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Top Things That Disappear First That You Forgot

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4 comments to Top Things That Disappear First That You Forgot

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    ALERT- some useful information for you guys. I’ve actually used and tested this stuff, some success and some failures for you to enjoy.
    Lighting is always important. The “light sticks” are handy, but they typically only have a year or three of shelf life, and when you actually use them, after the 1st half hour, they lose their best brightness, and are kinda done after about 4 hours.

    I have one kerosene lamp in every room, along with a LONG SPOUT butane lighter (I buy the lighters at Dollar Tree for ONE buck each). I found that the standard, GLASS bottom, home parlour lamps give a little better light than the Dietz (all metal) hurricane LANTERNs, AND, there is ONE BIG problem with the durable, almost unbreakable Dietz Lanterns, is their burner design creates SO much indoor pollution, that after having one burning in my bedroom, living room, for an hour or more, I begin to cough and experience problems from unburned hydrocarbons.

    But the all glass parlour LAMPS, the burner design, is just SLIGHTLY different, but it’s enough to create an almost totally clean burn of the fuel, and I can have 4 of these burning in ONE ROOM without getting congested. (The congestion caused by the DIETZ Hurricane Lanterns, is certainly a MEDICAL problem, even for my HEALTHY Lungs. I have NO breathing problems until I use the Dietz Lanterns indoors for any length of time. (I would like to modify those burners to get the same “clean burn” as the all glass parlour lamps achieve, but it might not be possible to fix this.

    OK, now for the OBVIOUS, SIMPLE, RELIABLE lighting solution?

    Solar Yard Lights!!!!
    Have a few EXTRA still in the box, stored inside the house so you’re not “wearing them out” as they do have a limited life span. The batteries don’t last forever, and the circuitry eventually gets corroded being out in the weather all the time.

    But, those solar yard lights, are BRIGHT, and they recharge EVERY day when you put them OUTSIDE each morning.

    Some solar yard lights, even have an ON-OFF switch on them. Some are like little FLOOD LIGHTS, others are “omni-directional”. I use the “omni” style, as a full room-nite light, or table lamp. The directional flood lights/spot lights, make a great flash light for putting a very bright light, onto your work-area. In a pinch, you could even do a bit of work under the hood of the car at NIGHT with one of these solar spot-lights.

    One important thing about the solar yard lights, is having a couple of extra, NEW, fresh, rechargeable batteries for them, so when a working light stops working because its battery is too old, you can put a new battery into it, and you’re good for another year or three.

    If we go without power for months or years, you’ll be glad you’ve got enough solar yard lights to give you some reliable lighting.

    PS. The Kerosene house lamps, (the clean burning ones), gives off about 1,000 BTU’s of heat as it burns. Last winter, I did a LONG term experiment of heating my bedroom, living room and bathroom ONLY with Kerosene Lamps, and sometimes adding a 10k btu rectangular space heater, and it was a FAILURE. I had to turn on an ELECTRIC space heater (at the 1000 watt setting) in front of the living room chair where I sit.

    The kerosene lamps, did RAISE the room temperature by themselves, from 45F, up to 55F and 65F, but the nights were worse.

    (My night time OUTDOOR temperatures, sometimes went as low as the high 20’s, but here in NW Florida, the nights are often ABOVE freezing. We do get some “cold snaps” that can hit the “teens”, but very rarely does it hit the single digits. Back in Detroit, I am very familiar with single digit winter temps where a couple of those rectangular kerosene heaters can really save your ass.) I do NOT recommend the ROUND Kerosene room heaters BECAUSE they use a flame that is YELLOWISH WHITE Visible flame (and the yellow flame means that it’s producing CARBON MONOXIDE deadly toxic gas.)

    Even though the ROUND heaters produce about 20k BTU’s, it’s a much “dirtier” heat. But the rectangular, 10k BTU heaters, uses a BLUE FLAME (no carbon monoxide gas) and is MUCH cleaner burning for a healthier room (but EVERY unvented kerosene heater, produces pollution that is BAD for you). The ONLY clean kerosene heater, is one that is VENTED to the outside.

    That is why, if you have a wood burning, air tight stove, or electric heaters, or gas furnace, heat pump, etc, you will keep your indoor space free from all the bad pollutants.

    I ran a small electric heater at the 600 watt setting at night in the bedroom, to keep the room at about 45F, and I had a nice, thick sleeping bag opened up on top of the bed as a very nice “comforter”, so I felt great in my warm bed (wearing socks on my feet, and a T-shirt AND hoodie to bed, so I could pull the hood OVER my head to keep me warm at night.

    I also put some cotton “gardening gloves” on my hands to keep them warm from the cold night air. All the “bed clothing”, (just like the OLD days when people wore ‘bed clothes’ and a “nightcap”). These bedcloths are what actually works. They also are needed for winter camping. I keep a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers near my bed.

    My winter experiment, showed me what difficulties I will face during a GRID DOWN situation.

    I bought a 2nd (10k BTU) kerosene heater, and gave it some use to be sure it works, and then I ordered 2 extra WICKS for each of my kerosene heaters. You can keep a wick in better shape, (free from SOME of the “clogging” by sometimes letting it burn all the way out of fuel, and the carbon deposits on the wick will burn itself into a white ash (do this last hour of burning out on the patio, it’s stinky-dirty.)

    You may ALSO disassemble your heater, remove the wick, and gently use a hammer (and some kind of hard surface), to gently hammer-pulverize all the crusty deposits from the fiberglass wick.

