15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and Camping

Last updatedLast updated: August 01, 2021
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Just like you should have savings in the bank for potentially hard times, you should also have a backup of water in storage containers as well. As it stands, there are many different options of the same, which might be suited to different people. Ours is to help you select the best water storage containers for you.

Nevertheless, we don’t just bring you any products. Instead, we have reviewed up to 33 different products and listed 15 listed below as the best.  Even more than that, the API Kirk Containers 5 Gallon Samson Stackers gets the highest rating so far owing to the construction, accessories, and overall value. This tool is ideal for even the smallest of spaces. The other 14 storage containers as well are impressive and deserve their features on our list.

Additionally, we used similar criteria as a way to rank each of these containers, which included the type, capacity, material, and dimensions. As such, we are going to be able to tell you what the storage container can do for you. This information will be in the detailed reviews section of our write-up. Also, we do aim to provide you with a buying guide on how to make the correct purchase with regard to the best water storage container hence a section for that has been included. However, to start us off is a table ranking all our options.

Top 15 Water Storage Containers Review 2021

  • Capacity: 5 gal
  • Quantity: 6
  • Type: portable containers
  • Material: HD polyethylene
  • Dimensions: 11.25 x 10 x 14.25 in

More features: spigot and wrench included, carrying handle, stackable

If your residence is an apartment building, you are probably not going to be able to install a massive tank in the compound. However, you can make some space to fit smaller water storage containers in your house. This is where the API Kirk Containers 5 Gallon Samson Stackers come in.

These containers are compact, which ensures they won’t take over all of your storage space. In fact, Amazon is currently selling this as a six-pack. As such, you get the capacity to store up to 30 gallons of water with this single purchase.

The fact that these containers are also stackable may come in handy. This is because the contours and shape on the tops align perfectly with the grooves on the bottom. If you are trying to save on more space, you can place them on top of each other.

With a 5 gallon/almost 20-liter capacity, a person can lift and move the container even when it is full of water. Of course, if you are going camping or spending a day outdoors, you might want to have one or two of these in the trunk of your car as well to service your water needs.

Nevertheless, these should provide you with a backup plan at least for a day or two should your supply get interrupted for some reason or other. Also, you are probably going to want to consume the water in these containers as well. As such, it helps that the construction is BPA-free.

You should also want to keep your water covered to prevent contaminants from coming in. In this case, the caps help. Also, the tool comes with a wrench as well. At some point or another, you might need the wrench to open up the container, so you should always keep it close by.

What makes it stand out?

  • Solid construction
  • BPA-free
  • Stackable
  • Compact and portable
  • Comes with caps to keep contaminants out of your water

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • This container isn’t associated with any significant downsides
  • However, stacking more than two high is a risky affair and one that is likely to mess with the integrity of the containers

Ivy Bag Portable Water BladderBest Collapsible

  • Capacity: 10, 20, 50 gal
  • Type: collapsible
  • Material: TPU-coated nylon
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

More features: garden hose compatible ports, tie-down grommets

When most people think about water storage containers, something like the Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder is not exactly what comes to mind. However, this product does serve a need, and you would do well to consider it for purchase.

For one, this is a collapsible water storage container. As such, it would be easy to move it from place to place as long as it doesn’t have any water. Nevertheless, this is not the case when it is full as its capacity ranges from 10-50 gallons depending on the money you have to spend.

Some would say this product is ideal for camping, and we are inclined to agree. However, you would have to look for a camping site with a water source nearby. Once there, you can unpack the product from its box then fill it up with water using a garden hose. The device has two compatible ports specifically for this purpose. If the capacity of the water bladder is large enough, you may not need a refill until the end of your camping trip.

For home use, you would best be served by this tool if you have a backyard. That way, you can fill it up and hang it from a tree. The tie-down grommets make this installation scenario ideal, whether you are camping or in your backyard.

It is worth noting that TPU-coated nylon can be quite durable. As such, the nylon container should last you a significant length of time. Additionally, there is the matter of the 2-year warranty. Nonetheless, this only covers manufacturing defects.

Why are we impressed?

  • Easy to store
  • Garden-hose compatible ports make the container easy to fill up
  • Large water capacity
  • Durable
  • 2-year warranty
  • Includes grommets in the design to help hang it up when full

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • Inlet tubes collapse easily and make it difficult to use a pump to empty the bladder
  • There may be an odor from the bag when it is still new

WaterPrepared Blue Water Storage TankBest UV-Resistant

  • Capacity: 55 gal
  • Type: vertical tank
  • Dimensions: 22 x 28 x 30 in
  • Material: HD polyethylene
  • Warranty: lifetime limited

More features: stackable, BPA-free, garden hose spigot, UV-resistant plastic

The WaterPrepared Blue Water Storage Tank is quite a large option. However, some of you may find that to be precisely what you are looking for. It is capable of holding up to 55 gallons of water and hence is a long-term water storage container.

Also worth noting is that it is stackable. Nonetheless, it would be difficult to place it on top of a similar tank when full. As such, we do advise that only place the secondary container on top of the first one while it is still empty. Since it comes with a cap, it will be hard to contaminate the contents of the bottom tank. Also, you can use a garden hose to fill the top tank without needing to move it.

Another positive aspect of the tank is that it is made from the same material as our editor’s choice. This as well makes it BPA-free, and hence water stored in this tank should be safe for consumption.

You should also know that the plastic housing of this tank is UV-resistant. This means that keeping this tank out in the sun is not going to be a problem.

The fact that this tank is stackable means that it may not always be easy to reach the cap. As such, the manufacturer has provided a spigot near the bottom of this storage tool. This should make it possible to attach a garden hose and supply water to the areas that need it the most. If you have two of these stacked up, it would be wise to use up the water supply in the top tank before you get to the bottom one.

What stands out?

