Today I want to go over a piece of kit that I have been playing with for some time now and including in some of my trips: The Five Gallon Bucket.
The five gallon bucket is a staple of the construction site, disaster response, prepper supply rooms, etc and for good reason they accomplish a lot of tasks pretty well. Add a Gamma Seal lid and for roughly a two pound weight penalty you get a waterproof container to keep water in OR out, a close to air tight container for food or anything else you can imagine, and a long list of improvisations from toilet to washing machine.
I routinely travel both domestically and internationally with my North Face Base Camp Duffell bags (medium for carry-on and extra large for checked) and have no issue fitting one or even two five gallon buckets in the XL bag. On a trip last year where I needed to take a good bit of food with me I loaded a weeks worth of food for two people into two five gallon buckets with gamma lids which protected the food and other gear from occupying the same space, nobody likes dry oatmeal in their socks. Just sayin’.
On my most recent trip to the Caribbean I nested fins and booties for snorkeling/SCUBA into a single bucket and left the lid off, packed in the same bag. Two pound weight penalty for a bit of added security. Upon arrival I filled the bucket up with five gallons of clean drinking water in the event that water became scarce. Having been in regions where water and other resources are not as reliable as at home I liked the security of having the clean drinking water available if it was needed along with all the other potential uses of the bucket it was more than worth it to sacrifice two pounds of gear allowance.
I am going to keep working this concept to try and optimize it for travel but suffice to say as long as I am carrying a large enough checked bag to include one you will continue to see me include a bucket and lid on trips.
The bucket shown is a basic food safe bucket and Gamma lid purchased from a local big box hardware store for roughly $15. I went with the food safe marked one for the sake of holding drinking water, cost over a standard branded bucket was a few dollars.
I have a long laundry list of improvised uses but I am curious to hear yours. Comment here or on one of the social media platforms.