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At the bottom of this page is a list of page links to every page in our website.
To find an item in our website please click on the following link:

This page is a work in progress.
The last update was:


Also, Please visit the following page in our website:

90 Resources for Disaster & Emergency Preparedness
On this page we will make suggestions for different types of
equipment and the sources for them.
These are items that we have. There are many
other pieces of equipment out there that are as good or better.
This is not a forum for discussing which items are better than
I can only recommend items that we have used, some items we
have used will not be shown on this page because they did
not work out well.
In many instances I will use eBay as a source for some items
on this page.
When bidding or purchasing on eBay please follow
their guidelines for your protection.  
The following are links to each catagory:

When buying a water storage drum you will want one that is
brand new and from a reputable dealer.
We have seen many "deals" on used drums.
The big question is, what were these used for?

The best place I have found for clean water storage drums is:

water storage barrel by emergency essentials copyright by Emergency Essentials

They also offer a nifty siphon pump which consists of some heavy
clear tubing with a foot valve on one end.
Also available is an adapter which slides into the siphon pump's plastic tubing
and has a male hose thread on the end to connect to a garden hose.
A side note, I use one of these siphons to top off our batteries from
a jug of distilled water. We keep it in a bag marked batteries so it is
not used for anything else.
water siphon by emergency essentials   water siphon to garden hose adapter copyright by Emergency Essentials

For virus protection, water should be pre-treated before
running it through a filter.
There are a number of pre-treatment products available such
as Micropur by Katadyn.

katadyn micropur water treatment photo copyright Katadyn USA

For fresh water filtering I like the Katadyn Pocket model.
It uses a ceramic filter which can be cleaned and or replaced.

katadyn pocket photo copyright Katadyn USA

These can be purchased directly from Katadyn or on eBay.
For more information please click onto the following link:

Another one we like is the Triton M3 in-line filter.
These can be found at various places on the internet, we purchased a
few on eBay.
The filtration units are connected in series, each unit performs a specific

image coyright by Prismedical Corp.

As far as I can tell, the Triton is no longer manufacturered but they
may still be available throughon-line auctions.

For water distallation on a stove top you might consider the
Waterwise 1600.
water wise 1600 stove top distillation unit image copyright Water Wise

They will distill water much faster than a solar still.
You need to follow the directions and keep watch on it.
They are a little pricey but the only other non-electric option
I know of would be to make one yourself.
There are many companies selling these on the internet,
we purchased ours on eBay.
The following like will take you to their site:

For salt water desalinators I would recommend two items
from Katadyn.
These force salt water against a membrane which passes
the fresh water and all but a minute amount of salt is blocked.
These hand-held reverse osmosis water makers do a pretty
good job.
They have two hand-operated models which are the
Survivor - 06
katacyn survivor 06 water maker  Image copyright by Katadyn.
and the
Survivor 35
datadyn survivor 35 Image copyright by Katadyn.

The street price of the 06 runs about $ 900.00 and
for the 35 runs about $ 1,950.00.

For specifications please click onto the following link:

The U.S. Government has sold off many of these which were
held in storage since the 1990's.
Many of these are being offered for sale on eBay as "New and
Unused" - Don't fall for that line.
Some components will degrade over time and need to be replaced,
even if they are kept unused and sealed.
The most expensive part is the membrane.
Here is what we did in 2009.
First off, I contacted Katadyn to get an approximate cost range to
refurbish both models.

Then I purchased a Survivor 35 on eBay for about $ 195.00.
I got a work order number from Katadyn and sent it in.
They refurbished it for around $450.00 and at the time it took
around four weeks to turn it around.

I then purchased a Survivor 06 on eBay for about $ 70.00.
Katadyn refurbished it for about $ 290.00 and it took about
five weeks to turn it around.

We came out okay on both of these water makers.

A note, since moving from Southern California these kind of lost
their importance.
We kept the small unit and gave the larger one to the youngest son
to sell, yup the youngest and oldest helped us move.  


For propane heating we have a small Mr. Heater (app. 15,00 btu)
tank top (refillable type tank) radiant, a small Century radiant heater
for mounting on top of a disposable propane bottle or on top of a
Prest-O-Lite post as well as a Coleman 45,000 btu for use with
refillable tanks.
We use these in a partially open area with plenty of ventilation.
These are designed for outdoor use only.

Please note that when heating with propane indoors you should
only use a heater that is designed for indoor use.
Just because you can not smell the fuel, it still consumes oxygen
and produces carbon monoxide.  

Always re-fuel heaters outdoors for safety and let the unit
cool down first.

Prior to the 1980's, few if any, kerosene heaters had any
safety features. When heaters started coming into the U.S.
two major safety features were required to get a U.L. Listing.

The first is a grill over surfaces that become hot in the operation
of the heater.

The second is a tip-over shut-off device.
These used a pendulum which when tilted out of plumb would
retract the wick and put out the flame.
The wick advance mechanism was spring loaded and in some
cases would slide a shutter over the wick - like the Kero Sun Radiant 8.
Many heaters came with an external caged plumb bob to show that
the unit was level.

In the last couple of years I have seen some radiant heaters on the market
which say they are made in Japan, but they are not.
These heaters are of questionable quality and the ones I have had
my hands on do NOT have a tip-over safety device.

Kero-Sun Moonlighter convection heater with glass cylinder which
allows the flame from the wick to add light to the room.
Always allow fresh air to come in to replace the oxygen in the room
that the heater consumes.

kero sun moonlighter kerosene heater          
Over the last couple of years I have seen these sell on eBay
from $ 50.00 for a fair one to $ 300.00 for one New In Box.
The best time to buy a kerosene heater is in the summer.

This is my favorite convection kerosene heater.
They put out a nice gentle heat (about 8,700 btu's), are easy to transport
and the glow (the glass has metals in it to change the color of the light)
is just nifty.
The 1.7 gallon model has a good run time.
The early models had a 1.0 gallon tank which proved to have too short
of a run time.
Occasionally you can find a clip on reflector that redirects the
light, and a little of the heat, in one direction.
Also a cooking rail occasionally comes up for sale which keeps a pan,
placed on the top of the heater, from sliding off.

Aladdin Tropic S-281 radiant heater which has the tank on the bottom
and is compact.
These are easy to carry around and to take outside for refueling.
This is one of the nicest radiant heaters around.

aladdin tropic radiant kerosene heater  
These can occasionally be found on eBay.
A nice clean one will run from $ 125.00 to $ 250.00 depending
on condition.
Always allow fresh air to come in to replace the oxygen in the room
that the heater consumes.

American Wick mod. AWHR-2010 (Corona 2X-2E) kerosene
radiant heater which has a removeable tank.
This heater has a narrow angle of heat and a tall chimney
to better concentrate the heat onto a specific area.

corona sx-2e american wick awhr-2010 heater

This is an example of two things, knowledge is power and
knowing who to ask is just as important.
I saw a couple of these on eBay and they looked familiar.

