Buckets? What? Why would a bucket be any use in a survival situation? Well, a bucket is a very versatile item, and can be used for many different purposes, from storing food, to washing your clothes in a long term grid down situation.
Lets take a look at a few different ways you can make use of buckets in a grid down, survival situation.
Where to Get Buckets?
First off, you are going to need to get your hands on some buckets. I recommend having 4-5 buckets, so you can use more than one at the same time. You can buy buckets online, at hardware stores, even farming and building stores. A 5 gallon bucket is the best place to start, as they are one of the biggest, and offer the most use due to their size.
You might even be able to hustle some buckets for free from restaurants, grocery stores, farmers, bakeries… Most of these places get food delivered in these buckets, and they are usually thrown out after the food has been processed, so that might be worth a shot before buying some. Remember though, wash any buckets out before use, and don’t store food in them, unless they are rated food grade.
How do I know if the Bucket is Food Grade?
This is pretty easy to work out, just look for the recycling symbol on the bucket. There should be a number between 1 and 7 inside the arrows. The numbers that indicate food grade plastics are 1,2,4 and 5, but if you can find a 2, that is the best. This means the bucket is made of high-density polyethylene, one of the most stable forms of plastic.
If none of these symbols exist, look for other signs that may indicate the bucket is food grade, for example, the fork (food safe sign), radiating waves (microwave safe sign), or a snowflake sign, which indicates the bucket is freezer safe.
Why Food Safe?
Well, you only need a food safe bucket if you plan on storing food in it, if not, then you don’t need to worry.
Uses for Buckets
During a long term grid down situation, your washing machine might not be working due to no electricity. In that case, you will not be able to wash your clothes. If you have a 5 gallon bucket, you can fill it with warm water, and get the washing done. Just put the clothes in, let them soak for a while, then agitate with your hands, or a stick.
Food grade 5 gallon buckets are a great way to store water in bulk. One 5 gallon bucket of water should be enough water for 2 days in a survival situation.
If you want to store dried foods, such as rice, pasta, oats… you can put them in mylar bags, and store the food in 5 gallon buckets, just make sure they are food grade buckets!
Build a Chicken Feeder
A cheap and easy chicken feeder. You just need a base, such as an old dish, pan, down, tray, even make one out of wood. Just drill holes around the bottom of the bucket, and pour in the chicken feed. As the feed in the tray gets eaten, more will come out the holes in the bucket.
Another great use for 5 gallon buckets is for transporting water from the source to your location. Just fill up the bucket from a stream, lake, river or wherever, bring it home, and filter and purify if for drinking.
If you live in the city, or somewhere with no garden, but have some yard space, you can fill these buckets with compost, and grow vegetables and other plants in them. This is actually a great way to start a home garden, without much effort, or money.
Have a bucket filled with water at all times, and keep it at the door to your house. In the case of a fire, you can use the water to try and extinguish it, provided it’s not an electrical fire, or kitchen fire.
Build a Bike Pannier
This is one you wouldn’t think of too easily, and it’s building a bike pannier with buckets. A bug out bike if you may. If all SHTF, and there is no fuel, you may have to resort to other methods of transport, and having a bike, with storage capacity is a great way to transport materials around.
Make a Toilet
This one is rather good. In the event of a total grid failure, water may not be pumping, and sewerage may not be draining due to pumps not operating. If you live in a house which uses a septic tank, then you may be better off for a while, until the tank fills, but if not, you can use buckets as toilets. See this article. You can also keep a bucket beside the toilet, and use it to flush, simply by throwing the water into the bowl.
Make a Shower
You can actually heat water in a 5 gallon bucket, and use it to take a shower. Just let the water sit in the sun for a few hours, until it is warm enough to shower with. To make a shower, you will need to buy a few fittings, and drill a hole in the base of the bucket, and install a shower head and tap, pretty simple to do! Then hang it up, and have a shower.
Harvest Rain Water
Place the bucket outside in the rain, or under a down pipe from you roof, and you have yourself a simple rainwater collection system. Just make sure to filter and purify the water before drinking or cooking with it.