Water Lessons from Doomsday Preppers

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the FastestWayToPrepare.com course.

If you’ve been watching the prepper series on National Geographic called, “Doomsday Preppers,” you probably remember that I started off the season writing about some of the good and bad lessons that were being illustrated. And then I stopped.

There are a couple of reasons. For one, as I would watch the early episodes, I’d do a quick search in my email for the people being highlighted in the show. Roughly half of the people on the show had either gone through a free mini-course, bought Urban Survival Playing Cards, or gone through one of my courses. I ended up bouncing emails back and forth with many of them…sometimes while the show was airing. On one hand, most of them were somewhat disappointed to see how National Geographic edited their segments to fit a preconceived storyline, regardless of the truth. On the other hand, more than one person told me that their “top secret” preps that National Geographic showed may have had a kernel of truth to them, but that the reality was MUCH different than what was shown on TV.

Even so, several people went to considerable expense and inconvenience to “secretly” lay up provisions and it frustrated me to see them aired on national TV…even if the details were changed. I put myself in some of these people’s shoes and it tore at my heart to think of what they must be feeling watching the show and I just didn’t want to write about it anymore.

On the other hand, there were a couple of people who did things that were SO amazingly wrong from a historical, physiological, tactical, and/or strategic basis that I couldn’t write about their segment without completely blasting them. I saw no benefit to doing this, so I didn’t. The fact is that, despite my reservations about the show, it is getting more people interested in prepping and it’s been the source of literally millions of conversations about prepping that wouldn’t have otherwise happened, so I don’t want to be too hard on the show.

This week, though, there were a couple of snippets concerning water that I feel I absolutely must bring up and correct.

The first one was a couple who used a portable backpacking water filter to “purify” urine. They didn’t go into detail on what their big picture plan was, but what they showed was taking urine in a cup, running it through the filter (that looked like a Katadyn mini-ultralight) and drinking it.

As you read this, keep in mind that this couple did a lot of things right, and it’s very possible that NGC edited out their comments/plans to deal with salinity.

To begin with, if you’re not ill and not taking medications that come out in the urine, you don’t really need to purify it. You need to desalinate it if you’re drinking it for any period of time, but you don’t need to purify it. That being said, the usefulness of urine goes down considerably as you get dehydrated. In other words, it’s much better to use urine to supplement your water when you’ve got plenty than to wait until you’re out of water and start drinking increasingly dark/polluted urine.

Second, the Katadyn mini-ultralight is not a purifier. It’s a filter. It’s a very good filter, and I own and use one sometimes, but it’s still only a filter. It’s good for particles, protozoa, worms, bacteria, cysts, etc, but it won’t take out viruses or salts.

For the most part, to desalinate water or urine, you either need to run it through reverse osmosis, a solar still, or distill it. There’s another method that will work, but it is an absolute last-ditch method that doesn’t need to be discussed here or included in your plans until you’ve mastered basic, intermediate, and even semi-advanced survival techniques.

So, if your survival/preparedness plans include drinking urine in a ratio greater than 1 part urine to 1+ parts water, depending on your level of hydration, you need to plan on desalinating it with one of the three above mentioned techniques. (blood salinity is roughly .9% and urine salinity is usually no more than 2.2%. Sea water varies, but a good rule of thumb is 3.5%)

The second water issue that I saw that I wanted to bring up, ironically, has to do with desalination. One of the families, who had done a lot of things right, owned a sailboat that was part of their SHTF bugout plan. They had water on board, but their plan for when the water ran out was to use a propane burner to distill seawater and collect the evaporated water vapors.

In some situations, this is a great plan…namely if you’re camped on a beach and have access to a virtually endless quantity of fuel to use to make heat. The gentleman in the segment was very squared away in several areas. He was formerly in the Navy and the rules are somewhat different on Naval ships since some of them have an endless supply of power in the form of nuclear reactors.

In the case of a small sailboat, though, they’re simply trading their stored propane for water and they’ll only be able to desalinate water while they’re at sea as long as they have propane. A solar desalinator, like the Aquamate, can generate fresh water every day without consuming anything, although you might need several if you’re depending on them for 100% of your water needs.

One strategy would be to use Aquamates to supplement your water supply, be prepared to aggressively collect water any time it rains, and only use propane as needed.

The particular application of sailboats on seawater as a survival tool is fairly limited in it’s application, but the chain of logic of trading one fluid for another (fuel for water) IS common. One of the most recognizable instances of it is people who think that they have an off-grid property because they can run their water well with their generator if the electrical grid fails.

While it’s true that with gasifiers and alcohol distillation (which is illegal at the present time), the off-grid claim can be justified, most people don’t have either technology in place and will find that the amount of water that they can get from their well is limited by the amount of fuel that they can store.

This isn’t a problem as long as you realize the shortcoming of trading fuel for water and/or have other systems in place for getting water, but it could be a nasty surprise if you don’t.

What takeaways have you gotten from Doomsday Preppers? Have you overheard conversations or been involved in conversations about prepping that were started because of the show? Has it expanded your vision for how much you want to prepare? Has it caused anyone in your life to become paralyzed by how unprepared they are? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

And, for more information on water filtration and purification in urban disaster situations, please check out my www.SurviveInPlace.com course and/or my www.FastestWayToPrepare.com course. Both of them go into solid, proven water purification techniques. In addition, both of these courses have upgrades that allow you to receive my Advanced Urban Disaster Water Purification book, which has been called, “the pHd text of disaster and survival water purification.” It goes much deeper into the techniques, chemistry, and physics of various forms of water purification and will show you specific esoteric water purification techniques as well as the fundamentals behind them so that you can adapt them to your particular situation.

Until next week, keep your power dry, buy more, and keep making daily forward progress on your preparations. The term “Debt Crisis” is being used more and more by people in positions of power and influence and we absolutely MUST do everything possible to get ready while we still can.

God bless & stay safe,


David Morris





About David Morris

David Morris is the creator of the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course, the Fastest Way To Prepare Course, Urban Survival Playing Cards, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, and other books, courses, and articles on preparedness, survival, firearms, and other tactical topics. He lives with his wife, 2 boys, and 2 dogs.


  1. David, Do you know if a good water well can become polluted by acid rain. I heard someone say so on you tube and didn’t think it was right. Maybe a shallow well but a deep well? Also I wondered if springs could be utilized for drinking water even if there was acid rain or volcanic ash if it was gotten from the exit of the spring from the ground? I am sure I would still use my Katadyn drip filter to purify it. Thanks. Shirley

  2. Echo Star says:

    Hi David, as a novice prepper, I just wanted to comment that Doomsday Preppers has really brought a lot to light for me. I was working in Asia for the last 16 years, much of the time in emerging markets. The overwhelming mentality over there is getting ahead for the first time in their lives, with little or no thought towards hunkering down for bad days to come. So while I have been very concerned over the financial markets for several years, in day-to-day conversations in Asia, this worry only manifests itself as a mild threat such as a temporary turn down in the stock markets or at worst the loss of a job which is easy to replace at this time in Asia. When I returned to the US several months ago and viewed Doomsday Preppers for the first time, I began to ask folks about the topic in general. I was astonished at the number of people that have deep concerns and the sacrifices they were making to their daily lives in order to be able to weather the coming storm. For me, Doomsday Preppers, was kind of the spark that brought me into action after harboring concerns for many years.

    The one thing that does surprise me about Doomsday Preppers is the narrow focus of disasters and in some cases areas of planning that the highlighted people are worried about. For instance, the guy in NYC that was entirely focused on ash fallout from a Yellowstone super volcano eruption struck me as very odd. In my view, the analysis should not have been a critique of the planning he has done, but rather shine the spotlight on all the types of disasters with much higher probability that he hasn’t considered, especially for someone with a family in NYC.

    • The NYC fireman and I bounce emails back and forth and he’s preparing for a LOT more than Yellowstone. Giving the impression that this was all he is preparing for was simply a result of creative editing by the producers.

  3. there is alot of talk about well systems and i have a couple questions and hope that
    some of you will answer them.
    what is the main differance between a board well and a regular drilled well?
    is once more expensive than the other and if so, is the amount between them alot?
    thank you and love reading the many differant idea’s. i am still learning.
    again, thanks.