The first thing I did was to ask Miles at

He said it was actually a Corona mod. SX-2E that was made for
American Wick.
Sure enough, the heater is marked as being made in Japan by Corona.
On eBay, mint Coronas sell for around $ 175.00 and a new in box
one can bring up to $ 275.00.

Always allow fresh air to come in to replace the oxygen in the room
that the heater consumes.

Miles steered me right and I picked this one up, new in the box,
for $ 115.00 including shipping.
I have asked him questions in the past and he has probably forgotten
more about kerosene heaters than I will ever know.

For kerosene heater and stove wicks, along with accessories, I can
easily recommend Miles - every order we have placed has been on the
money and shipped fast.
Miles has some great information pages on his website.

A note on purchasing heaters and stoves on eBay.
Don't hesitate to ask for and pay for, extra padding when
the item is shipped.
That is the voice of experience speaking.

For alcohol heating I would recommend the Origo Heat Pal 5000 series.

origo heat pal

These produce a gentle heat and are sometimes offered as a
combination heater/stove.
They are a nice, gentle heater but I can not imagine cooking on
one because of the low heat output.
You will see these offered on eBay.
I would only have one with the plastic knob (model 5000 or higher)
like the one shown above.
Early ones used cotton wicks.
I would stay away from them and only look at the later models
which use a removeable metal fuel tank like the Origo stoves use.
The tank has a synthetic filler to hold the alcohol and the heater
uses a sliding shutter to control the heat output.  
Always allow fresh air to come in to replace the oxygen in the room
that the heater consumes.

Here is something that most people have never seen.

sterno heater     This is an old enamelled cast
     iron heater by Sterno.
     It uses Sterno canned gel fuel.
     Some day I will actually try it out.


For stoves these links will take you to the following sections:

Solid fuel stoves for use with wood and other organic
matter as well as for use with fuel tabs.
For solid fuel stoves we have a number of suggestions, some
are basically designed for backpacking, others are not.
These will be shown in order of ease of use and portability.

Stoves for use with fuel tablets or fuel bars.

Simple Stoves.
A few recommendations for a simple, also known as a hobo
stove would be these:

trail stove    This stainless steel Trail Stove is well made
    and simple to use. It comes with a metal
    tube attached to a rubber hose to aid
    in starting the fire. Just above the air vents
    on the bottom is a rack to hold the wood
    for good combustion.
    The large hole in the front is where wood is
    added during cooking.
    A sorta of down-side is that it is not collapseable -
    so you just stow supplies in it.
    At around $ 25.00 plus shipping - it is a good


littlebug     This is the Littlebug stainless steel
    stove. It comes in two sizes, the
    Littlebug Sr. and Littlebug jr.
    The body of the stove un-hooks so
    it can be stored flat or rolled up with
    other gear. It burns most solid fuels and
    the Sr. model will handle a good sized
    pot or pan. The sliding plate in the front
    allows it to be used with a small alcohol
    stove - the plate rests on the alcohol stove
    and controls the heat output. The stove as
    shown is set up for burning wood - for alcohol
    the two pieces sticking out the top would be
                                                flipped over so the pot rests directly on the stove
They have a newer version without the sliding plate but which will accept
a set of chains to hold a small alcohol stove at the desired height.
These are very well made and the design has been thought through

honey stove    The Honey Stove is a slick backpacking
    stove that is comprised of eight stainless
    steel pieces that can be assembled in a
    number of configurations. It burns solid fuels
    such as wood, twigs and dry leaves. The
    piece leaning up against the stove is designed
    to hold an alcohol stove, such as a Trangia, in
    the Honey Stove.
    These are very well made and are available from:
    It took a little over a week to get ours.


makaira stove    The S.P.S 2 stainless steel backpacking
    stove from Makaira Metal working is a
    nice backpacking stove. It appears to be
    made by plasma arc cutting of stainless
    steel sheet. Ours is nicely made and shows
    no signs of metal distortion. They also make
    a mild steel version called the Wild Wood I.
You might take a look at their website:

vargo backpacking stove
Vargo hexagon backpacking stove.
Made of either stainless steel
or titanium for light weight and
Folds flat for storage.
They run from around $ 35.00 for
the stainless steel version to about
$ 60.00 for the titanium model.

You may want to visit their website:

Four Dog trail stove.
four dog titanium backpacking stove    four dog titanium backpacking stove  
Four Dog Bushcooker LT 1, 2 or 3 titanium backpacking stove.
The open bottom has fins to provide for better for turbulent air
intake and a cleaner combustion.
These stoves come in three sizes and are very well made.
Being made from titanium, they are extremely lightweight.
As these are made to order, the lead time can run from three to
four weeks. For more information please click onto the following


For a larger solid fuel burning stove I would recommend a couple of the
Pyromid stoves.
In the 1990's Pyromid, and later Pyromid / Igloo, made a number of
pyramid shaped stoves for use with charcoal and wood (and just about
any other dry biomass).
They made stoves from a folding model, the PyroPocket which used solid
fuel tabs, up to a full blown campsite stove and stove/oven combination
that was over three foot tall.
Pyromid products were made of stainless steel and the workmanship
ranged from pretty good to excellent.
All of the Pyromids fold flat for storage and transportation.
These items are no longer made but are sometimes found on eBay.
Of the many models made I can recommend three for emergency use
in addition to the PyroPocket model.
Except for the two large campsite models, there are the only two that
can be refueled without removing the cooking grill.

pyromid pyrobachi  This is the PyroBachi and has a
   12" by 12" cooking surface.
   As you can see, there is a door in the
   front for adding fuel during use along
   with an adjustable air vent.
   Everything folds flat into the base.

pyromid pyro duo   This is the PyroDuo stove.
   They were made in 6" by 12" and
   8" by 16" sizes along with a small
   single unit.
   These will pretty much burn any solid
   fuel and can easily be reloaded while
   in operation. The adjustable vent in the
   loading door allows you to control the
   burn. You can easily lean slices of
   bread against the sides, the bottom
   has a lip that the body fits into.
   As can be seen, this has a grill and griddle top.

pyromid model cf 7 stove   Pyromid model PCF -- 7 stove.
   This is the 4" by 7" Camp Fire
   stove. It folds flat and does not
   weight much. These are very
   difficult to find.

A note on the pyromids.
Sterno has made some similar stoves for both their canned fuel and
for solid fuel which appear to have been based on the Pyromid design.  
I have picked up a couple of these on eBay.
They look pretty decent.

Wood/Gas stoves.

A wood/gas stove is more complicated than a simple backpacking stove.
They are designed in a manner which combustion air comes into the bottom
and along the top of the burning fuel. As some say, this converts the wood
or other dry biomass into charcoal as the gases burn and then the charcoal
burns. A wood/gas stove is very efficient and gets the most out of the
available fuel.
Because of the way they work they are much more difficult for most people
to use than a conventional hobo or trail type stove.
These stoves need very dry fuel and must be protected from the wind.
But, if you are willing to learn how to use it and practice, it is worth having
in your emergency equipment box.

