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Emergency Water Storage Containers for Long Term Water Storage

emergency water storage containers in field

When you’re prepping for a potential survival situation, it’s easy to get bogged down buying survival knives, bug out bags, paracord, and other essentials, but it’s also crucial that you cover the basics. 

With this in mind, the most basic need of humans is hydration, and this is one of the first survival needs that you should consider. Fortunately, there are several excellent options for emergency water storage containers out there on the market, and purchasing one can keep you and your family going for days . 

Here are the products we are going to be looking at:

Last update on 2022-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Reviews of the Best Emergency Water Storage Tanks

Shelf Reliance® Deluxe BPA Free 55-gallon Barrel Water Storage System

Up front, this product, which is produced by Shelf Reliance, states that the plastic used is entirely BPA-free. This means that there are no harsh chemicals that can leech into your water while you’re storing it. This food-grade water barrel also has a reasonably staunch capacity; it can hold a full 55 gallons of liquid hydration, and it even includes two 100-gallon advanced filters to ensure that you and your family are drinking safely. 

Shelf Reliance Deluxe BPA Free 55-gallon Barrel Water Storage System Includes Water Filter Pump By Aquamira, Food Grade Water Barrel

The plastic is also fully opaque, so environmental factors like UV won’t cause contamination of your stored water. It’s advised that anyone using this product use a preserver, but once used, you can expect your water to last for years. For a family of four, this barrel should provide about 14 days of hydration assuming that each family member is drinking about a gallon a day. The barrel also includes a high-quality water pump with an adapter that can be used on other water container products. 


  • This is a food-grade product
  • It comes with everything you need to store your water safely
  • It stores 55 gallons


  • There are better pumps on the market
  • The barrels are a little tall


260 Gallon Emergency Water Storage Tank

This product, which stores an impressive 260 gallons of water, is an excellent option for anyone that has a home base that they can return to during a survival situation. With a full 260 gallons, a family of four can survive and remain hydrated for more than two months.  In addition to this, the plastic used in this emergency water tank is entirely food grade and has no BPA in its construction. Sure Water was also sure to design the tank to fit most standard door frames so that families can easily transport the product through their homes without issue. 

Sure Water 260 Gallon Emergency Water Tank

At the base of the tank, there is a well-placed spigot that can be easily used by anyone, and Sure Water included a water treatment kit to ensure that your water is always contaminant-free. When it comes to sizing, this product is approximately seven feet high and has a bottom thickness of about 32 inches, so it should fit comfortably in most basements and garages. You can also quickly fill the product via a connector at the base, and the included 50-foot hose makes this very easy as well. 


  • This holds an impressive 260 gallons of water
  • The spigot is very accessible
  • This is a food grade product


  • When empty it weighs 70 pounds
  • Despite being designed to fit through most doorways, it’ll still be a tight fit


WaterBrick 1833-0001 Stackable Emergency Water and Food Storage Container

Stackable water containers have a lot of utility; you can store your water atop of each other, and when it comes time to move, you can grab multiple bottles and go. These containers, which hold 3.5 gallons of liquid apiece, are very versatile and even have ergonomic handles that fold down that are very easy to carry. In addition to their ability to transport water, these stackable containers also are designed to carry dry food products, which mean that you can hold both food and water for your family. 

WaterBrick 1833-0001 Stackable Emergency Water and Food Storage Container, 3.5 gal of Liquid, 27 lb of Dry Food Products, Blue

With their 3.5-gallon capacities, these water containers can be expected to hydrate a single person for almost four days, but since they are so portable, this means that four people can each carry their own. When full, each of these weighs about 28 pounds, which can be carried by most adults in a survival situation. These cubes are also stackable in multiple ways, so it’s relatively easy to store them around a room without running into issues. They even have a modular design that ensures that they will fit together without any risk of slippage – you can also use them as tables for your projects. 


  • The modular design really adds to its utility
  • They hold 3.5 gallons of water a piece
  • They block UV


  • They have been known to leak when stored horizontally
  • The water is hard to access


waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage 2-Pack

waterBOB is one of those iconic water container brands that every survivalist knows about, which is due to their high level of reliability. This waterBOB emergency drinking water storage system is designed to convert your bathtub into a water storage container that you can use to keep your family safe and well-hydrated without worrying about potential contamination. 

This product works like a giant drinking bladder that fits within your bathtub; simply fill it up from the faucet and you can use the attached nozzle for drinking purposes. Each product is capable of holding about 100 gallons of water, which means that each member of a four-person family will be able to drink for a little under a month. It’s important to note that each of these emergency drinking water storage systems is a one use only product, but since it comes in a pack of two, you can easily outfit multiple bathrooms with 100 gallons of drinking water. Also, since this is a product that you fill in your bathtub, you’ll never have to actually remove it, which means that there’s no significant hefting involved. 


  • This converts existing bathtubs into water containers
  • It has a 100-gallon capacity
  • It’s fully disposable


  • You can only use it one time
  • There’s no protection from UV light

Reliance Products Aqua-Pak 2.5 Gallon Rigid Water Container

As another water container that’s designed to be stackable, this Reliance Products product stands out thanks to its semi-translucent design that can make it easy to see what’s happening inside. This means that you can detect whether the water is getting low, and it will also allow you to see if contaminants are forming. The spout also has a hideaway design that makes it relatively easy to stack, and the rigid construction makes it the right choice for those that need stability. 

