10 Crucial Factors for Prepping a Bug Out Bag [Bug Out Advice for 2020]

Bugging out is a balance of running into problems and coming up with the best solution to those problems that cost the least in supplies and exertion. 

You will be in a constant state of making choices. And when you make a choice, there will always be an outcome. The outcome may have a positive result, but there is usually a price to pay for that result. 

When designing your bug out bag, you must consider keeping yourself in a state of homeostasis, or balance. Too few items in your bug out bag can lead to a state of being unprepared whereas too many items in your bag may weigh you down and become unmanageable.

Too much gear will weigh you down!

In this article, I mainly focus on the conceptual relationship between bugging out and the use of a bug out bag. I have taken these ideas and broken them down into the major factors you need to consider in a bug out situation.

Although there is no gear listed in this article, you can head over to my Ultimate Bug Out Bag Contents Listed and Explained which covers all the essential gear you need to outfit your bug out bag.

By the end of this article, you will have a solid foundation of how to bug out along with a good concept of how to prepare a bug out bag.

Let’s begin!

What is a bug out bag, anyways? 

A bug out bag, or BOB, is a portable survival kit that contains supplies, nutrition, and hydration that typically lasts for a minimum of 72 hours. 

The bug out bag is there for you to grab in the event of an emergency. To clarify, if there is ONE THING you have time to grab before you have to evacuate, the bug out bag is it!

If you can, try to take your bug out bag wherever you go or have a separate go bag in your vehicle for when you go to work or take trips.  

You can purchase a pre-assembled bug out bag which is comprised of a general assortment of supplies, or you can build one yourself. 

If you do decide to build one yourself, it does take some careful planning as you need to consider the final weight of the bag and make sure that all your supplies will fit into the bag you have selected. 

However, a build-your-own bag can be highly specialized to your own unique survival scenario and can comprise of higher quality supplies; many pre-assembled bug out bags typically use generic goods. 

Preparing for your personal bug out scenario 

When designing your own bug out bag, there is so much to consider that it can feel overwhelming. 

The best way to handle this is to break down your unique scenario starting with the largest obstacles you will face and work your way down to the smallest. 

Once you have designated your obstacles and also your strengths, you can build upon these and go from there. 

I have designated 10 crucial factors to consider when bugging out and preparing your bug out bag. There are many more factors that could be added into the equation; this article goes over the most pertinent ones. 

Factor 1: Disaster Type

The first and foremost factor to consider is the emergency situation at hand. Some disasters will have short term effects where civilization can return back to normal quickly. Other situations will be long term, or even permanent, effects which require more prepping to survive. 

Emergency scenarios can also vary greatly by locale. For example, California is prone to fires and earthquakes, the South is prone to hurricanes and flooding, the North is prone to massive winter storms, etc. 

An Earthquake can be devastating combined with a Tsunami

There are also variable disasters that can happen anywhere at any time with little to no predictability. 

One of these potential emergency scenarios is the destruction of the power grid (this is my favorite disaster!). Our power grid is antiquated and it wouldn't take much to send it over the point of no return. 

Imagine if the power went off and took months, or even years, for it to return…. 

No cell phones, TVs, Wi-Fi, refrigeration, light, and the list goes on and on.

On one hand, I think going old school and ditching all of these electronic leashes along with the destruction of big brother surveillance would be a huge relief of burden on society. On the other hand, we would lose most of our modern day niceties along with medical and transportation technologies, throwing us back into the dark ages.

For a sudden and variable situation like this, there is really no way to know exactly how to prepare so your bug out bag will need to contain a more broad spectrum of supplies. Supplies for hunting, fishing, foraging, and scavenging will be paramount to survive a long term disaster scenario. 

Another variable disaster situation could be a civil unrest event. Dense urban environments would be impacted by this disaster intensely. 

If you live in an urban environment, your bug out bag will need to contain more self defense items and should be light and compact enough for quick maneuvering. 

Self defense options such as a firearm (don’t forget the ammo!), pepper spray, taser, and even a guard dog could be chief in getting out of the city alive. Self defense items need to be handy on your person but carrying backups and ammo in your bag is vital.

Other variable disaster situations could be:

  • Nuclear war
  • Terrorist attack
  • Prolonged drought 
  • Contaminated water
  • Blight 
  • Pandemic
  • Financial collapse
  • World War III
  • Alien invasion 

Special note: Communication

It will be of extreme importance to have some sort of radio or communication device to keep track of the impending disaster. Do not expect cell phones to work as the intricate network of towers could easily be eliminated.  

Hand crank radio

There should always be an AM/FM channel available broadcasting updates from news sources and the government. If all communication has been wiped out, then prepare for a serious long term or even permanent event. 

Factor 2: Knowing when it is time to Bug Out

In an emergency scenario, timing is everything. Knowing when it’s time to bug out could equivocate to staying alive - or not.

It may be quite obvious that you need to bug out IMMEDIATELY such as a fire evacuation or earthquake. In this case, make sure your bug out bag is easy to get to. 

Other situations may not be so obvious. If the electricity goes out, how many days do you wait until you need to get out of dodge? 4 days? A week? A month?

If there is a disease breakout in the city, how long until you decide it's out of control and need to bail?

1950's nuclear bomb shelter

The reality is that you will never truly know the best time to bug out. You will need to use judgment and gut instinct to make that tough decision. Keeping informed of events unfolding by radio could be a pivotal tool in judging when it's time to bug out. 

What about bugging in? In some situations, it is better to stay put and ride out the storm. Hopefully, you will have enough supplies in stock within your home. Try not to use up your supplies in your bug out bag until you have no other choice. By this time, if you are dipping in your bug out bag to survive, it is probably high time to bug out!

Factor 3: Environmental Conditions

Environmental conditions that you will face when bugging out is a dominating factor of how you will design your bug out bag. 

Do you live in the desert or the mountains? Is there water nearby or is municipal water your only source? Do you live in the inner city or in the suburbs? Does it get super hot? Super cold? Do the seasons change, requiring you to be prepared for variable weather conditions?

Environmental factors to consider when designing your go bag:

  • Climate - heat, dryness, wind, cold, rain, snow, elevation
  • Seasonal changes and weather variables
  • Access to fresh water sources (check out my Best Emergency Water Filter article)
  • Access to food sources (if on a longer bug out journey)
  • Terrain to your bug out location
  • Populus element - city, suburbs, rural

All of these variables could make a considerable difference in what supplies you will put in your bag.

The hardest element to plan for is variable weather conditions. If you live in an area that has four seasons, you will need to have a little bit of everything in your bug out bag. 

Factor 4: Route to Bug Out Location

When planning your bug out bag, take into consideration the potential to find resources along your route while traversing to your designated bug out location. 

The main resource in my bug out plan is access to water. Packing water is bulky and heavy which can weigh you down considerably. Ideally, you will have a water source along your route so you don’t have to pack out too much water. You will want to at least start with enough water for 72 hours. 

Another resource is shelter. Will there be places you can hunker down for a night safely and with cover? If not, have a makeshift shelter ready. This could be as simple as a tarp or as robust as a lightweight tent.

Food sources along your bug out route will probably be less reliable. Even if there is a store along the way, it could be risky to rely upon in a time of emergency. Have at least 72 hours of calories packed along with you.

There will also be obstacles you need to visualize which can be difficult as so many variables can arise while bugging out. Some are constants, such as:

Terrain - will there be hills, crevices, creeks, streams? What kind of footwear will you need? Will you have to wade through water? 

Barricades - if in a city, will there be barricades in place? If so, how will that impact your route? Can you take backroads? Can you take the highway?

Barricades can hinder your route in a vehicle!

Traffic - will your route be congested with people and vehicles? 

Try to plan your bug out route as the path less traveled. Considering that most people will be trying to find the path of least resistance, it will no longer be a path of least resistance if everyone uses that same path.

Factor 5: Mobility

Now that we have discussed our disaster type, environmental conditions and bug out route, we need to factor in how we will be getting ourselves to our bug out location. 

There are three main ways to traverse in a bug out situation:

  • Vehicle
  • Bicycle
  • Foot 

ALWAYS factor in that you will be on foot. As much as we want our vehicles to bug us out, they may not get us all the way to our bug out location, and they may not even be accessible at all!

This is especially true for urban dwellers. Chances are you will not be able to get a vehicle down the road in an emergency as the roads will be congested with traffic, people, emergency vehicles, and barricades. 

If you do manage to get into your vehicle for evacuation, be prepared to exit at any moment as sitting in a grinding halt of traffic can place you in a dangerous situation. 

Instead of relying on a vehicle, I think a bicycle with a trailer is an ideal way to bug out from the inner city. If you do factor in a bicycle for your bug out plan, choose the most accessible route out of the city where there won’t be piles of cars or barricades blocking your way.

If you live on the outskirts of town or in a more rural environment, then a vehicle is more likely to be successful. However, you may not even need to bug out if you are in such a setting.

If you do have access to your vehicle, you need to calculate your fuel mileage and make sure it will get you to where you need to be.

Special Note:

Trucks that run on diesel can be equipped with a drag tank of up to 100 gallons of fuel.

Make sure to rotate your fuel out of your drag tank for maximum efficacy. 

If you are on foot, you need to factor in your strength and endurance capabilities to haul out your supplies and estimate how far you will be bugging out to. 

At readyman.com, they put on a 65 mile bug out challenge and tested several bug out bag sizes ranging from 10 pounds to 75 pounds. Even the biggest dudes agreed that leaner is better and to use your wit to survive as opposed to relying on a bunch of gear that you will probably not end up using anyway. 

Factor 6: Longevity of Bug Out Bag

How long will your supplies last in your bug out bag? Again, this syncs up with your environment and route to your bug out destination. 

The reality is that most of us do not (and will never have) an ideal bug out location that is stocked full of supplies ready for our arrival. 

My on-foot bug out spot is an old trailer I found in the woods in Montana. It is beat up and is on private property but it has an old stove, is next to a trout filled creek, has plenty of timber, and would be a decent shelter for at least long enough for me to fly under the radar until I plan my next move, or society returns back to normal. 

It is not ideal and by no means can I put supplies in there, but for now it's the best plan I’ve got as it is close enough for me to trek there by foot. (I have a different bug out plan involving my vehicle).

If you are fortunate enough to have a fully equipped bug out location that you own, then your bug out bag needs to only last you as long as your travel time will take to get there. Also, account for the fact that you may not be able to access your vehicle. How long will it take you to arrive at your destination on foot?

For the rest of us, we need to be a little more prepared with bug out equipment that will sustain us, such as hunting and fishing gear, and water purification supplies. 

Factor 7: Bugging out with Family

Some of us will be bugging out alone, but many of us will have a partner, family, friends, and possibly elderly people and children on the trek.

At first thought, you may feel that the family factor will slow you down, and it likely will. However, having a strong and prepared family unit can greatly increase your chances for survival.

Your first step is to get your family on board with the bug out plan. Explain to them exactly what a bug out bag is and share your bug out location and route. Communication is key here. 

The second step is to customize a bug out bag for each family member. Everyone can pull weight in some form, even kids and grandparents.

Bug out bags for kids

Creating a bug out bag for kids varies greatly by their capabilities and age. Make sure that whatever they are carrying can easily be carried by you if they become too tired. 

For smaller children, a small bag, or even a fanny pack, can be filled with lightweight items such as medical supplies, fishing gear, and sanity keepers (dice, cards, etc.)

Also make a little room in the young one’s bags for comforts, such as coloring books and crayons or a favorite stuffed animal. 

Bug out bags for the elderly

Bugging out with elderly folks will slow you down in the short term but their wisdom can provide valuable survival knowledge in the long run, especially if they are from the Great Depression era.

They may have knowledge of times past where people relied on family and hard work to survive. There is a good chance they will know how to run old farm equipment and have knowledge of pioneering skills that have been lost in recent generations. 

Old-timer teaching son how to run an old plow and tractor

When preparing to bug out, grandparents may offer to stay behind as they will likely be harboring some guilt that they will slow the family down. 

If you prepare them beforehand and put them in charge of certain tasks, it will give them a sense of purpose to keep going. 

Grandma can be in charge of packing out lightweight calories such as dehydrated foods and trail mix. She can be responsible for preparing meals and giving out snacks. 

Grandpa will have something to prove in a bug out scenario and will try to carry more than he can handle. Have him carry lighter yet important tools such as axes, hunting equipment, bow saws, etc. 

Special Note: Bugging out with Pets

In times of an emergency, the question of pets comes up along with feelings of guilt and remorse. Do we set Polly free or try to bring her along? Does Fido stay at home and wait for us to come back? 

Take me with you!!!

The main question is if they will set you back, be neutral, or actually be an asset on the trek. 

As far as cats go, bugging out would be an extremely stressful event for them and they will probably run away at the first opportunity. Cats are independent and resilient and have a pretty good likelihood of surviving on their own. I would consider cats to be a setback and should be let free to survive on their own. 

Cats typically stay near their home and if you do end up returning home, chances are the cat will be there to greet you. 

Small caged animals may be easy enough to transport, are low maintenance and don't take much for supplies. These kinds of animals can fall into the neutral territory. Make sure to have an easy enough transport cage to pack them out with you, or set them free before you leave. 

Dogs can be a HUGE advantage in a bug out situation. They can be guardians of the family and can protect you in defensive situations. If you get injured, dogs have been known to get help from passersby. Dogs fall into the asset category.

Even little dogs can warn you of dangers and possibly scare off perps with their bark. 

Dogs can haul their own food and supplies with a special outdoors hiking dog pack.

Factor 8: Using your Strengths

When building up your bug out bag, consider your strengths and use them to your advantage. 

You may find yourself in a position where you can barter for supplies in exchange for your knowledge and service. 

If you are a doctor, nurse, EMT, or medic, pack extra medical supplies in your bag. Your skills could be of extreme value in a SHTF situation. Whether you hold back medical care in exchange for goods will be in your own moral jurisdiction to decide upon. 

Expert hunters and fishermen have an advantage and should pack along their gear to provide bounties for their families and for trade. 

Everyone has a skill that could be useful in a bug out situation; even if you don't think so, get creative!

Sewing, cooking, crafting, could all be good barter worthy skills. 

Good at drawing? Become skilled at map making. Bring along a drawing pad and pencils. The Cartographer's Guild forum is the best resource I have found to learn how to make maps by hand. 

Hand drawing maps is an extremely valuable skill post SHTF

Good at writing? Document the journey and take notes of where you can find food and water. Documenting is an extremely valuable tool so make sure to have a journal in your BOB. 

Are you spiritual? People will need hope and guidance in times of crisis. Become a spiritual influence and you will be protected. Pack your Bible! 

Good at networking? Use your people skills and make connections. 

Not good at anything? Well then LEARN

One of my SHTF skills is foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants. Wow, what a valuable skill to have! 

I had to learn, research, and do fieldwork to get good at this skill. 

I also have several field guide books that are ready to be grabbed and thrown into my bug out bag at a moments notice. 

I am writing a series called "Survival Apothecary" that contains a treasure trove of info about foraging for common edible and medicinal plants. Check it out when you have a chance.

Choose a skill, learn it, and pack accordingly. 

Factor 9: Usability 

So you have decided to purchase a pre-packed bug out bag or assemble one from scratch. You get all of your goodies in the mail and start taking it apart, admiring all of your wares. I just have one question for you…

Do you even know how to use all this stuff? 

What is the point of packing out a bunch of supplies if you don't know how to use them! 

Take some time and learn how to use all of your supplies properly. 

Also, use your bug out bag occasionally to get acquainted with your supplies. This will also help you figure out what you are missing or could use and will help you figure out how to pack everything in the most efficient manner as possible. 

Factor 10: Bugging Out as a Woman 

Let's face it, men and women are not created equal. In general, men are stronger, have more endurance, have better circulation, and can usually keep warmer than women. 

Not to mention us women have to deal with worrying about getting pregnant and having our periods (sorry, guys!) 

Our circumstances may require some more thought when prepping to bug out but by no means will slow us down - as long as we prepare accordingly. 

As I thought about this subject more I realized that this is a huge topic on its own, so I am working on writing an article about prepping and bugging out just for women. Stay tuned!


As we go about our daily lives, it can be hard to break free of our routine to think about bugging out in a disaster scenario, let alone coughing up the cash for stocking a bug out bag.

But, if a disaster does strike and you need to bug out, are you prepared?

Start small and slowly amass your stockpile, assemble your bag, and you will have a little more peace of mind in this uncertain world we live in. 


Hi, I am Regina with Maximum Off Grid!

I hope that you have enjoyed this article.

If so, please share with your friends!

You are more than welcome to leave a question or comment at the end of this article.

Happy prepping, people!


Ultimate Bug Out Bag Contents Listed and Explained [Includes Item Weight!]

Welcome to my Ultimate Bug Out Bag List!

This article covers all the items that range from essential to downright extravagant that you could utilize in a survival bug out situation. 

I will tell you that this article is more like a small eBook weighing in at  over 8000 words! However, this isn't just another list of endless gear that you will never end up using.

Rather, I have orchestrated this article into an easy-to-follow format that clearly organizes gear into their appropriate class.

Within those classes, I notate whether the item is essential, robust, or luxury. It will be up to you to decide if the item is of absolute necessity for your unique bug out situation or if it would be a nice morale booster to have along the way.

By the end of this article, you will be well informed of how to be geared up for a SHTF bug out situation and have access to a list of researched, curated, and tried-and-true items that you can have confidence in purchasing.

I also included the average weight of each item so you can calculate the final weight of your bug out bag, an essential planning step that is easily overlooked.

I suggest bookmarking this article so you can refer back to the information as you slowly build out your bug out bag.

If you are into the concept of bugging out, then check out my article on Factors for Prepping a Bug Out Bag.

On with the show!

Section One: The Best Bug Out Bag Backpack

Before we dive into the supplies that you will be outfitting your bug out bag with, let's take a moment to discuss the actual bag you will be using, a crucial part to bug out success. 

