1 gal water containers for storage

I’m new to prepping, and I’m working on water storage. My sister and I live alone together, and we aren’t particularly strong, so we want to store a portion of the water in 1 gal containers. Those will be easier for us to carry and use, especially for short-term emergencies when we might not even need to break into our 5 gal containers.

From reading The Prepared, I understand that we shouldn’t use cheap plastic containers like milk cartons or soda bottles. Would a beverage cooler like this one be appropriate? https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-1-Gallon-Beverage-Cooler-Jug-Blue/23787717? My concern is that it might not seal securely enough for long term storage.

If this won’t work, can anyone suggest an alternative 1 gal container? Thanks in advance!


  • Comments (8)

    • 3

      Good Evening,

      I’ve have no experience with coolers like the one you mention for water storage. But there are some options in the 1 gallon range. This site has some wonderful information on water storage. Simply put “water brick” in the search box on the upper right of the screen for information on 1 gallon stackable containers. You are wise to recognize the question of lifting ability in storing water. As with all things preparedness, space, money, and your energy level are all considerations. If you are not already aware of them, let me offer a couple of possibilities in the 1 gallon and under range. Blue Can water sells water in 12 ounce (I think) soft drink size cans that is good for YEARS without doing any rotating, and the cans will fit in lots of small storage places in your house and car. But cost is a factor. I’ve also had good luck with Puravai water, which sells water in 1 liter bottles and is also good for YEARS of shelf life. But again, cost is a factor. But if you factor in that these two sources come in their own containers, there is no need to buy your own containers, no need to buy bleach, etc. to clean containers regularly, and no need to carry around lots of water weight to maintain rotation, these two might be a good option for you. And there are folks on this forum with WAY MORE experience in these matters than I have. These are just the two sources I use. There are LOTS of options for water, containers, filters, reverse osmosis, etc. on the market. For our household, I use the two sources mentioned above for long term storage drinking water storage, and use rotated (reverse osmosis) water for cooking, cleaning, hand washing, etc. Our “rotated” water supplies are in 10 liter and 20 liter Scepter water jugs, also shown elsewhere on this site. But a 20 liter jug full of water is roughly 45 pounds.

      Let me encourage you also to consider the structural capabilities of your water storage area in making your plans for water storage. There are 55 gallon drums out there made specifically for water storage, which can be both filled and drained by hand pumps a bit at a time so you have no water lifting to do as you use the water. But if I remember correctly, water is 7 to 8 pounds per gallon. Not all homes have floors that are built to take 400 pounds dropped on them in a couple of square feet of floor space. Good Hunting!

      • 2

        Thanks for pointing me towards Blue Can and Puravai. I hadn’t heard of them before. We’ll probably get at least a dozen of each–having a variety of containers will add flexibility. They’re smaller than I was looking for, though. I think what attracts me to the beverage cooler is that it holds a gallon but doesn’t cost quite as much as the half Water Bricks. But you get what you pay for! Thanks again. 

      • 2

        Regarding the structural capabilities of our water storage area–I hardly know how to start thinking about this. But our house is built on a concrete slab foundation. Do you think that will be all right? I can’t imagine 400 pounds cracking the slab. 

      • 2

        You’ll want to place the water barrel on a wood pallet or at least a piece of plywood to get it up off the floor a little and also to prevent any spilled chemicals from touching and getting into your water storage. If you store the water barrel on the ground floor or in a basement and there is only your water barrel and that wood in on top of a concrete slab, then you will have no issues. 

        You’ll just need to worry about structural stability if you were placing it in the attic, second story floor, or on something like a patio.

      • 1

        Great, thanks!

    • 2

      What are your thoughts on possibly having something like a 15 or 20 gallon tank with a spigot on the bottom that could act as your main water storage, and then fill up a 1 gallon container and carry that around the house as needed. That might be the best bang for your buck.

      • 2

        That’s probably the best solution. Thanks for the great idea! 

    • 2

      I’m with everybody else on this. If your water storage is going onto a concrete slab supported floor, and you have something to elevate your storage a bit, you should be fine, particularly in a garage as slabs there are engineered to support your car.