You won’t be lugging a heavy cooler box with bottled water when SHTF – though you should absolutely have water supplies prepared; ideally 2 gallons per person per day for at least 2 weeks.
But once again – what happens when you run out of clean water, you can’t reach your prepared bug-out location, or you’re otherwise unable to access your supplies?
Knowing how to gather and purify water is a crucial survival skill. You aren’t going to last long otherwise.
Freshwater sources like streams and ponds are an obvious start.
You can also desalinate brackish and even pure saltwater in a pinch, though this requires a few extra steps. Collecting rainwater takes patience, but is another reliable method of collecting water for drinking, cooking, and nominal hygiene.
However, you collect your water while camping, you absolutely need to purify it. Otherwise, you’re going to make yourself sick on any number of pathogens and contaminants.
An easy way to purify your water is to simply boil it. But you should also get into the habit of having disinfecting tablets in your everyday carry kit so you can practice using them correctly.
Iodine-based tablets, for example, typically only take 35 minutes, but leave an aftertaste (which you’ll want to get used to as best you can) and can become toxic.
Pregnant women, those with thyroid issues, and/or shellfish allergies generally shouldn’t rely on iodine-based water disinfectants. And that taste has been known to cause picky children to dehydrate because they refuse to drink.
Chlorine-based disinfectants, on the other hand, cost more and usually take 4 hours to take effect. On the plus side, the end result tastes much better – and most of the chlorine will have dissipated by the time it’s ready to drink.
There are also ways to build improvised, yet highly effective water filtration systems. We cover water purification methods in greater detail in our How to Find and Purify Water When SHTF course.