Miguel talks about his hurricane kit. We have the storm kit.

The first thing we did in deciding what was needed for our storm kit was to determine what we were likely to experience, and under what circumstances.

There are three possible causes, winter storm, summer storm, social unrest.

The most likely is the winter storm. Summer storms are not as bad, in general.

Using the rule of threes, the first thing on the list is medical for a winter storm.

We have all of our medications at hand. Losing power doesn’t change that.

A massive part of the first requirement is hygiene. That is the ability to clean ourselves, clean our clothing, and to use the toilet.

If we can heat water, which we can, then we can clean ourselves. We have a propane gas kitchen stove, we have a propane burner for heating big pots of water, and we have wood to burn to make heat for heating water.

That would be enough for sponge baths. We also have solar chargers and a battery-powered shower unit. Fill a five gallon bucket with hot water. Drop the intake into the bucket. Press the button and hot water comes out the hand-held shower head.

Learn to take ship showers and 5 gals is more than enough.

We collect that water for flushing the toilet. We live at the top of a hill. There is enough “down hill” flow that we would not have to worry about back flow from the sewer lines. As mean and nasty as it might be, I know that there are houses down stream from us that would back flow, long before that shit got to us.

We have a manual washing station for clothing. Half fill a five gallon bucket with warm water, add a bit of wash soap. Use the plunger, agitator. 30 to 45 minutes of work later, you have clean clothes. We don’t have an easy way to get the water out, so that would be done manually. Painful, but not a showstopper.

We buy soap bars in bulk. I happen to use shampoo bars, which have great shelf life and are small. We have wash soap and can make more if needed. We’ve made soap in the past and can make more if needed.

In other words, some five gallon buckets, a recharging method, and a battery-powered shower head gives us our hygiene.

Our next item is shelter.

The power goes out! Everybody grab their Get Out Of Dodge Expeditiously (G.O.O.D.E) bag! We are going to live in the woods until the power comes back.

DOH! That’s not how it works. The best shelter we have is our home. It is water tight, wind tight, and insulated.

We still require some heat, but not as much as we would if we were outside in the elements.

First, we have convenient heaters. That is to say, we have both propane and kerosene indoor safe heaters. The kerosene puts out enough BTUs to heat most of the lower living area. It burns for about 10 hours on one fill.

The propane puts out heat, but I don’t like it. It is just another source of heat, if we needed it, from an alternative fuel.

We then have the wood stove. That is a primary heating method.

Finally, we have an H45 military heater. If I needed to use it, I would take the wood stove out of production to use its thimble for the H45. This thing will burn almost any sort of liquid fuel. In a worse case situation, I could pull fuel from the furnace fuel tank to run this thing.

Next in the rule of threes is water. We normally have 10 gallons of water in water cubes, ready to use in an emergency. We have the hot water tank for secondary needs. We have multiple large containers for gathering water in other ways. There is normally plenty of snow during the winter and there is the lake when it is not frozen.

The takeaway from this is that we have water, we can get water, we can filter the water to make it potable.

We have a couple of 250 gallon tanks that I’m going to setup for catching rain water. Those can be used for a source of water as well.

Food, we have lots of food put away. We can cook it on the stove, we can cook over a fire, it is easy enough to do. We have yeast and flour as well as wheat berries.

This is Hagar’s bread from the weekend. She made it at a 1700s even at a living museum. She baked it in a Dutch oven.

For tools, we have things that require power, but for the most part, we have backups that are manual and we have used all those tools.

You have to use the tools to know what they can and cannot do. As well as what you can, and cannot do.

My daughter gave me a hand generator to charge USB devices. It works. I can’t even put a 10 minute charge on my phone. My phone consumes more power than I can generate per unit time. On the other hand, the solar chargers do work.

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By awa

7 thoughts on “The Storm Kit”
  1. Hand chargers would work, IF you could ‘burst’ for 10 minutes and generate way more watt hours than the phone can use in that amount of time. Some sort of battery pack or super cap that you could dump power in, then ‘trickle’ it back out to the phone over time.

    That way, you aren’t sitting there cranking for10 minutes and not really keeping up.

    The other issue is, I’d be willing to bet, the hand crank charger doesn’t have the fast/rapid higher voltage circuitry in it. The charger / phone combos that can use 9 or 12v via the USB C style connector WILL charge quite a bit in 10 minutes IF they can shift into that higher power mode.

    I’ve kind of been thinking about that hand crank problem off and on over the years, and I ran across an article about an outfit that tries to put a bit of modern tech out to poverty-stricken areas, like simple LED lighting for night time.

    They came up with a really novel idea, based on a VERY OLD clock movement principle…

    They use a large weight tied on the end of something like small para-cord, and wind it through a clockwork type mechanism that as the weight falls, spins the generator.

    I’ll have to look it up again, but that idea is a practical way to harness the ‘burst’ principle and then trickles out the energy over time.

    Dang, another project to investigate. That’s what I get for staying up late…

    1. Your thought process mirrors mine. What I found was that if I turn my phone off and start cranking, it will turn back on. That causes issues. I might be able to charge a “battery” unit. I have a battery unit, which also has a solar panel attached to it.
      My point in this was: You have to try it to know it.
      If you haven’t tried the tool, you don’t know how well it will work. I know I can take a 10″ tree with a small ax. I know I can hand buck it into firewood lengths. I know I can split it with my splitting ax, but not with my felling ax. I know this because I’ve done it. Do I want to fell by ax and buck by hand? NO. I much prefer my chainsaw for that. So I keep extra fuel for the chainsaw.
      Know your tools. Know how to use them. Know when not to use them.

