Author Topic: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")  (Read 16725 times)

Offline Heavy G

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5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« on: January 02, 2009, 09:14:37 PM »
Based on some great suggestions from this forum, I decided to do a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket of food.  It turned out very well, and I'd like to tell you about it so you can do one. 

The whole thing cost about $25.  It's light (maybe 3 pounds) and easy to carry with the handle.  My kids could carry one in each hand.  Speaking of my kids, the bucket has all foods my kids will actually eat.  And the bucket doubles as a water bucket.  It stores air and water tight.  Very cool.

Everything in the bucket is just-add-water or ready-to-eat.  I assume the water will be running and heating it will be possible.  I envision using this bucket for a bug-in kind of crisis, not foraging in a jungle kind of scenario.  This bucket won't feed an army but will be nice to have.

You'll probably put in different food than what I list below, like the food you like and that fits.  But I list the ingredients I used.

I got almost all the ingredients at the Dollar Store.  (Here's a previous post on all the good stuff at the Dollar Store http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=1910.0).  I put the costs by each item so the ones that are "$1.00" came from the Dollar Store.

Here's what you need:

- 5 gallon orange bucket (and lid) from Home Depot ($2.78 for bucket and $0.97 for lid for total of about $4.00) Here's what I'm talking about: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100386385&N=10000003+90044+500771

- oatmeal (quick cook) (2 x 1 lb.) ($2.00)

- hot cocoa mix (6 x 1 oz.) ($1.00) Comfort food and turns plain oatmeal into chocolatey goodness.

- cappuccino mix (4 x 1 oz.) ($1.00)  Comfort food and good barter.

- mashed potato mix (4 oz) ($1.00)

- stuffing mix (6 oz.) ($1.00)   "Kids, let's pretend it's Thanksgiving!"  Probably won't work, but it's a nice thought.

- red beans and rice mix (4 oz.) ($1.00)

- cereal bars with fruit filling (6 x 1 oz.) ($1.00)

- tea bags (100) ($1.00)  Why do I need 100 tea bags?  They were only a buck.  I think tea will be a civilizing thing to have in a crisis to make us feel more human.  We can even stick our pinkies out and talk in fake English accents.  Now that's civilizing.  I don't even like tea too much but I would love a cup during a crisis.  And it has caffeine.  Good barter material.  Sun tea could take the nasty taste out of water treated with pills or iodine.

- sugar packets (about 150 x 1/10 oz.) ($1.00) I got 1000 packets for $7.00 at the Cash & Carry discount grocery store.  Costco has 1000 packet boxes too, but I don't know how much they cost.  Sugar packets will be good for tea and oatmeal--and will be dynamite barter items.  (Thanks to someone on this forum for that idea.)

- zip lock gallon bag to hold tea bags and sugar packets

- ibuprofen (50 tablets) ($1.00--gotta love that Dollar Store)  Fighting off the roving hordes is pretty stressful; I bet I'll get headaches from the muzzle flashes.

- multi vitamin (36 tablets) ($1.00--Dollar Store rules)  Expiration dates aren't the best for these, but, hey, I bet the person opening this bucket will feel relieved knowing he or she has vitamins in a time of food scarcity.

- can opener (full size kitchen type) ($1.00 at the good old Dollar Store.  Probably $8.00 in a grocery store.)  What good is canned food without one of these?  A stupendous barter item. 

- spoons (metal) (3) ($1.00)  Plastic spoons don't cut it when stirring hot things and, hey, 3 spoons for a buck?

- drink mix (sugared) (18 oz.) ($1.67 at Cash & Carry discount grocery store)  Treated water (pills or iodine) tastes yucky.  Kids like sugared drink mixes.  And you'll need the calories.  You will be craving sugar.

- matches (wooden) (12 boxes of 32 matches in strike box) ($1.00)  Always good to have.  Tons of survivors have said matches, even book matches, are like gold.  Barter, barter, barter.

