Million Plus Impacted By Artic Cold. How You Can Survive
a Deep-Freeze On Any Budget
Survive The Coming Collapse
blog was written by the people at Survive The Coming
Collapse. We thought there was so much good information
in here we just had to post it.
the weekend and continuing into this week, Winter Storm
Ion brought severe arctic cold to the Eastern half of
the country, impacting over 200 million people. As I’m
sure you’re already aware, this massive storm
led to school closures, road closures, and businesses
being forced to lock their doors to wait it out while
roads remained impassible.
Chicago experienced -50 below temperatures with wind
chill factors figured in, and many locations weren’t
far behind as they tried to cope with below freezing
weather. In some locations, the situation went from
bad to worse when electrical, water and sewer went down,
threatening people’s safety even further.
There may be nothing we can do about Mother Nature’s
extremes, but there is a whole lot we can do to prepare
for them. And in most cases, it can be done with a budget
note: A couple of things here. First, attitude and resilience
go a long ways towards surviving ANY extreme condition.
Second, and this comes from someone who goes outside
without a shirt on to chop wood when it’s single
digits, if you live your life at 72 degrees, life’s
going to be more tough on you when it gets cold or hot
than if you keep your house cooler in the winter and
warmer in the summer. Third, cold is no joke…respect
it, and learn how to get warm in as many conditions
as possible. When I’m solo in the woods in the
cold, I keep a couple of hand warmers with me as a last
resort if I need to thaw out my hands to get a fire
Before we move on to the list, it bears mentioning that
Ion hit parts of the country that rarely receives winter
We’ll start the list with a couple of little-known
but highly effective tips to survive extreme cold temperatures:
Out-Of-The-Box Emergency Solutions
Alaskan’s sometimes double-tent for emergency
situations, both indoors or out, when caught unprepared
in freezing cold temperatures. Simply put a smaller
tent inside a larger tent (or in a room of your house).
This strategy better insulates you from bitter cold.
Candles are used for added heat, but for safety, look
into a candle lantern. Amazon carries UCO single candle
lanterns made to hold 9-hour emergency candles for $12
and a 4-candle model for $35.00. Amazon also sells Coleman
single candle lanterns for $15.88. If you aren’t
interested in making your own long-burning candles (refer
to lighting below), you can buy grosses of long-burning
emergency candles while you’re on the site.
Even with a candle lantern, be VERY careful of both
the fact that your tent may be flammable and that combustion
produces carbon monoxide that can kill or cause brain
damage before you realize it when using it in a small,
enclosed space with limited air exchange. In short,
you MUST have air exchange to safely use a candle or
candle lantern in a tent.
Another solution to combat freezing temperatures is
to pour boiling water to the brim of a Nalgene bottle
(they cost between $6.00 – $8.00)–air in
the bottle can reduce the heating value– and twist
the top tight, then place it at the end of a sleeping
bag or layered bedding. It will keep you warm overnight!
The same principle applies with rubber hot water bottles
that were widely used generations ago.
(David’s note: having been a high altitude backpacking
guide, I took to peeing in a dedicated Nalgene bottle
on cold and stormy nights and keeping the Nalgene bottle
in the sleeping bag with me…if you do it right,
there’s no leakage, smell, or any reason to be
grossed out & for you recyclers out there, it “recycles/reuses”
the heat :)
It’s always a good idea to keep emergency candles
or oil lamps on hand for grid-down. If your budget makes
it difficult to keep enough on hand, check out this
great DIY project to make soy candles for a fraction
of the cost: How
To Make Your Own Long Burning Candles. A 4-ounce
candle should burn for 20 to 25 hours and double that
for an 8-ounce candle. The candle can be placed in a
common mason jar for safety.
For Oil lamps, I haven’t been able to find a better
price than Wal-Mart. A basic oil lamp costs around $8.00
and the lamp oil is reasonably priced as well. Make
sure to buy extra wicks.
As I mentioned, Winter Storm Ion didn’t only take
the grid down in some areas, it also disrupted water
and sewer. The solution to this worst-case scenario
is a camp toilet, which, by the way, are downright cheap.
The Luggable Loo toilet is a basic, no-frills solution
that comes with a snapable seat and cover and lid that
attaches to a 5-gallon bucket. Check out Cabela’s–they’re
$20, where Amazon’s price is $33.50. If you have
any extra 5-gallon buckets lying around, Cabala’s
sells just the seat and lid cover without the bucket
It’s wise to have a large capacity tub for clean-up.