      1. Exactly. I used to always take one of those 24″ bow saws in my camping stuff.

        People were always leaving perfectly good dry firewood, (that you were allowed to use,) near to the campsite areas because the use of a chainsaw wasn’t allowed within the campground. A new sharp blade, and nice dry 12″ trees were a snap to cut up and take back to the site to be split. (Accompanied by dirty looks from the neighboring campsites!)

        Lithium batteries could be used for a ‘burst’ charge storage system because they are fairly ‘cycle’ efficient, and depending on the type, can have a pretty high ‘C’ charge rate. (Lead acid isn’t nearly as efficient.)

        The crank gen idea does bring to mind old black and white movies where they have a guy hand cranking what looks like bicycle pedal / arms on a large box which is obviously a generator of some sort. It is wired in to a radio set that is being operated by another person.

        I purchased a used treadmill DC motor, and lashed it up to an exercise bicycle. It would put out quite a bit of power (~50 to 100 watts DC, ~12-24v) without a lot of -strenuous- effort.

        It’s obviously not optimized for generation, but I’m not going to take the time to re-engineer the brush holders and some other tweaks as it was just a ‘hey, will this work in a pinch?’ question, and the answer was yes.

        Large stepper motors, (think of stuff used on large CNC machines, or other larger applications,) are a VERY good and efficient source of two or three phase AC output that can be rectified to DC quite easily. The advantage of stepper motors is that they will produce a good output at fairly low RPM. Takes a bit of experimentation to get ones that will output the voltage and current you want, but usually checking the plate for the >input< voltage and current will give you a rough idea of what kind of output to expect. (Idea stolen from a build your own pico / micro hydro site years ago…)

        Hint: NEVER take apart a PM stepper and expect it to work right again. Some types have magnets that are basically 'over charged' to a point that if they loose the return flux 'path', the magnetization of the rotor will mostly disappear… (Older tech.)

  2. Winter storm out here would be shelter-in-place, because there’s no where to go if the roads are that bad and power is out. Summer here is tornado season, which means either 1) shelter where you are until power and water come back or 2) what can you carry on your back after your house blows away? I have separate plans/loads/supplies for both options.

    One thing people don’t seem to think about in the case of “the house is gone” is footwear. They talk about having a go-bag with documents, meds, clothes, some food and water and so on, but don’t think about what’s on their feet. You need sturdy, thick-soled work-boot type footwear, or something that can take walking on debris without getting easily punctured. Not thin-soled, slip-on sneakers or slippers, not Crocs™, not “my favorite flats.”

  3. Hygiene is a good point and was overlooked at least by me until the pandemic. Body wipes and dry shampoo will get you by as well. Deodorant and soap store basically forever that’s good. I don’t know the shelf life, but pure casteel soap for camping has 1000 uses and a little goes far.

  4. I bought a widget called a “Scrubba” for travel — it’s a water proof bag with some texture and a valve to evacuate the air. You put water, soap, and clothing inside then agitate it by hand. It does a decent job for small items, which is mostly what you might need in a bad situation.

  5. I’ve lived in two areas where we had fairly frequent power outages with structural damage — coastal Virginia with hurricanes/storms and East Tennessee with storms and falling trees. In both cases, we lived at the end of the grid, so were the last people around to get power back.
    For keeping freezers and fridges going for a few days, I keep five 200Ah deep cycle batteries with inverters. With fridges and freezers, I don’t keep them powered all the time during a long outage, just enough to keep things cold. For the times I’ve been without power for a few days, powering them for six hours a day and limiting when the doors can be opened worked well. The batteries are invaluable for my wife, since she has a couple of medical devices that require power for extended periods, such as a CPAP machine. I have run her CPAP for five nights from one battery without a problem. I have a couple of solar panels for charging as well, but I never had to use them.
    Since I live in a forest, I also have a wood gasifier attached to a generator in addition to a propane generator. The wood gasifier can only run a smaller generator, and carburetion is a hassle, but it works. The thing to remember with generators is that they have a relatively short life — about 3000 hours on average. That’s great for the occasional outage, but it’s only a few months 24/7. The big hassles with a wood gasifier are getting carburetion right (it requires about a 1-2:1 air/gas mixture compared to 11:1 for LNG, 14-15:1 for gasoline, or 23:1 for propane) and preparing the wood or charcoal. It takes about 65 – 100 lbs of wood to run a medium sized generator for a day. I ended up building a big cinderblock shed charcoal retort that holds a 55 gallon can since they work better with charcoal than wood.

    For water, I prefer distillation to filtering. I bought a small Chinese still cheap and it fits nicely on a wood stove I have on my porch. You don’t have to get one of those thousand dollar copper things for making whiskey. You don’t need that for bathing water, of course, but it makes good drinking water. In a pinch, it can also be used to make alcohol for medical purposes, but I’ve not done that since it’s illegal.

    For heat, I have propane gas fireplaces in two rooms. They used to be wood, but my wife has asthma and cannot tolerate smoke inside. If worse came to worse, I could move the wood stove back in the house. We have kerosene lamps in every room.

    We have a small stock of essential meds, but it’s hard to get extras to store since they are prescription drugs, but that has never been a problem for a few days without power.

    I don’t really think about “bugging out” in an apocalyptic scenario. In that case, anybody who tries to make it alone will not do well. You have to coordinate with friends and family. Of course that’s true even in every day life. We recently ran into some problems and made it through not because of great preparedness, but because of great friends and our church community.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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