One hobby I would like to do more of is Pyrotechnics. I love fireworks and I love diy projects, but unfortunately the regulations on storage keeps my playing to a minimum. However, even if I don’t get to build as much sparkly smoky things as I like, I still enjoy reading about them Amateur rocket motor construction is an awesome book. It is full of diagrams and instructions as well as recipes to make several tested rocket designs. Not only does the book have lots of reference material, it even has a couple “improvised” ingredients – recipes included use common
Properly storing fuel for the Apocalypse!
Micheal Kline “Reality Check” Audio player below!
This week we are going to be talking about some of the common techniques for storing fuel. This topic has been covered before, but it bears repeating since tornado is starting and hurricane season isn’t that far off. In this show, we are going to be talking about some of the common fuels to store and the industry practices to prolong the life of such.
In a survival scenario, few pieces of machinery are more valuable than a quality generator. At a time when we have become almost entirely dependent on electricity for survival, having the ability to generate power when the grid is down could be the difference between the life and death. However, generators are also known for […]
An extremely important, but often overlooked, piece of gear everyone should have in their bug-out vehicle is a portable fuel filter, such as the Mr. Funnel portable fuel filters. Portable fuel filters remove water, dirt, and other debris from gasoline and diesel, thereby protecting the engine from harm. (They can also be used to filter kerosene, propane, and heating oil.) Clean fuel is extremely important for your vehicle (and tractor, and generator, and so forth).
Why would you need to use a portable fuel filter? At least three reasons come to mind: 1) In a bug-out situation you may be filling up using gas stored in five-gallon cans (or other storage tanks), which may have developed water issues due to condensation build-up (any air space inside the gas can will allow condensation, even if you are using additives such Sta-Bil). 2) You may be filling up at unfamiliar gas stations that you simply don’t know the quality of the fuel. 3) Or, particularly in a slow collapse scenario, the quality of available gasoline may become “spotty” even with brands/stations that you are familiar with, as the infrastructure slowly deteriorates.
Portable fuel filters come in multiple sizes with different flow rates (examples: the AF1CB filter has a flow rate of up to 2.5 gallons per minute, and the larger AF15CB filter has a flow rate of up to 15 gallons per minute).
Smaller fuel filters, with slower flow rates (1 or 2 gallons per minute) are less expensive and work best for smaller quantities, such as filtering the gas going into a lawn mower or small tractor. The larger filters with higher flow rates are more expensive but work better for fueling a vehicle with a large gas tank. For example, my Nissan Pathfinder has an 18 gallon tank. A small filter with a 2.5 gallon flow rate would take more than seven minutes for a fill-up. However, a larger filter with a 15 gallon flow rate would only take a little over a minute.
Note: Don’t cross contaminate. Use a separate portable fuel filter for each type of fuel. In other words, have separate filters for gasoline, diesel, heating oil, kerosene, and propane.
During a disaster, fuel is an invaluable resource. The problem is that everyone else needs it as badly as you do, and supplies are limited. That’s why any time a natural disaster strikes, the lines at gas stations seem to stretch on forever. Even if you do have the time and patience to sit in […]
Going without power because of a natural disaster can be stressful. There are steps you can take to plan for the next storm and one of these is to set up a system for emergency cooking. I think it is fun when the power goes out and we have a chance to pull out […]
Five year old stabilized gas? We can beat that:
But………..no hiccups in the vehicle running this stuff. (Then again, it may be hard to tell…its a 25 year old vehicle so something was amiss how would you tell?)
But, it appears that the PRI-G is doing/did what it advertised. I suppose that there are some out there who will say that gas stored without a stabilizer would have lasted equally as long. Maybe. Maybe PRI-G and StaBil are really snake oil and all you need is a really good, airtight, gasoline storage container. Beats me. But, I’ll continue to store the gas with the PRI-G additive. And, Crom as my witness, I will be a buttload more diligent about rotating this stuff more often.
Except..uhm…I think I have two cans left to go through that might actually be older.
I very clearly need to be more diligent about rotating the stored gas. case in point:
Yup…that’s five-year-old go-juice. It was treated with PRI-G as a stabilizer. PRI-G seems to get the nod over the more entrenched Sta-Bil product. I dunno. You can’t believe everything your read, but PRI-G seems to get more positive comments than Sta-Bil. :::shrug::: Whatever. I use it.
I keep a funnel paracorded to every other gas can since my experience has been that the nozzles for gas cans very seldom work as advertised.
Anyway, five gallons of five-year-old gas in the vehicle….I’m not expecting any problems, but I’ll let you know.
Jerry Cans are popular in many different communities because of their versatility and utility. I purchased one last year and finally got around to writing a review on it. If you are in the market for one, consider the Wavian 20L Jerry Can. It’s a great product that you should consider adding to your inventory.
Last month, I reviewed several products and wrote reviews for them to be published in Survival Life. These will be released in the coming weeks and I will link them here as well. However, the theme of these reviews is “playing with gasoline” since all of these products are related to fuel storage. To be […]
Well, I think I’m pretty much done on buying kerosene for the rest of my life. Last time I bought kerosene was here. That was an awesome deal.
Was tooling through Craigslist (when? When will I learn??) and, lo and behold, a fella selling 14 5-gallon drums of kero. For those of you who went to
public government schools, that’s 70 gallons. Or, if you’re in a country that never put a man on the moon, 265 liters.
I love kerosene…it burns hottest of the liquid fuels, keeps forever with no special treatment, is safe to store, and has a nice market of stoves, lamps, and heaters out there.
My anticipated use? Well, it’s winter for a good chunk of the year here and it would be nice to keep the house toasty in the event of a power outage. Most likely these will go into storage with the last batch of 5-gallon drums I bought. There they will wait until the day when it’s dark, cold, and dreary and I shall have light, heat, and hot food.
Here’s the interesting part… I met the guy, a rather old gentleman who, sadly, was dying of cancer, and as I was moving the cans out of his rather neat and nicely stocked garage I asked him why he had so much of it. His reply was that it was his leftover Y2K stash. Apparently he’d gone long on Y2K stuff. I suspected as much as I looked around his garage and saw the rifle cases, cases of ammo, etc, etc. All the hallmarks of someone who is on the same page. We chatted a bit about the Y2K thing and about how we’d rather have it and not need it, etc, etc. I thanked him for the deal and assured him it was going to a home that shared his concerns and mindset.
I also told him that if he had any other Y2K leftovers he wanted to sell, to please keep me in mind.
So for those of you who wonder how you meet like-minded individuals, there’s another example.
I did the math to figure out how may gallons of kerosene I have in storage and I think I may have actually gone a tad heavier than I planned. I’m going to have to contact a few of the LMI and see if they want some…I don’t think I really need more than 100 gallons for any forseeable emergency.
