Camping & Survival

101 Survival Uses for a Plastic Bucket

bucket guns

A huge part of being successful at surviving during a disaster, zombie apocalypse or any SHTF scenario is to improvise, adapt and overcome. When supplies are limited, it will be imperative for you to think outside the box and think of alternative uses for the gear you have. Simple things like garbage bags become ponchos, shelters and water-catchers.

Many preppers already utilize food-grade plastic buckets for their food supply; however, durable plastic buckets provide a lot more uses than just food storage. The 0.900 mil HDPE-approved resin white has a wire bail handle with plastic grip. It is impact-resistant and is good at keeping out moisture. Paired with a gamma lid, you have an airtight seal for anything you want to store in the bucket. Measuring 11.89 inches in diameter and 14.46 inches tall, the bucket can withstand temperatures from 160 degrees to -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Each bucket only weighs 2.08 pounds without the lid.

Stock up on some sturdy and tough buckets that are perfect for every day use, but come in 101 ways handy for survival.

Bucket Stool
If you’re too short, you may not get that dumpster sandwich!
  1. Food storage
  2. Water storage
  3. Keep caught fish in it
  4. Emergency toilet
  5. Store handguns
  6. Store ammunition
  7. Ferment beer
  8. Distill liquor
  9. Back-up BOB
  10. Store batteries
  11. Water filtration system
  12. Store rice and other grains
  13. Store flour
  14. Use as a planter
  15. Collect rainwater
  16. Resting stool
  17. Trash can
  18. Hold bait
  19. Store sugar
  20. Store potatoes
  21. Use as a cooler
  22. Livestock feeder
  23. Hold pet/livestock food
  24. Wash clothes
  25. Wash dishes
  26. Churn butter
  27. Use it to milk a cow
  28. Store coffee
  29. Gathering

    bucket trap
    Not really sure what you would catch with a coke can. Only one way to find out!
  30. Hold first aid supplies
  31. Coal/charcoal storage
  32. Store wood for fires
  33. Hold sterno or MRE heater fuel
  34. Hold seeds
  35. Fill with sand as an alternative to sand bags
  36. Animal trap
  37. Pull off wire handle and use it as a tool
  38. Hold gear and back-up supplies
  39. Game collector
  40. Flotation device
  41. Weapon
  42. Bury things
  43. Solar still
  44. Bang on it for a distress call or relieve stress
  45. Game feeder
  46. Step stool
  47. Store used oil
  48. Store beans

    bucket guns
    Bucket O’ Fun!
  49. Hold a 72-hour food kit
  50. Make dough
  51. Keep paper products dry
  52. Bear and raccoon-proof storage
  53. Store kindling
  54. Collect clams
  55. Collect spent brass
  56. Hold reloading supplies
  57. Fill with rocks or sand and use as an anchor
  58. Grow potatoes
  59. Solar heater
  60. Lobster or fish trap
  61. Buoy
  62. Water marker
  63. Use the lid to plug a hole
  64. Use multiple lids as wheels
  65. Store/hid barter items
  66. Start a fire inside it in bad weather

    bucket helmet
    Oh now we’re just getting ridiculous
  67. Store salt
  68. Mix concrete
  69.  Store tools
  70. Hold cold-weather and rain gear clothing
  71. Hold matches and other fire-starting tools
  72. Hide valuables
  73. Heat water
  74. Hold sanitation supplies and toiletries
  75. Use for bathing
  76. Cover plants or crops to prevent them from freezing
  77. Keep personal items, like copies of birth certificates and social security cards
  78. Catch minnows for bait or food
  79. Store plastic dining ware and cooking utensils
  80. Store medicines
  81. Store baby’s bug-out kit
  82. Keep ropes and paracord
  83. Use as a helmet
  84. Use the lid as a Frisbee for entertainment
  85. Use the rubber gasket seal from the gamma lid
  86. Fill with sand or dirt and use it as post hole
  87. Fill it up with dirt or sand and use as a weight for exercise

    bucket cow
    Why was this the first thing I though of when coming up with uses for a bucket?
  88. Use as a dumbwaiter
  89. Remove the plastic grip and use as a tool or straw
  90. Bailing out a leaking boat
  91. Use it as a sieve
  92. Catch and keep crawfish
  93. Shovel
  94. Emergency shower if you poke holes in the bottom
  95. Make a compass
  96. Use it a fulcrum
  97. Break it and use the shards for weapons
  98. Water trap
  99. Cistern
  100. Use as a spotlight (with a light inside)
  101. Chicken roost

For an airtight seal to store food, purchase a gamma lid. If you want to use the bucket as an emergency toilet, you will need sanitary bags. As a water filtration system, you will need the ceramic water filtration system.

