A Contractor’s Preps: Materiel Storage, by Paul W.

I’d like to discuss my perspective on family preparedness, from the perspective of a architectural design and building contractor. There are four categories to this aspect of preparedness:  Materials, Tools, Knowledge and Usefulness I read a lot of articles about things to stock up on when TEOTWAWKI situations occur.  One thing I do not hear discussed as much is keeping a well stock material shed at your bug out location.  Now keep in mind this is not a Bug out bag list.  The is a Bug Out Destination or Home list. Coming from the world of Architectural Design and Contracting …




Letter Re: Woodstove Chimney-Mounted Ovens

JWR, I don’t know about the Baker’s Salute Oven (that another reader asked about), but there is a man in Springville, Utah that makes a similar one that can be mounted on a wood burning stove or on a expedition tent stove.  They are much less expensive as he makes them from repurposed propane cylinders and they are called Grover Chimney Ovens.   They cost $205 instead of $539 like the Bake’s Salute Oven but they are not as large inside.   They are a double-walled oven, so the heated gases from the chimney stack surround the oven itself.  I am not …




Help for the New Prepper, by Don H.

 Many of us that have been prepping since before the Internet have welcomed all the new information, knowledge, and interaction with our fellow preppers. But for someone who is just starting out, it can all be overwhelming. So overwhelming that they don’t know where to start. The sad part is that many of them don’t start. They feel that they have to  spend so much money at one time to get all the gear that the experts say they need, that they just can’t do it. This is in large part due to shows like Doomsday Preppers. While I watch …




Heating with Wood 101, by J.J.S.

 “If I have seen for miles, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton This line sums up SurvivalBlog and the contributing writers: it is a community of concerned preppers trying to share knowledge to help each other out.  My focus today is residential heating with wood as your fuel based on my experience heating with my airtight cast iron stove.  Pretty boring topic for the seasoned prepper, but I think there are plenty of new preppers who have recently seen the light and can feel the stuff hitting the fan and hopefully this …




Letter Re: Building Cabins on a Shoestring Budget

Dear CPT Rawles, Thank you for SurvivalBlog, and best wishes to all of you at the Rawles Ranch.   My wife and I have written to once before about retreat locale recommendations, and you were so very helpful.  We are, I guess what you could call “late preppers” because we’ve only been working on this for about the last year, & part of that with admittedly a certain skepticism. Time has proven you right however, & now we are doing all we can.  It’s tough to prioritize when you need so much, and everything is like an emergency right NOW …




Preparedness for Short Term Regional Disasters, by K.H.H.

I know this blog is primarily aimed at folks preparing for a long-term crisis, but I have a unique perspective on living without electricity after a regional disaster that I thought some might find informative. I live in the hills of northwestern New Jersey, and I have lived through three sustained (my definition: 4 or more days each) power outages caused by extreme weather events during the last two years. These power outages were caused, respectively, by Hurricane Irene, 19 inches of wet, heavy snow in October before the trees had lost their leaves, and Hurricane Sandy. I have learned …




Home Power Systems: Energy Efficiency and Conservation, by L.K.O.

(Note: This article is part of a series of feature articles about alternative / sustainable / renewable energy solutions for self-sufficiency. Previous related articles in SurvivalBlog that complement this one are “Home Inverter Comparison: Off Grid and Grid Tied” and Home Power Systems: Micro Hydro. Upcoming article topics in this Home Power Systems series will include: Photovoltaics, Batteries, Wind generators, Solar Water Distillers, Solar Ovens, and Solar Water Heating.) Overview of Energy Efficiency and Conservation : The First Step in a viable Home Power System The most recent article in this series, Home Power Systems: Micro Hydro, in a way …