Do not skimp on the quality of your bag! Your livelihood is depending on the success of this bag staying intact and being comfortable to wear while trekking miles and miles to get to your bug out location.

Imagine if your bag fell apart while trekking, or was so uncomfortable that you had to take frequent breaks. Do not let your foundation crack! Invest the dollars into a good quality bag and rest assured that it will make the journey.

The majority of the success of your bag depends on the material that it is made of.

Denier: Material Toughness 

When purchasing a backpack for your bug out bag, make sure to research the Denier of the material used.

Denier is a metric of measurement that determines the thickness, or density, of the material.

The higher the number, the denser and stronger the material is.

Do note that it does not cross fabrics; a 450D nylon is stronger than a 900D polyester.

1. Ultralight Class Backpack

Ultralight backpacks typically weigh less and keep you a lot cooler compared to other materials. They are built for comfort on long treks.

a micro-niche trend has become popular for outdoor companies to manufacture super light backpacks made out of a space-age material that cost a small fortune. They are designed especially for backpackers and long mountaineering trips.

When you are considering the weight factor, these can be great bags. However, they aren’t as durable and tough as their canvas counterparts and do need to be treated with care. You can't just throw them around and bump them up against abrasive surfaces - maybe not the most ideal choice for a bug out backpack. 

If you feel like you can treat your bag tenderly and the ultralight material appeals to you, then this could be a good fit.

This OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack is pretty lightweight at 2.5 pounds considering that it has a 50 liter storage capacity.

Although the pack itself is not waterproof, it comes with a rainfly that has its own designated pocket.

The backpack comes with several compartments and pockets for stuffing full of BOB goodies.

2. Canvas Backpack

Military-issued duffel bags of days yonder were made of cotton canvas. Back then, they would wax the canvas to waterproof the bags, but this made the bags prone to damage from abrasion and would eventually rot if left exposed to damp conditions.

Canvas is now typically made of synthetic fibers and the technology of waxing canvas has improved. You can find good sturdy bags made of waxless cotton canvas or waxed synthetic canvas. 

Canvas bags look pretty badass with that classic vintage rucksack feel so you can also look cool while bugging out because we always got to look cool!), and they are durable enough to withstand any survival situation or deep woods trek. 

This High-Density Thick Canvas Rucksack has a carrying capacity of 30 liters and weighs in at 2 pounds.

I like that this bag looks inconspicuous which exercises the "grey man" theory. Grey man is a person who blends in with their surroundings and does not stick out like a sore thumb. If you are carrying a huge pack, you could be subject to becoming a target.

Although it lacks the "tactical" look, it has that nice vintage military style of days past.

The high density canvas has gotten great reviews as a sturdy reliable pack.

What is the Grey Man Theory?

Becoming a "grey man" in the time of a disaster essentially means that you blend in with the crowd. It is typically applied to those that are bugging out within a city.

If you are bugging out with a huge tactical pack, this could make you a target in the crowd while people are panicking.

You need to conceal the fact that you are prepared by choosing a discreet backpack.

3. Ripstop Nylon Backpack

Regular old nylon had a bad habit of ripping and running, which is why ripstop nylon was created. It is used for sails, parachutes, and hot air balloons and is commonly used for outdoors backpacks. 

Ripstop is water repellent and backpacks made of it are relatively cheap. Most tactical bug out bags are made of ripstop nylon or a heavy-duty polyester, or a blend of both.

The DIGBUG Military Tactical Backpack is a smaller pack with a carrying capacity of 30 liters. It's very inconspicuous and has a sleek design.

What I love about this bag is the rugged 1000D nylon material used. That is a serious denier and should hold up under extreme conditions.

This bag would be good for a smaller length bug out or for a smaller person, like me!

The REEBOW GEAR Military Tactical Backpack holds 40 liters and uses the MOLLE gear system so you can hang more packs and items from the bag.

The bag itself is water-resistant so you won't need to worry about a rain fly attachment.

I also like that it comes with the grayscale American flag - very cool.

It does look tactical but is probably small enough to fly under the "grey man" radar.

The MOLLE System Explained

MOLLE (pronounced Molly) stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. The MOLLE system is used in tactical gear by the military and is the matrixed webbing you will see on backpacks and vests.

You can attach packs and all sorts of items with carabineers onto the MOLLE matrix, expanding your load bearing capacity.

MOLLE Matrixing

These are some badass Grimlock MOLLE D-Ring attachments.

This is a nice 3 piece set to expand your MOLLE system. I like the water bottle holder and the small pouch would be good for your phone and small stuff like keys, lip balm, etc.

Might as well utilize every space that you have by adding these shoulder strap pouches to your MOLLE system.

Section Two: Best Essential Survival Gear 

If you are building a bare minimum bug out bag, then pay close attention to this section. You do not need every single thing listed as I provide lots of alternatives for a single purpose.

I have thoroughly researched all the products listed in this section and have suggested the best items available on the market for 2020 based upon ease of use, weight factor, and affordability.


1. Firestarter

I suggest having a basic lighter for easy fire but do not rely on that as your only fire source. Having two or three firestarter options is ideal. There are all sorts of ways to start a fire, I chose the lightest and fuel-free ways for this article.

(6 oz) Flint (ferro rod) and steel - There are tons of flint and steel combos out there, but I prefer to make the upgrade to a ferrocerium rod. Ferrocerium is a synthetic alloy that makes a huge shower of super hot sparks so it's much easier to start a fire. The price difference is nominal between regular flint and ferrocerium, so might as well make your life a little easier and make the upgrade.

I like the price point of this Bayite Ferrocerium Rod And Steel kit which lasts for 12,000 strikes.

(1 oz per bag) Magnesium - Mg comes in flakes, shavings, and powders and is used as a tinder in conjunction with another firestarter. It makes for a good kindling and burns super hot at 4000 degrees! You can buy it as a block as well, but the shavings are ready-to-use and so much easier to deal with.

(2 oz) Pyro Putty- Another intriguing fire starting option is Pyro Putty. This putty works really well in sub-optimal fire-starting conditions like dealing with wet tinder or starting fire in the rain. A quarter-sized piece of putty will burn for 15 minutes down to -20 degrees.

(1.7 oz) Stormproof matches - these are a good idea to have although they are kind of spendy per match. These matches will light even after being submerged into water - but they still come in a waterproof container, heh.


2. Paracord

Do not purchase just any rope! Specifically, paracord (550 lb), can provide a solution for a plethora of problems encountered while bugging out.

Paracord is extremely tough as it consists of multiple strands of nylon cordage weaved into multiple small ropes that are then weaved into one large rope. You can unravel the cord and use the internal strands for many utilities.

Some uses for paracord are:

  • Fishing line
  • Tinder 
  • Sewing 
  • Lashing
  • Climbing
  • Tourniquet-ing
  • Splinting
  • Shelter building
  • Net making

The weight on 550 paracord comes in at about 12 feet per ounce.

I recommend TOUGH-GRID 750 paracord as it is made super extra tough with triple strand weaving and comes in at a really good price. Also, it is made in the USA and is used by the military. It's tougher than the standard 550 paracord but is still very pliable and soft. I love this stuff!


3. Illumination

Flashlights used to be bulky battery suckers, but with the advent of LED technology, flashlight size, longevity, and brightness have come a long way.

Although modern-day tactical flashlights don't chew through the batteries nearly as fast, don't expect them to last for more than 20 hours on each battery cycle.

(6-8 oz) Hand crank flashlight - I suggest having one as a backup to your battery-operated flashlight.

The ThorFire hand crank/solar-charged LED flashlight weighs 6 ounces and has an 18-month replacement warranty. Not only is this flashlight waterproof but can be submerged to 45 feet. Impressive!

Although this flashlight isn't the cheapest on the market, you will get 1 hour of light per 1 minute of cranking. Other competing hand crank flashlights require 6 minutes of cranking for 1 hour of charge! That seems like a whole lot of effort to me, and I'd rather spend the few extra bucks for way less work.

(6-8 oz w/o batteries) Battery operated tactical flashlight - If you don't mind touting around some extra batteries, there is a host of tactical flashlights available online ranging from really cheap to really expensive.

From what I have researched, you don't need to drop a massive wad of cash to get a good quality flashlight anymore.

I found this 2-pack of tactical flashlights that have gotten very good reports from its users. The price is really cheap, especially for two flashlights. 2000 lumens of light is really bright and the bulb life is 50,000 hours. I'd say its a good find and should do the job.


(8-12 oz) Headlamps - Headlamps have also come up in quality and down in price. I remember shopping for headlamps at the hardware store; they were ridiculously overpriced and the performance was subpar. Luckily, we have much more competition in the market driving down the price and driving up the quality.

From all of the headlamps available, I chose the Soft Digits Headlamp that whops in a powerful 12,000 lumens! It sounds like overkill, but it illuminates your entire path in front of you. Just don't stare into the lights, heh.

The battery life on full blast isn't great so you will need to pack some extra batteries or have a portable solar-powered USB charging device with you.



4. Self Defense

If SHTF in your neighborhood, don't expect your neighbors to be so neighborly.

Self-defense plays a crucial role in survival when bugging out, especially when you are escaping an urban environment. Hopefully, you won't have to use any self-defense tactics, but being prepared is paramount to coming out the other side.

Guns and ammo - I am not going to get into specific detail here as I am no gun expert. I do know that I feel quite safe packing my 40 caliber Glock on my side. Its a great gun for me as it feels comfortable in my small hands (since I am a chick) and it works well for lefties (I am also left-handed). I have two fully loaded clips, one in the gun and one in the holster for easy access.

22 Gen4 Glock 40 Caliber

As far as ammo goes, it's hard to say how much you want to pack with you. One .40 round weighs on average 10 grams. So roughly 45-50 bullets weigh a pound. It's not a whole lot of rounds but should suffice for a 72-hour bug out plan.

However, on a long-term bug out situation, you will want to pack more ammo especially if you are using your gun to go hunting. You can also barter ammo for supplies if you choose to do so, although I don't suggest it. Ammo will be practically impossible to scavenge on your trek.

There are other self-defense alternatives than packing heat although I suggest having a gun as your primary self-defense method.

(8-12 oz) Heavy Duty Taser - A high-voltage taser will pack enough juice to temporarily paralyze an assailant giving you time to get away from the situation.

I like to carry my taser as my "sneak attack" defense method. If my first line of defense fails (unlikely but not impossible) or I get grabbed from behind by surprise, I have my taser easily accessible to give the assailant the shock of his life.

You can also "snap" the taser, making a loud electrical spark that scares off both humans and animals.

The Vipertek taser weighs in at 10 ounces and has a grooved grip handle so it won't slip out of your hands. The price point is low for how much juice it packs and will last for thousands of shocks off one charge.

(1.5 oz) Pepper spray - Pepper spray is light, requires no energy, is cheap, and has a pretty good range, but it does not work on all people. The majority of people get dropped by it immediately, but some people it has no effect on. Therefore, it should not be counted on as your primary self-defense method.

Gel pepper spray is a new form of spray that is safer to use as it has no wind blowback and can shoot for a very long distance.

Sabre red pepper gel is police-grade, has an 18-foot range, and will last for 18 bursts.

(2 oz) Kubotan - My last recommendation is super light, requires no charging, and never runs out of juice. It is the Kubotan and man, it packs a punch!

This little aluminum rod fits into your hand and will inflict some serious pain upon an unsuspecting assailant. It's a non-lethal option yet is an effective tool for defending yourself.


5. Survival Knife

A good, sturdy survival knife is worth its weight in gold on a bug out mission. Yes, it can be used for self-defense, but there is a multitude of other utilities that a survival knife can be used for.

Some creative ways to use your survival knife:

  • fashioning pointed tips on a spear
  • carving tools
  • chopping firewood
  • bushwhacking
  • skinning animals
  • prepping meals

I use my EDC knife almost every day for prying and cutting; I typically never foresee the need for my knife until I need it.

I recommend packing three knives for your bug out expedition:

  1. Large, fixed blade knife
  2. Small EDC knife
  3. Skinning knife

If you are going to splurge, do so on your knife. When it comes to quality, knives that are made better are more expensive. There are lots of knives available at cheaper price points that have great reviews; but when it comes down to my experience, you are going to have to cough up some cash to get a good quality knife.

(26 oz) SXB Skullcrusher by TOPS knives - I am completely sold on the high quality of any knife made by TOPS.

The Skullcrusher is your ultimate bushwhacking hacking bashing knife that will take the beatings head-on. Its a full-tang, large, heavy knife that keeps a good edge and will take on just about anything you throw at it.

(6 oz) Off-Grid OG-220S Knife - Off-Grid Knives puts a whole lot of care into the construction and durability of their product.

What I like about this knife is the quality of the steel. It is a cryo-treated steel that makes it super durable, sharp, and decreases microchipping. The handle is chunky and super-grippy.

(12 oz) Buck Knives 141 PakLite Field Master Kit - This is a three-in-one skinning, caping, and gut hook set that will take care of all your animal field dressing needs.

I like this set because it is super-light compared to other field dress knife sets out there. If you find the handles too thin to grip, you can always wrap the handle in paracord for better gripping.

Please, please, PLEASE do not forget to pack a knife sharpener! Its a commonly overlooked tool yet is VITAL to maintain the blade and the safety of your survival knife!

I really like this (3 oz) Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener as it is meant to sharpen knives in the field. You can sharpen serration, axes, arrow points, and even fishhooks with this bad boy. It is a compact and light unit with no assembly or pieces.


6. Tools and Miscellaneous Items

(1-2 lbs) Multitool Collapsible Shovel 

If you're gonna carry it, might as well be a multitool!

I found this IUNIO collapsible 31" shovel that weighs in at 2 pounds and can be converted into a pickaxe, hammer, and fish scaler. It also has a built-in whistle, firestarter, and bottle opener.

(7-10 oz) Folding Saw - for cutting branches for firewood.

Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw

(1 oz) Mirror - for signaling rescue in an emergency. You can get a mirror specially made for rescuing. It is made out of acrylic so it won't break and has an aiming system in the middle for accuracy. Or you can just use a good old fashioned mirror.

UST StarFlash Micro Signal Mirror

(1-2 oz) Emergency Whistle - Good for alerting someone in an emergency or finding a friend if you get separated.

Michael Josh 2PCS Outdoor Loudest Emergency Survival Whistles

(20 oz) Portable Solar USB Charger - Personally, my go bag is constructed with NO reliance on power, period. I do not want to be dependent on having to charge devices. Everything I own is old school or hand-crank powered.

But there are so many cool survival gadgets that do depend on power! If you do decide to get some gadgets that require charging, then a solar power charger is a must-have. Just make sure you can charge the devices by USB.

BigBlue 3 USB Ports 28W Solar Charger

(8 oz) Trash bags and duct tape - just trust me on these!

The next sections of gear have such a comprehensive selection of items that I have organized them into four classes:

Lean - the absolute essentials for your bug out bag. If you are planning to bug out at a minimal weight or are not planning for a long term bug out, then the lean section will work for your needs. This is also the most cost efficient section. 

Medium - A step above the minimal plan, the items in the medium category will give you some more comforts while bugging out without weighing you down. 

Robust - Items in this category are not exactly necessary but will help you exceed in a long term survival situation and can provide morale boosters. 

Luxury - These items are extravagant to have but are super cool and worth mentioning. You may find it worth splurging on one or two luxury items to boost your comfort and morale. 

You may find that some items listed in the medium or even robust category are essential to you. Every survival bug out situation is unique, especially when dealing with regional weather challenges.

You also might want to consider one or two luxury items for your bag as these could give you that extra morale boost you need to keep on the journey. Many of the robust and luxury items are things you could use on a daily basis that would also enhance your survival strategy.

On with it then!

Section Three: bug out bag medical supplies list



(2 oz) Anti-diarrhea medication - yep, this makes it to the top of the important list. Dehydration and being slowed down with the trots can spell complete ruin on a bug out venture.

(8-16 oz) A sterilizing agent - such as rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Sterilizing wipes are also good, but having fluid will last longer and be more effective.

(2-4 oz) Personal medication - such as prescription pills and an epipen.

(1.5 oz) Superglue - for quickly protecting open wounds (use AFTER you have sterilized the cut!).

(7.2 oz) Super basic first aid kit - with the bare essentials such as bandages, gauze, medical tape, blunt-tip scissors.




(3 oz) Bite and sting kit - I found this Ven-Ex Snake Bite Kit that sucks the venom and poison out of the wound. It works for stings as well. 

(4 oz) Splints - there are different types of splints depending on the body part. When you apply a splint, make sure to immobilize the joint before and after the broken bone. For example, if the lower leg is broken, apply a splint that reaches from the knee to the ankle. You can read more about the techniques of splinting here.

You can also use items you find along the way such as a straight piece of wood or small straight tree branch and secure it with a piece of cloth from a ripped up shirt.

I recommend packing a SAM Splint which is moldable and cuttable.

(3-6 oz) Moleskin - to protect from blisters, moleskin is fairly high on the important list as having raw rubbing blisters that could possibly get infected can greatly hinder a bug out effort.

(4-16 oz) Medicated baby powder - to prevent chafing, friction on the skin, and to treat rashes. 

(2-4 oz) Antihistamine - this may be essential for allergic persons.

(2-4 oz) Pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen - personally, I do not find these to be a lean item, but I am sure many will disagree with me. I tend to "tough it out" and only take a pain reliever if I really need it. That said, while bugging out, I may find that I really need it and would want to have it, so I do have a small bottle in my bug out bag.

(16 oz) Mid-size first aid kit - a little spendier than the aforementioned first aid kit, this medium kit does pack quite a few more helpful items.



(2-4 oz) Antibiotics - Without modern day antibiotics, a common infection can turn lethal with a quickness. I suggest picking up some aquarium antibiotics which is simple penicillin that can treat many infections. 

(4.5 oz) Quick Clot - alright, this is super cool! This special sponge stops bleeding three times faster than the body naturally does. It works by using the natural mineral Zeolite which helps coagulate wounds. It can even be used on gunshot wounds. 