Solar Generator vs Fuel Generator One of the first purchases I made when getting into serious preparedness was a gas generator. Not only the necessity for electrify drove me but also the importance of creature comforts. My power goes out and then it comes back on. I am happy with my gas generator. That said …
InstaFire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling, And Fuel Insta-Fire is a safe, simple, and versatile new Charcoal briquette lighting and fire starting product. It has water-repellent properties, 1/2 cup of Insta-Fire has a minimum of 10 minute burn time, and is super light weight – weighing 1.8 oz. Use it to light campfires …
The post Insta-Fire Lights On Water, Works As Tinder, Kindling And Fuel appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Distill Your Own Fuel, Ethanol to Alcohol! Host: Nick & Don “We Grow Ours” Can you make your own fuel – at home? “Make Your Own Fuel! Alcohol Fuel Basics What if there were a fuel that was affordable, renewable, and produced right in your own community? If you’d lived 100 years ago, you would … Continue reading Distill Your Own Fuel, Ethanol to Alcohol!
Heating your home is a critical, but what is the most effective fuel source to do it – and what should you use as a backup?
Electric heat? Stove oil? Propane? Wood? Choosing a fuel source can seem overwhelming when trying to balance both cost efficiency and heating efficiency.
Whether you live urban or rural, in the prairie or in the forest, your average seasonal temps are all variables that weigh heavily on choosing the most efficient heating source. In this article, I’ll detail five different common ways of heating your home and the pros and cons of each.
Let’s start with one of the most common types of home heating in urban areas: electric heat. In many areas of the country, electric heat is popular because it is a relatively cheap source of heat. If you live in the Midwest this is especially true, where electricity prices average about 10 cents per kilowatt hour. If you live on the coasts or where I am (Alaska), however, you can pay upwards of 17 cents per kilowatt hour. This can make electric heat quite a bit more expensive than some other heat sources. Electric heat also can be problematic if you are living off-grid and have other fuel sources readily available that might be better put toward the use of heating your home.
If you have an easily accessible source of wood in your area and don’t want to be dependent on other infrastructure systems for your source of fuel, heating with firewood may be your best option. Modern-day woodstoves have become much more efficient in recent years, with many models burning at upwards of 80 percent heating efficiency.
If you can cut the wood yourself, your fuel source also can be virtually free, leaving you with only the initial cost outlay for the woodstove itself. If you don’t have the means to cut your own firewood, the average cost for a cord (4 x 4 x 8 stack) of firewood is between $150 and $250, although this cost is heavily dependent on your area. You can expect to go through about 4-7 cords per winter season with a modern-day wood stove.
Stove oil is also commonly used for heating homes. Stove oil is available in most areas of the country and is especially popular in the Northeast and my area of Alaska. Stove oil prices fluctuate just like gasoline prices, but current prices for stove oil are right around $3 per gallon. Although not ridiculously expensive, stove oil has a higher cost than both propane and natural gas, with the average household spending about $2,500 per household per winter season. Stove oil can be more efficient than heating with wood, however, and has efficiencies ranging from 80 to 90 percent.
Although still fairly common, propane has been losing popularity in recent years as a heating fuel. Current average household propane costs for the country are right around $2 per gallon, but that price varies significantly region to region. In some areas, propane may be cost-prohibitive. In others, it may be vastly cheaper than electricity. Propane stove efficiency is not the highest, averaging 75 to 85 percent, but propane is a readily available source of heat in most areas.
If you have access to it in your area, natural gas often can be an economical and efficient choice for heating. It is one of the most popular choices in the country, with as many as 56 million households using it for space heating (as of 2009). Using natural gas, you will be dependent on the infrastructure necessary to bring it to your home, but the cost savings may be worth it. While natural gas heaters often have standard efficiency comparable to propane stoves, your heating costs will be drastically lower. This cost also varies by area. The state of Massachusetts reported a winter home heating cost of over $3,000 for propane users in 2014, while that number for natural gas users was closer to $1,200.
Choosing which primary and backup fuel source is right for you requires a close look at a wide range of variables. Compare different fuel costs for your specific region of the country and be sure to take into account your budget for the initial cost of a stove and availability of chosen fuel source.
Aryn Young lives in Homer, Alaska, running a small farm and sustainable land-clearing operation.
What are your primary and backup sources of heat? Share your tips in the section below:
It seems like every year there is talk of an imminent economic collapse. 2017 is no different. With the economic deck stacked against Trump, I don’t have much confidence that he, alone, can turn things around. After all, the national debt is completely out of control and has doubled in the past 8 years. Sooner or later, the piper must be paid and preppers who breathed a sigh of relief when Trump was elected, may want to think again, as I wrote about in this article.
So, with continued predictions of economic collapse, I asked Mac Slavo over at SHTFplan blog to share with my readers his insights into how a family might survive following a collapse of our money system. Here is his answer, in his own words:
Economist Mike Shedlock defines money through the eyes of Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard as, “a commodity used as a medium of exchange.”
“Like all commodities, it has an existing stock, it faces demands by people to buy and hold it. Like all commodities, its “price” in terms of other goods is determined by the interaction of its total supply, or stock, and the total demand by people to buy and hold it. People “buy” money by selling their goods and services for it, just as they “sell” money when they buy goods and services.”
What is money when the system collapses and the SHTF?
In disaster situations, the value of money as we know it now, changes, especially if we are dealing with a hyperinflationary collapse of the system’s core currency. This article discusses money as a commodity in an event where the traditional currency (US Dollar) is no longer valuable.
In a collapse of the system, there will be multiple phases, with the first phase being the “crunch”, as discussed in James Rawles’ book Patriots. The crunch is the period of time directly preceding a collapse and the collapse itself. Too often, preppers prep for “the crunch” and fail to realize they will have to be ready to survive for many months, if not years afterwards.
Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach. In Argentina during that country’s many economic collapses, if someone received a check in payment, the immediately rushed to cash it, knowing that it was losing its value minute by minute. This short Kindle document, written by a survivor of that time in Argentina’s history, details that event.
It is during the crunch that ATM machines around the country will run out of currency as people aware of the rapidly devaluing dollar will be attempting to withdraw as much money as possible. This immediate increase in money supply, coupled with the population’s general knowledge of the currency depreciation in progress, will lead to instant price increases for goods, especially essential goods.
And, forget the classic “run on banks” that have been depicted in old movies, including “It’s a Wonderful Life.” A modern day “run” simply won’t happen. Rather, the electronic system that moves money from a billion different points to another billion points will simply be turned off. In a split second, all access to funds will cease, and there will be no point running to a bank to get cash, since banks will be in lockdown mode and, in any case, they hold very little actual cash.
If your physical cash has not been converted into tangible assets, this would be the time to do so. Acquiring as much food, fuel, clothing and toiletry items as possible would be the ideal way to spend remaining cash before it completely collapses to zero, as it did in the Weimar inflation in 1930’s Germany or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in recent years. This family survival and prepping manual has in depth advice for preppers at all stages.
During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’, precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage, “You can’t eat your gold,” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire, and for beginners, this list of where to start with food storage is invaluable.
