This article was originally written for reThinkSurvival.com
As I’ve been having fun at making water bottle survival kits recently I figured it only made sense to try a five-gallon bucket survival kit. After all, I LOVE buckets and think one can never have enough of them. As you can see I was able to shove it all in there but to get the lid on required a bit of… persistence:
Here’s what I was able to stuff and shove. I was going to number them but the numbers started to really get in the way so I’ll just list the items out roughly in order starting from the back and moving along like a page in a book:
- Water bottles x 4 – I know I’ll take some slack for adding these but I find it hard to create any survival kit that I’m expected to take with me and NOT have among the most precious of resources as a part of the kit, that being water. If you knew that you would have a readily available water source then by all means ditch the water because it’s heavy and I’d hate for it to get punctured and spoil everything else. That said, these bottles were vacuum sealed to help with potential leakage issues.
- Freeze dried meals x 4 – I choose to include four freeze-dried meals, two by Mountain House and two by Wise Food. I could have added more but only if I removed other items. Personally, I think having a meal or two at the very least is a good morale booster. In the future I might have added small amounts of hard candies or gum.
- Tarp, 6×8 – Who knows why you might need a tarp but they’re super useful as a makeshift shelter. I choose a 6×8 because it fit well but I think I could shove an 8×10 if I tried. Get a ripstop tarp with grommet holes.
- N-95 dust masks – I’m not sure how truly useful these might be but they take up very little room so they got tossed in.
- Thermos king food jar, 16-ounces – I like my thermos and I refuse to leave home without it.
- Water bottle survival kit – This was discussed about a month back and includes several items such as Bic lighters, stormproof matches, a bandanna, firesteel, Potable Aqua, mini multi-tool, duct tape, whistles, water filter straw, etc. Click the link to see all that’s included.
- Toilet paper – Your rear end will thank you for including even a small, smashed roll such as this.
- Work gloves – Who knows what you may need to grab onto or touch. Get a quality pair of gloves that fit your hands.
- Cold steel Tanto knife – This is a serious workhorse of a knife. If you expect to do any buschcraft work or for whatever reason you might need a quality knife, this is a good one to get.
- Gerber sliding saw – Knives are great for many reasons but small folding/sliding saws such as this just make procuring firewood that much easier.
- Mini crowbar – Not quite sure why this got tossed in there other than because I could.
- Grundig shortwave radio (with batteries) – The ability to gather information about a disaster from local as well as far away sources is critical. Beyond that, if you can get some actual music from time to time there’s no harm in that either.
- Small flashlight (with batteries) – Lighting must be a bit more than a mini keychain light here. The Cree flashlights are great for the money, though, that’s not what’s included in this particular setup.
- Compass – Roads may be impassable or unrecognizable therefore forcing you off the beaten path. Use a compass to ensure you stay on course.
- Cyalume glow sticks x 4 – Though not my first choice, glow sticks can be a useful lighting addition. They don’t take up much room so I tossed in four. Go for green colors if you can as they’re best for use at night.
- Paracord, 25′ x 2 – Paracord, need I say more? I could have added more had I really tried and probably should have.
- Rain ponchos x 2 – What’s shown are some crappy ponchos from Walmart and, after thinking more about it, I should have included one for each person. I also understand trash bags can be used instead but rain ponchos are better if you can include them.
- Assorted medical supplies (and Israeli bandage) – There some disposable gloves, gauze, a few pills (such as Ibuprofen), and an Israeli compression bandage. You might also include any necessary Rx medications you or your family rely upon, at least a few days worth, if you can.
- 30-gallon trash bags, several – There are many uses for trash bags in a survival situation, including as a makeshift rain poncho. Adding several here shouldn’t be a big problem.
- Dorcy Headlamp (with batteries) – Headlamps are a super useful light source, especially for survival tasks. If you can afford it you should include more than one in your kits.
- Leatherman multi-tool – I much prefer the Leatherman Wave multi-tool as my EDC, what’s shown is something else (can’t remember which one it is). I guess you could choose to toss in some old hand tools instead as they won’t take up much room if you prefer but, most of the time, a multi-tool is the way to go.
- U-dig-it folding shovel – This particular shovel is great for camping or hiking. In this kit I might have tried to include a larger folding shovel but I started to run out of room.
- 2-way radios (and batteries) – These are great for keeping tabs on group members who may be off gathering wood, water, or whatever.
- Duct tape, flattened – It does everything. Buy quality duct tape at your local hardware store.
- Fire starting kit – This is out of one of my bug out bags and started out as a fire-starting kit but morphed into a kit to hold various small random items. Anyway, the fire-starting stuff includes things like Bic lighters, matches, a wallet Fresnel lens, fire-starting logs, and more. Yes, there’s a lot of fire starting stuff included between this kit and the water bottle kit.
- Pocket chainsaw – This probably isn’t necessary considering I already have the Gerber sliding saw mentioned previously but redundancy is always a good thing in survival and this particular saw comes in handy in some situations.
- Earplugs – This is a personal inclusion because I have a hard time sleeping, particularly in silence, but there may be other reasons to include ear plugs such as hearing safety.
- SAS Survival Guide – Is there a better wilderness survival book to reference? I’m not aware of one!
- The New Testament, pocket sized – If there’s ever a time to rely on scripture… it’s probably during/after an emergency.
- Strike on box matches, 250 count – Never hurts to have a lot of matches.
- Mylar blankets x 2 – I’ve never been a big fan of these blankets but they take up so little room I felt obligated to add them here.
- Candles x 2 – Similarly, I’m not a big fan of candles for emergencies since they’re a significant fire hazard. That said, they can provide both lighting and another way to sustain a fire, even a bit of heat if you’re desperate.
- Deck of playing cards – I can’t think of a better, compact way to pass the time than these if you have nothing better to do regarding keeping you alive.
- Needle, thread, safety pins – Used to patch or mend clothing, bags, tent, etc.
After looking over the list I realized I didn’t have any sort of sanitation supplies, such as soaps or wet wipes. That will have to be corrected in the future and wouldn’t take up much room. Moreover, I didn’t include anything to cook foods in (such as a pot or cup) or on (such as a folding camp stove) but I guess I could improvise by using rocks or whatever. This is especially necessary since I would have intended to boil water for the freeze dried meals. Other obvious items I’m missing would be clothing, weapons, ammo but I purposely didn’t try to add those. I think more batteries may have been good too.
Obviously, there are some items I could have removed and still be covered, such as the pocket chainsaw, headlamp, rain ponchos, etc. Similarly, there are items that are not 100% necessary, such as the playing cards, books, and thermos.
Overall, I’ve got quite a few supplies in a rather small space, more than I thought I could get in there. That, after all, is the beauty of making your own survival kits… you can include anything as you see fit. Heck, make two buckets and get everything you want in them.
Whatever you choose to include, this bucket could easily be tossed in the back of your vehicle or stashed at a friends house if you like. Have you ever tried such a kit? What would you include?
This post was originally found at reThinkSurvival.com