November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Where to buy 5 gallon buckets?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Marla Beringer
Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/22/2012 00:40:40 MDT Print View

Next week I'm flying to California to walk the John Muir Trail.
So I need a 5 gallon bucket with lid to send a resupply to Muir Trail Ranch.
Here in the Netherlands (Europe) I only found smaller buckets.

Where can I buy such a bucket, especially in Berkeley?
I suppose that's such buckets are used for paint or pet food, but what if I just need a bucket?


Edited by masanella on 06/22/2012 00:41:39 MDT.

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Home Depot on 06/22/2012 00:44:24 MDT Print View

A building supply store like Home Depot would carry 5-gallon buckets.

And here are the locations around Berkeley:


Edited by rcmike on 06/22/2012 01:02:17 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Home Depot on 06/22/2012 00:55:15 MDT Print View

Remember, if you try to use a Home Depot bucket, also get a lid that fits. Some buckets are sold without lids.


chris Nelson

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Home Depot on 06/22/2012 00:56:52 MDT Print View

Go to any restaurant or sandwich shop that uses pickles and ask them for one. They will have plenty. They also have a pretty good resealable top.

If you are in SF PM me and I will help you out.

Edited by Nel250 on 06/22/2012 00:57:54 MDT.

Marla Beringer
Thanks! on 06/22/2012 08:28:33 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot!

I checked the store locator, but I'm afraid the Home Depot store might be difficult without a car.

Chris, thanks! I will contact you after my arrival in SF.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Thanks! on 06/22/2012 16:16:14 MDT Print View

Many Walmarts carry them too.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Thanks! on 06/22/2012 16:42:30 MDT Print View

Yeah...they sell them empty in most home improvement sections/stores. People use them for all sorts of things. But I can tell you that ANY Home Depot or Lowe's will have them, in the paint section, with lids right by.

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
in Berkeley on 06/22/2012 17:47:18 MDT Print View

try OSH (hardware store) or Urban Ore (salvage). Or craiglist.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/22/2012 19:28:19 MDT Print View

Ace hardware, oak barrel wine craft

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/22/2012 20:30:37 MDT Print View

Any store that carries house paint and supplies. Hardware stores, home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe's), building supplies, and a group that are the US equivalent of the "hypermarche"--KMart, Target, Walmart, Fred Meyer (northwest), Meijer (midwest), etc.

For your purpose, I would not get used ones that have contained food. No matter how carefully they're cleaned, there will be residual food odor to attract bears, rodents, etc.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/22/2012 20:45:24 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/23/2012 03:25:33 MDT Print View

Side note/question.

I'm doing the JMT as well and plan on sending a resupply to MTR, but instead of a bucket, i was just going to use a medium size USPS flat rate box lined with a trash bag and taped well.

I feel like a 5 gallon bucket is overkill for a solo resupply given it's size, weight and mailing expense, etc. So I'm hoping that MTR won't care about picking up a flat rate box. Their website talks about the buckets, but it doesn't say they're required.

So, does anyone know if using anything other than a bucket is prohibited by MTR or not?


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/23/2012 03:51:34 MDT Print View

You might want to think about this. Suppose you ship a 5 gallon bucket full of food to MTR. You claim it at MTR and get your food. Now what are you going to do with an empty bucket?

I realize that an empty bucket can be re-used by somebody. If a package is acceptable, it is not so easily re-used, but it can be burned.

I've used a 5 gallon bucket full of food only once, but that was because of a potential rodent problem at a food cache site.


Robin McKay
(rlmckay) - M

Locale: Auckland NZ
Re: Re: Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/23/2012 04:52:40 MDT Print View

Susan - We (2) did JMT last August (from NZ) and re-supplied once at JMTR - I think you could go with a 3 gallon bucket - we really struggled to get 9 days into the 5 gallon (for 2) but did it!
I feel the cost from JMTR will be the same - They kept the bucket and will recycle your trash - call them - they are nice people to deal with - I did this from here in NZ. We got the bucket at a local hardware shop and posted from our base at Merced. JMTR will give you a bar code when you subscribe (I think it was $50) and you tape this onto the bucket.
Pat at JMTR is a lovely lady and really looked after us!
Enjoy your trip - we LOVED it!!