What uses can you think of? Tell us in the comment section.

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Comments (34)

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen:
    I’d appreciated some advice. Our earthquake prep supplies are packed in the orange five gallon plastic buckets from The Home Depot with tight fitting lids. Every place I looked for them, the so called “food storage quality” white buckets were more than twice as expensive and no one could give me a reasonable answer as to why I should use them. I’m not storing unpackaged food items.

    All my supplies are either canned or prepackaged staples like they came from the store so the only things that aren’t shrink wrapped are our candles and our matches are boxed and wrapped in plastic. You advice please. Hank

  2. Obviously, there are innumerable uses for plastic buckets.

    I would suggest that food grade buckets need to be marked as such, and deserve special handling, and treatment. The same goes for sealable buckets.

    Plastic buckets tend to harbor more germs, so, the buckets need to be cleaned, and food should be insulated from the sides, if possible, such as with a plastic bag.

    Be sure that the buckets have metal handles; the plastic one’s don’t last very long.

    And keep them out of the sun; the sun will destroy them.

    I think round buckets are great because they are just the right size to carry, however, they are somewhat inefficient for storage because of their shape; valuable storage space is lost along the sides, and inside. However, it seems like they are easy to come by in every day life.

    A square/rectangular shape is much more efficient.

  3. IF the “Stuff” REALLY Hits The Fan and you are forced into a shootout with a gang of Zombies (or liberals), a row of buckets filled with dirt or gravel would make a good barricade behind which to shoot from. Stagger two rows of buckets so that the second row covers the spaces between buckets in the front row. Remember to keep your head down since some Zombies are known to be armed! OR, position your rifle barrel between two of the buckets — this will reduce your exposed area to a narrow slot. Rest your rifle on a bucket turned on its side (or something similarly solid) to further reduce the height of the exposure slot (wish I could draw a diagram of this but you should get the idea). Start stockpiling buckets and keep a shovel handy to fill them.
    Yeah, some of the uses were kinda dumb but I think were meant to be humorous (??). The picture of Suzanne with a bucket helmet was really funny!

  4. I’ve grown mushrooms in a 5gal bucket. Kind of a giant version if pftech. Not so much for survival though, as you’d be hard pressed to maintain sanitary and temperature requirements in asuch a situation. Can grow big oyster and shiitake mushrooms in a blend of sawdust and rice flour (sterilized).

  5. The comment made by Tommy re “starting a fire.” Noticed Tommy they said “starting” a fire, not letting it burn to melt the bottom. And yes, it can be used to distill. I’ve used 5 gal buckets for years to make wine and it always comes out great. Listing the uses may seem stupid, but some people have a hard time thinking outside the box. By listing multiple uses, you get folks brain thinking. Just saying…

  6. I believe these buckets could withstand at least some vacuum. The walls and bottom would need some reinforcing (a wire cage perhaps or a plastic sleeve) and the valve stem installed thru the lid. Definitely worth some experimenting.

  7. The square plastic buckets can be cut open a bit, with a handle installed at the back and used as an industrial sized dust bin, or for raking leaves. It makes it easier than bending over with those home sized things you use with a broom.

  8. 101 uses my ass, it’s a storage container, you guys are listing multiple items that can be stored in the storage container, that doesn’t count as a seperate use.

  9. I made sauerkraut in one this year. I cut 3 inches off the bottom of a 2nd bucket, drilled a bunch of 1/8 in holes in the bottom of that. Filled the bucket with the cabbage and topped it with the perforated bottom piece and a clean 5 lb rock for weight. It was a perfect fit and kept the cabbage submerged. I also liked that I could just look and see if the water level was OK. Worked great! Price out a new traditional 5 Gallon crock, and the ceramic weight to fit inside it will set you back over $100.

