February 19, 2018

8 Easy Ways to Start a Fire

This article was written by Dan Sullivan from Survival Sullivan. Check out Dan’s blog, I think you’ll enjoy it.
8 Easy Ways to Start a Fire

How many ways of starting a fire do you know? No matter how many you answered, I’m sure you can learn a few more after reading this article. You never know when you’re out in the wild, desperately needing a fire and you realize your primary and secondary means of starting a one aren’t working.

Accidents will happen… your bug out bag could fall into a body of water, possibly compromising some of your stuff and, as you’re desperately trying to start a fire using your soaking wet matches, you begin to realize the severity of the situation.

Before we discuss all the different ways to start a fire, it’s worth mentioning you need have tinder readily available to quickly catch those sparks. Bark, dry glass, small sticks, cotton balls and even paper will do the trick. So, without further ado, let’s see all the various ways to start a fire.
Using an Obvious Fire-Starting Device

I’m not going to spend too much time talking about Bic lighters and waterproof matches. You probably have them in your bug-out bag (BOB) or your get home bag (GHB) already. Bic lighters are great but at some point, they will fail you, so be sure to check that they’re working from time to time. You can do this, for instance, right when you’re rotating your food stockpile, for instance.
Using the Bow Drill Method

When I think about starting a fire without matches, the thing that always comes to mind is the bow drill method. The reason it’s so popular is that it’s very effective. Not as good as striking a match, obviously, but works really well when all else fails. Under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to get it going.

The most important thing is to have the right wood. You need dry wood and, ideally, you’ll want to make the spindle and the floorboard from the same tree, even from the same log for best results. Here’s a quick list of types of wood that work well with this method: white cedar, willow, alder, and maple. Willow will work best, particularly if you’re new at this.
Using the Hand Drill Method

If you don’t have the time or the right items to use the bow drill method, how about just using your bare hands to rotate the stick? It’s hard work but, with the right wood, tinder and your tireless hands, you will eventually get that spark.
Using a Pocket Knife, a Piece of Flint and Char Cloth

Char cloth ignites with the smallest spark and you can help starting it with your pocket knife and flint.
Using a Lens

There are a wide variety of lens available to help you start a fire. For example, a Fresnel lens is small, cheap, lightweight and fits just about anywhere in your bug-out bag or get home bag. Of course, if you don’t have one, you can use a magnifying glass, binoculars and even your eyeglasses to achieve the same result.

And if you’re really feeling lucky, you can use unconventional items such as a condom filled with water or even an ice cube. These can both focus the sun rays into a single point, raising the temperature and causing whatever tinder you have there to ignite.
Using Batteries

Batteries alone can’t do the job but, with the help of some fine grade steel wool or gum paper, it’s totally possible. You’re gonna need a 9V battery and the really good news is, this will work on all weather conditions… and it is fast. The moment the battery makes contact with the wool, sparks start showing up so make sure you have that tinder ready.
Starting a Fire with Water

First of all, I should say that the water needs to be contained in either a plastic bottle or a lightbulb. You will use them as makeshift magnifying glasses to focus the sun rays on one (or multiple) pieces of paper. If you have paper written in black ink, that’s even better, it’s going to ignite faster.
Mixing Chlorine and Break Fluid

When it comes to using chemical reactions to start a fire, one of the most popular ways is to use chlorine and break fluid. The reaction doesn’t happen instantly, it takes about 20 to 30 seconds and the flame doesn’t last for more than a few seconds. Use small quantities of each and, whatever you do, do NOT get too close during those first 30 seconds when nothing seems to be happening. Also, wearing a face shield mask is even better to decrease your chances of getting injured.
What’s next?

Practicing all the ways to start a fire is very important as you don’t want your first attempt to be during an SHTF situation, when your life is on the line. Make sure you have everything you need and keep trying if it doesn’t work the first time.

Now that you’ve got that fire going… how about learning how to cook? I’ve put together a comprehensive list of outdoor cooking methods, you can check it out right here and… I have a feeling you might like it!

Stay safe,
Dan F. Sullivan
Please click here to vote for Prepared Christian as a top Prepper site!

If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!

Preparedness Club

Review of the SmartCharge™ LED Bulbs

Review of the SmartCharge™ LED Bulbs

I was recently asked if I wanted to review a LINK SmartCharge™ light bulb. It is an LED light bulb that contains a 4 hour battery backup. I said “yes,” as I think this could fill a role in power loss preparations for many of us. A flashlight is great, but unless you have them scattered around the house, you need to go looking for one. Flashlights are great for providing direct light, but not great for lighting up a room. Preparedness Club members, make sure to see the bottom for special pricing!

The LINK SmartCharge™ turns on as soon as a loss of power is detected. The following are some features provided by the manufacturer.

