by Irish-7, Editor-at-Large



   My wife came up with the idea to make “Crisis Buckets” for our loved ones as Christmas presents. I thought it was a monumental concept in that none all of our family and friends put as much effort into disaster preparation as we do. After all, what greater gift can you bestow upon someone than saving their life? First, let me say that you do not have to believe in all the “Gloom & Doom” prophecies to take a few preparedness measures. It is the prudent thing to do. I am quite sure that Hurricane Sandy is still fresh in everyone’s memory.


   There are 4 principles to survival: Food, water, location and protection (from predators or the elements). Remember the Rule Of Threes: Humans can survive UP TO 3 minutes without air, 3 hours in extreme temperatures, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION WILL DICTATE THE PRIORITIES IN WHICH PRINCIPLE YOU ADDRESS FIRST.


   Survival is more mental than physical. You must have a very strong will to live in order to conquer the obstacles of a crisis/disaster/survival situation. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may be forced to do something that you would never consider during normal day-to-day life. I won’t elaborate too deeply, as this bucket is a Christmas present. Consequently, I don’t want to instill morbid thoughts so that you don’t want to touch it. But, I do want you to consider that the furry little critters you think are so cute, may provide your family with enough nutrition to avoid starvation. On a similar note, your neighbor may look at you in a different light, if you have food and his children are hungry. Some folks crack under stress. Don’t dwell on it! Just keep it in the back of your mind. I hope and pray you never have to face it.  


   The items inside this container are just a start! They provide BASIC necessities for a SHORT period. The bucket was designed to be that one item that you would grab if you dashed out of the house a few minutes ahead of a storm, or that you yanked out of your car before it was washed away in a mudslide. Extreme? Yes, but I needed a few examples to get my point across. The idea is to put the container just inside your garage door, in a closet near an exit in your home or the trunk of your vehicle. I would encourage you to add a case of water, larger first aid kit, sack full of non-perishable groceries and a firearm to the list of things that you plan on taking with you in event of an emergency.


   We would be glad to help you set up a longer term, more substantial preparedness program. Let one of us know what you need help with! In closing, I am compelled to give my strongest recommendation into owning a gun and several boxes of ammunition. There is no more efficient tool for personal protection or procurement of food. Again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


   Love, Irish-7 & Spouse


Listed below (next page) are the contents of the bucket with a brief description of the main use and any additional applications. Many of the individual items were grouped together in ziplock bags. SAVE ALL THE BAGGIES! They are very valuable for water storage, collection food (berries, nuts, etc) and for waterproofing things (cell phone, ammunition, etc).





  1. LOWES 5 GALLON BUCKET WITH LID – Can also be used to retrieve water, as a chair, step stool or toilet.
  2. BOTTLED WATER – Depending on the climate and your physical exertion level, you may need 2 gallons of water per person, per day. It is very important to purify water before drinking it. This can be done several ways: Filtering, boiling (at least 1 minute), or with chemicals. Bleach will work in a pinch (1 drop per liter, 2 if cloudy)
  3. SURVIVAL CANTEEN – Containing: 10  band-aids, whistle/compass, flashlight with AA batteries, space blanket, poncho, D-ring, mini pocket knife and a box of waterproof matches. These things are cool, but the components are not quality. I recommend a sturdier compass, small MAGLITE or similar AA flashlight, spare batteries and a Swiss Army Knife (Huntsman model).
  4. TOILET PAPER / WET WIPES – Roll of Cottonelle and small pack of generic baby wipes. No explanation required here! Toilet paper makes great tinder for starting fires, too.
  5. HATCHET – Small, lightweight. You may want to consider a bigger one.
  6. SURVIVAL KIT – Containing:  Waterproof case, band-aids, whistle, candle, flashlight with AA batteries, mini multi tool and a box of waterproof matches. As with the canteen, the contents are handy, but will not take much abuse. A multi-tool from Leatherman, Gerber or Schrade would last much longer.
  7. SLINGSHOT – Small with a bag of ammo (ball bearings). This can be used for personal protection, or for gathering food. Pocket change works in slingshots, if you run out of ball bearings and there are no pebbles around.
  8. FOLDING SAW – 9” Locking blade. Great for cutting small trees to make a shelter or branches for firewood or making tools (spears, stakes, etc)
  9. DROP CLOTH – Plastic. Use for shelter. This was my wife’s idea. I prefer those blue tarps with the grommet holes. You can get them in all sizes and they are relatively cheap.
  10. LOCK BLADE KNIVES, LIGHTER, WATER PURE TABS, SLINGSHOT CORD- In baggie. A KNIFE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SURVIVAL TOOL! It can be used to make every other type of tool you may need. You can buy a good, full-tang, fixed blade knife for $20-30.00! A knife can be taped or tied to a sturdy stick or pole and used as a spear (keep predators away or even impale fish).
  11. TRAVEL KIT – MALE & FEMALE, includes deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, etc. Also, a tissue pack and 2 oz bottle of hand sanitizer. All items secured in a ziplock baggie.
  12. DUCT TAPE – Roll of gray. Endless uses for tape: repair tarp/shelter, clothing, bandage, etc.
  13. FOOD – GRANOLA BARS, SOS FOOD BAR, FRUIT SNACKS, TRAIL MIX – In survival situations, you want to eat food that will give you energy, high in sugar and fat.
  14. PONCO – Lightweight. These are only good for a few uses. They only cost a buck. Get some more!  
  15. SPACE BLANKETS & SAS SURVIVAL GUIDE – Like the ponchos, the space blankets are not reusable more than a few times. I recommend storing a few wool blankets near your bucket. Wool retains heat, even when wet. The SAS Survival Guide is a great little manual. Look it over!
  16. ELECTRICAL TAPE – 1 Roll
  17. SMALL FIRST AID KIT – Just a few band-aids, antiseptic wipes and some moleskin. As mentioned above, you should own a well-stocked first aid kit with common medications: Ibuprofen/Aspirin (pain, swelling &fever), Imodium (diarrhea), Benadryl (antihistamine), Pepcid Complete (antacid), Sudafed/Claritin/Zyrtec, Dramamine (motion sickness), Bacitracin/Neosporin (antibiotic), Lotrimin/Miconazole/Tolnaftate (antifungal), Hydrocortisone Cream & Ambesol/Oragel (toothache).
  18. CANDLES & MATCHES – Fire is one of the most important elements in a survival situation. More than just warmth, fire provides protection from animals and bugs, allows for the sterilization of water and food and overall raises moral.
  19. SURGICAL GLOVES IN A ZIPLOCK BAG – First aid, gutting game and fish, etc.
  20. HAND/BODY WARMERS – Disposable, 10 hour duration
  21. PARACHUTE (550) CORD – Use to tie off tarp or poncho, for making tools.


