Hauling and Filtering Water: Off-Grid Yurt Living

A main consideration in selecting property on which to build the yurt was the presence of a year-round water source so that we could filter our own drinking water — rather than, say, buying big jugs or relying on collecting rainwater (or, of course, drilling a well). Since moving off grid, we’ve found, luckily, that the process and practicalities of filtering water doesn’t feel at all burdensome!

Our Options for Water Sources

We’re also lucky to have several options. The property we’re on has one perennial creek, one seasonal creek, and an unused springhouse a ways away. The perennial creek — “brook,” I suppose they’re called here in New England — is at the bottom of the hill, down the driveway and closer to the road. To haul water from here would mean carrying it up the not-insignificant hill about 150 or 200 yards. The seasonal stream, though, is just on the other side of our clearing, about 100 yards from our doorstep. Additionally, the adjacent wooded parcel has a currently unused springhouse with a quite productive spring. We could, in theory, run a hose from the spring to the yurt (or at least to the immediate vicinity), which would eliminate the need to haul water. The springhouse, though, is 650 feet away, which is a lot of tubing — maybe we’ll get to that, but so far it hasn’t been high priority to spend that money since our current setup is working so well.

Our Current Setup

For now, our decision is to haul and filter our own water from the seasonal creek, which is still running as of this writing (July), though the flow has noticeably lessened, especially when there hasn’t been rain for a few days. We found a spot with a slight drop, just high enough to fit a five-gallon bucket below. Earlier in the summer the volume of water was enough that we we could simply set the bucket under this adorable tiny waterfall. Now, though, it is but a relative trickle, so we improvised with a piece of bark to create a funnel or spigot of sorts.

Our setup for gathering and filtering water from the nearby stream, creek, brook.
Our water source with improvised tree bark to consolidate and direct the lessened flow.

Generally we fill two five-gallon buckets at a time to haul back to the yurt — a routine we do almost daily — and that’s enough to fill our water filter a couple of times and then have water to wash dishes in the evening.

Filling up buckets with water from the creek to haul and filter
How we fill the buckets to haul water from the creek.

Our Water Filter

We use a countertop gravity ceramic filter made by Aquacera. There are plenty of good options out there, but after doing some research we settled on the Aquacera Traveler XL, at least to start — we’ve been very pleased with it so far!

water filter


The simplicity of the design is a big selling point — it’s easy to fill, easy to clean, easy to maintain (and easy on the eyes with that stainless steel). And it filters relatively quickly. When the filter cylinders themselves are freshly cleaned, they can filter about a gallon and a half in close to an hour.

As you can see in the photo below, our kitchen setup is still coming together — we have temporary plywood counters, need to build a stand/drawer for the oven to sit on, and need to update the pantry situation for greater capacity — but this filter was one of our first purchases, for obvious reasons. It’s been around since the beginning!

We’ll write soon about the easy Aquacera filter cleaning process in a separate post.

kitchen focus water filter