Prepping on a Budget: Why You Need a Stainless Steel Water Bottle
When I first started prepping and building my Survival Bag, my research led me to purchase plastic Nalgene water bottles. I relied heavily on my camping and military experience, and plastic seemed the way to go. I loaded Amazon.com and purchased two water bottles for each member of my family. I put a check next to water containers on the always expanding equipment checklist. But, when I started to look at the survival forums, Bushcraft forums, and YouTube videos, I quickly realized that my impromptu water bottle purchase was going to cost me. Sure I can still use the plastic water bottles for other uses, and they may even serve a later purpose, but for my Survival Bag… Plastic water bottles are not practical (in my opinion).
Versatility is extremely important when selecting gear for your Survival Bag and/or your Every Day Carry (EDC). Most of us load our largest backpack, filling every crevice with gear and food, and then find out it is too damn heavy. Each ounce adds weight, and increased weight equals pain. A plastic water bottle can only be used to store water, or other items. Whereas, a Stainless Steel water bottle can serve many different purposes. Not only do they keep your water fresh and free of contaminates, they can also be used to boil water, make tea, and cook. Try doing that with a plastic water bottle.
Boiling Water – Boiling is the safest way to treat contaminated water. It will kill most parasites and viruses, but it will not remove heavy metals or debris from you water source. Using a stainless steel water bottle, you can easily set your bottle near or in a fire, and within minutes your water will come to a rolling boil. Just make sure to take off the lid when boiling water.
Making Tea – A Stainless Steel water bottle can be used to make pine needle tea, if pine trees are in the area, to replenish your body with much needed Vitamin C. Throughout history, Vitamin C deficiency, the cause of Scurvy, has plagued and killed individuals who did not have access to fruits and vegetables. While Scurvy mainly affected soldiers and sailors traveling away from supply lines or while at sea, Scurvy should be a concern during a SHTF scenario. The sad thing is most people do not know about Scurvy or the simple treatment to remedy the situation. If your area has pine trees, simply pick a handful of needles, cut them into manageable pieces, and mash them until the oils start to come out of the needles. Next, put the needles into your Stainless Still water container, fill with water, and boil. After it has boiled a few minutes, let it cool, and you will have a tea that will give you plenty of Vitamin C.
Cooking – Most meals that can be cooked in a pot or pan can also be cooked in a stainless steel water bottle. While I always carry a pot in my Survival Bag, if saving weight is your ultimate goal, or you do not have the money to purchase a small cook kit, your stainless steel water bottle can suffice. This is not an area where I would say only use your stainless steel water bottle, or that a water bottle could replace other cooking equipment. In fact, I would recommend against using it as your primary cooking method. But, if you do not have a cook kit, or are in a situation where you do not have your cook kit, your water bottle could serve as one.
What to Look For
When selecting an stainless steel water bottle, make sure you purchase a quality bottle. I really like my Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth 40oz water bottle. It is perfect size, and extremely durable. One of the reasons why I like this specific model, is the mouth of the bottle is much larger than most on the market. This allows you to put items, such as pine needles or dehydrated foods, into the bottle with ease. Size may also be important to you, especially if you are interested in a nesting your water bottle in a cup. The Olicamp Space Saver Cup and GSI Outdoors Glacier Bottle Cup are great products to add a little more versatility to your Survival Bag. Each doubles as a cup and a small pot, and nest perfectly with an 1 Liter stainless steel bottle (40oz Wide Mouth included).
Prices at the time of this article (7/9/2012)
Olicamp Space Saver Cup: $10.40
GSI Outdoors Glacier Bottle Cup: $11.96
For around $30, you can have a water bottle and a cup which will allow you to boil water to make it safe to drink, make tea, and cook. While this may seem expensive, think about what you are potentially replacing and the versatility you are gaining. Trust me, this combination will save you money, especially if you are considering purchasing plastic water bottles. Be Prepared. Get Connected.