “72 Hour Kit Ideas: A week by week approach” series.


Want even more help?Build a robust, personalized 72 hour kit one week at a time over 26 weeks

This series is also available as an e-book. Purchasing the e-book gives you a few additional benefits over just reading the free series:

  • Additional details and tips
  • The ability to print the entire book!
  • Pictures of my own kit showing just how I pack each week
Download “Your Own 72 Hour Kit Plan” E-Book Now!


Last Week

I hope all of you were able to gather some water you can carry to your 72 hr kit supplies last week.

Week #3: Making Water Safe


If during an evacuation of your area you were able to take your car, it would be very reasonable to take three or more gallons of water per person for your family.  You should have at least this much water ready to throw into your car at a moment’s notice.

But what if you are forced to evacuate your area on foot?  It’s simply not realistic to carry that much water over any real distance.  So, the fact is, you can’t carry enough water for three days in your actual pack.

But, it is highly likely you will come across alternative water sources in one form or another: a lake, pond, backyard pool, stream, river, rainwater, etc.  If you come across other vacant homes, you may be able to use hidden water sources there: ice cubes, hot water tanks, pipes, toilet reserve tanks, etc.

However, since you will be uncertain of the source or cleanliness of these water sources, you will need a way to make them safe to drink. This week, add supplies to your kit that will allow you to make alternative water sources safe to drink.

There are many methods of making water safe to drink.  There are pros and cons to each method. No one method will work well for everyone in all situations. Choose what works best from the following suggestions for your family right now!

Suggestion#1: Bleach

If you choose this method, you will need to keep bleach in your 72 hour kit (find a small container at a dollar store or in the travel section).  Make sure to rotate it every few months!  You may also want to consider adding a drink mix to make treated water more palatable.  Print out the following instructions from FEMA and keep them with the bleach:

Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.  Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of bleach, discard it and find another source of water.

Suggestion #2: Boiling and Distillation

If you choose this method, add a large pot with a handled lid (see illustration below), a small cup, string, and a small stove (with fuel) to your 72 hr kit. Print these instructions from FEMA and keep them with your pot:

Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt or most other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water), and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.  (see illustration)

Suggestion #3: Water Purification Tablets/Treatment Solutions

If you choose this method, make sure that the option you purchase includes directions and be sure to include them in your kit.  If you can’t get some at your grocery store, here are a few options: Aquamira water treatment , purification tablets.  You may also want to consider adding a drink mix to make treated water more palatable.

Suggestion #4: Water Filtration BottleBuild a robust, personalized 72 hour kit one week at a time over 26 weeks

If you choose this method, you can get two different bottles: One for around $20 and one for around $30.  You can also get a Seychelle bottle for just over $30.

Suggestion #5: SteriPen

If you choose this method, purchase one (or more) of the SteriPens and add it to your kit.

Suggestion #6: Water Filters

Build a robust, personalized 72 hour kit one week at a time over 26 weeksIf you choose this method, purchase one (or more) water filters and add it to your kit (here are those available through me at THRIVE Life and a few more that are available through Amazon.


What We Have Done in Our Family

When we first started our 72 hour kits, we used just purification tablets because they were cost effective. I still keep some in our kits. We have since added four filtration bottles: one in each kit. I like the convenience and familiarity the filter bottles provide. Plus, they are light and will allow us to filter 120 gallons of water without changing any filters.

How about You?

Leave me a comment and tell me how you’ve decided to add the ability to purify/filter water to your kit.


Pin It Now For Later!

Clean water is essential in an emergency. You can't carry enough, but there are solutions.


Skip to:

Week #1: Water To Carry Week #3: Plan Your Food Series Into: 72 Hour Kit Series, A Week by week approach


+ posts

Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

196 thoughts on “72 Hour Kit Series Week #2: Making Water Safe”

  1. I use Doterra Lemon essential oil. It is cerified pure so can be used internally. It has been tested to kill 99.9% of bacteria, and the little micro animal things that I cant remember the word for. It tastes good too! 1 drop per 1 quart water is a good start. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
    I also use the ionized drops. I like and trust both.

