Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: water

Random thoughts on prepping October 2013

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This past weekend I did some soul searching and prioritizing for my SHTF survival plans. I asked myself a serious question. The questions was, “which is more important, food, water, or security?”

Like a lot of people who are prepping for a long term TEOTWAWKI situation I have limited resources. I would love to have a few million dollars to dump into land and an underground bunker. But I do not have that kind of financial resources. But I was lucky enough for my family to own some land in a rural area. While not what some people may consider a perfect bug out location, I have decided to set down roots and start a farm.

I lived in a town with a population of less than 8,000 people, and I lived just north of Houston Texas, and I am now living in a rural area of southeast Texas.

Once you move out of the city to the suburbs prepping plans change a little bit.

Once you move from the suburbs to a rural area prepping plans change a lot.


If you had seven days notice before SHTF

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Lets say the public was given a 1 week notice before the start of a major global conflict. Rarely does that kind of advance knowledge leak out to the public. For the sake of discussion lets say for once the public knows what is going to happen a week ahead of time.

One of the incidents I am referring to is the leak that Israel may attack Iran during Yum Kippor.

I have been hearing various rumors for over 2 decades, so I take them with a grain of salt and keep living life.

The word has leaked out, you do a review of your survival gear stockpile, now what?

What does your water stockpile look like?
What does your ammunition stockpile look like?
What does your fuel stockpile look like?
What about seeds for your long term survival garden, communications, livestock, livestock feed, firearms, propane,,, and other preps.


Ruger 10/22 and Marlin model 60 side by side

If you do not have your firearm and ammunition stockpile ready before SHTF, do not count on accumulating supplies after SHTF.

Lets say you had a 1 week notice, what would you buy? Would you buy ammunition, and sacrifice resources to buy food, water, livestock feed, fuel,,,?

Even if you have money to buy ammunition, what makes you think there is going to be anything on the shelves?

Would you rather buy ammunition, food, water, food for the livestock?

My 13 chickens (hens, no roosters) go through a 50 pound bag of laying mash every two weeks. For the price of 200 pounds of laying mash (4 – 50 pound bags), which would last around 2 months, I could buy 100 rounds of Federal 223 Remington.

Would you rather have 2 months of eggs, or would you rather have 100 rounds of 223 Remington?

Then there is the waiting period and permits that some sates have setup. Even if you wanted to buy a firearm, would you have enough time to go through the waiting period, background check, and permit application period?


Steripen Sidewinder First Impressions

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Steripen Sidewinder Water PurifierThe Steripen Sidewinder is a hand powered unit that purifies water with UV light.  Being hand powered means you can use the unit when there is no electrify, and no batteries required.  The SteriPen website claims the UV bulb is supposed to be good for 8,000 one liter treatments.  8,000 liters is an estimated 2,116 gallons.

Fill the included water bottle, then crank the handle for 90 seconds.  If you are not cranking fast enough, there are two LEDs that will flash red.  When the 90 seconds of cranking has been achieved, the LEDs will flash green.

Instead of cranking for a full 90 seconds, you can crank for 30 seconds, swirl the unit, crank for 30 seconds, swirl the unit, crank for 30 seconds, swirl the unit.  the SteriPen website says not to pause between cranking for more then about 6 or 7 seconds.

Difference between water filter and water purifier:

Water Filter – removes most waterborne pathogens, but does not remove or kill viruses.

Water Purifier – removes or kills everything, including viruses.

Do you have a water purifier?

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Drinking water in an urban survival situation

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If the water went off tonight, what kind of plans do you have in place? As with everything else in my survival plans, water is broken down into 3 phases – short term, medium term, and long term solution.

Short Term – this is your bottled water. Most people have a couple of cases of bottled water laying around somewhere. On a trip to the grocery store most people might grab a case or two of bottled water to have around for guest or parties.

Some survivalist stockpile water in 35 or 55 gallon drums.