Consider someone who has a two-week or one-month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut. At that point, it’s anyone’s guess as to when supplies, food and otherwise, will be replenished.
That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals. For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one ounce government mint issued silver coins, like US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel. While it’s recommended to have gold as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver. Breaking a one-ounce gold coin into ten pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 worth of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.
In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the, “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity. As well, the vast majority of people will not have precious metals of any kind for barter, so other forms of currency will begin to appear.
This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished and once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services, and labor.
Water as currency
Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet.
For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Due to the weight of water, 8 lbs. per gallon, it’s very difficult to carry much if getting out on foot. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter
An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $170, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! It’s a must-have for any survival kit.
Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can filter 1 liter of water. In our opinion, it’s the best chemical water treatment available.
Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.
Food as currency when SHTF
In a system collapse, food will be another of the core essential items that individuals will want to acquire. Survival Blog founder James Rawles suggests storing food for 1) personal use, 2) charity, and 3) bartering.
Dry goods, canned goods, and freeze dried foods can be used for bartering, but only if you have enought to feed yourself, family and friends. They should be bartered by expiration date, with those foods with the expiration dates farthest out being the last to be traded. You don’t know how long the crunch and recovery periods will last, so hold the foods with the longest expiration dates in your posession if you get to a point where you must trade.
Baby formula will also be a highly valued item in a SHTF scenario, so whether you have young children or not, it may not be a bad idea to stockpile a one or two weeks supply. (For parents of young children, this should be the absolute first thing you should be stockpiling!). In addition to water, baby formula may be one of the most precious of all monetary commodities.
Another tradeable food good would be non-hybrid produce seeds, but the need for these may not be apparent to most at the initial onset of a collapse, though having extra seeds in your bug-out location may come in handy later. If you currently have a productive garden, check out these instructions for creating your own mini seed banks for barter or sale.
Fuel as currency in a post-SHTF world
Fuel, including gas, diesel, propane and kerosene will all become barterable goods in a collapse, with gas being the primary of these energy monetary units during the crunch as individuals flee cities. For most, stockpiling large quantities will be impractical, so for those individuals who prepared, they may only have 20 – 50 gallons in their possession as they are leaving their homes. If you are near your final bug-out destination, and you must acquire food, water or firearms, fuel may be a good medium of exchange, especially for those that have extra food stuffs they are willing to trade.
Though we do not recommend expending your fuel, if you are left with no choice, then food, water and clothing may take precedence.
For those with the ability to do so, store fuel in underground tanks on your property for later use and trading, and this article provides vital instructions for storing fuel safely — a major consideration.
Firearms and Ammunition
Though firearms and ammunition may not be something you want to give up, those without them will be willing to trade some of their food, precious metals, fuel and water for personal security. If the system collapses, there will likely be pandemonium, and those without a way to protect themselves will be sitting ducks to thieves, predators, and gangs.
Even if you choose not to trade your firearms and ammo during the onset of a collapse, these items will be valuable later. As food supplies diminish, those without firearms will want to acquire them so they can hunt for food. Those with firearms may very well be running low on ammunition and will be willing to trade for any of the aforementioned items.
In James Rawles’ Patriots and William Forstchen’s One Second After, ammunition was the primary trading good during the recovery and stabilization periods, where it was traded for food, clothing, shoes, livestock, precious metals, and fuel.
Clothing and Footwear
We may take it for granted now because of the seemingly endless supply, but clothing and footwear items will be critical in both, the crunch and the phases after it. Having an extra pair of boots, a jacket, socks, underwear and sweaters can be an excellent way to acquire other essential items in a trade.
As children grow out of their clothes, rather than throwing them away, they will become barterable goods, and one possible way to earn an income during this time could be running a second hand clothing store.
It is recommended that those with children stock up on essential clothing items like socks, underwear and winter-wear that is sized a year or two ahead of your child’s age.
Additional Monetary Commodities
The above monetary units are essential goods that will be helpful for bartering in the initial phases of a collapse in the system. As the crunch wanes and recovery and stabilization begin to take over, other commodities will become tradeable goods.
Another important monetary commodity after the crunch will be trade skills. If you know how to fish, machine tools, hunt, sew, fix and operate radioes, fix cars, manufacture shoes, or grow food, you’ll have some very important skills during the recovery period. It costs very little, if anything, to acquire skills and survival knowledge, and, in the worst of times, those are things that cannot be taken from you.
Guest post by Mac Slavo from SHTFplan, updated by Noah, 1/2/17.
With a good generator, you can run important appliances in your home like refrigerators, heaters, and air conditioners during power outages. Generator dealers record the most sales when there are massive storms in surrounding regions, which means most people don’t buy generators until they urgently need them. Waiting until the last minute forces you to […]
The other day I received this e-mail on siphoning gas from cars:
“While doing some maintenance work on my gasoline powered electrical generator, the thought struck me that back in the old days, and in case of an emergency, one could always siphon gasoline out of their car’s gasoline tank and use it to run things like generators. However, that seems to be not the case nowadays. I tried inserting a conventional siphon hose into my tank but it “bottomed-out” on some obstruction before it touched any gasoline. I looked under the hood of my car (2001 Toyota Highlander) for a place where I could tie into my fuel line. I found none.
A cursory examination of the bottom of my fuel tank revealed no drain plug. So, I went to a local auto parts store and asked the folks if they had anything to siphon or pump fuel from the tank on any modern car or pickup truck. They had no suggestions.”
In the past, I can remember when we used to siphon gas out our cars to fuel our lawn mowers or other small engines. Siphoning gas out of the older vehicles was easy, but when was the last time you tried to siphon gas out of a car? It has been years since I have tried. In a real disaster, like an EMP strike, obtaining gas from damaged vehicles may be necessary to keep older vehicles running. This got me to wondering how to siphon gas from the new cars.
NOTE: Wondering if any vehicles will still be operating after an EMP? Be sure to read my note at the bottom of this article. If you’ve read One Second After, you may be surprised by my findings.
A little research into modern-day siphoning, revealed that all new cars have an anti-rollover valve on all the openings into a gas tank. These valves also act as a siphon prevention system, which is the reason why nearly all the siphon devices and pumps sold these days are useless. However, there is a way to do it without damaging the vehicle if you have the right tools. Most gas thieves today simply drill a hole in the gas tank, take what they can, and let the rest run out on the ground. But there is another way.
The anti-rollover valve is a ball or butterfly valve. This leaves enough room for gas to flow through the fueling tube into the tank, but if the car flips over and gas begins to flow the other direction, the ball moves to the inlet and blocks the gas from escaping or the butterfly flap closes.
The trick to siphoning gas without damaging the vehicle is to use a small diameter, stiff hose like the ¼-inch hose that runs to your refrigerator icemaker. Cut the end at a sharp angle and spin, or “corkscrew”, the hose as you insert it. It may take you a few tries to master this. Now, siphoning gas through this small tube by gravity is slow and can take up to eight minutes for a gallon of gas. If you can find a small hose with a hand pump like this one, it can go much faster.