Fire: Your Partner in Survival, by Pledger

Eons ago when people lived in caves, one of their most important tools was fire.  Its ability to keep them warm, cook food, provide light, and scare away predators was of the utmost importance.  Some kind of a societal upheaval may not necessarily mean returning to a stone age existence, but when the systems that keep our everyday life humming along go down, fire will once again have a huge impact on our ability to survive. This fact was brought home to my wife and me two winters ago, when a February blizzard knocked out the power to several counties.  …




Letter Re: Food Storage in the Southern United States

Sir: As a Central Texas Prepper, I have solved my food storage problem affordably, as follows: On my property there was an existing 20 foot by 24 foot sheetrock walled tool shed. I gutted this building and installed slabs of 8 inch styrofoam panels against interior walls. These blocks of foam were salvaged from floating docks on a local lake as most people were installing plastic floats under their docks. The styrofoam blocks were free for the taking..As the floats were used and had been in the water in some cases for years, they looked gross and smelled bad also. …




Do it Yourself Timber Harvesting, by SMJ

Wood is one of the most readily available materials for homestead construction projects and is also an important fuel source for many of us. I’ve always loved forests and trees, so I drew on my experiences growing up in Alaska and my work in the timber industry in Western Washington to write this post.  If you are lucky enough to own your own forest, I highly recommend the book A Landowner’s Guide to Managing Your Woods by Hansen/Seversen/Waterman.  This book will give you an excellent overview on how to keep your forest healthy and profitable, as well as giving you …




Letter Re: Swiss Fallout Shelter Specifications

Dear Mr Rawles: A follow-up to my last letter: Spiez is where the Swiss have their federal testing lab for Civil Defense.  The lab has an english version of its website.  At this link  your readers may acess the list of tested and aprooved components ( for CD shelters) and in a seperate document, the list of aprooval holders.  Interested readers can then with a search engine find the companies who make components of interest one of which is Lunor. This company also has an English version of their web site.  Readers can from there select blast doors, NBC filters,  valves etc.  Spiez …




Letter Re: Another Way to Protect Your Retreat, by E. E.

Hello, E.E.’s primary problem was not the insurance. It’s the design flaw and negligence that allows the small glitch to evolve to the full-scale catastrophe. Every trouble that can occur occurs. Every trouble that cannot occur occurs too. Firstly, the furnaces may fail – it’s quite normal. I have no idea about their model but I believe they should have and so have some security automation that stopped them due to some problem (electricity?), or the fuel supply failed. The first task to design should be “The stopped furnaces should not self-destruct”. How should it be done? I see at …




Buying a Used Wood Stove by Sid S.

Near the top of the List of Essentials is is keeping warm. One surefire way to do that is with a wood-burning heat stove. Wood stoves are reliable as a main source of heat or as backup but can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 new, so buying used is a practical way to go. Before you buy however, there are a few things you should know. First of all, you need a good, certified wood stove. Why certified? Because they use less than half the wood that the previous generation of wood stoves used, don’t exhaust clouds of unburned soot …




Letter Re: Fire – Your Partner in Survival

Jim:   D.P. ‘s article “Fire -Your Partner in Survival was very good!    I would like to add that firewood storage life depends greatly on the type of wood.  Oak and other similar types can be stored for well over 20 years with no problems. (Especially if split and covered with a quality tarp or stored in a woodshed with a good roof.) But in contrast, un-split white birch will start to rot in a single year. Poplar and some other species also degrade quickly.   D.P. is right on about the type of heater to use.  When I …




Letter Re: Upgrading Your House Window and Door Security

Mr. Rawles: Although filtered HVAC systems make for comfortable and healthy inside air quality, even the most efficient draw heavily on AC mains. Insulated airtight walls and windows reduce heat loss and in windy areas reduce dirt infiltration. I would never consider powering a cooling system with solar power but heater blower motors can be so powered. This works well for dual stage furnaces that switch from heat pump to natural gas or propane for emergency heat. Fireplaces are as old as houses but rather than just building any old firebox, I researched fireplace design. When building my ranch headquarters …