There are around a half-zillion plans available on the internet for making
a wood/gas stove. Several outfits make these and we have several of
them ourselves.
There are only two well made wood/gas stoves I would rely on.    
Bushbuddy trail stove.

bushbuddy woodgas stove
   This is the Bushbuddy stove by
   F.H. Enterprises.
   It is made of stainless steel.
   The top part, the pot holder, is inverted
   into the stove for storage.
   Wood is added during cooking through
   the cutout in the pot holder. Fritz ships these
   in a wooden box wrapped in paper. When I first
   opened the package I thought that this was too pretty
   to use - but I got over that. Having worked in stainless
   steel for over twenty years all I can say is that this
   stove is a work of art.
The bottom is enclosed for safety.
For more information and to purchase, please click onto the following link:    
Four Dog Bushcooker DX.

four dog wood/gas stove  four dog bushcooker dx stove

The Bushcooker DX1 and DX2 are well designed wood/gas trail
stoves. They have an open bottom and like the Bushcooker T series,
the fuel platform has angled slots for improved combustion.
The titanium construction gives them strength and low weight
along with high corrosion resistance.
At this time, 2/12/12, these models are no longer be made.
If you can find one second hand, it is worth looking at.
Four Dog no longer makes these DX stoves.

Rocket Stoves.

A rocket stove is insulated to hold the heat in for more efficient
fuel burning.
Small pieces of wood are fed in on a tray just above the bottom
of the stove. Combustion air comes in just under the tray for
more complete burning.
These are very efficient and concentrate the heat on the cooking vessel.

There are about a bazillion designs for rocket stoves on the internet.
Most of them are for a fixed location inside a building with a permanent
For a pre-made portable rocket stove we have a few recommendations.
First off - Never, yes I said Never use one of these indoors.

stovetec rocket stove This is a Stovetec portable rocket stove.
  It is designed for burning wood only.
  A very portable stove and easy to lug aroung.
  As you can see, wood is fed into the stove on
  a rack into the burning chamber. Air comes in
  under the wood. The vertical burning chamber is
  surrounded by thick insulation to make for as clean
  a burn as possible. This also increases the heat
  delivered to the cooking vessel. They also come
  with a collar to concentrate the heat into the
  cooking pot.

  They also have a wood/charcoal model shown here.
 stovetec wood and charcoal stove

This Stove-Tec model has a sliding door for use with
charcoal. You load the stove and put in the
removeable insulated insert and slide the
door closed. The bottom door allows you
to control the air intake.
For use with wood you will use the feeding
rack and remove the wedge shaped insulated
insert that goes in the top door.
For emergency use I would prefer, we have both,
the wood only model as it has less parts.

As far as durability, with the lightweight ceramic insulating liner, I doubt
that these would take a sharp blow.
Please note: The current production deluxe Stove-Tec stoves have
a metal liner to protect the insulation - a good decision on their part.  
These are available at a modest cost from:

Here are a couple of the current Stovetec rocket stoves:

stovetec lined rocket stove single door  stovetec two door rocket stove

Another rocket stove I can suggest would be the Grover Rocket Stove.

grover rocket stove    This is a portable rocket stove that is very
   Ours was made from recycled propane
   and butane cylinders.
   It is not as compact as the Stovetec stoves,
   the legs are welded to the body, but I would  
   think it would take more abuse.
   Also, the feeding tray is welded in
   We purchased ours on eBay.
   You might want to visit their website at:

Grove currently offers their stoves with removeable legs.

As you can see, these rocket stoves are made for use with small pieces
of wood. In a disaster, that might be all that is available.

Pyromid Pryo-Pocket

pyromid pyro pocket folding solid fuel stove

This stainless steel folding stove was made by Pryomid and is
no longer in production.
These are designed for use with fuel tablets such as the Esbit
When you open it up, the fuel tab rest folds down.
These are okay, but as you can see, they can only handle small
fuel tablets and bars.
You can occasionally find these on eBay from around $ 20.00 for
a beater like this one, to over $ 100.00 for one that is in new
Using "pocket stove" as a search term on eBay, I just picked one up
for less than ten dollars - brand spankin' new in the package, the
title on the listing did not have the word Pyromid in it. 10/2010
Always have plenty of ventilation when using this type
of stove.


stove in a pocket by van ben industries

This pocket stove is made by Van Ben Industries, Inc. and is
fairly well thought out.
The rack drops into the stove body for storage which leaves room for
the storage of fuel tabs.
The stove will also accept larger Trioxane solid fuel bars.
A nifty little stainless steel stove which can usually be found on
eBay for around $ 20.00 to 25.00. in new condition.
Always have plenty of ventilation when using this type
of stove.
swiss volcano stove for use with fuel tabs Image copyright by Cheaper Than Dirt.

This Swiss volcano stove is designed to be used with solid fuel
tabs but in a pinch you can use small pieces of wood or twigs.
On the right is the stove body, on the backside is a cutout on the
side near the bottom for loading fuel.
It comes with a water bottle and a cup that fits inside the top of
the stove for cooking.
These are nifty, lightweight and do not take up much room.
Once again, these are made for outdoor use only.
You can find these on eBay for twelve to twenty dollars.
Camping and Backyard Stoves from the 50's and 60's.
Many companies made folding stoves which burned newspaper,
charcoal or wood during the rediscovery of camping in the
50's and 60's.
Most of these folded flat for storage and would handle a single
Some were offered as a combination charcoal lighter/cookstove.
The quality ran from pretty good to it might last one time.
Also are some Cold War era emergency stoves that use liquid
Here are some pictures of stoves and stove-top ovens to peruse.  

hoppes folding stove
  Hoppes stove
  Burns charcoal, wood or

lil injun scout   Lil Injun Scout

   Uses gasoline.

taykit   TayKit stove

   Uses gasoline.    
   These were promoted for
   Civil Defense use.

  vulcan safety chef
  The Vulcan Safety Chef originally
  used a canned gelled naptha fuel.
  Can also use canned   alcohol such
  as Sterno.
  With gelled alcohol the stove takes
  longer to heat up due to its heavy

auto bug stove charcoal starter   Auto Fire Firebug.
    This is a charcoal briquette starter
    which could also be used as a stove
    with charcoal or wood.
    They made these in plated steel as
    well as in stainless steel.
    This one is stainless steel.

milcor stove top oven   Milcor stove top oven
   From the 40's through the early 60's,
   stove top ovens were very popular.
   These will work on most stoves
   including kerosene and camping

stanley ovenette   Stanley Ovenette
   A smaller stove-top oven than the
   Milcor. These came as a kit with the
   items shown. Today these are very
   popular with RV'ers.
   We have used both the Milcor and the
   Ovenette, they both take some practice
   to use successfully.

 reflector oven for campfires  
  reflector oven
  These are popular with campers.
  You set this up next to your campfire
  and the reflector heats the shelf in
  the middle.
  Tricky, but people make them work.