- wet wipes (60 in a container) ($1.00)  Cuts down on food borne illness when you can't get to the sink to wash your hands before eating.

- chili (name brand stuff my kids actually eat) (2 x 15 oz.) ($1.87 at Cash & Carry)  You can see I am going heavy on the carbohydrates in this bucket.  So a little meat and fat in chili will be nice.  A little spicy food will be good too.  It's pre-cooked and portable.  It's chili.  'Nuff said.

- paint can pry tool ($2.00 ?)  Here's what I'm talking about (it's the bottle opener looking thing in the picture): http://www.diylife.com/photos/bust-rust/806716/  You need to one of these because the lids to the bucket go on REALLY tight.  I couldn't get them off with a hammer claw.  I duct tape the paint can pry tool onto the lid--kind of like a can opener.  In a stressful situation, you don't want to be trying to open the food bucket.  Once I was lost in the woods with canned food ... and no can opener.  True story.  I swore more than I have ever sworn.  You don't forget things like that.

- 3x5 index card with the contents taped on the lid (thanks for suggesting this, simpleguy http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=1384.0) and the date.

One other cool thing about the 5 gallon bucket is that you can give them away.  They only cost $25 and take a few minutes to put together.  You can give them out before a crisis--a great way to spark a conversation about preparedness.  You can say it's a hurricane or snow storm bucket so they don't think you're a "survivalist" wacko.  After a crisis, these buckets will make great charitable gifts.  Or, to think pessimistically, they'll be great bribes to get your neighbors (or the authorities) to go away and maybe not take your other stuff. 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 09:16:56 PM by Heavy G »

Offline Ultio1

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2009, 09:36:17 AM »
Ok so im sitting here cursing what should be a sacred item. This bleeping bucket. I mean it keeps everything out, it lasts forever and everyone can afford them but I am seriously wanting SQUARE 5 gal buckets. The shape of the bucket works against the shape of my bags resulting in unused space. >:(  I could be wrong but I think I could fit 25 % or so more stuff in to it, as far as putting individually packaged items into them.  Does anyone know where to buy some? I remember mayonnaise came in them back in the day when I worked in a restaurant but that was so long ago it seems like another life.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2009, 10:31:46 AM »

I could be wrong but I think I could fit 25 % or so more stuff in to it, as far as putting individually packaged items into them.  Does anyone know where to buy some? I remember mayonnaise came in them back in the day when I worked in a restaurant but that was so long ago it seems like another life.


I feel your pain.  I was thinking the same thing myself.  So I went to the Cash & Carry discount grocery store, which is really a small restaurant supply store.  I thought they would have square buckets.  They said they do on occasion but they need to order them in lots of 1000 and are usually out. 

Does anyone know where you can get square 5-gallon or so buckets for food storage?

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2009, 04:49:29 PM »
use a large cat litter bucket like I do  ;D They are a #7 and the food is in a bag anyway. The buckets are cleaned and sealed.

Offline sludgy_nixer

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2009, 05:27:38 PM »

i have some bird seed out in my shed that comes in a square 5g bucket as well.
might check places that sell that stuff. not sure the grade though.

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2009, 07:32:26 PM »
You have sugar, but no other spices?  You should throw in some salt, pepper, and maybe some chili powder.  Remember that many centuries ago, traders bartered with SPICES.  ;-]

Not to mention the fact that eating plain food day after day will definitely get old.

Offline archer

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 12:11:53 AM »
Very good job Heavy G! +1. Thanks for giving me good ideas on this. I've been considering this but was too busy over the holidays.. You've kickstarted me on this.
Might want to throw in some sweets like hard candies. Nothing that melts. Keep the kids happy and looking forward to finishing their beans and rice and chili.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2009, 12:13:29 AM by Archer »

Offline BerserkerPrime

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 11:31:19 AM »
HG +1.  That rocks.....

