Decent Inexpensive Boat Canisters

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2012 • all rights reserved

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my Lock & Lock (and similar) canisters and other containers.  But I couldn’t find ones that fit a couple of lockers on Que Tal.

I ended up getting some of these canisters in Wal-mart (housewares department).  They come in half-gallon and gallon sizes.  And they’re cheap — $2 and $4 at my local store as I’m writing this.

You’ll notice that I didn’t title this article something like “my favorite canisters” or “great canisters.”  These are simply decent, cheap canisters that I wanted to point out.  Be sure to read the “cons!”

Reasons I like them:

  • Big wide mouth — probably a good 4″ in diameter.  Easy to get stuff in and out.
  • Hand grips molded in — makes it easy to hang on to them if the boat moves or to lift them.
  • Square corners — makes good use of space
  • Clear — can see what’s in them
  • Inexpensive


  • They’re not as perfectly airtight as the Lock & Lock containers.
  • The “hard” plastic can shatter if dropped — particularly if it’s really cold.
  • If there’s a lot of boat motion of just the right type, the screw caps can loosen up (you don’t want to know how I learned this)

If you store products with flour (flour, baking mix, etc.) be sure to stick a few bay leaves in to guard against weevils.  And if you’re storing anything sweet, stick a few cloves in to keep ants away.  Since these containers aren’t 100% airtight, it’s even more important to guard against “critters” than when using Lock & Lock containers.

One final note:  Since these containers aren’t airtight, I wouldn’t use them for things that are going to sit, unused, for months.  I definitely wouldn’t leave anything in them in the “off-season” or if you’re off the boat for several months.

All that said, if you only use the boat for occasional weekends and take food home between trips, or want a container for a week’s worth of flour or sugar (which is what I did, plus used a couple to stow little sealed bags of olives and nuts), they work well.

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  1. I found similar containers on E-Bay when I was provisioning. They work great.

  2. Claudia says:

    I swear by Rubbermaid modular canisters. They’re airtight and stack beautifully, plus the opening is wide enough to accommodate measuring cups. One lid fits all, and there are graduated marks so you can easily see how much you have left. They come in four different sizes: 21-cup, 16-cup, 10-cup and 5-cup. Plus they’re BPA-free, which is important to me. All things considered, they’re very reasonably-priced and, if you’re patient, go on sale every now and then.

  3. Susan Parker says:

    I love Snapware. They are air tight and the lid stays on. You just flip it up to get to it’s contents. They are also square so they take up less space. I got them on Amazon.

  4. Dan Thomas says:

    Just store things that need to be air tight in Zip Lock bags in the containers.

  5. After getting tired of trying to store all different shapes and sizes of storage containers (used for left overs) we decided to buy only one brand and one size. Now we don’t have to search for the correct top to match with the correct bottom and storage is much simpler.

  6. Sara Peterson says:

    Just so you know, Costco’s mixed premium nuts with no peanuts in them give you great protein and fats and then the container is just like the one in the picture. : )

    • Becky Croston says:

      I agree Sara –I use those Costco nut “jars ” for lots of things. To add to the seal, I put plastic wrap ontop before screwing on the lid. Acts like an extra gasket.

  7. Used plastic nut jars work well too, they are square.

  8. Even better – these containers are available FREE when you buy chilled grapefruit or citrus sections. Just wash and use. Same container! Usually the citrus sections cost about 6$, so the container is a bonus!

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