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TWO WEEKS OFF GRID – DAY 4

Day 4.  It is going to be a short blog today.  It is a very cloudy day which is really affecting how much power the solar panels are providing.  The highest reading I’ve seen today is 150 watts which is enough to run essentials but not enough to run my computer for very long, hence the short blog today.

We tried out a Colman 426B 3-burner stove today.  That model was made from the mid 50’s to the early 60’s.  It is another stove that was rescued from the Thrift Store and now uses a propane adapter to run on one-pound propane canisters.  We also tried a Colman Oven to bake some buttermilk biscuits.  Both the stove and the oven worked great.  We cooked the biscuits at 400 degrees, not bad for a camp oven.

 

 

Coffee this morning was courtesy of a French Press.  I find using a French Press is easier than a Purolator type coffee maker.  All you do to make coffee with a French Press is to put course ground coffee in the bottom of the press, add almost boiling water, let it all sit for 5 minutes and then press the handle down which traps all the coffee grounds at the bottom and leaves great coffee on top to pour.

I that’s it for today.  I’ll try to do a longer update tomorrow.  Still doing well.

 

Ed Rogers

Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

TWO WEEKS OFF GRID – DAY 3

Day 3.  I feel like I have caught up on retrieving and setting up gear and supplies so today I’m going to try to take it a little easier and even do a little yard work.  Collecting gear and remembering where you stored all your preps is not as easy as it might seem.  I’m still looking for a granite-ware water pot and can’t find it anywhere.

A quick note on having backup equipment and even backups to your backups.  I attached a 750 watt inverter to a battery yesterday to run a small rice cooker.  I have used this exact battery, inverter, and rice cooker setup several times before.  This time as soon as I attached the inverter to the battery there was a sizzle, pop and the inverter was fried.  Luckily I have a backup.

We are trying out a Colman stove today for cooking.  My wife rescues old Colman stoves from the thrift shop and I fix them up.  We have four stoves to try out over the next 4 days.  Today’s stove is a model 413G from the 60’s or 70’s that now uses a propane adapter to run on one-pound propane canisters.

Water conservation has become a big priority.  I have realized how much water I waste by letting the water run while I rinse off dishes or brush my teeth.  I now use less than a half-gallon of water to rinse dishes for an entire day and use just one cup of water to brush my teeth and rinse my mouth.

Decided to make some Ham Radio contacts using two different repeaters.  Everything went as planned.  Ham Radio is how we will keep in contact with our kids during an emergency when cell towers are down.

Even during a preparedness emergency you need to stop and smell the flowers if you can.  It helps renew you and keeps you centered.  Today was an exceptionally nice spring day with temps reaching 80 degrees for the first time this year.  I took a little time to sit by the backyard pond and watch the ducks and geese swim and feed.  Tonight I’m going to build a fire in the fire pit and enjoy a quiet evening fireside.  A big storm is coming in tomorrow.  Enjoy the good things when you can.

I that’s it for today.  Still doing well.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

TWO WEEKS OFF GRID – DAY 2

Day 2.  The thing that has hit me the most is the realization of how much time, even simple tasks, now take to do.  No more automated coffee maker where you can “set it and forget it”.  To get coffee, I have to fire up a stove to use a percolator coffee maker that needs to be tended for 15-20 minute.

The other realization is how much we depend on electric lighting, even during the day.  There are a lot of dark places in the house like bathrooms, basement hallways and rooms and the garage.  I have taken to wearing my Yalumi headlamp anytime I am doing a project because sooner or later I will need go to a dark area for supplies or tools and will need some light.

The sun has been cooperative and has kept the battery banks full.  We expect a couple rainy days soon so today I fired up the generators.  We have 2 Tri-Fuel generators and 1 propane generator.  During the stormy days, I’ll try running them on natural gas first, which is what I’d do in a real emergency, and then switch to propane.  I prefer propane over gasoline because it is easier to store.

When the storm hits, we expect 2 nights when the temperature will dip into the 30’s  so keeping the house warm will become an issue.  I gave our furnace a test run today with a generator running the blower fan.  Everything worked well.

