I see A LOT of people (read more than I can count on my toes and fingers) stocking up on 1lb propane bottles. Ask yourself some questions….
Why exactly whould you stock up on propane this way? Why would using a 20lb tank be a problem? Do you plan to grab your stove and run like mad with it on a regular basis? Do you think it will be more portable? If so how will you carry 10-20 bottles?
Either way you should have just one to two 1lb bottles with you if you need to move quickly without a vehicle, you can’t carry 20 bottles with you or one 20lb bottle. And if you do have a vehice loading one tank vs several armfuls is much easier. Once I set my stove up I don’t move it, same mostly for my lanterns. I doubt most people holed up in their BOL will be dismantling their equipment often. If you’re moving lanterns around inside often then it’s a good sign that you need to buy a couple more, with the exception of one “walking lantern” (a LED Cranklight usually work better btw).
Stockpiling 1lb bottles is a bit silly to be honest. If you plan to use it for lanterns or need some propane for your BOB then buy a couple of bottles and a simple 1lb Propane Tank Refill Adapter. Buying in bulk saves your money for other preps, propane is no exception.You can get a 1lb to 20lb Propane Hose Adapter for about $20, and the 20lb tanks are $19 for a refill and $45 for an extra tank at Home Depot. At the average $3 for 1 lb it will cost $60 to buy the same amount in 1lb bottles, not to mention all the extra space 20 bottles will take up vs one tank and a 6ft hose.
Smarter, not harder!
Are you heating with wood? How much wood do you need to get through a winter? That depends on the size of the building, how well insulated, where you live and how efficient your stove is. Your typical family of four in a 1,500 sq ft house would use about five cords of wood per year for heating and another four or five cords for cooking, heating water, and other uses. These of course are just averages, you should try it yourself and make sure your family doesn’t use extra. A cord is 4′ by 4′ by 8′, which is 128 cubic feet. And it is to be tightly stacked, meaning a chipmunk can get through, but probably not a squirrel, and certainly not a cat. It take two “average” trees to get a cord. Whether it’s newly cut or aged does not matter. If it’s a full cord of wood when you cut, split, and stack it, it will still be a cord a year later, after it has seasoned.
Cheap $100 wood stoves are for the birds. Get a good airtight stove such as a US Stove Cast Iron Logwood Stove. Buy the better thicker pipe, buy the cleaning rods and brush. Also don’t forget a Magic Heat Reclaimer, it Installs right into the flue and consists of 10 heat-exchanger tubes and a thermostatically controlled fan to blow warmed air into the room. You can save cords of wood just by instaling this one simple device. The fan can be off-grid powered with the rest of your home or a solar panel can be hooked up to it. It even works fairly well without power at all
If you have a chimney fire how do you put it out? There is a couple of ways you can set up a chimney cab that slams shuts on the top. This cuts off the vent and air or another way is they sell a item that looks like a road flare you can toss in your wood stove that is suppose to put it out. I have not had to test either as I clean my pipes and chimney every year. Also I don’t burn pine or fir or cedar. If you do burn soft resinous wood like pine I recommend you clean your chimney once a month.
Another safely precaution is a metal roof it might just save your house from burning to the ground if you ever do have a chimney fire. If you have never had a chimney fire they say it sounds like a tornado shooting up the chimney and flames shooting straight up 4-5 feet or more. Normally they happen in the coldest nasty weather because people really fire up the stove then. Might just ruin your whole winter to watch your retreat burn to the ground. Hopefully you didn’t forget the smoke and CO2 detectors and everyone made it out safe. Be careful wood stoves can be dangerous.
Get a good chain saw like a Husqvarna 450. They are good on gas not too heavy and very reliable. Make sure you stock up on extra chains, spare bar, spark plugs, pull cord, sharpening files (at least 6), and air filters. Maybe a spare electronic ignition as well. You will need about 5 gallons of chain and bar oil, or in an emergency you can use used motor oil. 10 gallons of gas per year and enough 2 cycle mixing oil for the gas. Now how are you going to haul the wood back to the cabin? A 2 wheel cart is one way and sure beats carrying it.
You’ll also need a good splitting maul such as a Truper Rapid Maul. Make sure you buy one with a fiberglass or steel handle. You are going to need safety goggles and plenty of leather work gloves too. Cutting down standing trees is dangerous if you never handled a chain saw before it might be a good idea to go out with a trusted friend and have him teach you the safe use of dropping trees and chain saw use.
An apartment size propane cookstove with a small oven is very efficient. Normal everyday usage is from 2 to 5 gallons a month. Now this is not a camp stove but a regular looking small apartment size propane kitchen stove. These small LP ranges are available in both 20″ and 24″ widths. Five gallons of propane is commonly called a 20 pound cylinder and are used on gas grills. They are avaliable at most any store or gas station and a single tank can last 4 months. You can get two 25 gallon cylinders (100 pound) and hook up with automatic switch over when the first tank is empty it switches to the full tank. Hook these up to a propane stove and you have one year supply of cooking for a family of four. This is just an estimate – as with everything survival your results may vary and you should test everything before your life depends on it.
Ooh yeah…in case you were wondering if this is a real tip, when Les Stroud (a.k.a. Survivorman) isn’t 5 days out in the woods eating grubs and spiders he uses one in his off grid log cabin to cook his food. Seriously.