SmartCharge™ Features:
• Works with a Standard Light Fixture
• 4 hours of Light During a Power Outage
• Built in Rechargeable Battery / Charges during normal use
• Turns On/Off from the Switch During Power Outages
• Energy Efficient, ROHS Compliant
• Instant On
• Rated to last for 40,000 hours, 25 years

– Brightness – Minimum 350 lumen
-Annual Energy cost – .72¢ USD
-Color Temperature – 5000K
-Wattage – 5.5 Watt
-40 Watts equivalent
-Bulb Voltage – 110-240V
-UL, CE, FCC, & ROHS certified certifications

It fits in a standard light socket, and acts as a normal light bulb until the internal circuitry detects a loss of power, then it switches to the battery backup power. As you can see from the pictures, there is less light in “grid down,” running on batteries mode.

I see this as a good fit in a few situations.

If you have a battery backup UPS on your computer, you know that if power is lost, your system and any peripherals attached to it stay on. Though some units have a long charge, the purpose of a UPS isn’t to keep you up and running until power is restored. The purpose is to let you finish your work, save it and shutdown, thus making sure you finish your task. I see the LINK SmartCharge™ as a product that can let you finish what you were doing. That is, unless it was something that required electricity of course. It then provides a light source for you to get your Lights Out Kit and get ready, just in case the outage is a bit longer than 4 hours. It will also provide that 4 hours of constant light, more if used sparingly.

While our grid is fragile, in that it takes little to bring it down, it is pretty reliable in the amount of time it is up. The founder of the LINK SmartCharge™ is from India, where there are a lot of power outages. If you live in a place where the grid isn’t reliable, the LINK SmartCharge™ could be a very effective tool to provide light in between outages, as well as during.
My Take

Normal Bulb

Normal Bulb

Please forgive the quality of the images. They were taken with my iPhone, and I am just pretty happy my thumb isn’t in them. I’ll start by saying that I prefer a softer light bulb. The 40 Watt is what I normally use in the office. So, for me, the LINK SmartCharge™is a great fit. If you prefer a very well lit room, this might not be the best option, unless there are other lights on as well.
SmartCharge on grid power.

SmartCharge on grid power.

The LINK SmartCharge™ gave off a whiter, cleaner light than the yellowish tint the regular 40Watt put out. Now, if you watch any of the videos, I really think they do themselves a disservice. To simulate a blackout you need to do more than just unplug the lamp. Simply unplugging it from the wall does not simulate a power outage. In a power outage, there are still things connected to the circuit in your house, such as the stove, etc., that are plugged into the outlets. The bulb needs to detect something else to complete the circuit to stay on.
SmartCharge on battery power.

SmartCharge on battery power.

To get by this, they seem to use another light as the other electronic device drawing power. This makes the room look very bright while power is on, and very dark; darker than it really is, when power is “out”. I used a fan as the other device, and the difference in the light provided between modes is very minimal. I was surprised how much darker the picture was in the after picture, because I thought it was almost the same level of brightness while I had it on in battery power mode.

Size comparison

As you can see, the LINK SmartCharge™ is bigger than a standard bulb. It doesn’t bother me, but if you have an enclosed fixture, it might be very tight, or not fit at all.

The price is $34.95, which isn’t too bad when the average LED bulb goes for around $20.00. Pay an extra $15 and you get one that will sense when the grid is down, and run off of the battery for another four hours.

I’m going to give this item 4 stars. I think it is a very clever idea, and designed well. If they would have changed the design so that power just needed to be lost from the source, and the bulb would stay on, I would give it 5 stars. That would allow for one to charge it with a small solar panel, and have 4 hours of off grid light at night.

The folks at LINK SmartCharge™ have agreed to give Preparedness Club members a 25% discount until January 5th 2015! Log into your account to find the coupon code.

Please click here to vote for Prepared Christian as a top Prepper site!

If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!

Preparedness Club

Review of the MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Review of the MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Every once in a while I get to review an item that, because of features, potential and its price, is an item that I am happy to tell you about! LUCI is one of these! Created by MPOWERED, LUCI is an inflatable solar lantern with a diameter of 5”. It’s about 4” tall when inflated and 1” tall when collapsed.

LUCI is waterproof and shatterproof. It is very lightweight and affordable; the Luci Solar Lantern I was sent retails for only $15! Other models can run up to $25.

LUCI Dimensions

LUCI is made up of 10 LED lights, a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.

It is rated for 500-2000 cycles, meaning full battery cycles from full to empty. If you use it every day for twelve hours, it is expected that it’ll work for about two years! If you use LUCI occasionally you can expect many years of use.

The LED bulbs have a lifespan of 25,000 hours, and the manufacturer states that they will not burn out during the life of LUCI.

LUCI solar panel

LUCI will hold a full charge for about three months. After that it will retain half a charge for up to two years!

There are three power settings; low, high and a slow flashing.

LUCI produces enough light to illuminate up to an 8-10’ square foot room.

LUCI is rated to run in temperatures from 15-122 degrees.

There is a plastic strap on the top and bottom. A carbineer would be needed to hang it from something to cast light or hang upside down to charge.

LUCI can be charged from with sunlight or incandescent light and takes 8 hours for a full charge.

LUCI is being marketed as offering “solar justice” to the 3 billion people in the world who either live without electricity or can’t afford it. They even have a program where you can MPOWERED for a LUCI to be given to someone in need!

