Here’s another option for bulk storage of things like dog food, cat litter, rice, pasta, or even as part of your ditch kit. I had never heard about these — thanks to TBG reader Chip Lawson for letting me know about this great storage solution!
It’s called a Gamma Seal Lid and it fits on standard 5 gallon buckets to make a leak-proof container. Actually, it will fit on any 12″ diameter bucket from 3-1/2 gallons to 7 gallons (Chip also said he’s found a smaller size for 2-1/2 gallon pails, see link in the comments). NOTE: the Gamma Seal Lid is only the lid, buckets are generally sold separately (although some are sold as combo packs).
It has a gasketed flange that attaches to the bucket — they recommend using a rubber mallet to ensure that it is fully seated. That stays “permanently” in place. Then there’s a screw-in lid, again with a gasket.
Chip has used them extensively and says they are “completely 100% water and air tight. . . . I can recommend them unequivocally.”
- Dry pet food and cat litter
- Rice and pasta (I’d leave the food in smaller bags stacked inside the bucket so you can get out a small quantity at a time as well as mix what’s in the bucket)
- Larger stocks of baking supplies if undertaking an extended voyage (ditto on storing smaller containers inside the bucket)
- Storing containers of chemicals, paint, varnish, oil, epoxy and other things that you don’t want to risk spilling into the bilge.
- Ditch bag
You can buy food grade buckets to use with the lids or less expensive work buckets, depending on how you’re going to use them.
While I love Lock & Lock-type containers, I think these would be even better for bulk storage of things such as get food and cat litter on longer trips. The Gamma Lids and buckets are just really tough and the carrying handles on the buckets make them easy to pull out and use on a daily basis.
Now that I know such a thing exists, I’ve discovered that you can buy Gamma Seal Lids (there are a couple of other manufacturers of very similar products, too) all over the place. Most home improvement stores carry them, as do general online merchants such as Amazon and many “prepper” and survivalist sites. You can buy them individually or in multi-packs, in a number of different colors, and with or without a bucket. The home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, and others) generally have the best prices; you can get the lids for about $10 online.
In researching this article, I discovered that Gamma puts their lids on some other products that would also work well on a boat. They make an entire line of “Vittles Vaults” ostensibly for pet food — but considering that it’s made of food-grade, BPA-free plastic, I’m sure you could use it for people food, too. I’m thinking they’d be great for larger stores of flour, rice and pasta on extended voyages.
While these are more expensive than the lids that fit on the 5-gallon buckets, the sizes and shapes seem a little more convenient to me (although they are all “large storage” options). I particularly like the square containers as there is less wasted space. You can see the Vittles Vaults on Amazon (one is pictured at right, but there are numerous sizes and shapes). You can also find them at many big box pet stores, but — at least where I live — they are more expensive than Amazon.
And there is a collapsible Vittles VaultSoftStore in 30 and 50-pound sizes, shown at right in blue. Still airtight, they take up less and less space as the food inside is eaten . . . and since there is less air in the container as it collapses, the theory is that the food will still be crunchy all the way to the last bite. The only disadvantage of these is that filling them is a 2-person job if you’re trying to pour something from a bag into the SoftStore unit (or you have to find a place to hang it by the handle so that the “bucket” stays open). By far the best prices that I found for these are with PetGuys.com. (Note: I’ve never purchased from them, so can’t vouch for their service.)
If you’re storing dry pet food, flour, rice or other grains, be sure to stick a few bay leaves in with the food to keep weevils at bay. And if it’s something with sugar, use a couple whole cloves or a sprinkling of ground cloves to keep the ants away.