How Do You Store Water In A Bug Out Bag?

Disaster strikes; you and your family have to grab your bug out bags and leave your home. You think everything is going fine until you realize you have no clue how to store water in your BOB or bug out bag, how much to store, or for how long. This situation might sound implausible, but as I realized last week, it was an all too real situation that you have to prepare for ahead of time. We use groundwater from a borehole on our farm, and when a tremendous thunderstorm hit, our whole town’s power went down. It meant we could pump out water. Our generator had broken, and we needed water for at least three days.

The best way to store water is in collapsible containers and water bladders. Both save space and are lightweight when empty. Remember to purify all sourced water before use. Water weighs 1kg per liter/8.35p per gallon, this is a lot of extra weight, but water is an essential part of your bug-out bag.

We all gathered our bug out bags, and luckily between the bug out bags and water we had in the tank at the time, we were able to ration our water and make it last for three days. Our power was restored after three days. Now we need to refill our bug out bags. Most preppers would tell you that storing water in a bug out bag is essential, and they are right. Then I realized that many people are not familiar enough with how important storing water in a bug out bag is. After our water situation, I thought I would share how to store water in a bug out bag.

How to Store Water in Your Bug Out Bag

There are several products on the market to store your water in. The three things to keep in mind when storing water are how long a bug out bag should last, how much a bug out bag should weigh with water, and how to run out of water or there is a problem, and you need to source water purify it.

You will need water for cleaning, drinking, cooking, or hygiene purposes. Here are a few ways you can store water that won’t compromise the overall weight of your bug out bag.

To carry with you:

  • Collapsible water containers are great to use from the start; they can conform to the rest of the bag contents better than a plastic bottle or canteen-style water containers. You roll them up when not used, take up much less space, and weigh next to nothing.
  • Stainless steel water bottles will keep your water cool but takes up extra space and weigh a little more than plastic containers. The upside to this is that you can boil your water straight in the bottle if needed.
  • Have either a collapsible or stainless steel water bottle that you can have on you at all times. That way, you don’t have to stop the whole time to get a drink of water.
  • The water bladder is a pouch that you attach to either your waist or to the BOB. The water bladder is similar to the collapsible bags.
  • Water pouches are another way to store water, but the downsides to these packets are that they can easily burst under pressure. They would not handle a very compact BOB well but might come in handy to carry one or two in a sealed container in the medical kit.

To source on the go:

  • The collapsible water containers are still the best ones to have on board because you can bring a large 5 gallon (18.9l) jug for cooking, cleaning, and hygiene or wash-up purposes with you. What’s great about these containers is you can roll them up and hang them on the sides of your bug out bag to save space.
  • You always have to have a way to purify any water you source, and if you are not sure about the state of the water in your bug out bag when you grab it. It will also influence how you store your water.
  • Water bottles with built-in water filters are a great way of keeping water clean, and you can grab water on the go and still have it be purified and safe to drink.

How Long Should A Bug Out Bag Last?

A Bug out bag is an emergency kit put together with everything a single person would need to survive for 3 days (72 hours). That means that the amount of water in your bug out bag must be enough to last you for 72 hours, or you should have all the things you need to source water if you have to survive longer than 72 hours. It sounds great, but the real issue is with weight. Water is heavy, and this makes keeping enough water to last three days rather tricky.

How Much Should A Bug Out Bag Weight With Water?

The average human needs at least two gallons of water per day, according to FEMA. With high temperatures and humid weather, people who are sick or injured will need more water. So you will likely need also to source water.

Most hikers and survivalists agree that your bug out bag should not weigh more than ¼ of your body weight or 10% – 15% of your total body weight. So, for instance, if a person weighs 200lbs, 10% of that is 20lbs, and 15% is 30lbs.

If you have to climb and run, you should try to get as close to 10% as you can get. The weight of your bug out bag includes your critical water supply as well.

Water Purification

When sourcing your water, you need to purify it every time before using it; here are some ways to purify sourced water.

  • The first way to do this is to have a Life Straw. It is a tube with a built-in filter; that way, you can drink the water straight from the source.
  • Water purification tablets like Oasis 1000 can purify 200lt per tablet. You put it into the water when you have made camp and can wait to have it filter the water.
  •  Boiling the water is another way to purify water. The drawback is that you can only boil a little at a time because you can’t carry huge pots with you.
  • A water purifying pump that works to pump and filter the water is usually a hand crank, so it gets tiring.
  • An IV system with two collapsible bags, a filter, and tubes is to carry the water from one bag to the next.

No matter how badly you need water, you must purify it before drinking it or risk your health.


Water is crucial to our lives, and an emergency is no different. The best way to store water for an emergency is to have some collapsible containers in your BOB and have the tools needed to source water. It will lower the weight of your bag and make it easier to carry for long.


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