Aug 312021

Forty plus years of camping, ten plus years of scout campouts, and five plus years of research into off grid homesteading are paying off right now.  Hurricane Ida left a lot of friends and family in unstable situations and it could take weeks or months to get reliable power and water restored.  More than 10% of the world population lives without it, but they already know how.

Here are some ideas and resources.  This is a quick list, not organized, and you are responsible for safety.  I am just trying to give you quick solutions and speed up your research.  I am trying to get you to think about what you have in your junk pile.  I will update it as I think of things, and suggestions are welcomed.



Even coming from the tap, it may be contaminated.  If a sewer line breaks and contaminates the soil, and a water line cracks and lets that in, you get sick.  If a water line breaks upstream, it lets germs into the pipes.  You cannot trust that every pipe between you and the pumping station is intact and not cracked by the flood waters.  They have not had time to check the whole system.

If you have a well, consider your proximity to the buried sewer lines.  A broken sewer line can contaminate your well if it is close enough.

Rolling boil for at least 5 minutes!  (See the Rocket Stove)



Car Engine

I have cooked frozen burritos, egg rolls, sandwiches and frozen dinners on top of my engine while driving to the next stop.  Never tried anything fancy, but engines can hit 225 degrees.  Wrap the food well in aluminum foil to keep out fumes, and you have a functional oven in a pinch.

Solar Cardboard Box Oven

I have seen cakes and biscuits cooked with these on scout campouts.  All you need is a cardboard box, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap, and it concentrates the sunshine.  No fire.  This link has several designs.  Find one that uses what you have on hand.

Rocket Stove

Not hard to build, uses very little wood for a lot of heat, and you can use it as easily as the eye on your stove with the right stack of bricks or blocks. Easiest one I have seen just uses three cinder blocks.  Again, look for the one that uses what you have, and use it outside.

Open Fire

Pressure Treated Lumber is TOXIC!  Do not ever cook on pressure treated lumber.

Painted wood is also not a good idea.  You don’t know what kind of fumes you will get.

No open fire inside.


Even if you have a generator, you can do some of this to cut down on the amps and save fuel.  

Try to get a spare car battery.  You can charge it with a vehicle and jumper cables outside when needed, and put it in a safe spot inside to use.  You are responsible for safe handling.  It is full of acid.  Treat it that way. I would recommend keeping it in a plastic tote of some kind when inside.


  • The little solar path lights – charge outside in the day, bring it in at night.
  • Most landscape lighting runs on 12V, even if it plugs into the wall.  That is usually a transformer down to 12V.  Look at the label on the actual light.  You may be able to run it with a car battery.

Air Flow

Stale, stagnant, humid air is dangerous.  You need to keep it moving to cut down on mold, mildew, fungus, bacteria, and all kinds of other nasty stuff.

  • Open the windows
  • Computer Fans run on 12V.  They don’t move much air, but if you have busted computers those can help in cabinets, closets, maybe a bathroom.
  • USB Fans are available at most department stores.  They do a fair job of moving air.  A cell phone charger will run them, either the wall version with a generator or the car version with the battery.  Low amp draw.

Will post more as time and ideas allow.  Share it with anyone needing down and dirty real world solutions right now.