  • Large capacity
  • Stackable
  • Includes spigot in the design for easier accessibility to the water
  • BPA-free
  • UV-resistant

What cons did we manage to find?

  • There may be a strong plastic odor to the tank while it’s new
  • Some users would prefer having handles for tying down the tanks when empty

iSpring T20MBest Reverse Osmosis

  • Capacity: 14 gal
  • Type: tank for reverse osmosis systems
  • Dimensions: 30.5 x 16 in
  • Material: butyl

More features: 3/8-in tubing valve, air nozzle, tank stand included, lifetime tech support, 100 psi max working pressure

While most people will have a backup for general purpose usage, others may want to keep it specifically for drinking. This is where the iSpring T20M comes in. The tool has a maximum storage capacity of 14 gallons, which is not much in the grand scheme of things. However, if you are only drinking the water within it can last you a long time.

Nevertheless, this is only one part of a more extensive system that you may have to purchase separately. Consequently, this tank becomes much more expensive than some of the counterparts listed here. However, for people who find that getting clean drinking water is a hassle, this tank might be just what they need.

Similar to most of the other tanks listed below, this iSpring T20M is made of food-grade materials. This makes sure that the water inside remains free of chemical pollutants. Also, due to the RO link, this tank will probably house the purest water out of the options on our list.

In line with its reverse osmosis system usage, it also includes a few accessories and components. These are the 3/8 tubing valve, tank stand, and air nozzle. Also, the tool stores air as part of the reverse osmosis system. This air totals six gallons, which brings the total capacity of the tank to 20 gallons.

Nonetheless, the manufacturer does add value to the purchase by providing lifetime tech support. Also, while it does come with a stand, you are allowed to use this tank either horizontally or vertically. Neither of these positions will bring up any problems in the operation of the machine.

What makes it special?

  • Comes with all needed accessories
  • Made with food-grade materials
  • Works with a reverse osmosis system to purify water for consumption
  • You get lifetime tech support with this purchase

What cons did we find?

  • Some of the reverse osmosis units by the same manufacturer feature different size tubing valves, and you may have to purchase extra adapters for them
  • This device only works well with a reverse osmosis system which will need you to part with more of your money

Rts Companies 551000300A8081Best Rain Barrel

  • Capacity: 50 gal
  • Type: rain barrel
  • Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 34 in
  • Material: recycled plastic

More features: plastic screen and spigot, flat back, front side overflow

You can as well use a tool that helps you collect rainwater as a storage container for emergencies. The design is unique from that of others in our lineup. This is seen in the shape of the tool since it comes with a flat back that enables the container to take up minimal space next to a wall.

Also, this container has an oak barrel texture similar to the ones used to age wines and other spirits. However, its construction is purely plastic, with the raw materials being recycled. As such, if you are a stickler for saving the environment, purchasing this storage container may be one of the ways you do that.

We have as well mentioned above that this is a rain barrel. While rain is a pure source of water, the roof of your house may have some impurities. As such, by the time it gets to the tank, it is likely that it is full of debris. A plastic screen is included to sieve out these particles. Also, when there is no rain, this screen helps keep insects out of your water.

The capacity is also something to write home about. If you can have a few of these around your house, there is no doubt that a water shortage will find you prepared.  When the time comes to make use of the water in the tank, whether for cleaning or even watering your lawn, the plastic spigot will be particularly handy.

What makes it special?

  • The flatback design takes up less space near your wall
  • Comes with a durable plastic spigot
  • Made of recycled materials
  • The capacity is relatively high

What cons did we find?

  • The plastic screen may be affected by the heat and deform which leads to impurities getting into the container
  • For some users, the plastic spigot doesn’t seem like the most durable
  • Capacity: 5 gal
  • Quantity: 8, 12, 16, 20
  • Type: portable containers
  • Dimensions: 11 x 14 x 10 in
  • Material: food-grade plastic

More features: stackable, carrying handle, BPA-free, built-in twist breathing port

The Saratoga Farms 5-Gallon Stackables is a set of storage containers that is similar to the API Kirk Containers 5 Gallon Samson Stackers. Just like the name of these containers suggest you are allowed to stack two high to save on space. The container’s capacity and, by extension, weight is not much. Consequently, you should be able to lift the containers and move them to where you want them to be. It is only fitting that the manufacturer included carrying handles for this purpose.

However, you do have to remember that these products are sold in sets. How many containers you choose to purchase is up to you and your budget. Nonetheless, it seems like eight is the minimum number of containers you can take while 20 is the maximum.

Another highlight of these containers is the construction. They are, of course, built with a bit of durability in mind. This is why they can withstand other five-gallon containers being on top of them for long durations of time. However, to be safe, always ensure the bottom container is full to the brim before adding another one on top. This will serve to prop it up so that it can easily bear the weight.

The plastic body is as well BPA-free. This means that if you put clean water in these containers, it should remain safe to drink for as long as no contaminants are allowed in. Also, their size makes it easy for you to throw a full container into the trunk of your car and drive to a camping site without worry.

What makes it stand out?

  • Compact
  • Stackable
  • BPA-free
  • Durable
  • Lids keep contaminants out

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • These products may have a plastic stench when new
  • The fact that water may sometimes be trapped on the shoulders of the containers means it is tough to drain them completely
  • Capacity: 125 gal
  • Type: horizontal tank
  • Dimensions: 48 x 36 x 28 in
  • Material: food-grade polyethylene

More features: saddle strap channels are molded-in

You can as well rank the RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Reservoir as one of the best emergency water storage containers. Given its dimensions and capacity, you may have to find a space big enough to fit this container, and that may not be easy. Speaking of capacity, there are four size options to choose from. The smallest is the 65 gal option, while the biggest is 550 gal with the 125 gal and 335 gal options being in the middle.