When the water goes out, the bottled and stockpiled water will go first. Its convenient, you just un-screw the top of the bottle and the water is ready to drink. Most people like to take the easy way out, and bottled water is about as easy as it gets.

Medium Term – this is your water filters. This may include your Berkey water filters or some kind of backpacking, lightweight water filter.

Sooner or later, the filter is going to reach its lifespan, and that is it.

Long term – private water well that is safe to drink. This could include water wells on farms, or rural water wells where people do not get city water.

Now that we are past the three layers of water preps, lets move forward.  “Where” exactly do you get water in an urban survival situation?  Lets see, there are – local ponds, streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, rain fall, ditches, bayous,,,,,.

For an example, in the middle of Jasper, Texas (where I live), there is a park with a small pond and creek.  Using my bicycle  I could cycle to the park, use some water bottles to retrieve the water, bring it back home and run it through my Berkey water filter.  Its about 8 miles round trip from my home to the park.

River water – Another example, the Angelina River is just a few miles from my house.  Once again, using my bicycle I could cycle to the river, bring several 32 ounce water bottles, collect the water from the river, cycle back home and then run the water through my Berkey water filter.

Rain water – once those 55 gallon drums run out of water, they could be positioned under the down spout of a rain gutter.  But this only works if you live in an area that gets rain fall.  If you do not have any 55 gallon drums, some 5 gallon buckets should work just as good.  If nothing else, refill those water bottles that were used when the event first started.

Waterborne diseases – As sewers fill up and start to back up, people will start doing their “business” outside.  The problem here, is when an area receives rain fall, the sewage can be washed off the soil and into the local rivers, steams, ponds,,,, any kind of surface water.  If water can stand around the pipe going into a well, there is a chance that contaminated water can get into the well.  That is why its recommended that a cement step be built around the pipe of a well.

Possible diseases include:
E. Coli
Legionellosis – Legionnaires disease and Pontiac fever
Salmonellosis – Salmonella (mostly foodborne)
Typhoid fever
Hepatitis A – food and waterborne
only to name a few.

In my opinion, the ideal situation would be to have a water well with some kind of solar water pump on it, or at least a hand operated water pump.  In a worse case situation, having a well and a hand powered pump is better then nothing.

One of the big differences between urban and rural water plans, would probably be that a lot of people in rural areas already have some kind of water well in place. Whether its to water the cows, horses or other livestock, or as their main water source, a lot of people who live in rural areas have access to some kind of water well. From there, its just a matter of getting the water out of the well with no electricity.

I would like to hear some input on this topic. What are your safe drinking water plans in some kind of long term survival situation? Do you have a water well already in place? Do you have a rain water collection system already in place? Do you have any creeks, streams, ponds or lakes nearby that your planning on filtering the water from?

Post your comments in this thread about drinking water in an long term urban survival situation.

Royal Berkey water filter at the camp

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Its not enough to have survival plans, those plans have to be tested from time to time in a variety of conditions. And then, the results of those test have to analyzed. From the results of those test, what do you need to improve the outcome?

Between July 30 – August 1 my family and I spent 3 days at the camp; while we were there, I decided to hook up the Royal Berkey water filter and give it a test. The Royal Berkey had been assembled, but never actually used. And like all survival gear, it needs to be tested before its actually needed.

Water is one of the basic survival needs- food, water and shelter.  But having just “water” is not good enough, it needs to be “safe water.”

Awhile back I got a Royal Berkey water filter from – it was setup and a video was made about it. From there it was packed up and relocated to the camp, where it has stayed in storage for the past few months.

Water was taken from a nearby creek and poured into the reservoir. In about 15 minutes I could hear the first drips of the water hitting the bottom of the holding tank.

In about an hour, I was able to get a juice glass of water from the Royal Berkey.

One of the popular questions I see about the Berkey system – “do you have to prime the filters for them to work?” To get a real life answer, I did not prime the filters. The water was just poured into the reservoir with dry filters, and in about 15 minutes the water started dripping.

