I spent this weekend attending the Gray Zone Summit (virtual) and found it to be time well spent. The guest speakers were solid experts in their respective fields and provided very timely information that was immediately actionable. One subject struck home, and I feel it is often overlooked, that is water. While out venturing on long distance trails it became immediately apparent that much of my day was spent figuring out how to conserve and find suitable water. The key word being, suitable. Every single time I filled up I quickly looked at where the next source was and made sure I had enough on hand to make it to that spot. Carrying extra water is miserable, but so is being thirsty or becoming a heat casualty. It was a calculated decision at every stop on how much water I started back up the trail with.

I am a proponent of the Sawyer Squeeze filter, not the mini or micro, and have filtered water out West with cows standing in it. This wasn’t my first choice, but when temps are in the 90s and this is the only source for miles then you must do what you must do. I recommend substituting the factory bags that come with the filter, as they are junk, and pick up either a 2L or 3L CNOC Vecto bag as your dirty water bag. With a twist tie and coupler, you can turn the system into a gravity fed filter and thus free up some time to do other things. I personally use (it is a thru hiker standard) 700ml and 1L Smart Water bottles as my clean containers. It is important to note that if you are expecting freezing temps, you must safeguard this filter within your pack and sleep with it at night.

In my home I use a Berkey filter as my everyday filtration system. It is bombproof and portable if I have enough time to pack all my gear to move to another location. Preparedness must be a lifestyle and it is a lot more palatable to your finances if you incorporate your preps into daily living. We all have a lot of shiny cool gadgets sitting on shelves, but this doesn’t have to be one of them. An extra bonus is there are fluoride filters you can attach that will also filter this waste byproduct that many municipalities add “for your health.”

My water is city sourced and is a severe preparedness limitation. During my area study I mapped out every stream, lake and river within a relatively close area that would be feasible to carry water from. This is not the most ideal situation, but it is one I am taking steps to mitigate. Another item I found useful are the Reliance water jugs that you can find at Walmart for about 16 dollars. I stack these 7-gallon jugs 2 high and throw a tarp over them while stacked next to the house. My goal is to have seven days of water for the family which will buy me enough time to execute my contingency plan via my area study.

Water security is critical, and a lot of people just take it for granted. It must be a priority and it is important that you take meaningful steps now while the faucets turn on to ensure you can meet your needs in a grid down situation.


Crusoe is retired from the Air Force after 30-years of service as a flight crew member.  He spends most of his time thinking about the apocalypse and how to mitigate its effects.  When not immersed in academic pursuits, he is often on a trail hiking in the mountains of North Georgia or reading with a glass of Irish whiskey and a German Shepherd by his side.   Global travel enthusiast, history nerd, Appalachian Trail thru hiker, and recovering ultra-endurance athlete.  He can be reached at [email protected]