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A Few Water Mistakes You Should Avoid

Food and water storage should be easy. In theory, at least, because the mistakes you can make are many. I was surprised I didn’t find too many articles on water mistakes, especially since water is more important than food in critical situations (remember the rule of threes?).

I took some time off to write them all down in one place. They aren’t that many but they do deserve their own page so let’s see them!

Purifying water with expired bleach

Non-scented bleach is one of the best and easiest ways to purify water, however, it has a shelf life of only 6 months.  Expired bleach won’t work for purification purposes but you can still use it to wash clothes and sanitize your home or bug out location. Everything’s reusable in a survival situation.

So if SHTF, you’re on the clock to use your bleach to purify water, because odds are you won’t find any in stores.

Boiling water for minutes on end

There’re various pieces of advice telling us to boil water for X or Y minutes to make it safe to drink. In reality, by the time water gets to a rolling boil, all pathogens should already be dead. This method won’t remove chemicals or particles coming from a possible nuclear meltdown that would contaminate nearby water reserves, by the way.

So where’s the mistake, you may ask? What’s wrong with boiling water for longer periods of time? Well, you’ll be wasting a lot of it through evaporation. This isn’t something you want in a survival situation if the supply is limited. So long as you can bring the water to 212F (or 100C), you’ll be fine.

Eating snow

Eating snow won’t help much in a survival situation. Your stomach has to spend energy warming it up so it can use it for hydration purposes, and that’s not really something you want to waste when you’re bugging out, lost on a mountain and trying to keep warm.

In addition, your body requires water in order to melt it. Why not use your gear to achieve the same thing and avoid hypothermia?

Storing water in containers that used to hold some other liquid

Bad idea. You never know the kind of bacteria that can grow there. I wrote an article on my blog a while back about food and water mistakes, this one was also listed. One gentleman replied saying he was storing water like this for 20 years and he was fine. I inquired further about it and I found out that he was rotating that water quite frequently, weekly, in fact. SO the bacteria didn’t have time to form.

Better safe than sorry, so always use the right containers for your water stockpile. Of course, you can always store it in milk jugs and then boil it or use bleach, but why not do it right from the start?

Camping too close to a water source

Why is this a bad idea? Because, in an SHTF situation, other people will also be looking for water (not to mention wild animals). You definitely don’t want your location to be discovered; protecting yourself while bugging out is definitely going to be a problem.

If you can camp at least half a mile away from any lake, pond or river, it will take more time and energy to come back with water but it’ll also be safer, as well as less likely to get flooded if the water levels rise.

On from cactuses

Unfortunately, water from cactuses is not safe to drink. Drinking it may save your life in a survival situation but only if you don’t drink too much and are rescued in due time. Keep in mind that the human body can last, in theory, 3 days without water, but that you’ll start feeling dehydrated and then sick before that.

As far as I know, the only cactus whose water is drinkable is the barrel cactus. I fact, only one of the 5 types of barrel cactuses are safe. More on that here. If you live near or in the desert, water should definitely be at the top of the list when it comes to preparedness.

On salt water

Food and water storage should be easy. In theory, at least, because the mistakes you can make are many. I was surprised I didn’t find too many articles on water mistakes, especially since water is more important than food in critical situations (remember the rule of threes?).

I took some time off to write them all down in one place. They aren’t that many but they do deserve their own page so let’s see them!

Purifying water with expired bleach

Non-scented bleach is one of the best and easiest ways to purify water, however, it has a shelf life of only 6 months.  Expired bleach won’t work for purification purposes but you can still use it to wash clothes and sanitize your home or bug out location. Everything’s reusable in a survival situation.

So if SHTF, you’re on the clock to use your bleach to purify water, because odds are you won’t find any in stores.

Boiling water for minutes on end

There’re various pieces of advice telling us to boil water for X or Y minutes to make it safe to drink. In reality, by the time water gets to a rolling boil, all pathogens should already be dead. This method won’t remove chemicals or particles coming from a possible nuclear meltdown that would contaminate nearby water reserves, by the way.

So where’s the mistake, you may ask? What’s wrong with boiling water for longer periods of time? Well, you’ll be wasting a lot of it through evaporation. This isn’t something you want in a survival situation if the supply is limited. So long as you can bring the water to 212F (or 100C), you’ll be fine.

Eating snow

Eating snow won’t help much in a survival situation. Your stomach has to spend energy warming it up so it can use it for hydration purposes, and that’s not really something you want to waste when you’re bugging out, lost on a mountain and trying to keep warm.

In addition, your body requires water in order to melt it. Why not use your gear to achieve the same thing and avoid hypothermia?

Storing water in containers that used to hold some other liquid

Bad idea. You never know the kind of bacteria that can grow there. I wrote an article on my blog a while back about food and water mistakes, this one was also listed. One gentleman replied saying he was storing water like this for 20 years and he was fine. I inquired further about it and I found out that he was rotating that water quite frequently, weekly, in fact. SO the bacteria didn’t have time to form.

Better safe than sorry, so always use the right containers for your water stockpile. Of course, you can always store it in milk jugs and then boil it or use bleach, but why not do it right from the start?

Camping too close to a water source

Why is this a bad idea? Because, in an SHTF situation, other people will also be looking for water (not to mention wild animals). You definitely don’t want your location to be discovered; protecting yourself while bugging out is definitely going to be a problem.

If you can camp at least half a mile away from any lake, pond or river, it will take more time and energy to come back with water but it’ll also be safer, as well as less likely to get flooded if the water levels rise.

On from cactuses

Unfortunately, water from cactuses is not safe to drink. Drinking it may save your life in a survival situation but only if you don’t drink too much and are rescued in due time. Keep in mind that the human body can last, in theory, 3 days without water, but that you’ll start feeling dehydrated and then sick before that.

As far as I know, the only cactus whose water is drinkable is the barrel cactus. I fact, only one of the 5 types of barrel cactuses are safe. More on that here. If you live near or in the desert, water should definitely be at the top of the list when it comes to preparedness.

On salt water

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