Prefiltering Water with a Bandana

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

Series Introduction

I am the author of a Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, which is a step-by-step manual for building your own 72-hour disaster preparedness kit.

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.


Did you know I have a FULL ONLINE COURSE about how to Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag???  I’ve marked some of the lessons as FREE PREVIEWS so you can watch some of the course if you want to.  Here’s the link:

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


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