Food and cooking food is still going well.  We switched to a Century Matchless single burner propane stove for today.  Lots of BTUs for a quick boil.  Cost is about $28.  It uses one pound propane canisters that cost $2 to $3 each.

One realization on cooking more food than you can eat in one meal, without refrigeration you can’t store the food.  This means that you eat leftovers every meal until the excess food is gone.  Don’t cook more than you can eat.

We are learning some tricks for kitchen cleanup.  We try to use no more than one-half gallon of water per day for washing.  The best trick we have come up with so far is to wipe out pots, pans and cooking utensils immediately after use with a paper towel.  Do a final rinse with clean water then wipe dry with a cloth dish towel wish you can hang to dry.

 

Sanitation has been a little surprising.  We have flushed a toilet 9 times in the first two days.  True it’s only pool water but I have been surprised at how many times we flush even while we are trying to be conservative.

Hygiene is on track.  We had our first full showers today.   We used two empty gallon milk jugs that were spray painted black.  Water filled jugs were put in the sun, one in a sealed turkey roasting bag.  After 4 hours in a 70 degree sun the water in the plain jug was 110 degrees.  The water in the jug sealed in the turkey roasting bag was 127 degrees, on the verge of being too hot for a shower.  Hot water sure felt goooooood!  I punctured small holes in one of the caps, when the jug is turned upside down it acts like a shower nozzle.  We used the left over soapy grey water to flush a toilet.

I think that’s it for today.  So far so good.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

TWO WEEKS OFF GRID – DAY 1

It’s the first day of our trial 2-week preparedness test.  Not many surprises.  The biggest surprise was that our 2000 watt modified sine inverter would not run the microwave on a test run.  I don’t think we would have used it all that often because it is such a big power hungry appliance but it would have been nice to run it for a minute or two for quickly heating something.  If we decide to use the microwave, it will be when we have the generator fired up and not off the battery bank.

Power has not been an issue yet.  The solar system is keeping the battery bank fully charged even on a partly sunny day.  We have a couple of stormy days ahead of us so we’ll see if that changes.  I’m testing 3 solar panel systems.  The first is a 720 watt system charging 750 Amp Hours of batteries with a 3000 watt pure sine inverter attached.  The second is a 200 watt system charging 375 Amp Hours of batteries with a 2000 watt modified sine inverter attached.  The third is a 45 watt system that I use to recharge a 100 Amp Hour battery that I use as a charging station for cell phones, I-pods, AA battery charger, etc.

Food and cooking food has been easy so far.  Today I am using a Gasone Portable Butane Stove.   Boiled 2 cups of water for oatmeal in about 4 minutes this morning and cooked spaghetti, marinara sauce, and garlic toast for lunch with ease.  For around $20, it is a great emergency stove.  Butane canisters are about $2 each.  We are using paper plates and bowls and plastic eating utensils.

Hygiene and sanitation is going well.  We have a bathtub filled with pool water with a gallon pitcher to flush the toilets.  We are following the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” rule.  We have hand sanitizer at all sinks and I have hand wash stations at each sink.   The wash stations are made from used All liquid laundry detergent gallon jugs, filled with water and turned on their side.  The jug has a push button spigot which works just like a sink faucet.  For the kitchen sink we has set 2 plastic tubs inside each side of the sink, one side for washing, one side for rinsing.

 

 

I think that’s it for today.  So far so good.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

OFF GRID EXPERIMENT

On April 19th, we are going to shut off our water and power and see what it will be like to live without public water and power for two weeks.  During that two weeks, I will try to blog every day to let you know what went well and what little surprises popped up that we didn’t expect.  I think we are pretty prepared but this little experiment will show us where we have preparedness weaknesses.

My plan is to use and test all of our main and backup systems during the two weeks.  I want to put both our generator and small solar system to the test.  I want to cook at least one day on each camp stove, BBQ, and wood burning stove we have.

I want to see just how far 3 gallons of water a day can go.  I want to try out our DIY drip water filter and see how much pond, pool or rain water it can handle.  I hope it rains during the two weeks so I can test our ability to catch and use rain water.