LUCI will effectively lengthen the ability to get things done after the sun goes down. That is the case for those living without electricity now, and for anyone who owns one if the power goes out!

LUCI in colorLuci doesn’t act like a flashlight. To be fair, flashlights don’t serve the same purpose as LUCI in my book either. A flashlight is a great tool for casting light at length or lighting a specific area for a short time. LUCI is geared toward lighting a general area for a length of time.
LUCI roadside
Just some of the uses I can see are: In the BOB, lights out/blackout kit, glove box or trunk for use during roadside emergencies, lighting an outdoor area for night gatherings, floating in the pool for evening swims (did I mention it’s waterproof?!?!?). I think LUCI will give a scared child much more comfort in a blackout than a flashlight, as it lights up a bigger area.

As stated above, the Luci Solar Lantern that was sent to me costs $15. You can visit the MPOWERED site to find all four versions, including the ones in various colors! They range in price from $15 – $25.

At these prices, I think they make a great addition to anyone’s preparations! They would also make great gifts for those who may not be preparedness minded!

Please click here to vote for Prepared Christian as a top Prepper site!

If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!

Preparedness Club

Emergency Heat

Emergency Heat

This is a topic I haven’t covered in a while, and I’ve gotten some questions related to it recently, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit emergency heat. Going without heat is something that hundreds, if not thousands of people face every year. Many of those affected have electric heat and above ground power lines, which can be brought down by storm damage from falling trees or from ice storms and blizzards.

Energy is one of the Five Basic Human Needs, and the rule of three’s tells us that we can only live 3 hours in poor weather without it. Depending on how low the temperature is, that number could be less. Be aware that hypothermia can set in at temperatures less than 50 degrees, so this isn’t just a topic for northern states!
Back Up Electricity

One might think the solution to being without heat due to a power outage would be to provide backup electricity with a generator and that might be the case for short term outages. The catch is making sure you have enough fuel to run the generator. I heard stories after Hurricane Sandy about whole home generators that used an entire 500lb propane tank. If the outage is large enough and long enough, nearby gas stations will, most likely, be without power to operate the pumps.

A small generator would sufficiently run space heaters, but the fuel usage is still prohibitive. I own a generator, but my plan for it is to run the freezer and fridge for an hour in the morning and evening to keep the food inside cold.

I’m not going to go more in depth on generators, but if you’re interested, here is an article I wrote called Portable Generators and an article on storing gasoline and diesel long term.
Scope of the Problem

Before we can really come up with a solution, we need to know the scope of the potential problem. Because of the type of events that are most likely to cause us to need emergency heat, it is safe to say there will be a large portion of the people in our area affected.

A side note; we had a large storm here in Minnesota last year, leaving thousands without power in the summer. It was unbelievable the number of people on the news and social media accusing the power companies of not doing anything. The electric grid is a very complex, interconnected and in many instances outdated beast. In a large scale power outage, it is far more complicated to correct say a fallen tree, than just removing the fallen tree and flipping a switch.

Yes, the tree needs to be removed and lines repaired, but there is also a very good chance that the tree falling caused damage to other components down the line. The line must remain off for utility workers to repair all of it and replace said components.

I digress; in a large scale power outage, it is safe to say that it could take a number of days but will probably not take weeks for power to be restored. Hurricane Sandy saw many people without power for several weeks and some saw months. However, that was an aberration caused by wind damage, water damage, flooding of the underground grid and several other factors. I know of several large scale storms across the country where utility companies have brought in crews from other states to get power back to their customers.

What this means is that we need to be prepared to provide emergency heat for our families for up to a week. If the damage is so significant that it will require you to be without power for longer than one week, you might be best served finding another location to reside in until power is restored.
My Emergency Heat Plan

For me personally, a whole home generator with 500lb+ of fuel stored isn’t feasible. If we lose heat in cooler temperatures, my plan is to have everyone cohabitate in one room. It is far easier to heat and maintain warmth in one room versus the entire house. I own Mr. Heater F232000 Indoor-Safe Heater, and have multiple 20lb propane tanks. To use 20lb or larger tanks, you also need to purchase a propane hose assembly.

Caution does need to be taken to make sure fresh air is allowed to circulate while using the heaters, but modern day indoor rated heaters are a safe and viable option.

I plan on placing blankets over windows to add a layer of insulation to cause heat loss through them to be minimal. Since water lines freezing is a real danger, water would be shut off going to most of the house, and a small trickle of water would be maintained to the rest of the rooms where running water was needed.

If you’re looking for an emergency heat/off grid heat option that is a bit bigger and could heat the entire house, there are several options. It is out of the scope of this article, but you could research wood stoves, pellet/corn stoves and Rocket Mass Heaters from Permies.com for just three examples.

Candles can provide some heat, and light but we will only use them as a last resort. As I explain in Candle Safety:

“We had a couple different scented candles burning for a few days when Trudee noticed her asthma was acting up. Then she noticed a thin layer of soot on the surface of things here and there. (Note: We don’t have a fireplace.)”