As you would expect, each water container is priced differently, with the price going up according to the size. Also, the space needed to install each of these water tanks is different. As such, you would do well to find out how much free space you have before committing to the purchase.

Of course, for this tool to safely host the amounts of water given in the description, the plastic used in construction has to be reasonably thick. This is one area where the manufacturer delivers. Also, the makers made this tank translucent so you would be able to see water levels and act accordingly. Additionally, there are graduation marks that will allow you to quantify how much water you have left at any given time.

The water stored in the RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Reservoir should also be safe to drink if it went in pure. This is because of the food-grade polyethylene construction. There are as well the saddle strap channels. These, if used correctly, will help keep the tank in place and stable after installation.

What are our favorite features?

  • Food grade construction keeps the water safe for consumption
  • Large water storage capacity
  • Graduation marks and translucent body helps users keep an eye on water levels
  • Saddle strap channels can be used to add stability to the storage container

What could be better?

  • A lot of space is needed for installation

RomoTech Vertical Polyethylene ReservoirBest for Big Families

  • Capacity: 550 gal
  • Type: vertical reservoir
  • Dimensions: 67 x 45 in
  • Material: food-grade polyethylene

More features: translucent, saddle strap channels are molded-in, 0.187-in thick walls

If the RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Reservoir doesn’t appeal to you, but you still want a large capacity tank, you can choose the RomoTech Vertical Polyethylene Reservoir. As you can tell from the name, these two products are from the same manufacturer. However, unlike its predecessor, the vertical polyethylene reservoir only comes in a 550 gal capacity package.

This makes it so that only a select few can own the tool and make full use of it due to space limitations. It is also bound to cost a lot more money than smaller counterparts.

There are as well a few similarities that you need to take note of as well. The color scheme, for instance, is one area you should take note of. This water tank comes in a translucent finish, and thus you will be able to tell when your water reserves are diminishing. For planning purposes, this should work out in the user’s favor. The graduation marks are as well present for the same reason.

You would also not be wrong to expect the same level of durability from this tank as you would from the predecessor on the list. This is made possible by the 0.187-in thick walls of the container body.

Additionally, you have the saddle strap channels. If you make use of these components during installation, you will have little to worry about where the stability of the reservoir is concerned. Also, it is more or less expected that the water may be consumed by people; hence the plastic construction is BPA-free.

Why are we impressed?

  • Large capacity
  • Translucent body, as well as graduation marks, help keep an eye on water levels
  • Molded saddle straps help keep the container stable

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • May not be ideal for many people due to the space constraints
  • The water tank is pricier than most

Eagle 1656MBBGBest Vertical Storage Drum

  • Capacity: 55 gal
  • Type: vertical drum
  • Dimensions: 22.5 x 36.5 in
  • Material: HD polyethylene

More features: plastic lid with bungs, UV inhibitors, weather-resistant lid

Some of you may also prefer vertical drums as your water storage containers for emergencies. If this is the case, then you are in luck as the Eagle 1656MBBG fits the bill. At maximum capacity, this water tank will hold 55 gallons of water. Thankfully some of the sellers sell them in packs, so if you need more storage capacity, you can have it for a bit more cash.

While it is made of polyethylene, you have to realize that it is different in a lot of aspects from some of the competition. One example is that UV inhibitors are included in its body. This, of course, implies that you can leave it in the sun for long durations of time without any consequences. It is resistant to other weather elements as well hence ranks high on a durability chart.

Another benefit of the construction of this water reservoir is that it is lightweight. That being said, we wouldn’t advise that you try to lift it with your bare hands when it is full of water.

The lid as well, is another impressive aspect of the Eagle 1656MBBG invention. It comes with a metal lever-lock, which keeps your water from spilling. This component is also weather-resistant and plays a significant part in keeping contaminants away.

If this is your main water supply in case of an emergency, we advise that you keep it well hidden in the house despite being weather resistant. Also, some positioning tips include placing this on top of a wooden base rather than concrete to avoid the floor seeping up the spills.

Additionally, avoid storing these water reservoirs in any areas where other chemicals are present. Some of the vapor from them may contaminate the water through the plastic.

What are our favorite features?

  • Weather-protected body
  • Relatively large water capacity
  • The drum comes with a lockable lid
  • Lightweight but durable

What could be better?

  • The metal lever-lock may be subject to rust depending on how you treat it

APEC Water Systems TANK-14Easiest-to-Install

  • Capacity: 14 gal
  • Type: tank for reverse osmosis systems
  • Dimensions: 15.4 x 22.8 in
  • Material: food-grade polyethylene, butyl

More features: ¾-in male NPT connection, CE approved

Another tank that you can use for reverse osmosis systems is here to give the iSpring T20M a run for its money. Part of this water reservoir is made of butyl, with the other part being made of polyethylene.

These tanks generally come in two capacities. There is the 14 gal option and the 20 gal option. However, this doesn’t always give an accurate picture of what to expect from the invention. An example is that the 20 gal version holds 14.8 gal of water while the difference is made by pressurized air. The 14 gal option is the same with the capacity for water being 10.7 gal.

With a little DIY knowledge, you should have a relatively easy time installing this tool into your OS system. The most critical elements for this to happen are a 3/4-in female NPTF female adapter to compliment the male one that comes with this tool. A ¼-in tank ball valve is also required.

Just like the other tank for reverse osmosis systems on our list, this product can be used in both horizontal and vertical positions. The tank will still be efficient, and flow rate will not change whichever position you choose. This should make it simpler to find space for this product in your house.

Additionally, since a reverse osmosis system purifies water, the water in this container will always be clean. You also see that this product is made of food-grade polyethylene as well as butyl. This should make the water in this reservoir safe to drink.

You are as well guaranteed by the manufacturer that this tank does not leak. In addition to that, contaminants will be kept safely out of your water supply. Another thing that sets this product apart from the rest is the post-curing process for some of the components. This ensures that no odors will come from the tank.

