CANA Provisions AR-1: A Portable Water Pump for Overlanding and Survival

Bad situations are often the foundation for good ideas. In 2008, Zach, the founder of CANA Provisions, was working alongside Engineers Without Borders in Cameroon. This African country was torn apart by decades of economic crisis, war, and disease. Clean water — a resource most of us take for granted every day — was difficult to obtain in rural areas, and this led to outbreaks of preventable illnesses such as typhoid. Zach’s team worked to build and install water collection and treatment systems in the village of Nkuv, but he eventually returned home to America, where such systems didn’t seem essential. But 12 years later, while participating in a Tactical Urban Sustainment Course (TUSC) at the revered training center known as the Direct Action Resource Center (DARC), Zach realized that some of his prior experience was still relevant for emergency preparedness. This led him to develop the CANA Provisions AR-1, a portable water pump that’s designed to help families and small groups obtain clean water more efficiently.

Development of the CANA Provisions AR-1

To understand the AR-1, it’s important to understand the event that sparked its creation. DARC TUSC is a week-long course that “addresses some of the tactics and techniques that could be utilized by a small cohesive group to secure their assets and survive during a period of political, social and economic instability with localized recurrent levels of violence where the rule of law is absent or virtually nonexistent.” Many who have made it through the TUSC program consider it a harrowing but enlightening experience, and this was certainly the case for Zach. He refers to his experience as “an exercise in human suffering” — a major wake-up call about the reality of disaster preparedness.

Above: In emergencies, bottled water prices typically skyrocket, if it’s available at all. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan for obtaining large quantities of water from a nearby source.

One of Zach’s duties during TUSC was to obtain and purify enough water for his whole team. He quickly realized that scooping water from the swamp, filtering out the sediment and debris, and purifying it in the field to produce 10 to 15 gallons of safe drinking water per day was impossible with the equipment he brought. This was a huge problem, and one that remained on his mind after the class ended.

Water collection and purification requires flow from the source to the clean water container. Hand pumps and filter bottles can be effective for smaller amounts of water, but producing large amounts is tedious and labor-intensive. Gravity filters are another option, but they’re painfully slow and sensitive to clogged filters.

Above: The chassis was designed to support the pump and fittings for standalone use in harsh environments.

In order to accelerate the process, Zach began experimenting with various commercially-available water pumps. Many existing pumps could produce sufficient water flow, but were designed for in-place use or permanent installation. Mobile use would require a more durable, rugged housing. These off-the-shelf pumps were also designed to run on clean, stable electrical power — such as what you’ll get from a wall outlet — and lacked the electronic “brain” necessary to accept power from a variety of mobile sources (car batteries, Goal Zero power stations, etc.). So, Zach used his engineering knowledge to develop a variable-pressure, diaphragm-based water pump system that could be used almost anywhere on Earth.

AR-1 Features

The CANA Provisions AR-1 is described as “everything you need in one kit to get started moving water.”  The product description continues, “From source to container, container to container, pressurizing a pre-plumbed system, or feeding a filter — moving water is what the AR-1 does. No more hand pumping, no more siphoning, no more dunking containers in the pond.” The kit will serve as the foundation for a modular ecosystem of water collection and purification components to be offered by CANA Provisions.

The AR-1 pump is contained in an impact-resistant chassis with IP65 dust-proof and weather-resistant seals. It features Anderson 15-45A electrical connectors, a user-serviceable 10A fuse, and all the electronics necessary to safely regulate power from a variety of off-grid sources. The pump pulls only 3.5A at 12V during normal operation, so it can easily run on a portable power station such as a Goal Zero Yeti or any other 12V style battery (LiPo, LiFePO4, Li-Ion, SLA, AGM). Built-in vibration dampeners allow it to operate almost silently, even if it’s hard-mounted to a trailer or overland truck.

To feed the CANA Provisions AR-1, you’ll need to connect the included quick-detach 10-foot inlet hose and drop the end into a nearby water source. Then, connect the outlet hose via another QD socket, route it into your preferred water container, and flip the power switch on the pump. The AR-1 produces approximately 3 gallons (or 11.3 liters) per minute of water flow, and its dual in-line strainers filter out particles and debris. Pressure is adjustable up to 55psi.

If you’re planning to use the water for drinking or washing, you should also pass it through a secondary purifier (such as the LifeSaver Jerrycan) to eliminate bacteria and other waterborne pathogens. Chemical purification, boiling, or distillation are also viable options. In any of these cases, the AR-1 eliminates the exhausting task of scooping and pre-filtering buckets of water to feed the purifier.

Building an Ecosystem

CANA Provisions describes the AR-1 as the “first and most crucial component of the modular CANA Ecosystem.” Although we’re not able to announce details yet, we’ve heard that the company is working to develop accessories that will streamline the water purification process, allowing users to eventually pump straight from a dirty source into a clean water tank. The AR-1 could also be used to quickly pressurize water vessels for rinsing gear, from surfboards to mountain bikes, or could even be used to generate water pressure for an overland trailer or tiny home. We’re looking forward to seeing how this ecosystem evolves to cover more applications.

For more information on the new CANA Provisions AR-1, go to

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