We still have several candles for emergencies and barter if needed, but don’t burn them anymore.

While this article is about heat, there is a good chance that if you don’t have heat, you might not have a means to cook. I personally decided to use propane as my fuel for cooking as well. I have camp stoves and the BBQ that can be used to prepare meals. We also have a fire pit and a small amount of wood that would last us a couple weeks or so for cooking with.
Other Information

I’ve written two other articles that might be of interest. One is called Off Grid Fuels,. In it, I explain the pluses and minuses of various storable fuels. I explore propane in depth in Propane for Fuel Storage.

Please click here to vote for Prepared Christian as a top Prepper site!

If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!

Preparedness Club

Propane for Fuel Storage

Propane for Fuel Stroage

Energy is one of the five basic human needs. We use it to cook, to see and for power, among other things. For many reasons, propane is my fuel of choice to store and use if/when the grid goes down for any length of time.

Propane does not go bad like some of the other fuels and has an indefinite shelf life. There are multiple storage sizes; the 1lb, the popular 20lb and even some 200lb tanks that are available at various hardware stores. Many use propane for their primary fuel source and have the much larger tanks that are filled only once or twice a year. Before you decide to store larger tanks of propane, you should check local laws.

I’m sure this is not the case everywhere, but where I live there are two propane companies within walking distance, and a couple more within twenty miles. That’s not counting all of the self-serve propane stations scattered at various gas stations and other businesses. A note about these self-serve stations; they are much more expensive here than taking the tank to a company to have it refilled. They are, however, a good way to trade in your older tank for a new one.

This is one of the major reasons I decided to go with propane. There is just so much you can do with it. There are camp lights, camp stoves, grills, portable heaters, generators and even some appliances that can run on propane. Here are some instructions on filling the smaller 1lb tanks from a 20lb tank.


As stated, there are some generators that run on propane and some can also be retro-fitted to accept propane as a fuel source. I have heard that generators will use more propane than gas. If that’s true, in my opinion, the point is negated because of how much easier it is to store large amounts of propane versus gasoline. I checked on the conversion for our generator and was told I needed to send them the carburetor, that they would modify it and send it back for $150.

Final Thoughts

I personally believe that if we were to see a prolonged grid down event, propane would be available longer than gasoline. The main reason for this is that gas would be used to run most generators and to fuel vehicles (if they’re running). In suburbia, people generally only use propane for their grills and usually have just the one tank.

If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!


Preparedness and Batteries


Have you ever considered how many things you come into contact with every day that use a battery?  How about the items that are in your various preparedness kits?

I remember reading a few news stories that spoke about cities providing generators so people could recharge their cell phones.  Because we have become so dependent on technology and the items that use batteries, both in normal times and when “it’s hitting the fan”, not having the ability to use an item can make a bad situation worse.  Whether it’s a remote control, weather radio, cell phone or flashlight, these devices only work if they have a charged battery.  Below are some things I have discovered over the years.  If you have something to add, please do so in the comments.


Disposable Batteries (Alkaline)

We try to keep a good supply of the various sizes of batteries.  Over the years, I have heard various prepping tips about batteries and have looked into them.  Unfortunately in my experience most have turned out to be false.

For example, have you heard that storing your batteries in the fridge or freezer can prolong their life?  According to Energizer, this isn’t the case!  In this FAQ on Non-Rechargeable Batteries:

“No, storage in a refrigerator or freezer is not required or recommended for batteries produced today. Cold temperature storage can in fact harm batteries if condensation results in corroded contacts or label or seal damage due to extreme temperature storage. To maximize performance and shelf life, store batteries at normal room temperatures (68°F to 78°F or 20°C to 25°C) with moderated humidity levels (35 to 65% RH).”

I also read on a Prepper site that someone said they had compared the life of name brand batteries against the cheaper batteries found at dollar stores.  They said the life of the batteries was relatively the same.  I mentioned this to Trudee, who then purchased some batteries from the dollar store.  It was our experience that they only lasted from ½ to 2/3 as long as the better known, name brand, batteries.

How often have you reached for the remote or another electronic only to discover the batteries were dead?  Something you might not be aware of is that batteries don’t necessarily lose their charge at the same rate.  There could be one battery that is dead and another with ½ a charge left.  To remedy this there are several inexpensive battery testers on the market that will show you how much life is left on a battery.  I haven’t purchased on yet, so I won’t make any recommendations, but make sure that the one you buy will test a variety of battery sizes.


Rechargeable Batteries

The technology and terminology can quickly get over my head, so here is a novices explanation: There are six types of rechargeable batteries.  Only the following three; Nickel Cadmium, Nickel metal hydride, and reusable alkaline are found as replacements for AAA, AA, C, D, and 9 volt batteries.  Since these are the most commonly stocked battery types, I will give some pluses and minuses of using them.


Reusable Alkaline

Reusable Alkaline batteries hold their charge longer than any other type.  However, they have the lowest amount of charge/discharge cycles of any other reusable battery.  (A charge/discharge cycle is one complete depletion and recharge of the battery.)


Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)

This is the oldest type of rechargeable battery.  The technology has been improved over the years.  A nickel cadmium battery has a long shelf life and can be stored in a discharged state for long periods of time.  When it is needed, it is recharged quickly.  It also has a high number of charge/discharge cycles, numbering over 1,000.

Nickel Cadmium batteries have a high rate of discharge.  Just while sitting on the shelf, they lose 1% of their charge per day.  Due to this, batteries would need to be recharged after storage.  Nickel Cadmium is also subject to memory effect.  According to Wikipedia, memory effect is an effect observed in nickel cadmium and nickel–metal hydride batteries that causes them to hold less charge. It describes one very specific situation in which certain batteries gradually lose their maximum energy capacity if they are repeatedly recharged after being only partially discharged. The battery appears to “remember” the smaller capacity.  This has been corrected with newer technology.


Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

This is probably the most available and lowest-cost option of the three.  They have 30-40% higher capacity than a NiCd battery and are less prone to memory effect than NiCd batteries.

NiMH batteries have a high rate of discharge losing up to 4% a day, more in warmer climates.  It also has a limited service life, probably around the 500 charge/discharge cycle range.


Low Self Discharge Nickel Metal Hydride (LSD NiMH)

This type of reusable battery loses significantly less charge than any other type, roughly only 15% a year.  They also have a high charge/discharge rate.  LSD NiMH batteries can be charged with a NiMH battery charger.


Battery Chargers

There are many different ways a battery can be recharged; trickle, simple, timer based, fast and pulse.  There are also battery chargers that are intelligent.  These should not be confused with “smart chargers”.  A Smart charger has a microchip, as does the battery, from its manufacturer and they are designed to work together.

A charger that is intelligent can monitor the temperature, voltage and other characteristics and stop charging when the battery is fully charged.

There are chargers on the market that accept not only the 110 volts from your home, but also 12 volts DC from your car lighter or from a solar charger.


Final Thoughts

In my opinion, I think a good set up for Prepper’s might be to keep some disposable alkaline batteries on hand, and a battery tester to go with them.  It’s also a good idea to have a supply of LSD NiMH batteries with an intelligent charger and a small solar panel to go with it.  There are also solar chargers that can charge your cell phone as well.

The power these batteries provide might not cover all of your needs in a blackout, but it could very well provide for a radio, flashlight, cell phone and other small electronics. This would be enough to keep you informed and your loved ones in another part of the country updated. If you store LSD NiMH batteries charged and top them off once a year, they’ll always be ready for use!


If you liked this article, please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!


Fuel Storage

Fuel storage is something I don’t know a lot about but it was something that was on my list to research.  I recently received an email from a representative of Power Research INC. the makers of PRI-G and PRI-D, fuel treatments.  He asked if I would like a sample to do a review on.  I let him know that I don’t have a way to do a review on his product, but that if he sent me some information I would include it in my research for an upcoming article on fuel storage.  The offer sparked my interest, so I decided to write the article now.  When I say “fuel”, take it to mean both diesel and gasoline.  I will say “diesel” or “gasoline” if I mean a specific one.

Disclaimer; check with your local authorities on how much fuel you may store in a residential area.  Storage of too much fuel can lead to fines.


Fuel Storage

Fuel storage has the same enemies as food storage; light, air and moisture will cause it to go bad faster.  Because of this, it should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place that is not easily accessible by children.


Fuel Containers

Because the fumes are combustible, fuel should be stored in air tight containers that do not vent.  If you walk into the area where you store your fuel and can smell it, it is not air tight.


In The Survival PodcastEpisode-980- Steven Harris on Long Term Fuel Storage, Steven Harris (an engineer and all around guru on fuel and energy in general) said he stores his fuel in HDPE15 Gallon Water Storage Barrels (food grade bucket quality) drums.  He said they will expand in the summer and contract in the winter, but that these barrels can withstand it.  He said he had dropped his from the bed of his truck and they handled it just fine.

A 15 gallon barrel full of fuel will weigh almost exactly 100 pounds.  Steven said he had 2 year old gas in one of these containers with no additives and it worked just fine when used.

Caution: These barrels do not meet DOT standards for fuel transport and you do risk a ticket and other fines if you transport fuel in them.


Another option is the smaller, one to five gallon, containers.  The red ones that you buy from local stores are often low quality and fuel vents through the plastic as it heats and cools.  There have been improvements made to newer ones, but the older ones are not a good idea for long term fuel storage.


5galNATONato Jerry Gas Can 20L/5.28G Military Spec. containers are often very high quality and their price reflects it.  This Nato Jerry Gas Can 20L/5.28G Military Spec. is available on Amazon for $90.  I did some digging and this price is comparable to other vendors.  There are some out there that are much less expensive, but in reading reviews you can often find out why. The metal is often very thin and the spouts either don’t seal right or don’t work well.


