7 Equipment Ideas For Home Without Power


Guest post: by Ted K.

Long ago and far away, I lived without electricity for several years. Water quality was also questionable at times so I had to be aware of my treatment system at all times. Since this was many years ago, much has changed in way of equipment. Here are my ideas regarding equipment and upgrades for a home without power and water supply of questionable quality:


(1) All portable lights should share a common battery type. such as AA or AAA and hopefully they will be mostly LED lighting. I like to provision out one LED headlamp per responsible adult and a back-up LED flashlight on their person. LED lamps will shine for so long, it is a huge improvement over the flashlights of yore. A headlamp makes it easier to wash dishes at night. About the only time a headlamp might be a bad idea is if you are hunting a critter that shoots back at night. (think tactical) Anyway, it is nice to be able to use BOTH hands sometimes. An LED lantern would be good too.

(2) In a well ventilated home, I have opted for propane over the years. If a white gas stove and lantern is purchased, It has to be used and serviced periodically in order to maintain the integrity of the seals. The years I lived off grid found me purchasing either a repair kit annually or a new stove/lantern. When you use it everyday, the liquid fuel just seems to wear things out faster. Those years saw me switch almost exclusively to using propane and propane appliances. Be sure to keep plenty of lantern mantles on hand as well.

(3) My sierra cups have been replaced by insulated mugs over 20 years ago. This former woodsman got sick and tired of burning his lips on hot metal long ago. They do make insulated mugs out of metal, you just have to look. I found a good one at Eddy Baur travel section the other day.

(4) Whether you burn wood, charcoal, propane or white gas, keep a set of work gloves on hand to protect your hands from heat, slivers the occasional nasty bug the might be hiding in the firewood.

(5) Diamond sharpening stones to sharpen your knives. They are lighter, they work well and they seem to last a long time. Over the years, I believe I lost more of these to theft than to wearing out.

(6) A good supply of metal cookwear including metal pails in which to haul away hot ashes, embers. The Ultimate water treatment almost always involves boiling it for a full minute at sea level. (longer at high altitude) I boiled my water for several months until my paychecks started rolling in. I survived. Just remember that filters can clog, filters can break and the filter element must be protected from freezing. (frozen and thawed filters do not work very well if at all) The funnel with a coffee filter works well to prefilter your water. Ultrafine sediments must be allowed to settle out.

(7) A gallon of plain bleach (clorox) can be a wonderful thing to have in the off grid home. Especially if your water supply is questionable. You may have noticed that many of the items I just mentioned can be found at your local hardware store, grocery store or kitchen shop. Camping stores are like an adult version of Toys R Us for recreational campers. The items are expensive and frequently do not work well. Before you go to the sporting goods outlets, go to the local farm supply, hardware store or grocery store to see what is available. It is not very sexy but the stuff will work.


Ken adds: Here are a few items that Ted spoke about above, which may give you ideas to be better prepared.

Best Headlamp

Coleman 2-Burner Propane Stove

Stainless Steel double wall insulated mug

Mr. Heater Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater

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  1. Great post by a guy that has “been there, done that.” Really liked this one. MSB does a good job (thanks Ken) of presenting low cost solutions that stand the test of time, in addition to some of the more expensive ones. Albeit the low cost may require a little bit of elbow grease.

    If you read some of the other blogs out there, you end up thinking you need to sell your house along with your firstborn in order to have enough cash to be prepared…i.e. you are directed to the highest tech, highest cost solutions regardless of low cost alternatives.

    I prefer the simple, low tech, low cost solution nearly every time (paracord, duct tape, chlorox)…they allow you to be prepared in more areas (low cost) with a higher percentage of success (low tech typically [not always – e.g. LED lighting] leaves less parts to fail/malfunction). Ted K. gave a great example of water filtering with a funnel, coffee filter and boiling as opposed to the latest and greatest $400 Stainless Steel Water Filter System. Also good to know how much bleach to add per quart/gallon of water, too much won’t kill the bugs, too much will give you other problems.

  2. Every fall Walmart sells off their cheapo path lights. These are solar charged with a rechargeable AA battery and a single LED. Here is what you can do: First cut the connection to the sensor that turns the light on when it gets dark so the light doesn’t drain your battery. Then get a better quality AA battery, the one sold with the light is less then half the capacity of a good one. Now you have a solar charger for about $3.

    Second buy a LED camp lantern or flashlight that uses AA batteries and now you have a complete system: a solar charger and a light source for cheap bucks.