  2. I just ordered 2 Lifestraws from amazon.

    They look awesome! You can use & store, filter something like 1000L of nasty water to .2 microbes AND for every Lifestraws you purchase, they’ll provide a child in Africa a years worth of clean drinking water. (Probably their own straw) – preparation AND a cause!

    • I LOVE the lifestraw! I have a few and sell them too. I didn’t know about them when I first wrote this post, but I should add it to the list. Thanks for the reminder Anissa!

  3. Just found your awesome blog. Such great information here!

    One thing I wanted to mention about bleach is some are allergic to it. I can’t even handle it without gloves on so don’t think drinking it would be a good idea. If someone has never really used bleach, it would be a good idea to make sure you aren’t allergic before packing it in the bob.

    Also best water purification that I have found are the lifestraws. I saw somewhere that they now have a family one. I also backpack so they are the perfect size to carry for emergencies.

  4. I tried scrolling thru the many replies and a few things I’d mention:

    The life straw is a great adder to your BOB as you just stick it in the water and drink

    Other couple items I’d suggest are a few paper coffee filters and some fine cheese cloth. These can be used to prefilter the water and remove a lot of the large particulate and help your filters last longer or get out some of the impurities that give it that mud taste.

    I’d also suggest either in place of or in addition to liquid bleach that you get a swimming pool chlorination “puck”. look at the labels and get the cheap stuff without the stabilizers in it. This has a very long shelf life compared to only a few months for liquid that quickly breaks down into basically a salt type water. Put it in a Ziploc or crush it up and keep in a water tight container with one of those moisture absorber packs in it. You’ll need to figure out how much to use per gallon of water based off the concentration.

  5. I just bought a berkey filter. We have floride in our water so I wanted something to get that out. So if we have to stay at home or leave by car or bike were covered. Maybe on next year we can add bottle sized filters. I’ve been waiting almost two years to be able to afford it. But at least now we would have a reliable method for most instances.

    • Whoops, didn’t read down far enough to see Tiffany’s excellent post.

      A bit of tinkering, some translucent plastic, a sunny day and a mud puddle can produce a surprising quantity of potable water.

  6. In a pinch you can use see through plastic and water in a hole in the ground as a distiller.
    – Dig a hole,
    – fill 1/2 with water (lets some soak in to the earth)
    – place cup in hole,
    – place see through plastic over hole securing it with dirt, heavy rocks ect.
    -place small stone on plastic directly over the cup,
    – leave out all day (especially between 10am-1pm – hottest part of the day)
    heat from the sun warms up the water causing it to evaporate under the plastic, collects on the plastic and drips down to the center thanks to the rock on the plastic in to the cup.

  7. My boyfriend (who thinks I’m crazy and paranoid putting these kits together) inadvertantly gave me a great idea for our kits over the weekend that I wanted to share.

    Buy a Gatorade type drink powder as the additive to any less than tasty EMG water. I am thinking of going the iodine tablet route, but whatever our ultimate choice, I think packing some electrolytes into that water is a bonus over other drink additives in a situation where you need all the energy you can get. There are a lot of choices out there now for individually packaged mixes like this, or we could buy a larger container and put in baggies.

    Sidebar that I find humorous, my macho guy says “You dont’ need a survival kit. You’ll be with me, so you’ll be fine.” HA! :-) Though he is quite handy and outdorsy (knows how to skin animals, etc), I’m still making a kit for each of us and I know he’ll thank me if we ever need them. It’s good to know there are so many other people that see it my way, even though he doesn’t :-)

    • Great tip Caitlin! You may consider the THRIVE drink mixes as they not only have electrolytes, but lots of added nutrients as well! And I’m glad you are packing one for your boyfriend too! He will appreciate it eventually!

  8. I’ve been storing water for times when we may need it for a short time now. I was using bleach, but, i found a safer alternative and that’s grapefruit seed extract. It’s fairly expensive, but it doesn’t take many drops to purify it, and it can be used for other things. :)

  9. Dear Misty:

    I propose starting a worldwide movement to date and fill family’s used two-liter bottles with tap water and leaving them in publicly accessible locations or other out-of-the way places (such as right in landfills). This would be done in lieu of discarding them empty in the garbage or depositing them at recycling centers. It could help prepare for a possible coming global drought!


Leave a Comment