Seems as though nearly every prepper has one problem in common. Where to store their supplies. Some folks use plastic totes, some use paper boxes and one solution I have found to meet most needs is the five-gallon plastic bucket. Available everywhere, they are waterproof, bug proof, dust proof, mouse proof and big enough to hold a decent amount of equipment and supplies. On the other hand, they aren’t so big you can’t carry one full of gear. Buckets are not only portable, but stackable and they come with a handle.
Food-grade plastic buckets are available at most hardware stores. Check the paint department and if the five gallon size is too much to handle, there are 2.5 gallon sizes available. To keep things in perspective, at 8.34 pounds per gallon, a five gallon bucket of water will weigh 41.7 pounds. For those of us who qualify as seasoned citizens, nearly 42 pounds may be a bit more than we want to lug around. You may want to opt for the smaller size just for the sake of management or storage space. Still to keep your supplies dry and spider-less, they are a great solution.
Some will mention that once you get that lid sealed on, it is murder to get open. I have two solutions: First pick up a lid-lifter. That’s a plastic tool designed especially for prying up the lip on a bucket, making your job easier. Available at the hardware store for about $6.00 Pick up a couple and zip-tie one to a bucket handle. That way you don’t have to hunt for an opener when you need one. Second, learn about gamma-seal lids. Home Depot carries them for $7.25. A gamma seal lid snaps tight to the bucket, just like the regular lid. The advantage is the center of the lid unscrews to access the inside of the bucket without going to all the manual labor of prying the lid off. The center is easily replaceable and still maintains the airtight integrity of the bucket. Whichever method you choose, it will make your life easier should the need arise for immediate access to your gear.
A five-gallon bucket also makes a great makeshift toilet. No one likes to think about sanitary needs during a disaster, but sooner or later everyone needs a potty. Several companies make a snap-on toilet seat to fit a bucket. Line it with a plastic kitchen garbage bag and you’re set to “go”. (Sorry.) It solves a problem most people don’t want to think about until it’s too late.
If you plan carefully, an entire 72 hour kit will fit nicely into a five-gallon bucket. (Check my blog for a list.) Let me caution you though, a 72 hour kit is a bare minimum. Disasters know nothing of 72 hour time limits. Ask the folks who just survived Hurricane Florence. You may want to have another for your car. Have you ever considered how you would fare if disaster struck while you were away from home? Do you have the items you need to spend the night away from home unexpectedly? That plastic bucket just may be the ticket for your disaster preparedness plan.
As always send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns, along with a “bucket list” can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other online booksellers.