You may want to carry a larger hose for vehicles that will accept it. Just remember that stealing gas in illegal and should be avoided.
ABOUT THOSE VEHICLES…
Most every reader of One Second After is convinced that virtually every vehicle on the road will suddenly stall and be incapacitated forever. Dr. Arthur T. Bradley, NASA electronic engineer and author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, disagrees. He says there are so many variables that will affect whether or not the electromagnetic surge will damage vehicles that he believes only 30% or so will be damaged. The rest may experience a slight glitch and then resume running. This doesn’t mean transportation will be a piece of cake in a post-EMP world. With millions of vehicles stranded on every type of road, bridge, and tunnel imaginable, transportation would still be difficult.
This article updated 10-24-16.
The post Siphoning Gasoline from Newer Vehicles without Damaging Them appeared first on Preparedness Advice.
Most quality bug out kits give a hefty nod to a petroleum powered stove. Whether white gas, compressed gas or fuel tablets, the common thread is the need for man-made fuel. Even the multi-fuel stoves are at risk when there is nothing to eat. Enter the mini-wood stove. Vargo makes an impressive line of titanium products including the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove. Folding flat and weighing just 4.3 ounces, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove does the same things a conventional stove does without the need for extra help. Add another half ounce for the hexagon-shaped velcro-closure pouch and two dozen wooden matches, and the kit still doesn’t break five ounces.
Fuel Load out
Using sticks, bark, and the essentially unlimited supply of fuel found in any forest, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove will boil water and cook food better and faster than a small campfire. The shape and design of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove makes for concentrated heat and focused energy all in a tiny package. The stove has a five-inch diameter base that focuses the energy out of a three-inch chimney. The area of a circle is pi times the radius squared. So a five-inch base has about 19.6 inches of surface area, and the chimney has about seven inches of area. This means that almost three times the amount of burnable real estate heat is concentrated into the business end of this little wood furnace. Since pure titanium has a melting temperature of over 3000 degrees F, there is little chance that this alloy of Ti will ever soften during use.
Also Read: 15 Ways To Start A Fire
The Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is a set of seven hinged panels all folding flat into a quarter inch high plane. One panel is the hexagonal base, and the others are the six triangular walls. Piano hinges connect all the panels, and one simple notch on the base provides support and alignment with a wall panel, and another spring clip on the base holds the whole thing together. A single panel remains movable as the door.
Black Pots Matter
Unlike other folding stoves, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is ultralight and folds together in mere seconds. The folding mechanism creates a solid furnace that supports pots and has a door to open when feeding is necessary, which, by the way, is very often. I’ve used other flat-folding wood stoves and was impressed with their efficiency, but not their assembly. This becomes especially important when it’s cold, dark, wet, and there is no flat surface in sight. Further, the stove will be caked with black carbon so the less it must be handled, the cleaner your fingers will remain.
Gas stoves are great when they have gas. Otherwise they are dead weight. Campfires are a wonderful morale building tool, but heavy on the smoke, smell, and evidence. Plus, most folks new to campfire cooking build way too big a fire and make a mess of things. Part of the dramatic efficiency of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is that it has a raised base with 19 hexagonal-shaped ventilation holes in it. The flow of oxygen into the base of this stove makes for a much hotter burn than wood sitting on the ground. This also means you must keep the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove sitting on its base feet in order for air to freely circulate under the stove. As the holes fill with ash or the stove sinks into the ground or snow, the efficiency will suffer tremendously. As such, keeping the base above ground is critical to a healthy fire.
Wood Fired Afterburner
Up at the hot end of the stove, five of the six panels have a V-shaped notch about a half-inch wide and ¾-inch deep that allows flame to escape the stove and wrap up and around the pot. A sixth but smaller V-shaped notch is on the door. Since the top of the door is half an inch below the plane, the smaller door V actually corresponds to the bottom portion of all the other panel Vs. This makes for a level mount for wire or stakes but would prevent the door from opening. The top of the door is the largest vent. All these vents provide plenty access for pot-blackening carbon to coat the sides of your cookware.
The V-shaped notches also have another purpose. By placing small metal rods, tent stakes, or four-inch steel grabber screws across the top of the stove, you create a grill-like cap on the top allowing small containers to sit above the flames. Stainless steel water bottles may require this mod. If you prefer, you could just add a four or five-inch square of screen to use a grill surface. I don’t recommend a circle of screen due to all the exposed wires ends from cutting that shape. The more you add to this kit, the more you deviate from the lightweight simplicity you paid for.
Related: 5 Dollar Preps: DIY Fire Starter
If you’re adventurous, you could put the stove upside down inside a pot to make a small grill. You can cook meat and veggies right on the stove-top. With the proper mods, this stove has the potential to be a very versatile addition to your survival kit.
Feed Me Seymour
The success of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is dependent on a steady and endless supply of small lumber. The Vargo eats pencil-sized sticks like there’s no tomorrow so have a pile on hand before lighting up this hungry monster.
In reality, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove does not burn wood much faster than a campfire, instead it feeds on a diet purely of high-surface area kindling. The interior of the stove is rather small so the fire burns hot and fast. The first time I took my Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove for a spin, it kept coming close to going out. I thought I could take a break from stoking it, but I was wrong. You only get a few minutes of downtime between feedings. And you cannot put a nice juicy log into the fire to make a big glowing ember. To put it simply, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is more like a blender where you keep adding sticks and they keep disappearing in flames.
I was equally surprised at how fast a half-quart of water came to a boil on the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove. The concentrated heat literally firing out of the titanium tipi went directly into the pot. Time-to-boil depends on your wood, starting water temperature, outside temperature, and the shape of your cooking pot or cup. Something in the 10-15 minute range is a normal boiling time. Other variables include altitude, quality of fire, lid use, and wind. If you double the amount of water, it seems to triple the amount of cook time.
This titanium stove gets sooty quickly. That’s one big difference between a clean-burning gas stove and a primitive tree-burning one. In fact, the stove becomes a pretty dirty thing to handle. Thankfully the black nylon pouch included with the stove keeps soot contained.
Check Out: Gear Portable Military Wood Stove
Of course, this stove should burn about any fuel you can fit inside it. So fuel tablets, alcohol, and other dedicated burnables will work. However the opposite cannot be said for tiny tablet and alcohol stoves which have trouble digesting wood. If alcohol is a preferred cooking medium, Vargo does make a titanium alcohol stove that fits inside their wood stove creating an efficient windscreen and additional stove.
The downside of a small stove is that it is small. A small stove supports small pots with small water capacities. Under ideal conditions, you could balance a quart of water on Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove, but that’s pretty gutsy. Instead, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove works great with small pots and large metal cups. I use both stainless steel and titanium cookware, but always single-wall. The double-walled cups can explode if heated, so keep that factoid in mind.