We are going to eat from 2 different food supplies that I mention in “Keep It Simple Survival – 2 Week Emergency Plan”.  The first week we will use the “Shoestring 2 Week Food Supply”.  It is made up of simple, good nutritious, yet cheap food.  A whole 14 day supply for one person can be purchased for $9-$10 (14 days food supply for one person will feed two people for a week). That is $.64 – $71 per day.  Here is what’s included:

  • Rice – 1.5 lbs. – 15 servings
  • Corn Bread Mix – 1 pkg. Jiffy – 6 servings
  • Flour – 1.5 lbs. – 21 servings
  • Rolled Quick Oats – 1 lbs. – 10 servings
  • Pasta – 1 lb. – 8 servings
  • Ramen Noodles – 6 pkgs. – 6 servings
  • Beans – 2 lbs. – 14 servings
  • Tomato Sauce – 8 – 8 oz. cans
  • Peanut Butter – 18 oz. jar
  • Jam / Jelly – 16 oz. jar
  • Oil – 28 oz. bottle

 

The second week we will use one-half of an Augason Farms 30-Day Food Supply (one-half a 30 day food supply for one person will feed two people for a week). I just found these on sale at Sam’s Club for $102, so the one week supply will cost $51.  Here is what’s included:

  • Vegetarian Meat Substitute Beef (flavored)
  • Vegetarian Meat Substitute Bacon Bits (flavored)
  • Vegetarian Meat Substitute Chicken (flavored)
  • Dried Whole Eggs
  • Dehydrated Potato Gems
  • Dehydrated Potato Dices
  • Dehydrated Chopped Onions
  • Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn
  • Freeze-Dried Broccoli Florets & Stems
  • Honey Coated Banana Slices
  • Freeze-Dried Whole Strawberries
  • Cheesy Broccoli Soup Mix
  • Creamy Potato Soup Mix
  • Chicken Noodle Soup Mix
  • Southwest Chili Mix
  • Orange Delight Drink Mix
  • Chocolate Morning Moo’s Milk Alternative
  • Country Fresh 100% Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
  • Long Grain White Rice
  • Creamy Wheat Cereal
  • Buttermilk Pancake Mix

I also add flour and sugar to round out the Augason Farm Food Supply.

We will also use what I call an “Essential Pantry” of Spices and Basic Kitchen Supplies.  Everything on the list is available at the Dollar Store.  Here is what’s included:

  • Bouillon Cubes, Chicken
  • Bouillon Cubes, Beef
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chili Powder
  • Cinnamon, ground
  • Cumin, ground
  • Garlic Powder or Granules
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Onion Flakes
  • Pepper, Black
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder

Total food cost for two weeks for two people will be about $65.

As far as Gasoline for the cars, we are not going to fill the tanks the night before our experiment.  We usually keep at least a half tank of gasoline in the car so where ever the gas gauge is at on the morning of the 19th is what we will have to work with.  We are retired so we can adjust where and how often we drive.

That’s the basics.  No trips to the store, live on what power we can produce, and eat a shoestring food supply.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS FOR UNDER $65

Getting general emergency information in a power outage is actually not too difficult.  Most TV and radio stations have emergency generators and will be on the air broadcasting local information within minutes of an emergency.  All it will take to get emergency information is a battery powered AM/FM radio or TV.  I have given my favorites in previous blogs and in my books. Check them out for specific models.

Getting specific information on friends and family in an emergency is actually pretty difficult unless you put together an emergency communication system that allows to transmit and receive information directly with your loved ones.

Cell Phones

Cell phones can be great in an emergency.  If your cell phone works, use it to get updated information and let family and friends know what is going on.  In a severe emergency like Hurricane Katrina, cell phones were out in some places for over a month.  If you are trying to find out if your family members are alright, no communication for one month would be excruciating.

Internet and Social Media

The internet will be down in a severe emergency mostly because local internet providers will not have power to run their servers.  Even if the internet providers have generators to run their servers, very few individuals will have power to run their routers and computers.  One exception may be if your internet connection is through a satellite dish.  The satellite internet provider is probably many miles away and probably out of the local area power outage.  As long as you have power to run your router and computer or tablet you will be able to send and receive messages via email and social media.

How Do I Talk With My Friends and Family?

