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Top 5 – Five Gallon Bucket Ideas

What can you make with a five gallon bucket?
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Preppers and Survivalists are always looking for some good ideas on how to use or re-purpose our preps that we have acquired. One of the more ubiquitous prepping supplies is the lowly five gallon bucket. I found a local salvage company who had a basement full of these for a dollar a bucket and picked up a dozen. The buckets themselves used to have icing in them from the local bakery but since they were in perfect shape and food grade, I grabbed them up thinking I would surely find a good use for them.

We usually talk about storing food in five gallon buckets but there is a whole other world of possibilities out there if you are looking for other uses for this prepper staple. Food grade buckets are a natural fit for food storage because they are tough and you can easily stack them, but if you are looking for other five gallon bucket ideas, I pulled five here to share with you. When food is taken care of these five gallon bucket ideas could help you out if the grid goes down, or you just have some spare time and are looking for a crafty way to re-purpose some buckets you have.

Five Gallon Bucket Toilet

Yes, it isn’t the most glamorous way to reuse your five gallon bucket, but it is simple and takes one element out of your Sanitation and Hygiene list and makes grid down visits to the throne room much better, cleaner and even safer than squatting in the back yard.

Using a five gallon bucket for a toilet requires just a couple of items and can provide you with alternate sanitation capacity that even the wife and kids shouldn’t complain about too much. Personally, I would much rather use a five gallon bucket inside on a cold winter’s day that walk out and squat over a hole in the snow.

Eliminate the worry of #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

Eliminate the worry of having to go #2 with this simple makeshift toilet.

Don’t want to build your own, you can buy this handy item all ready for your bum.

This toilet idea is super easy and only requires the following:

  • Five Gallon Bucket
  • Trash Bag – These don’t have to be heavy-duty yard size because you are only going to want so many poops in here before you clean it out. Also, too much poop could rip the bag and that is a mess I don’t want to clean up. Ever.
  • Toilet Paper for obvious reasons, but an old phone book works in a pinch (no pun intended).
  • Pool Noodle – Brilliant use of something that probably won’t get much use in a grid down scenario. Pipe insulation could work in the same capacity.
  • Quick Lime or even cat litter to keep the smell and flies away.

If you aren’t feeling crafty, you can purchase a pre-made Luggable Loo that is set up and ready to go. This is one survival supply you can fill with some toilet paper and maybe some Double Doodie bags and be all set for the next plumbing disaster.

 

Five Gallon Bucket Air Conditioner

There are two ways I have seen to use a five gallon bucket to cool you off and both require electricity but use different methods of chilling the air. There are evaporative coolers that rely on the evaporation of water to cool. These are also called swamp coolers and the video below shows how you can make one of these yourself with just a few simple supplies in the comfort of your very own living room.

The other method I have seen requires ice, but allows you to blow the cold air from the ice into your space to cool you down and an insulated cooler keeps the ice colder longer and what do you know but the same guy who made the video above shows this alternate method for a five gallon air conditioner.

Five Gallon Bucket Water Filter

Having clean water is crucial for health at any time but contaminated water is a larger problem during disasters or when there is no clean source available. Now we simply turn on our taps to get fairly clean drinking water but what if the pipes burst or you are unable to drink the tap water? Having a backup water filter that you can use to make local sources of water safe to drink is vital to your prepping plans. I have shared a few good bug out bag water filtration options, but what if you need to filter more water for a larger group of people?

View of the Berkey filter elements installed in the bottom of the upper bucket.

View of the Berkey filter elements installed in the bottom of the upper bucket.

Some people (myself included) purchase larger systems to filter water for many people. I have the Big Berkey Light which is an amazing water filter. It can handle 2.75 gallons of water at a time and there isn’t any work for you to do besides pour your water that needs to be treated into the top chamber and let gravity do the rest. But if you have a little time on your hands and some five gallon buckets, you can build a DIY Berkey filter and save yourself some money.

The top bucket sits on the lid of the bottom bucket and the filtered water drains down via gravity.

The top bucket sits on the lid of the bottom bucket and the filtered water drains down via gravity.

The Berkey Water Filter relies on two filtration elements that you can purchase separately for about $100. The complete Berkey Light Water Filter set up is $231 so you can save yourself a good bit of money with this five gallon bucket idea. You simply drill holes for the filter elements in the bottom of one five gallon bucket. Then drill two holes to allow water to drip into the lower bucket. You drill these holes in the lid so the upper bucket has a place to sit. The only other thing you need is the plastic spigot to pour your fresh clean water out of the bottom chamber.

Five Gallon Bucket Mouse Trap

Rats and mice carry disease even during the good times. For a great mouse trap, you can check out this tutorial below for a simple five gallon bucket mouse trap idea that will quickly and easily catch all the mice you need. With the mice eliminated, you won’t have to worry so much about them spreading disease to your family.

In a worst case scenario, you have dinner.

Five Gallon Bucket Chicken Waterer

When we got chickens ourselves, one of my daily chores was to go out there and fill their water up. It had to be done daily because we had 8 chickens and they are thirsty girls. As well as needing their water refilled, it was nasty because they would scratch dirt into their water.

This automatic chicken waterer keeps the water clean and the chickens happy.

This automatic chicken waterer keeps the water clean and the chickens happy.

Needless to say this got old fast and was really the most labor intensive daily chore as far as the chickens went. Outside of making sure they have food and water, chickens are a breeze. I set out to find a way to keep them in fresh clean water for a few days minimum and reduce the number of trips I had to make with the hose. That is when I came across this great five gallon bucket chicken waterer idea that I made myself. The bucket is really just the reservoir that feeds a tube with nipples that the chickens peck at until water comes out. It keeps their water clean and gives me several days before I need to refill any water.

The nipples are really inexpensive on Amazon and I have the instructions as well as the complete parts list on our post titled: How to Build an Automatic Watering Tube for Your Chickens.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas for your five gallon buckets but there are tons more, like emergency kits, planters, aquaponic systems and so many more. You can find a lot of other great five gallon bucket ideas at fivegallonideas.com. What other uses have you found?

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  • EgbertThrockmorton1

    OK, I’m making one for the rats in our ivy in the back. Figure that might work for those beasts….they are BIG.Will use water in the bucket, maybe soapy water to make it extra slick

    • BobW

      that might be a brilliant idea for when the food gets tight and you can’t get out to hunt.

  • BobW

    ammo, weapons & e-food storage.
    deep woods storage.

    • EgbertThrockmorton1

      Shhhh! You’re not supposed to tell…..plant some buckets of rebar/scrap around as well to throw off the ground penetrating radar or metal detectors.