Like many other things, I have an unnatural obsession with containers. I keep most sturdy, usable containers from products that I buy, and I will even admit to buying stuff [i]just so I can get the container it’s in[/i]. One feature I look for and rarely find is that the container is watertight. Watertight containers are usually big, bulky, and heavy, or crappy zip or press seal plastic bags. I kept on seeing these sweet little watertight containers in the food container section at WalMart, but couldn’t handle the ~$10 they were asking for three tiny little 1-2 cup containers. Enter Aldi, the quirkiest grocery store I have ever seen.
My wife shops at Aldi about once a week, picking up a few things that they have and we know from previous experience do not taste like ass. She knows how I am about containers, so she called me up and asked if I was interested in a set of the watertight containers like they sell at WalMart, only you get 7 containers in a range of sizes for ~$8. I think my reply was something along the lines of “fuck yeah!”
The containers are obviously meant for food, and are an interesting solution to keeping an airtight seal. The lid has a slot running around it with a rubber gasket, and four snap closures, one on each side. This method of keeping food airtight also does a great job of keeping the container watertight. I have dunked the containers in water several times, sometimes for extended periods, and have not seen any leaks. The plastic they use seems of a decent quality and should handle plenty of use and abuse. The gasket is a soft rubber that seems robust, and could probably be replaced with something like silicone caulk if it ever failed.
The larger containers will probably stay at home keeping food safe, but the smaller containers are the perfect size to keep gear dry that needs to stay dry. Cell phones, fire kits, cameras, etc. would work well in these containers, especially since they weigh much less than their Pelican or Pelican equivalent counterparts. Since their walls are thinner than other watertight containers, they can fit more inside them, while also taking up less space. I wouldn’t take them diving, but I have yet to encounter a diving situation on a backpacking trip, so I think I’m safe.
If you are not familiar with Aldi, I will say that finding these things might be a crapshoot. They have the weirdest assortment for a small, 3-4 aisle grocery store, with produce next to laptops and garden chairs. From what I have read, the buyers pretty much just buy whatever they can get a good deal on, and pass the savings along their customers. However they do it, you can get some nice little watertight containers for much less than you would pay for the equivalent at a department store. Even if you can’t find them at Aldi, $10 is not a bad price to pay to make sure essential gear stays dry and functional.