Electric wood/gas stoves.

As mentioned elsewhere, I can not recommend the wood/gas stoves that
use a small electric (muffin) fan to operate.
Many of these work great as long a you have a couple of good batteries
to run the fan.
If the batteries run dead or the stove gets drenched in water, you have
a large fancy looking paper weight on your hands.

woodgas stove  Wood/gas stove which has an electric fan.

Liquid fuel stoves for use with kerosene, alcohol and
And multi-fuel stoves.

There are many liquid fuel stoves available: kerosene, white gas and
alcohol as well as for use with transportation fuels.


First off, never use any fuel other than kerosene in
one of these stoves.
You can just about guarantee another disaster.

When looking for a kerosene stove please consider ease
of use and availability/cost of replacement wicks.
I have seen some beautiful Japanese made kerosene stoves
for sale but the replacement wicks were in the $ 25.00 range.
There is not much to go wrong with a kerosene stove but
parts availability is not that great.

For emergency use I would stay away from stoves that use
a glass fuel container.
They are bulky and in my opinion, that and a dollar will buy you
a cup of coffee, are fragile to move around with the glass fuel bottle
hanging on the end.  

There are two kerosene stoves I can recommend.
Kero-Sun model K stove.

Kero sun model k kerosene stove

The Kero-Sun model K cookstove is one of the finest portable
kerosene stoves made.
They are extremely well made and thought out.
Replacement wicks are readily available.
Though long out of production, these can be found on eBay from
$ 50.00 to $ 150.00.
On a scale of one to ten, this is a ten in my book.
Alpaca kerosene cooker mod. 808.

alpaca 808 kerosene stove

The Alpaca mod. 808  and 909 (which is taller), are a good
alternative if you can not find a Kero-Sun mod. K stove.
It is similar to the Kero-Sun, the replacement wicks are
fairly easy to find.
On a scale of one to ten, ten being a Kerosun model K, this is a
You can find these on the internet and on eBay from $ 60.00 to
$ 120.00. You might do an eBay search for kerosene cooker
to find one.

There are currently kerosene stoves available that use several
thin wicks.
I would give these some thought before purchasing one.
They seem more complicated than necessary and in an emergency
situation, complicated is not a good thing.  

Alcohol Stoves

There are a number of stoves that operate on either liquid or
gelled alcohol.


Sterno stoves have been made for use with gelled alcohol fuel since the
early 20th century.
They have made stoves from nickel plated steel, porcelain over
cast iron, painted sheet steel and aluminum.
As mentioned before, Sterno also made some models that were
pyramid shaped.
I would recommend the latest version folding stove which is made
of aluminum and has a steel rack.
A note, there have been a ton of these selling on eBay for around
ten dollars or less. 2/10/2011

sterno alcohol stove Sterno Stove

For a small camping/backpacking liquid alcohol stove I have a few


The first is the Trangia or Silva type stove design.
alchol stove camping

You put alcohol in the center to fill the reservoir and light it.
As the fuel heats up, alcohol vapors will jet out of the small holes
around the center and ignite.
These stoves require some method of supporting a cooking pot,
such as a windscreen.
Some of the wood burning trail stoves are designed to accept
one of these which allows you to burn alcohol.
When you purchase one of these second hand make sure the
rubber seal in the cap is good.
If the cap is put on (to keep from losing fuel in transport) while the
stove is hot, the rubber seal will melt.
These sell from five to fifteen dollars, with titanium versions running
forty to fifty dollars. We have a couple of second hand brass models.
Pot supports and wind screens will run five to ten dollars.

The second would be a Brasslite stove.

brasslite alcohol backpacking stove
  This is a nifty backpacking stove
  for use with alcohol. The body
  opens and closes vents as you
  twist it. This allows some control
  of the heat output. A pot/pan rack
  is integral to the stove. They are fairly
  durable in use but could be easily
  crushed. There is a small and a
  large version of this stove (I & II).  

Origo mod. 1500 alcohol stove.
origo 1500 alcohol stove
For a larger full sized stove you might want to consider the Origo
mod. 1500. These are designed for use in boats.
This stove requires no pumping, the fuel is stored in a fuel tank
under the burner and is held in a synthetic filler.
The heat output is controlled by the knob on the front which swings
a shutter over the opening on the fuel tank.
A couple of words of caution when purchasing these second hand.
You will see a six pointed flame spreader in the center of the burner.
Often these stoves will be offered for sale with this missing.
You will also want to make sure that the rubber disk, which is placed
on the fuel tank to prevent fuel evaporation when not in use, is
neither missing nor melted to the fuel tank.
The stove needs to cool down before putting the rubber disk in place.
I have seen these sell on eBay from $ 50.00 to $ 125.00, depending
on condition.

There have been many small alcohol stoves made in the past fifty
years, some for camping and some for civil defense (especially
in the 1950's). If you are considering one of these stoves please
make sure that none of the parts are missing and all of the rubber parts
are in good condition.
The following is a Retec 1950's emergency alcohol stove.

retac emergency alcohol stove

Multi-Fuel stoves.

There are many stoves available which can burn different
petroleum based fuels, some will even operate on canned
butane, propane or a mix of the two.

In a disaster situation a stove which will operate on white gas,
automotive gas, kerosene or diesel fuel could save the day.

When choosing a multi-fuel stove you really need to do your
Each has its strong and weak points - we will not debate them here.

A few suggestions:

The first would be the Primus OmniFuel.

primus omnifuel stove
For more information please click onto the following link:

Another would be the Optimus Hiker + stove.

optimus hiker plus multi-fuel stove
copyright by Optimus / Katadyn

For more information please click onto the following link:

And the Brunton Vapor AF stove.

brunton vapor af multi-fuel stove

These stoves can easily be found on the internet
as well as on eBay.

The Primus OmniFuel runs from $ 100.00 to $ 130.00 and
The Optimus Hiker + runs from $ 140.00 to $ 175.00.
The Brunton Vapor AF runs from $ 125.00 to $ 180.00.

Heating water

Besides putting a pot of water on a stove, there are several
pieces of equipment which can heat water quickly using
very little fuel.
These have many names such as the Kelly Kettle, Volcano
Kettle, Ghillie Kettle and the Thermette.
To state the obvious - these are for use Outdoors only.
This drawing shows how these slick water heaters work:

kelly kettle
You load small pieces of wood or twigs in the fire base.
The water chamber surrounds the chimney for maximum
heat transfer from the fire to the water.
Once the fire is going you can carefully add more wood through
the chimney.
Never fire one of these up without having water in it.
There are a number of companies that make these.
We have used a couple by Kelly Kettle, Ghillie Kettle and one by Thermette.
The Kelly Kettle uses a cork for the water spout, the Ghillie Kettle uses
a cap with a knob.

