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  • Store, Filter, Purify: 3 Ways to Have Safe Drinking Water

    Safe drinking water...not quiteIf you’re out in the wild and see a clear stream or river, you might think you've found safe drinking water. After all, you can see to the bottom and there aren’t any weird-looking floaties. Before you take even a sip from that water source, you may want to treat it.

    Actually, let me rephrase that. You will want to treat it.

    Drinking water that hasn’t been filtered or purified can have disastrous results. Diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting are just a few of the negative side effects of drinking untreated water, not to mention diseases such as cholera that can crop up from it.

    So yeah, you’ll want to treat the water.

    When it comes to securing clean, safe drinking water for you and your family, knowing the differences between filtering and purifying, as well as how and where to store said water, can help you make an educated decision as to which type of tool you will need. And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.



    Safe Drinking water with Katadyn Get safe drinking water with Katadyn's Hiker Pro water filter

    Water filters are like colanders. After you’ve finished boiling your pasta or pot stickers (or whatever it is you fancy for dinner), you dump it all into your colander. The water drains through the little holes in the strainer, while your food is unable to fit through, so it just stays behind. Water filters are the same way. They physically obstruct impurities in the water by not allowing them to pass through the filter. Filters are effective in eliminating bacteria, protozoa, and cysts, all of which can cause diseases. They may not, however filter out smaller floaties such as viruses.

    One of the nice things about filters is that many are small and portable, so you can take them with you camping or hiking, or even to just keep in your emergency kit. Filters like the Katadyn Hiker Pro and the Katadyn Combi are favorites of many hikers, campers, and preppers alike.



    While filters get rid of many harmful substances, purifiers make water safe from the remaining impurities such as bacteria and viruses. Usually this is done by using chlorine or iodine. Purifiers will not, however, take out sediment and other larger, harmful things, such as heavy metals. These purification tablets are a popular choice among hikers, campers, preppers, and travelers, as they are small, easy to carry, and can be used to treat water wherever you are, especially during an emergency. Purification can be used after filtering your water for extra security in your water's safety.


    Storing Water

    Another option to ensure you have safe drinking water is to have a long-term water storage. Of course, that water needs to be clean when it was packaged. There are a few options to go about storing water.

    The first is to get pre-packaged water. You know it’s clean and it will last quite some time. It’s also easy to grab on your way out the door in the event of an emergency.

    Another option is the do-it-yourself method. This is the favored way of many people. If you decided on the do-it-yourself method, make sure you use good, food-grade plastic, such as pop bottles. Don’t use containers that once housed milk or juice, as the proteins and sugars can spoil your water.

    Safe drinking water in 320 gallons The 320-gallon water reserve will keep you well-watered with safe drinking water

    Purchasing water containers is a good option, because the quality will be good, and many (if not most) are blue in color, which helps prevent the sun from penetrating your water and helping little organisms grow. As some examples of these kinds of water containers, we carry 5-gallon jugs, 15-gallon, 30-gallon, and 55-gallon water barrels, and even a 160-gallon water reserve (the 160-gallon water reserves stack, by the way, to allow you to have a 320-gallon ultimate water reserve. That’ll keep you going for a while!). While you may not have room for a 320-gallon behemoth, the smaller barrels and containers are great options to keep in your basement, garage, or wherever it is you store water. Just remember: keep them out of direct sunlight, and the cooler the storage temperature, the better!

    When storing water that came from your faucet, it should be swapped out every six months. However, in order to make sure the tap water you’ve stored for a year or more is still safe to drink, Zane Satterfield (engineer scientist at West Virginia University), suggests adding four drops of plain, unscented bleach (per gallon of water) to your water container, let sit for 30 minutes, and you’ll be good to go.


    Standing & Stagnant Water vs. Running Water

    Safe drinking water - not this Standing water is a breeding ground for microorganisms.

    If you find yourself hunting for water in the wild, running water is practically always a better option than standing or stagnant water. That’s because water that isn’t moving becomes a breeding ground for harmful microbes that can make us incredibly sick – or worse. Running water, such as in rivers and streams, make it more difficult for such dangerous life to settle down and thrive. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make running water safe to drink, either. There are still harmful microbes floating around in rivers and creeks and streams that you’ll want to filter out.


    As you can see, there are plenty of options for securing safe, clean drinking water. Choose the option that’s best for you, but don’t forget to have a backup plan, just in case. After all, if you have a 55-gallon water barrel and are forced to evacuate, you’ll be happy you have your handy-dandy Katadyn Hiker water filter (or other water filter that suits you better). On the other hand, your favorite water filter won’t be much good in case of a drought, but your 320-gallon water reserve will most certainly come in handy. And of course, a combination of resources is always a great option.


    How do you acquire clean, safe drinking water? Let us know in the comments below!


    Safe Drinking Water - Other Disasters

  • Water Filter Essentials

    Being able to create good, clean water wherever you are will not only wet your whistle, but also save your life.

    Filtered Water

    Water storage is very important in being prepared for the unexpected, but what if you’re far away from your water storage? Perhaps you’re out hiking. Well let me tell you, toting around a 30 gallon water barrel just isn’t going to work if that’s the case. Or maybe your living arrangements don’t allow for extensive water storage. There are many scenarios in which you might need something more. Fortunately, there are plenty of handy, portable water filters on the market that you can invest in.