(2.9 oz) Israeli Bandage - Thes are super legit. It's a compression bandage that controls bleeding and can be used in conjunction with the quick clot sponge. It comes in a vacuum-sealed sterilized package and doesn't take up much space at all.

(1 oz) Burn Relief Oil - This oil kills the pain of the burn, is antibacterial, helps heal the skin and prevents blisters. It can be used on a 1st or 2nd degree burn.

Burn relief oil can also help with inflammation, itching, and soothing irritated skin.

(3.25 lbs) Surviveware Large First Aid Kit - This first aid kit is robust but can still travel easily at a relatively low weight.

It folds up nice and tight and all the contents are secured in a 600D polyester bag.

This is probably a little too extensive for small bug outs but would serve decently in longer term survival scenarios.

This kit also comes with a one pound mini kit that you can use to barter with or have a companion carry.



(18 lbs) Advanced First Responder EMT Trauma Kit - This kit is the go-to station for serious medical emergencies. The operator will need to have the proper training to implement some of the items in this bag.

The weight is a whopping 18 pounds as there is a small oxygen tank in the bag. If you are going to lug this around (chances are it won't fit in your go bag) its because you want to be the go-to medic in an emergency event.



Section Four: Emergency Survival Water Purification


Collecting and purifying water while on the bug out journey is crucial to your success. You should have some water with you when you begin your trek, but you will likely be depleted within a few days.

When planning your bug out path, make sure that you will have access to a fresh water source and have a method to purify that water.

I have written a thorough guide to the Best Emergency Water Filters in times of an emergency. I suggest reading it to become more researched on the topic of providing clean safe drinking water for you and your family.



Sunlight - Good old fashioned sunlight will EXTERMINATE both bacteria and viruses! Place water in a clear bottle (preferably glass) and let the water sit in full sunlight for 5 hours.

Note that relying on sunlight to decontaminate water is not an ideal primary method for a bug out situation. It does make for a good backup method, however.

Boil water in a pan - Although this sounds like the simplest method to purify water, it's not. You will need a fire. And a pot or a kettle. You may not be able to start a fire at any given moment, and you may not have enough time to wait for the water to boil. I would suggest having a secondary water purification method in place. 

(2-4 oz) Iodine tablets - These are A MUST HAVE in your bug out bag. This is the simplest way to purify water, just add a tab to questionable water and wait 35 minutes. They are also very cheap and light. 


(2 oz) Water bottle - you need to be able to collect your water and make it portable. Any water bottle will do as long as it has a lid. 

I found these collapsible lightweight water bottles that would work well.



(2 oz) Lifestraw - This little device is a straw that filters and purifies water. It works really well for long term camping trips and bug out situations.

The straw is rated to purify water for 1000 gallons and will remove bacteria like giardia and e.coli. However, the Lifestraw will not protect against viruses such as norovirus or rotavirus.

This is a typical feature of most "go-filters". Here in the states and other first world countries, virus contamination in water is highly improbable. Third world countries that combine their sewage systems into their drinking water have more of a virus problem.

If you are dealing with an urban situation where the water is contaminated by sewage you MUST boil the water for a minimum of three minutes.

In order to extend the life of the Lifestraw, you should not run murky water through it. Try your best to only run clean looking water through the straw or else the membrane will get clogged fast.


(2 oz) Collapsible cup - This item goes hand in hand with a LifeStraw. Instead of having to stick your straw directly into the water source (which could be a pain in the ass) you can instead use the cup to dip into the water source so you don't have to get your face so close to it.

I found this handy collapsible cup that can easily be hung from a carabineer off your MOLLE bag.




(12-16 oz) Gravity-fed high capacity bag water purifier - These gravity-fed purifiers work really well for an on-the-go purification method that can filter quite a good amount of water. This is an ideal method for families on the go as you can have liters of clean drinking water in a few minutes.

Out of all the gravity-fed bag filters on the market, I find that the Platypus Gravityworks system to be the most fitting for a bug out occasion.

The unit has a flow rate of 1.5 liters per minute and breaks down nicely into a small travel pouch. The system weighs in at a light 11.5 oz.

(5 oz) UV Light disinfection cap - UV rays exterminate both bacteria and viruses and do not have any residual effects nor does it expire (until the bulb burns out).

This disinfection cap screws onto your water bottle and disinfects the water in 2 minutes. It also eradicates mold and mildew from the water and the bottle so you will find your bottle staying fresher for longer.

I found the CrazyCap to be a really good choice for UV disinfection at a decent price.



(3.5 oz) Collapsible coffee pot - oh man, I'm almost convinced that coffee is an essential item! Coffee gives you energy, warmth, provides tons of antioxidants, and is an instant morale booster. If I splurged on ONE thing from the luxury list, this would be it. 

All you gotta do is put your grounds in a coffee filter, place the filter in this collapsible coffee pot, and pour hot water over the grounds. Perfect for camping too. This one has a built-in ring so you can use a carabineer to attach to your pack. Easy!


(3 lbs) Go Berkey Water Purification Kit - The Berkey filtration systems purify water of BOTH viruses and bacteria. The filter is made of high-performance porcelain which has pores tiny enough to catch viruses; most on-the-go water filters cannot catch the tiny viruses. The Go Berkey can.

The Berkey can filter 1 gallon of water per hour and will also catch chemicals like pesticides and chlorine which makes it good to filter municipal water as well.

If you do decide to go with this water filtration system, I suggest using it all the time in your everyday life as the filters are replaceable. Just don't forget to grab it if you're bugging out!



Section Five: survival food for bug out bag


We've come a long ways with a plethora of delicious packable camping foods, especially with the freeze-dried food movement.

We have more options than ever before - spendy options - to have whatever we want when we want it. Shoot, there is even freeze-dried icecream!

My rule of thumb is to pack super lean and cheap on calories and add a splash of yummy things to keep you trekking.

If you are planning a longer-term bug out, then you will want to pack more calories and items to hunt and fish with. You may also be able to scavenge and forage for calories along the way.



(18-26 oz) MREs - Oh, the MREs, dare I even bring them up?!

I have read a whole lot about MREs and people tend to generally dislike them to a point of disgust.

However, I think MREs are something that has been improved upon throughout time and I have read some very positive feedback on the latest versions of MREs. They aren't gourmet by any means, but they are palatable enough for a long-term prepackaged survival meal that can be carried and eaten anywhere you go.

I've looked at all sorts of different MREs available and I found a box by Western Frontier that has genuine unexpired MREs at a really good price. They also come with some basic survival essentials like a spoon, heating pads, and toilet paper.



(8-24 oz) Survival Food Bars - These bars pack a TON of calories and are super convenient to consume on the bug out.

When eating these, consume them slowly so you do not get a stomach ache and make sure to drink water as well.

These S.O.S. Ration food bars pack 3600 calories in a single pack (9 bars per pack). According to the reviews, they taste pretty good too. These are built to sustain calories in emergency situations and have a shelf life of five years in any condition.

They are kind-of spendy so I suggest buying one or two bars to try out before committing to a whole box of them.

(>1 oz) Spork - You will want to have some sort of utensil on the lam, and I think a spork pretty much covers it.

I found this nice titanium spork that should last through a nuclear explosion!


(>1 oz) Hunger killers - Hard candy, gum, mints, etc. These are all things that are light and small and can help ease the edge off hunger pangs over long treks.



(12-16 oz) Wood burning camp stove - You got to have a way to cook your food, and building a robust fire isn't always an option.

A new generation of cooking food on the fly has come about; these wood burning camp stoves take very little fuel and put out a high enough heat to cook and boil water with. This is an excellent alternative from hauling around a propane tank, you can even use leaves and twigs to fuel this stove.

These wood burning camp stoves are the best portable stove for your bug out bag.

The Ohuhu Camping Stove folds down into a 5-inch radius and weighs only 12 ounces.


(16 oz) Jar of peanut butter - 1 mere ounce of peanut butter packs in 170 calories and 7 grams of protein, making it a great survival food. It also tastes super yummy and can be eaten on the go with a spoon or finger.

(16 oz) Jar of honey - 1 ounce of honey contains 80 calories and whops a massive 23 carbohydrates - an excellent source of high impact energy. Honey can also be slathered on wounds to accelerate healing.

Combine honey and peanut butter into a high calorie, high energy delicious snack on the go. (I tend to eat this in the middle of the night).

(5 oz) Can opener - I think having a can opener is a good idea, even if you aren't carrying out any canned goods. There is a chance that you can scavenge canned goods along the way, and you don't want to ruin the edge of your knife trying to open one.

(1-2 lbs) Camping mess kit - Bring a touch of home with you while surviving the apocalypse with a lovely compact mess kit.

This Redcamp mess kit only weighs in at a pound and can be hung from your MOLLE system bag. It has 12 pieces of stuff from pots and pans to cooking utensils. I'd say it's worth toting one of these along.

(1 oz per tab) Survival Tabs - So these little things are an interesting concept. These are not for completely replacing calories, but these food tab replacements provide essential vitamins and minerals and taste like yummy food which could give you the boost you need to keep on trekking.

Each tab consists of a mere 20 calories so please, eat other foodstuffs besides these.




(5-6 oz) Survival fishing kit - If you are bugging out for longer than expected (like forever) then packing some fishing gear is a good idea. There is usually a place to fish in most areas.

I like Uncle Flint's Survival Fishing Kit as it is very space-efficient and has quite a bit of gear packed into a tiny tin.

(>1 oz) Guide to Trapping - I found this foldable waterproof pamphlet that teaches you how to set up animal traps using primitive trapping methods. Could bring in the precious calories you need to stay afloat.


(1-4 lbs) Freeze-dried bug out food - There is a huge movement of super yummy freeze-dried (and ready-to-eat) camping, backpacking, and emergency foods. The selection is vast and trust me, they are not cheap. 

Do you really need to eat gourmet while on the bug out? Or will an MRE or meal bar do just fine? 

I think it really depends on the individual and/or family unit. If you are bugging out with a family, gathering around for a tasty hot meal may be the morale-boosting medicine you all need to keep the tribe going.

Scarfing down on some distasteful calories could make you sick to your stomach.

Another pro to freeze-dried foods is that they are very light - all you have to do is cook in a pot with boiling water.

If you do choose to go gourmet while on the bug, I found that Harmony House makes excellent freeze-dried products for a decent price. Their backpacking kit has a good variety of veggies and legumes (but no freeze-dried meat) that hikers use for long, strenuous treks. The kit only weighs 4.5 lbs for 70 servings!

You can optionally purchase a canister of freeze-dried meat, like this can of Mountain House Cooked Chicken, and add in chunks to your dehydrated veggie mixes.




Did someone say FREEZE-DRIED ICE CREAM?!?! (1.5 oz)



Section Six: Survival Shelter, Warmth, and Exposure

The best bug out bag shelter needs to be waterproof and insulated, yet lightweight and compact. You can use the most basic of items to build a shelter or splurge on space-age tents.

Either way, you need to have a plan to limit your exposure to the elements while bugging out.



(1-2 pounds) Tarp - I recommend not getting a chinsy tarp unless that's all you can afford. Get something big enough that can cover you and your gear in a pinch.

This survival tarp by Arcturus is insulated and windproof, can be used as a makeshift shelter or an emergency blanket, and weighs only 1 pound.

(1-2 pounds) Rope (paracord) - Gotta have something to tie down your tarp! Paracord is a high strength nylon rope that is super tough but also soft and pliable. It is a bug out essential and can be used for a variety of utilities. This is a MUST HAVE in every bug out bag!

Tough-Grid makes a 750 lb paracord (200 pounds heavier than the standard 550) and is made in the USA at a reasonable price.

Emergency blanket - Cheap and can save your life. Period.

(5 oz per pair) Good, durable socks - Keep your feet in primo condition in a survival situation. The last thing you need is to get blisters, Athlete's foot, or even trenchfoot while trying to bug out.

Pack a good amount of socks so you can rotate them out when your feet get sweaty. I would suggest at least 3 pairs, but more is better if you can afford the weight and space.



(4 oz) Life bivvy - made of a durable mylar, the Life Bivvy is basically an emergency blanket on steroids shaped into a sleeping bag. It's 7 feet long so it will cover you from head to toe, and packs into a tiny little pouch.

(5 oz) Emergency tent - This is the same material as an emergency blanket, but it can be shaped into a three-sided 2-person tent. It comes with its own rope too.

(1.5 oz per pair) Hand warmers - Have you ever tried to work with your hands if they are cold? It's pretty much impossible! Your motor skills decrease greatly. And if they get too cold, you could get frostbite and lose fingers (and toes too). I wouldn't mind throwing a few of these into my bug out bag.

Out of all the brands I have researched, HotHands makes the best product. They are activated by the air and can keep your hands warm for up to 10 hours.


(11 oz) Rain poncho - These ponchos come in super handy to help block out wind, rain, and cold. Poncho comes with its own case folding it down to a tiny packable size. It's big enough to cover a backpack too.



(5 lbs) Ultralight backpacking tent - a lightweight waterproof 2-person tent is an ideal bug out shelter. This Bessport Camping Tent only weighs five pounds.


(1-2 lbs) Cold baselayer - Thermal underwear will help keep you nice and toasty.

I strongly suggest getting 100% merino wool baselayer and I will tell you why.

Merino wool is a super-soft wool, unlike regular wool. It is naturally anti-microbial so you can wear it for weeks and it will never stink. Trust me on this, I wear my Merino wool base layer every day to work in North Dakota and it never gets stinky!

Another reason Merino wool is so good is that it keeps you at an ambient state. If you do get warmer from activity, the wool regulates the temperature so you never really get sweaty or overheated.

It's also super durable and very comfortable. Even though its a bit more on the expensive side, it's way better than synthetic material by far.

The brand I use for all my Merino is Minus33.




Plush bedding on a survival bug out journey? Why not! Materials and design have come such a long way that bulky and heavy bedding has become a thing of the past.

(1-2 lbs) Foam sleeping pad - Therm-a-Rest makes an excellent foam sleeping pad that weighs a mere 14 ounces and has a super comfortable ergonomic design.

(1.5-2 lbs) Ultralight sleeping bag - This EcoPro Warm sleeping bag compacts into a tiny bag and only weighs 1.7 pounds.



Section Seven: Survival Navigation


If you are bugging out, you gotta know where you are going! Getting lost is a non-option.

Orienteering is a skill that is quickly becoming a lost art as our wonderful smartphones take us every step of the way to our destinations.

I remember the days of paper maps (yes I am that old, but not that old!), I had a huge collection of maps as I loved to explore the mountains and cities. I would map out my destination and write down all my steps. If I got lost, I would actually have to pull over and use my paper map instead of barking orders at Google.

There are too many people that cannot even read a map! Let alone use a compass.

I suggest getting a map of your area (or city) and plan your bug out route accordingly. Do not rely on your smartphone to help you out and do not rely on "knowing it all".

You may think you know your area like the back of your hand, but if your trek route has to change you may find yourself in uncharted territory. Just get a dang map!

Maps are also good for visualizing strategies and measuring distances between destinations. You can develop a gameplan a whole lot easier by using a map.



(1.5 oz) Scout compass - This is your basic compass that is cheap and will do the job.

(3-16 oz) Maps on print - You can still find local maps at most gas stations or order them online. A road atlas is an ideal map to have, although they are a bit heavy and bulky.



(8 oz) Tactical compass - This durable metal compass is meant for the rugged outdoors and is waterproof and shockproof. The North pointer and dial glows in the dark so you can navigate at night if need be. 



(1.8 ounces) Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS - This watch is totally splurge-worthy and is great for everyday use, let alone in a survival situation. 

This watch uses three navigation systems - GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo - for precision tracking. It also has a built-in compass and a barometric altimeter. Oh, and it tells time too.

There are various modes you can put the watch into to preserve battery life, but you will need to get a solar power USB charger to keep this thing going.




(1.3 ounces) Garmin 66i GPS Topo Map - This mapping device taps into the satellite system, giving you precision accuracy mapping no matter where you are. 

It also has direct communication with search and rescue making it a good device for backpacking trips and deep woods exploration.

Man, this thing has all sorts of bells and whistles. If you are an avid outdoorsman, this thing is like the best toy you could get for Christmas. I want one!

On 30-minute tracking mode, you can get 200 hours of use from your battery life. Just make sure to pack extra batteries and have a backup paper map and compass.


Section Eight: SHTF Communications


The two biggest concerns for communication after SHTF is 1) if cell phone towers and phone carriers will work and 2) if there will be available power to charge communication devices.

If you cannot access communications over your cellphone, it is vital that you can access emergency broadcasts over the radio at a minimum.

If radio communication goes down completely, expect the disaster to be of epic proportions.

Despite these obstacles, there are still ways to at least keep informed of the emerging situation at hand.



(4-6 oz) Cell phone and charger - Most definitely take your cell phone with you, even if towers are down, as it could be just a temporary outage. If you do tote your cellphone then get a solar USB charger to keep it powered up.

(8 oz) Hand crank radio - This is the minimalist radio you've always dreamed of! It requires no batteries; you just turn the crank and the radio charges. If the FM is out, AM should be a holdout for broadcasting emergency messages. If the AM is gone then SHTF hard.

I pack a cheapo hand-crank emergency radio so I can stay informed like this one.

RunningSnail Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM Radio



(1.5 lbs) Multitool Radio - This is a souped up version of the cheapo hand-crank radio. This one comes with a flashlight, reading lamp, USB charging station, preprogrammed NOAHH weather stations and can be charged via solar power.

Kaito KA500 5-way Powered Solar Power Radio



(10 oz per radio) Two-way hand radio walkie talkies - I would love to tote these around in a survival bug out situation! The question is, how do you keep them charged?

This is where I struggled to find a durable high quality walkie talkie that could be charged on the fly.

The problem is the heavy-duty walkie talkies all have to be charged in a cradle that plugs into the wall. Battery-powered walkies tend to be too flimsy.

I have found a solution! USB chargeable walkie talkies!

They are not as tough as the cradle mount walkies, but not as flimsy as the battery-powered ones either.