  4. I’m not sure if it has been brought up before, but here goes anyhow. Talking with a gentleman at woodcarving, I recalled he worked in the Twin Cities in the sanitary sewer business. Suspecting the the answer before hand, I asked if the sewers were gravity or pump reliant. The answer was pump.
    This presents the problem for the urban preper that even given a diminished flow of affluent the sewers will fill up and then they will back up into your home. Floor drains and basement toilets will be most at risk. After a couple of days (dependent were your home is located) you had best consider plugging these things. If you neglect this, your urban shelter may become uninhabitable.

  5. What is the best way to desalinate salt water? I live close to the gulf of mexico and have just ordered a parabolic burner so I will be able to boil water with solar power. But Dave please help.It’s driving me nuts looking at the utube and trying some of the things they come up with.The last thing my brother and I tried was with a pressure cooker.Not to good.I am not rich and can not afford something for 3 or $400.What can I do with all this salt water at my finger tips?

  6. How about desalting ocean water for drinking, plus we get the needed minerals.

    We need to remain hydrated at all times. We need at least 8 glasses a water a day. I found out what dehydration can do to the body…the body literally wants to shut down…I found out the hard way with a stint in the emergency room. Water is a major concern.

    Another is NOT eating foods/drinks that do dehydrate the body.

    Until the nation turns back to God’s Word, laws, we’ll continue to feel the consequences of not listening to God’s Word, and allowing an ungodly enemy within to continue to rape this nation. We allowed man’s government to take hold, instead of God’s government, laws, wisdom. We’re paying the price.

  7. David,
    I do have a question about one of the episodes of NATGEO show about preppering…what liquid was used in the shredded paper and leaves that were compressed to make “fuel blocks”? And how did the dry them? What are your thoughts about this type of fuel?


  8. Hi all ~
    Oregonian lil’ prepper here. I was glad when the shows came on ~it helped in opening the conversation of why I prep, and to what extreme etc; and actually helped getting some friends and family on board. There’s been some things shown that Ive not thought of and some that Im like ‘really?’. Im glad David answered some above. It’d be perfect if NatGeo had a survivalist expert that added info and corrections after each individual segment. Some of whats shown may be taken as is and cause more damage than good.
    A topic that is also a concern of mine has been in the comments. Getting water from your 250ft down well, when no power? Most rural properties here in Oregon, including mine have wells…mine, Im told is not really pulling up from an underground stream, but from water trails that have pooled into our well area. Right now its pumped up into a holding tank and dispersed from there ( dont beat me up if this is general info…Ive just learned that its not a beautiful underground stream LOL) My question …has anyone who’s dealing with the same configured a hand pump? or would something like a hydraulic ram pump work? It is a main concern ~ I saw the segment that showed a couple getting water from their hottub, I have that and this summer Im getting one of those above ground pools (for the summer heat) but also that’d be a back up source..right?
    I do have my Aquatainers (7gals ea) stackable water now being stored…(these are 12.00 at walmart, 15.00 at a sportsman camping store…so price varies) Ive had the short term experience where our holding tank went dry, due to kids leaving a hose on all night…and no water for toilet, coffee, washing just for a few hours is a shock. LOL Im just me and its been hard prepping by myself….others think its a great idea ….but say they’ll start on it tomorrow. Hmmm tomorrow could be just the day too late. Anyhoo …feedback on the well situation? David maybe a segment on wells? 😉 ~much appreciation ~ Ani. (Ahn ee)

  9. Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in. As I’ve mentioned in my earlier posts, this is all I think about-day and night. What to include in my survival gear, what to add to barter items, and buy more food for sealed crates. I am shy in sharing too much, but at the same time I want to be helpful. One thing that I have said before is the ease of filling buckets with food items. They are not only free from many bakery department grocers, they are also NFS quality-safe for food.

    Now, concerning water. We have a creek coming off a glacier lake,actually considered a flood plain, so water is plentiful in our retreat location. Here in town, I have been saving our gallon water bottles to fill with our fresh, clear glacier water from our cabin area. We will not drink our city water since learning what is added to protect city water pipes! In their own words, “We are also required to add Sodium Hydroxide to reduce corrosion of plumbing systems.” WHAT? As if flouride wasn’t bad enough. When I called the water department to explain this, they stuttered and said that their agency isn’t in charge of that, but they are sure that the levels are quite safe and monitored daily. Right. So, we now buy bottled water, that is, until we can fill our containers with mountain spring water from our property.

  10. Eric Seberg says:

    Like you and some of the other comments I at first thought why ar ethey doing that or why didn’t they do this. As the show progressed I realized a couple of things. First was that it was probably being edited and the chance that the person editing knew anything about sruvival was probably slim. Second, not everyone has the time, money, skills or training to accomplish everything. At least they’re doing something as opposed to the majority doing nothing. Finally, their choice of reason to prep was their individual choice, some were not all hazards but again it’s their choice.

    • Yes, shows that turn out like that are well, OK IF most people can learn some things from it; if they have the knowhow and Experience to sift through what Works, what partially works and what Doesn’t. But what about the ones who believe the false info., and get into trouble or serious trouble. Theres Enough Time Wasted in helping people out, who do get into trouble — when 2/3’s of things could easily be Prevented in the First Place. it taxes the system, that is taxed almost to the limit already!

  11. Jerry J. says:

    Well…it’s been a longtime since I’ve put my 2 cents in……(deep breathe)…..I’ve seen some of these programs(if they are to be called that)….the media(run by the elitists) will slant denigrate anything which sanity should prevail. These folks are made a mockery and jeered at….made to be the butt of jokes and derision. This is why preparation should be done by only the like minded……remember, regardless of the situation….your supplies will be limited. There will be mass casualties and many will not survive. Prepare yourself and not the fool beside you who is laughing at you and calling you stupid. At least give yourself a 50/50 shot at surviving…if this is a difficult concept to wrap your minds around, refer back to the Old Testament and Noah and the Flood…many were warned, but only one listened. Be that one….not everyone is going to be saved. Also, i would not have put myself up for just such a documentary…now everyone and their brother(Big Brother included) know their little secret and it’s no secret anymore…..err on the side of caution…….bragging will get you killed everytime. now I’m done……

    • You said it!

    • Absolutely agree, Jerry. Don’t tell anyone about any of your plans/preparations/provisions unless you are willing to die for them and/or kill them. When TSHTF, anyone unprepared you mentioned anything even in passing to who can do so will show up at your door. You’re then be faced ultimately with taking them in or taking them out. Harsh, I know. I’ve prepared for over a year and just last week revealed some of what we’ve done to my sister who lives about 20 miles from us. She didn’t get it at all and thinks I’m nuts, but I felt morally obliged to tell her so that if TSHTF she can try and get to our place.

      BTW: 8 people listened to and obeyed God (Noah and his 3 sons and their wives). Imagine enduring the ridicule of all of your neighbors for 50-75 years while you built an ark? Noah couldn’t hide his preparations (i.e. the ark) from his neighbors, but we can.

  12. Eddie Cruise says:

    My biggest problem is getting the money to buy supplies&training, it cost me everything I make just for basic needs for my family,should I walk away from my home? If something went down I would have to bug out to a safer location no matter what

  13. We use the shows as tools and some education. I work at a hospital and have trouble making any of my counterparts take interest in preparation. Most think FEMA/Red Cross will show up with everything they need. We have a seminar once a year for hospital staff to learn about crisis survival and is well attended. The heat of Central Texas and lack of basements causes us storage problems. Living on a lake helps satisfy our water concerns. Radiation contamination will be impossible to handle. Not a lot of affordable survival systems out there. DIY Books and Videos are expensive and you still need some knowledge in electrical and construction. When the inevitable happens, I can see communes like the 60’s springing up to survive. Everyone will have a specialty they can provide for the good of the commune. Lawyers and politicians will probably not be invited in though. Green Building and Conservation is really starting to take off around here. Wish a group in Central Texas would form and bring the extra knowledge and camaraderie we so desperately need.

    • Dr Brain says:

      I would attend a seminar if the Agenda seemed worth it. Maybe even due a little barter-trading of sorts.

    • I agree with the commune idea. I think groups will be the key to good survival. Agroup large enough and well armed will put those folks ahead of the game and give them space to deal with everything else.

