Letter Re: The Importance of Rural Retreat Light Discipline

Jim: I’m writing to comment on something in your nonfiction book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”: On page 206 you state: “Without proper blackout precautions, your house will be a ‘come loot me’ beacon that can be seen for miles at night.”I can’t stress light discipline enough. Here’s an example: About fifteen years ago my parents went to dinner at The Cougar Inn on Lake Wenatchee [in eastern Washington]. It was a dark night and on the way back from dinner they looked across the lake and saw a faint green flashing light …




Simple Electronic Devices and Hacks for Every Day Preparations, by Pat in Oregon

Technology is a significant force multiplier in emergency situations.  There are several options I’ve found in my preparations to incorporate electronics into our everyday use and emergency preparations.  Hopefully these ideas will be of use and get others thinking about possibilities.  My goal in utilizing these ‘gadgets’ is to increase availability of resource while decreasing maintenance and effort – all at low cost if possible.  I’d like to share a few of the low-cost options that are simplest to try that we’ve adopted in our preps. I’m an engineer and realize most of the tools I use won’t be appreciated …




Fear Versus Preparation, by Theresa P.

Having worked as a counselor in various positions, I have had the opportunity to view the system from many angles. What I am seeing scares me and should scare you too, not the type of fear that freezes you or drops you into a strong state of denial but the fear that motivates you to take close inventory of what is important in your life and causes you to initiate a plan to protect yourself and those you love. I must have looked like an odd duck when I worked as a drug and alcohol counselor. My co-workers were left …




Letter Re: Some Low Power DC Lighting Solutions

Hi Jim, I’ve been chasing some practical technologies that have proved useful to me. I hope that you find them useful as well.   As you know, power usage in an off-grid environment is a purse to be tightly controlled. After all, when you make your own, you cautiously guard it’s use.   I‘ve been using LED strings from Inirgee.com for the past number of years at the off grid ranch and have been well pleased.    I’ve used the warm white and the cool white and learned I like warm white inside and cool white outside.   Recently I …




Letter Re: Lessons Learned From a Recent California Power Outage

I have been a prepper most of my life.  Growing up in a foreign country is a relatively rural area everybody was a prepper by definition.   Limited services, almost no government, many subsistence farmers. I also spent a fair amount of time in the Navy doing bad things to bad people. Enough said.   When we lost power out here in San Diego County I was almost happy!  Finally I would get to put into use some the plans that many of us have been making. Maybe that sounds bad but after lugging my bug out/bug home bag for years I …




Lessons in OPSEC: Hurricane Irene Versus Hurricane Isabel, by Gonzo

In 2003 I lived in what can only be described as “The Hood” when Hurricane Isabel arrived. Today I find myself in a middle class neighborhood for Irene. The difference between the two and how my neighbors are handling these semi-SHTF scenarios gives a very instructive view of operational security (OPSEC) and its effects.  These two hurricanes came ashore about the same place and the same strength, but its two different worlds I have seen the aftermaths effects on. During Isabel I lived in one of the worst sections of Virginia Beach, the sort of place that other people who …




Letter Re: A Photovoltaic Lighting Option

Hi Jim, Just bought a bunch of these ‘underwater’ solar floodlights, from Northern Tool: Sunforce Solar Powered Underwater LED Floodlight, Item# 121178 They are very bright for a single LED and they will stay on until dawn if they get a full day’s charge. The light is more of a spot light and is better than most flashlights being able to light up over 60 feet away fairly well. These are great for low maintenance perimeter lighting and [unlike typical solar pathway lights,] are waterproof. Their batteries are NiMH AA cells and are replaceable. The lights plug into the panel …




Letter Re: The Little Things

This experience was thought-provoking, and many of D.M.L.’s ideas were interesting.  But there were two ideas that have not been tested or proven, so at this point they are only ideas.  First, J-B Weldwill not repair a cracked Briggs & Stratton two piece fuel tank.  They are made of black HDPE, and there is no proper glue for that.  I have personal experience with this.  HDPE is heat welded when two pieces must be joined.  You have to determine your Briggs & Stratton model number and order a replacement gas tank from Amazon.com.  I got mine for my Briggs & …




My Home Energy Backup System, by David L.

