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Waterproofing a Blue Barrel

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    Waterproofing a Blue Barrel

    I remember seeing something on this topic before. Is there a tried and true easy method to keep water out?

    #2
    Buy one with a metal collar and latch that has an o ring in the lid. Does not leak. Needs not to be made waterproof.
    https://recreationalbarrelworks.com/...egory/barrels/

    some balk as they are not cheap. However after 30 years $45 is not a bad investment. Less than a cup of coffee a year

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      #3
      Ours is a Recreational Barrel Works that we purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op. As yellowcanoe suggested, it has a metal collar with a latch, an an o ring in the lid. It does not leak. Even so, we still put dehydrated meals, and other such items that must stay dry, in zip lock bags or plastic garbage bags. Double protection.

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        #4
        I have used over 20 different barrels in my time, none leaked, although I didn't leave them submerged for hours at a time or subject them to the Mike M tests.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Black_Fly View Post
          I remember seeing something on this topic before. Is there a tried and true easy method to keep water out?
          This thread maybe:

          http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/...lume-mysteries

          A blue barrel with a properly (tight) snap ring and uncompressed gasket seal should be waterproof with no extra attention needed. To test it just dump a couple gallons of water inside, turn the barrel upside down and see if it leaks. From a tripping food storage perspective if it leaks water it leaks food odor.

          If it does leak one of several things could be wrong. The plastic rim could be compromised somewhere. There could be a teeny vent hole drilled somewhere; a truly sealed barrel will suck a deforming vacuum in elevation change, and I’ve heard of used shipping barrels with a tiny vent hole drilled near the rim.

          The easiest to fix is that an old gasket that has been compressed to where it no longer seals tightly. You can DIY O-ring gasket material as above, or as a KISS solution just pull out the old gasket, lay a circle of window screen spline in the groove and lay the old, now raised gasket atop that. The 50 cent solution.

          It could be that the snap ring has been abused and no longer cinches properly. If the O-ring gasket isn’t smushed, and the snap ring still sound (flat), it should be kinda of a chore to get the ring lever snapped closed. I was easy-pleased that I could close the ring on our 45L barrel with just my pinkie, until I discovered that it didn’t just leak, it poured water out. If the ring closes too easily something ain’t right.

          People (not saying who, ok, me at times) try to snap the ring closed when it is cockeyed along the rim. Not good practice; the ring will take a permanent warp and be even harder to seat the next time. Replacement rings are hard to find, as pricey as a used barrel if you do find one, and a crap shoot as to whether they fit tightly and seal the deal.

          If it leaks I’d try adding gasket material first. If that doesn’t cure the drip try incrementally all-the-way-around squeezing the rim of the ring a little closer together with a pair of pliers.

          Two of the three blue barrels we tested leaked, and a couple leaked badly. All were fixable.

          Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post
          some balk as they are not cheap. However after 30 years $45 is not a bad investment. Less than a cup of coffee a year
          I do love me a blue barrel for food and cookware. The 60L is too big and too heavy for me, even with a harness. The oddball 45L is near perfect on long trips and fits in most of our boats.

          I’d love to have a 30L, or even more a couple of 20L barrels if such are made. But unless you can fetch a barrel yourself the shipping charges on something barrel-sized gets additionally pricey.

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            #6
            If it leaks clean the groove thoroughly with clean rag and alcohol, let dry, fill groove completely with exterior silicone caulking or exterior caulking of choice, cover caulking with a layer of Saran Wrap, put cover on and latch down, let dry a day or two then remove the saran Wrap et voilà a perfect seal. You can cut away the overflow caulking. Did mine which was leaking over 20 years ago and it's still sealing.

            Gerald

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              #7
              There are lots of barrel suppliers on craigslist, they mostly have the standard 45 gallon size but most of these places will also have a small assortment of other sizes of open head drums (in the industry they are drums not barrels). I've never paid more than $10 for any of my 30 or 60L barrels.

              A few of the used ones I've acquired had damaged snap rings so they leaked but most of them were fine including my main 60L which I've used since the late 1980's.