The price of the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is around sixty bucks or roughly three times the price of its stainless steel counterpart. So if weight is not an issue, you could buy three iron versions for the same price of one titanium one. The stainless version of the Vargo Hexagon wood stove weighs almost twice as much as the Ti version but both are considered light weight by reasonable standards. Well, actually the steel one is just lightweight. The titanium one is ridiculously lightweight.
Stained for Life
One use and the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove will have permanent blackened walls and lightly rainbow patina. Live with it. You can get some of the carbon off by scrubbing the stove with sand or dirt after it cools. I’ve wire-brushed mine but it’s usually not worth the effort. The next time you fire up your stove, you will re-blackening it.
The simplicity of a campfire has always been its main attraction. So, adding a little titanium tech to the campfire concept is hardly a big step. The Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove should be a welcome addition to any bug out bag or survival kit. The stove probably won’t make the difference between life and death, but it will do important cooking and boiling tasks much better than when in the open air. If time is critical and you need to keep a low profile, the Vargo Hexagon Titanium wood stove is worth it’s minuscule weight in gold.
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Friend Of The Blog ™, Harry Flashman, over at Self-Sufficient Mountain Living woke up to find the gas pumps dry and no one knowing when the fuel will be back.
Listening to the CB radio on SSB , I heard two fellows talking about gasoline shortages up here in North Georgia. One of them had gone to Cornelia , and on trying to get back, he found there was no gas to be had at the Ingles in Cornelia, nor in Cleveland. I assumed Ingles, which is a big grocery chain here, had simply messed up their order or had some kind of dispute with their supplier
When we went into town today, our own Ingles had no gas. I didn’t think much of it, until the next station down the road had no gasoline either. It turned out there was not a drop of gasoline to be had at any stations in our county.
Since my kids were here, I haven’t followed the news with anything like the attention to detail that has been my habit. That’s why I didn’t know that the pipeline that brings gasoline to Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama had “gone down.” In town people were saying the pipeline was out of service and might not be up until next week.
What is the natural consequence of a good’s level of scarcity increasing as demand stay constant? Shortages and price increases.
Gasoline is something that you really do need. You can talk about how you’re going to be grid-free, ride your solar-powered golf cart around, run your life on propane, etc, etc, but in the real world gasoline is right up there with money, ammo, and food.
I try to keep enough gas on hand for a) generator usage, b) barter/aid, and c) GTFO. All told, about 60 gallons. It’s all in 5-gal. NATO cans and treated with PRI-G.. I routinely use, in my vehicle, gas that is two years old and I’ve never had a hiccup. If you treat your gas, seal it up in a good metal can, and tuck it somewhere shady, it’ll last a good long time. There is a school of thought that says that you don’t even really need to use the additives..the gas will keep just fine. Maybe. But I’m willing to pay a couple extra bucks for snake oil to make damn sure that when I need to throw my gear in the vehicle and go, go, go, the engine goes ‘vroooom’ instead of ‘whirwhirwhirwhir…’.
Don’t cheap out and get plastic gas cans. Don’t cheap out and get bargain “NATO-style’ cans made in China. Don’t cheap out and get metal Blitz cans. Spend $50-75 per can and get the real deal. Here’s why:
When you show me any other can that can handle that sort of action, then I’ll consider it. until then..I’ll pay the money for the peace of mind.
When i bought my first motorcycle helmet, I complained to my buddy how expensive they were. he said, “What’s your life worth?”. Same thing for the gas can. What’s it worth to have 5-gallons of perfect gasoline on hand when the lights are out, the storms are raging, the hordes are coming, the waters are rising, the kids are crying, and the city is dying?
Now, I won’t say that I am cheap, but I never like to see waste. I use everything that I can. As many of you know, the shelf life of cooking oils is not indefinite, so the other day I found some olive oil that was out of date. I got to thinking about alternate uses for rancid cooking oils. Here is the list of uses for old oil.
Lubricant and rust preventative. It can be used for everything from squeaky hinges to oiling your tools. In a pinch, it would work to protect your firearms.
Lamp oil. Oil lamps are a good alternate use for rancid oils. They are easy to make and put out about the same amount of light as a candle. Having a selection of oil lamps is a very good prep and lamp oil, like this brand, isn’t too expensive.
Furniture Conditioner and Polishing Agent. Cooking oils can makes a great wood furniture polish and conditioner. I have used it on butcher block in the past. Combine equal parts oil with vinegar for an amazing mixture that can make old, scratched furniture look almost new.
Olive oil softens and preserves leather. You can also use it on leather to help restore suppleness, and protect the leather.
Get paint off your hands. Rub some oil into your skin, let it sink in for 5 minutes, and then wash thoroughly with soap.
Protect rattan and wicker furniture. It helps keep rattan and wicker furniture from cracking. Just gently rub some warm oil into the furniture with a soft cloth.
Making soap. Rancid oils can be used to make lye soaps. This book is a classic for basic soapmaking information and instructions. This would be a good skill to have for TEOTWAWKI.
Animal feed. Dogs and cats do not appear to be bothered by rancid oils. Add a little to their food and it will improve their coats.
Making Diesel. Old cooking oils can be processed and burned in diesel engines.
These are the alternate uses for rancid cooking oil that I came up with after a few minutes of thought. I am sure there are many more. Every now and then, somebody I know wants to get rid of old cooking oils. I tell them to mark it as not fit for human consumption and keep it. It may come in handy someday.
If you’re wondering why it’s not a good idea to eat rancid oil, read this.
Try to find multiple uses for everything you store.
In the past 10 years, many companies have tried to develop a new way of powering our lives. Most of them have placed their bets on solar energy. Sun provides so much energy in one minute that it can power the entire Earth for one year. Learning to harness that energy would bring so many changes, starting with the cost of electricity bills. But are solar generators the future, and can they replace fuel generators? Which one is better and provides more energy? Let us break it down and judge them based on their performances.
The concept of free energy is pretty simple. Sun is there for a reason, and we might as well utilize some of its energy. There are plenty of reasons one should install solar panels: they will generate so much energy in the upcoming years that you will never have to pay for electricity again. Yes, they can be a bit expensive to start with, but the prices of solar panels are dropping every year and very soon they will be available even for the “common people”.
Solar generators rock!
These little wonders are very simple to use. Just place them somewhere safe, and let their photo-voltaic (PV) panels do all the work. The PV panels will transform the sunlight into electricity and send it to be stored inside the batteries to be used later. Once the batteries are full, the inverter will take direct electricity (DC) and convert it into alternative electricity (AC). If you are up camping in the wild, you can use these and get all the electricity needed for powering your favorite gadgets, charging your phone and even some more complicated devices. On top of all that, they are Eco-friendly and will not release any chemicals or gases. Your home value will skyrocket and if you ever decide to sell it, buyers will offer more only for the solar panels and generators.