I found a set that is a true USB charging walkie talkie, it plugs in and charges just like a smartphone does.

Radioddity GA-2S Long Range Walkie Talkies

Don't forget to get the solar power USB charging station!


(8 oz) Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator - This device allows you to send and receive texts via satellite service and also is a handheld TOPO GPS map .

You can send an SOS and texts directly to search and rescue. This is a valuable feature for backwoods trekkers and explorers, but probably won't be of use in a post-apocalyptic world.

From what I have researched, you can still use satellite communication services such as satellite phones and texting devices if the power does go down. Satellites will remain intact until they eventually collide or fall out of the sky, both unlikely events.

The question is, who will you be communicating to? Make sure to gift these to whoever you want to talk with post SHTF or you will be having very lonely conversations!


Phew! Did you make it to the end with me? I told you this was the Ultimate List!

I hope you have enjoyed my article and will use this knowledge to your advantage.

I would love it if you all wanted to continue the list by adding your contributions and ideas to the comment box below. You can also ask me any questions you like about any of the products and techniques that I have mentioned above.

Good luck with your SHTF bug out plan!


Survival Apothecary: Edible and Medicinal Uses for Amaranth

Amaranth is a plentiful plant that comes in many variations.

Although there are many different types of Amaranth, they all have the same structure which makes them easy to identify.

Amaranth has been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries and also eaten as a common staple.

It’s unfortunate that this nutritious vegetable has gone by the wayside and is seen as a weed.

How to Identify Amaranth

Amaranth stands erectly and grows anywhere from one to six feet high.

Redroot Amaranth

The leaves are stemmed and stretch out about 3 to 6 inches long. They are ovular in shape, are a dull green color and are rough and hairy. The edge of the leaves are wavy.

The flowers are tiny and grow in tight clusters which grow on a stalk in a pyramid shape.

The taproot is fleshy, long, and have a pink to red color.

Red Amaranth

The seeds are black, shiny and extremely tiny – 28,000 seeds only weigh a mere ounce! The seeds are distributed over the countryside by blowing winds.

Where To Find Amaranth

Amaranth can be found all over the North American continent, except for Alaskan tundra.

The plant will grow in rich soil and can be found in meadows, pastures, and along streams.

Amaranth is commonly mistaken for Pigweed since it likes to grow around pig pens due to the manure rich soil.

Spiny Amaranth

Pigweed is also edible and tastes as good as Amaranth.

Is Amaranth Edible?

Yes, all varieties of Amaranth makes great fodder for salads and tastes delicious.

The leaves have a spinach-like taste and texture.

Slender Amaranth

Amaranth seeds are a quinoa-like grain and can be eaten like a porridge, popped like popcorn, and used to thicken soups.

Benefits and Uses for Amaranth

Amaranth Supplement

Amaranth has more iron than any green vegetable on the market, except for parsley. This plant packs 4 grams of iron per 100 grams It’s a healthy source of iron for those who are deficient and for most women.

The plant also boasts a whopping 80 gram serving of vitamin C in a 100 gram serving.

Amaranth Tea

Amaranth has strong astringent properties that has been used to treat open wounds and sores. It can also aid in healing ulcers. A mouthwash of simmered Amaranth can treat canker sores, sore throat, bleeding and ulcerated gums.

Amaranth tea can also be used to reduce heavy menstrual flows and aid in stopping hemorrhaging.

Strong decoctions were used by Native Americans to kill intestinal worms.

Use at least one teaspoon of dried flowers, leaves and roots and simmer in one cup boiling water.

Amaranth poultices

Poultices were used to reduce swelling and soothe toothaches.

I hope you have found my guide to Amaranth helpful! If you have any questions please post below.

You may find my article about Wild Angelica useful.

Regina C.

Survival Apothecary: Benefits and Uses For Angelica Plant

Angelica is a prevalent wild shrub that grows all over the North American continent.

It has been used for centuries by the native Americans and early pioneers.

Although there are some poisonous lookalikes, it is fairly easy to rule them out.

Angelica makes for a great survival food as its mildly sweet stalks and roots taste like celery but even better and is full of starches and antioxidants.

The plant also has many medicinal properties.

How to identify angelica plant

Angelica has a purplish colored stalk that is stout and hollow.

The leaves are oblong and are coarsely toothed; there are three leaves at the end of each stalk.

The blossoms of the plant are greenish white and globe shaped.

The entire plant has a lovely aroma of store bought celery.

Angelica is stout and can grow to 8 feet tall. It can have rough oily veins.

Dangerous lookalikes

Poison Hemlock also has a purplish stalk and a whitish root. However, it’s fruits are oval with pale brown ribs.

The leaves of the Poison Hemlock are much smaller and toothier than Angelica leaves.

The easiest way to distinguish Poison Hemlock from Angelica is the smell of the root. Poison Hemlock has a slightly rotten smell to its root whereas Angelica has a wonderful celery smell to its roots and the entire plant.

Water Hemlock is another poisonous lookalike, Water Hemlock looks similar to Angelica and grows in the same areas.

The way to tell these apart are that Water Hemlock leaves are highly divided and featherlike. The root is whitish yellow and has no hairs. And again, Water Hemlock does not smell of celery at all.

If you are in doubt by any reasoning, leave the plant alone.

You can be assured that if the plant carries a beautiful aroma of fresh celery, even better than what you would smell in the store, you can reason that it is Angelica.

Where to forage for angelica

Angelica loves to grow by the ocean, streams and creeks. It can be found all over in North America.

This plant enjoys soil that is placed by water such as marshes, swamps, drainage areas, ditches, and moist mountain meadows.

Benefits and uses of angelica

Angelica Oil

The oil harvested from Angelica is a powerful remedy for treating colic and digestive gas.

Angelica Poultice

This herb was used as one of the oldest poultices known for pain in North America.

Crushed roots can be spread over sores and wounds.

Mash the roots of the plant and mix with pounded leaves of northern sagebrush. Heat the pulp and apply it to the opposite side of the body experiencing pain. This poultice can also be used to treat mild swelling.

The root poultice can also be used to alleviate arthritis, chest discomfort, and treat pneumonia.

Angelica Tea

Tea from the roots of Angelica plant was sipped on by native Americans three times a day to gain strength after being ill.

This root tea was also used for clearing kidney issues, including trouble with urinating.

The tea could also be used for stomach problems such as ulcers and sour stomach.

Tea of Angelica can also be used to gargle with as a mouthwash to freshen breath.

I hope you have enjoyed this addition to my survival apothecary series!

Please feel free to share this on your social media and leave a comment below.

You may also be interested in my Amaranth Plant article.

Have a great day!

The Real FACTS about Shungite Stone for Water Purification, EMF Protection, and Healing

Shungite Stone is as unique as it is mysterious. Its origins are unknown and its physical properties are mystifying.

Although Shungite is quite plentiful now, there is a single finite source and it will eventually be depleted.

I stumbled upon Shungite while searching for different ways to purify water without chemicals.

I was astonished to read that this stone can purify water naturally! I also read that it can block electomagnetic frequencies (EMFs), and it also has powerful healing properties – Hmmm. 

These are some bold claims, I thought. Can a stone really have all of these capabilities?

I started to research and found a few websites that spoke about these claims, but none had any evidence to really back it up.

I decided to dig deeper, and through much time researching I managed to find scholarly articles, patents, and videos that do offer compelling evidence that the claims of Shungite are real!

So why is hardly anyone talking about Shungite?

I don’t have the answer to that question but I do know that I am talking about Shungite so I can share the information that I found with you!

This is my ultimate guide to Shungite stones. I never call anything ultimate unless I can seriously back up this claim.

In this article, I discuss the origins and chemistry of Shungite, scientific findings of Shungite’s properties, the benefits of Shungite, any known side effects, a buyers guide to Shungite, and the future of this amazing miracle stone!

Let’s get right to it!

What Is Shungite Stone?

Shungite is an anomalous stone of organic origin that is comprised of carbon.

Pure Shungite looks similar to pyrite, but with a silver tone instead of gold.


The stone in its purest form is quite brittle and can chip easily. It would not be suitable for faceting.

Shungite stone gets its powerful properties from an unusual carbon structure known as a fullerene. I will go into detail about fullerenes later in this article. 

The origins of Shungite stone

Shungite was discovered near the small village of Shunga, which is how the stone got its name. Shunga is located in the Republic of Karelia, a part of the Russian Federation.

Although there are traces of Shungite found in a few other locales throughout Russia, the Zazhoginsky deposit is the only place where Shungite exists in vast reserves.

This vast deposit of Shungite weighs in at a whopping 35 million tons and is being mined out at a rate of 200 thousand tons per year.

This massive deposit of Shungite sits underneath Lake Onega. This lake has a deep connection with ancient and modern man. Petroglyphs have been discovered in caves around the lake which date back from four to nine thousand years ago.

Along with the petroglyphs which depicted Gods and nature, ancient burial grounds, sacred sites, and labyrinths were discovered, making Lake Onega a sacred place where ancient shamanism was strongly linked.

Several hundreds of years ago, Lake Onega had become renown through the local villages for its extremely pure water that had the ability to heal. Kings and queens would come and go throughout history, opening and abandoning thermal spas through the centuries.

Shungite has been forgotten and discovered for many cycles throughout history.

The most recent re-discovery was in the 1930s as the water from Lake Onega was tested for medical uses. The lake had a resurgence in popularity in the 70s as a thermal spa had opened once again.

Still, Shungite has only become popular in internet searches over the past couple of years.

The geology of Shungite stone

Shungite formed at the ripe old age of 2 billion years. There are many hypotheses about how Shungite was made.

The most adopted theory is that Shungite was created by the sedimenting of rich organic materials of primitive life forms into mud and silt.



These organic sediments accumulated into the Karelian craton that was rich in brackish water.

The organic material compressed with the mineral-rich brackish water into the craton and got heated up from the geothermal activity from below. This transformed the material through petrification and into what we know as Shungite. This process was also responsible for the creation of the molecular structure known as fullerenes.

An intriguing yet less popular hypothesis is that Shungite was formed from a meteor crashing into the earth. What is interesting about this idea is that there is evidence that a meteor did crash in close vicinity to the lake just a little earlier than Shungite was formed.



An even less popular opinion is that Shungite was made by lightning strikes. The reasoning for this idea is that lightning strikes actually create fullerenes, but since the amount made by lightning is so minuscule, this hypothesis is mostly discredited. It is an interesting notion though.

The different types of Shungite stone

There are three types of Shungite that all have a different appearance. The reason for the difference is the quantity of carbon the stones possess.

Type I Shungite – Elite Silver Shungite

This is the purest form of Shungite at a concentration of 98%.

The stone has a silvery semi-metallic sheen to it and can flake fairly easily.

Only one percent of Shungite in existence is Elite Shungite.

Composition of Elite Shungite

  • 98% Carbon
  • 0.9% Nitrogen and Oxygen
  • 0.3% Hydrogen
  • 0.8% Ash Content
Type II Shungite – Black Shungite

This type of Shungite is made up of 50-70% carbon.

This stone is a matte black mineral. It can be shaped and polished easily and is used to make EMF blocking discs and countertop pyramids. 

Composition of Black Shungite

  • 50-70% Carbon
  • 3.5% Nitrogen and Oxygen
  • 6.7% Hydrogen
  • 3.3% Ash Content
Type III Shungite – Gray Shungite

This type of Shungite is made up of 30-50% carbon.

This stone is a matte gray mineral. You will not run into gray shungite on the retail market, it is used for industrial applications.  

Composition of Gray Shungite

  • 30-50% Carbon
  • 3.5% Nitrogen and Oxygen
  • 6.7% Hydrogen
  • 3.3% Ash Content
  • 56% Silicon Dioxide
  • 8% various oxides and dioxides

Shungite and Fullerenes

 The reason Shungite has such powerful properties is because of the carbon complex known as a fullerene.
What is a Fullerene?
The fullerene is a fairly recent discovery. It is a form of carbon that links together 60 carbon atoms into the shape of a soccer ball.
The fullerene got its name from the scientist Richard Buckminster Fuller. He actually built a life-size replica of a fullerene without even realizing it!
Fuller with his geodesic dome is shaped exactly like a fullerene!

What is highly interesting is that a fullerene molecule is completely hollow. This hollow nature allows for all sorts of toxin and radio wave absorption.

Fullerenes have been used in nanotechnology to create nanotubes. These carbon molecules have been replicated in laboratories to create synthetic fullerenes.

However, these manmade fullerenes cannot be remotely compared to natural fullerenes as natural fullerenes are filled with unique gases, liquids, and minerals inside its hollow dome.

Fullerenes have extremely potent properties on electromagnetic fields, absorption of toxins, and on human health. I will address these points in detail.

The Benefits of Shungite Stones

As you can see, Shungite stone has some seriously unique properties that other carbon materials do not possess.

Because of these unique attributes, Shungite offers up some powerful capabilities that almost seem magical – but its not. Its science!

Shungite stones for water purification

The International Journal of Advanced Scientific and Technical Research released a compelling research paper on the influence of Shungite on water. The research was conducted by the Scientific Research Center of Medical Biophysics located in Bulgaria and the Biotechnology department of Moscow State University of Applied Biotechnology located in Moscow.

This is what they have found.

Due to its unique porous structure, Shungite adsorbs 95% of contaminants when coming into contact with its surface.

The types of contaminants that Shungite removes through adsorption are:

  • organochlorine compounds
  • phenols
  • dioxins
  • heavy metals
  • radionuclides

The types of contaminants that Shungite removes through absorption are:

  • oil
  • benzene
  • phenol
  • pesticides
  • chlorine
  • ammonia
  • heavy metals

Shungite has the ability to oxidize organic substances that are absorbed on the surface. Although this process is not entirely understood by scientists, Shungite is proven to be a powerful antioxidant and removes free radicals 30 times more effectively than activated carbon!!!

Free radicals formed during the treatment of water with chlorine and other chemicals have a negative impact on human health.

This table shows the performance of radical removal in water treated by Shungite:

Shungite has Antibacterial Properties

Shungite has strong bactericidal properties that efficiently disinfect drinking water from harmful bacteria.

It has been observed in this same study that Shungite eliminates pathogenic saprophytes and protozoa. Shungite performs a near complete removal of e.Coli from 2300/Liter of cells down to 3/Liter of cells.

Shungite does work best in conjunction with Zeolite and activated carbon.

How to filter water with Shungite

Shungite filters water best by passing water over the surface of Shungite stones.

However, the most common method for filtering water with Shungite is:

How to make Shungite Water

You will need:

A pitcher (preferably glass)

8 cups of water

8 ounces of Elite Shungite Chips

  1. Rinse Shungite chips thoroughly
  2. Place Shungite chips into pitcher
  3. Fill pitcher with water
  4. Let sit for 24 to 72 hours (Do NOT place lid on pitcher, the water needs oxygen to work)

Shungite Stone Maintenance

Shungite chips need to be maintained once a month for maximum performance. 

Shungite chips should be replaced every six months to one year, or as needed. 

  1. Mix 4 cups water with one tablespoon lemon juice.
  2. Place Shungite chips in water. 
  3. Let sit for 8 hours.
  4. Pat chips dry on a towel.
  5. Place Shungite chips in sun for three hours, flipping over half way through.


If you are looking for more water filtration options, check out my article on whole house well water filtration systems and also my guide to gravity fed water filters

Shungite for Blocking Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMFs)

Some people may be mislead into thinking that Shungite blocks EMFs through metaphysical energies, but the reality is that Shungite has unique electrical properties due to its naturally conductive nature from the fullerenes.

I have read several articles about Shungite being touted as an EMF blocker, but no one seems to provide any scientific sources that Shungite can indeed block these frequencies.

I have taken the time and scoured scholarly articles and patents to find actual scientific evidence that Shungite has unbelievable electromagnetic absorbing powers and am sharing them with you today.

Let’s dive into the research that supports the theory that Shungite can actually block electromagnetic frequencies!

The Science behind Shungite’s EMF Blocking Properties

The best way to present my scientific findings on this subject is to go case by case.

My first case study is patent #US5640705A. This patent has been filed for utilizing fullerene carbon molecules to contain radiation from nuclear waste.

This nuclear waste containment system is comprised of fullerene carbon layers that prevent nuclear radiation from leaking out of the containment vessel.

nuclear containment vessel

Although there is a ton of information in this patent, if you look up the “Detailed Description” section, you will find this:”C60 is the only single-layer Fullerene molecule that will completely contain high energy ionizing radiation. Under specific temperature and pressure conditions, C60 can completely absorb the five main types of harmful, high energy, ionizing radiation; namely, alpha, beta, gamma, X-ray, and neutron radiation.”

The natural state of a fullerene present in Shungite is the 60 molecule structure. As stated in the quote, this type of fullerene carbon is capable of absorbing the five main types of harmful radiation.

This is because the natural fullerene works as an absolute vacuum as it is hollow on the inside. This vacuum filters out impurities in water along with absorbing electromagnetic frequencies and radio waves.
My second case study is a scholarly article released by Scientific Reports #5619 (2014).

In this experiment, carbon nanotubes were utilized to create a Radar Absorbing Material (RAM) to block radar stealth technology.

The study has shown that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have excellent electromagnetic wave absorption performance due to its unique structure and extreme electrical conductivity.

Carbon nanotubes are created by fullerenes, which as we know are naturally present in Shungite.

We can then deduce that since carbon nanotubes are extremely efficient at blocking radar waves, the natural form of the fullerene has the power to absorb these waves as well.

My third case study is another patent JP2003243878A from Japan.
The invention in this patent is the development of a coating on a circuit board that blocks electromagnetic interference (EMI).

The invention uses a layer of Shungite (referred to as Shun Gaito) along with other layers of carbon to absorb EMI.

The patent claims that out of all the carbon materials used, the Shungite offers the best performance to eliminating the most EMI.

I have also found a couple of videos that show Shungite blocking EMFs in action:

At this point, I feel pretty confident that Shungite is the real deal when it comes to EMF protection. 

