Water is one of the most vital supplies for preppers to pack. But it is impossible to haul around a gigantic water container everywhere you go.
We’ll review the best emergency drinking water pouches on the market today, and help you choose the right water pouches for your emergency supplies. We’ll also look at why water pouches are such a valuable commodity in a survival situation, and the best ways to use them.
Consider adding a supply of one of these emergency water pouches to your emergency planning, and you’ll rest a little easier knowing that you have crucial hydration at the ready at all times.
Best Bagged Water And Emergency Water Pouches
Datrex Water Pouches
Datrex Water Pouches are the hallmark name for your emergency water supply. They boast an impressive 5 year shelf life, and Datrex emergency water is always BPA-free.
Datrex emergency water is typically sold in packs of 64, which gives a bare minimum water supply for ten people for up to three days. You can also buy Datrex pouches in smaller or larger counts, depending on how many people you need to provide for.
Datrex products are also Coast Guard approved, a clear sign of quality and reliability.
Mayday Emergency Water Pouches
Mayday Emergency Water Pouches are another excellent choice for emergency drinking water. It is also Coast Guard approved, and comes in more budget friendly as well.
Their manufacturer recommendation is three to four pouches per day, which is more than what most preppers recommend. However, since you can buy these packs in counts of up to 100, you can afford to plan for a little extra per person.
The main downside to Mayday pouches is that they are slightly more susceptible to damage or bursting. That’s because the liner is a bit thinner than other water pouches.
72 Hrs Emergency Water Pouches
The 72 Hrs brand of emergency drinking water pouches is the perfect choice for those who want a rugged emergency water supply that can withstand anything life throws at it.
The company takes its name from the concept of having enough water on hand for an emergency period of 72 hours.
They are more expensive than other brands, but could be well worth the investment if you truly want to be ready for anything.
As with all other brands, 72 Hrs water pouches have a five year shelf life.
Mainstay Emergency Water Pouches
Mainstay water pouches are another option that is slightly more expensive, but will hold up better in tough environments.
While other water storage methods may require a specific environment, Mainstay products can be stored at any temperature and still be viable within the normal five year shelf life.
Even better, the serrated top makes them a little easier to open and drink from than the competition.
SOS Emergency Water Pouches
SOS Emergency Water Pouches is the least expensive option that is wideway available to preppers; but that doesn’t mean you’re skimping on quality ingredients or materials.
Additionally these water pouches are Transport Canada approved, as well as approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
How To Choose The Best Water Pouches For You
Any of the options above would provide a perfectly viable source of emergency drinking water, since they share a lot of the same characteristics:
- Pouches contain approximately 4 ounces of water each
- Each has a similar shelf life (up to five years)
- Pouches are about the same size
- Most have similar temperature tolerances
That being said, some aspects of your buying decision should be weighed carefully given the scenarios you plan to prepare for.
As with every item in your emergency supplies, you should perform a cost-benefit analysis when choosing your brand. A less expensive brand may have a lower quality pouch that will tear or rupture easily; but choosing a brand that costs too much may leave you without enough money to buy your other supplies. Choosing your priorities and striking the right balance will be critical.
Most of the above brands are lined with foil on the inside of a plastic pouch, then filled with purified water. This process ensures that these bacteria-free water products remain sanitary and drinkable for their entire shelf life.
The size will be nearly identical across all brands, so the comparison here will be nearly equal. However, the exact measurements of your chosen water pouch may determine what fits best in your go bag with your other rations and supplies. This may seem like a minor point, but when the chips are down, every decision counts.
Since they all carry the same amount of water, they will likely all weigh the same as well. The four-ounce serving size is perfect in an emergency situation, and allows you to properly ration without worrying about how much water you have left.
The quality of the water pouch may end up being the deciding factor. Most water pouches can withstand temperatures ranging from the freezing point of water to the boiling point of water (0 degrees to 100 degrees Celsius), but some can withstand greater temperature ranges than that. Additionally, the exact materials used in each water pouch, how they are assembled, and how you open the pouches, can simply come down to personal preference.
Types of Emergency Water Storage
It’s worth mentioning that emergency water pouches should only be one part of your overall strategy to maintain an emergency water supply.
The bulk of your water supply should be in a reliable home water storage system. This can include large quantities of bottled water, or water drums or rainfall barrels that can store larger quantities in a single container. These types of storage items can hold drinking water, but you can also use these for washing and cleaning if desired.
Filtration systems are also essential to ensure that your water remains drinkable and doesn’t become contaminated over time. Rainwater is a prime candidate for filtration and sanitation methods, which can include filtering or boiling. You can also try chemical additives, but these should always be used with extreme care.
Portage water storage - like emergency water pouches - are perfect for your go bag, or to keep in your home or vehicle for easy access away from your emergency shelter or main supplies. Depending on how mobile you want to be, you could also store larger water bottles or containers in your vehicle if you know you need to travel long distances.
Portable water filters can also sanitize water sources that you come across on your travels. If you spend time going from one location to another often, or anticipate the need to filter on the go, you should have materials like these handy.