Kelly Kettle / Ghillie Kettle

kelly kettle  The Kelly Kettle is available
   in three sizes.
   All three sizes are made of
   aluminum, the large size is also
   available in stainless steel.
   The fit and finish of these is
   An optional pot holder is available
   which allows you to put a pot or
   a pan on top of the Kelly Kettle for cooking.
   These are made in England and
   can be purchased directly from
   Kelly Kettle's website at:

  Or at the U.S. website at:

   These are also available on eBay.


thermette water heater thermette cooking ring

The Thermette is huge.
It it made of copper and includes the cooking ring as shown
on the right.
The cooking ring can be placed on top of the Thermette
as a cooking surface for a pot or pan. This helps capture
as much of the heat from the fire as possible. It can also
be used with the fire base as a small wood burning
This would be an option for heating large quantities of water,
but in all candor, the fit and finish leave something to be
As far as I know, these are no longer made.
Fire Starting Methods

Windproof/waterproof matches.

windproof waterproof matches
My first choice for lighting a propane/liquid fuel heater or stove
would be waterproof matches.
They look light a standard wood match except that the head,
and sometimes the whole match, is covered in a sealer.
These require a separate striking strip which is usually attached
to the container they came in.
When using a propane or liquid fuel device these are preferable
to the windproof matches which sputter and throw out burning
particles. The burning particles can damage your stove or
lantern. If the wind is blowing hard enough to need windproof
matches, your lantern (unless it can be lit in a sheltered area) or
stove, will probably not work.

For solid fuel stoves I am a big fan of windproof/water proof
They are sometimes offered as lifeboat / survival matches.
These act like a road flare (fusee) in that once they are lit, even
submersing them in water will not put them out.
You need to be very careful when using these as they will
burn like a Fourth of July sparkler.
These also need a separate striking strip.
In the picture above, the matches on the left are very good -
the ones on the right are even better.
These can be found on eBay as well as on many websites.

For waterproof matches you can expect to pay from three to
five cents each.

For windproof/waterproof matches they will run from fifteen to
twenty-five cents each.

These would be expensive on a dry sunny day, but when you
need a fire and are drenched in water - any price would be

Match Safes:

Regardless of the type of matches you are using I would recommend
carrying them in some type of match container.
They can range in price and complexity from a simple plastic safe up
to an aluminum safe.
You can even make one from plastic pvc pipe fittings.
The following is a simple plastic match safe design with a rubber o-ring that
has been around for years:

coghlans match safe
  This one is made by Coghlans.   When using this type of
  match safe you should tighten the cap snugly but don't
  crank down on it. I have messed up a few in the past by
  tightening the cap too tightly and jamming the threads.
  These are sized for strike-any-where kitchen matches, most
  windproof matches are too long to fit in one.
  These sell for around three dollars on the web and eBay.
  photo courtesy of Coghlans.  

exotac match cap safephoto courtesy of Exotac
  This is made by Exotac  
  and is easily long enough to store windproof
  matches. Inside is a strip for striking
  windproof/waterproof matches and on
  the end is a striking surface for kitchen matches.
They are made of anodized aluminum for durability.
These can be purchased directly from Exotac as well as on eBay, they are
a little pricey at about twenty-four dollars each. This comes with a length of
paracord to put through the cap for secure carrying and a spare o-ring.
As I am writing this, there is one in my pocket filled with wind-proof matches.
It keeps my firestarter, knife sharpener and pocket knife company.

survival fire starters fire steels

Above you will see several survival fire starting devices.
One advantage of these over matches, is that in most cases you can
get thousands of lights before they wear out.

From left to right:

Aurora fire starter shown with its screw-on cover, RAT Cutlery fire starter,
Sparkie fire starter, home grown ferrocerium model with high speed
steel scraper, DOAN magnesium starter along with two other ferrocerium

The first two on the left are made of "misch metal" and when scraped
throw a few sparks but mostly balls of burning metal. These work
well with damp tinder and in the wind. Please note that these
two need a pretty sharp scraping edge and are rough on a knife

The first one is the Aurora fire starting tool, as you can see I keep
one on my key ring. It has a screw-on cover with a scraping edge
in the end. As clumsy as I am, I use a knife to work the fire starter.

The manufacturer's website is:

They can be found on eBay from nineteen to thirty dollars, depending
on what kind of scraping blade is in the cover.

The next one is by RAT Cutlery. These have a hollow handle for
storing dry tinder and are very well made.
I have seen them with and without a compass in the cap.
The manufacturer's website pages are:  

They can be found on eBay from twenty-eight to thirty-four dollars.

The following fire starters use a ferrocerium rod. These produce
a shower of sparks and work well on dry tinder. Because of
their design, some can be used as a signalling device at night.   

The next one is a Sparkie which uses a spring-loaded  
ferrocerrium rod with a scraper in the body opening.
These are nifty and can be had from twelve to fifteen dollars on eBay.

The next one is made up by a seller on eBay. It has a plastic handle
and comes with a scraper made from a piece of high speed
steel tool stock.

The next is the Doan magnesium fire starter. It is a block of magnesium
which you scrape shavings off onto your tinder. Then you use a sharp
edge to throw sparks from the ferrocerium rod on the back of the block.
This was the first type of fire starter I ever used.
A down-side is that in a strong wind the magnesium shavings can be
blown away.
If you choose this type of fire starter I would recommend the Doan starter.
There are many less than wonderful imported look-a-likes for sale.
These Doans sell on eBay from seven to ten dollars.

The manufacturer's website is:

The next is a Blast Match ferrocerium rod type with a storage
compartment for tinder in the housing.
The scraper is mounted in the cap which is held in place by the cord.
These can be had for fifteen to twenty dollars.

The last one is a cheapo "Swedish Fire Steel" that I picked up on
eBay for a couple of dollars. The scraper is a section of hack-saw

Here is a late addition:
nanostriker fire starting tool photo courtesy of Exotac
    This is the Nano Striker by
    by Exotac  
    It uses a ferrocerium rod and as
    shown, includes a hardened striker.
    For carrying, the rod threads into the
    body and the striker threads into the
back of the rod holder. These work well and can be purchased directly from
Exotac as well as on eBay. The aluminum models sell for around twenty-five
dollars and the titanium model runs about seventy dollars. And no, I don't
have a titanium model, that's above my pay grade.

There are many primitive methods of fire starting.
The only one I have used is a fire piston.

In all candor, I would suggest that you stick with the conventional fire starting
tools and/or matches as shown above.
The primitive methods are nifty, but in an emergency I will stick
with a fire starting rod and/or matches of some type.

Knives, Saws & Sharpening Tools.

It used to be, carrying a pocket knife was as common
as wearing shoes. I guess that as we have become more
technologically sophisticated this tool has lost some
of its meaning. Well some of us are still a little rough around
the edges and would no more venture past the front door
without a knife than go outside without any clothes on.