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Where to buy 5 gallon buckets? on 06/23/2012 09:22:33 MDT Print View

With the amount of food laying around, I suspect rodents are around too. I wouldn't trust a cardboard box full of food to remain intact one night.

MTR recycles the buckets.

Edited by redmonk on 06/23/2012 09:23:06 MDT.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
"Where to buy 5 gallon buckets?" on 06/23/2012 10:15:37 MDT Print View

The MTR wants your food in buckets specifically to avoid the field mice chewing into them in their rock building they store the buckets in. They are so used to handling 5-gal buckets and recycle them as well. This is from their website:

How do I pack?
Put your stuff in a plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid (5-gallon is most popular, other sizes OK). Why? We’re located in the wilderness and take packages across a lake, sometimes during rainstorms. A cardboard box won’t survive the trip. Buckets are waterproof and recyclable. Your cache may be hauled in to the ranch on horseback, but likely on a rugged truck that crawls over rocks. It’s almost impossible to keep meadow mice out of anything that isn’t just about armor-plated. Plastic keeps them out. As for bears, our stout storage building keeps them at bay. You can get free buckets and lids at a restaurant; they’re used for mayonnaise and such. Home improvement stores have them for sale also. (The bucket can be any color.)
Tape the lid and handle down, too. To make things totally pro, order a free set of labels (see below).
DO NOT put the address label on the side; ONLY THE TOP. It could be returned by the post office if on the side and the postage is also on the side where it could be knocked off in handling. It’s safe on the lid.

Marla Beringer
I'll try a 2,6 gallon bucket on 06/23/2012 11:32:59 MDT Print View

Thank you all!

I know the procedure at MTR already (also about the neccessity of a bucket, no carton packages).
I already had contact with MTR about me not having a 5 gallon bucket. They promised they would charge me only $55 even if I would bring in 2 smaller buckets.

I will try at home if I can fit my stuff in a 10 liter bucket . If not I will try to get a 5 gallon bucket in Berkeley. Thanks to all the postings I know there are plenty of possibilities.

Funny, here in Holland I can't find anything bigger than 10 liter (2,6 gallon). I suppose what they say is true: everything's bigger in the States ;-)


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: I'll try a 2,6 gallon bucket on 06/23/2012 11:40:03 MDT Print View

Thread Drift....

What size of canister will you be using on the trail?
Have you test packed something of similar dimensions?

....end Drift.

Marla Beringer
Thread drift answer on 06/23/2012 11:49:30 MDT Print View

Yes, I will use the Bearikadse Weekender (fits 5 days of food for one person) and in the the last months I have walked a lot with a dummy cannister of the same dimensions in my backpack:

Pink Bearikade

At Muir Trail Rach of course I will upload a lot more food than for 5 days, but in the first days a canister is not prescribed.


Edited by masanella on 06/23/2012 11:50:15 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Thread Drift Implications and Opportunities on 06/23/2012 12:09:59 MDT Print View

A Weekender has 650 cubic inches of volume, very close to 11 liters.

2.5 gallons is 577 cubic inches, so I'd guess a 2.5 gallon bucket won't do it.

If you end up going with a 5 gallon bucket, you will have a lot of extra room.

I suggest filling that extra room with 1) beer, 2) canned peaches 3) other items that would make a great "one-day-treat".

Happy Trails.

Edited by greg23 on 06/23/2012 13:01:37 MDT.

Marla Beringer
easy ... on 06/29/2012 22:37:03 MDT Print View

Indeed it's very easy to buy a 5 gallon bucket. I got mine at Ace Hardware Store in downtown Berkeley, and I also saw them everywhere ;-)
Thanks for all the help.