Tubs ‘n’ Tins

I want to give you some ideas that I hope will fire those imaginations even more and really get you looking at re-using and recycling stuff that would normally be thrown away. This article is titled Tubs ‘n’ tins and that’s what I want to show you, the vast array of tubs & tins out there that normally just get thrown out into the recycling without a second thought. Some of these ideas I am sure you will have seen before but I hope some really surprise you and get you to thinking about other uses.

So to start with I got out a selection of “some” of my tubs & tins and placed them on my kitchen table to photograph. When I had them all out I can see why Kara gives me a bit of grief about how many I “hoard”. As you can see from the main photo there are many different shapes, sizes and types here and I just want to touch on a few in this article.

Whiskey miniature gift set and a tin that a pack of playing cards came in

So let’s start with the good old tobacco tin. Not that easy to get hold of these days, without buying the empty tins that are available on various shop site and web pages. But there are free alternatives out there if you look. The two pictured above and below are a whiskey miniature gift set and a tin that a pack of playing cards came in. keep your eyes out for these after Christmas as they gat reduced or thrown out and you can collect them for your needs. The whiskey tin is a brew kit tin that lives in the side pouch of my day sack, a mix of tea, coffee and mint tea bags are always in this. The card tin, well that is my survival tin. It contains loads of really useful stuff just as the survival tins you can buy, but I put all this together to my needs. I won’t go into the contents here as they have been discussed previously and you should make your own survival tin with your needs in mind not others so kit content is down to the individual.

Inside the whiskey miniature gift set and a tin that a pack of playing cards came in
Treacle and Golden Syrup tin

The next photo above is the good old treacle or golden syrup tin. These are a great help to us bushcrafters. First off you get to use the treacle or syrup in cakes and stuff which is yummy. When the tin is empty, wash it out with really hot water and you have one of the best char cloth making tins around. Simply punch a hole in the lid, make a stick bung for the hole and you are ready to go. I carry one of these tins (the burnt looking one) in my field kit so I can make char cloth when I need to. Again I won’t go into the making process here in this article.

35mm camera film tubs

Next on the list we have the old 35mm camera film tubs, again these are becoming harder to find due to digital photograph but you can still get them. They are great little water tight tubs for storing just about anything. The three pictured here have inside them windproof matches, petroleum jelly and the one with the white powder contains crushed up paracetamol tables. If you grind up a few tables into fine powder you can use it just the same as the tablets but you can also apply the powder directly. I.e., if you have tooth ache wet your finger, dip it in the powder and rub it onto your gum by the sore tooth. This will be more quickly absorbed and go straight to the area of pain and you use less than in tablet form. Obviously I would not recommend carrying this type of item through an airport check in, just in case. But these tubs keep the contents nice and dry.

Kinder Surprise toy tubs

If you can’t find photo film tubs, try this next one. These orange tubs are the centre from a kids chocolate egg that contains a “surprise” toy. These too are a good little water tight container and very versatile. Just as with the film tubs you can put a vast array of small items in these for ease of packing and carrying. The white stuff in the one in the photo is cotton wool. You can push about 4 or 5 large balls into one of these and they will stay nice and dry if you need emergency tinder. Cover them in petroleum jelly if you want the added fire lighting ability. These are great to keep in a pocket on a canoe trip in case you ditch and need a fire quick. Easy to open even with cold wet hands by just squeezing, the lid pops open and away you go.

Chapstick tubes

Whilst we are on about fire lighting and ditch kits. How many of you use chapsticks, just to protect your lips from the sun, wind and cold. I do. Do you throw them away when they wear down to the plastic insert? And there is always that little bit of the chap stick gel left in the cup at the bottom, but it just gets thrown away right? How about this idea. When it wears down to here, take some strike anywhere matches and push the heads of them into the gel. You should get about 8 – 10 matches in this going round the outside of the screw that raises the gel stick when in use. You should also find that when you wind this back down with the matches stuck in it, they should sit pretty level with the top. Whack your cap back on and you have a waterproof match box. When needed take the top off, twist the base and the matches will rise up for easy access. Again very small and compact and worth keeping on you.

Cake decoration containers

The three clear tubs with silver lids, these were tubs that had small cake decorations in. they are fantastic little tubs. Being food grade already you don’t need worry about storing food stuffs in them. They are very lightweight, water & air tight and very versatile. 2 in the photo contain drink powder, one hot chocolate and one instant white tea. The third is a small hobo fishing kit. It contains some floats, spinners, weight, hooks etc. and has a good length of line wrapped around the bottle. Which has those “lumps” top and bottom that look as if they were designed for the job of holding the fishing line in place.

Peanut butter screw top plastic jar

Other tubs in the photos are an old peanut butter screw top plastic jar. This has dried leaves for tea in it. I keep this in my day pack so I can have a pick me up brew if needed. The big black tub below had protein powder in it. Now is a large collection of greater reed mace seed heads. These are great for tinder but must be kept dry and take up some space. They go everywhere if you don’t keep them in a container.

The big black protien tub

I also have a small plastic bottle that I keep a small amount of paraffin in; this is for my hurricane lamp and saves carrying a large bottle with me.

Small plastic bottle for Paraffin

The big silver tins are a set of nesting kitchen tins from a charity shop. I have converted 2 of these into billy cans and they all still nest inside the larger tin.

Big silver tins converted into billy cans

Small mint tins and tubs in the image below ar great for keeping little items in, the mints that you “shake your” come in a nice tub that has a small flip top lid. This can be removed to make filling easier, and filled with various herbs and spices to help with your outdoor cooking. Label them with either a white sticky label or just write on the lid with a marker pen such as; pepper, thyme, rosemary, curry powder etc. etc.

Selection of various different Tubs ‘n’ tins containers

As you can see from the photo above of all the tubs ‘n’ tins, I have given you a brief glimpse at what you can do. So I hope I have stirred your imagination and that you will never look at an empty tub or tin the same way again. Think outside the box and you will be amazed at what you can come up with. Oh, just one thing. Don’t leave your collection of tubs ‘n’ tins all over as it tends to annoy the other half. So I would like to dedicate this article to Kara, for putting up with all my “really useful rubbish”.

By Ian

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