    You can make ONE wick, last a lot longer than you might think.

    Kerosene contains about 120k or 130k BTU’s of “heat” PER GALLON. So, on the HIGH setting, my 10k BTU heater, will consume a gallon every 12 hours.

    Even with 50 gallons of kerosene out in my storage shed, it’s not enough to heat the house all day all night and operate the kerosene lamps too.

    I would have to use the heaters carefully, and shut them down as much as possible.

    A typical kerosene table lamp, (7/8″ wick= up to 12 or 14 “candle power”), these glass table lamps, hold ONE QUART of fuel, and will “burn” between 30-50 hours per quart. (remember to always convert how many BTU’s are in a gallon or quart, and if your lamp gives off 1,000 BTU’s then your lamp will burn through a gallon of fuel in about 120 or 130 HOURS of ‘run time’.

    Helpful Tip. Kerosene lamps & lanterns, the wick needs to be “trimmed” (cut off the carbonized-crusty edge), for about every 8-10 hours of burning time. Trimming removes about 1/4″ of material.

    Buy the LONGEST ROLL of “replacement wick” material, and CUT it into sections about 2 feet long, (or longer if you can “coil it” into the reservoir of your lamp/lantern.)

    That’s because, when the wick gets TOO short to reach down into the fuel, there will still be about 3 inches of wick that is stuck between the flame area and the air space over the fuel.

    Yes, you’ll LOSE about 3″ of every wick. (those “pre-cut” pieces are 8″ long, so you only get to consume about 5″ of it.)

    THAT’s why you buy a BIG ROLL, and cut a LONG long piece. You’ll get to consume ALL but the last few inches, instead of throwing away 3″ from every 8″ piece.

    Wick suppliers? (I just “googled” this to give you some ideas)

    SAVE your left over pieces, because you can use a simple “paper stapler” (yes, and office stapler-Swingline, etc) and OVERLAP about an INCH of 2 left-overs, and staple them together. You’ll end up with a SPLICED wick about 5 or 6 inches long so you can burn through about 2 inches of useable wick before you can do another “splice” of what remains until you finally have to either throw it away, or cut it into lengths and make some short, fat candle with it.

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    PS. When you burn ANY liquid or gaseous fuel (gas stove, kerosene heaters or lamps), propane space heater (unvented), etc, these will add some HUMIDITY to the room. I do NOT know the numbers, you can google it.

    Oh, here’s a “TIP” that saves me some “heating & cooling”. MY glass windows are OLD, SINGLE PANE windows, and transmit TOO much heat or cold (depending on the season).

    So, I went to Lowes (HomeDepot, etc) and bought a few of the big, FOAM BOARD insulation (1″ thick, the R7 stuff with the reflective foil-paper surface), then I measured my windows, and CUT the foam board just the right size to lay on the inside window-sill, up against the window. (indoor shutters, eh?)

    I did have to use some tape (I loved the metal aluminum 3″ tape), and had to add a few inches of foam board onto the longest dimension. Then, as I started the first application, I had to use a box cutter, to trim the indoor shutters, from any excess material that was too wide. These work GREAT. I stuck a piece of normal DUCT TAPE (cloth backed), to ONE side of each foam board, with some tape hanging off the edge, as a PULL TAB to make it easy to (gently) pull the “shutter” away from the window when the time is right.

    These simple, indoor-insulation shutters, helps the house to hold an extra 10F or more.

    In the cold winter nights, I put up the shutters and the house does not lose so much warmth so fast. So instead of dropping down to +40F at night, these shutters kept the room at about +50F (not sure what the outside temps were on those nights….sorry.)

    In the HOT summer months,when it’s +90F to +100F, I put up my insulation shutters to keep the heat OUT of the house.

    I found that I can keep the entire 1000 square foot home, pretty decent (outdoors @ 90F to 95F) at about 78F to 80F near the window A/C unit, and with ceiling fans (on low), and one floor fan blowing the cool air toward the farthest bedroom (stays about 82F-86F), I am doing all this with just 8,000 BTU window air conditioner.

    Remember, this is NW-FLORIDA, it gets hot and humid every year. My neighbor was SHOCKED at how decent my home felt on the hottest days with such a small system (but not good enough for somebody with asthma who needs to keep their homes below 76F to breath well.)

    If I were to add another 5000 BTU window unit at the opposite end of the house, it would be even cooler.

    I have a covered patio on back of the house (tin roof), it used to be an OVEN out there, so I bought more of those 1″ foam boards, and bonded them (caulking adhesive) up to the underside of the exposed tin roofing in between each “roof rafter”, and now, my patio does NOT turn into an oven, and feels almost as good as standing under a “shade tree”.
    Yes, the foam insulation makes THAT much of a difference, AND it does NOT give any place for SPIDERS or bugs to make a nest in it (such as they ALWAYS will do inside FIBERGLASS insulation.)

    AND, foam board will NOT hold moisture or humidity (big problem for fiberglass batts.)

    Why is this patio tip important for me? Because I can convert it into a GROW room-green house in the winter, by putting up some plastic sheeting around it during the winter!!!

    OK, I hope you found something useful.

  • joe

    As always, your posts are full of good info and provide much food for thought- thanks!

    • Desert Fox

      It takes a lot of effort to compile/compose that much information and while I don’t catch all of Craig’s posts, it always seems like their are some hidden gems in there.
      Thanks Craig!
      Godspeed to ya.
      DF out…………..

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