  14. T P Patriot says:

    GREAT stuff all!! I’m greatful for this site and all the participants! after 40 years of learning.

    I need to know how to locate & excavate a well on my property WITHOUT alerting the authorities.


    • Hillbilly Drill?
      I sure have talked to a lot of backwoods inventers. My ex’s brothers drilled a well with an old car on blocks, tying innertubes together around a tire-less rim mounted on the car, attached to a vertical pipe positioned on a wood post to stabilize it. When the car was put in drive, it turned the innertube pulley that turned the drill pipe. The top of the pipe could connect with another pipe extending the depth until they hit water.

      I used a water witch (Two steel rods bent on the ends for handles) to find my water for a well. I tested it in a house first, and it doused every so often. So I marked everywhere the rods crossed and measured the distances. It found every water pipe under the floor and it’s route (to my surprise). I didn’t believe it so I did it again blindfolded and a friend watched. Same result. I don’t understand how it worked, some are skeptical and dismiss it as chance.

      • Norman Hatfield says:

        I don’t understand how it works either. But like you, I tested it and think that it does. Many years ago, we were drilling a water well for a farmer who’s helper had dowsed the area and told him where to drill. We, 3 of us, were curious so also like you, we blindfolded ourselves one at a time and we ALL stopped on the exact same spot that the original dowser had chosen. Later one of the drillers told me that they had once drilled a water well for a farmer who wanted it drilled at a specific place next to the front of his barn. Again, a farmhand had dowsed the area and told him there wasn’t any water where he wanted the well. But there WAS water on the other side of the barn at the back. Well, the farmer couldn’t believe that if there was water on the complete opposite side of the barn, there wouldn’t be water where HE wanted the well. So, they drilled there. Nothing. They drilled another hole. Nothing. They drilled a THIRD hole. Again nothing. Finally, in desperation the farmer had them driil where the dowser told them to. Guess what? They hit WATER! So, if you want to drill a well, try it! It can’t hurt and it certainly might help!

  15. some really great ideas and some good answers also.i am also concerned about water
    and i am trying to convince our oldest son to put in a well where he lives. alot of people in his area do have wells but i am having a hard time convincing him that the shtf is coming soon.
    we are trying to get out of where we are but it’s taking longer than we want. will be heading
    to sons housef for alittle more security.
    i want to thank david very, very much for all that he does and helps us with. thank you david.
    would also like to hear of more idea’s from everyone.
    god bless you all and your families and god bless america

  16. I remember watching a survival show where the guy was showing that for 20 dollars at the dollar store you can get basics for a bug out bag,( FYI for those of you newbies here ).

    • True…with caviats. The more skill you have, the less stuff you need. Also, the more specialized skills you have, the more gear you may want in your bug out bag. As an example, the medical portion of my bug out bag is several hundred dollars.

      • Interesting you mention that David. I’m a former paramedic and my wife was a nurse. We had a long discussion about what kind/how much medical gear to have in our BOBs (We have twin teenaged sons as well). While in our home we have extremely well stocked trauma kits, for our BOBs we settled upon carrying essentially a good FA kit (plus a few extras such as sutures, steri-strips, advanced quick-clot dressings). Our (cold blooded) reasoning being that any serious injury a good FA kit won’t deal with will mean getting outside medical aid or death. We also didn’t want to displace other important survival items for too many medical items. What kind of medical ‘extras’ do you pack, and why? What do you consider less important and leave out of your BOB?

        • davidmobile says:

          A few of the extras are an Epi pen, suture kit & extra sutures, a healthy quantity of maxi-pads, triangles, and rollers and quick-clot. These are all items that could mean the difference between life and death for a family member, regardless of the level of medical care available at the time.

          • Thanks for the update. We have basically the same ‘extras’. We also have a few syringes for dealing with things like pneumothorax (collapsed lung) that we’d know how to treat.

            General note for others: The typical First Aid kit is woefully inadequate when it comes to wound treatment. They often have only a few 4″x4″ dressings if any. I recommend you supplement with large pressure dressings (a.k.a. military field dressings) and at least a couple of the new quick-clotting dressings. Some 3″ or 4″ “kling wrap” as well, or barring that, at least several triangular or tensor bandages.

  17. I lived, for many years, in a community where a high percentage of the population gathered their water off the roof. There are many ways to build a cistern. The gutters off your home and other buildings are an excellent collection system. A large tarp can be an effective collection area if it is not too windy. Some consideration must be taken as to the materials the collection area is made from. A friend of mine is allergic to cedar and can’t live in a home with a cedar roof, if he plans on drinking the water. Nobody there collects the water from a cedar roof for at least a year.

    Cisterns can be made many ways. I have built them into concrete foundations. A common way back home is to dig down to something solid, pour six or more inches of concrete, then tip a ten foot section of eight to twelve foot culvert into the wet concrete. A couple weeks later, after the concrete sets, you are ready to start collecting water. Wood cisterns, sometimes with hypalon liners, are common. When I was a kid, and my parents were short on funds, I helped Dad set up an above ground pool. This had a thin sheet metal shell with a plastic liner. What seems popular now are the 5,000 gallon plastic tanks.

    As important as water collection and storage is water usage. I have a friend that with seven kids and a limited budget. He makes every attempt to reduce his water bill. He has a couple large trash cans in his bathroom. Rinse water is collected in one and initial wash water is collected in the other. The rinse water is used to wash the next load of dirty clothes and that water is used to flush the toilet. As you can see, he uses some of his water up to three times before it goes into the sewer. If you place a bucket between your feet when you shower you can collect enough water to flush a toilet. “If it’s yellow let it mellow” will become a mantra if you are short on water.

  18. The is not about water or saline, but is just as important.

    I am a Prepper and a fan of the Second Amendment. I received an e-mail recently, from a usually reliable source, who said a Texan being admitted to a hospital was asked some questions as part of the admission process. It seems the new healthcare act requires they be asked. For example: Do you have guns in your house? Are they loaded? Do you ever feel stressed? Do you ever have a desire to hurt anyone?

    My friend suspects that that information will be made available to the federal government when medical records will be made available to them.

    Have any of you heard of this?

    • Yes…it’s part truth and part email urban legend.

    • I too heard it as a legend. However, do not doubt that despite privacy promise, anything you tell your doctor (and he logs) is subject to dispersal to others. So consider your answers and possible ramifications carefully. Just don’t threaten your health with silence or lies about medical conditions.

    • Eddie Hinson says:

      As of right now, it is Urban Legend. I was told that the VA is now asking you about firearms in your house, this is not true. As a disabled veteran, I make quite a few trips to the VA and have never been asked a question like that. Anyway, who in their right mind would tell a Government Bureaucrat that you have loaded firearms in your house?

    • I don’t know about those questions, only what they wanted me to give them,

      The Gov’t through hospitals have access to your bank accounts when hospitalized, passed in another bill right before the Affordable Care act was passed to work with it.

      I was sent to ER last Oct with broken ribs and they asked me wierd questions about my finances. I refused, I did not give them access they wanted to a country-wide computer access of my personal medical files history and I refused to give up my doctor’s/patient privledge to anyone, especially the government. I had to sign documents of refusal about it. I also had someone else pay the bills on their credit card so the medical staff can’t access my bank accounts for the gov’t.

    • Norman Hatfield says:

      I filled out a form at a doctors office once ( I don’t go to him anymore! ) that asked if I had any firearms in my home. I didn’t answer it and you don’t have to either. It’s none of their business. And if they think it IS their business, you can take YOUR business somewhere else!

  19. buy faraday cages, no I just use old christmas popcorn tins. I see and hear very little on power inverters, during a 48 hour power outage in 2003, I ran our house on a tiny 700 watt continuous 1400 watt surge power inverter. I will give you folks a huge tip, “if you raise the input voltage such as your cars alternator does to 14 volts during charging you also raise the output voltage. I had to run the freezer, unplug and then run the refridgerator since the inverter was small. I bought a 1200 watt continuous and 2500 watt surge to rectify the problem. the 700 watt will go in the boat or camper. I have a 6.5kw diesel generator to cook and recharge the batteries. we have a well a river within 1000 feet of the house and lake erie just 12 miles away. water is no problem and I can hand pump with ease. I have 4 different water purifiers and can make a bucket,gravel,sand and charcoal homemade one if need be. I have 2 kerosene heaters as backup and can run on number 1 or number 2 diesel, I also have a kerosene folding camp stove and coleman folding oven as well.
    I like doomsday preppers, laugh all you want to. the old saying goes he who laughs last laughs best.