If you feel you need more evidence, I suggest looking up “Shungite radiation absorption” in Google Scholar and Google Patents. It will give you several more case studies pertaining to this topic.

Shungite Stone’s Healing Powers

As we all know, human beings are powered by electricity. Our neurons in our brains function by receiving electrical signals from cells. Our hearts beat from an electrical charge emitted by cells that cause a contraction.

A lesser known metascience, known as bioenergetics, explores human energy fields and the relation our energy has with the world around us.

Our bodies release an energetic field, known as the vital field, that interacts with our environment and ripples away from us like waves.


  • Life is an energy intensive process
  • It takes energy to move a muscle, breath, heal wounds, even to think
  • We emit an energetic field around us that interacts and is influenced by our environment

A person’s vital field can vary greatly depending on the health of the person, the level of consciousness, and also influences from the environment.

We can also have a direct effect on our vital field by the food and drink we consume, where we hang out and who we hang out with.

Our vital field strives to stay in a state of homeostasis, a state of balance. However, it wouldn’t surprise me that most (if not all) human beings that live in modern day society across the world are in a state of bioenergetic imbalance due to modern lifestyle choices and the bombardment of electromagnetic frequencies.

This is where Shungite comes into play.

Shungite and the Vital Field

Measurements of a person’s vital field can be measured, and a study done on Shungite in relation to bioenergetic research has been performed. This study, done by Regina Martino (a bioenergetic researcher) has found that Shungite can actually increase our extending bioenergy field.

This diagram is the test subject’s vital field before holding Shungite.

This diagram shows the subject’s vital field while holding Shungite.

So what do these results mean?

Health Benefits of Shungite Stone:

1. It balances our bioenergetic field. A balanced energy field can remedy dysfunctions in the body, such as persistent and recurring illness, tiredness, depression, dullness, and any type of issues that can occur from energy imbalances.

2. It gives us protection from negative energies. As our vital fields become balanced and centered, a natural positive energy is restored in the body. Shungite can also absorb negative energies, much like it can absorb impurities in water and radiation.

3. It blocks us from EMFs. As we went over above, Shungite is scientifically known to block electromagnetic disturbances. As we are bombarded from every corner with radio waves, our vital energies become imbalanced and shrink. Shungite works to restore our energy field and protect us from these invasive waves.

4. Shungite does not take on a negative charge. The natural structure of the fullerenes in Shungite creates a vacuum that does not allow for taking on any negativity from frequencies, vibrations, and human emotions. The state of Shungite will always stay intact, no matter what it encounters.

If you have feelings of general malfeasance, have unexplained exhaustion, emotional or mental issues, lethargy, feelings of uneasiness, and anything to do with a potential energy imbalance in the body, Shungite can assist in restoring your well being.

If you are interested in researching more about this topic, I suggest purchasing Regina Martino’s Book, “Shungite: Protection, Healing, and Detoxification“.​

Shungite Stone Authenticity Test

Although I don’t think there is a rampant market for fake Shungite, there have been reports of fake Shungite showing up on the market. Luckily, there is a simple test you can do to authenticate Shungite stone.

Shungite Authenticity Test

You will need:

  • two wires
  • battery
  • lightbulb

Place one wire on the negative side on the battery, and another on the positive side. Then touch the wires to the Shungite. 

If the Shungite is authentic, the lightbulb will light up!

Are there side effects of shungite stone?

Technically, there are no known side effects, but people may experience some energy disturbances from the stone. These could possibly be:

  • Insomnia
  • Too much energy
  • Increased pulse
  • Increased blood pressure

These side effects are directly related to the enormous amount of energy that Shungite can deliver to you. Remember how we talked about the expansion of the vital field?

This may be a very new and energetic sensation, and because of that, you may want to rotate wearing your stone until you get used to the extra energy.

Shungite Stone Buyer's Guide

It is important to purchase your Shungite from a reputable source, and there are only a couple of them on the market.

These sources are either in contract with the Shungite mines or are the actual mines selling the mineral.

I have ordered my Shungite solely through Karelian Heritage. You can purchase the stones directly from their online store, or through their Amazon store. 


There are various ways you can incorporate Shungite into your life, depending on what your needs and goals are.

Shungite comes in different shapes and grades. I will go over these applications of Shungite in detail below.

Shungite for the Home

You can strategically place Shungite pieces around the home for EMF reduction and energy circulation. These pieces are typically made of Shungite Type II as this type can be carved into shapes.

Shungite in Pyramid Shape

Pyramids are an ancient geometric form that has an energy of its own which is unique and complementary with the Shungite stone.

Pyramids perform well in places that require focus and study.

A three-inch pyramid can radiate energy and neutralize EMFs up to ten feet from its sides and eleven feet from its edges. 


Shungite in Sphere Shape

The sphere allows for an even emanation of energy and EMF absorption. The energy of the sphere harmonizes naturally with our vital field, as it is in the same shape. 

Spheres are great for areas of relaxation, such as a bedroom or living room and emit eleven feet out in every direction. 


Shungite in Cube Shape


The cube form has a grounding effect synchronizing with the Earth. Cubes work well with meditation to become more rooted and do well when placed into entryways and windows.

The cube emanates protection and energy for about 9.5 feet. 

Shungite as Jewelry

Wear Shungite for personal EMF protection, increase in vital field, and overall energy balancing benefits.

Type I Elite Shungite Jewelry

Although Elite Shungite cannot be shaped (although it can be tumbled) and can be brittle, it can still be worn as jewelry and offers the highest increase in the vital field and personal EMF protection.

Type II Shungite Jewelry

This type of Shungite has fewer fullerenes so its performance is not as strong as Elite Shungite. It is more affordable and still offers plenty of EMF protection and bioenergetic increases. 

This type of Shungite can be shaped and engraved. 

Shungite for EMF Protection

Shungite Type II is typically used to make discs of Shungite that can be mounted on a cell phone or any electronic device to block its electromagnetic frequencies. 

They do not have to be big, rather, these plates are small. Use these on a cellphone, cordless phone, tablet, laptop, etc.


Shungite for Water Purification

Shungite chips are used for water, as the more surface contact the Shungite has on the water, the better the filtration performance.

I suggest to use Type I Elite Shungite only for water purification, although Type II is also sold in chip form. Rinse stones thoroughly before use.


I hope you have enjoyed my very thorough guide to Shungite stones. I feel that I touched all bases in relation to Shungite. 

If you have a question or a comment, please drop in the comment box below. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

Have a wonderful day!

Hello, I am Regina! I am the creator and brain-child behind Maximum Off Grid. 

My goal is to educate and inform people interested in becoming independent from the system. 

I also provide valuable reviews on products and services that I research extensivley so I can make quality recommendations to you. 

Please enjoy my website and don’t forget to share!

Regina C. 
Creator of Maximum Off Grid

The Best Emergency Water Filter for Survival [Product Guide for 2020]

It is so easy to take clean drinking water for granted.

After all, when its delivered right to our faucets, we don’t have to think twice about getting sick if we drink or cook with it. 

This can put us in a place of comfort but also complacency.

If we lost access to this clean water, would we be prepared to provide our families with clean drinking water?

Would we even know how to provide this water? How do we filter and purify water anyways?

In this article, I will address how you can provide safe, potable drinking water to your family in time of emergency.

I will also go over the best emergency water filters on the market today so you can make an informed purchase.

Read on!

The Basics of Water Filtration and Purification

There are two steps to getting your water to a safe drinking level:

Step One: Filtration

Filtration is the first step that removes most contaminants. Large debris such as leaves, algae, and sediments are removed along with smaller contaminants that cause cloudiness and bad tastes.

Filtration can also remove VOCs, chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and more. This is all dependent on the micron size the filter is rated for. You will need to check with the manufacturer to see exactly what the filter can catch per each system. 

Step Two: Purification

Once filtered, the purification process then removes bacteria, viruses, and cysts along with chemicals. Although some bacteria are removed through the filtration process, viruses are too small to be caught and require purification to remove completely.

It is absolutely necessary to purify your water! I have noticed through much research that many websites only offer up filtration methods for emergencies, and this will NOT cut the cheese!

You cannot simply run water from the wild through carbon and deem it as safe to drink. Even though the water may look clean, especially from mountain snowmelt, animals can contaminate the water through fecal matter introducing harmful bacteria.

Some of these bacterium are e.Coli and giardia. These bacterium can cause diarrhea which can be deadly in a survival situation.

Viruses are a concern as well, although typically in first world countries it is not nearly as much of a problem. The World Health Organization notes that water can be contaminated with norovirus, rotavirus, and many more. 

Scenarios requiring emergency water Purification

Boil order – boil orders are given from health authorities when municipal water sources could be contaminated with pathogens.

Water under boil orders needs to be brought to a rolling boil for a minimum of two minutes.

Municipal water source being shutoff – we’ve all had this happen before, a planned shut off from the city or an unplanned shutoff from someone hitting the main water line. For the first few hours, we go to the faucet expecting water to come out. It is a tolerable situation for a while, but when morning comes around and the water still doesn’t come on, it becomes a bit unnerving! When will the water come back on? I have dishes piling up! I need to take a shower!

Water scarcity/rationing – Now this is probably the lesser common of situations, but if a draught were to be severe and persist over a long period of time, water rationing could be ordered, and possibly even water shutdowns. If that were to happen, water would have to come from the wild.

Flooding and natural disasters – flooding can bring catastrophic amounts of contamination to municipal water sources and well systems. Earthquakes and fires can cause damage to water infrastructures placing you into a possible water emergency.

Scenarios requiring survival water purification

Backwoods trips – If you are going on a prolonged hike or camping trip or are backpacking, you will want to have a portable water purifier handy. No sense in lugging around liters of bottled water if you will have access to water in the wild. 

Prolonged emergency situations – If emergency scenarios persist, a mobile water purifier may become necessary if you need to relocate or lose access to municipal water sources entirely. 

Off grid lifestyle – You will need a permanent water purification system if you are living the off grid lifestyle and collecting water from a wild source – even rainwater needs purification, mainly due to spontaneous bird turds. 

Things to consider for emergency water filtration Situations

Will you be mobile or stationary?

If you are in a situation where can stay in your home, a whole house water filtration system is a good choice.

If you are in a prolonged emergency situation and must evacuate, a portable water purification option would be essential.

Where will your water come from?

Municipal water on a boil order will require less filtration whereas murky water from the wild will need a more intensive filtration process. It can be hard to know what your water situation will be in a possible future emergency event, but the more scenarios you can apply to your situation, the better prepared you can be.

Will you have access to water at all?

In a water shutdown/scarcity event, you may not have access to conventional water. I suggest locating the nearest water source to your home or bugout location and judge the quality of water to be the best prepared.

How much water will you need?

The WHO made an excellent PDF about emergency water usage, I recommend you download it here.

Having access to clean water is not just for drinking, you will need it to cook and practice safe hygiene practices. Certain activities only required filtered (not necessarily purified) water.

How long will you be surviving on emergency water?

 An emergency water situation can quickly turn into a survival water scenario if a perfect storm of events happens. Be prepared for both short term and long term water purification plans.

Uses for Potable Water vs Non Potable Water

Potable water is another term for safe drinking water. This water has been both filtered and purified of contaminants.

Non-potable water may look clean but has not been purified to get rid of viruses and bacteria. However, there are certain water activities that you can perform with non-potable water.

Non-Potable water uses:

  • You can water your garden so long as you wash your fruits and veggies first.
  • You can take showers as long as you do not consume the water or have open wounds exposed. Personally, I would want to take showers in purified water, if possible.
  • Washing your clothes.
  • Watering your pets.
  • Washing dishes only if you can provide a bleach bath afterward.
  • Washing your hands only if you have antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer.

Potable water uses:

  • Any water used for drinking.
  • Any water used for cooking that has not been brought to a boil.
  • Water used for bathing if there are open wounds involved.


Natural ways to build an emergency water filtration system

I have written a comprehensive guide to all sorts of ways to filter and purify water, I will touch on them lightly here as well.

Natural water filtration methods

Run your water through activated carbon. You can purchase activated carbon or make your own. Now place the carbon at the bottom of a container and layer sand, then gravel on top of it.

You can dig a hole a few feet from a water source to get cleaner water. Layer some rocks in the hole and then add a top layer of sand.

Filter your water through a ceramic container. This removes a whole lot of particulates and sediments leaving practically clean water. You can use a ceramic gardening pot, as long as you plug the hole on the bottom (duh)!

Natural purification methods

You can use sunlight to purify water! Ah, I love the Sun! It is nature’s way to provide us with clean drinking water without having to use harsh chemicals. I suggest using a glass container instead of plastic as plastic can breakdown from UV exposure. 6 hours of full sunlight will eradicate bacteria and viruses.

Boil your water for one to three minutes.

You can use a stovetop still to collect distilled water. Distilled is the same as purified, it just uses the process of distillation to become purified. It also clears out virtually all sediments.

You can use chemicals like bleach, chlorine, and iodine. We don’t want to ingest any more unnecessary chemicals than we have to, but it would behoove you to keep a packet of iodine tablets or a bottle of bleach as a backup purification system if your primary system happens to fail. 

Use Shungite stones for purification. Shungite is a type of carbon known as fullerene and only occurs in one spot in the world. Fullerene is a hollow carbon which allows for the absorption of contaminants and microbes, and removes 30 times more free radicals than activated carbon! Just make sure to get the Elite Shungite when purchasing! (source) 

Elite Shungite chips can purify water naturally

Part Two: The Best Emergency Water Filter Systems on the Market

On-The-Go Survival Water Purification systems

The products discussed in this section are chosen because of their portability and design. These filters are primarily used for the purification of water from the wild and are durable enough to withstand a backwoods survival situation. 

These products also work well for long hikes, camping trips, backpacking trips, and expeditions.

1. LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier




$ $




30 Days

My Acclaims:

  • Purifies 4,755 gallons of water per filter life
  • High flow rate of 9 to 12 liters per hour
  • Extremely simple to set up, comes with clear directions

My Criticisms:

  • Will not remove chemicals or chlorine
  • Some reports of a plastic taste
  • Water container is somewhat bulky

This LifeStraw family gravity water purifier can be a lifesaver in an emergency water situation and be a solution for long hikes and camping trips. Imagine not having to haul in your own water on such long trips, joy!

It is a gravity-fed filter system so no need to worry about electricity or batteries. There is also no moving parts so less chance of product failure.

The packaging states that it will expire in three years, but that is contingent upon heat exposure of the product. It will not expire if stored in a cool, dry, and dark space.

The hard blue vessel can be bulky to haul around. If that is an issue, you can replace the vessel with a water bladder.

This type of purifier is meant for wild water, I do not recommend using it for municipal water as it does not remove chlorine or chemicals. 

Overall, this is a great option for families as it purifies large quantities of water and is good for long trips. 

2. Platypus GravityWorks 4.0 Liter High-Capacity Water Purification System




$ $ $




Useful Life Warranty

My Acclaims:

  • Purified water catches in seperate bag
  • Produces 1.75 liters of purified water per minute
  • The filter gives water a clean fresh taste

My Criticisms:

  • On the more expensive side of emergency water filters
  • Filters 1500 gallons, less than competitors
  • Reports of plastic holes tearing where bag is hung

Platypus makes great water products and this purifying system is no different.

I like the idea of having a secondary “clean” water bladder catch the purified water as opposed to being on a spigot. If you do not like the clean water bladder design, you can purchase a universal adapter so you can remove the bladder and catch water into several types of vessels.

It does handle quite a bit of water with a decent flow rate, although 1,500 gallons per filter is not the highest filter life, it does provide excellent tasting drinking water. 

I would recommend immediately reinforcing the plastic where the bladders hang. Users have reported the plastic starts to tear. This can be done easily with some duct tape.

The purifier will not remove chlorine and other chemicals that a municipal water source carries. However, there is a carbon filter that you can purchase additionally that will remove these contaminants. 

Overall, this is a really great option for filtering large quantities of water and it provides a clean taste, which is an important element. It is much easier to stay hydrated when your water tastes good. It is a little spendier than other options. 

3. Sawyer Products MINI Water Purification System








Lifetime Warranty

My Acclaims:

  • Purifies and IMPRESSIVE 100,000 gallons of water!
  • Squeeze filtration technology
  • Removes E. Coli, Giardia, Salmonella and bacteria

My Criticisms:

  • Does not remove viruses - do not use abroad
  • Filter needs to be backwashed every 5 to 10 gallons
  • Some users report leakage

These Sawyer mini water purifiers are really handy! They are a compact size and very light for good portability. 

The squeeze technology is a good system as you can squeeze water out of the bag into a vessel or straight into your mouth.

The filter lasts for a stunning 100,000 gallons! I was shocked and amazed by this number, but mainly skeptical. I have done a ton of research on water purification and this number is staggering.

I figured out that the reason this filter lasts so long is that it does not catch tiny viruses. This really shouldn’t be a problem here in the states, as it does catch the common E. Coli, Giardia, and Salmonella.

Personally, I would rather spend the money for virus protection if purchasing for emergency water filtration device. 

If using for hiking, backpacking, and camping it should be okay.

Before taking out on a trek, test the unit thoroughly as users have reported leakage and breakage.

The website claims to have a lifetime warranty, but the company’s interpretation of “lifetime” is questionable as some users had issues with returning broken products. 

Overall, its a good purification system for surviving of wild water, but I do not recommend it for emergency situations like flooding and boil orders. 

4. Survivor Filter PRO Water Purifier




$ $




Register for Lifetime Warranty

My Acclaims:

  • Comprehensive system removes viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, chemicals, etc.
  • Purifies 26,417 gallons per main filter
  • Provides excellent tasting water

My Criticisms:

  • 3-filter system means having to replace more filters
  • Pumping system can become cumbersome
  • Low flow rate at 17 ounces per minute

This Survivor Pro water purification system is the most comprehensive filter for removing viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, chemicals, and sediments.

This is done through a three filter method – the pre-filter, carbon filter, and internal ultra filter.

The unit makes for a great companion for international travel, municipal water sources under boil order, and emergency water purification.

