200 Million Plus Impacted By Artic Cold. How You Can Survive a Deep-Freeze On Any Budget

by Survive The Coming Collapse



           This 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.

          Over 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 in mind. 

           (David’s 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 going.)

Before we move on to the list, it bears mentioning that Ion hit parts of the country that rarely receives winter temperatures.

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 for $14.00.

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 than $20.


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.

Wood Heat

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 with wood.

Propane 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 scale.

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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