Fuel Treatments

My first introduction to fuel treatments came from prepper fiction stories on the Internet.  I hadn’t really looked into them until I received the email from the gentleman at Power Research INC..  It looks like there are two big players in this marketplace; PRI products and STA-BIL.  If you know of others that I have missed, please link them in the comments and I will change the article.

Both products say they will keep the fuel fresh for up to twelve months. PRI-Products, however, say that you can treat them yearly to extend the fuel out many years.  However, they recommend testing the fuel yearly.  In this post on SurvivalBlog.com, Mr. Morton from Power Research INC claims they have stored fuel for 12 years and that it is “still refinery fresh”.  PRI-G is for gasoline, PRI-D is for diesel.  STA-BIL is for gasoline while Diesel formula STA-BIL is for, you guessed it, diesel.

Power Research Inc. has a site dedicated to preparedness where they speak to the importance of making sure your fuel will work when an emergency happens.

In terms of how much fuel treatment is required; STA-BIL states on their FAQ “A: One ounce (30mL) of STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer for every 2 ½ gallons (9.5 L) of gasoline, gasoline/oil mixtures, or ethanol blends is the recommended dosage level.”

From the PRI-G downloadable flyer: 16 Ounces treats 256 gallons; 32 Ounces treats 512 gallons and 1 Gallon will treat 2,000 gallons.  PRI-D will treat the same amount.

Here are some examples of fuel treatments;

PRI-G 16 oz. Fuel Stabilizer or PRI-G 32 oz. Fuel Stabilizer

PRI-D Fuel Stabilizer- For Diesel 16oz or PRI-D Fuel Stabilizer- For Diesel 32oz

STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer – 32 Fl oz.

Sta-Bil Diesel Formula Fuel Stabilizer and Performance Improver – 32 oz.

Refreshing Old Fuel

What are your options when fuel isn’t stored properly or rotated and goes bad?  STA-BIL does not treat old gas, but they do have another product called Start Your Engines, which is geared more at the small engines of lawnmowers, chainsaws and snow blowers.  From the FAQ for PRI; “PRI has been independent laboratory tested on 10-13 year old fuels, and has restored the fuel to usable condition.”

As I mentioned, this subject is fairly new to me, but from the research I have done, I am a bit more impressed with PRI-Products.  They are a bit more expensive but with the ability to use it year after year to keep fuel usable, as well as the ability to refresh old fuel, it seems like a lot more bang for the buck.

Fuel storage isn’t something I have done, but once we get a new home, it is something I want to make sure I do, and I will use PRI to make sure the fuel is usable when it is needed most.

Diesel does not go bad nearly as fast as gasoline.  The one exception I was able to find is diesel fuel that has fungus in it.  Fungus can grow when the fuel has been exposed to the air and moisture. PRI does have a product called PRI-OCIDE.  It can be added when the fuel is stored and will fight the fungi.


Fuel Rotation

I have come across a few different ways to rotate fuel.  The way that I think makes the most sense and is probably the easiest I found, I heard on The Survival Podcast Episode-885.  In it, Tim from Old Grouch’s Military Surplus says he has twelve five gallon NATO style cans, one marked for every month of the year.  Each month, with a little bit of gas in his vehicle already, he empties that months’ can into his vehicle.  He finishes filling his vehicle at the gas station and refills the NATO can as well.


Disposing of Old Fuel

Some counties have a hazardous material facility where you can drop off old fuel and other hazardous materials.  Where I live, I believe it’s free for most things and a small fee for others.  This may not be the case where you live.


Fuel With Ethanol in it

I have learned the hard way that fuel with ethanol in it can be a bad thing for small engines.  I had one mower that I had to take in to have the carburetor and fuel system cleaned out.  I honestly don’t know if fuel with ethanol in it will be harmful to stored fuel.  If you are storing the fuel with a generator in mind, I guess I would say err on the side of caution and store fuel that does not have it.  You can visit this link to get a List of Ethanol free gas stations in the United States and Canada.


If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!


Oil and What it Means For Our Future


For better or worse our economy is tied to oil, so I want to connect a few dots and explain, in part, why that is and what it means for our future.


Why Are We So Dependent On Oil?

To fully understand this, we need to go back to oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller.  Mr. Rockefeller believed that oil was a gift from God and he was determined to find as many uses for it as he could.  Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t completely altruistic.  This also meant higher profits, as he could make money from the parts of oil that many other people were dumping in rivers and lakes as waste.  Some of the uses they discovered were gasoline, tar for paving streets, lubricating oil, Vaseline and paraffin for making candles.  Today oil and oil byproducts are used in those things listed above as well as polyester and other clothing blends, many plastics, many medications, such as cortisone and aspirin, not to mention the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, which is reported to make up 2/3 of the oil that is used.


Harvesting Oil

The theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies said that Jed Clampett was “shooting at some food, missed and up from the ground came bubbling crude”.  While this is an exaggeration as to how easy it used to be, it’s not a huge one.  It used to be very easy to find and drill for oil, and the very first attempts to refine it weren’t much more than boiling it.

