Survival Bucket

Well, my buddy Guri and I have been talking about emergency preparedness and I have to tell you, it’s been some interesting and noodle-stirrer types of conversations. Things that make you go “Hmmmmm…”

I mean all families have routines and such that they follow and know, especially when you can’t pick someone up and you know which friend might be able to do so, or where to meet outside if there is a fire or just things that you know. But, emergency situations change a lot of the normal day to day types of routines and I don’t think many families really thing about that.

Here’s something I found a while back and I thought, wow… great idea. It’s a survival bucket.

Of course, you can buy one all pre-packed and they were pretty reasonable, I thought. Even Costco has one available. They seem to range around $75 to $150 and are designed in different formulas… like a single person for 30 days or a family of 4 for a week, etc. IN a pinch, getting one or two of these might just save your life in a true natural or national emergency, or that of your family members. If nothing else it would be comforting to know that in a minute, you could grab a bucket and run. Throw in a car, etc. And the bucket is truely useful as well! Toting water, carrying things, etc. It’s a great idea for really a reasonable amount of cash.

I’ve been thinking… what to put in our bucket. We don’t have one yet, but I’d like to think about making one over the next month. See just how much stuff we can stash in our bucket.

Of course, you’ll want things like matches, and toilet paper (high priority there) and of course plastic bags for storage and also for safe waste removal. You’ll need things like a good knife, some rope, water purification tablets and maybe an emergency filtering device. A good small hand crank radio would be great. Small candles. Maybe a crank light. A good first aid collection including women’s monthly products, which in a pinch can double as absorbent wound dressing and fire starters!

You’ll want a collection of the medicines that your family members use on a frequent basis, including some comfort things such as antacids and itch cream, maybe even a couple disposable razors and Chapstick. SO many of these things can fit in super tiny spaces and can make a miserable situation at least tolerable. (Who alive doesn’t know how terrible it can be to have something itching so bad you want to die!!!!)

I think a pack of cards would be a good addition, and some notepads and pens and pencils. They are small and can be very very useful as well as help to pass the time. I think a teeny toy like a couple matchbook cars or a little bitty stuff animal might save the day if you have little people or encounter a hurt child, that kind of thing. Heck, you might be able to barter with someone for it in exchange for food or something. You just never know and those are the kinds of things that can take up teeny bits of extra space.

I think a good first aid/emergency guide book would be a good thing. The Red Cross has been publishing good how to books in small compact sizes for years and years. Might really come in handy when you have to set a bone or trap a rabbit or something. Build a shelter?

You should have some cash. Small bills, change. Remember, ATMS might not be working and the same for credit card networks. I think it would be a good thing to have photocopies of your families important documents too, perhaps shrunk down on copier and then seal good and compactly in a bag to keep from getting yucky. Remember to have some good clear ID photos of your each of your family members, pets, etc., so that if you have to search for someone, you have something to show officials. Anything that you think is very important to have, make a copy of it and stash it in your bucket. Bank accounts, savings information, deeds, etc.

And then theres food. This is a hard thing… you want easy to fix, simple and nutritious as well as long lasting. I would suggest that you purchase back packing products and energy bars, dense compact long term food options. There are a lot of websites that sell all kinds of products designed just for survival kits. You could also add small packs of rice, noodles, and dried and dehydrated foods like veggies and meat so that you can cook, if possible. Remember to pack a MANUAL CAN OPENER!!!! Maybe two! And some cooking utensils, like a large spoon to stir with, and simple compact camping sets for personal eating tools. I think I would find a good pot that was about the size of my bucket bottom to nestle down in the bottom of the bucket. You could cook with it, and tote with it, and bath with it as well. Very useful. Check the thrift store for some of these items. Remember, it’s survival, not what you might want to decorate your kitchen with and all.

I think you need to include a good bar of basic all purpose soap. And some personal hygiene items like a comb and maybe a couple washcloths, personal razor, maybe some shampoo in a small bottle. If you minitureize, you can really get a TON of stuff in your bucket I think. And don’t forget a bit of sewing stuff… like maybe a packet of different sized needles and a spool of good heavy duty thread. Maybe even a few buttons, and small pair of scissors, etc. Could come in handy.

Small flashlights, parachute cord/rope, bullion cubes and tea bags. Ah… oh, how about a little stash of restaurant condiment packs! Hey, you never know… that possom you snagged in the deadfall trap might benefit from a little mustard or maybe ketchup? Oh, definately a thing of salt. Salt is useful for many things. Sugar. Maybe in little packs again. Glue! Yeah, a little thing of super glue might save the day.

Whew! Well, as you can see, there are a lot of considerations for your own survival bucket. I would think that you would want it to be so solidly packed that there wasn’t an INCH of space available. After all, if you have an inch, that could be packed with sugar packs, or maybe some super glue or maybe some buttons…. or whatever!

Leave me some comments and suggestions…. what will you put in your bucket!!! What did I miss? Any good suggestions?