  20. A well pump that doesn’t cost 1.8K is “SimplePump.com

    It can be used as a hand pump or converted to solar. 40 ft. is a piece of cake for it.

  21. Katadyn makes a U. S. Coast Guard Approved hand operated reverse osmosis unit designed for life raft use. It takes care of the power problem, the salinity issue, and all purification issues. Maybe not radiation, but there are other solutions for that. It is NOT cheap-but in my opinion is the gold standard. You can also get replacement elements for it in advance. I fully well recognize that many cannot afford this solution, but measure it in terns of YOUR LIFE, because that is exactly the cost if you ever really need it. David has done a wonderful job of giving us much cheaper solutions, but this is the best all around unit I have seen. I happen to live on a salt water estuary, so “water” is not a problem. Making it potable is. BTW, I agree with Mark – any limited water source will become a fighting spot in short order.Just imagine everyone on your street with a bucket in hand heading to that little stream or pond. When they get there, they will be greated by the thugs with guns demanding whatever for access. Best plan a different solution.

  22. RE: Doomsday Preppers. We watch the show regularly, and often get a laugh out of it. Still, each episode gives us one useful hint or idea that we didn’t think of before. Or provides the impetus to do away with something we planned. Either way, it makes the show worth watching.

  23. John Potter says:

    How about a wind powered pump and a storage tank on the tower for a gravity fed supply.

  24. HI All. I have a question I haven’t seen asked before. Based what I saw in Lebanon, any open source of water became a contested point. Anyone who had to haul water had to either deal with snipers, “warlords” or pay tribute. Wont open sources of water like ponds, wells, streams potentially become contested here as well?

    • Wind power would be great. However the windmill to be effective would have to be high enough to be visually obvious to others. This is something we are trying to avoid.

  25. Thanks David. I hope you or your readers can answer a question for me. We have a well and a 5000 gallon storage tank. I have been considering a hand pump addition to the well. The well is 200 feet and the static water level is about 40 feet. I’ve looked at several hand pumps, and it seems the Bison pump is one of the better pumps out there. It is expensive at about 1800.00. I’d love to here from any with experience with hand pumps including the Bison. Any info or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Martin, I am part of a living history group and we bought a Bison pump for our drilled well on our camping grounds, to stay somewhat primitive and still provide water for about 80 people at gatherings. (Our 10 foot dug and rocked well sometimes ran dry.) It was expensive and we found out that you had to have enough activation rods to work the submersed pump end. The pump was a little tricky to put together but seemed to work fine when we tried it in a shallow well (didn’t have enough rods for the drilled well) We eventually sent it back because we found our water table was only about 15 ft underground and we went with an old fashioned suction pump which is much cheaper, I can make the leathers for it and it works great. My well at home is also connected to an old pitcher pump mounted at the end of our long shallow kitchen sink. The static water in the well must be above 29 ft because in every power outage I unplug the well pump, turn the valve from the pressure tank line to the line that feeds the hand pump and we have all the water we could ever want, sucked right through the submersible pump in the well.

      You’re going to have to go with a hand operated deep water pump since 29 ft is the tallest column of water a perfect suction will draw. I would recommend the Bison because ours was well made and worked fine, just cost a lot more than we needed to spend. Make sure you figure on sinking the business end of it well below the dryest drought levels you can imagine and plan on supplying thirsty neighbors too. It’ll cost you in hardware initially, but what is clean water worth when noone else has any. It could become a valuable trade commodity or even a resource that requires defending if enough people get desparate for it. I consider my setup for abundant safe water at least as valuable as my setup for heat and cooking, which easily runs totally on wood all winter long and I am set to harvest the woods all around me with only hand tools for all of my fuel needs. Survive in place and Be Prepared (36 years in Boy Scouts and counting, Eagle Scout and 20+ yrs a Scoutmaster, teach your children well) I’m also a Registered Maine Guide and we do long distance canoe trips, you learn to make do with limited resources when you have no choice.

  26. William Felts says:

    Dave I have taken your course and enjoy your articles. One thing I saw on DDP that screamed “THINK PEOPLE” was the people preparing for earthquakes that stored glass canning jars on a flimsy shelves. Also I was wondering if anyone has any resources for faraday cage information. i see conflicting information online and need to make sure my grounded shipping container is protected. Thanks Bill

    • Hi Bill,
      Make sure your container is grounded at all four corners. What ever is inside needs to be insulated from the container or the metal will just act as a conductor. Better yet put up a layer of insulation, a layer of grounded metal screen, and another cover/insulating layer. Here is an article you might be interested in. www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-protection.html

      • Norman Hatfield says:

        Thanks for the link. Some good info there. But, Air Force One is protected from EMP’s and I’ve never seen it dragging a 30,000 foot ground cable.

    • I saw that a steel garbage can makes a faraday cage, hillbilly type.

  27. As you know from D.P. (S1E9), IF you watch, at 66 I’m new to prepping and as a photojournalist I’m teaching what I’m learning through articles and videos. NatGeo’s (Sharp Entertainment – let’s be accurate) producers are doing one great harm by ‘forcing’ people into molds. My ‘biggest fear’ is not Solar Flares but they may be humanities greatest survivable threat. I wasn’t offended to speak out for that topic because ‘if you are prepared for the worst, you have your best chance of surviving anything – that’s survivable.’

    I’m also troubled by the ‘Experts’ Evaluation’ at the end. This “focus” on a Nuclear EMP pulse (S1E10) was dismissed as highly unlikely. Their Experts ignored two other EMP like threats: the Carrington Effect and Hackers – as reported by “60 Minutes” – 3Xs. The threat is our antiquated power grid and our total dependence on Electricity – not which way it crashes.

    No one is prepared for that as a Police Officer pointed out. No City – no small town – no suburb – no group – no individual. Society would turn to chaos. How can we minimize the ‘societal breakdown’?

    The best we can do as preppers is to learn & stock up. Water & Food are the keys to rebuild. I’m concerned by the story above where newbies run out and buy guns first. I had a talk show hostess in St Louis say she ‘would only need a gun to get home’ if something happened. Rational people need to speak up and take the “Utilities Down for 6 plus months” discussion to the National Conversation.

    Unfortunately & Fortunately – Doomsday Preppers is one, highly successful (4.3 million the first night) series. I’ve learned two or three tips from every show and I’ve laughed & learned at a lot of the ‘stupid mistakes’ – some of which are caused by ‘the Producers’. The crew that worked with my wife and me at our house were fantastic. What was shown was disappointing and I came off looking better than some (except for knife training – LOL).

    As an Emmy-nominated Documentary Journalist, I know the Truth can Set You Free But – these half-truth fairy-tales can do great harm. (desalinization of urine for example) Seek the truth buried below the B.S. in this show. Good things grow from fertilizer.

    Jack Jobe – Be Honest, Be Excellent and Walk About Prepared®

  28. Water is the least of my problems. I have a spring 1/4 mile from the house and a 100 year old hydraulic ram pump, powered by the water, that sends it to the house. It has worked here very well for over 20 years. I collect and restore these pumps when I find them.

    If you have ever visited the Spanish Quarter at St. Augustine, you may have seen a scooped-out rock on a pedestal with a bowl below. That rock is actually a ceramic filter! Dirty water in the top and clean slowly drips through.

    Speaking of ceramic filters, you may have seen the name Royal Doulton on an antique teacup. Doulton pottery became Royal Doulton as a reward from the queen for coming up with a ceramic filter that eradicated so much of the water-borne disease England once suffered. Most of the originals have been gutted by people who don’t know what they are, but modern versions are available.

  29. Is it possible to drink swimming pool water or does it have to be processed.

    • Sure you can. It’s just heavily chlorinated (not good for you). It would be better than drinking pond water. Of course, with no power to run your pumps and filters, your pool will soon become a stagnant pond anyway. Maybe you could grow tilapia in that backyard pool as part of your emergency plan. That is, if you have another source of water.
      Actually, for short-term water storage I’m considering buying a large above-ground pool. It would only be set up and filled in case of an impending problem with the water supply. It’d take a long time to set up and fill, so I’ll need to stay aware of the situation. Even a couple of those blow-up kiddie pools would hold a significant amount of water and wouldn’t cost a lot. They’d be a heck of a lot less expensive than those bathtub Water Bobs.