Stainless Steel – The Royal Berkey is made out of stainless, so rodents can not chew through it. This makes it a good choice if your looking for a long term storage filter – in other words, something you can store and not have to worry about it.

One of the big issues with storing goods at a remote location is rodents. Anything made out of plastic or cardboard can be chewed into by a mouse or rat. So lets say that you had some plastic water filters stored at your camp, how do you know for “sure” that when you need those water filters their not going to have chew holes in them?

Capacity – Each filter can filter around 3,000 gallons 2 filter unit – about 6,000 gallons 4 filter unit – about 12,000 gallons For most people, it would be impossible to store 6,000 – 12,000 gallons of safe drinking water. But with a Royal Berkey and 2 filters, its possible to make an estimated 6,000 gallons of water safe to drink.

Conclusion – A 2 filter system should be good for 2 – 4 people. But for 4 active adults, or more then 4 people, you might want to consider looking at a 4 filter unit.

Lets say you plan on having 6+ people in your group, I would consider going with something like a Imperial Berkey, just for the larger holding tank.

Royal Berkey – Holding capacity: Aprox. 3.25 Gallons.
Imperial Berkey – Holding capacity: Aprox. 4.5 Gallons.
Crown Berkey – Holding capacity: Aprox. 6 Gallons.

If I was going to buy a Berkey water filter for a camp / cabin or remote location, I would start looking at the Royal Berkey and go from there.  Depending on location, summer time heat, how many people, available water sources, I would probably start looking at the Royal Berkey, and move up the line to the most expensive filter that I could afford.

Safe drinking water is not something you want to go cheap on.

Post your comments in this forum thread about keeping a Berkey water filter at the camp.

Berkey Light Water Filter Overview

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Over the past few months I have been putting a lot of thought into the “safe drinking water after a disaster” topic. My personal solution is divided into 3 stages:

Short Term – this is your bottled water. Regardless if its 1 pint plastic bottles, or 55 gallon drums, this is your short term solution.

Mid Term – This is something like a berkey water filter system – where you can take water from a river, lake, pond, or steam, filter it and make it safe to drink.

Long Term – private well. You have your own private water supply of safe drinking water.

For this article we will be discussing the Berkey Light Water Filter, which was supplied by Red Barn Workshop.

Over the past few months I have been seeing people talk about the Berkey line of filters, now I understand what the hype is about. Overall, I am impressed with the unit, how simple it works and how simple the design is.  The filters use gravity to pull the water through them.  This means that no external pressure has to be applied – which is great for a survival situation.  With any pressure system – something is required to supply the pressure, such as a pump, every pressure system has to have some kind of seal to hold the pressure in,,,, this all means there is more stuff to fail and break.  One of the good things about the Berkey water filter system – the only moving part is the faucet.


Water Filter for a Bug Out Bag

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There is an interesting thread over on the forum asking about a water filter for a bug out bag.

Some of the suggestions include:
Katadyn Hiker (and Hiker Pro)
Sawyer filters and purifiers
MSR Miniworks
Sawyer Inline Water Filter
Katadyn vario

In this video we talk about the Katadyn vario from

Katadyn vario specs from the website:

*The Vario combines ceramic and pleated technology, and is adjustable for different field conditions
* Dual Piston technology means it offers the most efficient, fastest flow available
* The replaceable Carbon Core keeps water tasting fresh
* The Multi-Water Adaptor Base allows for the the easiest to fill water container/ bladder out there Specs
* Microfiltration Method: The cleanable ceramic disc lengthens the life of the primary pleated microfilter.
* The 0.3 micron high surface area pleated glassfiber microfilter removes waterborne bacteria and cysts. * The replaceable carbon core reduces chemicals, pesticides, and bad taste in water.
* Output: Up to 2 quarts (2 liters) per minute. * Cartridge Capacity: Up to 500 gallons (1875 liters), depending on water quality.
* Weight: 15 oz.
* Height: 6.5″
* Hose Length: 36″


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