As well, the fact that the tank is as well CE approved should also be acknowledged.

Why did it make our list?

  • Relatively easy to install
  • Compatible with a reverse osmosis system
  • Made of non-toxic, high-quality materials
  • CE approved

What is not ideal about it?

  • Cost of owning this reservoir significantly goes up if you also need to purchase the reverse osmosis system
  • Tank is bulky

Hudson ExchangeHedpak Container with CapBest Stackable Water Container

  • Capacity: 5 gal
  • Type: portable container
  • Dimensions: 11 x 9.25 x 15 in
  • Material: HD polyethylene

More features: stackable, FDA approved, carrying handle

One unique feature of this product is the red cap. However, on most other fronts, it seems to be similar to other portable reservoirs. Nevertheless, it still earns its place among the best water storage containers for camping.

The high-density polyethylene construction could be one reason why the tool can bear the weight of another full container of the same size. The fact that it is stackable means it takes up less space in your trunk as you transport it or even go for a camping trip. A similar scenario unfolds when you try to put it in storage.

You as well don’t have to use these portable water tanks only for camping. If you don’t have another water reservoir in the house, you can buy a few of these and store water within. Also, you needn’t worry about any long term toxic effects since this reservoir is FDA approved.

Given its 20-liter capacity, the carrying handle is to be expected. This makes it possible for you to refill the container before manually transporting it to either your car or your basement, depending on how you want to use the water.

What are its best features?

  • Reservoir is FDA-approved
  • Portable and includes a handle to help with its movement
  • Stackable
  • High-quality materials are used in its making

What could be improved?

  • If you want sufficient water storage capabilities, you will only be able to do so if you buy multiple units
  • Capacity: 2.5 gal
  • Quantity: 1, 2, 4
  • Type: portable containers
  • Dimensions: 9 x 13.2 x 14.2 in
  • Material: HD polyethylene

More features: 63 mm cap

If you find the Hudson ExchangeHedpak Container with Cap too big for your liking, you can opt for a smaller water storage container by the same manufacturer, namely the Hudson Exchange Handled Container with Cap.

However, while this may take up less space individually, they have the disadvantage of not being stackable. Nevertheless, they are easier to carry for most people.

Construction seems to be on par with some of the bigger reservoirs that feature HD polyethylene. Also, the containers come with caps that prevent any water from leaking out.

Additionally, these storage tools are going to be cheaper to purchase than their larger counterparts. Nonetheless, you have the option of buying a pack of one, two, or four pieces.

Since there is a handle in addition to the 63mm cap, pouring water out of this product should be a breeze.

What makes it stand out?

  • Compact
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • Some people tend to think the containers are overpriced

Coleman Jug With Water CarrierBudget Pick

  • Capacity: 5 gal
  • Type: portable container
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 9 x 13 in
  • Material: polyethylene

More features: carrying handle, fast flow spigot

The Coleman Jug With Water Carrier seems like a high-quality product as well. Given its capacity, it should be possible for most adults to be able to lift it and move it to the car and back for their camping trips.

Admittedly it does have some positive attributes, such as having a carry handle. You might as well appreciate the fast flow spigot.  Given the design, you are better off positioning this Coleman Jug With Water Carrier in a horizontal position. This will make the water stored more accessible without needing to tip the carrier.

If you have this in your car or on a boat, you will soon notice how sturdy the product is as well. Its impact and scratch-resistant nature will mean it keeps its original sheen even where the product takes a few bumps and bruises.

Why are we impressed?

  • Portable
  • Durable construction
  • Comes with a carrying handle

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • A few people seem to think the spigot is poorly designed
  • Some bits of plastic are left inside these containers during manufacturing, and you thus need to rinse them thoroughly before use

Reliance Products Beverage BuddyBest with Large Lid

  • Capacity: 4 gal
  • Type: portable container
  • Dimensions: 11.3 x 14 x 10.3 in
  • Material: polyethylene

More features: carrying handle, large lid

Another item to make it onto our list of best water storage containers is the Reliance Products Beverage Buddy. With its large lid, most users will find it a breeze to fill it up with water.

Also, its shape allows it to be relatively compact despite having a capacity of four gallons. As such, it might be possible to fit it into some refrigerators. Consequently, the water you take out on camping trips should be cool and easy to drink.

Also, the carrying handle is a somewhat prominent part of this invention. This, as well as the capacity, will make it easier to carry than some other options listed above.

Why are we impressed?

  • Relatively compact
  • Solid construction
  • Large lid makes the reservoir easier to fill up

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • It seems some users have experienced leaking with the product

LCI Plastic Water CANBest Military Issue Plastic Container

  • Capacity: 5 gal
  • Type: portable container
  • Dimensions: 19 x 14 x 6.3 in
  • Material: military issue plastic

More features: BPA-free, screw-top cap, carrying handle

The LCI Plastic Water CAN is our last pick of the day. This is a portable five-gallon water container that should be able to serve most camping needs.

The can is issued to soldiers all over the world. By extension, this implies that the construction is also of high quality since it has the trust of multiple governments.

Speaking of construction, this is made of military issues plastic and won’t be easy to crack. Also, this plastic is BPA-free.

Other prominent features of the tool are a screw-top cap and a carrying handle. The former makes it easy to access water stored in these containers.

Why did it make our list?

  • Durable construction
  • Comes with a carrying handle
  • BPA-free body

What is not ideal about it?

  • There seems to be leaking from the cap if the water reservoir is not kept upright
  • Might have a plastic odor when new

Things to Consider

The list above shows you some excellent water storage container options. However, to create a shortlist of your potential purchases, you may need a buying guide like the one provided below. It walks you through the various things you have to think about before ordering the product of choice from Amazon.