              When selecting a barrel one thing to check is the top lip, especially where the "mold seam" is, any nicks or variation in height will lead to leakage, if it's smooth all round you should be good to go.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Gerald View Post
                If it leaks clean the groove thoroughly with clean rag and alcohol, let dry, fill groove completely with exterior silicone caulking or exterior caulking of choice, cover caulking with a layer of Saran Wrap, put cover on and latch down, let dry a day or two then remove the saran Wrap et voilà a perfect seal. You can cut away the overflow caulking. Did mine which was leaking over 20 years ago and it's still sealing.

                Gerald
                Nice hack Gerald! Gotta file that somewhere in my sieve of a mind. Bet it falls out though
                Oh and raccoons and bears may try to unlatch the latch.. A cotter pin confounds them Field tested by me with raccoons but not bears.

                Mike MC the secret in hauling a 60 liter barrel is a really good harness. I have one by Ostrom and its now carried by Recreational Barrel Works.
                Again an investment. I had the old Ostrom Voyageur Harnesses and they were pricey but again per use cost.. And comfortable! RBW has a new combi harness but I have not seen it
                https://recreationalbarrelworks.com/...ory/harnesses/

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                  #9
                  Now that seems as easy as anything. Thank YC.

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                    #10
                    And you may wish to not clamp the locking ring when in storage as that can crush the gasket enough to give it a "set" and cause it to leak when you use it outdoors.

                    And you may wish to burp the containers often as you go through major elevation changes. Going up several thousand feet leads to a lot of excess pressure inside the container and going down leads to a partial vacuum that may make the lid very difficult to remove. There's a good reason that sealed military shipping containers and storage boxes have pressure release valves.....

                    Best regards to all.


                    Lance

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by LanceR View Post
                      And you may wish to burp the containers often as you go through major elevation changes. Going up several thousand feet leads to a lot of excess pressure inside the container and going down leads to a partial vacuum that may make the lid very difficult to remove. There's a good reason that sealed military shipping containers and storage boxes have pressure release valves.....
                      Coming home in one non-stop 40 hour drive from a high elevation trip out west we had a 60L barrel, strapped to minicel cradles in the back of the tripping truck, suck a deforming vacuum. The barrel popped back into shape the instant we pried the lid off.

                      That elevation change whoompf, inhale or exhale, is at least the sign of a well sealed barrel.

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                        #12
                        Does anyone pack non-food items in a barrel with food?

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                          #13
                          The following statement is what I do, not to be taken as advice.

                          Yes, my food, clothes, sleeping bag, mattress, every thing goes in the barrel, except fuel, if I bring some kind of fuel operated stove. That goes in the day pack. I know people will tell you that is a big no-no, but I'm not travelling in Grizzly land, and I'm not bringing steaks. Food is all dry in separate packs in the barrel. I have seen many bears, but only ever had one in camp, which was quickly dispatched with a bear banger, and I've been wilderness tripping on Northern Ontario for 30 years.

                          Don't want to start the big bear debate, but judging by the poll on cleanliness, most people here are going to stink like food and other good things already, lol.

                          If you are travelling in a well used park setting where yogi has come to think of people as fast food providers, you might want to carry food in a separate, smaller pack, like a 30 litre barrel or something. Where I travel, the bears that know what humans are associate us with a boom stick.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Gerald View Post
                            If it leaks clean the groove thoroughly with clean rag and alcohol, let dry, fill groove completely with exterior silicone caulking or exterior caulking of choice, cover caulking with a layer of Saran Wrap, put cover on and latch down, let dry a day or two then remove the saran Wrap et voilà a perfect seal. You can cut away the overflow caulking. Did mine which was leaking over 20 years ago and it's still sealing.

                            Gerald
                            Brilliant! Thanks Gerald.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Black_Fly View Post
                              Does anyone pack non-food items in a barrel with food?
                              No. Our 30L barrel is just spacious enough for about 10 day's worth of fresh/dry menus, things like apples, lemons, onions, rice, dehydrated stuff...that's for a glamping type trip. There's no room for anything else. If we eliminate the fresh we can squeeze in our kitchen kit too, things like pot set, coffee pot and stuff...that's for a spartan type trip. Towards the end of a trip I may slide in a tarp into the emptying space. Our barrel is clean and the food is well contained therein, but there is little room for anything else. I haven't used our 60L for food, and have no intention of doing so. It is a nice size for tarps, tent etc

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