Their performance compared to fuel generators
Yes, fuel generators are known to produce electricity a bit faster, but they require much more to start with. They require fuel to power the generators without which they are useless. In case you go out of fuel, you will also be left without electricity. Another downside of fuel generators is that they create a lot of pollution by releasing chemicals in the air. They are portable just like solar generators, but their function depends on having enough fuel to power them.
Preppers choose solar power
Since the technology is developing so fast, preppers can now safely rely solely on solar power. Designs such as goal zero yeti 400 generators have proven to be more than enough to power an entire house in case something “unexpected” happens. There is a chance that one day, something bad may happen to the world. It could be a nuclear strike, a zombie apocalypse or a virus outbreak. If that occurs, electricity will be almost unaffordable and the only remaining source of energy will be the Sun. So we might as well prepare?
Time to go solar
If you haven’t done it by now, do it as fast as you can. It will most likely be the most reliable source of energy in the near future and it will save you a lot of money if you invest now. With solar panels and grids set, you can become completely energy independent. Yes, there will be days when the clouds will cover the sky and you will collect less energy, but the Sun as we know it won’t leave us any time soon.
Verdict: fuel generators are old fashioned. Yes, they also collect and produce energy but free will always be better than the one you have to pay for.
|Mr. Funnel AF8CB Fuel Filter|
An extremely important, but often overlooked, piece of gear everyone should have in their bug-out vehicle is a portable fuel filter, such as the Mr. Funnel portable fuel filters. They come in multiple sizes with different flow rates (examples: the AF1CB filter has a flow rate of up to 2.5 gallons per minute, and the larger AF15CB filter has a flow rate of up to 15 gallons per minute). Clean fuel is the most important thing you can have in your vehicle (or tractor, or generator, etc.).
Portable fuel filters remove water, dirt, and other debris from the gas, thereby protecting the engine from harm. Why would you need to use a portable fuel filter? In a bug-out situation you may be filling up using gas stored in five-gallon cans (or other storage tanks), which may well have developed some water issues due to condensation build-up inside your gas can (any air space inside your gas storage can allow condensation, even if you are using additives such Sta-Bil). You may also be filling up at unfamiliar gas stations that you simply don’t know the quality of the fuel. Or, particularly in a slow collapse scenario, the quality of available gasoline may become “spotty” even with brands/stations that you are familiar with, as the infrastructure slowly deteriorates.
Smaller fuel filters, with slower flow rates (1 or 2 gallons per minute) are less expensive and work best for smaller quantities, such as filtering the gas going into a lawn mower or small tractor. The larger filters with higher flow rates are more expensive but work better for fueling a vehicle with a large gas tank. For example, my Nissan Pathfinder has an 18 gallon tank. A small filter with a 2.5 gallon flow rate would take more than seven minutes for a fill-up. However, a larger filter with a 15 gallon flow rate would only take a little over a minute.
Note: Don’t cross contaminate. Use a separate portable fuel filter for each type of fuel. In other words, have separate filters for regular gasoline, diesel, and propane.
Cooking with wax! The Ark Stove James Walton “I Am Liberty” Many of you have come to enjoy my hour long commentary once a week. You know its seldom I bring someone on the show as a guest. Frankly, I guard our time together selfishly. Also nothing bothers me more than listening to a carni … Continue reading Cooking with wax! The Ark Stove
Unless you have a way to generate power, you’ll need to stock up on fuel in case the power goes out—or worse, the entire power grid goes down. However, too many preppers stockpile batteries, propane, and gasoline in ways that not only reduce their shelf life, but also pose major safety hazards. The purpose of […]
VPRacing Small Engine Fuel: In for the Long Haul
We all want our gas powered equipment to last forever, but with any mower, weed trimmer, generator, or the like, the fuel you use often takes it’s toll, especially ethanol-blended street gas that’s sat in the gas tank during the off-season. Despite your best intentions, you’ll likely use last years gas, because the stuff is too expensive to waste otherwise.
But the cost of discarding old gas pales in comparison with the cost of the damage it can do. Gasoline from the pump can go bad in just a matter of weeks, doing a number on small engines. The blended ethanol attracts moisture, so you get water in your gas, not to mention varnish and gum of old fuel additives. The contaminated fuel leads to clogged carburetor jets, gummy deposits, or worse, corroded cylinders, valves, & exhaust systems. You get to deal with the grief of equipment that won’t start, and the mounting costs of repairs.
But what if you can count on fuel you used last August, to run just as clean & clear the following May? How about a stockpile of fuel to be perfectly usable FIVE YEARS down the road? Too fantastic? Well, that’s EXACTLY what you can count on in VP Small Engine Fuels. They are indeed, in for the long haul.
The professional racing community knows VP Racing Fuel is top notch quality fuel… pure, powerful fuel. Now they offer a line of consumer grade gas products, including a line of fuels specifically made for small engines.
|Gas at most convenience stores contains ethanol to reduce the price of gas at the pump, bad news from a Prepping standpoint, especially in relying on gas engines in the event of an interruption of gas supplies. The relatively short shelf life of ethanol mixed fuel is significant enough to consider alternatives to gas combustion engines in most long term Prepping plans.|
That’s where VP Small Engine Fuel offers the advantage of pure, high octane fuel, and in doing so, answers the needs of those seeking to stockpile gas for far longer than normal… for years, without need of stabilizing fuel conditioning.
|VP Racing introduces it’s Small Engine Fuel products.|
VP Racing Fuels sent a sampler of their Small Engine Fuel to try out. Very fortunate too, since I’m nursing along a 30 year old garden tractor, and anything that keeps it in service has got my full attention. It’s a perfect test bed to try out their fuel too.
While I can’t attest to shelf life claims yet, I’ve stowed away one can of 4-stroke fuel & in five years I’ll give it a try to see how well (or how little) it’s aged. From first glance though, I see it ready for use even longer because it’s about as pure a fuel as you can buy. No additives, no ethanol, & with a 94 octane rating, it’s premium gas.
Getting the tired motor on the tractor running for another season is always a hit or miss affair… literally. The engine coughs & sputters at first. Even with fresh gas, it blows out deposits that’s accumulated over winter. But this time, I ran it with a can of VP Small Engine Fix-It Fuel. Designed as a single use treatment, Fix-It Fuel is an ETHANOL-FREE 89 Octane gas + oil blend. Fix-it fuel cleans and repairs the fuel system, without having to remove the carburetor or injectors.
Other than needing to adjust low speed & high speed idle, the engine roared to life just fine. I only needed half a can as directed, so I’ll have a second treatment if necessary.
I’m not a EOTW type, but I fully understand the desire to stockpile
supplies for any eventuality. While I have gas powered generators on hand “just in case”, I’ve always feared they’re not a long term solution, due to fuel aging over time. So it’s obvious, stocking up on VP Small Engine Fuel is not just smart, it’s CRITICAL if you want to see the life of your small engines and their use extended for a long, LONG time.You can find VP Small Engine Fuel products in stores nationwide. Can’t find it near you? Just order it on Amazon, or direct from their website.
