12 Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Bug Out Bag: Series Post 1 of 12: Water and Hydration

Series Introduction

This post series is for anyone who has an interest or curiosity in building their own Bug Out Bag.  In the next 3-4 months leading up to the release of my book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit, my publisher has authorized me to write a series of 12 posts outlining the 12 Supply Categories needed to build the perfect Bug Out Bag and WHY they are important and necessary.  Each post in this 12 Step Series will highlight a separate Bug Out Bag Supply Category.

In my book I elaborate on each of these supply categories in great detail with 100s of detailed photos, instructions, practice exercises, recommended gear and specific supply check-lists.  The purpose of this 12 Step Series is to identify, define and explain why each of the 12 Supply Categories I outline in my book are critical elements of a well-thought out Bug Out Bag.  I will not get into recommended gear, survival instruction or specific check-lists – I have to save something for the book!  This blog series isn’t as much about pitching my book as it is about selling the idea of building a bug out bag.  I truly believe that every person should have their own 72 hour disaster survival kit – especially in the uncertain times we live in today.  You can almost look at this post series as 12 Reasons Why People Need a Bug Out Bag.  It is my hope that this series motivates people to begin building their own kit that may very well serves as their survival life-line one day.

Supply Category # 1: Water & Hydration

Sourcing Water from Open Sources

Sourcing Water from Open Sources

One of our most critical survival needs is WATER.  The human body is comprised of approximately 65% water.  Our brains are upwards of 85% water.  From digestion to circulation – water (or the lack of) affects everything.  Naturally, when we deprive ourselves of water, bad things happen.  First, just annoying discomfort like headaches and dry mouth.  More severe symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, light headedness, poor concentration, weakness, fatigue and nausea.  Severe dehydration then starts screwing with our vision, brain function, circulation and muscles.  Your body basically starts to shut down after about 10-15% of water loss.  That’s not that much.  Water is CRITICAL.

Make-Shift Rain Catch with Trash Bag

Make-Shift Rain Catch with Trash Bag

A common survival mantra is the Rule of Threes:

In extreme conditions, you can live 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.


Needless to say, water is at the top of your list of priorities in ANY survival situation.  When prepping a Bug Out Bag, you MUST include 72 hours worth of FRESH DRINKING WATER.  Disasters (both man-made and natural) can decimate fresh drinking water supplies.  During and following almost every disaster, local water facilities are often off grid and well pumps will stop working once the electricity goes out.  Combine this with failing sanitation facilities and you’ve got a recipe for a shortage of drinking water.  When Hurricane Katrina struck, for example, bottled water had to be shipped in by the semi-truck load and emergency crews still couldn’t keep up with the demand for fresh water.  Almost all of our natural waterways have been polluted beyond the point of no return – making them unsafe to drink without treatment and filtration…which brings me to my next point.


Filtration and Purification

In addition to a 3-Day supply of drinking water, you should also be prepared to gather, filter and purify more water from other sources in the event that you need to do so.  This equipment and/or treatment option should be packed in your kit and you should know how to use it without instructions.  There are countless scenarios that can require you to need more water than a 3 day supply.  Below are just a few:

  • Extreme heat or travel
  • Water is lost or stolen
  • Water gets contaminated
  • Container(s) broken
  • Traveling for longer than expected
  • Personal hygiene needs
  • Charity (giving water to someone else who needs it more)

Without question, one of the first supply categories that needs to be checked off the list when prepping a Bug Out Bag needs to be WATER and THE MEANS TO GATHER, FILTER AND PURIFY MORE OF IT if necessary.  I spend a lot of time in my book about the latter.  From the containers you choose to the water filtration and purification process you use, every decision and choice must be intentional and, ideally, many of your kit items should also be multi-functional – serving more than 1 survival purpose.

Prefiltering Water with a Bandana

Prefiltering Water with a Bandana

I know that packing 3 days worth of fresh drinking water seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people I speak to tell me that water is too heavy and they’ll just find some along the way.

If a disaster strikes my home and I have to Bug Out, I will be packing water.

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Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,




  1. Nice.. 🙂 What bag is that by the way? Just curious.

    • Yogesh- Thanks for the visit. The bag in the photo is called the Maxpedition Condor II and it’s built like a tank. They are a little pricey but made very well. Hope this helps! Creek

    • The Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack is also a very heavy duty pack, and looks similar to the one in the picture, but has a yellow interior to aid in finding gear in low light situations. Right now they’re on sale for $100. Sorry about the late post…

  2. How often should the stored water be rotated out? I’ve heard lots of discussion re: plastics, metals, etc affecting the taste and composition of the water as well.

    I’ll be in the virtual line waiting to get the book when it comes out!

    • larryl – I do a biannual review of the consumables in my pack – every Novemberish and Mayish. I change out my food and water supply and also update my clothing items – add cold weather items in Novemberish and remove them in Mayish. I wouldn’t worry too much about the taste/composition issue. As long as you are using food-grade containers for your water that’s really the best you can do. Nalgene bottles are great. A container can effect the taste sometimes but it certainly won’t make you sick and it’s better to have your water packed and ready to go than to take the time to gather containers and fill them in the midst of a chaos. That’s my 2 cents. Hope this helps! I’ll post on the site when the book is available for pre-order. I really appreciate your visit, comment and support! Creek

  3. Buy my calculations I would have to carry approximately 21, 16 oz bottles of water. That puts an awful weight in my BOB. I have a Katadyn water filter bottle. I carry some water but not 21 bottles. Am I doing something wrong?

    • As a general rule you should have 3 liters of water per person. The amount you’ve listed yield approx. 12 liter of water. Do you have 4 people in your family? Ideally, at least some of them should be able to carry their own water in a secondary BOB.

Creek's new survival fiction novel, RUGOSA, now available on Amazon.com!