Expedient Family Survival Water Filter

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By Joel Jefferson •  3 min read

The ability to purify water in an emergency situation is not a “nice thing to have”, it is an essential part of your preparedness plan.  Whether you are planning to bug in or bug out, safe drinking water is the foundation for survival.

In my never ending quest for DIY (Do It Yourself) survival tools, I have found a way to purify larger quantities of water at a low cost for my survival community using gravity.  Although for some it would be easier to go with a turn key solution such as a No products found., I wanted a low cost system that I could afford to keep in multiple locations (cars, home, bug out location, work, storage locker, etc.)

emergency water filter for safe drinking water


Prep Work:

emergency water filter for safe drinking water

You will need to drill a hole in the bottom of one of the 5 gallon buckets. My filter required a ½” hole.  Drill a hole in one of the bucket lids. This hole must be larger than the hole in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket you just drilled.  The larger hole is required because the filter will have some clear tubing that allows the filter to drain from the top bucket to the bottom of the bucket.  The larger hole also allows for some imperfection in the drilling process.

Next, drill a hole in the side of the bottom bucket to accommodate the spigot. My spigot required a 1” diameter hole.


emergency water filter for safe drinking water

Remove the plastic nut and one of the silicone washers from the filter.  Slide the bottom of the filter into the hole in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket. Slide the silicone washer onto the bottom of the filter that protrudes from the 5 gallon bucket.  Install and tighten the plastic nut to ensure a water tight seal.  Install the clear plastic tube on the bottom of the filter.

Install the spigot in the bottom of the other 5 gallon bucket.

Place the lid with a hole on top of the 5 gallon bucket with the spigot.  Set the bucket with the filter on top of the bucket with the spigot. Make certain the plastic tubing runs through the hole in the lid.

Options:emergency water filter for safe drinking water

My filter came with a cloth cover. Install this cover over the dome filter and secure with the rubber band that was provided.  The filter can run slow. To improve performance I would consider using a Gamma Seal lid on the top bucket. I would drill a hole in the gamma seal lid and install a bicycle tire valve stem. You can then use a bicycle pump to pressurize the top bucket and force the water through the filter.

Conclusionemergency water filter for safe drinking water

If you anticipate having to care for a large number of people (survival group, church group, refugees, etc.) and want to purify large amounts of water with the least amount of energy at a low cost.  Think about trying this DIY gravity water filter.  It works.

If you want to do this project at home, here is a list of all the products:

Last update on 2024-04-15 at 04:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

All Photos by Dave H.


Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of SurvivalCache.com. After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here.