Category: The Basics

So you are in the same spot that I am in: you live in an apartment no porch or balcony, you don’t have the extra 40-50 bucks for a propane camping grill/burner but you want to be able to cook indoors in case of emergency well I have one potential answer for you.

I started off with an empty quart paint can (purchased a new one for 1.50$ at a paint store) I took that quart can and filled that with cotton balls (Dollar store!!!). Then I filled the can with denatured alcohol, you can purchase this at the same paint store that you got the quart can I got mine for about 16 bucks.

I then took a large coffee can and once it was emptied I drilled holes around the bottom and around the top for ventilation, then you just take the lid off of your quart can place it into your coffee can and light it up.

You can see that you get a good flame and the holes in the coffee keep the flame fed with oxygen once the pot in on top

The coffee can works as your support

And is strong enough to hold a good sized pot filled with liquid

Once you are done just plop the quart can lid back on to put out the flame and seal back up **Be careful with this step the can will be HOT**

This is a great way to cook indoors with little to no fumes or smoke.

Keep up the good work



candle (Photo credit: jamingray)

You are a prepared person; you have flashlights, and Coleman lanterns, oil lamps, glow sticks and candles. But what do you do if the power goes out and stays out, your batteries run down, your fuel runs out and the last dribble of wax has run from your candles…now what do you do?

I thought it would be fun to cover some “old school” and not so “old school” ways to light up your night or otherwise deal with the darkness.

First off go to bed. That is right our ancestors would get up and go to sleep with that giant lights source in the sky. The less time you spend in the dark, the fewer resources you use trying to keep the room lit at night.

Make your own candles: Of course to make a wax candle you are going to need wax, the most commonly known source of wax is bees. Finding a beehive and extracting the wax is a tricky and potentially dangerous proposition, but it can be done.

A much more practical way of making candles would be tallow. Tallow is the product of rendering (slow melting) animal fat for several hours, the impurities will rise to the top and should be skimmed off, what remains is tallow. You can fill pint mason jars with your tallow and use a cotton wick, wait for your tallow to harden and you have a candle. Tallow will produce considerably more soot that modern candles, but all in all it is a source of light.

Make your own oil lamps: Once the lamp oil has run out you can use olive oil in your hurricane lamp if you like or you can make your own lamp by filling a small bowl or mason jar with olive oil and soaking your wick then light it up. If you are using a mason jar simply put a hole the size of your wick into the top, make sure it is long enough to run all the way to the bottom of the container and light it up. I have found that using an open bowl with the wick laying in the oil and coming off one side for the flame is the best way to use olive oil. In fact you can pretty much use any type of oil, corn, canola, and even lard and tallow will work with the small bowl method.

You can use hand cranked flashlights and the like, but let’s be honest having to crank that thing up every 10-15 minuets. How about using those solar powered path lights that you can get at your local box store? Just take off of the built in stake and hang from the ceiling, put outside during that day and POOF instant renewable light source.

Of course if you have a fire place you have a built in source for cooking heating and for light.


So there you have it some ideas for when the lights go out and stay out.



SAN DIEGO (June 15, 2007) - Sailors take turns...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can read lots of prepper sites, and there is a lot of great information out there, but by in large there is one topic that is not addressed. This is the topic that haunts my life, the one that sneaks up in the middle for the night and rears its ugly head with fears and night sweats! What is this topic that people refuse to mention, what is this prep that strikes fear into the hearts of couch potatoes everywhere?


I want to be as honest as possible in this blog of mine because I believe that only by being honest with you will I be able to affect change in you the reader and in me the writer. I am 6’2” and I currently weight 310 lbs, I have been fit in my life before, but currently I am the most out of shape I have been in my 42.5 years. I am they guy that when I tell people my weight they are shocked telling me that I carry it well, I am a “big guy” but that doesn’t change the fact that I am FAT and at least 80 lbs overweight. The reasons for this is a 40 hour a week desk job, being a single father and plain old laziness the latter being the biggest reason of all. I tell you this so that you know where I am coming from, so that you can know that I know what I am talking about when I say I know how hard it is going to be in the weeks and months ahead. I am putting forth a challenge to myself and I am hoping to challenge those of you that need to be challenged also.

So as of today I am making the decision to get into better shape than I am in now. Am I going to ever run a marathon or compete in the iron man? No. But I want to be able to do the things that could be required of me, I want my knees to not hurt I want to be able to keep up with my son. I would like to be able to get my body back to the point where I could walk 15 miles and not be in agony to do it. Being a prepper I know that there is a time coming that I will need my body to work right, for my engine to fire on all pistons. What if there was an earthquake and I needed to haul water the mile or so from the river by hand? What if there was a situation where I would need to carry my son along with my backpack and travel miles upon mile on foot, or I might need to spend the day chopping wood so that I can heat my home.

So what is the game plan? Well I am going to start tonight, tonight I am starting with stretching (I have lost a TON of flexibility in the last 5 years) 20 sit ups, and 20 minutes of stair stepping up. I know this is not the fitness regime that will peal the weight off of my body at the swiftness rate but it is a start!

So I am starting what are you going to do? Truly I would like to know…..

Yours in Honesty


The Basics # 4

English: Flash flood Heavy rain caused a flash...

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The Mindset: Ok maybe this should have been number one on the list of the basics, chalk it up to poor bloggers planning, but this is actually a critical component to your prepping. So what am I talking about what is this prepping mentality of which you speak?

Well dear reader it is a way of looking at life and situations and putting a plan in place BEFORE you are up a creek and find yourself with no means of propulsion.