I have three children who live locally, 10 – 15 miles from me and one child who lives over 250 miles away.  Simple questions like – Are you okay? Is anyone hurt? Is your home livable? Is there any unrest in your area?  Is it safe to stay where you are? Do you need anything? – will go unanswered unless you setup a simple communication system.

When I looked for a way to keep in touch with my local children, I found a way that also let me keep in touch with my out of town children.  The answer is Amateur Radio and I was shocked to find out that I could setup a system for less than $65.

I need to give credit where credit is due.  I read about a magical little $39 transceiver radio on a survivalistblog.net blog article titled “Survival Communications on the Cheap” by Old Hillbilly.  That article started me down the path that has ended in an inexpensive emergency communication system that lets me talk will my kids, even the ones 250 miles away.

 Equipment

The magical key to the system is a BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus Dual-Band Radio. Available for $39 (2 for $72). This is not like the walkie-talkies I played with as a kid.  This is a great piece of technology.  It can operate on Ham, GMRS, FRS, and MURS frequencies at 2 or 5 Watts.  Frequency Range: 136-174 MHz and 400-479.995 MHz.  Dual-Band Display, Dual Frequency Display, Dual-Standby, A/B band independent operation.

Make sure to buy the UV-5RB or UV-5RE Plus models, not the UV-5RA model.

Depending where you live and if you have a direct line of site to a repeater, the basic radio may be all you need.  But in most cases you will want to get two more items for your system – a programing cable and an external antenna.

 

You can program the radio by hand but the easiest way to program your radio is to buy a Programing Cable for $7 and download free programing software called CHIRP.  The program is easy to run and there are online instructions and many YouTube videos to help you.  The software has all the repeaters and their off-sets for every area of the country.  You can upload the information for your area to your radio and be running in minutes.

The second item you will probably want to buy is an external antenna.  The radio is a dual-band radio.  The two Ham bands it receives and transmits are the 2 Meter and 70 Centimeter bands.  The 2 Meter band is the most used Ham band.   If you are within 5 – 10 miles of a repeater and have a direct line of sight to it, you can probably receive and transmit to it with the little flexible antenna that comes with the radio.  If you are further away from the repeater or if there are hills, buildings and other obstacles between you and the repeater, you’ll want an external antenna to improve your signal.

Just a quick explanation on Repeaters.  Repeaters are Ham stations that are placed on elevated hills or buildings.  They receive and then pass on (“repeat”) transmissions so they can be received by other further away stations.  The great thing about being able to hit (transmit to and receive from) a repeater it that even if you are only using a 5 watt radio, once the signal goes through the repeater the signal becomes a 50 watt signal and can go hundreds of miles.  There is a set of coordinated repeaters in Arizona, Southern Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Montana that link the entire Intermountain West.  If you can access the system from any of the repeaters, you can talk to other Hams in any of those states hundreds of miles away with a $39 radio.

A simple external antenna will greatly extend the distance your signal will travel.  Here are two inexpensive Dual Band J-Pole antennas that I own and use.  Both have low SWR ratios for great results with a BoaFeng UV-5R radio.

The first antenna is sold on eBay by nelson_antennas.  The basic model comes with 5’ of RG-174 coax cable for $17 shipped.  The deluxe model comes with 10’ of RG-174 coax and has a ferrite bead installed at the base for $26 shipped.  Both come standard with an SMA female connector that screws right into the radio.  This antenna is really compact and is great for a Bug Out Bag.

The second antenna is sold by 2wayelectronix.com.  It comes with 16’ of RG-58 coax for $28 plus $6 postage.  Order it with an SMA Female connector.

I hang my antennas in a window that faces the repeaters.  The only precaution is to hang them vertically at least 18” from any metal.  Both work very well and I have no problem hitting the repeaters 20 miles away.

 

Total cost for a basic system is anywhere from $39 to $79 depending on what extras you choose.  A good basic system would be a BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus for $39, a programing cable for $7, and a Basic J-Pole Antenna for $17.  A total of $63.

Here are some other add-ons that could make your system more versatile.  BaoFeng BF-S112 Two Way Radio Speaker/Mic, $7.20.  AAA Battery Power Adapter, $7.45.  Cigarette Lighter Battery Power Adapter, $10.88

Do I Need A License to Use the BaoFeng UV-5R?