Related Posts with ThumbnailsPin It

About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


Survival Bucket — 10 Comments

  1. Oh! I forgot… a hammer or one of those multi-tool tools… that would be GREAT to have… maybe one of those solar blankets too, that you can fold down into a teeny little pack. You know, chopsticks would be good if your family can use them… they are handy for cooking too and take up very little space. Don’t forget some sort of tinder maybe, a little fuzz or something? Oh some of the tie-wraps… those are small, slim and SUPER HANDY… Wire? A bit of wire… maybe wrapped around something… OH DUCT TAPE!!! A roll of duct tape could REALLY come in handy!

  2. Instead of photocopying your documents, scan them & put them on an encrypted USB drive. Would take up much less space & the drives are cheap these days. Spare pair of socks? Nothing worse than cold, wet feet.

  3. For the food you can always go down to your local army navy store and pick up those packets of rations that come in the brown plastic.

  4. Oh, I love the USB idea… still might not be a bad idea to have some of the documents in hardcopy, don’t you think? Like basic ID stuff and all. What if the emergency is such that they can’t access the drive? I like the idea though of being able to have A TON of stuff on there… important files, scans of family pictures, you can get USB drives now that can hold TONS of documents and such…. You could almost hold all your important files off your computer and all. That “backup” could save your business files, important family stuff, memorabilia and of course your Itunes library. (gg)

    Love the Army and Navy store idea, MRDs are pretty well designed, compact and store for years and years.

    I also thought about a little mirror (for signaling) lining the inside of the bucket with tinfoil (always useful and reusable) and how about a whistle… again, another signaling tool and small….

    This is so cool! (Although I think we’re going to end up with TWO buckets in the end!

  5. TWEEZERS! I can’t think of any alternatives to tweezers, and they can be used for getting splinters or ticks out of the skin. You can also use them for very detailed work that cannot be done with the hands (i.e. on electronics). Of course we’re talking about survival here, so the tweezer suggestion isn’t at all about personal grooming! lol

  6. About twenty years ago, our area went thru a hurricane. Our house was without power for 11 days (couldn’t complain, others went longer!). Just off the top of my head:
    – antibacterial hand wipes, so you don’t have to use up all your water
    – frying pan and large pot that can be used on top of a grill
    – kettle to boil water on a grill
    – lots of batteries!
    – large cooler ( you can get them at the end of summer sales) – some grocery stores would open for a couple of hours , and we could get some ice and maybe a 1/2 gallon of milk and some eggs – but you need somewhere to keep it fresh for a couple of days.

    Reminder: gas stations can’t pump gas without power, so fill up your cars whenever you can!

  7. Oh yeah… tweezers! Great suggestion and really small. Nailcutters are not bad either… again, small, useful for grooming, sure, but also wire cutting, small delicate fixes…

    I love Nita’s suggestions too! Love the little wipes, you can get those in little packets, like from the BBQ place! (g) Batteries… yeah.

    Well you know… Now I’m thinking you could use a cooler as one of your survival buckets… one with a good sturdy locking lid. And that would do double duty, because like you said, you could store ice in it if you could get it, and even if you didn’t have ice, it would still stay a bit cooler or warmer, since it’s an insulated thing.

    Such great ideas! Keep them coming!

  8. How funny, about a month ago I wrote up some stuff in this vein, inspired by FLYlady. I am gonna look for it on the other pc (ah the joys of networking, the other pc is not even showing up in the network right now ) and then I will send the docs. VERY basic but good for ppl at that stage too! I def gleaned a few G.O.O.D. ideas off this blogpost FO SHO lol.
    As as aside, I store my great-grandmas china in my cooler (yeah, *i’m* 45, imagine how old IT is lol). We never use it, and the china needs protecting. I may have to go buy another one now at the end of summer sales or g sales. Good to use–for a st. bucket!!
    AND remember, buckets are nice to have to sit on–or at least hunker down over–to go to the bathroom. u can prob get a toilet seat to sit on top too or hold it on or sumpin. But just the bucket (get one from ur bakery dept for a buck or 2) is great to have! Straw to layer your humanure with is even better. Then you can bury it with a plop and keep the stink and flies down too b4-hand. AND b4 u use it, u can FILL IT as a survival bucket! YAY :) (actually I would rec’d crates but thats another discussion–even a laundry basket will work to fill quickly and throw in the car–or store in the car in wintertime for car-snowroad–emergencies)

  9. I live in tornado country and something that I always end up using is one of those 5 gal buckets. I’ve never actually had a twister hit here, but I promise when it’s really bad and scary, I have to pee. And the bathroom is upstairs, and I’m under the stairs in the basement. So the bucket, lined with a trash bag and with some crumpled newspaper in the bottom becomes a most welcome substitute. And when the ’emergency’ is over, it’s disposed of and a new set up put in immediately. I like all of these suggestions, need to do a bit more planning.

    • OH boy! Yeah, we get a few scares here and there but not enough to head for the basement… if we had one! But yep, those buckets are pretty good for all sorts of stuff!