Gear for the Hard Times: DIY Water Purification for your Family

Gear for the Hard Times: DIY Water Purification for your Family

Water. If things get hot, you need to be able to move to and fro and have your basic needs met. Water, Food, Shelter. Likely your not traveling alone. You have a family and / or fellow patriots. You need to process water to ensure you and your group’s needs are met. What are the options?

Water Purification in the Field:

A good water system will be a) portable, b) reliable, and of course c) potable. The gold standard of mobile water filtration systems is the Berkey filters, but they can be expensive however they are portable, reliable, and produce potable water. We need something that can be repaired and built on the fly for a lower cost… but what?

A Berkey Water Filter next to an R.T.U. Donut Glaze bucket Water Filtration system. Oh, and the top was a pineapple chunk bucket. Both of those sound like a good flavoring combo for my water. JJJJOKING. 

The first components you need are buckets. 5 Gallon PVC buckets are readily available either new or used but free. Many stores with bakeries go through large volumes of icing and will give away buckets for free. 5-gallon buckets with the extra lip will nest to reduce the size of your water system and make it easier to transport. (see lead photo) These buckets are easy to find and form the basis for our expedient filtration system. They must have at least 1 lid present to function.

The second components are a tap and a ceramic dome filter. The tap is technically optional, as you could always filter the water, and scoop it out but that can be a pain. I suggest a low profile metal tap so you will not impact it and break the bucket during transport. The ceramic dome filter (purchased from SHTF&GO LLC) is available for around 11-15 dollars depending on your source.

The build is simple. The bottom bucket collects clean filtered water, and the top bucket sits on top and holds dirty water. A ceramic dome filter is the media used to clean the water and it simply drips through a hole drilled in the bottom of the top bucket (and the lid of the bottom bucket) to drip into the clean bucket.

The ceramic filter and plastic wingnut stick out of the bottom of the top bucket. The assembly sits on the lid of the bottom bucket. The lid has a hole drilled in the center for the ceramic filters spout. Altogether 3 holes are filled. One for the filter spigot, one for the lid, and one for the spout on the bottom bucket. I widened the holes with a sharp knife after drilling with my largest bit. 

Visually this is stupid simple and easy to understand. I used food-grade silicone on the included rubber washers for the tap and dome filter to ensure a watertight seal.  The spigot was a metal spigot that is fairly low profile and readily available.

How’s it Taste?

The ceramic dome filter did a fantastic job of cleaning my tap water. The chemical smell of city tap water was eliminated and the taste of the water greatly improved. The drip rate of the filter is rapid. I filled the top bucket to the brim and went to bed. In the morning we had 5 gallons of clean water. The filters are rated to 1000 gallons or one year. Kinda low compared to the black filters of the Berkey, but much cheaper at $15 a pop. The Berkey water does taste cleaner, there is a slight hint of PVC in the field filter as the water sits in a clean PVC bucket but overall it tasted great.

As a third comparison, I have a Life Straw Mission which can filter large volumes of water as well… however, the heavy plastic taste makes it a chore to drink. I would 10/10 choose the field filter if I had the room to take it.

Written by lothaen

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