Free DIY: How to make small waterproof containers using plastic trash


It’s great to store smaller bug out bag items in waterproof containers, like medication, tinder, or water purification tablets. In this post, I show how to DIY a free and quick method that recycles/upcycles the plastic bottles you’ll be throwing out anyway. 

When deciding what containers to upcycle, favor sturdier plastic with quality caps, like the too-expensive disposable water bottles.


–A 16oz water bottle or old apple sauce container provides a large capacity inside the lid and a definable lip that can be cut across.–

Next take a hacksaw or sharp kitchen knife and cut below the lid. If you need a slightly larger container, leaving a portion of the neck of the bottle will give some extra capacity. After that, sand down the rough plastic to create an even and smooth surface. You can even just rub it against some concrete. The nice thing about this project is that it does not need to be exact or perfect and further steps will make up for any imperfections.


–Before and after sanding–

Taking another piece of thin plastic that would have ended up in a landfill for the next 500 years, trace around the lid and cut out the little circle, this will form the base of the container.


-I cut out clear plastic circles (which is why they are hard to see in the picture) so I could see inside of the container, but you can go with colored plastic if you want.–

Run a thick bead of hot glue or super glue around the rim of the lid and press on the plastic circle. Hot glue is nice because the thickness of the glue fills any imperfections between the sanded portion of the container and the plastic circle base. Any excess that comes out of the side can be wiped or scraped off.

Possible uses:


The container made out of the large apple sauce bottle can store three large cotton balls that can be coated in vaseline for an excellent tinder source.

Learn more about how to make these by reading this post by forum member Jay Valencia.


Using one of those slim and more eco-friendly water bottle lids, I created a small container that can hold red pepper flakes for spicing up food. On the right is a container made from a full sized lid that is able to hold four ibuprofen liquid gel capsules, perfect for throwing in a pocket or purse.


By combining two wide mouth Gatorade bottle lids, a larger container can be made. Or you can place one of those plastic circles in between the two halves and make a container on either end. Perhaps one side is your medicine in the morning and the other end is for the evening.


By screwing a waterproof container on the end of a Sawyer Mini or Hydroblu Versa, top rated in the Best portable survival water filters article, you will protect the protruding tubes on either end that can be damaged if dropped and also stop any leaking of the filter inside your bag after use.


  • Comments (2)

    • 4

      Nice. This is one of those no-brainers that I hadn’t explicitly thought about until seeing it done.

    • 1

      I like the idea of putting the cap on the end of the water filter. I have a hydroblu myself and while it does have those connected caps on the end (like is shown on the left side of the Sawyer), those get in the way if you are trying to use the filter as a straw and stick it inside of a water bottle.