    • Eddie Hinson says:

      Most chlorine in city water will evaporate in 24 hrs. if left in open mouth container, may take loner for swimming pool water. The chlorine in water will evaporate if left in an open container.

  30. the worst show I saw was the dad who took his boys out shooting and then blew his thumb off. if he truly wanted to prepare his sons for real life situations, then those boys should have taken care of their dad and not the camera crew.
    I also have water concerns and I don’t have a well. we live slightly out of town and get city water. I have water bobs, 2 55 gals drums, (1 filled now) and many stored water bottles but I feel I still don’t have enough. I have quit buying freeze dried foods which require water to prepare and am storing more canned foods that require a minimum or no water for prep.

    it seems to me though from the last couple episodes, that the “experts” are changing their predictions. Maybe they have gotten too many complaints from viewers.

  31. A message to all. Don’t be fearful, just be aware, and prepare.

    Fear, anger, stress are health killers.

    Keep the faith.

    God bless!

  32. Chucktowner says:

    NatGeo’s Prepper show and all the other ‘Red-Neck’ shows like Bayou Billionaires et al are the liberal elites simply poking fun at people they would not allow in their homes.

    The liberal / intellectual elites think we are bugs. We are too stupid to understand how life really is. They have it all figured out and prepping is simply an outward reaction caused by our ignorance.

    I say love and learn harder than you ever have because shortly, the liberal elites will be knocking at our doors begging for our help. “I told ya so, not beat it before you’re shot” will be my response. The other will be “The Federal Camp is 12 miles east of here. They’ll be happy to take care of you”.

    • davidmobile says:

      FYI, Doomsday Preppers is part of a family of shows that ngc is doing on people it considers “Outliers”.

  33. First of all, thank you so much for all you do, share and contribute to the lives and future of others! Here’s my dilemma:
    I live in the desert! 200+ miles in any direction to get out of it! Am I doomed if a disaster happens as far as water is concerned? What about the temperatures? Should I re-locate? If disaster hits in the middle of summer and it’s 110*, I figure I’m toast! I haven’t seen this issue addressed as of yet, so I’m assuming that my options are slim for survival. Please help me out on this one! I’m prepared to do whatever I need to do for my family. Thank you

    • Dan in Colorado says:

      MaryJ, I think you already know the answer to that one. If the electric grid goes down, I assume you will have no water and without water in the desert, it’s just a matter of days. That said, are you in a position to move? Many families can’t just quit their jobs and pack up and move without a new job wherever they’re relocating to. If you’re serious, start looking for a place you want to relocate to, and then start looking for job prospects in that area. Think of this as a clean slate….where do you want to live that has the water you know you need, plus other features: good topsoil, weather?, wood for backup heat, etc. I know that i’m stuck where I’m at until I get 2 kids through college.

    • I am not sure how you get your water now. Information on that would help to give advice.

      My cousin lives in a warm climate and was getting ready to put a new roof on his house. I talked him into putting a high gloss white roof on his house. He reports a ten degree reduction in his indoor temperature. He uses a swamp cooler to reduce the temperature another twenty degrees though that is of little use if you are short of water.

    • For a relatively short-time solution you might consider buying a backyard pool. I think the bigger, above-ground type pools only run in the hundreds of dollars (you only need the rim and liner, unless you actually want to swim in it) and can store literally thousands of gallons of water. It’ll go stale if you don’t circulate and filter it, but you can still use it if you run it through a good water filter. If that’s not an option, you can use it to irrigate that backyard garden that I hope you have, or will have in the future.
      By the way, living out in the desert could be a GOOD thing. A lot of the “experts” recommend retreating to a remote area and there you are already.

    • Great Grey says:

      United States Plastic Corporation has numerous water storage containers from less than a gallon to more than 10,000 gallons..
      They have a 250 and a 400 gallon tanks designed to fit though doorways so you can put them in your house (on a very strong floor). Just go to their website www.usplastic.com and search for “water tank”. They also have many other items for storing food and other things.

  34. Patriot Dave says:

    Water is a great concern for me too. There is a small perennial stream near my house. I still need to do a chemical test of it. Plus it will require hauling water. I did purchase some water preservation tablets that are supposed to last 5 years. Q: What experience does anyone have using those?
    Two very general observations of the show. These are not intended to be critical of the preppers since I am aware of the severe editing and producers’ agenda.
    1: Some of the preppers appear so focused on one disaster, that they appear to be completely unprepared for any other disaster. Although I have learned a lot from the focused attention to a particular threat. (i.e. pandemics) Perhaps that was the show’s intent? idk.
    2. Underground bunkers without escape routes are just as vulnerable as cities under siege. Throughout history, cities under siege were far more likely to lose. Because they were cut off from re-supplies. Some of you war historian could add info about forts. Like Dave W said, just park a car over the hole and wait. Or, get an earth mover and shut off the air supply and exit. If there is no rabbit hole to escape, they have to be so well hidden that NO ONE can find them. My first plan is to survive in place. But my house has multiple exits and escape routes.
    On a side note: if the guy on the show sees this, I hope he adds a hydraulic car jack to his shelter. And for heaven’s sake, don’t make your wife, stand/moving about, behind a cheap wooden door, to protect the entire family, with all the lights on, for a 24 hour watch, all alone.

    • davidmobile says:

      What participants have told me is that they are told to say, “I’m preparing for…” and the editors skew the footage to support the storyline that they want for that segment.

      Ironically, this backs up the point that a broad based preparedness plan gets people ready for almost any specific disaster.

  35. Astrovel says:

    Hi David, We are 78 yr old part time preppers because we are on S.S. only and have no other funds available. Also we live in a gated community 7 miles from town that will not allow animals such as goats chicken etc. There is only about 6 inches of dirt here then solid rock underneath so there is no way we can even plant a garden. We’ve been collecting can goods, dry milk, beans, rice etc. We are having guttering installed on the front side of our house so we can capture rain water into 5 forty gal containers with lids supplemented by buying drinking water. We bought water purification tablets which I am hoping will be the same as filtering out bad contaminants. We live 3 blocks from a lake that we can access after our stash is used up. (We’ll just have to bathe in the lake) There is only one road into our street. If that road becomes blocked for some reason, we are closed off from civilization. We also live 18 miles from a nuclear facility so if that goes we go anyway. We can’t afford a generator but have looked into making our own solar panels which might suffice to keep the frig going. We’ve picked up a few tips from the preppers program such as the fish antibiotics which I had never thought of before. We followed another survive in place book for medical and first aid etc. Do you have any other suggestions we could do on a fixed income?

    • D. Kline says:

      My house is on clay, so I created raised beds and brought in good soil. You could also do some gardening in large pots. I wouldn’t give up on gardening altogether. I am also in a deed-restricted community where we can’t have goats or chickens, but we’re planning to begin to raise rabbits in the garage.

      • Eddie Hinson says:

        You can also trap wild rabbits with an old fashioned rabbit box. Growing up, my brother and I had as many as 20 rabbit boxes set out at a time. Nothing like momma’s rabbit stew or dumplings. We also sold the live trapped rabbits to hunting clubs, traded them for our .22 ammo, for butter from one of our neighbors, and one neighbor only wanted their hide.

    • MI Patriot says:

      Astrovel, We have a lot of tree roots in our yard. What we did is something called “Grid Gardening.” You need 2 x 6 x 8 foot boards. The theory is that plants grow in the top 6″ of soil. We mixed in composted manure, garden dirt, and that stuff that looks like ground up styrofoam. We have 3 raised beds 4 x 8 feet long. we have to add more dirt each year because the dirt settles, but once you get the mix of dirt right, replenishing the beds is easy. Here is a link. Mel Bartholomew is the author of this method. It is plant dense so you get more bang for your garden buck. We then got some white plastic lattice and attached it at the ends of the beds and used it to grow cukes and summer squash. We bought 10 foot furring strips at the lumbar yard and nailed them to the 8′ foot side and put in pole beans. This year we are going to plant sunflowers along the property line and see if we can use their stalks to grow more beans. It’s a constantly evolving garden, but that’s the fun part.