The pump is made of heavy duty material that should withstand many uses and rugged environments.

My main concern is having to manually pump for fresh water. This could be quite tiring, especially if used for multiple people. Best to take turns. 

My other concern is that since it has moving parts, it could be likely to break. Luckily, it comes with a lifetime warranty if you register the unit. 

Note that the carbon filter will only last for 2,000 liters as opposed to the other two filters. 

Overall, this is a great choice for a filter as it removes a comprehensive amount of contaminants and viruses. Good for emergency water situations, just be prepared for a workout!

Recommended Product:

Potable Aqua Water Purification Treatment (50 Tablets)

No matter what, ALWAYS have water purification tablets handy for a backup purifying system!!!

Stationary Emergency Water Filtration systems

I have chosen these products for an emergency event where you can still stay at home but need a water purification system.

These systems also work well to upgrade your water’s cleanliness for everyday use and for well water or off grid water systems. 




$ $ $




6 Months

My Acclaims:

  • 6 gallons of purified water safe for consumption
  • Removes flouride and pharmaceutical contaminants
  • High quality durable filtration

My Criticisms:

  • Filters can clog prematurely
  • Washers and stoppers are made of rubber
  • Will not ship to CA or IA

The Crown Berkey is an ideal choice for providing clean drinking water in an emergency situation.

The filter removes all sorts of contaminants including bacteria, pathogens, viruses, chlorine, industrial chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and even fluoride if you purchase the additional fluoride filter. 

This unit uses gravity to filter water, so no electricity needed.

The capacity is quite large in relation to the size of the unit, which is 30″ by 11″.

The filtration elements can be cleaned which allows for a long lifespan of 6,000 gallons.

However, the filters can clog prematurely if high concentrations of sediment travel through the filters. I recommend purchasing a whole house water filter to remove heavy sediments before running through the filter, especially for well water and off grid water systems.

I also recommend replacing the rubber stoppers and washers as these can cause some odors and tastes in the water. 

Overall, the Crown Berkey is an excellent emergency water filtration system that can be transported and also looks good on the counter top. 

2. Woder 10K-Gen3 Undersink Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System




$ $




1 Year Warranty

My Acclaims:

  • Selective filtration removes toxins but leaves healthy minerals
  • Super easy and quick installation
  • All parts needed for install included, just need a pair of pliers and a drill

My Criticisms:

  • small but noticeable reduction in flow rate
  • Only filters cold water - install on cold water line
  • Need to install an additional unit for each fixture

The Woder 10K filtration system is an undersink filtration unit that can filter 10,000 gallons of water. 

This filter removes:

  • lead
  • heavy metals
  • chlorine
  • chromium
  • mercury
  • VOCs
  • carcinogens
  • turbidity
  • odors and bad tastes

This system installs under the sink and requires no plumbing or electricity to run, making it a good candidate for an emergency water filtration device.

Keep in mind that this filter has no purification system, so you will need to have an additional method for purifying your water.

This unit only filters water to one faucet in your house so you would need to purchase an additional unit for each fixture that you want filtered water delivered to.

Overall, could be a good solution for stationary emergency water filtration if used in conjunction with a purification element.


Recommended Product:

HQUA-OWS-12 Ultraviolet Water Purifier

Install this UV water purifier along with a water filtration unit for whole house disenfection.

Just make sure to have a small backup generator to power the unit if the electricity should fail. 

3. Aquasana Whole House Well Water Filter System w/ UV Purifier and Salt-Free Descaler




$ $ $ $ $




5 Year Warranty

My Acclaims:

  • Comprehensive filtration system removes scale and microbes
  • Filters and purifies 500,000 gallons of water
  • Heavy duty system built to last

My Criticisms:

  • Very high end price point
  • Will likely require professional installation
  • Pre and post filters will need more frequent replacing

This Whole House Aquasana water filter is the mamma-jamma of all filters! If you want to go all out for the highest quality of water then this is the filter for you.

The filter’s main carbon chamber will last for 500,000 gallons or five years. Note that additional filters will require more frequent replacements. 

This model comes with a built-in UV disinfection system. The bulb will need to be replaced yearly and does require electricity to run. You will want to have a small backup generator to keep the UV filter running in times of power outages. 

This filter has six stages of water treatment along with a salt-free water conditioner which is ideal for treating well water systems. 

This unit is very expensive and the cost of the replacement filters will add up over time. However, the main and most expensive filter will not have to be changed out for 500,000 gallons and the unit comes with a long 5 year warranty.

Overall this is one of the best choices for water filtration and purification and will last through an emergency water event so long as the UV light system is provided with power. Be prepared to drop a wad of cash!

Being prepared for an emergency water situation is no joke, but luckily we have access to some great products that can make our lives easier if faced with this situation.

I hope you have found my article on the best emergency water filters both informative and entertaining. Now you can make a sound decision on your purchase suiting your unique situation.

If you are interested in more preparedness tips, check out my Ultimate Bug Out Bag Contents Listed and Explained

Please feel free to leave me any questions or comments and share my article! Thanks!


Hello, I am Regina! I am the creator and brain-child behind Maximum Off Grid. 

My goal is to educate and inform people interested in becoming independent from the system. 

I also provide valuable reviews on products and service that I research thoroughly and make quality  recommendations.

I hope you are enjoying my website!

Regina C. 
Creator of Maximum Off Grid

The Gravity Fed Water Filter: Everything You Need To Know [+ 2020 Product Guide]

I love gravity-fed countertop water filters!

Why? Because they require no plumbing or electricity to run. 

This makes gravity-fed water filters a completely autonomous system thar are perfect for off grid living, removing toxins from municipal water, and are handy for boil orders and emergency filtration situations.

In this article, I go over the three TOP gravity water filtration systems available on the market.

I also cover pretty much everything you need to know about these systems from off grid use to maintaining the filter and more.

If you are looking for a more robust system, then check out my guide to whole house well water filtration systems

Let’s get started! 




$ $ $




6 Months

My Acclaims:

  • Extremely purified water removing 99.99 bacteria AND viruses
  • 6 gallon capacity at only 30” by 11” dimensions
  • Removes pharmaceutical contaminants
  • Purification elements last for 6000 gallons of water

My Criticisms:

  • Instructions and diagrams are vague
  • Filters can clog up quickly
  • Will not ship to CA or IA
  • Stoppers and washers made of rubber

The Crown Berkey is the best in class as it offers the highest capacity gravity-fed water system on the market. The filter removes bacteria AND viruses so it qualifies as an emergency filtration unit. It can also remove pharmaceuticals and flouride from your water. 

best gravity-fed countertop water filter reviews

My Acclaims:

  • 6 gallon capacity at only 30” by 11” dimensions
  • Extremely purified water removing 99.99% of bacteria AND viruses
  • Removes pharmaceutical contaminants and flouride

My Criticisms:

  • Instructions and diagrams are vague
  • Filters can clog up quickly
  • Will not ship to CA or IA
  • Stoppers and washers made of rubber




$ $ $




6 Months

The Berkey water systems are well known as the best off grid filtration and purification countertop system available.

There has been extensive testing done on the output quality of the water and the company touts itself as the most powerful gravity filter currently on the market.

The Berkey calls their filters Black Berkey Elements. These water filter elements remove:

Fluoride – 99.9%

Viruses – 99.9%

Pathogenic Bacteria – 99.9%

Coliform and e-Coli – 99.9%

Pharmaceuticals – 99.5%

The Berkey also removes lead, arsenic, iron, mercury, chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, etc.

The Berkey can remove fluoride with an additional element which is called the Berkey PF-2 elements.

The company publishes its testing results which show all the contaminants eliminated and is far too long a list to put in this article. You can find this list here.

Users have reported that the unit is well manufactured and sturdy, although I do recommend to immediately upgrade to the stainless steel spigot as the plastic one can break.

As with any product, there are concerns and drawbacks that you will want to consider.

The first problem is the rubber stoppers and washers. Users complain that it makes the water taste rubbery. I am surprised that the manufacturer would even use these elements and I suggest immediately trading them out.

Plastic elements tend to break so upgrade to stainless steel immediately if applicable.

Another problem is the slow rate of filtering. Some users report that their filters clog up within days of use. This is a typical water filtration system problem if water has higher level of sediment, especially from well water and off grid systems.

I strongly recommend getting a whole house prefilter to clear up sediments and debris before running water through this unit.

The instructions are written poorly, and someone remarked that it seemed like a non-english speaker wrote them. I noticed this with the website too, lots of clunky writing on their website.

Many users have turned to YouTube for step by step instructions which works out well. I recommend this instructional video:

One final note that I want to make about the Berkey:

I have noticed some people saying the Berkey is a scam and that their test results have been doctored and question why Berkey will not comply to Iowa and California lead certifications. They have addressed this issue in an article that does a decent job discrediting the claims.

Although there are some with strong claims against Berkey, I cannot find any credible evidence that can be held against them. Other than the usual low reviews that practically all products get from defective systems to leaks, the majority of users have had a great experience with the Berkey and they have published their testing results on their website.

Overall, I recommend the Berkey for their powerful purification process to remove virtually all bacteria and viruses from their water. I also like that the unit is well made with high quality materials.

My Acclaims:

  • Can filter out microplastic, a unique feature
  • No priming of filters required
  • All-in-One filter removes contaminants and fluoride

My Criticisms:

  • Mixed customer support
  • Users report of rust
  • Largest sizing available is only 2.75 gallons




$ $





Propur rivals the Berkey water systems as its new ProOne G2.0 filter elements can remove viruses, bacteria, and cysts from water. This makes the unit compatible with filtering and purifying water in the wild.

The filters do not require priming which is a huge plus as some people have struggled with the finicky priming process.

Propur leaves good minerals in the water so the flavor is spot on. The filters are infused with silver that prevents the growth of bacteria.

Another thing I like about the Propur is that the fluoride removing element is infused with the main filter so you don’t have to purchase any additional filter for that benefit. However, because of this, the filters need to be changed out more often.

Propur touts that their filters can remove microplastics. What is a microplastic, anyway??

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that break off into the environment. These pieces leach out chemicals such as phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA).

Sounds like stuff I don’t want in my water!

Propur’s ProOne G2.0 series “all-in-one” filters are NSF/ANSI -42 certified and you can find their in-depth water testing reports here.

Unfortunately, one big con to this filter is the reports of the unit rusting after a few months of purchase. This doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem but it would make me think twice about buying it.

I have also read reports that customer service is non-responsive. I do think the company has worked to remedy this issue as more recent users have had good customer support. Therefore, I rate it as a mixed bag.

Overall, there are things I do love about this filter such as the microplastics removal, built-in fluoride filter, and the use of silver for bacteria prevention. Just keep a lookout for any signs of early onset rust.

My Acclaims:

  • Homeopathic water filtration
  • Very low price point
  • Unique filtration system

My Criticisms:

  • Does NOT remove Viruses!
  • Does not remove flouride
  • No published water testing reports








30 Days

Zen Water filters totally rock. They are unique because they add holistic features that improve your health homeopathically.

In their filter, they include far infrared balls that promote growth and health of cells. It also ionizes the water which activates water molecules in cells and blood.

The water passes over a magnetic tip; magnetized water is thought to be cleansing and detoxifying to the body.

Filtration stages:

Stage 1: Micro-Ceramic Filter Dome. Compressed ceramic dome filters down to .2-.9 microns in size.

Stage 2: Silver Impregnated Granulated Activated Carbon. Removes chlorine, bad tastes and odors, radon, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs and many other man made chemicals. Silver prevents bacteria buildup.

Stage 3: Mineral Sand. Removes granular impurities.

Stage 4: Far Infrared Balls. Ionizes water and promotes cellular health.

Stage 5: Natural Zeolite. Absorbs cations, heavy metals, ammonium, organic contaminants, radioactive elements, and some bad odors.

Stage 6: Magnetic Tap. Magnetizes water.

When you get this filter, run a whole tank of water through the filter a few times before use. This gets the carbon, sand, and zeolite activated and going.

There are some drawbacks to the Zen Water Filter.

The first and most jarring drawback is that it does NOT filter out viruses! According to the Water Quality Association,  the size of a virus is 0.004 to .1 microns in size. The ceramic pores of this unit are much too large to catch viruses.

Personally, I would set up a whole house UV water purifier to remove viruses for all my water, then you could use this filter at ease. I wouldn’t want to bathe in potentially pathogenic water anyways.

If you are on a municipal system, this is no problem as most municipal systems use both chlorine and UV light to kill viruses and bacteria. However, if a boil order would be put into place, you’d be S.O.L.

Another drawback is that the filter does not remove fluoride. Flouride gets completely dissolved into water and the technology of the filter simply cannot eliminate it. This is where a more expensive filter pays off.

Yet another thing I do not like is that I cannot find any water testing reports published anywhere. I emailed the company to see if they can send me a copy but I have yet to hear back.

Users have complained of algae beginning to grow, so I suggest keeping a keen eye out for any green in the tank. If it does grow, wash thoroughly with white vinegar to clean exterminate it.

Overall, if you are in a municipal system or have a purification system for your water in place and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Zen Water System is a great filter at a very affordable price.

How Does a Gravity-Fed Water Filter Container Work?

A gravity container filter uses the sheer force of gravity instead of water pressure to filter water. This eliminates the need for plumbing and electricity, which is great for an emergency or off grid situation.

The container is separated into an upper and lower chamber. Water is poured into the upper chamber and flows over the water filters to collect into the lower chamber.

The main filtration element that gravity filters are known for is the porcelain filter. Unlike standard porcelain, gravity water filters use specialized porcelain that has micro-fine pores so the smallest of viruses can be removed.

Because these types of filters can capture contaminants including bacteria, viruses, and cysts, water from wells and the wild can be drank after being filtered through these units.

Each system does vary and will have different types of additional proprietary filters installed. 

Benefits of a Gravity-Fed Water Filter Container

The biggest benefit to these filters is being able to take water from the wild and make it drinkable. Just be sure to prefilter water so you don’t gunk up your unit with too much debris or sediment.

These units work well in a survival or emergency water situation. If your water gets shut down or you only have access to untreated water, these filtration systems can provide you with accessible drinking water without having to boil or use chemicals.  

You do not need electricity or plumbing for this filtration system to work.

The filters come in various shapes and sizes which can accommodate being placed on a countertop and are easily transportable.

The water tastes wonderful; odors and bad tastes are completely removed.

Drawbacks of a Gravity-Fed Water Filter Container

The flow rate is pretty low on these filters. The typical gravity fed filter can provide from 2 to 6 gallons a day.

You do need to refill these filters manually, so make sure to keep on top of topping it off.

You will need to calculate how much drinking water you need before purchasing a unit. Make sure to see the output of these filters so it can match your family’s water usage.

There will be additional filters that will need periodic replacing and replacement parts can be expensive.

Pitcher Water Filters vs Gravity-Fed Water Filter Containers

You may be wondering if a standard water pitcher, such as a Brita or Zero Water pitcher, would work to get your drinking water clean enough.

The bottom line is that these pitcher filters are not going to be tough enough to filter water from the wild.

This is because these filters are not designed to eliminate bacteria and viruses, only sediments and chemicals.

However, pitcher water filters work decently enough to filter water from municipal sources.

I personally use the Zero Water Pitcher Filter in my camper when I am on a municipal source. I like this pitcher because it comes with a PPM tester so I can see how much contaminant is being filtered out of my water. I typically get .001 PPM readings after running through this filter; in one area my municipal water was reading at 112 PPM! Gross!

The main reason for purchasing a porcelain gravity water filter when on a municipal source is for emergencies. If you have a boil order you will need additional purification of your tap water. If your municipal water source gets shut off and you have access to wild water, you can use this system to make it potable.

Things to Consider when Purchasing a Gravity-Fed Water Filter Container

Capacity – calculate how much drinking water your family needs then purchase a filter accordingly.

Flow Rate – Depending on the system will depend on how fast or slow the water gets filtered. Typically, the slower the flow rate, the better the filtering job will be done as the water has to pass through smaller pores.

Contaminants removed – although most filters take out the most prominent contaminants, if you have a special water situation with a particular contaminant you may need to do additional research to make sure that filter will work for you.

Filter Changes – aside, from the ceramic element, there are typically additional filters in the system that will need more frequent changing. Make a note of how often you need to change those filters.

Using a Gravity-Fed Water Filter Container Off Grid

It is highly imperative to prefilter your water before running through your gravity fed water filter. Well water with high sediment levels and water from the wild with debris needs to be cleansed thoroughly or else you will clog your container filter quite quickly.

A whole house water filter will help keep your filters clean

A simple cheap whole house water filter will do the trick. I recommend if you are pumping water from the wild to build a screen enclosure around the pump to keep larger debris out before running through the prefiltering unit.

Make sure that when you purchase a filter, that it will filter out viruses too. Many filters can catch bacteria, but viruses are so teeny tiny that they can clear through filters which are only built to catch bacteria.

I suggest looking at test analyses for the unit you are looking to buy. I have included these test results in my reviews portion of this article.

If you haven’t built your off grid water system yet, check out my guide to building an off grid water system

Prep And Maintenance For A Gravity Water Filter

There is a preparation period for these systems that require a priming process. This process is when the filtering elements become saturated with water. This may take up to a few days to complete, depending on the filter.

Some elements require initial water flow through the filtering elements; these need to be primed with water pressure from your faucet.

Follow all manufacturer directions to make sure you properly prime your filter.

Maintenance is easy for these units; filtering elements need to be cleaned periodically with a water rinse and a wipe down from a wet clean cloth.

NEVER EVER use soap or hot water! Soap will ruin the filters and need to be replaced.

Filters that need replacement will reduce the flow rate. Try to wash out these filters and if the flow rate does not improve it is time to replace them.


Gravity fed water filter containers are an innovative way to provide fresh drinking water to your family in normal times and times of emergency.

Being able to filter and purify water free of bacteria and viruses without electricity and plumbing makes this filtration system extremely versatile.

This could be a great solution for you in an off grid situation or to purify well water. 


