Why would you spend $100 on a bucket? I had to know if this $100 bucket was worth the money so I tested it and was very surprised by the results
I, like most sailors I’m sure, use a bucket. A lot. In fact, it’s arguably the most used item on our boat. It’s the first thing I retrieve from the aft locker on boarding, to clean the cockpit or decks and the inevitable leaks. And I am of course referring to a standard, no-frills £5/5lt bucket available from any hardware store and used with a length of line attached to scoop out seawater. This bucket will typically then remain in the cockpit for cleaning purposes or for use as an al fresco heads.
So why would I, or anyone in fact, need a bucket that costs 10-20 times that amount. And how can you describe a bucket as a ‘performance bucket’?! Huck’s PR admittedly had me intrigued.
Truth be told our current bucket is actually the second bucket in the 9 years of owning our current boat, after the handle broke on the first. And I can’t stand the sight of broken handles or floating buckets littering the sea or estuary banks. So that alone seemed like a good reason to try a more durable alternative.
But looking at the huge great shiny delivery, which came in a box complete with a can cooler and stickers – even its own carry bag – to encourage me into the Huck cult, I couldn’t ever imagine taking it on board. ‘I’m certainly not going to let the kids wee in that,’ were my first thoughts!
Little did I know the ultimate test of this bucket was just around the corner – or up in the air actually. A clue to the sturdiness of the Huck lies in its weight (plus the ‘Danger – this is not a toy!’ sticker on its base). Proudly made in Maryland USA, from SpryTech UV-proof performance polymers, the 5-gallon buckets come with a lifetime warranty. They are described as ‘virtually indestructible’, which is proven in a video by running one over with a tractor to show how it rebounds back into shape immediately.
Huck claims its buckets to be lightweight, but at around 1,450g, it is around 3x that of a ‘normal’ bucket.
Admittedly the handle and attachment points are markedly different and noticeably sturdy. But for me, the significant difference in this over any bucket I’ve used before, is the Vibram rubber feet and side handles, which were to prove so critical. A key reason so many buckets end up overboard is not only that their handles break, but that they slide on heeling decks and topple over.
Proof on the roof
During the winter storms a couple of ridge tiles, which cap the 45º corner on the roof of our house, blew off. I was either going to need to spend around £500 on scaffolding plus a roofer’s fee to go up there and replace them, or I needed to DIY the job. The latter involves being able to climb up onto and safely stay on the roof, accompanied by some mortar and the replacement tiles.
Even with only ‘one hand for me’ to cling on with and one for the trowel I’d still need another for the mortar and tiles. Until I remembered the Huck. Not only did the handle prove strong enough to hoist up on a long line while carrying ridge tiles and mortar inside it, but the rubber feet proved grippy enough to leave it on the steep slope of the pitched tiles, freeing up a hand to apply the new tiles.
There is no chance I could have done the job without it or with a conventional bucket.
The short story is that the Huck saved me hundreds of pounds and proved invaluable on its first outing. I’m now confident it will balance on any yacht’s heeled deck and be a lifetime asset. It’s still a bit too nice (read valuable) to leave in our boat’s locker though and I’ve yet to tarnish it with smelly fish guts (although it is food-safe).
As founder Joe Schneider says ‘Good buckets ain’t cheap, cheap buckets ain’t good’.
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