Showing posts with label light. Show all posts
Showing posts with label light. Show all posts

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Emergency Lighting Sources

How Will You Light Your Space If The Power Goes Out?

When most people think about a way to light their homes in the case of a power outage, flashlights and candles are usually the first things that come to mind. Some people use generators, when possible as well. 

In reality, those aren't bad choices. You should always keep a supply of candles and at least one good flashlight ready and available for emergencies. Don't forget the batteries for that flashlight either, or you might wind up in trouble for sure!

However, there are a lot more options for lighting than just candles and flashlights. Some of those options might work better for you than others will, and that's why we're going to take a look at some of the best options here today.

So read on to see a few of the many different kinds of emergency lighting available to you in times of emergency. It's worth it to have at least one of these on hand as well, for minor incidents where the power goes out during a storm or other small situation.

Oil and Kerosene Lamps

These lamps are fairly easy to get your hands on. I have recently purchased two at our local Wal-Mart, which we used during a camping trip, and it worked wonderfully. Of course, with any lamp you have to make sure you have a supply of fuel on hand, which can make these less than perfect.

In an oil lamp, I've heard that you can use cooking oil in a dire emergency, and it will work for light. I have not tested this myself, but if you have and can comment on the effectiveness, please feel free to comment and let us know.

If you'll be on the move, and have little room to carry both a lamp and the fuel supply it needs, you might want to pass this one over. However, if you're going to be in one place with no plans to leave, it might work well for you.

Solar Lanters

Solar lanterns will cost a little more to start with, but you have to factor in the fact that you will not need an ongoing supply of fuel. If you're on the move, or might not have the opportunity to purchase more fuel, this is a great option. And as long as you have the ability to set it out to recharge, you'll never have to worry about having light.

Another solar option that is often not thought of is the solar garden stake. Most people use these to line garden paths or sidewalks but you can also use them for emergency lighting as well. Simply set them out during the day to charge and then place them throughout the house in vases for lighting at night. Really, any type of solar powered light will work in an emergency situation, so check out all the available options.

Hand Crank Lanterns and Lights

While I don't exactly encourage choosing this option, it is certainly better than nothing is you find yourself without light. There are some that are better than others, and you can read reviews on websites such as Amazon to find out what people think. It can take awhile to crank them up to full power, so be ready to use some elbow grease.

You may have heard these lights touted as working as long as you crank them. However, they do have a battery inside and after a few years of use, it will need to be replaced, no matter how much you crank the handle. 

Emergency Shortening Lantern

If you happen to have something you can use for a wick, such as actual wick material, heavy string or even shoestrings, in some cases, you can place it in a can of shortening for a makeshift lantern. Burning times will vary, based on the composition of the shortening and the wick material, but it definitely works.

You can also use cans of tuna (the kind packed in oil) along with a wick material, in much the same way.

Variety Is The Spice of Life

We've all heard the old saying, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Well, we can use the same idea when it comes to emergency lighting. If possible, be ready to use a variety of different lighting sources, just in case one doesn't work out. 

It is entirely possible that, even with the best planning, you might yourself without batteries, without kerosene or other fuel for your lanterns or an array of other situations. The best bet is to have a series of different lighting sources available at all time, just in case.

Also, the lighting sources mentioned above are only a few of the many options available. If you're looking for something to add to your list of supplies, make sure you do your research. And feel free to comment and let us know what we've missed!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

By: Sebastian Berry


DISCLAIMER: Fire is hot. As such it can burn you. It can also burn down your house. Don't be dumb and burn yourself or burn down your house. Also all pictures and video after this point are credited to the author.

Friends, in my never ending quest for survival skills and knowledge. One of my favorite things to learn and teach about is fire building. There is almost nothing more satisfying in the family survival situation than being able to produce fire. I can only imagine how cavemen felt when they were able to produce and contain fire. I'm pretty certain that if they were to see me as I build and contain fire my emotions and theirs would be pretty similar.

Of course, everyone knows about the importance of fire. The things it can be used for are numerous. Defense, heat, and cooking are my top three reasons and in that order. I won't elaborate heavily on my reasons but generally speaking a fire keeps things that go bump in the night away from you.  In the family survival scenario there is no telling what conditions or climate you may be in, making heat (along with shelter) important. Safe and warm are great things but do you little good if you are not able to prepare any food that you might have. Yes, I understand that a great many things can be eaten uncooked or raw but having a hot meal does wonders for personal comfort and mindset.

Fire needs three things in order to be fire...
  • Heat
  • Oxygen
  • Fuel
If either one of these three things is missing or taken away once a fire is established, the fire dies.

We all know there are many ways to start fire. Matches, lighters, fire strikers, magnesium bars, friction, or simply transporting a smolder from a previous location. In this post I am going to share my favorite family survival fire widget. I love wax dipped strike-anywhere matches.


In videos below you will be able to see the difference between a naked match and dipped matches. The difference in burn time is pretty drastic.
  • Single naked match burn time =   15-30 seconds
  • Single dipped match burn time=  2:30-3+ minutes
Dipping matches provides a couple of enhancements.
  • Waterproofing
  • Extra fuel
The dipping process takes a little bit of practice and a lot more patience.





I like to "soak" the matches in the wax to get a little base layer built up and let them cool. The real secret to dipping matches is to let the wax cool down to the point where it starts to solidify.


The wax as pictured above is almost too cool to dip but still worked well for me. I also have experimented with cotton and toilet paper wrapping with mixed results. I did not test the burn time on cotton wrapped and toilet paper wrapped.





You'll notice that I bundled matches together. This is what I like so much. A single dipped match provides a significantly longer burn time and burn stability as opposed to a naked match. I've found that for actual ease of making a fire, a bundle of four matches dipped together provides an enhanced profile for actually starting a fire.

Pro Tip: the wax must be completely removed down to the wood before striking
Here are the burn time videos: 
Spoiler alert: these are probably boring and you probably will hear my kids and neighbors in the background. I still think they are informative enough to show.

Single undipped match: ~20 second burn time

Single dipped match: ~3:30 burn time

4 match dipped bundle: able to build fire in less than 2 minutes

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. This next video is two parts both are about 1:30 a piece. Total burn time on this mega match was about 12:30. It was 12 matches dipped together.



A few things I didn't mention earlier. I sourced the pot and the candle wax from a local thrift store for a total cost of $2. The strike anywhere matches came in a 3 pack at a local store for just under $5. Total project cost of less than $7 and I have enough survival matches for a while.

What are your favorite ways to start a fire? Let me know in the comments.