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  1. I like the idea and we have, in fact, tried something similar in the past with our family but it seems to me that the unprepared simply do not appreciate–nor understand–gifts like this. I guess all we can do is to keep trying with the belief that if they ever need it, the kit will be there.

  2. We took old medication and vitamin bottles and filled them with lint and petroleum jelley coated cotton balls for starting fires, next to the magnesium fire started, lighter and matches….

  3. Great and thorough list Irish7 and spouse !!! How was the response from the fortunate folks you gave the buckets to as gifts ?
    We were a bit more low key. We gave our friends and relatives at least
    one preparedness item- along with another gift-like a good flashlight ot a emergency/weather radio or a prearedness book etc.
    We are currently in a big snowstorm and its great to have the extra food and supplies on hand !!
    Have a safe and preparedly positive New year !!! Arlene and family

  4. I really wanted to submit this article a few weeks ago, in event anyone who follows ModernSurvivalOnline liked the idea enough to make their own prepper Christmas gifts. But, I was way behind with holiday preparation this year. The death of an old Army buddy, attending his service and helping the family with benefits further delayed my plans. I was in such a hurry to type and e-mail the letter and list, I did not proof read it very well. My apologies for the grammar and spelling errors.

    In the Northeast, most folks were adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy. It amazes me how people will recover from a disaster, but not take any measures to get ready for the next one. Well, we did not give our family members any choice! I feel much better knowing that they have some basic provisions. I am anxious to see if any of them take us up on our offer to help them establish a better preparedness program. For anyone curious about the cost of putting these buckets together, they were roughly $100.00 each. We made 5 total. I did not type ammo on the checklist, but several recipients received shotgun shells, .22 LR or .357 MAG bullets. Those buckets ran a little more. Truthfully, if I thought my wife would go along, I probably would have purchased the Swiss Army knives, Schrade/Gerber/Leatherman multi-tools, a decent survival knife and larger hatchet. But, that would have pushed the buckets closer to 200 bucks a piece and I did not want that argument so close to Christmas. Everyone really appreciated the buckets. At least, they were quite grateful when we saw them on Christmas Day. Although I did not believe in the Mayan Calendar End-Of-The-World theory, I did make it a point to hand deliver all the buckets before 21 DEC 12. I figured “the sooner, the better”. Several of the recipients were over an hour away, so it took considerable time and effort to make delivery. Arlene: I am not sure what you mean by “gravatar”. I don’t recall using that term. Happy New Year to your family as well!

  5. I saw gravatar on this site- hmm-maybe a typo. Irish 7 -thanks for sharing and I am glad your gift buckets were a hit.
    The flashlights and candles seemed welcomed by our relatives and friends-a start.
    Everyone lets keep our letters going so we dont lose our right to bear arms .. with this President and representatives. Obama just gave a raise to Biden and Congress-nothing like rewarding negative behavior.
    Happy New Year everyone. Its 13 here and the winds and snow are blowing but the grand kids came to the farm and went sledding today and we enjoyed the woodstove inside with some popcorn and hot chocolate !!

    PSLots of flu around here -even though folks have had their shots.

    • Arlene –

      A gravatar is just a personal symbol that you can use on many sites when commenting. Nothing to be concerned about.

      Thanks for the comments!


  6. The word Gravatar is here under the comment section next to the e mail.Must be an ad.I checked it out and it looks like a symbol or identification that follows all ones e mails-I dure done want that- Rourke do you know about it ? thanks. Arlene
    it says Get a Gravatar

  7. Great idea!!! Tarps also come in green and camo, incase you don’t want to be seen by every passerby who didn’t get a survival bucket for Christmas.

  8. I wish I had said it earlier but, this is a great idea, and one I will not only not forget, but one I will act on…. thx Irish-7, and the brains behind the operation…… your wife!

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