That said, in an emergency situation, tools can make the
difference between life or death.
A knife is the number one tool, followed by a saw and
anything else your imagination can come up with.

Pictured below are a number of knives along with a folding pruning saw.

knives and saw    folding knives

The following is very biased and based on over forty-five years of being
a knife carrying city boy. I got my first pocket knife when I was around
nine or ten.

First off, buy a decent knife  - a knife that can't keep a sharp edge is
next to useless.

Use a knife that makes sense, be it a fixed blade sheath knife or a
pocket / folding knife.

The top knife is a "survival / tactical" knife with a "tanto" style blade.
This blade is basically made for stabbing - they don't work well for cutting
and with the sharp angle on the edge they are a drag to sharpen.

The second knife has a utility blade - it is a good all around design
and fairly easy to sharpen.

For a fixed blade knife I would recommend a blade length from four to
six inches. By the way, the knives with the spiffy serrated edges - the
serrations can get in the way during regular use and are a bear to
sharpen. As for a knife with with sawteeth on the back, why not get
a small saw instead. The sawteeth on most knives are pretty useless
and only succeed in making the knife look mean.
A good fixed blade knife will cost from forty dollars to the skies the

In a folding or pocket knife, a blade length of three to four inches would
be the most useful. A locking blade can make the knife safer to use and
in some instances a second blade with sawteeth can come in handy.
The top folding knife in the picture has a utility blade which locks open.
The bottom knife is an old Swiss Army knife with a nice sawtooth blade.
A downside to sawteeth on a pocket knife is that with the short blade
length, using it will wear you out.
A good folding knife will cost from about thirty dollars to over one-hundred

There are many fancy survival saws on the market, I have used a number
of them and for me, I prefer a high quality folding pruning saw.
There are pocket chain saws, wire saws and large folding camp/game
saws available also.
Call me silly, my preference is a folding pruning saw with a six to eight
inch blade. These run from ten to twenty dollars. I like the Fiskars and
Gerber saws. The folding saw pictured above is made by Gerber.

Another tool category, hatchets and axes. A good lightweight hatchet
or axe could come in handy during an emergency. Be it for rescue or
fire wood gathering, one of these can make the impossible, possible.

There are many good lightweight hatchets available, Fiskars makes
a nice one and the old mod. 106 made by Buck is easy to lug around and
I can no longer handle a full sized axe with a wood handle. The Fiskars
axe with the synthetic handle is a breeze. I doubt if I will ever use it
often enough to see how durable the handle is.

There is a tool that's been around for over fifty years and is basically
unchanged from the start.
 woodmans pal    courtesy of Pro Tool Industries

This is the Woodman's Pal. There are a number of variations and
in a disaster situation I would want one of these hanging from my
belt. I can not say how well they work in the woods, but they work
just fine in the backyard. Depending on the model, the cost
is from $ 70.00 to a little over $ 100.00. The nylon belt sheath
is a must for this tool.
For more information please click onto the following link:

As for knife sharpeners, there are tons of them out there.
You can find them which use a ceramic, diamond or carbide
sharpening surface as well as the old standby, Arkansas stones.
I have used lots of them and these are my two favorites.

eze-lap knife sharpener   

Above is an Eze-Lap diamond knife sharpener. It has
a belt pouch and the sharpening rod stores in the handle.
The one pictured is over twenty-five years old and still
works. This will work on many blade shapes and does
a fine job on the curved hook blade on a Woodman's Pal.

benchmade by redi-edge sharpener
This one is the Redi-Edge sharpener which is sold
under many different names such as Benchmade
and MATCO Tools.
It has replaceable carbide inserts like a machining tool.
The standard model is about 3" long by 3/4" wide by 3/16"
thick. They also make a smaller one, which I have on my
keyring, but I will stick with the standard size for regular use.
They work well and I have used one successfully on a Bob Dozier knife
made of D2 tool steel which is a very hard die steel.

leatherwood multi tools

An item that might be handy to have around is a multi-tool.
First off, I will say that whatever these tools can do, a regular
dedicated tool can do it better.
That said, if it is a choice of a multi-tool or nothing, I will
choose the multi-tool.
These are, for the most part, folding pliers with a number of
tools in the handles.
These tools can range from a wood saw to a diamond faced
file and many other things in between.
I have used a number of these and some were nifty and some did not
work out so well.
The ones pictured above are made by Leatherman and from the
top down: a first year production of the WAVE, a SURGE and a
These have some tools in common.
My main gripe about multi-tools is that they usually have a lesser
quality of cutlery steel in the knife blade.
You will see many multi-tools for less than ten dollars - these are
just fancy fishing weights.  


As we mentioned in page 28, sanitation is important
for many reasons in an emergency.
Besides the sanitary aspects of where do you go when
you need to go, the psychological needs are just as
I described many substitutes for a working toilet but I
have a couple that we can easily recommend.
The first is a little pricey but effective.
pett portable toilet     wag bat
This is the Pett Go Anywhere toilet system.
It uses two bags, one holds and gells the waste,
the other holds the first bag for disposal.
The toilet folds up like an equipment case.
Not needing water, it does not put a strain on your drinking
water supply.
This type of toilet is compact for storage and transport as well
as very stable.
These can be found on the internet as well as on
Once in a while you can find a deal on the WAG (waste alleviation
and gelling) bags for this toilet.
A place that I can recommend is:

We have seen similar brands on eBay for about a third
the price of the Pett Go.
I have not seen one closeup, but if they are durable, these
might be an economical alternative.
They use waste bags like the Pett Go.
In April, 2011 we had to have our 1951 sewer line replaced.
The Pett toilet sure came in handy.

Another option would be the old toilet seat and lid mounted
on a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket.
There are very many variations on the theme.

emergency toilet
   You place a plastic trash bag in the bucket and
   then snap the seat with a lid on top.
   The seat/lid combination can usually be found for
   around ten dollars.
   These are not extremely stable but they do work.
   If you decide to use a waterless toilet like the
   PETT Go you might want to consider having one of
   these too along with a roll of trash bags.
   If someone in your group has the runs, a waterless
   toilet can be a disaster to use.
   This can also be true with some of the "Porta-Potty"
   type of flush toilets as the bowls are very shallow.


There has been a disaster, out here it would more than
likely be an earthquake, your cell phone has just become
a plastic and metal paperweight.
The first thing that comes to mind is a radio so you can hear
what is going on.
One that could run off of the sun or a built-in generator.
There are a zillion of them available for sale and most
are of dubious quality.
What would I want to have on hand?

baygen wind up emergency radio Baygen Freeplay wind up radio

First, for AM, FM and shortwave reception, I would look for an old
Baygen FreePlay windup radio.
A dead mint one (made in South Africa) should cost
from $ 75.00 to $ 125.00 on eBay.
Keep looking, as this summer 2010, some NIB ones went
for thirty-five to forty dollars each.
These do not have batteries which can go bad.
You wind up the spring motor and as it unwinds it turns a
generator to power the radio.