    • Re: the fish antibiotics
      You can get more antibiotics and in larger quantities from veterinary suppliers. They also have hyperdermic needles, sutures, etc. There is very little restriction on stuff like this. You can order on-line for next day delivery if you want.
      Make sure that you know what you are doing with “Ditch Medicine”. You can kill somebody quicker with bad medicine than the disease or infection that it’s supposed to cure. Get a good book to know about dosages. If you can get the veterinary version of the Merck manual, you can most time use the swine dosages if you don’t know the actual human one. Heck, you might actually need to treat your own actual livestock!

      • Veteranary Pennicillin is Pennicillin.I’ve used it before,on a sinus infection.Two days,it was gone.The kid behind the counter,at the feed store,couldn’t believe I actually shot (medicated) myself right there at the counter.It works!-M-

    • You have a computer.try this web site.backwoodshome.com. They’ve been a self-reliant,live off the grid magazine,in publication, for twenty years.There’s lots of good info there for preppers.Hope it helps.Good Luck.-M-

    • Astrovel, You can plant a raised garden or mound with top soil as I did living in Pa. on a mountain with rock a few inches below and dirt where I needed a mining pick to break. To help contain the raised mound, use landscaping timber, natural rock, cement block, or plastic edger. Mulch also keeps a “mound” garden from losing topsoil. Also you can use plastic pots for a container garden. People who live in high rises have these on a deck or rooftop.

    • “There is only about 6 inches of dirt here then solid rock underneath so there is no way we can even plant a garden.”

      Make raised beds! Or a container garden. I have poor soil, but hubby built a 3′ high bed with stacked cinder blocks (used rebar to stabilize them), and we filled it with a mix that is about half compost– grows great vegies. The other advantage to raised beds, is that things are easier to reach. I’ve made terraces with mortarless blocks (an on-going project) in several places that also are filled with heavily amended soil– and again, things grow well in them, too. Your HOA may not allow them in the front, but you should be able to set them up in your back yard. If you have a deck/cement/other hardscape for a back yard– large pots are available at most garden centers and at CostCo at the moment; a half-barrel can be used for a fairly decent sized “salad garden”, or a zucchini plant and herbs. You can get top soil and/or potting soil, plus amendments, and starter plants at the same garden centers.

  36. Firehawk says:

    The shows have been interesting and I have picked up some ideas. Majority who are prepared the best have been doing it for some time and some of the costs associated are phenomenol. I do think the shows have opened up some eyes. For example I ordered a geiger counter yesterday, back ordered to Sept., 3 multi-powered emergency radios, back ordered to May, a sweetwater filter, back ordered to May. Somebody is paying attention. I still haven’t seen any suggestions for my case where it is only two of us in a suburb and none of the neighbors really get along. I am the only one really familiar with firearms and other weapons.

    • RE: ” I am the only one really familiar with firearms and other weapons.”
      That could be a GOOD thing if you have to defend your family and supplies in an emergency. The only reason why you’d want your neighborhood to be an armed camp is if you want to “fort-up” against another neighborhood, in my opinion.

      • Sorry, but I think that is what many people are going to find themselves doing. Having a billion pounds of supplies is great, but what do you do when 10, 25, 30 or more hungry, insane,evil, or desperate people show up? What if your neighborhood is set ablaze?
        I wish I could be set up like these people are, but I really fear that many of us are going to end up on the move without all our gear and grub. Knowledge will be critical as well as firearms and the means to fight and kill any who may come against you. Sounds cold, but it’s what It may come to.

  37. I’ve not watched the latest show, but do have it recorded. I don’t know what the producers are trying to portray with these shows; are they attempting to get more people prepared, are they making fun of us or is it something else?
    I have seen some helpful things in the shows and I have seen some things that I believe one should not do. I have seen preppers storing store bought items that have a shelf life of less than two years and food storage in total disarray. Are you really likely to eat 30 boxes of Coco Puffs before they go bad? Here’s a question for you to really reason with; what are you going to do with that 300lbs of wheat you have stored? Once again I have to say “store what you eat and eat what you store.”

  38. I consider myself a novice when it comes to prepping, but I am quite aware that what is being shown on Doomsday Preppers my be taken with a grain of salt, no pun intended with all the discussion of desalination here.

    I have recently obtained several 55 gallon barrels for emergency water storage and have cleaned out a storage room at home keep my food, and household goods, preps. I have a ‘Get Home Bag’ in every vehicle and have put togther a 72 Hour Bag for each household member. I am also working on two additional bags, much larger that would be used if we had to leave our home for an extended period of time, more than just a few days or even a week. We are also trying to get other family members on board, even if we have to supplement, finacially, their preps. By doing this, we believe that if gives us additional safe locations, for all involved, to be able to bug out to in the event that we had to evacute our home.

    I have been a long time gun enthusiast and very much enjoy shooting and collecting. I am trying to get my family more envolved with my shooting sports, as it would be nice to know that everyone knew how to properly handle and operate some basic weapons, such as handguns (both revolver and semi-autos), shotguns (both pump-action and double barrel) as well as rifles (both semi-auto and bolt-action). While I am obtaining more self-defense ammo for the various weapons that we own, I am more focused at this time on water and food storage, first aid supplies and alternate means of power and fuel.

    The thing that stood out the most to both my wife and I about your course was one statement that you made about water and medicines, and that was if you don’t have what you need then the rest of it doesn’t mean a whole lot, so you might as well spend your time and money just enjoying life because you are not going to last long if we do see a true shtf scenario for an extended period of time (I am sure that I didn’t get that exactly right David, but you and those who have taken your course know what I am trying to say).

    Thanks for everything and may God Bless you all!

  39. Eddie Hinson says:

    One thing all these survivalists do not mention is dental hygiene. Taking care of your teeth and gums is very important, so I have made up my own dental survival kit. Bad teeth make survival that much harder, and can make you pretty miserable.

    • Eddie,

      you’re completely correct. i’ve taken stock of some dental basics, including a means to extract teeth.

      an abcessed tooth can be fatal.


      • Eddie Hinson says:

        That is right gil, You can forget about surviving if you do not take good care of your teeth and gums. Unhealthy gums are a place for bacteria to flourish. Floss those teeth after every meal, and remember that dental floss has hundreds of uses in survival situations. Keep a good supply of both waxed and unwaxed dental floss.

    • Eddie, that is a very good point. For years we have brushed with baking soda and used hydrogen peroxide (don’t swallow) as a rinse. I had a fellow worker who had 7-10 days left before she was scheduled to have her teeth/gums scraped, etc. because of gum disease. I told her about baking soda and peroxide. She had nothing to lose, so she tried it and didn’t have to have the procedure done. Her gums were restored in that time. Simple things are often much better than the complicated (and chemical) products that many use today. So, I have a big store of baking soda and peroxide which have many other good uses too. I don’t think you can have too much. It will be good barter too.

  40. Alpenglow says:

    My biggest gripe (among many) with Doomsday Preppers is how the announcer downplays the threats at the end. Are they really that naive?

    I was pleased to see the NYC apt. couple using a WaterBob. I bought one of these several years ago and wondered how long it would take to fill. They reported 15 min. 🙂 Water is my biggest concern both for personal use and gardening. All we can do is the best we can and rely on the Lord for the rest.

    • Their assesments come from unknown “Experts” on the show as a percentage of probabilities. IF they want any credibility, they would name them. Anything could happen, like without warning the public a few months ago as a huge asteroid almost clipping earth and not announcing it until after it passed.

      One thing I didn’t know was the military has been prepping for an alien (outer space) invasion. It makes me wonder with one denial after another on ufo visits, what are they hiding from us? They must believe they exist to prepare for it.

      • If they believe in aliens, it Doesn’t mean we have to. But I’m not disbelieving either. No Human Being in history has seen even One.

  41. Hi David,

    I agree that water is essential but there are 2 proven and safe methods to get good drinking water from almost any source that hardly anyone knows about. It is relative new product with simple process that is relatively inexpensive and proven. It is the Sawyers FILTER (.1 micron-stops bacteria) and the Sawyers water PURIFIER (.02 microns-stop bacteria and Viruses). Both are gravity fed systems that use a common plastic bucket and gravity and yield 5 gallons in 15 minutes and 45 minutes respectively. They take advantage of the same (hollow fiber membranes) technology as kidney dialysis and are guaranteed for 1 million gallons. Independent lab tests are available as well. Hundreds were sent to Japan and Haiti during recent disasters there and missionaries are using them.