The same cannot be said today.  All easy to harvest oil has long been harvested.  Crews have to drill many miles deep into the ocean, which is dangerous and expensive.  There are vast amounts of oil shale, but oil shale is mined in the form of rocks that have solid bituminous materials that are released as petroleum like liquid when the rock is heated in the chemical process known as pyrolysis.  So, while it is there, is it harder to get than traditional oil deposits.

Due to several federal regulations on oil exploration, drilling and refining, the United States will always be a net importer of its oil.


Peak Oil

There is some confusion when it comes to this term, so let me define my use of it.  Peak oil is simply the point at which we have reached the peak of oil production.  This could but doesn’t necessarily mean that an oil field that has hit peak oil is running out of oil, just that it has hit the limit in the amount it can produce.

The problem that peak oil causes is that, in the last decade, China, India and some other developing countries, have seen a massive increase in the amount of cars and drivers, which means a massive increase in the amount of gasoline and diesel needed to fuel them.

This is nothing to worry about as long as the largest oil fields and the world’s leading oil producing nations stay out of peak oil.  As you can see from this story, Mexico’s Cantarell oil field, which is the world’s largest oil field, has reached peak oil and is, in fact, declining in production.  This report from CNN says “WikiLeaks cable: Saudi oil estimates may have been exaggerated”

It reports that:

“Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves may have been grossly overestimated and its capacity to continue pumping at current capacity exaggerated, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable sent from the kingdom in 2007.”


Alternative Energies

I don’t know of any alternative energy that could replace oil.  Some might say “what about solar?”  Solar panels are very expensive to make, thus very expensive to purchase and install.  I have seen estimates of $20,000 on the front end, which could take 20 years to pay for themselves.  By that time you would need to start replacing panels and would have already been replacing batteries.  There were several solar companies who were given millions of tax payer dollars by our current administration.  We have all seen the reports of them going bankrupt.

Wind just doesn’t produce enough energy for it to be viable to replace oil.  Sure, it could be used in tandem to reduce some of the oil consumption, but I haven’t seen enough information to know if this would be cost effective or be like solar and pay for itself near the end of its life.

Don’t get me wrong, I think we should keep looking for ways to make alternative energy a viable option.  I have to be realistic and say that there is a very good chance that America will be tied to oil to meet our energy needs forever.


What Does All OF This Mean For Our Future?

Simply put; higher prices for everything.  Remember all of the items I listed that oil are used in its production?  That was just a fraction of the many items.  I have seen lists with over 6,000 items on them.  Even if you find an item that used zero oil in its production, there was still fuel used to bring the parts together or to ship it to its destination.

Remember that I said an estimated 2/3 of oil is used for fuel, including the fuel you use to drive your vehicle.  It is also used to power the ships, planes, trains and trucks that deliver goods all over the world.

There are places in the world right now where a gallon of gas costs $7.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much in my gas budget.  That means if prices ever get that high here, the money will have to come from something else.


What Can We Do?

I think the best thing we can do is pay attention and be thinking about it.  Be conscious of the electronics that are left on 24/7 and how much power they soak up.  As gas prices rise it may be prudent to look for car pool opportunities to get to work.  I know MNDOT has initiatives to put car poolers together and your state may as well.

What other ideas do you have on things we can do to prepare for rising energy costs?


If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!

The Five Basic Human Needs

There is a lot of talk about “preparing for economic downfall” or “getting ready for an EMP or solar flare” or “societal meltdown”. The problem with preparing for specific events is that the events you’re preparing for might never happen, or if it does, it could happen differently than you expect.

It doesn’t matter what part of the world you live in, how old you are or even how much money you make, there are five basic things that every human needs to live, let alone survive. If you prepare for meeting these five basic needs, you will have a higher level of overall preparedness and ability to face a variety of situations.

Whether you’re preparing for your entire family or just making a new BOB (Bug Out Bag) or car kit, you should work toward meeting these five basic needs first. Once they’re met, if you want to add in specialty preparations for a specific type of event, more power to you.


I covered The Storage, Filtration And Purification Of Water pretty thoroughly in that article. Here I will just say that people need one gallon a day to drink, more if you want to bathe. Water is so much more important than food. The Rule of Three’s says we can last three weeks without food, but only three days without water. Having some stored is great, but I highly recommend you find a way to purify water that works for you. Boiling will kill any bacteria but will not remove chemicals such as arsenic or chlorine. For that you need a water purifier. I own and reviewed a Big Berkey. The Storage, Filtration And Purification Of Water lists many other ways to purify and filter water.


There are many ways to approach food, from using Copy Canning to build your pantry with the “eat what you store, store what you eat” foods that your family eats most often, to storing staple foods with a 25+ year shelf life or planning long term with gardening and Permaculture and many things in between.

Water might be the most important, but food is the insurance policy that ensures your self-reliance and independence. In a survival situation the more food you have stored, or available in your land, the less of a drain you are on the system and the longer you can go without taking a handout.