Reliance Products Aqua-Pak 2.5 Gallon Rigid Water Container Blue, 9.3 Inch x 7.5 Inch x 12.0 Inch

Unlike the previous stackable product that we’ve reviewed in this guide, these only stack vertically, but this is also a great way to prevent potential leaks. Per container, you’ll be able to safely store about 2.5 gallons of fresh water, which can keep someone hydrated for about 2.5 days. When full, the water containers will weigh a little more than 20 pounds, which should be manageable by most people. 


  • These are food grade and BPA free
  • They are protected by a manufacturer’s warranty against defects
  • This has both a spigot and a spout


  • The handle isn’t the most ergonomic
  • These won’t stack horizontally very well


What to Look for in the Long Term Water Storage Solutions

We, as humans, can’t survive more than three days without water, so a suitable container for emergencies is essential. 

Still, if you’re not careful, a lousy storage container can let bad things into your stored water and make it toxic. It’s absolutely true that stored water can remain perfectly clear but still house some contaminants that can make you very sick, and that’s the last situation you want to be in when you’re trying to survive. 

In this part of our guide, we’re going to show you exactly what to look for in emergency water storage tanks and containers . 


While not every water storage container has to be stackable, if you’re working with limited space, this can be a real lifesaver. A suitable stackable container will also be able to support similar containers, and since water weighs about eight pounds per gallon, it’s crucial that stackable water containers are built to be robust. 

The Material

Not every material is ideal for storing water. For example, when it comes to metallic containers, the only material you should consider for long term water storage is stainless steel. This is due to the fact that other metals can quickly corrode and contaminate the water that you intend to drink. 

Additionally, if you’re opting for a plastic storage container, err on the side of food-grade storage containers. It may seem okay to purchase large plastic containers that have a lot of capacity, but usually, these containers have chemicals in their plastic that can easily leech into your water supply, making it unhealthy to drink. Also, ideally, the water container should be completely opaque; sunlight and heat can ruin your water supply and will result in spoilage.

This is especially true if you’re using a plastic container. Also, plastic containers have a tendency to absorb chemicals, which is why it’s a good idea to ensure that the bottles aren’t on cement floors or in contact with non-food grade plastics. 


As mentioned, water containers definitely can get a bit heavy, but to ensure that you and your family stay hydrated, you should err on the side of larger water capacities. 

Remember, it’s a good idea to have at least 15 gallons per person for a survival situation, so this means that you may need to buy multiple containers to truly be prepared for a catastrophe. This amount will cover you and your family for about 15 days assuming that you’re providing a gallon of water per day. 

Large Water Tanks

Rather than purchasing small stackable water containers, you can opt to seek out large water tanks that will store hundreds of gallons at a time. These can be very advantageous, and you can see an excellent example of this in our second review. It’s important to note that these can be heavy even when they are unfilled; in fact, our second product is about 70 pounds by itself, but they can be beneficial. 

That being said, if you’re in a survival situation where you have to leave the comfort of your home, these become nearly useless. 

Carry-Friendly Design

If you are caught in a survival situation and you have to move, then smaller water containers are the way to go. In fact, stackable products usually have a handle that will make it easier to carry these containers with you while you move about. 

Additionally, these also have easy-to-use spigots that can give you and your family a drink without the need for a cup. Bottled water will never do the job despite the fact that it’s very portable, so if you imagine that you’ll need to be on the move, consider a set of products that have carry handles. 

Water Storage Best Practices

Before we get to the reviews, we’re going to help you understand how to store your water so that it’s in the best possible shape when you need it. Here are a few tips: 

Rotate Your Stored Water – While water will last for a while, it’s a good idea to rotate it now and then (maybe once every three years) so that contaminants won’t potentially build up. This can also help ensure that you’ll have fresher water should a survival event occur. 

Never Store Water on Cement – As mentioned previously, plastic can leech chemicals from its environment and really mess up your water supply. Cement is a principal offender because cement can get warm, and when plastic gets warm, chemicals leech much easier. If you have a cement floor, add something like a clean palate as a barrier between your container and the floor. 

Consider Tap – Water is life for more than just people; microorganisms love to work their way into water supplies and muck it up real good. To avoid this, consider using tap water; it’s treated with chlorine, so nothing can grow in it. This is also a great way to avoid treating your drinking water with bleach, which can be far more harmful. 

Consider Mixing Up Your Types – As mentioned, there are larger 260-gallon and more containers that are great for those trying to survive at home. With that said, these aren’t great for on-the-go situations, which is why it’s a good idea to supplement your large water tanks with smaller containers that you can take with you.  

Final Thoughts

Staying hydrated should be your number one consideration when you’re in a survival situation, especially considering that we can only go three days without water. 

All of the products featured here will help you survive, so consider each to determine which works best for your needs. If we were to select a clear winner, it would be the waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage 2-Pack; this product is beneficial for just about anyone that needs an accessible source of water, and it only takes a bathtub to use. 

Jared Russo
Hey, my name is Jared, a self-reliant expert and action taker. I hope you've enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have please feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends and family, it would make my day!

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