    They do NOT remove chemicals and salt but one removes biological and the other biological and VIRUSES. These both weigh less than a pound and I keep the Viral one in my BOB.
    I led many short term mission teams overseas and know what it is to boil water for up to 20 people for 8 weeks. When I discovered these at a Missionary medical conference I realized they were a real game changer and immediately decided to add them to my STM resources for STM overseas teams, but they are great for survival situations. Each of my adult family members have one for preparedness. I can send the independent lab tests if you are interested.

    Howard Lisech

    • davidmobile says:

      These are great, Howard. I have been using them, I believe, since they were first made available, have interviewed their engineers at length, and promoted the purifiers and filters in every course and interview I’ve done. With their proven performance and their 1 million gallon guarantee, they’re worth their weight in gold.

    • Eddie Hinson says:

      I worked for a chemical company for 35 years and we used the micron filters from 1 micron down to .02 micron, these are great products and very dependable.

    • But you have to HAVE water to filter/purify it.

  42. Teresa M. says:

    Water storage is one of my greatest problems. My well is 190ft and I depend on a pump for it. I personally don’t like the idea of trading fuel for water because fuel is just as hard to store. If you add in that my water is very hard ( it eats my pumps) and requires a softener it becomes a very complicated. There are 3 adults in my household and 2 big dogs and the fact that I’m unprepared in this area weighs heavily on me. On the subject of doomsday preppers, I have noticed a little chatting at work about the show. In a conversation about rising prices and the black market for Tide detergent I made the comment about making my own laundry stuff and was called a doomsday prepper. It made me smile. If they only knew that I wished I was half as prepared as most of the people on that show. I am just a baby in my preps. One day at a time right? God bless you all. T

    • Eddie Hinson says:

      You can try a bored well. Our drilled well is 190′ deep, but the bored well is 50′ deep, and can supply all the water you need.

      • Teresa M. says:

        I’m going to look into a bored well, Thank you. It is something I never thought about.

      • Eddie,

        i haven’t heard of a bored well before. can you ‘splain it a little bit?



        • Eddie Hinson says:

          Usually a drilled well is 2” or 6” in diameter, where a submersible pump has to be used, and they can be pretty deep(100′ to 900′). A bored well is more shallow, around 40 to 70 feet deep, and can be 24” to 36” in diameter, this means that if the submersible pump goes out, there are many other ways to get the water out, for example if there is no electricity, it can be retrieved the old fashioned way, by a hand crank and a bucket with a rope tied to it. This is safe drinkable water the common sense way, while everyone else tries crazy ideas, you can have clean water the easy way. A bored well can be done by most Well Drilling outfits.

          • MY last home had a sand point well, 5 feet below my basement floor, total 12 feet. I lived in an old farmhouse that had a sandpoint well and hand pump 15 feet deep. My mom had a sandpoint well at the lake 20 feet deep that tasted fine. These were hand dug wells, blocked on the sides and wide like you describe as a bored well easily accessed by a bucket or a shallow hand pump, but doesn’t necessarily have to be 40 feet deep. It depends on the first layer on the water table where there is a hard pan substance beneath it- like loose bedrock or clay. I lived in Arizona when the water table allowed for a well at 15 to 20 feet deep like my neighbors, but when too many people moved out there and sucked out the water, the water table drastically dropped to alarming depths. Many regulations now days in certains states don’t allow sand point wells anymore, but that’s what most people, settlers and pioneers survived with on the plains without rivers and streams.

      • Confused. What’s the difference between a bored well and a drilled well?

        • Eddie Hinson says:

          Most drilled wells are now 6” in diameter( and can be very deep), a bored well can be 2′ to 3′ in diameter. A bored well makes it easy to access the water if the electricity goes off.

    • Same scenario here…our well is 204′ deep. I plan to have our Honda generator converted to propane (which everything in our house runs on), adding a separate, 120-gallon dedicated propane tank to feed the generator. In a pinch we have a number of 10-gallon propane tanks. Our main propane tank is (currently) 500-gallons. In a grid-up situation this typically lasts 14-16 months as we heat with wood. Since our generator conversion would be a bi-fuel conversion stored gas would be another means in which to run the generator.

      I intend to purchase a 250-gallon poly water tank from peggylayton.com, placing it in the garage for bulk water storage. The multi-sided tank fills from the top. Water can be drawn approximately 18″ from the bottom. Another valve near the bottom is a drain. The generator would not have to be run all that long in order to fill the water tank. In the interim, other uses for generator power could be coordinated to commence at the same time. As the entire house was wired with a Gen-Tran for backup switching power we are in pretty good shape. Still, I want to purchase a quality Diesel powered generator as a redundant backup.

    • Be proud of whatever place you are in your prepping and any progress you are able to make…millions won’t or can’t. Water is the biggest obstacle in being self sufficient for us as well. We were able to pick up a one-man well drilling machine like those used in third world countries and with a few modifications, it should work fine, but then storage of retrieved water will be the issue. One step at a time, I have to keep telling myself. We have been prepping for four years as money and time allows. Friends and family who used to think we were the “crazy aunt and uncle” now think we are a bit eccentric, but very clever. Many have begun their own preps, albeit in small amounts. Our goal is more in the line of self sufficiency. No point in being prepped if you can’t maintain it. It’s also a great retirement plan so that our lifestyle is undiminished by the events and activities around us. Energy sources for us are solar, generator (gas), wood (heat, cooking and gasifier engines). Yeah, I saw the comment on gasifiers being illegal…so is most of the stuff congress is doing and they didn’t ask our permission. Another aspect of being prepped is to make sure you have barter-able skills and items that can get you the things you need when you run out or in a personal emergency.
      Learn to do things that you normally would have to buy..make bread, butcher a chicken, minor surgery, bullet removal, cauterizing wounds…you may not need to use those skills for yourself, but someone else may pay dearly for them because they don’t know how.

    • Okay. I’m no well expert but when I was a kid my parents had a lot we used to camp on. They had well drilled and topped with an old fashioned hand pump. We kept a sealed 5-gallon container of water beside it to prime it each weekend. As I recall the well was over 100 feet deep. I think the pipe was 1-2″ in diameter. If I had land, that’s what I’d have for drinking water (or at least as a backup supply). IMHO you shouldn’t count on anything electronic/electrical to be working in a survival situation. Same goes for things requiring fuel that isn’t local (i.e. wood).

  43. Well, that info about the urine coverted for drinking your provided was really wonderful. I can see the salinity would be a huge problem if not filtered properly.

    For the most part, we are continuing with our preparations and we feel like the show has opened a few eyes, but not as many as is needed. Because we have taken your course SurviveinPlace we feel we are pretty well prepared and what we see compared to the show has made us feel more confident in what we have done to this point. Of course, we continue in our preparations, but in addition we are now focusing on expanding being more self-sufficient and providing for ourselves through gardening, raising chickens, planning to acquire goats, catching rain water, composting, etc.

    My husband was just telling me yesterday about a friend at work who has had his “head in the sand” so to speak until lately and listened to nonthing my husband had been telling him concerning the need to be prepared, and suddenly he sees what’s going on around him (not sure if he has watched Doomsday Preppers) and he is panicking because he now sees the necessity of being prepared and he doesn’t have anything. He’s focused on weapons at this point. Hopefully he will calm down and see that there is so much more that he needs and systematically acquire what he is financially able to. I’m sure my husband will guide him any way he is able and maybe this guy can have at least some basics before anything happens. We will recommend your courses as a starting place for him.

    We have taken a few things away from the NTG program, but not a whole lot. Like you, we are still unhappy that the program is put into the light that it has through the comments concerning the possibilties of potential pending disasters. It’s sad that they have such a free hand in the editing of the scenerios and the way these families/individuals are protrayed. The truth would be much more helpful, but being helpful isn’t their goal, and it’s obvious ratings are the end result they are seeking. I think they are “missing the boat.”

    • Eddie Hinson says:

      You do not want to ingest urine, it contains toxins that your body has just eliminated. Army survival schools advise to not do this. If you are in survival mode, the concentrated salts will only make it worse.