If you are fortunate enough to find one in good working order but
don't have the instruction manual, do not be alarmed when
the spring motor keeps running when the radio is turned off.
You wind up the spring motor and turn on the radio - the generator
will turn at a pretty good pace.
When the radio is turned off the motor will keep turning but at
a much slower rate.
The radios are designed to do this so the spring motor can not
be left wound up for long periods of time which would weaken
the spring.  

A note on hand crank radios.
Most of the hand crank radios you see use batteries.
The crank turns a generator that charges the batteries.
I would rather count on an old Baygen radio than one of the
fancy new ones with batteries.

For shortwave as well as AM/FM I have a suggestion.

panasonic radio Panasonic RF-3100

I bought ours over twenty years ago. Besides the multi-bands
and its quality, this radio takes eight "D" cells.
That means it operates on 12 volts d.c., just like your car.
If push comes to shove, you can run it off of a vehicle battery
or a 12 volt alternative energy system.
They are seldom seen for sale, occasionally on eBay, but
if you find a clean one (all bands are working), it should cost
from $ 100.00 to $ 200.00.

Another suggestion comes from the days citizen band (CB)
radios were the hot ticket.
A number of companies, like GE and Radio Shack, have
made portable emergency units for automobiles.
These set-ups consisted of a hand-held CB radio, a power
cord with a lighter plug, an antenna with cable and a magnetic
base - all in a carry case.
These are often found on eBay from $ 12.00 to $ 25.00 plus
It is a good idea to hold the seller's feet to the fire as to the
operating condition of one you are interested in purchasing.
This is a Realistic emergency radio by Radio Shack.        


In a disaster situation portable lighting can make all the
difference in the world.

On page 28 we mentioned kerosene and propane lamps
and lanterns.

If you are interested in kerosene lanterns you might want to

These folks have a wide instock selection of lanterns,
accessories, parts as well as good information.  

For flashlights I have some suggestions.

surefire led flashlights

The three flashlights shown above are led flashlights
by SureFire.
These use lithium batteries and have very good light output
and long run times.
The batteries are rated at a ten year storage life.

surefire and maglites

Above, from left to right: Mini Mag-Lite with extension, Surefire
9N rechargeable incandescent and SureFire 6R rechargeable
incandescent. I have been using these lights for well over
ten years.

Above from left to right: Streamlight Survivor LED which
has a single led and is rechargeable (in this configuration)
from a 12 volt d.c. power source, Streamlight SL40 LiteBox
which uses an incandescent lamp and can be charged from
a 12 volt power source (a note, I have had this light for around
twenty-five years, it still works but the plastic housing has become
brittle from age) and a more current model Streamlight Litebox.

Here is our setup: a couple of 10 watt solar panels connected to
a charge controller in a plastic tool box on wheels with a pull out
handle, two AGM batteries with fusing and Anderson SB50
connectors and female lighter plug outlets.
A Steamlight Survivor LED flashlight with a DC fast charger.
The solar panels and batteries can keep the Survivor battery
charged for extended periods of time without a generator or
access to utility power.
Out here in California, a serious earthquake could knock out
the utility power for several weeks.
A couple of updates.
We now live in Kingman, Arizona but are still prepared for
a disaster.
Of the three flashlights shown above, we still have the Streamlight
Survivor, actually two of them. One in the shop and one in the
The housings on the other lights finally gave out.   

flexcharge 12 volt dc nite stick portable light off
  There are a number of 12 volt d.c. portable lights.
  The one we prefer is the Flexcharge Nite Stick.
  For more information please click onto the
  following link:
  Nite Stick

Kerosene Lighting

An alternative, or enhancement to electric lighting would be
kerosene lamps.
Kerosene is a safe liquid fuel when used and stored properly.
It is a combustable, which means that it burns, but is not
considered a flammable liquid as its flash point (the temperature
at which an open flame will cause the vapors to flash/explode) is above
100 degrees F.

There are two main types of keresene lighting, a standard kerosene
lantern and an Aladdin incandescent mantle lamp.

Kerosene Lanterns

dietz kerosene lantern

We have all seen kerosene lanterns, whether first hand or in the
movies. They produce light from a burning wick in a glass globe.
I can only recommend the Dietz type due to their inherent safety
They put out a yellowish light, and in most cases replacement
wicks and globes are easy to find.
These are very durable and simple to use.
They can be found on-line as well as on eBay.
Before you buy one please make sure that you can get wicks
and globes for that particular lantern.
A good set up would be a lantern, two spare wicks, a spare globe
and some water clear K-1 kerosene.
Reflective shades which mount on the top of the lantern and
direct most of the light downward are available for some models.
The plus sides of this type of lantern verses the mantle lamps
shown below are simplicity of use, ease of operation, safety,
durability and availability of spare parts.
These are very durable and easy to lug around.
The down side is that they do not produce as much light nor are
they as efficient as a mantle lamp.
I can easily recommend   for lanterns,
great information and spare parts.

Kerosene Mantle Lamps

aladdin kerosene lamp with aluminum font  courtesy of Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company

Another option would be to use an Alladin mantle type kerosene
The mantle lamp draws kerosene up from the font (tank) where
the kerosene burns under a mantle.
When the flame height is set correctly, the mantle glows white
hot (incandescent light production) and produces a very bright
clean light.
These are more efficient than a conventional lantern but the light
output can not be adjusted as much without smoking up the mantle.
Aladdin Lamps are available in many different versions, some with
a glass font as well as with an aluminum font and shades.
You will see many "experts" recommending this type of light source
for emergency use.

First let me say that we have had Aladdin lamps for over twenty
years - Christine really likes them.
I bought my first Aladdin lamp in the late seventies.

In my opinion it would be fine to have one in addition to a standard
kerosene lantern.
They put out a tremendous amount of light but they do have some
The chimneys are very fragile, especially if you can be ham-fisted
like me.
The mantle, once burned to ash for use, is extremely fragile.
A bug screen on the top of the chimney is recommended to
protect the mantle.
I can not recommend them for outdoor use.
In an earthquake, which is the most likely disaster here, I would figure
that all of our mantle lamps would be damaged.
There are times when the mantles are extemely difficult to find such
as now (11/17/10).
These can be found on eBay and usually for a pretty good price if
you take the time to look.

Propane Lighting

Let me start by saying that between kerosene lighting and
propane lighting, I would choose kerosene.
Most propane lights are made for outdoor use only.

That said, many people choose propane lighting for a couple
of reasons.
Propane lighting is the most common lighting source for
camping. You do not have to be concerned about getting water
in your fuel, like with kerosene, and the potential for a
mess is nil.

