Prepper Book Festival 12: 5-Gallon Bucket Book

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 24, 2021
Prepper Book Festival 12: 5-Gallon Bucket Book

When this newest Prepper Book Festival was launched, I indicated there would be some fun titles along the more serious fiction and non-fiction titles. Couple practicality and usefulness with fun and and we have a real win. Such is the case with today;s book, 5 Gallon Bucket Book: DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles.

Here in my household, collecting 5 gallon buckets takes second place only to mason jars, and you know how I feel about them! Give me a few dozen buckets and jars and I can and do store anything. There is one critical difference between the two, however, and that is I am very clever at scoring pre-owned buckets for free from restaurants and bakeries.

5 Gallon Bucket Book | Backdoor Survival

With that introduction, I am pleased to introduce you to The 5 Gallon Bucket Book by Chris Peterson. Want to learn how to make a manual washing machine? What about a composting toilet or water filtering system to use when SHTF? Detailed directions are in this book. Heck, there is even a DIY for creating a Vermiculture Bin, Aquaponics System and a Trotline Buoy – all using a five gallon bucket as a starting point.

DIY Manual Washing Machine | 5 Gallon Bucket Book

Each DIY project is beautifully photographed with step by step instructions using common supplies and tools. Chris also invokes his sense of humor here and there. For example, when talking about the benefits of a manual washing machine, he says:

“The other benefit is exercise. So many people pay for a gym when you can get a decent workout just by saving electricity and water. Even the least fit person in the household will be capable of washing a small load of clothes while burning a tidy sum of calories”.

On the fun side of the ledger, I love the garden fountain and the cable and cord organizer. Okay, I admit to sometimes walking on the quirky side of life but to me, those projects are fun.

In traditional book festival fashion, Chris is here today to answer my interview questions plus offer up three copies in a book giveaway. Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below so you can enter to win.

An Interview with Chris Peterson, Author of 5-Gallon Bucket Book

Tell me about your book. What is it about?

It’s an easy-to-read instructional manual on reusing 5-gallon buckets in ingenious, useful and fun ways.

What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

I started by looking around on the web at Instagram and other sites at what people were doing with 5-gallon buckets. It was amazing. I did some library research on 5-gallon bucket projects in other books, and then came up with a long list that I eventually whittled to the projects that I felt were the most universally useful, interesting, valid and fun.

Then I camped out in a hardware store to figure out how to create achievable versions of those topics.

How long did it take to write?

About three months, including research, writing, and working back and forth with the photographer on details.

Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?

Everything we throw away can be reused in interesting and intriguing ways. It’s fairly simple to turn trash into treasure, and I think this book proves that.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m a former book editor, and I’ve been a freelance writer for 12 years. I’ve written extensively on do-it-yourself topics like deck building and refitting bathrooms. But I also write cookbooks and do a fair bit of ghostwriting. After living in Brooklyn for 30 years, I recently moved to a small town in southern Oregon—a big culture change, but I’m settling in.

In my free time, I snowboard, root for the Yankees and go hiking. I also cook and bake like a maniac.

As an author in the survival, prepping, self-sufficiency or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

As a Buddhist and environmentalist, I’m concerned about the slim margin of time we have to reverse some of the damage we’ve done to planet and prevent irreversible and very serious changes to cultures, societies and economies around the world. I think reusing waste material is a simple, imaginative way to lessen our impact on the environment.

The goal is to make a better, cleaner, more livable world for the next generation and beyond.

What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?

An emergency kit (and, look, you can use a 5 gallon bucket for one).

No matter where you are, there’s the possibility of an extreme weather event or other type of emergency. Even a long power outage can make things difficult for you if you haven’t got much gas in the car and haven’t shopped in a while.

Basic first aid supplies, batteries, a battery powered radio, dried snack foods and water are easy to set aside and can be vital if your really need them. Once you go through the exercise of making an emergency kit, you can take one step further and make prepper pantry, or even a rudimentary survival shelter.

What movie do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?

The worst case scenario is The Road, which is what happens when society breaks down under pressure. But I think any old Western movie will give you some idea of what it might be like if things go south quickly. Bad things happen when the food chain is interrupted, or there is a threat to general law and order or basic social agreements like the fact that we all agree these little pieces of paper are worth something of value.

Do you have plans for another book?

Many. I’m currently working on a revision of my book Building with Secondhand Stuff: How to Re-Vamp, Re-Purpose & Re-Use Salvaged and Leftover Building Materials. But then I’m going to be working on a book about renovating and pimping out old campers.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

I hope they take the opportunity of the book to explore reusing not only 5-gallon buckets, but other supposedly “waste” items (I use old milk cartons as plant starter boxes).

It’s really like an interesting game when you hold something over that kitchen garbage can and say, “Wait, I wonder I could make this into…?”

The Giveaway

Chris and his publisher have reserved three copies of his book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note: This giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.

The Final Word

One takeaway from Chris’s interview was his suggestion to watch old westerns to learn about life when things go south. What a great idea and not one I have seen mentioned before. In thinking about it, a lot is written about survival during the Great Depression but what about pioneers heading west in wagon trains, with only the most rudimentary of supplies? Like I said, something to think about.

If you are lucky enough to win a copy of the 5 Gallon Bucket Book, you are going to be over the moon anxious to start on some of the projects. One I want to start right away is painting the outside of some buckets were pickle containers in a previous life. Of course these painted buckets will not be used for food storage, but they sure will be useful in color coding buckets of biomass, charcoal, tools and other non-consumables. I can’t wait to get started.