Let’s say that there is an emergency, we will call this one a flash flood, you are at work your spouse is shopping and your teenage son just got out of high school. Your problem is that 2 of you can’t get home because of the flash flood, and to make matters worse the cell phones are jammed due to all the people trying to contact each other.  If you had a prepper mindset you would know that your spouse and child l know to meet up at your brothers home if anything happens, you also know that each of them has with them a couple of granola bars and at least 1 large water bottle each.

Maybe it is not even that extreme, maybe you and your teenage son went for a nice long parent child wilderness hike, you are a bit out of shape and you got caught out of doors off trail and it is starting to get dark. Since you are a prepper you have a small backpack with some food, water, an emergency blanket, flashlights, and at least 2 people know where you are and also know that it has been 45 min since you were supposed to check in and at this moment they are calling the local authorities to report what is happening.

The prepper mindset can even be simpler than that, the Kroger’s in your area is running a special, and 10 selected items for 10 dollars. You’re a Prepper and better yet you are a cheap prepper you go down and snap up 30 dollars worth of beans and soups for your pantry and save a bundle on your grocery bill for the next month.

Hopefully you are picking up what I am putting down. The prepper mindset like insurance, it is no good to you unless you have it BEFORE something happens to you. What things can you do to make sure that you are prepared for things that might occur to you and your family?

So now you have what I consider the basics, there is lots more but this is the core of it, the germ from which your mighty oak tree of readiness will grow.

Don’t stress out just keep up the little steps they are adding up.

Besides disrupting transportation, heavy ice a...

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The Stuff: This is a broad category and I am not going to list everything that you might need, I want to stimulate you into thinking about what stuff YOU need.   

So let’s say it is winter, an ice storm has ripped down the power lines to your home your power is going to be off for a few days at least what might you need?

Well first and foremost we know that we already have a weeks worth’s of water and food, but what might we need beyond that? Candles, extra blankets, some way to cook your food if your range is an electric, a heater, some entertainment, how about a battery powered radio, flashlights, fresh batteries, or toilet paper. The lists can go on and on the main thought here is take a few minutes and think about what might happen if you lost power for a few days?

What about your vehicle? When was the last time you looked to see if your spare had enough air pressure, is it a full sized or the factory doughnut, do you have a jack to change that tire, do you know how to change that tire, how about a working flashlight, or flares?

Here is where my friends usually tell me that I am going overboard and that I can’t prepare for everything that might happen to me. I agree with them, I can’t possible have everything that I might need for everything that might happen to me. But I can have a good supply of general things that can take me a LONG way toward getting thought those emergencies/rough situations that might occur.

So Jeff, you say, your blog is Poor Man’s Prepper, but you’re sending me off with a list of stuff to buy, what’s up with that???

Well I shop on the cheap, Goodwill, Salvation Army, garage sales, Craig’s List, The Dollar Store are all great places to start picking up stuff on the cheap, oh and by the way don’t forget YOUR garage, closet and other forgotten areas. Most people have a good stock of emergency stuff placed all over their home, but do you know exactly where? Get in there find it dust it off make sure it works and keep Prepping!!!


Food: What food do you want to store? Well the easiest answer to that question is what food do you eat now?

A great motto is to “store what you eat and eat what you store.” We are still working on at least a 1 week supply, just like we did for our water. The way I started was by purchasing an extra can of this and an extra bag of that each time I went shopping, in no time I have enough stock built up for breakfast lunch and dinner for a week.

I started out with canned and dry goods, just to make it simple for myself. Spaghetti sauce, pasta, oatmeal, boxes of breakfast cereals, rice a roni, canned tuna, and spaghetti o’s are a few examples of what I picked up.

I live in an apartment with limited space so I converted a downstairs coat closet into a pantry by adding some shelving. This is where organization pays off, newest product to the back of the shelves oldest to the front, keep rotating your stock and replacing what you use.

I will cover in later posts larger quantities of food and their storage; this is just to get that first week’s worth of supplies under your belt.

Prepping is a commitment to making lots of little changes over a period of time, building as you go! You’re doing great! Keep it up.

The Basics # 1

Old system for soda water

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Water: Most people will die after 3 days without water, and that water from your tap can become contaminated and undrinkable or even just stop flowing.

Fortunately for us not only is water your most important thing to have it is also the easiest to get and store.

How much water? Well the U.S. government recommends a 3 day supply of 1 gallon of water per person per day. We are going to start out building a 1 week supply. So for me there is myself and my son so that is 14 gallons of water. There are 3.78 liters to a gallon and I use 2 liter soda bottles so that means that I need 14 gallons = 53 liters divided by 2 = 27 soda bottles. I don’t drink soda so I asked friends and family to save their bottles and in no time I had the container that I needed washed out with hot water and soap.

Most water in most municipalities is treated and is safe to store straight from the tap. So me and my son filled up the soda bottles and capped them off and stored them in a dark closet. You of course don’t have to use soda bottles you could buy gallon jugs of water from your grocery store, or if you have a water service you could just get extra 5 gallon bottles and store them.

Will my water go bad?

In a word no, if you keep it out of the light and don’t see any green stuff growing then you are fine. Water will taste flat, after being stored for any period of time really all you need to do is pour it from one container into another container making sure you get lots of agitation to oxygenate that water.       Some people like to refill their water every year or so, this is fine if you want to just date your bottles and refill every year.

So pat yourself on the back now that you are done with step 1 you are more prepared than 95% of the United States! Woooo Hooooo!!!