How do I get started in Food & Water Storage?

If you are asking this question, I’m going to skip all the fancy survival talk about grain mills and meat rabbits and oxygen absorbing packets and heirloom seeds and mylar bags and and food grade buckets and shelf life and all that jazz.  This stuff has been hashed and rehashed on countless other survival blogs.  Maybe I will do a post here sometime titled “LONG TERM FOOD AND WATER SELF-RELIANCE” that deals with securing food and water in addition to your storage items.  I could discuss in more detail the systems I have in place to deal with these issues.  This, though, is not that post.

Researching Survival Food and Water Storage can get a little overwhelming if you let it.  If you are just starting, I’m going to help you Keep It Simple.

If you are asking this question to begin with, chances are that you have LITTLE to ZERO food and water storage in place at this moment.  It’s OK – don’t panic.  But also, don’t wait any longer to get started.  Disasters give NO WARNING and show NO MERCY.

This post is for those who have NO CURRENT FOOD AND WATER STORAGE.  My answer to your question about how to get started is very simple and to the point.

Skip the fancy survival prepping dictionary and BUY YOUR FOOD & WATER STORAGE ITEMS.  That’s right, buy them.  I’ll tell you where.   And, order them now – within the next 24 hours if you can afford to do so.  Once you have a 1 month supply of Food and Water storage on hand, then you can relax and research about how to expand your bounty in a more economical way.  However, you will find that it’s not really that much less expensive…

I keep 1 year of Food and Water Storage on hand.  This means that I have ALL of the FOOD and ALL of the WATER stored on a shelf that I need for 1 ENTIRE YEAR.  I recommend a minimum of 3 months.  But to get started – focus on getting 1 month crossed off the list.

What do you need for 1 month of Food Storage?

Answer: Easy to prepare, nutritious, long shelf life, turn-key full meals.

Go to and buy a 1 Month Food Storage package and have it shipped to you.  Their web-site is  You can select from a variety of packages that will fit your needs.  Their food is good and the cost per meal is very reasonable.  CALL IN YOUR ORDER because often they have deals that aren’t listed on the site.  I don’t get a kick-back, this is just a company I’ve dealt with in the past and know them to be the real deal.  They are ‘just add water’ meals that are individually packaged and easy to prepare.


Another good web-site for Food Storage products is  Their selection of items will make you dizzy.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Remember, you just need to to start with 1 month of turn-key easy to prepare long shelf-life meals.

Buy what are called ENTREE MEALS.  This is a complete Meal-In-A-Bag and you don’t have to worry about buying side dishes, main courses, ingredients, etc…  KEEP THIS SIMPLE!  It’s easy to get caught up in all the details.  Right now, you just need SIMPLE & FAST FOOD STORAGE – an easy solution.  Trust me, I hate spending my hard earned money on food storage too, but I have to say, there is a certain sense of peace and satisfaction that comes from knowing you are not immediately dependent on our JUST-IN-TIME food supply chains.  Our food supply is dependent on SOOOO many factors.  When disaster strikes, it screws with pretty much ALL of these factors.  99% of the food you see in a grocery store is ON THE SHELF.  Their back rooms are filled with empty cardboard boxes.  The food arrives on a truck and is immediately stocked on the shelves.  If the truck doesn’t come today, guess what?  No milk and bread today – that’s what.  Will it come tomorrow?  Not if the roads are covered in ice or if their is a fuel crisis or if someone starts dropping bombs or if a tornado shreds half of your city.  1000s of factors can affect our food supply chain.  Do you think the milk was delivered to this neighborhood in Joplin, MO on the day the picture below was taken.  Heck, do think it was delivered that week even?  That month?

1 Month Food Storage – DONE – check it off the list.

What do I need for Water Storage?

