Water: It’s one of the things you should always have in your bug out vehicle. It has so many uses – drinking, washing hands, cleaning wounds (be careful here), filling up the radiator, cleaning car windows, etc. The general rule is 1 gallon per person, per day, although people can survive with less if physical activity and food intake are minimized (digestion requires water). Here are some options for keeping water in your car, with advantages and disadvantages for each (disadvantages are in italics).
Bottled water – Scalable: you can keep as few or as many bottles as you want. Divisible and portable: you can give out bottles to other people in an emergency situation, or take as many as you need if you have to leave your car. Discrete: you won’t look like a survivalist fanatic if you have a few extra water bottles lying around Reusable: you can re-use plastic bottles if you’re not afraid of chemicals from the plastic leaching into the water over time. Wasteful: Bottled water is relatively expensive, hard on the environment, and the bottles themselves may cost you if you live in a state that charges for them. The ratio of water you have to plastic you have to deal with is inconvenient
Large containers of water (1 gal and up) – Efficient: you can carry much more water with fewer containers to deal with. Contamination: if the water in your big container gets contaminated or lost, you lose your water supply.This is much less of a problem with small bottles. To avoid bacterial contamination, drink from the bottle without touching it to your mouth. I once had a gallon container that I drank from regularly before I knew this. After a while, I started noticing a funny taste and stopped drinking it. I realized that bacteria from my mouth had entered the water and been incubating in the warm car for days. After I adopted the “waterfall” style, this hasn’t been a problem. Bulk: Big containers can be inconvenient to store in a vehicle because of their size.
Filters/Water purification technology/iodine tablets – Filters allow you to use water that is around you without having to carry much of it in the vehicle – Capacity: some bottles can filter a hundred or more gallons. This is definitely better than carrying 100 gallons of water in your car! – If the filter breaks or you lose your tablets, you have to risk drinking bad water – If you’re in a place that doesn’t have water, filters and tablets are mostly useless.
Tips: -keep more than one type of container, and preferably at least one metal one to boil water if it ever comes down to that. In extremely cold weather, water freezes and expands. Empty the bottles a bit so that it has somewhere to expand to.