Water Filtration Tips from Preppers

Recently, it came to our attention that 64 million Americans have unsafe drinking water. Filtering tap water these days is not a luxury, but a necessity. There are too many contaminants in our groundwater from factories and underground pollution.

Regardless of how good your tap or well water may seem, it has some contaminants. Some of these come from environmental pollutants, while others come from natural surroundings. Rivers and lakes are generally good forms of water, yet they still get contaminated by pollutants, acid rain, and storms.


How much water do you need to store? 

Humans use two gallons of water per day, both in hygiene and drinking.

We can get by with one gallon per day (8 glasses). The other gallon is rationed amongst hygienic activities like brushing teeth, washing dishes, cleaning hands, and added into food and cooking.

When you look at this, you can already see how much water you would need to prepare a week's supply. Based on the figures above, a family of four would need 56 gallons to last them a week. The average bathtub holds 50-70 gallons, but you can't keep them clean unless you get one of those WaterBOB bathtub bladders.

What containers to use

For long-term storage of water you need food-grade, BPA-free, high-density polyethylene containers. These aren’t just disposable plastic bottles. You are using them for long-term storage so that when the time comes, you can be sure you are drinking clean water.

Storing more than 50 gallons

There are various types of containers you can get depending on how much you want to store. The blue water PE storage barrel is perfect for anything over 50 gallons of water. I use two of these and they are easy to wash out when I cycle new water in the barrels and they come with a hand pump that is really handy for a hose connection for the kitchen faucet.

I heard that there are 260-gallon tanks available, but I've only just learned a little about them from a few friends who fill theirs with rainwater. They found the only difficult thing about it was fitting it in, however, it is a great reserve to be using in their basement or out of the house as a sanitary flush system or hygiene use backup.

Storing less than 50 gallons

Those handy 7-gallon Aqua Containers are a good option for camping or just as an extra in the kitchen. I have been seeing a lot of preppers and survivalists use these containers.

There is a full guide on how to store water on the prepping guide website, so be sure to check it out!

Why you need to use water filters

Many people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water. But access to clean drinking water is not just an issue in poor countries; it happens in civilized western nations too. How? When water purification plants shut down, in flood emergencies or other natural disasters, there is limited access to clean drinking water. With unclean water comes the chance of encountering nasty germs such as cholera and typhoid. Bacteria hiding in water can cause anything from diarrhea to vomiting and place extreme stress on the body possibly resulting in death.

why you need to use water filters

This is something you want to avoid, especially if you are outdoors in a survival environment, or if you are trapped in a flood disaster where clean water is scarce and only available where you have previously stored it.

One of the main reasons for using a water filter is that they are cheap and accessible to everyone. These filters are not expensive. For the most simple personal filters, such as the Lifestraw and the Sawyer filter, they are typically under $20.

So let’s take a look at our four filters.

Top 2 Best Water Filters

Whether you want a little peace of mind from your home’s water, or are an avid camper who wants to have clean water while in the wilderness, here are a few options you might want to consider. If you're experiencing severe water pollution, it's always best to consult a professional – though if you just want to reduce pollutants for water on-the-go, try these top water filters

1. The LifeStraw

LifeStraw is one of my favorite products because of its simplicity and good design. LifeStraw's work is amazing. With every LifeStraw sold, a school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for an entire year. Doesn't that make it worth the price?

The LifeStraw filters 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa. The bacteria it removes are also:

  • Escherichia coli
  • Campylobacter
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Shigella
  • Salmonella

LivingStraw's Mission product goes a step further to also remove viruses from water, so there's a level to which item you need. Because I have used it myself, I recommend the LifeStraw because it is designed for survivalists and people frequenting the outdoors to drink clean, filtered water, while also being a small (9′′) and light item.

How does the straw actually work? It's so simple, whenever you come across a body of water, such as a river, creek, or stream, you simply use the straw to drink it. When you drink through the straw, the water is filtered by a particle-catching filter small enough to catch the bacteria as the water passes through.

The downside to the LifeStraw that I use? I can’t store filtered water with it. So if I wanted to take water with me I would have to carry a container of unfiltered water and drink it through the LifeStraw.

2. Sawyer Filter

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is the closest competitor to the LifeStraw. The difference between the two is that the Sawyer is able to attach directly to standard disposable water bottles and the Sawyer’s attached drinking pouch or camelback hydration packs.

Because of the features of the Sawyer and its added accessories, I would say for technical purposes the Sawyer is the best unit to use as a personal filter for survivalists, hikers, and preppers. The Sawyer's filter life is 370 times longer than the LifeStraw, so it has a very competitive edge over the LifeStraw in both functionality and longevity.

I don't think the LifeStraw is bad, but the Sawyer's features make it a better backup.

Read more: 10 Effective Lost Ways to Live off the Grid

Other Portable Water Filters that you might want to consider

1. IDEAPRO Emergency Camping Personal Water Filter Straw Purifier

IDEAPRO's Emergency Camping Personal Water Filter Straw is a great camping or hiking tool to have on hand. According to the description on Amazon, with a double filtration system, this handy and portable straw has the capacity to filter up to 1,500 liters of water, eliminating harmful contaminants including coli bacillus, legionella, heavy metal ions, chlorine, volatile organic compounds (VOC), organic, and insect contaminants. The system can be used with rainwater, tap water, unfiltered reservoirs, ponds, rivers, and lakes. For $19.99, you get the straw as well as a foldable straw, water pouch, extension tube, pre-filter, and backwash device. IDEAPRO does warn that the straw will not filter out chemicals.