The answer is yes and no.  First the FCC regulates all radio frequencies and stipulates how and by whom they can be used.  Some of the frequencies that the BaoFeng UV-5R can access are restricted to licensed users.  Those license restrictions apply to transmitting not receiving.  In other words you can listen all you want without a license.  The FCC allows communication with or without a license in cases of life-threating emergency.

Some preppers choose not to get a license feeling that they’ll only use their radios during an emergency and during an emergency they won’t need a license.  That’s a fair thought.  I chose to get my license because I didn’t want to wait for an emergency to see if my setup worked and if I could hit the repeaters.  There is a learning curve to running a Ham Radio.  I wanted to get past that curve before an emergency hit.

Getting licensed isn’t that bad.  You pay $15 to take a 35 question test where you must answer at least 25 questions correctly.  That’s it.  There are Study Guides and Sample Tests free on line to help.  I am an old man with diminishing brain capacity.  I went through the online study guide and took 5 or 6 sample tests on line and got 100% when I took the test for real.  If I can do it, you can do it.

 What Frequencies Can I Get?

The BaoFeng is able to receive and send on frequencies between 136-174 MHz and 400-479.995 MHz.  Those frequencies include FRS, GMRS, MURS, 2 Meter, and 70 Centimeter HAM bands.  I’ll try to give a brief description of the FRS, GMRS, MURS, and Amateur Radio bands with what frequencies each covers and what each is used for.

Family Radio Service (FRS) – These are the bands we are used to using for Walkie-Talkies.  There are 14 channels with specifically frequencies. The maximum broadcasting power is .5 watts and you don’t need a license to use FRS frequencies.  FRS 1 – 462.5625, FRS 2 – 462.5875, FRS 3 – 462.6125, FRS 4 – 462.6375, FRS 5 – 462.6625, FRS 6 – 462.6875, FRS 7 – 462.7125, FRS 8 – 467.5625, FRS 9 – 467.5875, FRS 10 – 467.6125, FRS 11 – 467.6375, FRS 12 – 467.6625, FRS 13 – 467.6875, FRS 14 – 467.7125.

General Mobil Radio Service (GMRS) – GMRS has 15 Channels.  It shares 7 Channels with FRS and then has 8 Channels that are inputs to repeaters.  The maximum broadcasting power for the shared frequencies is 5 watts and the maximum broadcasting power for the repeater inputs is 50 watts.  A license is required for GMRS.  There is no test, you simply fill out an application, submit it with $85 and a 5 year license covering your entire family is granted.   FRS/GMRS 1 – 462.5625, FRS/GMRS 2 – 462.5875, FRS/GMRS 3 – 462.6125, FRS/GMRS 4 – 462.6375, FRS/GMRS 5 – 462.6625, FRS/GMRS 6 – 462.6875, FRS/GMRS 7 – 462.7125, GMRS 15 – 462.550, GMRS 16 – 462.575, GMRS 17 – 462.600, GMRS 18 – 462.625, GMRS 19 – 462.650, GMRS 20 -462.675, GMRS 21 – 462.700, GMRS 22 -462.725.

Multi Use Radio Service (MURS) – MURS is a 2-way radio service similar to CB bands.  It is for unlicensed use with a 2 watt power limit.  There are only 5 channels.  Channels 1-3 are narrowband and channels 4 & 5 are wideband.  For short distant communication, I like the MURS bands much better than the FRS bands.  First you can use 2 watts of power instead of .5 watts and second there is not near as much traffic on the MURS bands.

MURS 1 – 151.8200, MURS 2 – 151.8800, MURS 3 – 151.9400, MURS 4 – 154.5700, MURS 5 – 154.6000.

My BaoFeng at 2 watts power on MURS frequencies is good for 1.5 to 2 miles.