What to Know About Bagged Emergency Water Pouches
The benefits of emergency water pouches may seem readily apparent, but here are some things you should think about if you question the need for this type of emergency water.
Better Than Plastic Bottles?
Plastic bottles may seem like a better choice versus water pouches. Bottles can be more affordable, they can hold more water per container, and they’re not much more difficult to carry.
However, plastic single-use bottles are not meant to withstand heat or cold very well. Furthermore, the chemicals in plastic bottles will decay more quickly over time, contaminating your water supply.
Water bottles can be a piece of your water supply strategy, but water pouches will hold up better when you need it most.
Why Are Emergency Drinking Water Pouches So Small?
Water pouches are not meant to provide the amount of hydration a person typically needs. They are meant to be used only in the most dire circumstances.
Their four-ounce size makes them highly portable, and they can be packed easily with other supplies in a small bag that you can have close to you at all times. Like ration bars or protein bars, it’s meant to be a temporary solution until you can reach a more sustainable supply for extended periods.
How Much Water Does a Person Need?
General guidelines say that a person needs at least one or two gallons of water per day. This includes water for drinking, washing, and sanitation. Your specific needs may vary, especially if you are pregnant or ill.
As we’ve seen, water pouches do not provide a sufficient amount of water in a long term emergency; but this does not mean that they are completely useless. As long as you have other supplies ready, water pouches can be an excellent supplement.
When to Use Them
Hiking or Backpacking
Water pouches and bottled water are great choices if you are hiking or backpacking. You can plan your route along a stream or lake, use a portable water filter as your main water supply, then use your water pouches for longer stretches away from other sources.
There are other times when you travel that water pouches can come in handy. You can keep one or two on hand in case you get stranded at an airport, or in case you run into trouble on a cruise ship. Having some instant hydration on hand can be ideal in case trouble or delays arise.
One of the most common ways to use water pouches is in your emergency bag, or “bug out bag.” You should keep a few go bags handy in places like your home, your vehicle, your office, or your safe room. That way, if an emergency situation arises, you’ll never be far from a bug out bag and supplies like drinking water, dehydrated foods, and other items necessary for survival.
Emergency Situations and Natural Disasters
The main reason that the discipline of prepping and stockpiling exists is to prepare for the worst case scenario. Natural disasters, wartime, supply chain disruptions, health crises, and even doomsday events make prepping necessary now so you’re not caught in a dangerous situation later.
You never know where you might be when disaster strikes, so keep one or two pouches in every go bag you have. Store them in your car in case you are stranded away from home; having even a small amount of clean drinking water can mean the difference between survival and struggle.
Where to Store Them
Water pouches are shelf stable, which means they can be kept at room temperature without any other maintenance. Furthermore, they can withstand extreme shifts in temperature without ruining the water stored inside each pouch.
Keep a few pouches in your go bag, and keep some handy in the places you most commonly spend time. This includes places throughout your home, as well as keeping one at your place of work.
Also remember to keep some in every vehicle you own. This includes not just cars and trucks, but also boats and other forms of transport.
Specific places in your home where you might want to keep an emergency water supply include your main emergency shelter, but can also include locations like your garage, shed, or barn.
Make sure that every member of your family has a few packets within reach at all times, including your children. This can give you peace of mind knowing you have made even this small amount of preparation for your loved ones.
How to Store Your Emergency Water
Water pouches and other larger water containers should be stored in an environment that is not subject to major changes in temperature. While this is not as much of an issue for water pouches, your larger water supplies should be protected from the elements at all costs.
Do Water Pouches Expire?
Even though water itself has no expiration date and will never spoil on its own, the containers you use to store your water supplies will degrade over time. Even water pouches will not last forever.
Water pouches typically have an expiration date of around five years. This is much better than the expiration date of most other commercially-available water products, like plastic bottles or gallon jugs, which only last a few months at a time.
Keeping your water supplies viable for an extended period of time will ensure that you will have clean water at the ready when you need it. You can store this water in individual servings or in bulk.
Other Uses for Emergency Water Pouches
Even if your water pouches have expired, they can be used in other ways besides drinking.
Try keeping a few as ice packs for a first aid kit. You can freeze these water pouches and use them as a cold compress for minor medical needs.
You can also use this water for washing and cleaning. Even if you can’t drink from expired water pouches, the water itself can be used in this way since it will likely be paired with other chemicals and cleaning agents that would neutralize any bacteria.
When Not to Use Emergency Water Pouches
There are some times when water pouches are not the ideal choice.
Do not try to use your water pouches for cleaning or cooking, since you would end up wasting valuable quantities of your pouches in this way (not to mention it creates unnecessary waste products from the excess packaging). You can use them to irrigate a wound only if no other water source is available, but you shouldn’t rely on them for this purpose.
Remember, water pouches are meant to help you stay hydrated for short periods when there are absolutely no other sources of water available. When that happens, your priority should be making those water rations last as long as possible, and drink sparingly until you can replenish your stores.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker