Build a Last Resort Gravity Water Filter

Calamity here, I’m still on my babymoon, so for today, enjoy this guest post from Jessica at Salt N’ Prepper.

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No matter how you prepare, it seems like all of us have been in a “last resort” situation. Water purification is so important for survival that it’s good to have several “last resort” options tucked in the back of your mind. Through unforeseen circumstances your $300 Katadyn might simply be out of your reach.

One of many different last resort methods of water purification is using a homemade gravity water filter. The supplies for this are easy enough to come by: a five gallon bucket, a nail, hammer, pebbles/rocks, dirt and two towels.

One quick disclaimer: I happened to have extra Emergency Essentials buckets to use for the photos. I don’t work for them or benefit if you choose to buy buckets there or anywhere else for that matter. Get your buckets wherever you want!

Step One: Puncture Bottom of Bucket

Using your handy nail and hammer, pound out about a dozen holes in the bottom of your bucket. Put them grouped in a 4 inch diameter in the center.


Step Two: An Inch of Rocks

Get about an inch to an inch and a half of rocks or pebbles. The smaller the better.

Step Three: Towel

Push your towel down into the bucket so it completely covers the rocks/pebbles.


Step Four: 6 Inches of Soil

You’ll want to dig down about 5 inches to get to the soil containing some clay. Use this soil and fill up your bucket with about 6 inches worth.


Step Five: Another Towel

Step Six: Line the Edges

Use some rocks to line the edges of your top towel. This will keep it tight against the edges, keeping the water where you want it.

Using the Filter

There are many ways you could use this filter. One of which being propping it up on some bigger rocks over a shallow basin. In the pictures below I just took a separate 5 gallon bucket, places two wood pieces over the edges and put the filter on top. Whatever you decide just don’t forget to leave the 4 inches of holes exposed at the bottom.


Ultimately, this is one of the easier last resort water purification methods. However, don’t rely on it to do the job of store-bought filters. During our tests it is great to remove larger pollutants, but failed to remove chemicals such as antifreeze and oil.

What are your favorite last resort water purification methods? Boiling? Distilling? Leave your ideas and experiences in the comments section below.

Jessica Hooley is the author of Salt N’ Prepper and contributor to the Army Navy Store Blog – PX Supply

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Thanks Jessica!

Any other prepper post out there needing a chance to shine? Send ’em in! calamityjaneshtf@gmail.com or shtfblog@gmail.com

Calamity Jane