Amateur Radio Bands (HAM) – Ham Bands cover many frequencies but the only ones I want to specify here are the frequencies for 2 Meter and 70 Centimeter Bands since those are the two bands that the BaoFeng UV-5R can broadcast on.  The 2 Meter Band is frequencies from144 MHz to 147 MHz.  The 70 Centimeter Band is frequencies from 430 MHz to 440 MHz.   Out of the two bands, the 2 Meter Band is the most popular and where you would find the most people to chat with.  As I have stated before, a license is required to broadcast on the HAM Bands and most HAM operators limit their broadcast power to 50 Watts.

What Else Can The BaoFeng Do?

The BaoFeng is also an FM Radio.  Just push one side button and you have an FM radio that receives all the regular FM radio stations.  The BaoFeng UV-5R also receives NOAA Weather Radio frequencies. Check online for the NOAA weather frequencies in your area.

The BaoFeng also comes with an earpiece and can be VOX (Voice) activated.  This is a great tool if you need to use both hands free to work on something but you need to talk or receive instructions while you are working.  This feature provides some real tactical advantages if things get bad and you are trying to coordinate with several small groups.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

BEST UTILITY KNIFE UNDER $30 FOR ONLY $9

During an emergency, a great utility knife is worth its weight in gold.  Whether you are looking for a fixed blade utility knife for your Bug Out Bag, Get Home Bag, or for your home emergency gear, a Mora Knife is a great knife to fill the bill.

Mora knives are made from high-quality Sandvik steel. Sandvik knife steels are characterized by ultra-fine carbides that result in superb forging and hardening properties. The absence of large carbide deposits promotes excellent edge sharpness for optimum cutting performance. Morakniv has been manufacturing the highest-quality knives in Mora, Sweden since 1891. Professionals worldwide trust the quality materials and fine craftsmanship of Mora Knives.

Mora knives made from high carbon steel achieve high hardness, sharpen easily and are exceptionally tough. High carbon steels are preferred in applications that demand durability and frequent regrinding. The material is harder than stainless steel, allowing it to hold a sharper and more durably acute edge.

Here are two well priced Mora Knives.  One is only $9 and the other is only $14.  Two really nice bushcraft, camping, hunting, and general utility knives with great pricing.

 

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife with Sandvik Carbon Steel Blade, 3.8-Inch.  Fixed blade knife with carbon steel blade.  Blade Thickness: 0.08″ (0.2 cm). Blade Length: 3.8″ (9.6 cm).  Total Length: 8.2″ (20.8 cm).  Net Weight: 3.4 oz. (97 g).  Ergonomic plastic handle.  Plastic sheath with belt clip.  1-year manufacturer’s warranty.  Currently $8.99

 

 

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch.  Fixed blade outdoor knife with 4.1-inch stainless steel blade.  Blade Thickness: 0.10″ (2.5 mm). Blade Length: 4.1″ (104 mm).  Total Length: 8.6″ (219mm), Net Weight: 4.1 oz. (116g).  Patterned, high-friction grip Plastic sheath with belt clip.  1-year manufacturer’s warranty.  Currently $13.92.

 

 

Ed Rogers

Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2012.  All Rights Reserved.

LazerBrite MODULAR LIGHTING

I met Greg Kennedy the inventor of LazerBrite Modular Light System at the Outdoor Retailer in August.  I was impressed by the modular nature of the system and how you could combine different modular pieces to fit a large range of lighting applications.

I have been playing with the system for the past couple of months. And have found the system to be outstanding in every way.  All pieces are US made and are built to last.

The main system components are 3 oz. LED light heads  and translucent tubes.  The LED Light Heads come in single-mode and multi-Lux.  Multi-Lux heads have 3 modes, high, low, and flash.  The light heads and components are fully waterproof.

The heads come in 6 colors, White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue and in Infared.  Additional items in the system are opaque Glow Domes, Magnetic End Caps, Helix Bungees, Lanyards, and Threaded Loops.

Using these components you can make a number of lighting items.  The chart below shows some possibilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many possible military, law enforcement, and emergency preparedness applications.  For standard lighting for camping and emergency preparedness, I believe white multi-modes heads work the best.  My favorite setup turned out to be a single multi-lux light head with a glow dome and magnet end cap or helix bungee .

The light heads run on two 2032 lithium batteries (included) and the brightness is  15 – 20 lumens on high mode and 3 – 5 lumens on low mode.