Doing dishes, bathing, or hand washing laundry may not
be possible if your home or apartment experiences sewage
drainage issues in grid-down. Rubber tubs are available
from a smaller 15-gallon size on up to 50 gallons. The
cost ranges from $20.00 to $80.00. The deeper tubs work
best for doing laundry or bathing as it cuts down on
the water sloshing over the side. What I love best about
a rubber tub is they’ll take plenty of abuse without
cracking, even when stored outdoors in freezing weather.
If you really want to spoil yourself and don’t
have a convenient way to heat enough water for bathing,
LL Bean has a portable Zodi Hot Tap Instant Hot Shower
that holds 4 gallons of water and delivers 10 minutes
of hot water. However, it costs $170 and requires propane
and 4 D-cell batteries. For those of us on a budget,
look into solar showers which can be purchased for less
Here’s where we get into a bigger investment,
but many northerners who have been prepping for any
length of time have bit the bullet for alternative heating.
And as weather patterns continue to surprise us, it’s
worth considering alternative heating for those of you
who live in warmer climate zones. The good news is it
doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to accomplish
it. Check below to see if either solution mentioned
might be a solution for your circumstances.
If you live in a cold climate and have procrastinated
getting a wood-burning heat stove, it may be time to
look into one. Used wood stoves are easy to find as
people “upgrade” their homes. This offers
you an opportunity to solve the problem of heating without
breaking the bank. Look to places like craigslist, second-hand
stores and your local newspaper. Always make sure to
double-check local codes for wood-burning heat stoves
for your area, as restrictions may apply with regards
to allowable emissions.
Be careful to install a wood stove to code to avoid
having an insurance claim being denied due to improper
installation. For instance, most newer wood-burning
stoves can be installed 36? from the wall, where an
older stove may need to be installed 48? from a wall
to stay within code. The same code issues apply to venting
and the type of brick or tile that the wood stove sits
on as well as the wall surround.
If you live in a rental, where installing a wood-burning
device may be prohibited, it may still be worthwhile
to set one aside for a long-term emergency. It’s
likely a landlord would be relieved to know the pipes
won’t freeze and the dwelling is still habitable!
If you go with this approach, and plan to install one
later, here’s a list to keep in mind:
Hand tools to install the wood stove, including the
proper manual tools to cut through the roof or wall
Piping and roof kit–to code
Materials for the base and surround–to code
Step-by-step installation instructions for piping, roof
kit & wood stove
There are numerous articles on Survive The Coming Collapse
that addresses wood-burning wood stoves. You can Go
Here for an article on wood heat and cook stoves,
wood storage, and the tools needed for wood gathering.
Ask questions if you have them. Both David and I heat
Propane is an affordable solution for short-term emergencies,
whether you live in the city or in a rural location.
Instead of using small, 1-lb# propane bottles, consider
something similar to what I did, if only on a smaller
Although I have a wood-burning heat and cook stove in
my cabin, I am a big proponent on “an heir and
a spare”. I wanted to have a back-up for times
when gathering wood may be difficult or impossible (illness
and personal safety comes to mind). Large, 300 to 500
gallon propane tanks were WAY too expensive to purchase
outright, even when purchased used. The local propane
company offering free propane tanks to their customers
insisted on monthly deliveries and a minimum usage far
beyond what I planned on using–which was fair–they
have to make money to stay in business. The solution?
Lowes has 100 lb# propane tanks for $119.00 each, and
if you search around, you’ll likely found used
ones even cheaper. The problem was solved by purchasing
several to cover heating and alternative cooking for
short-term emergencies. Notice I said short-term emergencies…living
in North Idaho puts greater demands upon winter heating
and propane is NOT renewable!
The Fire Chef propane camp stove I’d bought years
ago was able to be adapted for the 100 lb# tank with
the purchase of a $20 adapter.
Now, all that was needed was a propane heater, which
I didn’t have.
Instead of going to the expense of a wall propane heater,
I researched for a cheaper solution that didn’t
require an expensive, permanent installation and landed
on the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Propane Heater. It
doesn’t require electricity and is safe for indoor
use (I have no affiliation with them, by the way). The
Big Buddy costs $90 and can be adapted for larger tanks
(20 lb# and 100 lb#) by purchasing the hose and filter
for an additional $42 on Amazon. It will heat 200 square
feet, which means if you have a large group like mine,
everyone will be camped out in the living room until
the wood stove is back in operation, but, hey, it’s
survival! For those who can get by with heating a smaller
100 square feet space, a Little Buddy is available for
$65.00. A 1lb# propane bottle will last approximately
5 1/2 hours, and a 20 lb# tank around 110 hours for
the larger model.
NOTE: when burning wood or propane, a carbon monoxide
detector is a must-have.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva
As always stay safe and prepared out there and remember: Peace through Precision!
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