Will initiate Operation Loaded Bucket upon return to home base.

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Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 03:42:06 PM »
Very good job Heavy G! +1. Thanks for giving me good ideas on this. I've been considering this but was too busy over the holidays.. You've kickstarted me on this.
Might want to throw in some sweets like hard candies. Nothing that melts. Keep the kids happy and looking forward to finishing their beans and rice and chili.
Indeed! I usually grab some pepermints and butterscotch every so often when we're at the store just to keep them in the console of my Expedition.  If they start getting rowdy, I'll give them one.  It's amazing what a little sugar at the right time can do.  =-]

Offline archer

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 04:04:12 PM »
Indeed! I usually grab some pepermints and butterscotch every so often when we're at the store just to keep them in the console of my Expedition.  If they start getting rowdy, I'll give them one.  It's amazing what a little sugar at the right time can do.  =-]

I read a story once where a family was on a driving vacation. At the start of the trip, the dad bought a large bag of candy and told the kids they would get it at the end of the trip. But when the kids started fighting/etc, he'd roll down the window, take a few candies, and throw them out. All w/o saying a word. The kids got the point quickly and kept themselves under control....
Sorry about the thread hi-jack.

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2009, 07:45:54 PM »
This is such a good idea - something anyone can do!  I didn't know you could get the buckets w/lids so cheap at Home Depot.  My grains come in 5 gallon buckets, but we use "gamma seals" so I can get them off easily.  I guess the gamma seals wouldn't really be necessary when using buckets to be set aside for an emergency.  Once opened the food inside is going to get used relatively quickly, so sealing tight is probably not a big deal, right?

Thanks again for the inspiration!

Offline Mr. Blank

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2009, 09:11:47 PM »
SQUARE five gallon buckets. They are a bit pricey, so brace for sticker shock.

These look pretty cool also. The 20 gallon could store a LOT of goodies.

These are the 'budget' model.

Budget 2 gallon model

Other Square storage units:
link
link
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 09:20:38 PM by Trioxin »

Offline DIM TIM

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2009, 07:46:11 AM »
Ok so im sitting here cursing what should be a sacred item. This bleeping bucket. I mean it keeps everything out, it lasts forever and everyone can afford them but I am seriously wanting SQUARE 5 gal buckets. The shape of the bucket works against the shape of my bags resulting in unused space. >:(  I could be wrong but I think I could fit 25 % or so more stuff in to it, as far as putting individually packaged items into them.  Does anyone know where to buy some? I remember mayonnaise came in them back in the day when I worked in a restaurant but that was so long ago it seems like another life.
  Don't know where you are at, but here in my neck of the woods, we have a lot of these places. http://www.gfsmarketplace.com/
They sell all kinds of food in #10 cans, as well as portion packs, and frozen/ refrigerated food, and other items. They do a lot of business with resturants, schools, and other institutions, but they also sell to the general public.
I have bought jelly, catsup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, relish, etc, in boxes packed with 200 individual single serving packs each.
A quick search of the phone book should help you find one of these type businesses, and if that does not help, call the local school board and ask them where they get their bulk canned goods from. Chances are that there will be a food service vendor within a shot drive of where you live, and they would probably be like GFS, and sell to the public as well. ( I don't know of too many businesses that will turn down someone wanting to trade their cash for the companies products ) Hope this helps. BTW, Food Service is the keyword that you would probably find these businesses listed under in the phone book.  ;D