Whether you want to make an upside down tomato planter, nesting box for your hens, or one of the projects mentioned at the beginning, you are going to love this book. And if you wants some tips for scoring free buckets? That is covered too. Just remember to be creative and ask nicely!

For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight: .5 Gallon Bucket Book: DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles

Why just reuse a bucket when you can reinvent it?

Five-gallon buckets are ubiquitous and cheap (indeed, they are often free). But did you know they can also be hacked, hot-rodded, re-engineered, and upcycled to create dozens of useful DIY projects for homeowners, gardeners, small-scale farmers, and preppers? 5-Gallon Bucket Book contains 60+ ideas that put these humble and hard-working mainstays to work past their prime and keep them out of landfills. Simple step-by-step instructions, as well as parts lists and images of the completed projects, make sure you will have fun and love the results of your work.

Projects include perfect additions to your yard and garden, tools to care for your animals, useful innovations, handy home helpers, and even family-oriented designs! They range from simple things such as chicken feeders to much more complex projects (small room air conditioner, anyone?).

For anyone who doesn’t already have fifteen of them cluttering up the garage, 5-Gallon Bucket Book also offers advice on where to get cheap and free buckets and how to tell if a bucket is safe to use for food.

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage. The eBook print version is available.

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96 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 12: 5-Gallon Bucket Book”

  1. I would like information on how to can with out a stove.
    also, what is this I hear a little about square foot gardening??

  2. We just moved to a hot and humid climate. I’d like to learn how to be comfortable/function well without air conditioning.

  3. this would be a good book to have, because there are so many things that you can use a bucket for, but I only know of two or three things.

  4. I need to learn how to build a rotating food storage can supply shelf. The prebuilt ones are ridiculously overpriced.

  5. WOW! All of the uses for our bucket are awesome!! Some I never thought of!!
    I guess that why this book will be so useful. Even if the S does not HTF—
    And we don’t experience a natural disaster, our buckets help to develop self sufficiency and save $$ and resources.
    If the government institutes Cap and Trade, our electric bills will go through the roof– I see a small bucket washer and umbrella clothes to line in my future!!! So excited to get a Copy!!!

    • I too am really impressed by readers bucket ideas. Especially container gardening. I think I can set that up without having to bend over to care for the plants.

      One person mentioned cat litter buckets. I have those. I use one to scoop the used cat litter into, and when it is full we dump it in a hole out back. It’s just clay and cat poop, right? I assume it’s better for the environment than scooping into grocery bags and then it ends up in a landfill where it will never decompose due to plastic.

      So I can use cat litter buckets for container gardens.

      In addition, sometimes I buy cat litter in large jugs with lids. They are NOT water tight and NOT foodsafe. However I wash them out and store water for non-drinking.

      The water would be fine for washing clothes, or bathing. Frequent hand washing is important when you can’t count on medical help.

      These cat litter jugs are NOT stackable. And they cannot be stored on their side. I store them upright behind furniture.

      They are not an ideal solution. I would much prefer waterbricks but these jugs come with the cat litter and I don’t want them in a landfill. Maybe I could take them to recycling but I would rather reuse them. Who can afford waterbricks?

  6. Whenever me and my wife go to our favorite Japanese restaurant , I always see if they have any buckets around back. The ones with soy sauce are my favorites. The ones with other things attracts the bears…there is a line of buckets through the woods right now that need to rescued .

  7. Using buckets for sanitation purposes. I’m in an densely packed urban area with a growing population and infrastructure that hasn’t been updated since the 70s. Hurricane season is here and I’m afraid the next big hurricane to hit will mean no electricity and no water.

    • Sarah, do you have a balcony? Do you have a way to store a lot of sawdust? Can you purchase a large stack of buckets with lids?

      I lived in an apartment in DC with plumbing so old they had to shut off water to the entire building just to fix something in one apartment. We have finally moved to the country, but I spent a lot of time thinking about your question while I lived in the city.

      This is what I planned. Get the buckets, Regular lids, and a toilet seat with lid made for buckets. Amazon sells it. Backdoor Survival has a link. Also purchase as much sawdust as you can store. Pet stores sell it but there must be a cheaper place.

      Use a bucket as a toilet with the seat and lid during an emergency. Layer sawdust over the contents after each use.

      When a bucket is full, put the lid on tight and store it on the balcony. If no balcony, maybe you have a closet you could empty to store the buckets until the emergency is over. Just move the seat to the next bucket.

      The bucket and sawdust arrangement is standard protocol for homemade composting toilets. Normally the buckets would be emptied into a compost bin in the back yard.

      I wanted to get a couple large plastic garbage cans to keep on the balcony and empty the buckets in.

      My husband filpped his lid, pun intended, and squashed all my great ideas.

      However, we did have actual plumbing emergencies on occasion and had to drain the toilet, line with trash bag, go, and then tie up and quadruple bag in grocery bags, then immediately go put in the dumpster. But with rioting or other bad things possible during an emergency, running outside for anything may not be a good idea. Plus, there might not be garbage pickup during an emergency.

      The one thing my husband agreed to was filling all his 2 liter soda bottles with water. We had them stashed in every possible place.

  8. Do-it-yourself hydroponic system. Maybe one that can be set up in the garage.

    Also, as far as 5-gallon buckets, our local walmart started selling buckets in the paint department that are now labeled food grade for about $2.60 each. They tell me they sell the regular lids also but never have any when I go in there. However, I discovered about a month ago that the home depot right across the street sells gamma lids.

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