    I use this when I go camping with my motorhome. Obviously I have batteries and lights in the motor home but I prefer to use them to power my laptop. In a grid down situation it would give you light at home to work, read, prepare meals, etc.

  3. Wow, I never knew that my original blog would draw interest. Howdy all you out there.
    This was written to your blog after reading about the difficulties to restore power to the people living back east after a major storm moved through their state (I believe it was CT.) It was sad to read about. It was sad because if one is prepared, these instances can be turned into a minor inconvenience rather than an emergency.
    To: US Citizen: I believe the ratio of clorox bleach to water was one teaspoon to one gallon of water to obtain a drinkable solution. It still tasted mildly like bleach but it is the solution I used to rinse my salad in prior to ingestion everyday for several years. I am still here though one could argue whether or not I am “normal”.
    My wife is a survivor of a large earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay Area. (Loma Prieta back in 1980s) She still gets a little freaked out when the power goes out. Her coping mechanism was to grab every flashlight and radio she could get and pile it on the kitchen table. My own reaction is only slightly less neurotic in that I grab a can of something for dinner, a weapon of some type, a wind-up radio and a headlamp. During my last earthquake, (San Simeon mid 2000s) I walked my dog around our block and we checked in on our neighbors prior to sunset to make sure everybody was alright.
    Years later we laugh about these times. We are able to because we had enough of what we needed to get by. Our neighbors also remember us reaching out to them and we reciprocate with each other over the years. Now that I have “settled down”, It would be tough for me and my wife to “bug out” rather now I think I am part of the “Bug in crowd”.

  4. Guys I tell you one thing. I am living in Szczecin Poland. An avarage city with 500000 inhabitants. Few years ago there was a major fault in power supply which lasted for 3 days. A complete chaos, petrol, no money, no shopping. In three days there was apanic on the streets. It is not a joke. Imagine the ATM is not working and you have 50 bucks. Shops closed because all cashiers are non operational. Petrol no power supply to pump fuel. Get ready folks and always have stores full.

  5. I’d recommend that everyone take the time and either learn how to make 1) an Everything Nice stove for indoor use and 2) make a outdoors rocket stove from fire bricks. Otherwise one can purchase similar items if not gifted with basic tools and skills.

    An Everything Nice stove is an inexpensive stove that works on yeard waste gassification. You can make one for about ten dollars at most. It doesn’t burn the yard waste, it causes the material to give off a flammable gas which is then burned. One of your advertisers makes something similar. The Everything Nice stove can be burned inside as it produces minimal carbon monoxide. If you had one, then you could have a heat source inside as well as a way of heating up food or boiling water.

    a rocket stove isn’t save for indoor use. One can make such a stove from discarded cans. It burns a minimal amount of twigs, something that’s very critical in your neighborhood as a disaster lasts even a month. Think, if everyone in your neighborhood is burning wood, then suddenly all of the dead wood or seasoned wood will be used up quickly.

    Because many folks used brushed in sand into the crevices of brick for patios, then a prepper could demonstrate how to build a rudimentary rocket stove, and then by everyone using them outdoors, much more dead wood would be available for everyone.

    As you gather up that wood, it will become more and more scarce, and you’d otherwise be forced to walk further and further with your garden cart to acquire it.

    Having taught folks something so basic, then one could be seen as someone with ancestral skills, and then also do things like organize well digging, church services, medical assistance, common gardening areas, burial plots, etc.

    For those of you with the old Coleman fuel stoves, do some routine maintenance and see if the pump works on them. The pump is made from a cylinder made from leather. When that dries out, it won’t pump or maintain pressure very well. All you need to do is disassemble it, wet it down with some oil and rub it in, and then it will pump better. Having a maintenance kit is really important on such an important piece of equipment.

    Long term, if a disaster goes on, then there won’t be any yard waste to burn. That’s why a solar oven is so important. Since the seventies, aid workers in 3rd world nations have worked in deforested regions to get people to use solar ovens instead.

    Because most people won’t have them, you can cobble together something that will work. Even an old tire with a sheet of glass over it will do in a pinch, as will rolling up a solar car windshield reflector, though these are not as efficient.

    By that time, many people in your neighborhood will have died from lack of supplies, not listening to advice, or any number of things. Still, we as preppers can help mitigate some of the effects of disasters.

    If it’s happening in multiple locations, then you really are on your own. If it’s happening country-wide, then we can expect serious casualties even from a several week collapse.

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