2. Etekcity 1500L Emergency Camping Equipment 3-stage filtration

Etekcity 1500L Emergency Camping Equipment 3-stage filtration

Etekcity portable water filter is light and easy to carry. It has been tested by TüV SüD Institute and meets EPA water quality standards. The pack includes a pre-filter, antibacterial activated carbon filter and 0.01 Microns hollow fiber UF membrane inline filter that removes 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli and removes 99.9999 percent of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium. While most of the reviews of this product on Amazon are positive, a few people commented that it takes a long time to filter the water. You can get one of your own for around $15.

3. Nakii Long-Lasting, Wide-Spout, Portable Water Filter

Nakii Long-Lasting, Wide-Spout, Portable Water Filter

This portable Nakii water filter can easily be placed on top of cups or pitchers to provide filtered water. According to Nakii, this filter effectively reduces 97 percent of chlorine, mercury, rust, sediment, and suspended particles, eliminating unpleasant colors and odors in water. It also reduces hardness and limescale, to ensure your water is healthier and fantastic tasting. Each filter lasts for around 150 gallons of water. Reviewers say it is a great portable filter and is great for filtering large quantities of water. This filter goes for around $23 on Amazon.

4. Soma 6-Cup Water Filter Pitcher

The Soma water filter is the only one that uses coconut shell carbon, which is a 100% plant-based filtration system. This sleek water filter comes in six and ten cup versions and reduces chlorine, mercury and copper in water. The reviewer explains that the filter is WQA (Water Quality Association) tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53. This standard focuses on heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury and selenium), inorganics (fluoride and nitrate plus nitrite) and volatile organic chemicals (chloroform surrogate as well as individual organic chemicals). This filter and pitcher cost $29.99.

5. Aquaovo Alter Ego Frio Personal Water Filter Outdoor

Aquaovo Alter Ego Frio is a stainless steel, thermal-insulated, personal water-filter bottle. It filters urban contaminants, like PCBs, lead, fluoride, arsenic, chlorine, aluminum, and radon, as well as lake and river-borne organisms like cryptosporidium and giardia. This bottle is often recommended as a good “go” bottle. This bottle is quite pricey totaling in at $62 on Amazon.

6. Bobble Water Bottle

Bobble's reusable bottle filters water as you drink, using a replaceable carbon filter. This product is designed for municipal tap water only, so you should not use it to filter any other type of water. One filter equates to 300 single-serve bottles of water. You can get a bobble for $10.25.

7. GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier [+ FILTER] BOTTLE

GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier [+ FILTER] BOTTLE

The GRAYL Ultralight is powered by a patented electroadsorbtive media, which removes submicron pathogens and inorganic contaminants effectively. The filter removes 99.9999 percent of viruses (such as Hepatitis A, SARS, Rotavirus and 99.9999 percent of disease-causing bacteria (like E. coli, Salmonella) as well as and 99.999 percent of protozoan cysts (e.g. Giardia). It takes around 15 seconds to get purified and filtered water. This bottle is also on the more costly side, at around $59.50.

8. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle

LifeStraw’s Go Water Bottle keeps you hydrated on the go and assures you're drinking high-quality water. Utilizing the LifeStraw technology which filters out 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria and 99.9 percent of waterborne protozoan parasites, this durable bottle is great for camping or long trips. At $40, this is a more expensive filtration system, but reviewers on Amazon seem to think it’s worth it.

9. LifeDefender BEST Water Filter Camping Bottle

LifeDefender filter water bottles use chemical-free coconut activated carbon filters to remove 99.999 percent of common bacteria, heavy metal ions, chlorine, and other organic contaminants. This is a durable and easy to transport BPA-free water bottle. The added bonus is that for every bottle purchased, $1 is donated to Water.org. The cost is about $35.


I would only use a DIY filter if I was left with no other resources than a pile of activated carbon (not an easy thing to come across in nature) and a filter. It would be much better to use one of the filters above.

With this pre-warning in mind, here is how you can make your own water filter at home:

1. Get some materials:

  • Get a plastic water bottle
  • A needle or nail to puncture the bottle
  • Activated carbon (small grainy type)
  • Paper filter, cloth, kitchen towel
  • Paper clip

2. Heat the needle over a flame and puncture small holes in the plastic bottle. You only need several holes. The more you have the faster the water flows, therefore, less filtration.
3. Use the activated carbon and fill the bottle with it up until it is about a third full.
4. You should pre-filter the water
5. Get your filter paper/cloth and make a cone with it and use the paperclip to close off that cone end
6. You then pour the dirty water through the cone filter you have made

This initial paper will remove the particles from the water

Eventually, the activated carbon will filter the water and you will have clean water drop from the bottom of the bottle

To speed up that process, blow into the top of the bottle adding pressure to the water and forcing it through the carbon


Water makes about 60 percent of your body and is involved in many essential human functions including regulating body temperature, flushing out toxins, and protecting body tissues, joints, and the spinal cord. Water also plays a crucial role in carrying out many of the body's chemical reactions, and without water, many body parts such as the skin would lose its normal shape and fullness.

Demand for water filtration has never been higher because of the high risk associated with impure water. Our natural resources are also under pressure due to pollution, climate change, and a growing population. Although tap water is supposed to be safe to drink, its contaminants adversely affect overall water quality. Furthermore, physical, chemical and microbiological contaminants from various sources make water unfit for consumption.

Considering the importance of water in sustaining life, it’s no surprise that access to clean water is a basic human right. Drinking purified water is vital for your health. Impure drinking water can be horribly harmful. That's why water filtration is so important. 

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