Day 12.  The question for today is, “What do you need to feel “Normal” in an emergency and how much does “Normal” cost”?

We all have different capacities of how much shortage and or suffering we can deal with.  I’m going to give you my basic list of what my wife and I need to feel normal in an extended 2-week emergency and how much each item costs.  Keep in mind that this is not what we could survived on (we could survive with quite a bit less).  This is what made us feel “Normal”.


We are on day 12 of our preparedness test.  So far we have used 30 gallons of water for drinking and food preparation, 8 gallons of water for kitchen duty, 8 gallons of water for showers and birdy baths, and 45 gallons of water to flush toilets.  In total, it looks like we’ll use 54 gallons of clean water and 53 gallons of gray (swimming pool) water by the time the 2 weeks are done.

My biggest storage concern is the 54 gallons of clean water.  If you have a 60 gallon water heater and know how to harvest the water from it, you are set.  You can store 54 gallons of clean water for free by using empty 2-liter soda bottles.  They are great for water storage and fit under beds and is small corners.  You could also buy 5-gallon jugs or even a 55-gallon water barrel and fill them with water for storage.

Having a drip filter and some chlorine opens the possibility of using rain water and other “dirty” water sources to making clean drinking water.  I’ve talked about this in other blogs.

Hot or warm water is a special but very important sub-category.  I don’t think anyone likes to take cold showers.  The most low-tech way to get hot water is to put some jugs of water out in the sun.  Four hours in a 70 degree sun and you’ll have hot water.  You can also just heat the water on your stove.


The shoestring diet I outline in my books worked well (check my past blogs to download your free copy).  At $.60 to $.70 cents a day per person, it doesn’t cost much to eat.  I would add some commercial or home canned meat to the storage items if you really want to feel normal.

I tried out a lot of cooking equipment during the preparedness test.  Two inexpensive stoves, the Gasone Butane Stove, under $20 (you’ll need 5-6 canisters of butane), and the Century Single Burner Propane Stove, under $30 (you’ll need 2-3 canisters of propane), both worked great.


After your belly is filled, the biggest thing you need to feel normal in an emergency is some power.  How much power you need to feel normal will differ for everyone.  For us, the electrical things we needed to feel normal during these past 2- weeks were cell phones, AA/AAA battery charger, I-pod, laptop, 32” TV, rice cooker, lights, and oh yes, on the days it dipped below freezing, a working furnace.

Everything but the furnace could be handled with two 12 volt, 125 amp-hour marine batteries ($80 each) and a 750 watt inverter ($49), powered by 200 watts of solar panels ($300 including charge controller and wiring).  If you exchange the 32” TV for a small portable TV, a single battery with 100 watts of solar power would do the job.  If you have enough gasoline, you could hook an inverter to your car battery, then you wouldn’t need the solar panels or extra battery.  My “normal” was at least 200 watts of solar power.

To run the furnace blower motor, we needed a generator (about $500 for a 3000 watt tri-fuel).  We ran the tri-fuel generator off of propane and natural gas.

One last note on power.  Have a lot of good 12ga and 14ga grounded extension cords available with some 3-way splitters.  Harbor Freight has the least expensive ones that I have found.

Flashlights and Headlamps

You’ll need a good flashlight ($5 to $50) and headlamp ($15 to $30) that run off of rechargeable AA or AAA batteries ($30 for 10 Eneloop batteries and charger) to get around at night and to see where you are going in the dark areas of your house.  Check out my books and blogs for my favorite flashlights.

Everyday Supplies

You’ll need a supply of clean clothing.  Unless you want to do laundry by hand, try to keep a 2-week supply of socks and undies on hand.  You’ll also need a 2-week supply of everything you use on a daily basis.  Deodorant, soap, toothpaste, contact solution, medications, etc., etc.


That’s it for today.  Still in introspective mode and doing well.


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

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