Military movers will take unopened shelf stable stuff (CONUS). I wouldn’t suggest taking anything fragile (glass jars, etc) but cans and buckets are fine.
[Do note that if you are pushing the limit this sort of food is heavy and busting your weight allowance is expensive. I would not be moving a dozen cases of canned food and a ton of rice n beans if we were anywhere close to the limit. For lower enlisted folks weight allowances are pretty low so this probably be a good plan. The amount of food I will move is probably a third or half a lower enlisted guys total weight allowance. One of the many places where the military is not fair.]
Right now I am in the eating it up phase. However since I had food for 4 and there is 1 of me it isn’t going great. I’ll probably end up taking some stuff to good will or giving it away. Losing a few hundred bucks of food every couple years is a cost of being a survivalist in the military. One of the many places where that is a hassle. Such is life.
I am open to input here but as I’ve done this a couple times so odds are high my plan is about solidified.
I am also trying to work through some other stores such as gasoline before the trip.
A fringe benefit of this stuff is for the last 2 weeks my grocery bill has been very low. Until I leave I will only be buying milk and fresh fruit/ veggies at the store so the bill will be even lower. Also started using up the gasoline. So my bills for fuel and food are going to be very low for awhile. A happy accident as finances are in a state of flux.
I also realized this could be a fringe benefit of preparedness. If you have a months food and gas stashed that means you could live off stores and put cash to stuff you definitely have to pay for like say rent and utilities. In a personal SHTF this would let you stretch existing cash reserves to keep things going longer. Of course you would be depleting stores which would either need to be replaced or your preparedness level would drop. Options are a good thing.
So stocking up on food, fuel, etc all has a variety of benefits. You should do that.
When it finally happens and the proverbial “stuff hits the fan,” it’s probably going to be bad. Say “goodbye” to fully stocked shelves at the grocery store, readily available medical care, and just about every other modern comfort you can think of. Everything as we know it today will change in the blink of an eye.
I’m not saying that overnight our society will be transformed into a post-apocalyptic scenario like in Mad Max where we all become War Boys scouring the wastelands looking for fuel and supplies while screaming, “For Valhalla!” I’m just saying it’s not going to be pretty, and preparation will be key when everything comes crashing down.
As in most apocalyptic movies there are usually three crucial things that every person needs to survive in a catastrophe: food, medical supplies, and fuel. I’m assuming most people are already aware of the need to stockpile food and medical supplies, but fuel is often overlooked. Many people are unaware of the need to store fuel. Not just for the family van, but for heat, cooking, electricity, and of course transportation. When I say fuel storage, I am not just talking about gasoline. We also have to consider kerosene for heating, propane and butane for cooking, and diesel and gasoline for generators and transportation.
Kerosene should be stored in a container that is approved for this specific fuel. I’m sure you’ve seen the different colored gas cans in the hardware stores. There is a reason for the different colors; it isn’t just to make them look pretty. Blue is the color container that is earmarked just for Kerosene. Therefore, if you need a storage container for this fuel, you will need to purchase a blue-colored container.
As with most fuels Kerosene will start to degrade after about three months of normal storage. This degradation can be postponed though by following a few guidelines. First, when filling the container leave a little air in the top for fuel expansion from changes in temperature.
Always avoid using open containers. An open container can lead to water contamination and oxidation resulting in bad or poor performing fuel. You always want to store Kerosene in a cool and dry location. The use of fuel additives can also greatly extend the life of Kerosene. A fuel stabilizer such as PRI-D will extend the life of this fuel from several months to even years if the fuel is re-treated with a fuel stabilizer periodically.
Storing Propane and Butane
How do you store Propane and Butane? Aren’t pressurized containers dangerous? They can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to store them. Propane should always be stored in a dry and well ventilated area, preferably in a storage shed located away from residential areas. Never store propane containers in an area where there may be a source of ignition such as garages or a well/pump house.
You also want to be sure that propane and butane storage containers are not kept in any areas that may cause the container to rust. Butane specifically requires a cool and dry storage location, but it must also be stored indoors at all times and never placed in direct sunlight for any length of time. Be sure to watch for possible ignition sources with Butane such as electrical outlets, stoves, and other heat sources. Improper storage of these pressurized containers may result in an explosion, a runaway canister, or a dangerous gas leak.
Storing Gasoline and Diesel
Probably the most commonly used fuels we need are gasoline and diesel. It can be difficult to determine how much of these fuels you should store. Usage factor is determined on an individual basis. A single person may not need as much gasoline as someone with a family of six. I can get buy on a relatively small generator to power what I need, but someone with a large family may need a lot of gasoline or diesel to power a larger generator to meet their needs.
Storage of gasoline and diesel is very similar to that of kerosene. They must be stored in a location that is dry and cool to maximize the storage life. Remember, it is vitally important to keep condensation away from any fuel you are storing. Water and air don’t play well with stored fuels. Also, don’t forget to store gas and diesel in their appropriately colored containers. Red is for gasoline and yellow is for Diesel.
Gasoline can normally be stored for up to three months before it begins to break down and lose its effectiveness. Diesel can typically be stored for up to six months. As with kerosene, gasoline and diesel can benefit from the addition of a fuel stabilizer. Fuel stabilizers such as STA-BIL Storage and STA-BIL Diesel can keep fuel fresh and ready for use for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, we can’t keep gas and diesel fresh indefinitely. The best way to keep a fresh supply of fuel is to use what we have stored when it is close to going bad and then replenish our stock. With proper rotation of stored fuel and proper storage techniques we can easily be prepared for just about any situation.
By Alex Vanover
Alex Vanover is an auto industry professional and avidly writes about the advancements and new technologies in today’s automotive industry. He is also the purveyor of Motorcycle Trading Post. In his spare time he enjoys reading, first person shooter video games, and riding his Harley Davidson.
Whether it is used to power a vehicle, run a generator, or fuel a lantern, few people escape the need to buy and store liquid fuels like gasoline, kerosene or diesel. In normal times, we have easy access to fuel at the gas station, and safety is taken for granted. But are you aware of the potential dangers of liquid fuels, and how to mitigate the hazards? If not, please read on!
Liquid Fuel vs. Pressurized Gas Fuel
The two most common fuels important to people preparing for emergencies are gasoline, which is liquid at room temperature, and propane, which is used as a gas at room temperature. Other liquid fuels include diesel fuel, a denser, oily fuel popular in trucks and generators, and “white gas,” a petroleum fuel related to gasoline but used in the popular Coleman and other brand camping stoves and lanterns. Unlike pressurized gas fuels, petroleum liquid fuels have a limited shelf life; they separate into their component chemicals over time and become unusable.
While natural gas has more widespread use in home heating and cooking, it is used less in rural areas because of the extensive piping needed to distribute it. Where it is available, it is cheaper and easier to use than propane. Natural gas is lighter than air, and thus disperses more easily than propane which is heavier than air.