  10. No plastic bucket is proof against bears #52-don’t make that mistake if a bear wants into your bucket he’s getting in there, store foods up high or in heavy metal containers if in bear country.

  11. Fire starting in a 5 gal bucket: Ahh, I think they expected us to be smart enough to remove the fire from the bucket after starting it in inclement weather.

  12. I agree with the other person who said naming each item you can store in it is just redundant. I think someone was trying to pad the list to reach 101 uses. Bad ones are 1. Helmet WTF (my tin foil hat was at the cleaners???
    2. Distill liquor (in a plastic bucket???
    3. Start a fire REALLY and inhale extremely toxic plastic fumes until it burns a hole in the bottom???
    4. Weapon ???
    5. Use the lid to plug a hole ??? (Like the one in the top of the bucket I presume???
    6. Heat water ??? I guess that’s what the fire you started in the other buckets for???

  13. brine a turkey or pork shoulder in a new or clean bucket for several hours befor you cook it,,,,,just keep some ice in with the brine and don’t use the bucket that had been used for unsanitary purposes,,,,you know what I mean…..

  14. A water bucket for carrying water from the stream/lake/river to the house. You may not be able to drink or cook with the stream water, but you can flush the toilet, bathe, and wash things with it.

  15. 5 gal. bucket with lid, drill a hole in center to fit the handle of a NEW tolet plunger. drill holes in top of rubber plunger and use as a washing machine. the holes in plunger allows for easy aggatting of water.

  16. Plastic buckets work well for concrete molding. Several projects come to mind including inverted for driveway markers, moveable posts, concrete pots/planters, boat anchor. Can be used as a funnel with simply a hole in the bottom or heat the bottom enough to puncture and shape it.

  17. Actually, HDPE 5 gal buckets are *not* water tight – even with a Gamma Seal lid. If you store beans, rice, etc in on of these, the product will “draw” moisture through the bucket. Learned this the hard way after Y2K. Need to use a mylar bag inside the bucket.

  18. If you take a bucket and drill holes in it until it looks like a spaghetti strainer you can use it to wring out your clothes. Put your wet clothes in the bucket with holes, place another bucket on top and step in it. This is particularly useful for the wringout required between each rinse.

  19. We have cats so we end up with a number of those sturdy yellow Tidy Cat litter buckets throughout the year. Not quite as good in some applications as a totally weatherproof bucket but still very useful. Now if I could just get the other guys to stop laughing when I bring one to job sites as my tool bucket….

  20. The traditional use is as a seat for still hunting. You carry lunch and warm clothes inside till you get to your stand.

  21. And the number one use in an emergency situation when one just can’t wait, line it with a walmart shopping bag sit on it and go when done tie up the ends and toss the bag in your neighbors trash. Yes I have

  22. A few years ago I heard OSHA , or some other goverment agency , had determined that empty buckets were a drowning hazard. The buckets could not be left just sitting around unless they had holes drilled in them. This of course would completely render a bucket useless for what it was designed to do, hold liquid. So I guess they could be used as traps., just set them out partially filled with water and watch as goverment bureaucrats fell in them and drowned. These buckets could be the answer to all our prayers.

  23. Wow, nice list of uses! In our survival stash, we have piles of “Homer” buckets from Home Depot or any other typical home improvement store. They have a very decent seal around the lid for long term weatherproof storage. The only down side is that they are more difficult to remove than the Gamma type lid.

  24. Many years ago, our Boy Scout Troop used 5 gallon buckets to keep sleeping bags and personal items dry on canoe trips. Each scout was allowed two buckets. It provided many Scouts a dry bed to sleep in at night !!

  25. I think it’s only necessary to say you can store things in it. Naming every item that comes to mind and numbering it a a different use is just stupid.

  26. And this is why us farmers will almost cause a traffic accident when one blows off the back of the truck, you also left out they are awesome for thermal protection for a hydrant or sorts-of-stuff like that. Pack it full of newspapers place it over the low profile hydrant and place a rock on top of you may have said.. that and i missed it …lol… either way good one you all!

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