I did a run-time test on the low setting of a multi mode head and the run-time was over 5-days straight.  That’s almost 125 hours of light or 3 hours of light everyday for over 40 days.  This versatile lighting system is a great addition to anyone’s emergency preparedness storage.

You can order direct from LazerBrite at http://www.lazerbrite.com/.  There is free shipping on orders over $50.  They are also available on Amazon.

 

Finally here is a short YouTube video about the LazerBrite Modular Light System.  YouTube Video.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

MORMON HOME STORAGE CENTER CHANGES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might know, I think the Mormon Church Home Storage Centers are a fantastic resource to purchase long-term food storage at a reasonable price.

There are changes coming to the 101 Mormon Church Home Storage Centers (Dry Canneries).  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that in all 101 home storage centers, patrons will no longer have to self-can products.  The centers will offer the same products pre-canned and prepackaged for the same price.

At 12 home storage centers, patrons will also be able to do self-canning.  Those centers are located at:

  • Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Carrollton, Texas
  • Lindon, Utah
  • Logan, Utah
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (Welfare Square)
  • Sandy, Utah
  • Springville, Utah
  • St. George, Utah

I talked to my local cannery and they said they are installing new shelving to handle the weight of stocking pre-canned product.  The new pre-canned items will be in stock sometime in November.

Here is a link for cannery locations.  LDS Home Storage Centers.

Here is a link for the cannery price list.  LDS Home Storage Price List.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2013. All Rights Reserved.

COLEMAN CAMP STOVE FOR $19

I think everyone agrees that they don’t make things like they used to do.  Coleman Camp Stoves are no exception.  The quality of the current  generation of camp stoves falls way short of the well built camp stoves of the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s.

My family bought a Coleman model 413F back in the early 60’s.  My family wasn’t much for camping but I have fond memories of my Father pumping up the stove fuel tank for Saturday breakfast up the canyon.   When my parents passed, I  inherited the stove and now at over 50 years old it is still a great stove.

My wife was at a thrift store and saw two old Coleman camp stoves.  One was a  Coleman 413G (circa 1964) in pretty good condition, just greasy and dirty, and it was missing the fuel tank.  The price was $3.  Here is a before picture.

The other one was a Coleman 426B three burner (circa 1954) in fair shape, greasy, dirty, and some rust, and it was missing the fuel tank.  The price was $4.

She called me and asked if I wanted her to buy them.  The 413G was a for sure because it was in good condition and I decided to take a chance on the 426B, even though it wasn’t in as good of shape, because you don’t find a three burner stove that often.

What good is a stove without a fuel tank?  Those pump-up liquid fuel tanks that use Coleman Fuel or white gas are hard to find used and if you do find them, they are very pricey.  I’m pretty sure that is why these two stoves were in a thrift store for $3 or $4.

 

But there is an easy solution.   Stansport Propane Converter  Converts liquid gas style camp stoves to safe, convenient and dependable propane in just seconds.  Currently $16 shipped.  Stansport and Century make converters.  The Century Propane Converter is $26 currently.  Both have great reviews.   They both use a 16.4 oz propane cylinder.

 

With an adapter hose you can hook them up to a 5 gallon bulk cylinder (the kind BBQ grills use).  Coleman Adapter Hose is 5′ long and is $17.  Mr. Heater Adapter Hose is 12′ long and is $21.

 

When the stoves arrived at home I installed a propane converter into each stove and screwed on a propane cylinder, turned on the propane and WOW, both stoves lit right up.  So now it was time for some cleaning.

I decided to work on the cleanest one first.    After an hour of scrubbing with a stiff nylon brush, scotch pad and degreaser, I had the 413G looking as good as it was going to look.

Here is an after picture of my “new” Coleman Camp Stove.  Not bad for $19 ($3 for the stove and $16 for the propane converter).

Check out thrift stores and garage sales.  Look for stoves that are in good shape, a small dent or two is okay, dirty is okay because dirty cleans up.  Any 50 year old metal stove is bound to have a rust spot here or there but keep the rust to a minimum.

You can add a great camp stove to your camping or emergency supplies for not much money.  Good Luck.

 

 

 

Ed Rogers
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