So you’ve read my piece on filtering and purifying water and are now looking for a vessel to carry water. I have several methods I use to carry water in my 72 Hour Bag. As with all aspects of having a 72 Hour Bag I think of every item as layers or redundancy. It’s important that you overlap any necessary items so if one fails you have a back up and water is just about the most vital of those necessities.
Emergency Water Rations
I carry inside my pack Datrex water pouches. They’re Coast Guard approved for survival and are built to be stored for 5 years without going bad or leaking. I keep them in the 2qt metal cup so they have a layer of protection. I carry as many as I can because if all else fails they are inside my kit and I can grab it and go without worrying that I won’t have any water at all.
Next I keep a hydration bladder in my bag. Some people fill their bladder and have it ready to go, but I find it to be a little too risky. I don’t want the water going bad, so I keep it empty and clean ready to be filled. My favorite hydration bladder is the Platypus Big Zip by Cascade Designs. The company is in Seattle and it’s MADE IN THE USA. The biz zip has a giant opening at the top which closes using a two fold design, first it locks like a zip lock bag, hence the name, then a plastic slide locks the zip together. I’ve tripped and fallen with all my weight and that of the pack on top of this bladder and it was bomber, not leaking a drop. The opening is so wide that you can fit your entire hand in all the way to the bottom to clean it. When it’s open it makes it very convenient to fill it either by pouring a pot of purified water or scooping up water from a shallow stream. One other feature that’s worth noting is the material is made from what they call ‘Slime Guard’ which is supposed to be anti microbial. In all the years I’ve used this pack I’ve never had slime issues like other hydration bladders have. I love the 1.8 liter size.
I also keep a wide mouth hard nalgene water bottle in my pack so if I find a good supply of water I can stock up and take it with me. I’ve had my wide mouth since 1987 and I’m sure it’s not BPA free but it’s so rugged I can’t ever get rid of it. When backpacking for 28 days in the Wind River Range we used to pour boiling water into the bottle to use in our sleeping bags as warmers at night. When in my pack I have it stuffed with my wool socks and bandana, that way they stay dry no matter what. I know you can’t buy this bottle any more, but they sell a new BPA free version:
Lastly I do the ghastly practice of keeping a case of bottled water in the trunk of my car! Oh no, you’ll get cancer from the plastic as it heats up! You’re ruining the environment by using bottled water!
Yeah, whatever. I rotate the case of water out of my trunk every few months and if there’s an emergency and I’m going to die if I don’t drink clean water well let me tell you I’m going to take the risk of getting cancer 20 years down the line from a plastic water bottle that’s been in the heat in my car. One problem at a time people. If I use the bottles in an emergency I promise to recycle them, how’s that? Ok?