Awhile back I won a little emergency kit that was the size of a large paperback book. Inside were some essentials for survival – an emergency blanket, some weird food bars, a few bits of first aid, and 2 bags of water?!
What is the point of Emergency Water in a Bag?
Really? Water in a pouch? That seemed like such an absurd concept to me at the time. Why would you carry water in little plastic pouches. Why not just carry drinking bottles like the rest of the world? Besides, there was so little in each pouch, what was the point?
Well…..the point is, they’re small, they’re easy to pack, they don’t make a bunch of noise, they aren’t bulky, they can be crammed into spaces no plastic bottle has business being in, and can serve as an emergency water source in a time of need.
They are especially perfect for carrying in a purse or bag, and can be compact and sit at the bottom of your bag, or tucked away in a pocket.
Now before you balk and say…what’s the point of 4.225 oz of water? Isn’t this just something gimmicky? Normally I would say yes, but think of this: It’s an emergency. You don’t have your go bag, your 72 hour kit, your BOB, your Get Home Bag, or anything else. You’ve walked out the door with your purse or diaper bag, you forgot to grab a bottle of water, you’re with a friend who doesn’t have an emergency car kit, so what do you do now? This little easily forgettable pouch of water is sitting in the bottom of your bag and can get you through. It’s another layer in your stash.
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Where to Store / Use Emergency Water in a Bag
We especially like them for my husband’s get home bag. We purposely do not pack his bag full of what he’d need to survive on a 7 day hike. He’s less than 1.5 days from home most anywhere he goes (if he goes further, there is more stash in his emergency car kit he can add). Using a few of these pouches tucked away in his bag takes up less space than water bottles, and gives him just enough until he can find a water source. I also keep 2 in my day pack at all times. It’s also something you can tuck into your child’s school backpack or emergency school kit.
I have found the best use for this water, for my family, is to store some in our emergency 72 hour kits (Don’t have one? Get started building yours today with a free checklist here), tucked in cubby holes of our emergency car kit (and in the back of the seat car organizers). It stores more easily than a water bottle, doesn’t make the noise, and is more forgiving of being ‘packed’ in.
I also trust the emergency water in a bag more than the cheaper water bottles not to leach in the hot weather, though I do still rotate them often. We always carry a water bottle with us when we’re out for the day, but having a few little pouches gives us some confidence that we’ll have some, even if our water bottles are punctured, etc. They’re also handy to pass to others who might need some extra water, and a great conversation piece to introduce people to the art of preparedness!
We don’t use this as our primary source of water in our home, but they’re great as the backup – just in case. It’s not to replace the water you store for your family for long-term use. It’s not even something I’d say get first, though we have since purchased 2 packs to be able to tuck in places here and there to have just a little extra water security on the go.
How to Open Emergency Water in a Bag
When I opened the first pouch to try it out, I tried to “tear here” where the instructions said. It would be hard for most people who don’t have a ton of hand-strength. I know it was for me. There is no place to insert a sippy straw like juice pouches. It’s a tougher grade of plastic than what you’re used to with juice pouches. And it got really messy. AND, unlike juice pouches, there is no place to insert a sippy straw.
Then I tried my emergency first-aid scissors that I keep in the first-aid pouch of my bag. This worked perfectly. It gave me a clean edge to drink from, didn’t dribble, and made pouring a breeze, too!
How does Emergency Water in a Bag Taste?
Well, funny you should ask! You would expect it to taste chemically…weird…just wrong. But it doesn’t! It tastes just like bottled water.
How long can you store Emergency Water in a Bag
Like other water stored properly, shelf life is basically forever. As long as it was treated from the source, first. This water has a general shelf life of about five years. Don’t store in extreme heat (if you use it in your car storage, rotate the bags out monthly as we do with our water for our car’s emergency kit).
Make your own Emergency Water in a Bag
Reader Erin suggested making your own bags from breast milk bags that are meant for storage and transportation. Kiinde makes a version called The Twist that works well, or you can try reusable food pouches. The only caveat in this is to make sure they are cleaned EXTREMELY well, sanitized and fully dry before refilling. You do not want to introduce harmful bacteria into your emergency drinking water supply, and the pouches aren’t cleaned easily by running in the dishwasher like bottles. BUT..done properly, it’s a great way to store emergency packs of water in small spaces.
Sure…but why not just store bottled water?
Again, I understand how this can be gimmicky to many of you. I dislike items that are meant to be an aid in preparedness that are just items to spend your money on, but don’t offer a real solution to a need. However, I use these, I like them, and I can recommend that they are a good back up. They do not crinkle like plastic water bottles. They aren’t as expensive as investing in a ton of steel containers to store water in, and don’t hold as high of a risk of damage as regular water bottles do now. It’s your call, but I definitely find them handy, and my husband loves the security of having them in his get home bag in case he forgets to grab his water bottle on the way out of the office.
More info on emergency kits:
Dad’s Get Home Bag
72 Hour Emergency Kits
Tom is a Marketing & Communications graduate interested in nature, gardening, agriculture, and traveling. For the last decade, Tom has turned his hobbies into a full-time job, creating useful resources and guides for all our readers. If he is not working on his next article, you will find Tom spending quality time with family or taking care of his own back garden.