How to Quickly Kindle a Fire, by St. Funogas

Comments on SurvivalBlog last winter about some folks having issues starting their morning fire in the woodstove got me to thinking about how crucial fire-building skills should be in our skill-set preps, as well as an important every-day skill for those of us who heat with wood or build fires on a regular basis. If TEOTWAWKI becomes a reality and a wood fire becomes common for heating and cooking, this knowledge will be essential. Much has been written on the many aspects of building a fire, mostly geared towards wilderness emergencies, but they typically only address how to ignite tinder, …




A DIY Solar Water Heater – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) BUILDING THE BOX Again, if money isn’t a big concern, I’d recommend using a full sheet of plywood and corrugated polycarbonate greenhouse panels. This will not only give you a larger water heater, but be lighter and easier to move as well. I constructed a double-coiled version using a free recycled, double-paned sliding patio door which, on sunny days, supplies more hot water than I can use. The construction method will be the same regardless of which size you choose to make. For the full-sheet-of-plywood version, use two treated 2 x 4 …




A DIY Solar Water Heater – Part 1, by St. Funogas

If you had to list ten things that would be most missed in a post-TEOTWAWKI world, opening a tap and having free-flowing hot water whenever you want it would have to be near the top of the list for a lot of us. In this article I’ll present an inexpensive solar water heater (SWH) which has gotta be the most efficient for the cost. I use this on my homestead almost six months of the year and in a non-freeze situation such as a greenhouse, this could be used year-round. Even with minimal skills and hand tools, you can build …




Lessons Learned From Going Rural – Part 1, by Animal House

When conservatives won the 2016 election many people breathed a sign of relief and decided America was safe for a few years. They decided to keep their city jobs, they slowed down their emergency preparations, and pushed back that decision to move to the country. As the unrest increases in cities, I know many families who have brought the country move back to the front burner and are actively putting together their wish lists for a homestead property. I’ve been through this, so I thought I’d share some of the things that are important in purchasing a rural property. Analyze …




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 …




Keeper of The Fire, by PJGT

This article is not about cutting wood, nor is it about the best chainsaw or other tools. It is about keeping the fire. About the life and warmth of a fire. If you are thinking about transitioning to wood fire heat, I’m hoping to help avoid some of the frustrations and shorten the learning curve of learning to keep a fire. I’ve lived in many different parts of the world, and there are different types of forests and wood available. Use what you have. Make it work. That’s my best advice. Getting things together and making it work is what …




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 …




Learning Food Storage From Hard Experience, by PitbullRN

We all have our stories on how and why we got in to prepping. Mine began about seven years ago after reading One Second After, a 2009 novel by American writer William R. Forstchen. (I highly recommend this book, if you haven’t had the chance to read it!)  It is about how life changes for a small western North Carolina town following the collapse of the grid due to an EMP. As a nurse who lives in Western North Carolina, this book interested me not only for the setting, but how people with chronic illnesses would suffer and die if …




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 …




A Prepper’s Primer on Renewable Energy – Part 1, by Kevin R.

Energy is a fundamental element in a prepper’s portfolio of resources and assets, along with food, water, medical, home, land, financial, and skills. However, some urban and suburban preppers who anticipate moving to a rural area when things get dicey often under-think their energy requirements. Organizing your retreat around dependence on hydrocarbon fuels means that you must store huge quantities of combustible fuels that will eventually run out during an extended societal collapse. But if you focus your energy use on renewable fuels, you will develop a system that will last indefinitely into the future, covering a wider variety of …




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 …




Getting Out of Dodge – Part 2, by Doc

(Continued from Part 1) Two slanted walls were poured on the East end. They were 22′ wide at the building and 14′ wide at the East end and went from 8′ to nothing at the end. This was for a roof for the patio and security when I was traveling. Then I had the messy job of coating the outside with tar to seal it. Next a layer of 2″ closed cell styrofoam was installed on the outside walls. Then part of the ditch was back filled to hold the foam in place. The temperature was hot and I was …