Why you should always have emergency water savings

You are probably used to having running water all-year-round. This is why some people don’t take the recommendation to have an emergency water supply seriously. Nevertheless, this is a mistake.

In the case of natural disaster, everything ends up being cut off. This includes power, gas, roads, and even water. In some scenarios, even the tanks that are placed on top of buildings may be blown away. As such, you will be in a position where you need to find water for daily consumption as your government tries to reconnect some essential services.

People who have emergency water savings will be in a much better position than those who don’t. As such, we recommend having at least three gallons of water for each person. This gives you a one-gallon-a-day supply since it is generally expected that services may be up and running by the fourth day. You can even add more water just to be safe.

How to clean water containers for storage

As mentioned with the Coleman Jug With Water Carrier, some of the water storage containers for emergencies may come with plastic shavings. Of course, you don’t want to consume them as you drink your water. This necessitates that you clean the container beforehand.

Also, some options have a distinct plastic smell when new. This smell may make it impossible to drink the water out of these containers. The good news is that this smell can be eliminated as well.

The first step is to rinse the container with water. This may need you to close the container with the lid and shake the container well. Also, make sure that all plastic shavings have been removed from the container when you do this. You may repeat this process a few times to make sure you get everything right.

Once you are sure that all solid impurities have been removed, you can move on to the next step. Here you need unscented household chlorine bleach. You mix a quart of water with one teaspoon of this liquid to make a solution that you then pour into the container. Do not be afraid to use several quarts of water if the container is relatively large. However, you will need to up the ratio of chlorine bleach to match the amount of water as well.

Again you use the lid or cap to cover the container then get to shaking. The point is to make sure the solution touches all surfaces inside the container. After that, you can let the container sit for 30 seconds before pouring out the solution.

You will then need to rinse the container with pure sanitized water. Another option is to let the container air dry. The last step, of course, is to put pure sanitized water into the container and keep it somewhere safe.

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and CampingHow to keep water clean and fresh

Going bad for water happens where bacteria and other microorganisms grow and multiply in the water, making it unhealthy to drink. It may result in a simple change in taste that makes it unbearable to drink. This happens when you store water in containers for long durations of time. Changes in color and odor are also to be expected in some scenarios.

If you are going to buy treated and bottled water in areas like the U.S and the E.U, you can probably keep it for longer without it going bad. This is because the companies, water, and containers used are held up to high sanitization standards. However, other people might opt for tap water and thus may need to go the extra mile to ensure it is clean.

Of course, one of the first things you do is purchase food-grade containers. Reusing containers that have previously held anything other than drinks or food is also a bad idea. Once you have this and have cleaned it as per the instructions above, you then need to get the water.

Water from taps may be unclean, and there are options as to how you can clean it. There is, of course, the traditional boiling option. You as well need to let it cool before you can think about putting it in a plastic container. However, most people see this as quite a lengthy and tiring option.

Bleach is another possible solution. A quantity of 2.5ml for every five gallons should be enough. If, after this, you find water cloudy or discolored in any way, you can add another 2.5ml of bleach. Once you do this, you let the water sit for at least 30 minutes.

Purification tablets are as well available for people who want a quick fix. However, this should not be your go-to solution, as it may have some after-effects. Another great idea is to filter out contaminants. This will eliminate anything too big for the bleach to get rid of, such as lead and heavy metals. Activated carbon filters and even reverse osmosis filters are ideal in this scenario.

Before putting the containers in storage, ensure they are sealed firmly using the right caps and lids. Also, unless all the water you store is drinking water, you should make it a point to label it correctly. After that, you look for a cool dark area in your house and store the water there.

If you haven’t used the water in six months, you should empty the containers and put in fresh water, making sure you follow the above steps. Another thing you should do is make sure there are no chemicals where you store your water.

Having different chemicals and water containers may make you feel safe, but it is hazardous if you store them in the same area. You may notice that you can still smell some of the chemicals while they are in their containers. This is because the vapors from these products seep past the plastic containment units and are released into the environment.

If a water container is present, the vapors are just as likely to go through the plastic here as well and contaminate the water.

Price range

Pricing is going to be different for a lot of the long-term water storage containers mentioned above. This is going to depend on the size of the container as well as the manufacturer and the benefits they offer.

You find options like the Hudson Exchange Handled Container with Cap priced at about $50. In contrast, the RomoTech Vertical Polyethylene Reservoir, which is ideal for a different demographic, costs close to $500. As such, you are guaranteed to find a product that fits your needs and even your budget.

Features to consider while buying the best water storage containers

Concerning whether the product fits your needs, you will only be able to tell after you have looked at the features. The breakdown of the same given below should make choosing a rather straightforward affair. Nevertheless, you do need to take in all the information we have provided to ensure you don’t miss out on any essential product attributes.

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and CampingContainer materials

There are a few things to look out for where the container material is concerned. First, is the construction food-grade and free of chemicals? This might be indicated on the body of the container. If not, you will see labels like BPA-free and food-grade plastic in the features listed.

These serve to assure you that you can drink water out of the containers with no notable defects to your health. Another possible area to look out for is durability. You want a material that can withstand a few knocks here and there without spilling the contents.

It might also help if the product is UV resistant to keep it in good condition even when exposed to the sun. One typical example of material used to make this type of container is food-grade polyethylene, such as with the APEC Water Systems TANK-14.

Storing capacity

Storage capacity also matters a lot. As mentioned above, each person needs about one gallon of water a day. As such, you have to put this into consideration as you choose your container.

The smallest one we have on our list is the Hudson Exchange Handled Container with Cap with a 2.5 gal capacity. There are a few benefits to owning more modest water storage containers. One, of course, is portability.

It is relatively easy to carry this container to your car and back since it doesn’t hold much water. As such, this makes it ideal for camping trips. Nevertheless, the storage capacity is wanting, and hence you may need to have at least two to service your camping needs.