Introduction My home energy backup system was originally conceived to make a little bit of power for a very long time.  Rather than backing up the whole house with a generator for a relatively short power outage of just a few hours or days, I wanted a system that would function in an extended power “grid down” scenario.  I was working from the self declared principle that when the grid is down at night, a single light bulb makes a huge difference in how you feel.  In addition, I wanted to preserve critical refrigeration and freezer functions indefinitely. So why …




Two Letters Re: Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting

Jim, While reading the very informative article “Re: Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting” and the response letter, I thought that it might be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers to know of another source of good brass lanterns and wicks.  I have bought several brass lanterns over the years from Vermont Lanterns, including a couple of discounted and “scratch and dent” models. They are of very high quality, all brass, imported from India, though marketed by a family business in Vermont.  The company sells spare globes and wicks for each of their models, as well.  A bit more expensive than the …




Letter Re: Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting

Jim, Ron B. presented some good information in his post, “Re: Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting”; however, I would like to make a correction and several additions.  He states, “everything that burns gives off carbon monoxide” and then goes on to list several items, none of which give off  [any significant] Carbon Monoxide (CO) if they are functioning properly and are operating with adequate ventilation.  CO is produced [in detectable amounts] only when there is incomplete combustion due to low oxygen or a temperature. too low for complete combustion.  Cigarettes, Cigars, and Incense are designed to operate with incomplete combustion …




Some Observations on Non-Electric Lighting, by Ron B.

INTRODUCTION I began work in Toronto on August 1, 2003.  The lights went out three weeks later.  The entire Northeast was dark for several days. The company had provided us with three months of free housing.  By my standards it was quite posh ¾ pool privileges, chandeliers, weekly maid service.  But we knew nobody, had little food in the cupboard, and no local currency.  (Then again the cash registers didn’t work anyway.)  When the sun went down it got dark and stayed dark.  We had no light of any kind.  Granted, the two huge candlesticks on the mantle were a …




Letter Re: Hurricane Preparedness Steps

Jim: Now is the time for those in the Southeastern United States to check their preparations for hurricanes.  Below is a list of steps I go through anytime there is a hint of a potential storm.  These steps were derived from past experiences and lessons I have learned from other Survivalblog.com posts.  I do this prep so as not to get caught up in panicked crowds on the days immediately preceding the storm.  Should the storm not hit me directly I consider this prepping chance to practice and shore up my supplies. 7 Days Out 1)    Water (1 or 5 …




Letter Re: The Will to Act: Your Ultimate Bug-Out Kit

James Wesley: In follow-up to the mention of lights and headlamps in The Will to Act: Your Ultimate Bug-out Kit by R.B., I just thought I’d add that Fenix makes an excellent head mounting system for 1″ lights. It is a quality item, very good indeed.  What plastic headlamp is going to keep up with a 200 lumen light (or two), such as their equally excellent and very stout 2xAA-powered LD20? I have a handful of high-end Petzl headlamps, and while they’re very nice items, they fall rather short in output, durability, water resistance, and ultimately versatility to this setup.  …




SHTF Electricity Basics, by M.N.

Most of us are accustomed to having safe, easy, instant access to electricity. After a disaster electrical power is low on the hierarchy of needs.  On the other hand, avoiding electricity may become a priority.  Damp clothes and wet, lacerated skin make us much more vulnerable to electrocution.  By definition, improvised or post disaster grid power won’t be as safe as we’re used to today.   After a disaster, electricity becomes an elemental threat that can kill you dead if you miscalculate. If you’re lucky enough to be able to prepare a bastion with solar and generator power, do a good …