I hope you have enjoyed my Best Gravity-Fed Countertop Water Filter Reviews article!

Please let me know if you have any questions and if you have found this article helpful, I would love a share!

Have a wonderful day.


Hello, I am Regina! I am the creator and brain-child behind Maximum Off Grid. 

My goal is to educate and inform people interested in becoming independent from the system. 

I also provide valuable reviews on products and service that I research thoroughly and make quality  recommendations.

I hope you are enjoying my website!

Regina C. 

The Best Well Water Whole House Filtration System [2020 Edition]

In a perfect world, we would have sparkling fresh and clean drinking water available right to our taps.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Most municipalities use chlorine to remove bacteria, viruses, and cysts from the drinking water. 

There are also traces of all sorts of impurities in municipal water, ranging from heavy metals to industrial residues to VOCs.

Using a countertop water filter gets rid of these impurities and that is great for water to drink.

But what about the water we bathe in? Wash our clothes in? Run through our expensive appliances?

All of these contaminants are not healthy for drinking, bathing, or even our plumbing system.

Chlorine makes skin dull and dry, heavy metals and sediments can cause buildup in our plumbing systems and eat away at our expensive appliances. Even our clothing gets damaged from these harsh contaminants!

That is why I strongly recommend a whole house water filtration system.

It will enhance you and your family’s overall health and protect your expensive investments – like your plumbing system and appliances. 

Living off well water or in an off grid situation? You will need to take extra precautions from heavy sediments and microbials!

Wells and off grid water systems need extra protection

In this article, I will go in-depth on whole house water filtration system reviews, including systems for well water and off grid setups.

I will also provide valuable information about whole house water filtration systems, potential contaminants, and so forth.

If a whole house filter is a bit too much, you can also opt for a gravity fed water filter. Check out my article about gravity fed water filter systems here

Read on!

Whole House Water Filtration System Reviews – including Well Water and Off Grid Systems 

My Acclaims:

  • Filters lasts up to one million gallons or ten years
  • 4 filters rid water of virtually all contaminants
  • Massive warranties cover from 6 to 10 years

My Criticisms:

  • Installation is complex and may require a pro
  • Additional filters require more frequent replacement
  • Expensive system gets even more spendy with additions




$ $ $ $ $




6-10 Years

The Aquasana system is a heavy duty class water filtration unit as the filters don’t have to be changed out for five to ten years – or one million gallons – depending on the model you get.

The one shown above is the most basic model – it has three stages of filtration and filters 600,000 gallons of water which should last for six years.

This model also comes with a massive 6 year warranty whereas the competing systems usually only come with 1 year. 

Although there are various models and additions, every system consists of three stages:

Step 1. Rhino filter – This is the filter that is placed at the top of the unit. This filter is what removes the VOCs and chlorine from the water.

Step 2. Activated carbon filter – this is the large main tank on the unit. It is full of carbon which catches the remaining contaminants such as herbicides, pesticides, and metals.

Step 3. The post-filter – this is the final, smaller filter that extends from the unit. It catches any final sediments and organic particles that may remain in the water. This needs to be replaced every six to twelve months.

Since the main carbon filter is so large, the water gets a higher level of processing compared to smaller systems. 

The carbon filter also lasts a whole lot longer than smaller cartridges by five to ten times!

Users are raving about the super high quality of water this system has to offer. 

However, the pre and post filters do need to be replaced every six months to one year, so it’s not completely set and forget, not to mention the extra expense of changing these filters. 

The install kit that comes with the unit is plastic and somewhat generic; users recommend to upgrade to the professional install kit – another expense to tack on.

I am also surprised to see that the instructions for installation are so vague. 

Customer service is on the slower side, but they do follow through eventually. 

If you have a well or an off grid water system, you can upgrade your unit to include a descaler and a UV system.

This is super nice because it all comes together as one unit as opposed to purchasing these parts separately.

This means the additional filters in the system are covered by their whopping 10 year warranty!

This comes with an additional pre filter that removes sediments down to 5 microns in size. This helps keep your main filters clean and will last longer, especially with hard water problems.


This does drive up the price quite a bit but the descaler is important so the extra sediments don’t clog the other filters and the UV light needs to kill any microbials in the water.

Overall, I like the fact that you can purchase all the components you need from one manufacturer; this works out to your advantage as everything is covered under their whopping 10 year warranty!

My Acclaims:

  • Has built in stainless steel housing
  • Pressure gauge mounted on each filter
  • Much easier installation than other systems

My Criticisms:

  • Only comes with one year warranty
  • May have to replace cartridges more frequently
  • Some leaking reported




$ $ $




1 Year Warranty

I really like the fact that this Express water filtration system comes with a sturdy stainless steel enclosure so you do not have to worry about building one yourself. 

Each filter has a pressure gauge above it so you can monitor the PSI flowing to each one. This is a unique feature that I have not seen on any other models.

The system can handle 100,000 gallons of water before filters need to be replaced, which is typically up to one year of water usage.

The high flow design handles .25 gallons of water per second, that equates to 15 gallons per minute, which is a pretty standard flow rate for most houses.

Each filter housing is connected with industrial bonded high capacity flow connectors and the housing is made of high durability food grade ABS and PCE plastic.

This is a three stage filter:

Stage One: Sediment filter will catch contaminants down to 5 microns. The filter design has a coarse outer layer and with a finer inner layer so the life of the filter lasts longer and catches more crud.

Stage Two: Granular Activate Carbon filter catches chlorine, VOCs, herbicides, industrial solvents, insecticides, chemicals, bad odors and tastes.

Stage Three: Carbon Block filter captures pharmaceuticals, TOCs, more chlorine, turbidity, pesticides, and more chemicals.

Users have reported that the unit is built with quality in mind and that the installation process is pretty easy.

The unit weighs in at 63 pounds and is 23.5 x 8.5 x 29.5 inches so you will need some good space to accommodate it; these measurements also include the stainless steel housing.

There have been some reports of leakage from where the gauges are screwed in. 

Users have also stated that the inlet and outlet pipe can fit loosely, so be prepared to use some Teflon tape and possibly pipe dope to get the good fit. 

Overall, this is an excellent whole house water filtration system at the price they offer. 

This is the exact same filter as their overall model, but the middle granulated carbon filter is swapped out for a “kinetic degradation fluxion” filter.

This filter is designed specifically for a wide variety of heavy metals, namely iron, lead, mercury, and aluminum. It also clears chloramine, sulfur, arsenic, algae, viruses, hydrogen sulfide, and fungi from the water.

This filter is made with catalytic carbon and is ionically charged with copper and zinc granules.

This is a special filter for these specific contaminants so if your water tests for these particular issues this would be the proper filter for you.

My Acclaims:

  • 100,000 gallons of filtered water per filter change
  • Strong customer support
  • Minimal reduction in pressure and prolonged filter life

My Criticisms:

  • Relief valves can loosen during shipping
  • Installation can be tricky
  • Replacement filters are spendy




$ $ $




1 Year Limited Warranty

The iSpring will filter 100,000 gallons of water ( or one year) and remove 98 percent of chlorines, sediment, chloramines, chemicals, bad tastes and smells.

This filter is a three stage process:

Stage one – sediment filter removes contaminants down to five microns.

Stage two and three – these are the same filters, so it gives the water more surface area to remove contaminants. The filters are made of coconut shell block carbon; block carbon is highly effective compared to other forms of carbon as the material is finely ground up and condensed into a block, therefore squeezing the water through the higher density material and catching more contaminants.

The carbon block filters remove over 90% of chlorine and remove VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals.

This unit is a 1 inch inlet/outlet and can get up to 15 GPM.

The unit is quite large and heavy weighing in at 49 pounds and has a dimension of 21 x 8 x 28 inches (not including any additional upgrades) so plan your installation accordingly.

Make sure to check your water PSI as the filter can handle a range of 40-90 PSI.

Overall, users are pretty darn happy with the results of this product. Many have reported a massive upgrade to the quality and smell of their water.

It is known that this unit can have leaks. Sometimes the relief valves loosen during the shipping process and need to be retightened. The manufacturer has recognized this as an issue and could remedy the problem within the manufacturing process, but so far this has not been resolved. Just something to be aware of.

The installation can be a bit tricky, so you may have to call a professional to install for you if you do not have plumbing experience. You will need to build some sort of support system to withstand the weight of the unit.

You will need to replace these filters at least once a year which can add up. Many users have reported having to change them out more frequently. If you are on a well system, these filters may clog much faster, depending on the sediment amount in your water. The filters are not cheap to replace, so you might want to consider either buying the pre sediment filter upgrade or buying a more heavy duty unit.

Reports of support have been pretty good as any damaged or faulty equipment gets replaced fairly quickly.

Overall, I think this is a great filtration system with high remarks, I just wish it had a built in enclosure.

I highly recommend purchasing this additional prefilter sediment catcher for people on well water systems. It is reusable and flushable and will catch sediments down to 50 microns.

This will keep your main unit from clogging up so quickly therefore making your expensive filters last longer.

The filter is made of a fine mesh stainless steel that needs to be flushed every week or even every few days. The flushing process is easy; you don’t have to uninstall any components.


You will also need a UV purification system for well and off grid systems. iSpring makes an 8000 hour UV light system that will compliment the main filtration unit.

I like this UV light because it has a smartflow sensor that turns the UV light on when the water is flowing and turns it off when it is not needed. That will preserve the bulb life by quite a bit!

This unit can handle 12 GPM and needs a 100-120V power supply and is 37.5 inches long, so keep that in mind when installing the filtration system.


How Does a Whole House Water Filtration System Work?

A whole house water filter is installed onto the main waterline and provides clean filtered water to all the faucets in the home.

This in turn offer many benefits to the plumbing system, appliances, and health of you and your family.

When choosing a filtration system, you will notice some are much more expensive than others.

This is because there are two types of systems: Heavy duty systems and standard capacity water cartridge systems.

The heavy duty filtration systems have the best contaminant removal because of the sheer size of filter media that the water gets filtered through. These large filters can last for five to ten years before needing replacement.

Standard capacity water cartridge filters are more affordable and smaller than their heavy duty counterparts. However, the water filters will need to be replaced more frequently, typically every six months to one year, and they are not cheap.

When choosing a whole house water filtration system, make sure to choose the correct unit that will solve any specific issues you are having with your water.

There are general types of systems that take care of the most common sediments and contaminants and there are upgraded systems that can clean up specific types of contamination.

City water without any specific issues can be treated with a general multi-purpose filtration system. These multi-purpose systems will clean up sediments, chlorine, bad taste and odors, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial contaminants.

These specific contaminants could be a variety of different metals such as iron or mercury.

You can also upgrade your system with UV light water purification to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and cysts.

An installed whole house water filter mounted on the wall.

Potential Contaminants found in municipal and off grid water

The list of contaminants that can be detected in municipal water sources is insane. The Environmental Protection Agency has created a Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) that has hundreds of potential contaminations. (source)

Now, just because the contaminant is on the list doesn’t mean it is detrimental to your health, but there are quite a few to be concerned about.

Some of these concerning contaminants are:

Heavy metals  – chromium, lead, mercury, barium, arsenic, barium, cadmium, copper, selenium, nickel. (source

Volatile Organic Chemicals – known as VOCs, are compounds that become vaporized such as solvents, cleaners, degreasers, paints, inks, pesticides, dyes. (source)

Trihalomethanes – a potential carcinogen that is created when chlorine that is used to treat water combines with naturally occurring matter in water. (source)

Scale – hard water minerals that leave a deposit in pipes and appliances. Examples are calcium and magnesium.

Well and off grid water systems need to pay special attention to microbial pathogens. You will need to make sure your whole house water filtration systems come with a water purifier as well to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This is typically in the form of a UV light purification system.

Well water systems may also face exceptionally hard water. This may require an additional layer of prefiltration to catch these sediments so they don’t gunk up your water filters. 

Benefits of a whole house water filtration system

There are many obvious reasons to install a whole house water filtration system, such as better tasting and smelling water that is healthier for you and your family delivered to every faucet in your entire home.

There are some reasons you may have not considered which may convince you to make the investment:

  1. You will notice that your skin and hair become healthier. Contaminants in untreated municipal water can be absorbed through your skin and damage your hair.
  2. When water evaporates in the shower, VOCs can be released from the molecules potentially contaminating the air you breathe. Whole house water filters remove VOCs.
  3. Your appliances will last longer, and your dishes will be spotless.
  4. The plumbing system in your house will have a longer lifespan as the sediments that cause buildup in your pipes will be removed.
  5. Cooking with clean water produces better flavors and shorter cooking times.
  6. Your clothing will be softer, brighter, and last longer.

Investing in a system will save you money and increase health which will pay for itself over the years.

What to Look for when Buying a Whole House Water Filtration System

There are a few key factors when purchasing a system that you will want to consider.

Flow Rate

This is measured in gallons per minute. In order to figure out how much GPM you will need from your filter, you need to look at the demand ratings on your appliances.

Typical Water GPM Demand Ratings

  • Showerheads – 3 GPM
  • Toilets – 5 GPM
  • Dishwasher – 3 GPM
  • Washing Machine – 2 GPM
  • Kitchen Faucet – 5 GPM
  • Bathroom Faucet – 1.5 GPM
  • Water Heater – depends on size and type of unit

You do not want to get a filter system with a flow rating under 10 GPM. 15 to 40 GPM is the standard flow rates that most households fall into but take the time to calculate your usage first.

Port size

The size of the port is a critical measurement that you need to take into account when purchasing. The minimal port size you are looking for is 1 inch, even if your current system is ¾ inch. Some large homes may require 1.5 inch ports.

Typically, a 1 inch port will be more than substantial for the average home.

Lifespan of filter

The main factor in filter lifespan is the quality and quantity of sediment running through it. This information will be indicated on the unit and will vary in accordance with the type and size of the filter.

Size of filter

The larger the filter, the better the flow and the longer the filter will last. This is where price comes into play. As mentioned above, small standard capacity filters will need their cartridges swapped out much more often than the large heavy duty filters.

Micron filtration

Your micron blockage needs will depend on if you have bacteria present in your water. The only way to discern this is to get your water tested.

special note for whole house well water and off grid filtration systems

You will need to have a system in place to kill bacteria, viruses and cysts.

There are two ways to do this effectively: either chemical additives or UV light purification.

I would suggest using a UV light system so you don’t have to subject yourself to harsh chemicals. After all, that’s the reason you want a filtration system in the first place!

Bacteria range from .2 to 1 micron in width and 1 to 10 microns in length so a 1 micron filter will work to catch these.

However, viruses are much tinier and range from 0.004 to 0.1 microns and will require a purification system in the water system. This is important for off grid water setups and also well systems if the water tests positive for viruses.

Cysts are more resistant to disinfecting processes but range from 2 to 50 microns and can be caught with most water filtration systems (source: WQA.org).

Check out my guide to off grid water filtration and purification for more info on this subject. 

How to Install a Whole House Water Filtration System

Depending on the type of filter system you purchase will depend on the level of skill you need with plumbing systems.

Small systems will install relatively easily, but the more heavy duty systems will require some expert knowledge; you may need to hire a plumber to get the job done correctly.

This guide is a generic version to install a simple system and is here to give you some pointers; it is not a replacement for the instructions that come with your kit!

Tools you will need:

  • Bucket
  • Pipe cutter
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Teflon tape
  • Whole house water filtration kit (obviously)
  1. Start by turning off the water supply at the mainline shutoff. Find the lowest faucet on the line to drain the water and pressure in the pipes.
  2. Cutting the pipe. The kit will come with a template so you can mark exactly where you need to cut the pipe. When choosing a placement for the system, make sure that you have easy access to it so you can change out water cartridges.
  3. Install the compression nut and fittings onto the pipe ends and use Teflon tape to get a good seal. Do not over-tighten the fittings; they should be snug but not wrenched on too hard.
  4. Position and install the filter to make sure that the in and out port are facing the correct way. Don’t install backward!
  5. Get the water filter into the desired position and then hand tighten the compression nuts. Once in position and hand tightened, go ahead and tighten with two wrenches.
  6. Now you can turn the water back on. Filtration systems come with a bypass switch so make sure yours is set to be filtering the water.  

Changing a whole house water filter

Depending on what model you purchase will depend on how frequent you need to change the water filter.

Every system will have a different set of instructions on how to change the filter, so make sure to keep your instruction manual handy.

Standard cartridge filter systems are easier to replace than heavy duty systems; This list of instructions is a generic principle for standard systems.

  1. Typically, you need to turn the system on to bypass mode.
  2. The tank will need to be removed from the housing. When doing so, have a bucket underneath to catch any water, if applicable.
  3. Pour out the water from the tank and wipe the inside dry.
  4. Insert the new cartridge, place the tank back onto the housing, and turn the filter back onto filter mode.
  5. Now, turn on one of your faucets and let the water run for a little bit to pass trapped air.


I hope you enjoyed my whole house water filtration systems reviews and that my informative section gave you the knowledge you need to make the right purchasing decision. 

I put a lot of time, effort and energy into researching and writing quality articles and making videos.

I sure would appreciate any likes and social shares that you have to give, and feel free to leave me a comment below!

Have a wonderful day!


Regina C.
Creator of Maximum Off Grid

Hello, I am Regina! I am the creator and brainchild behind Maximum Off Grid. 

My goal is to educate and inform people interested in becoming independent from the system. 

I also provide valuable reviews on products and service that I research thoroughly and make quality  recommendations.

I hope you are enjoying my website!

The BEST Battery Backup Sump Pump to Prevent Flooding [2020 Edition]

If you have a basement that is lower than the natural water table or is prone to flooding, you NEED to rely on a sump pump.

Obviously, you know this! But what happens if your power goes out? 

No one wants this to happen to their basement!

Being that sump pumps work their hardest through storms and downpours, it can also be their ultimate weakness as the power is more likely to go out in a storm. 

Once your primary sump pump goes out, there is nothing to stop the imminent rising of water in your basement.

So how to circumvent this glaring problem? Place your sump pump on a battery backup, of course!