The LCI Plastic Water CAN is also another purchase option. You may not need to buy two if you only want to go camping. Also, it is still possible to carry this reservoir to the car and back. Admittedly it is about twice as heavy as its counterpart the Hudson Exchange Handled Container with Cap. However, it is still possible for some people to carry it.

These two are relatively small, and thus it should be easy to find storage space for them in the house. You might need to stack some of them up as well.

Larger capacity containers such as the RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Reservoir may not fit inside most houses. As such, they are built with that limitation in mind, and you will often find them being UV resistant and overall more durable.

Nonetheless, these big containers are ideal for families since they are capable of holding a lot of water. You might even have water to do chores and shower should you need to use the reserves of the tank. It is up to you to determine your daily water needs and space available in your house, and this should allow you to make more sensible decisions concerning the storage capacity you should go for.

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and CampingContainer type

There are as well different types of containers suitable to different spaces. An example is that where vertical space is limited, but horizontal space is in abundance, you can go for a horizontal type container. The RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Reservoir is an excellent example.

You can as well choose a device with an extended vertical height without taking too much space at the base. Of course, this still depends on the type of space you have to work with. Some models like the iSpring T20M can be placed both vertically and horizontally and, as a result, are quite versatile.

Another type of container you may find is the rain barrel. The only one of its kind on our list is the Rts Companies 551000300A8081.

These are meant to collect rainwater that is brought to them by gutters. Of course, for most of them to be able to do this job, they have to be positioned outside the house. However, just as they are exposed to the rain, they are also open to the sun. Consequently, they need to be weather protected. Another one of their properties is that they tend to have ample storage capacities as well.

We have yet another unique type of water storage container on our list as well. This is the collapsible option in the form of the Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder. When not in use, this takes the least amount of space since it can be folded up.


You, no doubt, want a product that doesn’t damage easily. In the case of natural disasters like hurricanes, the reservoir is likely to be thrown about. If the material construction is weak, it will break or crack, and then you will be stranded without the water you so desperately need. As such, purchasing a durable product is always a good idea.

Other features that may help keep the integrity of the tank intact are being UV and weather protected.

Portable or not

Being collapsible does make the Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder more portable. However, that only works while it is empty. This means that if you intend to use it for camping, you must go to sites that have taps nearby. Of course, if you pick the 20-gallon option, it will be impossible for a single person to lift the collapsible container.

Reservoirs like the API Kirk Containers 5 Gallon Samson Stackers are much more practical for typical camping scenarios. They are relatively lightweight and have carrying handles. The caps as well come in handy to prevent spillages while the container is in the trunk of your car.

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and CampingSafe cap

A safe cap is also an essential component of any water storage container for emergencies. As instructed, you need to seal water firmly if you intend to keep it fresh for a long time to come. Its primary purpose is to keep impurities and contaminants out of the water. This is inclusive of insects for most of the large outdoor options. Additionally, it also does well to prevent any spillages.

For stackable water containers, this feature is needed even more since the undersides of the containers aren’t cleaned as thoroughly as the insides. As such, if you place one container on top of the under the dirt and grime may get into the reservoir below it.

Leakage preventions

The safe cap, as mentioned, is one way to prevent leakage. After all, no one wants to look into their water reserve when they need it only to find it empty.

Some options like the LCI Plastic Water CAN don’t do so well in this area when placed horizontally. A few of their users have mentioned that leaks are common. However, if you set it vertically, the cap is less likely to leak.

There is also the element of spigots placed on the bottom of the container. If these are faulty, it may present a problem with trying to prevent leakages. Consequently, it is good to check on the positioning of the spigot before purchase. Also, try and check out all customer reviews on the same for a product you plan to buy. If the products are prone to leakage, you will know right away.

Ease of use

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and Camping

Using a water storage container is not rocket science, and you don’t need any expertise to be able to do it. One area that might be problematic is cleaning the storage tool. However, we have already addressed it above.

Consequently, you might need to practice a bit, but you’ll soon have the hang of ensuring that you store water in a clean place. Installation may also be challenging for some of the outdoor tanks. If you feel this is the case, you can always opt to have a professional put it in place for you. Additionally, they can attach an inlet, and an outlet to fill the reservoirs with water as well as allow you easy access if you need it.

For portable options, you can use a garden hose to fill them up. Emptying them should also be straightforward. You as well need to ensure that the mode you use to fill a storage container up is clean.

Products like the APEC Water Systems TANK-14 are more challenging to use since they are part of a system.


Guarantees and warranties are always good to look into. The Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder, for instance, has a two-year guarantee. Having spent a lot of your money to buy this particular product, it would be a shame if it got irreversibly damaged before the two-year period is over.

Nonetheless, since you have the warranty, you at least know that the manufacturer will cater to some of the expense of replacing it. Also, if a product has a long-term guarantee like the WaterPrepared Blue Water Storage Tank, you are more likely to believe that it will last a long time.


Storage space as well might not be as abundant as you want it to be. Nevertheless, you can work around this. One way of doing so is to purchase stackable water containers. This way, you make up for the lack of horizontal space by stacking products high.

There are, of course, limitations as to how far up you can safely stock these reservoirs. As well, you don’t want the column to go too high up. This will make it much harder to access the water when you need it. Also, there is a risk that the tanks might fall over damaging the contents, what is around them as well as the containers themselves.

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and CampingTank Stand

Some of the products mentioned above can stand very well on their own. However, others don’t have the same luxuries. One example of a reservoir that isn’t stable on its own is the iSpring T20M. For this reason, the fact that a tank stand comes included in the purchase shows remarkable foresight from the manufacturer.

With other products, you might need to purchase a stand separately. This is seen in the Rts Companies 551000300A8081 rain barrel. You can even use supplies that you have readily at home to make your stand. The biggest reason why you need an elevated stand with this product is the spigot.

