Practical Uses for 5 Gallon Buckets


5 gallon buckets are everywhere, and their practical uses are limitless.  This makes them essential items to have on hand, and you can never have too many.  Let’s take a look at a few examples of ways that you can use them in everyday as well as survival situations.

Survival Storage

5 gallon buckets are a great way to store survival food kits and supplies.  They are compact, easy to stack, and they are generally durable.  This makes them ideal for keeping items protected from moisture and critters.  They are also easy to transport, and 5 gallons is a great size to divide or portion things into manageable amounts. 


5 gallon buckets are large enough to contain just enough water for a quick shower.  All you need to do is poke or drill a series of small holes in the bottom and suspend the bucket above your head.  Stand underneath and you’re good to go.  Just remember that the number and diameter of the holes determines the rate of water flow.  Start with a few holes and add more as necessary to find the right balance between water coverage and the amount of time that it takes for the bucket to drain.

Trash Compactor

Since 5 gallon buckets are sturdy and can withstand a lot of force, they are ideal for use as an improvised trash compactor.  Place your garbage, or compost material, into one bucket and fill it about a third of the way up.  Then, stick another bucket on top and slide it over the material.  Step on the inside of the top bucket and put all of your weight on it.  Think of a couple ways to improvise if your feet are too big, or get someone else to do it instead.  You will be amazed at how much you can reduce the volume of garbage with this simple trick.

Portable Toilet


There are a lot of ways that you can turn a bucket into a makeshift toilet.  You can put a plastic liner inside and attach a standard toilet seat to the top.  You can cut out a portion of the lid in order to create a space for you to sit while taking care of business, or you can also improvise with material that you may have laying around.  While this isn’t anyone’s first choice, using a bucket may come in handy when other options are not available.

Fire Extinguisher


You can fill the bucket with water, sand or dirt in order to pour over a small fire.  They are particularly useful in your cabin, campsite or bug-out-location.  While they shouldn’t be used to replace a fully-charged fire extinguisher, buckets can be a great backup to have on hand. 

Water Heater

Did you know that you can heat water with two 5 gallon buckets and some sunlight?  All you need to do place about an inch of water inside one bucket and then slide the other one inside.  Don’t worry if some of the water spills out.  Next, fill the second bucket with water and fill it about ¾ the way up and put on the lid.  Put the buckets in a warm and sunny location for a couple of hours and the water inside will heat up considerably.  Keep in mind that the outside temperature and your location will determine how long it takes for the water to heat up, but this trick works wonders in the summer months.

These are just a few ideas to consider in order to highlight the practical benefits of having a stockpile of 5 gallon buckets on hand.  What else do you use for them that others may not know about?    

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