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 …




Gear Review: Coast FL19 Headlamp, by The Novice

Headlamps were first developed primarily for mining. Most other occupations could depend on natural light for at least part of each day, but deep pit mining was always carried out far from the friendly light of the sun. For millennia, miners had carried a source of artificial light like a torch, candle or lamp into the mines. They would fasten their light-source somehow to the wall of the shaft and set to work. About 1850 or so, someone in Scotland got the brilliant idea of attaching a small oil wick lamp above the brim of a cap, and the headlamp …




Gear Review: Morisk Waterproof Flashlight/Plasma Lighter, by The Novice

According to the ancient Greeks, Prometheus lay the foundation of civilization by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mankind. The mythology of the ancient Greeks does not accurately represent the one true God, His holy character, or His plan of redemption. But the Greeks were remarkably perceptive regarding the role of fire as the foundation of civilization. Heat, light, protection from wild animals, food preparation, the forging of metal tools, and a host of other possibilities all lay hidden within the glow of a tiny flame. Effective fire starting is so foundational to survival, that I try …




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 …




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 …




An Old Boy Scout’s Journey – Part 1, by Rocket J. Squirrel

What prompted me to begin preparing? I am not certain if there was one specific trigger. I’d like to share my journey to becoming “more” prepared? If you have recently realized that you need to be prepared to take care of your family, your community and your country in the event that really bad things happen, then hopefully my journey will encourage you. Maybe not, since it has taken me so long. I am still on the journey, still learning, still implementing new things about which I learn. My perspective continues to change. My beautiful bride and I are not …




Budget Retreat Security, by Pat Cascio

If you’ve been a reader of SurvivalBlog.com for any length of time, you’ve surely seen the term Operational Security and the acronym OPSEC. And just as often, you’ve seen the term retreat security. These two go hand-in-hand. Together, they can make your surroundings as safe and secure as possible. Sometimes, depending on your location, this might be simple. But other times, it takes a lot more work to make your surroundings as safe and secure as you possibly can. Every once in a while, I have to remind myself to maintain both OPSEC as well as retreat security. More than …




The Coast HX4 Light, by The Novice

Last summer, I went to a garage sale. There, I found a brand new clip light for sale for two dollars. That was too good a deal to pass up, so I bought the light and put it on a shelf in my workshop. It sat there for several months. Then, one autumn evening, I needed to move some firewood after darkness fell. I looked at the various headlamps on my shelf, and decided to give the new one a try. I was very impressed. The little light cast a bright white flood of light wherever I turned my head. …




Making Light, by M.E.

Artificial light is useful for extending working time beyond sunset, for providing comfort in the long dark hours of winter, and for finding one’s way in the night. Without electricity or batteries, solar cells or wind up flashlights, lamps and candles can be made just as they have been for thousands of years. The cave paintings of the Upper Paleolithic were done by the light of lamps that used a lump of animal fat as fuel and lichen, moss, or juniper twigs as wicks. The light of these crude lamps was sufficient to produce some of the earliest known works …




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 …




Our Winter Indoor Greenhouse Room, by Avalanche Lily

I was recently asked for any advice that I could give concerning growing foods indoors. Growing anything indoors or outdoors is always an experiment, because there are so many variables to contend with.  In essence: Indoors: humidity, light, and nutrition. Outside: sunspots (or lack thereof), temperature, cloud cover, rain, drought, storms, bugs, soil nutrition, et cetera. Let me preface that I have no claim at all in thinking that I’m an expert. I’m not. I am no expert at all, nor am I an expert in any subject. I am a “by the seat of your pants” kinda girl.  I …




What I Learned From the Recent Power Outage – Part 2, by A.K.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The house is located in a rural locale with only two other homes on the road (friends of theirs). They have a well and septic system. And they even have a decent amount of food stored such as canned goods that I could access in an emergency(and pay them back for later). I was pretty pleased to realize this. I actually felt the best here (and safest) that I have felt during my entire time traveling. I figured that in an emergency I’d be okay here for a while. It’s even located …




Elements of a Security System – Part 5, by J.M.

Observation As I mentioned earlier, direct observation of an intruder approaching is another form of detection, but I’m focusing on situations where you may not be able to have eyes everywhere 24×7. However, if an alarm does go off you’ll need some way to get ‘eyes on’ to determine what caused the alarm without unnecessarily exposing yourself to potential danger. There are a number of possible options to enhance your ability to observe a potential intruder. The simplest and most obvious option would be magnified optics, such as binoculars or a monocular, assuming you have a line-of-sight to the area …




Letter: Converting Edison Lamps to 12 VDC

Jim, Would you mind offering a link for a 12-volt bayonet mount adapter [for standard 120 Volt AC floor and table  lamps to use automotive interior and tail lights] that you referenced in your novel Patriots? Thanks, – Marc JWR Replies: Marc: Sadly, those bulb adapters are no longer cataloged by Real Goods. These days, with the profusion of inexpensive LEDs on the market, I would instead opt for Edison base 12 VDC LED conversions. This makes sense because LEDs draw so much less current than traditional automotive filament bulbs, and they have a much longer service life. NOTE: These …