Propane, also known as LPG (Liquefied Propane Gas) is used for heating and cooking in mostly rural areas where natural gas is not available and is stored in large tanks at the user’s home or business. Periodically, the propane tank is refilled by a mobile propane truck.
Propane has the advantage of portability, available in consumer-sized portable containers including the popular 20 lb. tank used for barbecue grills and a small 16 ounce tank used for lanterns and small barbecues.
Why are Liquid Fuels Special?
Gaseous fuels like natural gas and propane are kept under pressure, and require a closed system (tank-to-hose-to-tank) that prevents loss of fuel during transfer from one tank to another. Usually a trained technician is needed to refill a propane tank. In normal times, there’s no problem, but during a disaster, this characteristic can be problematic.
On the other hand, all of us have filled up our car’s tank at the gas station. No thought required, you pay for the fuel and put the nozzle in your tank. You don’t see the safety measures engineered into the dispensing system; accidents are few. If you follow a few basic safety principles, you can safely store significant amounts of gasoline as part of your preparedness strategy.
Convenience Can Have a Cost
Gasoline’s value as a fuel is its volatility, or its characteristic of rapidly changing from a liquid to a gas. Even in freezing temperatures, an open container of gasoline quickly produces vapor that is extremely flammable. In hot temperatures, gasoline vapor can create outward pressure on a container, and if the cap isn’t tight vapor can escape; in extreme cases, the pressure can rupture the container. In the worst case, a burst gasoline container can ignite, resulting in an explosion. I have seen estimates of the explosive power of a gallon of gasoline equivalent to 20-60 sticks of dynamite.
Gasoline vapor is heavier than air, and so like water settles to the lowest possible point. Accidental ignition of the vapor will flash back to the container and ignite the remaining gas. As a result, one should NEVER store gasoline in any amount in a dwelling or garage with a potential ignition source like a water heater pilot light. Static electricity is another hazard; containers should be on the ground when pouring to safely avoid static sparks.
Less volatile fuels like diesel are easier to store than gasoline. While gallon for gallon diesel has more energy than gasoline, it has a higher ignition temperature and isn’t as volatile.
Not surprisingly, the best container to store gasoline is called a “Safety Can.” These 5-gallon cans are built to prevent rupture, and have a spring-loaded seal instead of a screw-on cap. The seal keeps the gasoline vapors securely inside, and a spark arrestor screen prevents the contents from igniting from a flash back. In the event of a fire outside of the Safety Can, the seal will vent gasoline vapor that builds up inside, preventing a catastrophic explosion.
A Type I Safety Can (pictured) is just for storage, you’ll need a funnel to pour out the gasoline. It’s also the least expensive of the Safety Cans, available on ebay for about $40.00 each. Type II Safety Cans add a flexible spout to make refueling easier, and are about $60.00 each. Reputable brands include Justrite and Eagle.
While it seems like a lot of money to invest, the Safety Cans have a 10-year warranty and are well-constructed. In addition to their use in your plans, 5 gallons of gasoline or diesel would be a terrific barter item in an emergency for something else you need.
Liquid Fuels Have an Expiration Date
If you decide to store gasoline or diesel, you have to plan a rotation schedule, as they both will start to decompose within several months. Using old fuel in an engine will cause major problems in short order. You can extend their life with a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL, but ultimately if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.
Let’s say you store 8 five-gallon cans of gasoline, for a total of 40 gallons. Number the cans 1 through 8, and each week empty one of the cans into your car or other gasoline-powered equipment and refill the can. Mark this on a calendar and it becomes automatic; in two months, you’ve rotated your gasoline stock without too much trouble.
To sum up, you’d be crazy not to include some fuel storage in your preparedness plans. Just be sure you do it safely, and that you can rely on it when you need it.
In the world of multiplying natural and man-made disasters, you never know when and where you may face a crisis situation that calls for some trusty emergency supplies. At times when the going gets tough, a carefully compiled emergency kit may well save your or your companion’s life, so don’t put off your crisis supply stack assembly any longer – after all, it takes just a wrong turn on the road and not a full-scale apocalypse to land you in an off-grid place with no trace of civilization in sight.
A life-saving liquid supply: Water, and plenty of it
The most important point on your emergency kit list, a hefty H2O supply is more likely to save a human life in a lengthy emergency situation than anything else. It takes a human being up to three days to die of dehydration, so you’d definitely better stay on the safe than waterless side. The best way to store your emergency water supply is to pour H2O into strong portable jugs, place them in a cold place and keep the supplies growing by fresh additions whenever possible.
A safe place to crash: Emergency shelters and tents
One more vital point on the emergency gear list, prefabricated shelters will keep you and your companions safe from the elements and predators in case something goes wrong big time on your outdoor adventure. A stackable emergency shelter or a reinforced tent can help you get the much-needed safety spot and a decent shuteye in case of several days’ long crisis out in the wild. When choosing your portable home for an odd bout of ill fate, look for rugged, rubber-coated exteriors with mesh fabric entryways, portable/foldable designs and roomy, well-insulated interiors to get maximum security from unfavorable weather conditions, wild animals and other creepy crawlers that may decide to hang out with you without your consent.
Fuel for the body: Food supplies for crisis situations
Though a human being can survive up to three weeks without food, you should not risk starvation in case of an emergency. When compiling your crisis response kit, make sure you include lots of dried and canned food with a lengthy expiry date and undemanding storage specs temperature-wise. Dried fruit is particularly useful as it contains critical nutrients the body needs to stay functional in the face of raging elements or a natural disaster. When buying your crisis food supply, look for dried beans, rice, grains and similar non-perishable grubs to keep your belly full in periods of prolonged deprivation from regular diet.
Keep looking for help: Fuel supply in times of need
In case you get stuck in a middle of nowhere with your tank empty and not a living soul in sight, a spare fuel container onboard will probably be an invaluable asset. Even in regular conditions with no apocalyptic prospects on the horizon, a topped-up diesel tank will come in handy in case you run out of fuel with the local gas station temporarily out of order. In case of a flashing flood or fast-spreading forest fire, an extra gas container ready for a quick refill of your car fuel tank guarantees a speedy escape and salvation, so don’t forget to include it in your emergency kit.
Times of trial and injury: First aid kit and basic tools
Another must-have for an emergency scenario, a first aid kit with all the vital medical bits and pieces is an item you should always have at hand around the house, garage and car. Remember: a small cut infected with nasty bacteria can have a fatal outcome if left untreated, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Similarly, a basic tool kit like a Swiss army knife should stay within reach at all times when taking a leisurely walk at night, to say nothing of full-scale disasters when tools can stretch your survival time by weeks and even months.
John Stone is a DIY enthusiast and a regular contributor at SmoothDecorator who likes to put his ideas down to paper and share them with like-minded people. His fields of interest include home improvement, sustainability, new technologies, and pretty much all-things-DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and watching Formula 1.
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