First, how much water per person?  My rule is 2 gallons per day.  I tested this theory for 3 months and it comes out about right.  I could have probably gotten away with less.  This is enough for food preparation, drinking, personal hygiene and cleaning.  Obviously, it needs to be rationed accordingly.  Want to know your exact amount???   … buy 20 gallons of bottled water at the store and turn your faucets off for a week.  Use a rain barrel to gather water to use for flushing your toilet and washing your clothes.  See how long 20 gallons lasts you and your family for food prep, hydration and hygiene.  Take a ‘spit-bath’ in the sink.  Sure, it’ll suck, but it’s also fun at the same time.  Your friends will think you’ve gone crazy.  Who cares?  At the end of the week, calculate up how much water you’ve used (and how many of the empties you had to fill back up!) and that’s your number.

In the mean time, order one of these water storage kits shown below:


You can get them on the Sams Club Web-Site for only $68.88 :

Or, direct from the manufacturer for more $$$ at: Auguson Farms

This is what I use for the bulk of my water storage.  These are 55 gallon food grade drums.  The kit comes with a 2-part water purification/storage chemical which you dump in while you fill the drum.  It also comes with a pump siphon for getting the water out into more manageable containers during an emergency.  Just a note, only fill these puppies up in the place where you want to store them because once they are full – forget about moving them.  55 gallons of water goes a long way.  110 gallons goes twice as long 🙂  These kits are a small price to pay for fresh water when the grid goes down.

1 Month (or more) Water Storage – DONE – Check it off the list!

Don’t get intimidated by photos and videos from other preppers showing off their food storage!

Your storage doesn’t have to look like a well organized bulk foods store.  Much of my own doesn’t look this way.  While the bulk of my food and water storage is through the 2 vendors listed above, I still have shelves packed with a bunch of miscellaneous water containers, dried foods, MRES, etc…  Here is a photo below.

As I’m making routine trips to the grocery store I like to grab a few extra items here and there to add to my food stores.  You’d be surprised how fast you can build up a descent back-up pantry with just a few dollars a week.  This method does take time, though.  I would strongly suggest that you get something turn-key in place and then supplement with this trickle-storage method.


That’s a tricky question and I guess the answer would be “It depends.”  In the event of a complete economic collapse, severe depression, global disaster, viral pandemic or foreign invasion (all of which are completely possible) you cannot have TOO MUCH food and water storage.  Any of these large scale events would change the world as we know it – and certainly how we access food and water.  When people ask me “How much is too much?”, my answer is always the same: “Do you have friends or loved ones?”  Prepping for survival is just as much about taking care of your loved ones as it is yourself and many would argue that their primary motivation for prepping is to take care of other people in the event that the grid goes down – Mom, Dad, Kids, Wife, Husband, Brother, Sister, Grandma, Grandpa…  At the same time, spending all of your disposable income on storage products isn’t the best option in my opinion either.  You have to find your own happy medium.

An important consideration, however, is spoilage.  You don’t want to store an excess of food items with relatively short shelf lives.  I love buying organic food items and fresh local vegetables and meats for my daily meals, but when it comes to my survival rations I buy SHELF LIFE.  Wise Food Meals (listed above) have a shelf life of 25 years.  I really don’t have the time or interest to constantly be checking expiration dates on my food stores.  This, though, is a personal choice and like most things when it comes to survival – you can do it YOUR WAY.  It is the DOING IT that’s important.  A different approach to accomplish the same goal still equals success.

Creek – Do you ONLY store FOOD and WATER in preparation for a WCS (worse case scenario)?

No, I have storage of many items.  Food and Water, though, are the top 2.  Cross these off the list first and then we can discuss ammo, fuel, batteries, etc…  Totally different post for another day.

Tell us about your storage products/ideas/methods in a comment below.  1000s of readers visit this site and are eager to learn for your experiences in Food and Water Storage as well – so am I.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,




  1. Wow.

    I’ve been following this website for the past few weeks (from AoM), and I must say, my perspective on planning and storage has changed dramatically. Thank you, Creek, for the down-to-Earth, basic examples on how to get started. I have multiple areas I need to tackle and these posts have been very helpful. Thanks!


  2. This is great. I’ve been wondering lately what would be the best way to store water in a BOB? If they are containers filled from home there is a chance of the water stagnating if I’m not mistaken. What would be a good way to handle that?