Its positioning at the bottom of the barrel will make it hard to reach unless you have a base that gives it a bit of clearance from the ground. With the two RomoTech products listed as well, you need to invest in creating a base that can hold the whole bottom surface of the container as well. Their size and capacity are what make this a necessity.


For collapsible products like the Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder and other large-capacity water containers, you may need to check for ports. It, for instance, needs you to connect a garden hose to fill it up. As such, finding the right garden hose will require you to know the sizes of the ports.

You as well need to check for spigots. If the container you buy does have a faucet, you might need a bit of planning to ensure that you can easily access this output port. The same is the case for containers that offer a capacity of more than 10 gallons.

Once you put in some water in these containers, it will practically be impossible to move them. You work around this problem by using a dedicated hose to ensure you fill the barrel up to the brim. As well you would do well to have a shaker hose or a dedicated pipe that allows you to access the water. A pump should also come in handy if you are accessing the water from the top.

Graduation marks

15 Excellent Water Storage Containers for Emergencies and CampingIt is quite easy to waste the water you have in your tank if you do not know how much you are using at a particular time. The fact that some of these containers are opaque doesn’t help the matter. You may as well think you have adequate reserves only to find that you don’t at your time of need.

Graduation marks may help with the planning. Of course, they also require that the container has a translucent body. This way, you will know exactly how much water you have left at any given time. The RomoTech Horizontal with Legs Polyethylene Reservoir provides us with an example of such a container. Its counterpart from the same manufacturer also features the same attribute.

Tips on how to sanitize water storage containers

It is no secret that there are some different types of water containers in the market. There are vertical and horizontal tanks. In addition to that, there are portable and non-portable options. However, the steps for cleaning them are likely similar. Other distinct types of containers are the rain-barrels that you can use to collect rainwater.

Before you even sanitize the water container, you need to ensure that it is made of food-grade materials. You should also check to ensure the vessel has not been used to store any chemicals. Other criteria you might need to satisfy is that the container has a top or lid that can be closed tightly.

You should make it a point to rinse the container with clean water as well. This is because some of these water containment tools ship with some plastic shavings still inside. If left there, they may cause problems down the road to whoever consumes the water within. The reason why you don’t use containers that have previously been used to store chemicals is also the same. If consumed even in small quantities, the user is likely to suffer some health issues as a result.

Before you start, you need to have clean water and liquid unscented household chlorine bleach. One quart of water is required for mixing with one teaspoon of the bleach. Of course, how much water and bleach will be required is dependent on the size of the container in question. Remember to maintain this ratio is you are using more than one quart of water.

Once this mixture is in the storage container, you can now start to shake it. For portable containers, this should be a piece of cake. You lift the container and shake it as much as you can before pouring out the contents.

For bigger reservoirs such as the 55-gallon option, it may be more challenging. Their size makes it more of a hassle. Nonetheless, you can get away with rolling it on the ground as long as the cap is firmly intact.

Once this is done, you empty the container of the mixture. After that, you can choose to rinse the container or let it air dry. For more information on how to sanitize your water storage containers, you can watch a YouTube video here on the same:

The DON’Ts of water-storing

Of course, there are some things that you have to avoid doing if the integrity of your stored water is to remain pristine. Some of them may have been mentioned above, but we will reiterate them here as well.

Top of that list is that you need to avoid using non-food-grade containers to store your water. It is common knowledge that chemicals are used to manufacture some of these containers. With food-grade plastic materials, you are assured that nothing toxic was left in the body of the container.

You don’t get that same assurance with other plastic materials. As such, it is highly likely that some of the chemicals in the container may seep and mix in with the water.

Another thing to avoid is mixing the products you put in the container. While it may seem like using the same container for juice, milk, and water is a good idea, we assure you it’s not. Both these products can be challenging to eliminate from the container. They are also well known for encouraging the growth of bacteria.

If you store water in a container that has previously held these products, it will likely go bad due to said bacteria. As such, we encourage you to avoid this at all costs.

Also, do not store water that has not been appropriately disinfected. As it stands, such water is likely to have bacteria from the get-go. Consequently, having such water in containment for a long time will only encourage the bacteria to grow and multiply. When you eventually get to opening the container, the water will be unusable.

You are as well advised to avoid storing water where other chemicals are present. These include pesticides and even fuel. Vapors from these products have been known to seep through the plastic. As such, if you use plastic for all your storage needs, the likelihood of your water getting contaminated is also high.

Avoid storing plastic containers where light and heat are abundant. Both light and heat can cause damage to your vessels and impair their ability to store your water safely. This is why it is recommended that you store your water in a cool, dark place.

Another reason for this is algae and mold. Sunlight does encourage the growth of these two, even through clear plastic, and will ruin the water you had in store.

Also, don’t store drinkable water with non-drinkable water.  If you store the containers with these two types of water in the same place, you are likely to forget and drink the unclean water. For this reason, you should store them separately and even make sure to label them.


Storage of your water containers often depends on the type and size. One example is that it would be foolhardy to store a 550 gal water container in most houses. These belong outside, and even their construction is weather-resistant for that reason.

The same is the case for rain-barrels. Given that their function is to collect rain-water, it would be hard for them to do so from inside the house. They are as well built to withstand harsh weather conditions.

However, most other long-term water storage containers are meant for use indoors. Both sunlight and heat are often detrimental to their construction. This is why you would do well to store them where both light and heat will have a hard time reaching them.

The whole point of storing water is for it to be available when other sources of the same have been cut off. This is likely to happen in the case of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake. If an event like this happens, you have to be prepared with several days’ worth of water. Your storage capacity should reflect that fact.

Bear in mind that getting back essential services such as plumbing can take even a week. During this period, every person in that household is likely to need about a gallon of water every day. If you are on your own, you can survive with two or three five-gallon containers.