Here is a Coleman propane lantern with electronic ignition.

propane lantern
   This is a dual-mantle lantern.
   You will notice a reflector on the back
   of the globe.
   For area illumination it is not really necessary.
   If you are going to use the lantern when walking
   or for search operations, the shield can help
   keep the bright light out of your eyes.
   A suggestion for area lighting, use a twenty pound
   tank, mount a "tree connector" (a Prest-O-Lite post) on
   the tank and screw in the lantern.
   This will raise the lantern to a good height and give
   a long run time. The POL post also has outlets (just like the
   top of a disposable propane bottle) which can provide
   propane for a stove when used with an extension hose.

When you are looking for a Prest-O-Lite post I have a couple of suggestions.
Look for a one-piece unit, there is less chance of leaks and they are more
durable than a two-piece type. Also, some of the early ones had no
mounting/support bracket, they just connected to the gas outlet on the tank.   

A suggestion when your are looking for a propane lantern.
If possible, look for one that accepts Coleman # 21 string-tie mantles.
These are the most commonally available style of mantles.  

Navigation and Compasses

Navigation in times of an emergency or disaster might sound
funny as we are all used to street signs and landmarks.

You are at work or somewhere else away from home, there has
just been an earthquake or storm.
Now all of the street signs are down, the freeways are useless and
in the case of an earthquake, the landmarks are two foot high piles
of rubble.

How do you get home or where you need to be?
It might be kind of nice to have a compass, and more importantly -
know how to use it.

Here are a few compasses we have used.


Left to right:

Cammenga U.S. Military lensatic compass with tritium inserts
for night time use. These can be had with tritium inserts for about
eighty dollars and with phosphorescent inserts for about forty
The tritium produces light without needing to be exposed to light
like the phosphorescent type. They last about ten years.

A twenty-five plus year old Silva compass.

And a Suunto compass.

Whatever type of compass you decide on, please make
sure you know how to use is.
You might also get a topographical map of your area.
A topo map will show contours of the land as well as
natural structures such as rivers, hills and valleys.

Emergency Power Supply

In a disaster situation having a source of electricity can
make all the difference in the world.

We used to specify systems for ventilators and equipment to
deal with night time breathing difficulties.
These were based on a setup including a battery charger to
a fuse, to a sealed battery(s), to a fuse, to a true sine wave inverter,
and then to the medical device.

In an emergency it would be handy, or in some cases life-saving to
have an independent source of electricity.

There are many portable 12 volt power packs available.
You will see them with or without jumper cables, with lights, D.C. to A.C.
modified sine wave inverters or with a built-in air compressor.
These usually come with a 120 volt a.c. wall charger, some will have
connections to recharge off of a vehicle.
Some can be charged using a solar panel and an external charge controller.

These don't store much power but can be a life-saver in an emergency.
Most have an 18 to 20 amp hour sealed battery.
The higher the battery capacity, the heavier the unit is.

The following model was made by Century Electric and has a 120 volt
modified sine wave inverter and a single 12 volt d.c. lighter receptacle.
It also has a row of LED's to show the state of charge of the batteries.
This unit has two 18 amp hour batteries and is very heavy.
century electric electripac 12 volt d.c. portable power  pack  

Here is an example of one of the portable systems we have here.

solarex 10 watt nominal 12 volt photovoltaic module  portable power system

In one of our stock rooms is a QuickCable battery box with a
38 amp hour AGM sealed battery.
The battery is connected to a fuse and then to a Flexcharge PV-7
charge controller and a 10 watt Solarex photovoltaic module.
The battery is also connected to a fuse and then to SAE connectors,
female lighter receptacles and Anderson SB 50 amp connectors.
A Flexcharge battery system monitor is inside the box.
There are raintight lighter plug sockets in the side of the box and
the overhang in the lid allows cables to go into the box for non-raintite
connections where the connections are inside the box.
The box can be left out in the weather when the lid is held down with
stainless steel latches.  
This system provides lighting via Light It Technologies 12 volt d.c.
compact fluorescent lights for the stock room.
In an emergency everything can be unplugged in seconds for

Another of our systems is a fixed in place 12 volt setup.
It powers up fans for ventilation.
The four 12 volt 40 amp hour AGM batteries are in
two portable tool boxes with wheels and slide out handles.
The battery connections are made using Anderson SB50
connectors inside the boxes.
This allows us to move the batteries in an emergency to power
up portable lights, pumps and to provide a source of 12 volt d.c.
for radios and a small DC to AC inverter.     

Prescription medication storage.
Many folks have life supporting prescription drugs that require
In a disaster situation where electricity is not available for days
or weeks, this should be planned for.
There are numerous solid state (a Peltier effect plate and fan)
cooling units available that run off of 12 volt d.c.
Some will cool their interior compartment thirty to forty degrees F
below the outside air temperature.
A few, like vaccination coolers, will hold a specific interior temperature.
These units draw from 3 to 4-1/2 amps per hour.
The smaller units, with the exception of the vaccination coolers, will
usually have a lower amp draw than the larger units.
I can not recommend a specific brand or model.
The one we have is a small cosmetics/medications model made by
It draws four amps per hour and keeps the interior at a set temperature.
We have a small battery bank, charge controller and solar panels
dedicated to running this cooler.    

A note on "survival" tools.

Lately many outfits have been offering survival tools such as
hatchets, saws, multi-tools, shovels and like items.
The quality of the items we have seen usually ranges from
fair to the "don't waste your money" variety.
When you are trying to rescue someone with that six dollar
super-duper shovel and it bends like month-old lettuce, what is the

We all have limited resources.

Instead of having a box full of new junk tools, it makes sense to have
a few of the most important tools and make sure they are of good
What would I want?
A shiney new cheapo hatchet or an ugly used quality one that is
in good shape and won't let me down?

The bottom line, buy the best you can afford and it will both
last for ages as well as be a tool you can depend on.

You will see knives advertised with super-duper steels that
never need sharpening or never rust.
Or the blade steel is super hard for retaining the cutting edge.

Let's cut through the smoke.

All cutting edges will eventually become dull with use.

For most people I would recommend a knife with a stainless steel
Stainless steel will corrode, that is why it's called stainless.

For cutting I would want a knife with an edge hard enough to
stay sharp.

For chopping or prying I would want a knife/tool with an edge that
will not chip or break.
This is why machettes, axes and rescue tools do not have as hard of a
steel as do knives.
Please click here to go back to:

What I carry in my pockets.

What I carry.

Being born and raised in Southern California there are many
things I have never seen.
Such as heavy snow (or light snow for that matter), ice storms,
frigid cold temperatures, hurricanes and the like.
But I have seen rolling power blackouts in very hot weather.
And better yet, I have seen the ground roll just like waves on the
beach during an earthquake.
The items in the above picture are always in my pockets.
A good folding knife, a sharpener, a match safe with wind/waterproof
matches and a misch metal fire starter with a hardened scraper.
Needless to say, I have not travelled by airplane in years.

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