    With so many water filters out there, how are you supposed to know which one is best for you? Fear not, faithful readers! I have just completed my official emergency preparedness expert Katadyn Water Filter Training, and now I’m here to pass along all my hard-earned secrets. Ready? Here we go!

    Old man and the Sea in a SkiffFirst of all, let’s talk about the why. We can find water almost anywhere. Unfortunately, very little of this water is drinkable. As the Ancient Mariner once said, bemoaning his fate as he was stuck out at sea,

    Water, water, everywhere,

    nor any drop to drink.

    That’s exactly how it can be. So much water, but most of it so very undrinkable. What makes water unsuitable for human consumption? Well, let’s just say there are plenty of nasties in the water, and it would be best for us if we didn’t invite them into our bodies. There are three main kinds of water hazards we should avoid:

    • Protozoan cysts (0.5 microns)
    • Bacteria (2-15 microns)
    • Viruses (0.018 microns)

    These bad boys can make a person sick. Fortunately, the Katadyn filters are designed to keep them out of your water. All of the filters will work great against the protozoan cysts and bacteria, since those little guys are big enough to be stopped by the filters. Viruses, however, are a wee bit too small for filters to be effective.

    Normally you won’t have to worry about viruses, as those only show up near where human activity takes place. For example, a stream, creek, or lake or something off the beaten path where people don’t generally venture forth, will be quite free of viruses. Rivers and lakes near civilization could be a problem, however. Also flood water. Don’t drink flood water.

    Lake with blue skies No people? No problem (for filters, at least)!

    Viruses can be eliminated with a tablet (the Katadyn guy prefers the Micropur purification tablets). Just drop a tablet in the water and let it go to work. It’s one tablet per liter of water. If the water is clear, you only have to wait 30 minutes before the water is good to go. If it’s dirty water, however, your wait could be up to 4 hours. But again, in the wild or away from humans, you won’t need tablets. The filters will be just fine.

    Now, I’d like to take a moment and talk about two of the filters that were demonstrated. One is a simple, reliable and totally portable personal filter. The other is great for filtering larger volumes of water for a camp, or a family in an emergency.

    Hiker ProThe #1 selling filter on the market is the Hiker Pro. There aren’t many moving parts, so it’s reliability rating is very high. It’s super light (11 oz.), so hiking with it is a breeze! It has a carbon core which also helps to improve the taste of the water. Another nifty bit with this filter is the quick release valve and bottle adapter. With this, you can quickly disconnect your hose from the filter and connect it to your bottle. It’s an easy transition, and a great way to quickly fill your water bottle. Speaking of speed, it pumps about a liter a minute. Not bad, if you’re far from a sink or faucet.

    The second filter is the Base Camp Pro, and it is ridiculously cool. For one thing, it’s crazy fast (as in 2 liters a minute), and uses Base Campgravity to do all the work. Just hang it up in a tree (or have your kid hold it and call it a workout) with its extra-large strap and watch the water flow! It holds 10 liters of water, and is guaranteed not to clog with debris and other contaminants. The coolest thing about this (for me, anyway) is that you can turn the Base Camp into a shower with the handy dandy shower adapter. Say goodbye to nasty, showerless camping trips!

    I won’t talk about every filter we saw, since we already have a great article identifying all the filters and purifiers we carry. Instead, I’ll politely send you to check that out by clicking here.

    If you’re looking for a filter for hiking, home, or just-in-case, Katadyn has some great options for all situations, so you won’t have to worry about getting caught (ahem) in the rain.

    What’s your favorite filter? What do you look for in a filter? Let us (and your fellow preppers) know in the comments!



  • Portland Issues a City-Wide Boil Order

    Portland Issues a City-Wide Boil Order

    On Friday, May 23, the Portland, Oregon Water Bureau issued a city-wide boil order after E. coli was detected in the water. According to ABC News, this 24-hour boil order was the largest in the city’s history, affecting 670,000 people in the city and several outlying suburbs.

    Coffee shops, restaurants, and bars were forced to close during this period, impacting their weekend sales. But grocery stores saw a spike in sales as people purchased water jugs, bottled water, and soda cans in excess.

    Although the boil order ended on Saturday, May 24th, the city still hasn’t figured out the source of the contamination. But it’s assumed that an animal spread fecal matter through the city’s water system. The city drained and cleaned two reservoirs, but is telling residents to continue to take caution and to run their taps for two minutes to eliminate any contaminated water.

    Even though the boil order only lasted a day, drinking contaminated water can have serious effects and can cause illness. One way to prepare for a boil order and to avoid depleting grocery shelves is to store water and to have a water filter like the Katadyn Hiker and a method of water purification like Micropur tablets on hand that can remove or kill bacteria and protozoa in the water.


    To learn more about the Portland boil order, check out these articles:

    “Portland Issues Boil Order . . .” from the Oregonian

    “Looking Back on Portland’s largest Boil Order Alert . . .” from the Oregonian

    “Portland lifts City-Wide Boil Order” from ABC News


    To learn more about water storage, and filtration and purification, check out these articles:

    Water Restrictions Making you Blue?

    Discover the Best Water Treatment System for You


    What are your tips for surviving a boil order? 


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