Sea to Summit Folding Bucket
Add some convenience to your trip by filtering water…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25
Add some convenience to your trip by filtering water from camp. This piece of gear will help you do that.
- The cost
Every now and then, you seem to run across a piece of gear that makes you wish you would have thought of that. Well, that piece of gear for me was the Sea-to Summit Folding Bucket. How many times have you sat on a river or lake bank to pump water into your water bladder or 1L bottle? This piece of gear eliminates all that.
The Sea To Summit folding bucket holds 10 Liters of water from which you can filter water within the comfort of your own camp. It measures about 3" X 3" X 1" thick when it's in the carry case and weighs in at 3.4 oz's.
It's made from a treated heavy nylon (I assume), is extremely durable and fully seam sealed.
When you need it, unfold it, fill'er up with water, take it back to camp and start pumping. I've found with two to three people, the 10 liter size is just about right for recharging water bladders and filling several 1 liter bottles for use during dinner. If you have excess water, Sea To Summit conveniently put a small handle on the back side to you can easily dump out the extra on a nearby tree.
It does take a little finesse to fill since the sides are not rigid, but it's well worth the practice and effort. If you can find a deeper place in the river or lake in order to fully submerge it, it is easier to completely fill. It is also self supporting when filled, but you do need to find a reasonably flat surface to set it on. If you don't, it will collapse fairly easily.
One other item of note. Be careful about leaving the bucket full of water over night. On a recent trip into Kilpacker Basin near Telluride, Colorado, a friend of mine left some water inside the bucket over night so we could top off in the morning. When get got up the next morning, we found a small pika inside of the bucket desperately trying to get out. I still haven’t figured out how he got inside, but after a little bath, I don’t think he was any worse for the wear.
The only downside to the folding bucket is the cost (hence the 4 stars). In my non-business thinking mind, i'm guessing $10. If you were somewhere around there, both of us would be grossly wrong. Sea to Summit gets $25 big ones for this little gem. I nearly choked when I saw the cost, but I did it anyway. Since I doubt I’ll wear it out, I figured I would do my part to help the economy.
For 3.4 oz's, I'm willing to trade some weight for a little convenience and yeah, I still wish I would have thought of the idea.
Edit: please note there is a difference between the bucket I reviewed and the picture shown by Trailspace. in the picture from Trainspace, the ULTRA-SIL version is shown. I don't own this version, but i believe the ULTRA-SIL version is much lighter, but its not free standing.
This bucket performs reasonably well with some care.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $25
This bucket performs reasonably well with some care. While it can be challenging to fill, and difficult to get it to stand up, it adds a real level of convenience to backcountry camping. No more frequent trips to the water supply — I find one fill-up of the bucket provides enough water for an overnight stay.
- Relatively lightweight
- Relatively compact storage
- Difficult to keep it standing
- Difficult to fill
I never thought I'd buy something like this for backpacking ... but I figured it might help prolong the life of my water filter between cleanings if I had a bucket to let sediment settle before using the filter. Also it probably is more LNT-ish to collect water from the source and store it at the campsite rather than making multiple trips to the water's edge to filter it from there.
Anyway, I've used this just once so far on an overnight trip, and it worked out pretty well. It did help in the ways I thought it would. There are a few things to consider though.
- It can be difficult to fill unless deep water is accessible. To really fill it, you need to have water deep enough to submerge the bucket while it's upright. Pulling the bucket along horizontally doesn't allow you to collect much water. So it works fine if you have a stream where there's a pool, or a lake that slopes fairly steeply... or of course if there's a waterfall :). But if the water source is a shallow stream, this bucket probably won't be of much use.
- It can be tricky to get it to stand up while full of water. I lost one bucket full because it simply fell over after I'd left it and walked away. After that I was much more careful in positioning it, and it was OK. But as I used water from it, I kept wondering if it'd tip over again (and collapse). I guess you just need to be careful, and if possible, position it next to something supportive.
At about 3.5 oz (with the little stuff-package), it's significant, but probably not unreasonable given its benefits. It is very compact when folded, so it doesn't take much space in your pack, or pack pocket.
I plan to continue using mine, at least when headed to destinations where I'll be likely to find a suitable water source where I can use it.
Update: November 24, 2011
I've continued to use this on my trips since first posting my review over a year ago. I've developed this routine now, when I select a campsite, I fill the bucket at the water source, then find a low hanging branch, or narrow rock outcropping, or similar at my site, and attach the bucket handle with a bungee cord to keep it upright. Then I have a water source right at my campsite without needing to schlep to the lake/creek repeatedly.
It's better for the water-side vegetation, more convenient for me, and I can even select campsites further from the water without it being inconvenient (again, better for the environment near the water). I've found this to be well worth the few extra ounces in my pack...
Fold causes a wear spot that leaks. Loved it on the…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30
Fold causes a wear spot that leaks.
- Stands up by itself (carefully)
- Not very compact
Loved it on the first use. Second use it sprung a little leak at a fold. Patched it with duct tape, but I'm not confident in it now.
Where to Buy
The ideal lightweight solution for carrying and storing water in the outdoors. The 10 Liter Folding Bucket weighs less than 3 ounces! These thoughtfully designed buckets are made from non-absorbent, food grade TPU-coated nylon - 210D around the sides and 420D on the base, for added strength. The all-welded, no-seam construction of this bucket means there’s no need for seam taping, which really saves on weight. The carry handle is made of a dual layer 420D nylon which is RF welded to the main body. The additional grab handle on the base makes pouring easy. The tall shape is ideal for use with water purification systems.
- Packs down small & light
- Non-absorbent fabric
- Welded watertight construction
- Additional handle for easy pouring
- Food grade coating - PVC free
- Free standing on level surfaces (use care in windy conditions)
- Comes with a zippered storage pouch