      • davidmobile says:

        We’re going to have to agree to disagree…both on what works and on what SERE instructors teach.

        • Eddie Hinson says:

          You drink urine, I’ll drink water from my bored well. Advising drinking urine is irresponsible.

          • Eddie, I’ve got to call you out on this one.

            First, why in the heck would you think I was suggesting that you might NEED to drink urine if you had a source of fresh drinking water? Drinking urine in a survival situation is a way to stretch a limited supply of water.

            Second, as to your claim that it is irresponsible to advise people to drink their own urine to delay dehydration in a life or death survival situation…you’re free to do whatever you want to, but if I have a choice between drinking my urine or dying, I’m going to drink my urine. If it’s irresponsible to tell people how to squeeze a few extra days of life out of a survival situation, then we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

      • captain mike says:

        Every case is unique, but David is basically right. As unpalatable as is sounds, urine ingestion has a long history as both an emergency technique (the Magellan expedition) and deliberately as a health suppliment (questionable, but it’s out there). I see it as more of a backwoods/bugout technique than a mainstay. One more tool in the toolbox.

  44. The best solution I could find for a water supply is to use a solar powered well pump. I don’t think it has to include a battery supply since I believe you can pump enough water on clear days into above ground tanks to last during the times there is no sun.

    • We have a solar powered well at a campsite a few miles down from me in a campground that we maintain. Tank is over 400 gallons and with part sun exposure, it fills to water a campground and their horses for a weekend, plus I have seen natives getting water from it as well. But when the sun doesn’t shine for a few days before a busy weekend, we use a generator which pumps 100 gallons in a few hours. A shed is built around it, and if insulated and heated in winter above freezing, it would work all year, otherwise the pipes and tank water would freeze.

  45. Unlike the urban dwellers, we have a well but it’s 70′ deep. I wanted a generator that would automatically cut on, run on natural gas that we have for our furnace, and give flexibility in what appliances to use. It could have been installed for $3000 but my husband is not as pessimistic as I am and didn’t feel it was necessary although he did okay a coal stove in the basement for emergency heat and we have a sizeable garden planned. I saw a hand pump for $500 plus dollars that would draw water that high.

    • Check out solar and wind for power sources to your pump. Might work.

    • Mary, as you are with your husband, I am with my wife. She fights me for every dollar I spend towards survival needs. No amount of facts, or articles will sway her opinion. But she voted for Obama too, so that may be the reason….

    • You can purchase a new and very inexpensive generator for about $329 from Harbor Freight – it’s 4000 watts and runs on gasoline. While it won’t run much I would think your deep water well pump would draw much less power – checking with other deep well pump manufacturers your pump may pull about 10 amps @ 220 volts – that would mean it would need 2,200 watts when it is running. For only $329 – forget the natural gas generator – invest in a small one; run it monthly; and save a lot of money. If you rotate appliances – you could keep your refrigerator going, your water pump, lights, etc. all for $329.

  46. L. Reifert says:

    What about collecting dew by spreading large black garbage bags on the lawn? I am concerned about the rainwater being contaminated with radiation from Fukishima, and I haven’t heard of a filter that filters out radiation.

    • The Berkey ceramic “post filters” (they attach to the bottoms of the black filters) is supposed to filter out radioactive particles. That probably means alpha and beta particles, which can pretty much be stopped by tightly woven cloth. And if I recall my physics class’ on the subject… the gamma particles don’t stick around long enough to be filtered.

      • It will filter out particles, regardless of whether or not they are irradiated, but the bigger question is whether or not there are higher probability threats that might be better to focus on. If you’re downwind from a radioactive blast or a dirty bomb, water is going to be just one of several dozen ways that you’re going to ingest radiation.

      • An alpha particle is nothing more than a helium nucleus. A beta particle is nothing more than an electron. A gamma ray is not really a particle so much as it is a wave packet (high energy photon), or that is to say the highest frequency of electromagnetic radiation; it’s like microwaves on steroids. It is the fallout that emits these 3 types of radiation. Fallout is radioactive material; when uranium or plutonium is split in fission, it splits into isotopes of cesium, iodine, and other elements(actinides and such) that are highly unstable. These atoms split again and emit radiation. I could not speak to what type of filter would be needed to remove these, only that they are not organic per se.

    • L,

      i don’t know if we can practically filter out nucular contaminated water, but i’ve heard you can ingest zeolite to counteract the radiation and pull it out of you.

      i’d like to read what David and others with more experience think of this though.


      • Zeolite will not ‘remove radiation’ from the body, nor ‘counteract’ it. All the zeolite can do is bind to certain mineral or chemical particles, hopefully allowing the digestive tract to eliminate same, without the offending contaminants to enter the blood flow. Zeolite does not enter the blood system, so frankly any over the counter medication to, politely, end constipation will do about as well–unless you just swallowed some serious poison, in which case the zeloite may bind with the toxins and hold them safely until elimination. Charcoal does the same. Zeolite can help to purify (NOT sterilize) dirty water sources.

      • T P Patriot says:

        Gil & All-

        Zeolite works for me & has for 33 days. Being an “earth child”(hippie) from the ’70’s, my health is pretty good. Recently I’m aware of decrease in tiredness and over all aches & pains, as well as less drag in the morning I attribute to Zeolite absorbing & flushing toxins and healing on a cellular level.

        8 years ago I contracted a perasite, spore on my lung & heavy metal poisoning of chromium, mercury & lead. An American Indian friend, 7 generation medicine woman, helped cure me with supplements from Vitamin Shoppe. Last year I survived prostrate cancer with surgery. DO NOT RADIATE! and get checked from age 21! If your MD scoffs, GET A NEW MD!

        Other than that, I’m in the PINK!

    • Marine Prepper says:

      Black plastic garbage bags get blown around easily, and can pickup undesireable chemicals through leaching. A large tarp would be more productive, but isn’t much better than a couple of of cups at most per day. If you use them as part of a solar still with green organic matter (leaves, grass…) and urinate into the hole before covering with the plastic you will gain more water. Try it out now, and you will see one or 2 holes in the ground won’t keep you hydrated very long, especially if the temperature is high and you are doing any work…you will sweat out more thatn you can make.

    • A e-mail from cheaperthandirt.com came today with an ad for potassium iodine. My girlfriend lived in Poland when Chernobyl blew. The prevailing winds usually blew west to east, but unfortunately that week the winds blew into Poland. I sent iodine tabs because they couldn’t get them locally.

  47. David, thanks for the info.
    What I learned was that I should prepare to live off the land more to suppliment my stores, therefore increasing the time they will last.
    The debt crisis is what urged me to start preparing for and economic colapse, along with the fact it is the only thing we can not fix with our votes.

    • atasteofcreole says:

      Start now, because when it happens you AND everyone else will be “living off the land.” I’ve read an article in central VA about a person who’s basement was broken into and ALL their home-canned goods were stolen. Another was about people stealing from gardens at night. Be warned it is happening NOW!

      • You’ve got that right. Our suburban community started a “community garden” last year. It was a disaster because most of the food was stolen, and the rest was destroyed by teenaged vandals ‘having some fun’. Gated gardens, anyone?

  48. chilichild says:

    Some 50 years ago, we had a bucket on a rope , and even in July the well water was amazingly cold in central Texas . We owned the best spring in the county , but that was 2 miles away .

    • chilichild, I grew up on a farm in Arkansas where we had water wells and caves. I was told that the temperature in both was always constant. I will never forget the taste of that cool water just drawn up by the rope, nor the refreshing coolness of my favorite cave. I miss them both.

      • Eddie Hinson says:

        Nothing as refreshing as drawing a bucket of well water in the summer time, and drinking it from the dipper that my grandfather had carved from a gourd.

  49. mdiprepper says:

    All True and Thanks for what you do – Expand your like minded friends we will need them and there’s more of us than the elites

  50. the sailboat would be stolen or stripped in the 60 days they were hidding in there “secret” shelter.

  51. That show is starting to drive me nuts.Look he put a bomb shelter in his garage.His girlfriend in left to defend the house.OOOps took her out and then parked a car in the garage!
    Plan A could just get you killed in a slow death.That’s not a good plan.Then the show has to pull thing out of a hat to tell them what they are doing was wrong.


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