I have covered food storage in depth in the articles linked below:

Food Storage Part One: Why Store Food And The Rules For It.
Food Storage Part Two: The Kind Of Foods That You Can Store
Food Storage Part Three: Shelf Life of Staples.
Food Storage Part Four: The Process and Enemies of Food Storage.
Food Storage Part Five: How much food should you store and where should you put it all?
Food Storage Part Six: Tips On Stocking Up and Affording it all.
Food Storage Part Seven: Food Boredom to Survival Cooking .


The importance of shelter depends on your situation. Of course, if you’re lost in the wilderness and it’s raining, it takes on more importance. For most of us however, our shelter is our home. There are things you can do now to protect your home, such as general fire safety, or to harden your home with a safe room.

When you’re in your car, it is effectively your shelter. Having a car kit and AAA are ways to make sure your car can be an effective shelter should the need arise.


This is an area that doesn’t get as much attention as the others, I think mostly because we are so used to always having power, that we take it for granted. You can ensure you can meet your energy needs with a portable generators. A low end unit can cost just a couple hundred bucks. I covered off grid fuels. You can find backup ways to heat and cook for relatively cheap.

If you have no power, it is still possible to keep food cold without electricity. Make note of it now and have a plan just in case.

Energy and shelter often go hand in hand. If your car does become your shelter, or you do get lost in the woods, do you know how to make fire? Do you have a car kit? Do you have a mini kit? I’ll cover fire starting in another article, but knowing how to make fire can be a lifesaving skill; to make heat and a signal for others to see.


I want to start by pointing to an article I wrote on whether or not Christians should practice self-defense for those of you have reservations on the subject. My personal stance is that I pray for my enemy now, but if he attempts to do me or mine harm, I will be a danger to my enemy and will use as much force as is necessary to stop the threat.

The first part of self-defense is situational awareness, Proverbs 27:12 tells us:

“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

Because the danger cannot always be avoided, using the Cooper Color Code we can be ready for a possible threat ahead of time. I suggest everyone one of us decides now what we’re willing to do to protect ourselves and those we love, because you will not have time to make a plan in the midst of violence.

Find a means of protection you are comfortable with and get training in it. If that means carrying pepper spray or training in real world self-defense, fine.

If that means using a current handgun, or getting a new handgun and getting your conceal and carry permit, or just being armed at home, then get training and go for it.

 My Take

No matter where you are or what situation you are in, these needs do not change. Preparing ahead of time and building redundancy for these five needs will help to mitigate many situations.


Our Endangered Electrical Infrastructure

Our Endangered Electrical Infrastructure

Every year hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of people go without power for a variety of reasons. It can sometimes be from storm damage, as was the case in 2003, during the worst blackout in U.S. history; power lines were taken down by trees, which led to a cascading failure. This left an estimated 55 million people without power, as well as an estimated 6 billion dollar business loss. It can also be caused from routine operation of changing out a piece of faulty equipment, which led to a blackout, leaving 7 million people in the dark.

Why is there such a propensity for failure? There are multiple reasons. Much of our electric grid is fifty years old or older, running on parts with a thirty to thirty five year life expectancy. There are power plants that cost millions of dollars to build and no one inside America even builds them anymore. Another reason is, there are interlinked dependencies that no one seems to understand. In both of the blackouts that I linked above, there was a failure that shouldn’t have bled into others, but did.

Another reason is our insatiable appetite for electricity and the things it powers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from an eco-hippie, but there is a ton of juice being used to power “fluff”, even when it is not on. It seems like every year there are rolling brownouts due to supply not meeting demand.

The article U.S. Electric Grid Is Reaching the End Game goes into great detail on the problems of our failing infrastructure. If you’re interested in more information, it is worth the read.
What are the dangers?

As I mentioned above, weather is a cause; in fact it’s probably the biggest cause. I wrote an article on another threat called EMP’s, Solar Flares and CME’s. I explain what these events are and how much of a danger I think they actually are. There are always things getting old and breaking down, as commented on in Recent Blackout Highlights Nation’s Aging Electricity Grid and in Aging Gas Pipes at Risk of Erupting Nationwide.

Another threat I think is very real is from other countries hacking into our grid. China and Russia hack into US power grid This doesn’t have to do with our electrical grid, but most recently Foreign hackers targeted U.S. water plant in apparent malicious cyber attack.
What Can We Do?

We can take responsibility for what we use and how much we use it. I’m not saying unplug everything that isn’t in use, though for some items that might not be a bad idea. Turning off lights that aren’t in use, or turning the PC off if it’s not going to be used for an extended period can’t hurt. Don’t tell me about the hibernate feature; I’m pretty sure the devil invented that right after software user agreements and hold music.

We can also provide some of our own electricity at whatever level we can afford. If that’s a full scale solar panel system, wind turbine or a portable generator to provide off grid electricity, so be it. I can’t afford to do a full scale solar panel system, but I have thought about getting a small panel and battery to learn the ropes and scale up slowly.

If you have any other ideas that we can do, please post them in the comments.

Please click here to vote for Prepared Christian as a top Prepper site!

If you liked this article please think about sharing it on the social media listed below, thanks!

Preparedness Club