,Rawles had a link about caching and added a caveat that storing water amongst gear is to invite disaster if the water container leaks, since much gear is not greatly enhanced by being soaked. He urged that water be stored separately from such gear.
This is true, but sometimes you really don’t want to increase the footprint of your storage any more than you have to, and adding separate containers for water might do just that.
When I leave packs laying around with water in them in environs where they might freeze, I always start off using bottled water. I’ve experimented a lot with plastic bottles of water and have found that they’ll handle freeze/thaw cycles with virtually no failures. (In fact, I’ve froze/thawed hundreds of bottles of water and have yet to have one fail because of the freeze/thaw cycle. The ones that did fail were because, while frozen, the bottle was dropped and that damaged the plastic. A drop that would damage a frozen bottle, however, will usually not damge a thawed bottle since the thawed bottle flexes with the impact.) I’m very comfortable with the survivability of regular plastic water bottles. However, I am also a suspenders and a belt kind of guy. If I have a pack stored somewhere, then it’s probably important that the gear in that pack be in great shape since that pack is sitting there for the day when theres an emergency and my safety and well-being depends on the gear inside it. Most folks would figure the answer is to put the bottle of water into some other container to act as a secondary container in case the first one fails. Makes sense. Many folks use something like a Ziploc bag…a mistake, in my opinion. Ziploc bags are great, and I use lots of them for other stuff, but they just are not really waterproof. If you dont believe me, put some frozen chicken in one, and sit it in the bottom of your fridge to thaw. Come back in about three days and see what mess is sitting under the bag.
I take each bottle of water and vacuum seal it in a bag. The vacuum seal bags are quite waterproof, and they let me know at a glance if there’s any failure in bag integrity. (Since even a pinhole will cause the vacuum to fail.) If you really, really wanna go nuts you can vacuum seal it twice. I usually just take one 20 oz. bottle of water, vacuum seal it, and move onto the next. One bottle per bag. As long as the sealed bottle of water is kept protected from sharp objects and such, it lasts forever. (The bottled water in my pack is in its own zippered compartments…so there’s nothing to puncture or abrade anything.)
Don’t have a vacuum sealer? Get one.They are easily one of the best gadgets any survivalist could own. Even for non-preparedness uses, they’re awesome. Yeah, it’s a bit of money upfront but we save tons more money by being able to buy in bulk. (Case in point, the $1.50/# ground beef in the freezer that was bought a year or so ago and is now saving me from having to buy $2.99/# ground beef.)
Contraversely, (yes, I’m making my own words) if all the other gear is waterproofed then it doesn’t matter if the water container leaks. So , if you vacuum sealed all your other stuff and didnt add an extra layer of protection to the water bottles, you’d probably be okay there as well. Of course, the best way to do it would be to do both: waterproof the gear and isolate the water bottles.
If your situation can reasonably accommodate storing water separate from gear, then by all means do just that. But, in those circumstances where the water bottles have to be mixed in with the gear for space/pack constraints, this method has worked great for me so far.