    • Dan- I use or change out my BOB water every 6 months and have never had an issue. However, if you are concerned about this, a good rule of thumb for storing water in your BOB is to add 2 drops of 5.25% regular unscented household chlorine bleach per liter or quart of water each 6 months. This will keep your H2O good to go! That is also the rule of thumb for disinfecting unknown/unsafe water with bleach. The water must be clear – not cloudy. Double that amount for cloudy water and wait at least 30 mins. for both. This would be a good post topic, actually. There is a lot of confusion in general about disinfecting water with bleach. I will put a post in the pipeline that clears all of this up. Thanks – Creek

      • if bleach takes care of water (and if you only have to add bleach every 6 months) then why do you rotate water? this is where I am confused. Is my water good from 5 years ago (bleach added) or not?

        thanks for the good read and good tips.


      • If you’re storing your water out of direct sunlight (like the basement) and hitting it once or twice a year with a few drops of bleach then I don’t see why your 5 year old water wouldn’t be just fine. It’ll probably be pretty bland (if that makes any sense for describing the taste of water :)) Pouring it back and forth between two containers will help add in oxygen which will improve the flavor. Does this help Cynthia?

      • yes, thanks for the quick response!

  3. I picked up a 55 gallon water drum and some Augason Farms rice/beans buckets on Costco’s website- they have free shipping

  4. Hey Creek,

    A great post, and well timed as I am just starting my own food storage project.
    I stumbled upon some information by Wendy DeWitt, which focuses primarily on canning and vacuum sealing.
    I live in a very earthquake prone area, and so am not putting “all of my eggs in a glass jar”, and have many “staple” foods in storage as well, just in case.
    One of the appeals of the canning for me is the opportunity to save leftover foods that might otherwise go to waste without putting them in the freezer, as without power most of those foods will spoil quickly.
    The initial cost is also reasonably cheap, and canning allows for the long term storage of foods you are probably more likely to rotate through your pantry.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Peter- There is certainly a place for canning in a prepper’s tool chest. It is a great skill to learn. I, for one, need to invest some time in this area. Thanks for sharing. Creek

  5. I view food as a multi prong process.I have food for staying in,some food at destinations if I can get there,some food for the backpack,still working on that but a couple of Molle sustainment bags to get by,the pack is a ongoing process but I at least have something.Once you get a months in any way possible as Creek says just keep adding a bit,rotate stock ect.Stuff that is easy to prepare and nutritious and can live happily on the shelf.You are stuck in and see power ect .gone clean/cookout the fridge.Water storage food grade barrels can be gotten occasionally for free or short money on sites like Craigslist,pump can be added or like rain barrels just a spigot.Another water solution is just a bunch of gallon bottles if funds tight,heck even hit a route on recycle day.Make sure any foods protected from rodents,ect.,they can easily chew through the 5 gal. pails,hang from hooks or metal barrels if necc..There is water in hot water tanks in emergencies,away from home ect.Wow,a lot to think about,just do a little a day and treat it like a spare tire,great to have,hope you don’t need it!

  6. If I have a spring that starts at my house do I need lots of packaged water or just a way to purify the water for drinking from the spring?

    • Jen – LUCKY YOU! Any survivalist/prepper (including myself) would love to have a fresh water spring even near their home – let alone close by. Before you depend on it completely, be sure to have the water tested. Call your local water company or a local well digging company and ask where you can test some water. Assuming everything checks out and the spring flows year-round then the answer to your question is NO – you do not need to have lots of water storage. Furthermore, if it’s a true fresh water spring, there should be no need to purify it either. But, like I said, get a sample tested and see what they say.

  7. While storing your own water is a great method all water must be purified before drinking or using for personal hygiene. For water treatment there are also some options. Depending on the amount of water to be treated there are water purification tablets. These inexpensive tablets can effective treat hundreds of gallons of water killing water-borne organisms that cause stomach disorders such as Diarrhoea, Cholera, Typhoid. Water purification systems are a bit more pricey but will insure water safety for your family for yours to come if necessary.

  8. I often do not post in Blogs but your blog forced me
    to, amazing job, beautiful. Regards!

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