Unfortunately, you can’t just hook up your pre-existing sump pump to a car battery and cross your fingers that it will work. (I will go over that later in the article).

In this guide, I am going to walk you through everything you need to know about sump pumps, battery backups, and then cover the best battery backup sump pumps on the market today.

If you are interested, I also have an article on the best submersible sump pump if you are looking for a primary pump as well. 

Let’s get started!

Don’t feel like reading? Watch my video version on YouTube!

My Acclaims:

  • Battery gets trickle charged so always at optimal levels
  • Extremely easy installation
  • Comes with a nice LED screen

My Criticisms:

  • Cannot control volume level of the alarm
  • Unusual float switch design
  • Non adjustable 20 second runtime

The Wayne battery backup sump pump system can pack a huge amount of water out of your basement! 

On a full battery charge the pump can handle moving 10,000 gallons.

The system trickle charges the battery so it always stays at optimum levels. 

Overall a great system for a decent price. 

How Does a Battery Backup Sump Pump Work?

In a typical sump pump installation, a sump pump is placed into a sump pit located in the basement. 

The pump is triggered to turn on from either a pressure sensor or a floating valve.  

If the electricity is cut off, the pump goes completely dead and places your home at risk of flooding. 

The battery backup sump pump has an additional pump installed on a battery system that works just like your primary sump pump.

The pump gets triggered to run by a float or tether valve rising from increasing water levels.

This way the water pump will turn on even if your original pump is running but gets inundated with too much water.

It is important to note that the battery backup pump will only pump for a certain amount of time; you will need to check the number of gallons it will pump per the life of the battery.

There are backup pumps that have AC/DC batteries that trickle charge from being plugged into an outlet. This situation will keep the pump going as long as the power stays on. 

Most battery backup sump pumps come with an alarm installed to notify you that it has been triggered. Some smart backup systems will send you a notification to your phone.

Backup sump pump setup

How to Add a backup battery to an existing sump pump

It is possible to add a backup battery system to an existing pump.

The Pump Sentry is a wall mounted battery backup system that is designed specifically for turning on your sump pump in times of a power outage. 

The unit plugs into an AC outlet and trickle charges the connected battery. The unit has a sensor which tells it that the power has been cut off and triggers the battery to release its power to the sump pump. 

When the power comes back on, the unit switches the power off from the battery and back to the outlet.

There are some drawbacks to the Pump Sentry:

  1. Although the peace of mind for backup power to your sump pump is nice, it is still only one pump. If the pump gets overwhelmed with water it won’t matter how much power is running to it – your flooded out.
  2. The unit is quite expensive and does not come with a battery; it requires  a deep cycle battery which is on the higher end of pricing. 
Overall, the response has been great from homeowners, saving many people’s basements from flooding. This can make it worth the additional expense if you don’t want a secondary pump. 

Pump Sentry 822 PS- Emergency Power for Sump Pumps by Sec America

The Pump Sentry is specially built for backup water power to sump pumps and has saved many homeowners from flooding during a power failure. 

Battery Backup Sump Pumps vs Water Powered Sump Pumps

It would appear that water powered sump pumps would be the top choice for a backup sump pump system. After all, it does not use electricity to run so can never fail due to power outages or empty batteries.

There are drawbacks to both pumps, so weigh your options carefully before committing to either.

Water Powered Sump Pump Model

Pros of a water powered sump pump

  1. It requires no electricity to run. You won’t have to worry about power outages or depleted batteries.
  2.  Unlimited running time with no maintenance needed.
  3. No worries on having to replace or maintain a battery backup.
  4. These units hardly ever breakdown or need to be replaced.

Cons of a water powered sump pump

  1. Water powered sump pumps have to be connected to a water line in order to work as it needs water to run.
  2. For every 2 gallons of sump water removed, 1 gallon of city water is needed which can get very expensive. Some municipalities have actually banned these types of pumps in times of drought.
  3. Installing can be complex as it requires a whole new water line, backflow preventer, and a drain line to reduce chances of contamination.

Pros of a battery backup sump pump

  1.  Installation of the battery system is very simple.
  2. As long as you have a fully charged battery, you can get up to 10,000 gallons pumped away. You may also get an AC/DC model which trickle charges your battery.
  3.  The secondary pump can act as an assist if your primary pump gets inundated with water.

Cons of a battery backup sump pump

  1. If the power is out for too long and your battery is depleted, your backup system is dead in the water (no pun intended!).
  2. Batteries require maintenance, routine monitoring and replacement every five years or so, according to manufacturer’s directions.

 I would say that the better choice for a backup sump pump would have to be the battery powered pump. The installation process of a water powered pump is rather daunting and can be quite expensive. I also don’t like the idea of contamination of the existing water system.

A water powered pump might be a good option for new home builds when the pump can be installed much easier and more affordably. 

bottom line

A battery backup sump pump is an essential unit to have to ensure that your home won’t flood out during times of power outages. 

They are not a silver bullet and do have some drawbacks. 

Prepare to replace batteries, and maintain and monitor them to keep up maximum performance. 

Your backup system will only run as long as your battery is charged so its not an end all be all solution.

However, it is more reasonable and affordable to install than a water powered backup pump.

On to the products!

Best Battery Backup Sump Pumps

My Acclaims:

  • Battery gets trickle charged so always at optimal levels
  • Extremely easy installation
  • Comes with a nice LED screen

My Criticisms:

  • Cannot control volume level of the alarm
  • Unusual float switch design
  • Non adjustable 20 second runtime

The Wayne battery backup system has the best ratings and is the most popular backup system available on the market.

Users report that it works as it should and has saved many from flooded basements.

The pump can handle 2900 gallons per hour which is quite a bit of water and should be able to handle most flooding events. 

If used with the appropriate battery, this unit can pump out 10,000 gallons of water on a full charge.

Wayne pumps are known to be durable and reliable pumps.

As with any product, there are annoyances.

There is no volume control for the alarm and it is very LOUD. This can get quite annoying over time but can be remedied with a little DIY tissue stuffing. Just don’t plug the microphone hole too deeply or it will break. 

The float switch is a little strange; the float is on a tether system which glides up and down a rod. This in itself isn’t necessarily a drawback, but the pump runs in 20 second increments and the float does not offer up enough space to possibly cover those 20 seconds of runtime. Therefore the float needs to be set high enough so the pump doesn’t run dry.

Overall, in my opinion, this is the best battery backup sump pump system available today.




$ $




2 Years

If you do not have a sump pump system installed yet, you can get this preassembled package that comes with the primary sump pump and the secondary backup sump pump.

Wayne makes an excellent combination sump pump that packs out a whopping 5100 gallons per hour at 0 feet of head from the primary pump, and an additional 2900 gallons per hour from the secondary pump. 


Recommended Battery:

Wayne WSB1275 75Ah AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery

Recommended for use with the Wayne Battery Backup System

My Acclaims:

  • Battery charging is a true float charger, increasing battery life
  • Sturdy heavy pump built to last
  • Extremely quiet while running

My Criticisms:

  • Screen is rather basic and can fade over time
  • Shoddy packaging; inspect unit once received
  • Power leads are a bit short

Zoeller makes some of the best pumps on the market and this backup pump does not fall short by any means!

The pump comes with a built in alarm and lights so you know that it’s kicked on.

The installation is not as easy as the Wayne system but the instruction manual is pretty direct so you shouldn’t have any problems. You will need some basic plumbing tools. 

When you receive this unit, make sure to check all the components as there has been complaints of shoddy packaging.

The LCD screen does seem to wear out over time and gets dim but the indicator lights telling if the system is functional seem to last so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

The power leads are a bit short making for a tight fit but it’s doable.

The price is on the higher end for the system, but not by much.

Overall, this pump gets high accolades from its users and the brand is known for high quality pumps. 

The unit does not come with a battery; make sure to purchase a deep cycle battery of at least 100 amps.




$ $ $




1 Year Warranty

If you do not have a sump pump system installed yet, you can get this preassembled package that comes with the primary sump pump and the secondary backup sump pump.


Recommended Battery: VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Battery This battery is compatible with the Zoeller Aquanot system and will fit the containment box.

My Acclaims:

  • Can move up to 1380 gallons per hour
  • Made out of rust resistant thermoplastic
  • Small lightweight pump can fit into tight spaces

My Criticisms:

  • Loud alarm does not reset when power goes back on
  • Charge cable to the battery box is easy to dislodge
  • Inexpensive pump - you get what you pay for

The Superior sump pumps are a very popular brand as they deliver a pretty decent quality for their affordability.

The casing is made of thermoplastic which helps protect against rusting which is a typical problem for sump pumps. 

 This pump is known for its small and lightweight design weighing in only at 12 pounds.

It can move a substantial amount of water for how compact and light it is.

Be forewarned: the alarm does not shut off when the power comes back on! You will have to manually reset it every time. 

If your power flickers on and off or you are away from home, this may not be the right pump for you.

Although many users have had a great experience with this battery backup sump pump system, there are quite a few who’ve had faulty units or units that just don’t last.

I would say it is hit or miss.

If you are on a budget and don’t mind taking a chance, then this is the right setup for you.







1 Year Limited Warranty

I hope you found my guide about the best battery backup sump pumps available very informative and helpful.

I have also written a guide on how to build an off grid water pump system that could give you some good ideas. 

You may find my article on hot water recirculating pump reviews interesting as well if you want to have hot water at your fingertips!

I put a lot of time, effort and energy into researching and writing quality articles and would appreciate any likes and social shares that you have to give.

Have a wonderful day!

Regina C.
Creator of Maximum Off Grid

Hello, I am Regina! I am the creator and brain-child behind Maximum Off Grid. 

My goal is to educate and inform people interested in becoming independent from the system. 

I also provide valuable reviews on products and service that I research thoroughly and make quality  recommendations.

I hope you are enjoying my website!

Regina C. 
Creator of Maximum Off Grid

The BEST Submersible Sump Pump for Moving TONS of Water [2020 Edition]




$ $ $




3 Years

My Acclaims:

  • Can pass .5 inch spherical solids, deals with debris well
  • Manufacturer has all parts available for repair
  • A heavy and stout pump built to last

My Criticisms:

  • Shoddy packaging, check pump upon arrival
  • Float switch not always reliable
  • Weep hole can get cloggy

This is a top rated pump for its durability and longevity. The pump can handle large solids, even rocks! The manufacturer offers all parts so if it does break down, it can easily be fixed with some elbow grease. Overall, a reliable product that is built to last. 

If you don’t feel like reading, watch the video instead!

Submersible sump pumps can be a lifesaver for your home and are an essential appliance if you live in an area with a high water table or is prone to flooding.

Installing a sump pump will help keep your basement dry and free from mold and mildews.

A sump pump can also alert you of imminent flooding if your basement or crawlspace becomes inundated.

Although keeping your basement or crawlspace dry is the primary use for a sump pump, there are many other uses for this versatile pump.

  1. You can use it to drain just about anything! A hot tub, a water heater, a garden pond, low lying wet spots on your property, etc. If water collects in a deep enough area, the sump pump can drain it.
  2. You can use a sump pump to add a water feature such as a water fountain in a pond or even a waterfall. The pump is great for moving water and adding aeration to water and can be a cheap alternative to a pond pump.
  3. Moving water from one area to another is a sinch with a sump pump. This is great for off-grid installations if you are moving water from a natural body of water to your cabin.

Sump pumps are designed to be durable and last through tough jobs, but not all sump pumps are created equally.

Although you may not think of your sump pump on a daily basis, the last thing you want is a failure in times of flooding.

Flooded basements suck!

That is why I wrote this guide to give you the most in-depth information about the best submersible sump pumps available so you can worry less about the quality and durability of the pump you buy.

You may also want to check out my article about the best backup battery sump pump in times of power outages. 

Let’s do this!

How Does a Submersible Sump Pump Work?

Submersible sump pumps are installed at the lowest point of your basement or crawlspace. This point has a sump pit dug out which is typically about two feet deep with a gravel bottom. 

Basement sump pump

The pump turns on as it becomes submerged in water and pumps the water out of the space through piping that runs away from your home. The pipe needs to drain away from the foundation.

The pump is activated by one of two ways: a float activator or a pressure sensor. The float activator is a little buoy attached to an arm on the pump; as the buoy floats, the arm rises, triggering the pump to turn on. 

The pressure sensor works by receiving more pressure from water than from the air, therefore triggering the pump to turn on.

Impeller blade creates suction

The type of force used to move the water within the pump is centrifugal which uses an impeller to force the water towards the wall of the pump. This, in turn, creates a low-pressure area in the middle of the pump which creates suction. 

Pretty cool technology!

Pedestal Sump Pump vs Submersible sump pump


A submersible sump pump gets completely submerged into the water and is encased in a waterproof housing. The pump sucks in through the bottom and disperses through an outlet at or near the top of the pump. 

A pedestal pump sits on top of a stand and does not get submerged into water. An inlet pipe runs down the stand and sucks the water out of the pit.

So what are the differentiating reasons for purchasing either pump?

Pros of a pedestal sump pump:

  1. They have a longer lifespan. According to basementhealth.org, pedestal pumps can last 2 to 5 times longer than their submersible counterparts! This can be up to 25 years if maintained properly.
  2. Since the pump is not submerged in water, it can be easier to maintain and repair, if needed. 
  3. Pedestal pumps are cheaper than submersible models, from about one third to one half less. 

Cons of a pedestal sump pump:

  1. They can clog easily. Since the water has to travel through the skinny platform, it cannot handle debris of any sort.
  2. Pedestal pumps are noisier. This is due to the pump not being in the water, therefore the noise travels through the air. 
  3. They can be a safety hazard. Since the pump sits on top of a skinny platform, the pump is top-heavy and can fall over on children and pets. 

Diagram of the typical submersible sump pump

Pros of a submersible sump pump:

  1. submersibles are more stable. Since they sit within the pit and are submerged in the water, there are no chances of it falling over.
  2. They are quiet. Being that the pump is immersed in the water, the noise of the motor is negated. 
  3. The motor can handle greater volumes of water. Check the specs of the manufacturer to see how much your sump pump can pump!
  4. The pump can handle solids and particulates, so no clogs to worry about.

Cons of a submersible sump pump:

  1. They do not last as long and are more expensive. Sump pumps can reportedly last up to 15 years if properly maintained which is a long time but doesn’t compare to the lifespan of a pedestal pump. 
  2. Maintenance and repairs on the pump are more difficult due to access to the pump, especially if they are installed in a very deep pit. 

For this article, I am choosing the submersible pump over the pedestal pump as I feel it is more versatile. 

Using a Submersible Sump Pump Off Grid

Remote watering system for crops

I think having a sump pump handy even if you are not using it fulltime is an important component for your off grid setup.

If you were to face any sort of flooding scenario, this pump could save your assets. 

Moving water around on your property could become a key function. If you are raising livestock it can come in handy to transport water to their water troughs or set up a pumping system to irrigate your crops.

Any sort of water relay system comes in handy on an off grid property.

Using a natural water source for your homestead will require a pump and a sump pump works really well in this instance. This is because the pump pushes water instead of pulling water, therefore giving you the force needed to get to its destination. 

Keep in mind that the pump does require power so setting up a small solar power system to a battery that can power the pump would be your best bet for an outdoor pumping system that isn’t near a power source.

You can check out the article I wrote on how to build an off grid water system to get ideas on water and power setups.

river running through wooded forest
Use or create a wide deep space in a creek for your sump pump

bottom line

Although most people will use a sump pump for their basement, they can be handy for many uses.

Having a sump pump handy even if you do not need it for a basement situation can bail you out in emergencies or be handy in water relay systems. 

Now, let’s get on to the reviews!

Submersible Sump Pump Reviews

My Acclaims:

  • Can pass .5 inch spherical solids, deals with debris well
  • Manufacturer has all parts available for repair
  • A heavy and stout pump built to last

My Criticisms:

  • Shoddy packaging, check pump upon arrival
  • Float switch not always reliable
  • Weep hole can get cloggy

The Zoeller is known to be able to pass debris like no other! Spherical solids of up to a half inch can pass through this pump without any clogs. This thing can handle small rocks going through the pump with ease. 

Weighing in at 21 pounds, this pump is the heavyweight champ for being stout and durable.

This pump can move 2680 gallons per hour, which isn’t the highest volume I’ve seen, but is a pretty darn good output for handling dirty and debris filled water. 

A unique plus to this pump is that the manufacturer has all the parts to repair the pump for sale to the public, so if your pump does break down outside the warranty, you can work on it yourself.

When you receive the pump, check it immediately for damage, as users have reported that the pump is not packaged very well. 

Also, as with most pumps with float switches, they may need replacing over time. I recommend having a backup one handy as they are cheap and could get you out of a pinch.

The weep hole tends to get clogged up and many users have had to drill out an additional weep hole which isn’t too big of a deal but something to take note of.

Overall, this is my top choice pump. It offers the power and durability needed to keep your basement dry and can handle debris and solids like a champ. I also like the fact that the manufacturer offers all replacement parts needed if you need to repair it. 

Although its a little bit spendier than other pump options, the quality and durability make up for the small price difference. 




$ $ $




3 Years

My Acclaims:

  • Can pump massive amounts of water in a short time
  • Built to be highly clog resistant
  • Extremely quiet while running

My Criticisms:

  • Instruction and troubleshooting manual is vague
  • Reports of flimsy float switch
  • Cast iron material has a tendency to rust

This Wayne pump model can pump massive amounts of water to the tune of 4600 gallons per hour! If you are in a water situation where you need volume and performance, this pump will handle the job. 

The pump weighs 12 pounds and is made of cast iron and steel giving it a rugged rating that will last years. 

The pump does need to remain totally submerged or else the motor will eventually blow out, although users have said that their pumps have not burned out in situations where their pumps have run dry.

The pump is designed with “top suction” so it does not clog nearly as easily as other pumps although if you are dealing with highly dirty water you might want to build an enclosure screen around the pump.

The pump comes with a massive 5 year warranty whereas many competitor’s pumps only offer 1 year. 

One issue to be aware of is the reports of