If you as well want transportable water for emergencies, this is the way to go. As we have mentioned previously, 5-gallon water containers will be relatively easy to carry for adults. Those with a higher capacity are likely to present a problem.

The basic premise here is that you will have a container that is both capable of carrying enough water, all the while being light enough to carry. Even when you go camping, these are the sorts of water storage reservoirs to carry.

Large families, of course, need larger capacity containers. A 55-gallon barrel would be an ideal choice. You can even have two or three of these in the house for that extra bit of cushioning against rough times. It is as well a good idea to place these barrels where they are protected from the sun.

Another thing to check is the material used to make these containers. To put it bluntly, there are food-grade plastics and hazardous plastics. Failing to check on this may cost you dearly in the long run if you end up ingesting dangerous chemicals along with your water. Another label that might differentiate them from others is “BPA-free polyethylene to indicate non-poisonous construction.

Having a pump may also be a good idea if you own one or two of these barrels. After all, you want to access the water easily when the time comes, and the pump will help you do that. It is important to note that an outdoor tank may not have you covered as well as you think.

If the natural disaster leads to damage to the tank, you will have reverted to square one. As such, complimenting outdoor water reservoirs with indoor ones that are also sufficient in their water storage capacities is still essential.

If you are looking for a short term water solution, there is no problem with storing water in ordinary water bottles as you buy them from the store. Nonetheless, this can be an expensive affair. As such most people will opt to use a large water storage container instead.

Soft drinks and even beers have bubbles when first poured into a glass to indicate the presence of air. If you leave them open for long enough, these bubbles may disappear, and sometimes the taste of the drink will be bland as well. This is often because the beverage has lost some of the air inside it.

It is also possible for water to experience the same thing. However, this will happen even if you store it in a plastic container for long durations of time. The loss of oxygen in the water will lead to that flat taste that most people don’t enjoy.

The good thing about water is that this situation is easily fixable. All you would have to do is swishing the water in the cup that you’re drinking from. You can also choose to shake it while it is still in the bottle before pouring it out.

If the problem goes deeper than that, the course of action we have recommended above won’t be able to fix it. You may experience a swampy smell to your water. If, in addition to this, the taste is far from ideal, even after swishing it in your cup, you should spit it out.

This water is likely to have gone bad and may have bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. For that reason, it is better to look for an alternative source of the same.

If you buy water bottles from the store, you are guaranteed that it is going to be clean. Rules and regulations put forth in most countries make sure this is so. However, you are going to end up spending a lot of money if you want a large water reserve. This makes buying water bottles impractical.

Another solution you may look towards is tap water. You likely already have running water in your house. By the time it gets there, it is already treated with appropriate amounts of bleach to kill germs and bacteria.

As such most people will be confident that they can store this water in a tank for drinking at a later date. However, if you feel like the water in your tap isn’t clean enough, you can bleach it yourself. For every five gallons of water, 2.5ml of bleach should be enough.

The RO system is one of the most reliable water purification systems out there. Consequently, it is no surprise that some people may turn to it for emergency water storage needs. Nonetheless, some of you may not be entirely trusting of the systems and would like to know how they work.

Most of these RO systems have a semi-permeable membrane as the most crucial part of their makeup. However, before the water even gets to this membrane, it has to go through a pre-filter.

The pre-filter serves to remove most of the solids in the water. This means silt, sand, and more. Once these components have been eliminated, you then get to the partially permeable membrane.

Water does not freely flow through this component, and hence a lot of pressure has to be applied. This leads to the inflow of water from the more concentrated side to the less concentrated side of the membrane.

As a result, even solids that have partially dissolved into the water are left behind. The result is some of the cleanest, contaminant-free water around. After this, there is as well a post filter that works to ensure all impurities have been removed.

The main downside to these systems is that they are remarkably slow. To illustrate this, it may take up to five minutes just to fill a glass of water. Most people do not have this kind of patience or time. This is where the reverse osmosis tanks come in. Their job is to store the water as it is processed.

If you leave this system alone for a couple of days, the tank will probably fill up with water. Consequently, the next time you try to fill up your glass of water or even a bottle, you don’t need to wait five minutes.

Also, if you add the price of the system to that of the RO tank, it might become quite a pricy affair.

Our Verdict

After taking in all the above information, you will no doubt have to pick a water storage container out of the options we have provided above. We do advise picking out a few options that seem like they would best fit your needs. After creating a shortlist, you will then narrow down to the specific purchase by comparing the option left one last time. Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt to have a contingency plan if your first pick doesn’t pan out.

We also have products that would make it into our shortlist. The API Kirk Containers 5 Gallon Samson Stackers is one example. You cannot fault the construction of this product since the HD polyethylene is quite durable. Moreover, this tank is quite versatile both as a home water storage tool and as camping gear. The fact that it is stackable is another huge plus for anybody thinking of this purchase with regards to space-saving. Additionally, the accessories that come with this purchase make the pricing worth it.

The Ivy Bag Portable Water Bladder is also an exciting prospect. Anybody looking for a water container for camping should seriously consider buying this. It does have a significant drawback in that it is hard to transport while full of water. Nonetheless, lots of conservative camping sites have taps nearby. You can use this to fill up then enjoy the serenity of nature in peace.

For a medium-size family, the WaterPrepared Blue Water Storage Tank is one of the best water storage containers around. There are so many upsides to this tool that not many people will think twice about the purchase. The first is the 55 gal capacity. This should be enough for most people. If not, there is the option of buying a second one and stacking it above the first. A spigot is also provided to give easy access to water. A lifetime warranty is also present and one that you need to be appreciative of.

Remember to take your time as you select the storage tool to purchase. Your life may depend on it at some point, and thus it pays to make the right decision beforehand.

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