Lessons Learned from the Texas Deep Freeze, by B.B.

Texans had two weeks warning about the artic cold set to hit the state last month. Yet most Texans were not prepared. It is estimated that 80 people died from the cold and lack of power. Some froze to death from lack of heat while others died from carbon monoxide poisoning trying to stay warm in foolish ways. It started Sunday night with rolling blackouts in my area, but complete power outages in some areas. For my family, rolling blackouts continued through Wednesday night, ending in the early hours of Thursday morning. During this time, many lost water service, either …




Letter Re: 2021 Winter Storm Lessons Learned

Dear Editor: Regarding the 2021 Winter Storm Lessons Learned article, I have a few recommendations: I keep a 1800W variable speed inverter generator around to charge phones, run the internet and routers, power a computer, run a television and keep the refrigerator or freezer going.  It is quiet, doesn’t disturb the neighbors, and sips gasoline, especially with the variable speed.  It is small and light enough I can bring it into the house to keep it warmer for easier starting. For the car and the generator I keep a can of ether in the shed.  Most cars today do a …




2021 Winter Storm Lessons Learned , by Chill N. Texas

I am a long time reader of SurvivalBlog.com but this is my first time submitting an article to the blog. Much of this will be “train of thought” as I am reading through my notes that I was keeping during and immediately after the exceptionally cold winter storm that hit the Houston, Texas area in February, 2021. I have been “preparedness-minded” most of my life, but didn’t consider myself officially a “prepper” until about 10 years ago. I have generally had the support (or at least she humors me) of the wife when it comes to being prepared, but as …




JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books, and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how-to” self-sufficiency videos. There is also an emphasis on links to sources for storage food and a variety of storage and caching containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This week we have some recommendations for Hanukkah and Christmas gifts that will help your …




Low-Tech Off-Grid Living, by Ani

I’m writing this article early in the morning during a power failure. I’ve only lived in this house for six months but this is not the first power failure I’ve experienced here. Previously I house-sat in this town and experienced a long duration power failure complete with four days or so of no cell service either. I got on my phone and looked up the outage map and realized that my town and a couple of adjacent towns have a significant outage, definitely due to the high winds of last night. The electric utility will begin mobilizing the line crews …




PV Solar Panels Can Pay For Themselves, by St. Funogas

Author’s Introductory Note: Grid-tied solar panel payback time is less than seven years in most of the lower 48 states, and quickest in some of the New England states, so don’t think solar isn’t for you just because you live in North Dakota or Vermont. RUN THE NUMBERS which I’ll show you how to easily do. If you don’t care about all the details of how and why, skip to the last section called “Quick Way to Figure out Payback Time.” There are only three numbers to enter on your calculator and you’ll have your payback time in years. Then …




JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how-to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This week the focus is on components for mobile photovoltaic power systems. (See the Gear & Grub section.) Books: The new coin …




An Old Boy Scout’s Journey – Part 2, by Rocket J. Squirrel

(Continued from Part 1.) There is a DeWalt 6 kW generator with a Honda gasoline engine that was purchased used. The local Stihl dealer gave it a tune up. Spare spark plugs are kept in the tool box. I have very limited gasoline storage but do have a tri-fuel kit. The tri-fuel kit from www.uscarb.com enables the generator to use gasoline, propane, or natural gas for fuel. Make certain you buy the kit which matches your specific engine model. I need to get the kit installed as well as the natural gas fittings for our current home. Natural gas may …




Propane and Compressor Refrigerators, by Tunnel Rabbit

This is a brief analysis of propane and compressor refrigerators in long term grid-down appplications. In Northwest Montana life has not changed radically during the Coronavirus lockdown, and there are plenty of used freezers, and fridges available on Craigslist.  However, demand for propane refrigerators is on the increase as there is marked rise in interest in self-reliance.  If nothing can be found in your area, then be willing to travel to buy a used propane refrigerators before they are gone.  These are expensive and hard to find. At the least, these can preserve meat while you jar it up, and …




A Prepper’s Primer on Renewable Energy – Part 2, by Kevin R.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) If you are preparing a retreat to be abundantly supplied when you bug out, but are not always using and replenishing wood, make sure that the wood is protected from rain and snow. Rotten wood does not provide as much energy. Also, make sure that you know where you can get more wood, should you start living in your retreat full time. Do you own your own timber? (Good thing to keep in mind when buying land.) How will you transport your logs to your home if you are in a crisis …




Generators for Family Readiness – Part 2, by Greg X.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Starting Electric starting is a nice feature. An electric starter motor spins the engine faster than pull starting increasing the probability that the engine starts. The starter keeps the engine spinning longer because a starter rope always runs out of length. My wife can push the start button and if your back is hurt “the button” still works. Gasoline engines are easier to pull-start than diesels. There are some small diesel engines with compression release that can be pull started, but it can be tough even for a 3-kW engine. We put …




Generators for Family Readiness – Part 1, by Greg X.

Many of us own a generator. But how much research did you do before purchasing yours? Generator system integration into you home power design is frequently a series of tradeoffs. I’m going to cover how generators work, potential design features, trade-offs, and strategic considerations. I actually own four generators of various capacities, fuel types, and features, each for slightly different purposes. I also work doing generator fleet maintenance. Key Components I like to break generators down into an alternator, and engine, a DC control system, an AC control system, a fuel system and a cooling system. Generator sets are typically …




Practical Survival Radio Communications – Part 2, by G.H.

CONTROL THE AIR Controlling the air often means transmitting, when necessary, large quantities of information accurately in poor conditions in a short amount of time. Even operators that are interested only in the hobby side of radio may fall into an emergency with the radio being the only source of working communications. Communications in an uncomfortable situation or actual emergency requires a much different style than “ragchewing” with friends on the radio as a hobby. If an emergency is the first time an operator faces a communication challenge, the likelihood of successful communications is poor. Practice, Practice, Practice Radio operators …




Rocket Water Heater – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The Finished Project Since there is a lot of information on building rocket stoves on SurvivalBlog and elsewhere, I have not described any construction details on the stove itself. The following photo shows what my working rocket water heater (RWH) looks like, with an explanation of the number and letter annotations. This small building was later covered with bat and board siding, with a small door covering the on/off switch and thermometers. Here are all of the key bits and pieces: 1. Inflow and outflow water temperature thermometers. (Thread these into the …




Rocket Water Heater – Part 1, by St. Funogas

Have you ever considered the things you’d miss most in a TEOTWAWKI situation? I think a nice hot shower has to be pretty high on my list. It is right up there with coffee. So, once I got my nearly-off-grid little cabin built, I set out to build a prototype rocket water heater. There are a hundred and one different ways to make a rocket water heater (RWH). But as an introduction, I’ll show you how I built mine. I’ll also mention a few things that I wish I had done differently, just to give you some ideas on how …