Offline Ultio1

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2009, 04:12:58 PM »
Ok so im sitting here cursing what should be a sacred item. This bleeping bucket. I mean it keeps everything out, it lasts forever and everyone can afford them but I am seriously wanting SQUARE 5 gal buckets. The shape of the bucket works against the shape of my bags resulting in unused space. >:(  I could be wrong but I think I could fit 25 % or so more stuff in to it, as far as putting individually packaged items into them.  Does anyone know where to buy some? I remember mayonnaise came in them back in the day when I worked in a restaurant but that was so long ago it seems like another life.
  Don't know where you are at, but here in my neck of the woods, we have a lot of these places. http://www.gfsmarketplace.com/
They sell all kinds of food in #10 cans, as well as portion packs, and frozen/ refrigerated food, and other items. They do a lot of business with resturants, schools, and other institutions, but they also sell to the general public.
I have bought jelly, catsup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, relish, etc, in boxes packed with 200 individual single serving packs each.
A quick search of the phone book should help you find one of these type businesses, and if that does not help, call the local school board and ask them where they get their bulk canned goods from. Chances are that there will be a food service vendor within a shot drive of where you live, and they would probably be like GFS, and sell to the public as well. ( I don't know of too many businesses that will turn down someone wanting to trade their cash for the companies products ) Hope this helps. BTW, Food Service is the keyword that you would probably find these businesses listed under in the phone book.  ;D


THANK YOU!  ;D

Hey every body check out this video. The last 60 seconds they open 5 gal bucket sealed in the early 90s.  NO mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, just a few bay leaves.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBoKCSFA1lQ

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2009, 08:51:55 PM »
I just got done doing 72 hour buckets for family.  All canned food except breakfast, foil pouches, can opener (p51), plastic utensiles, small towel.  In a bigger box we have medical, rain, fire, shelter stuff all put in the same place. But all food basically is placed in 5 gallon buckets. 

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2009, 05:39:47 PM »
Correction to the above:

Instead of the paint lid opener to get your 5 gallon bucket open, try this out:



Thanks to Uncle Charlie (forum user name) for suggesting this.   

Offline archer

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2009, 11:33:15 PM »
Correction to the above:

Instead of the paint lid opener to get your 5 gallon bucket open, try this out:



Thanks to Uncle Charlie (forum user name) for suggesting this.   
I picked one of those up today from my local OSH. Cost $1.99.

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2009, 05:51:26 PM »
Nice thread.  I've been playing around with doing something similar.  Have you considered putting in a couple other things that may be needed?  Maybe a roll of toilet paper and a pot to boil water?  I know you mean this to be a bug in bucket, but the pot could come in handy.

As for the square buckets.  Here's some 4 gallon square buckets.  Less than half the price of those 5 gallon buckets.  I have ordered from this company and have no complaints.  I do wish that square buckets were more readily available.  They just fill space so much more efficiently.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2009, 06:17:22 PM »

Have you considered putting in a couple other things that may be needed?  Maybe a roll of toilet paper and a pot to boil water? 


My thought for the buckets was to hand out during a bug in situation where many things are still working (like hot water for cooking) but it's been 2 or 3 weeks since people could get groceries.  A pandemic comes to mind.  There would be lots of paper around (non-TP paper) so I think there would be substitutes for that.

The buckets are basically a big snack for a family with some "normalcy" things like tea.  Not really for the hard core or the TEOTWAWKI. 

But I welcome any thoughts on things to put in a bucket.  I started the thread to get people thinking, experimenting on their own, and just going out and doing it. 

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2009, 12:25:44 PM »
Great post Heavy,

I have been asking around at the local grocery stores for buckets.  Many of the bakeries will part with some.  also bought 24 square 4 gallons buckets off craigslist for $20.

Had to clean them all myself in bleach and soapy water to make sure they were really clean but is was a good way to go. 

Thus far got about 2/3rds of the buckets full with rice, beans, Ramon noodles.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: 5 gallon grab-n-go food bucket (aka "Heavy G's Snack Bucket")
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2009, 08:13:40 AM »
(This thread has been selected as a “best of” thread by Heavy G.  You can search for “best of” threads by using that term in the search mode.  Everyone on the forum is encouraged to reply to a post they think is “best of” worthy so we can all search for them.  For more information on the “best of” thing, see http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=3423.0 )