These No-Power Appliances Are Designed to “Survive Anything In Comfort and Style”

by | Mar 15, 2016 | Emergency Preparedness, Headline News | 120 comments

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    This article was written and published at Activist

    Editor’s Comment: Going into survival mode doesn’t have to mean desperation and a permanent state of fear and hunger. With the proper investment and preparation, there are many great appliances and tools that are designed to go off-grid, yet provide the best that society has to offer – safe, clear water; cooling; cooking; cleaning; transportation and more.

    If you’ve got the money, you can be ready for anything, without all the sacrifice.

    13 Must Have Homesteading Items to Survive the Apocalypse In Style

    by Activist Post

    Disaster prepping and homesteading have gone mainstream. Because of the growing uncertainty in the world, post-apocalyptic themes seem to be everywhere. The massive popularity of books, movies and TV shows about the zombie apocalypse, disease outbreaks, or economic collapse reflect the growing concerns of millions.  In the real world,  the exploding desire for self-sufficiency gear has inspired the innovation of some awesome products.

    Want to survive a potential Apocalypse in style? Or maybe you just want to have the best tools for your homestead? Either way, here are 13 super cool items that will help you survive anything in comfort and style.

    1. The Groundfridge


    The Groundfridge is a super useful item to have for homesteaders or preppers seeking to survive grid-down scenarios in comfort. It’s basically a prefabricated underground root cellar about 20 times larger than the standard refrigerator. Similar to the root cellars that our grandparents utilized before modern refrigerators came to be, the Groundfridge uses no energy and keeps its interior temperature based on the temperature of the ground surrounding it. Prices start at $9,900. Learn more here.



    2. Deluxe Wine Making Kit

    wine making kit

    Making your own alcoholic beverages is super easy when you have the right equipment. The wine making starter kit by Master Vintner is by far the most comprehensive kit to start making wine, mead, ciders and even beer. The large fermentation carboys allow for homestead-scale production. The kit only costs $145 with free shipping and comes with a 27-minute instructional video seen below.

    3. Golf Cart with Solar Charger


    Once the dust settles from the Apocalypse and the last drop of fuel is gone, you’ll still have transportation with a solar-charged golf cart. This is a perpetual energy vehicle and it is quiet to drive. While others fight over oil and remain stationary, you’ll still be able get around. If you already have an electric golf cart, there are solar charging kits for under $1,000, or you can have a custom off-grid cart made for less than $10K.

    4. Wood Cook Stove

    When the power dies out and the propane dries up, you’re still going to need to cook food.  Most survivors of the Apocalypse will cook every meal over an open fire. You, on the other hand, will have read this article and spoiled yourself by getting a modern wood cook stove.  The designs of these stoves have gotten much better in recent times. They cook evenly and efficiently while also warming the kitchen. You can even find some nice models on Amazon for under $2,600 with free shipping.

    5. Cast Iron Pots and Pans

    If you get a wood cook stove, or even if you don’t, you’re going to want a good set of seasoned cast iron pots and pans. If there’s even the slightest chance that people will be cooking over wood fires, cast iron cookware will be a highly valued tool worth their weight in gold. You can get the kit in the image above on Amazon for only $150 with free shipping.

    6. Greenhouse


    Onsite food production will be a necessity to thrive during the collapse of society. A greenhouse allows you to extend your growing season and control the environment for your most vulnerable crops.  You can buy a fancy climate-controlled greenhouse, a DIY greenhouse kit, or you can build your own greenhouse for around $50.

    7. Sun Oven and Food Dehydrator

    In the spring, summer and fall when it’s too warm to always cook with the wood stove, you can still bake bread, slow roast casseroles, or dehydrate your harvest with a passive solar oven.  The Sun Oven may be extremely valuable if the survival situation is dire and you don’t want to reveal wood smoke during cooking.  Baking temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Under $300 on Amazon with free shipping.

    8. Solar Chest Freezer


    Having a DC-powered chest freezer attached to a solar panel is the ultimate survival treasure chest. The temperature of these freezers can be adjusted so they can serve as a highly efficient refrigerator.  The SunStar Solar Freezers come with 4.5-inch-thick insulation and are designed to work on a variety of off-grid settings. Cost for this set up is much less than the Groundfridge; around $1,600 without the solar panels.

    9. Non-circulating Hydroponics



    Mike Adams of Natural News has developed an innovative self-contained unit for growing a wide variety of vegetables using non-circulating hydroponics which doesn’t need pumps or electricity to grow healthy food. These turnkey systems are affordable at around $99 and several of them can fit on a balcony or porch. Adams also provides full plans and video instructions on how to make these yourself. See more at

    10. Berkey Water Filters

    You should already have an awesome water filter because public water is appallingly bad and feral water isn’t much better. In a survival situation, clean water will be crucial to being healthy and living comfortably. If you’re going to invest in a household filter that doesn’t require electricity, you might as well get the best. Berkey Water Filters come in many sizes from a sport bottle up to community-sized units.  The luxury Crown model costs $357 with free shipping. They get less expensive down the line.

    11. Traditional Archery Gear

    Hunting with a gun during a collapse of society can be dangerous. Gunshots can be heard from miles away. So even if you are in your isolated bug-out location, your gun shots may give you away. Learn archery. Long after the bullets disappear and the compound bows break, traditional archers will thrive. Traditional recurve bows or longbows are a fun part of survival preparations. You can find quality starter bows for around $180 with free shipping.

    12. Foot- or Hand-powered Laundry Washing Machines

    foot pedal washing machine


    No one wants to think about doing laundry without power and running water because it’s too painful to imagine. Luckily, there are two excellent options to avoid scrubbing clothes on washboards in the river with hunched backs.  The pedal-powered Drumi machine above is a brand new design that requires no electricity, has over 3 gallons of water capacity, and cleans up to five pounds of laundry per load. It’s in presales now for $239. The next one is a $50 hand-cranked washing machine that also doesn’t require electricity.

    13. Gerber Apocalypse Survival Knife Kit


    Last but not least on our list of must-have gear to survive the Apocalypse in style is Gerber’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival Knife Kit. Not only is it practical to have a good set of blades and hand tools, this set is also super cool. During an Apocalypse, you might not have to fight off zombies but you’ll likely use sharp blades throughout the day for many tasks.  This kit is $325 with free shipping.

    Whether or not the Apocalypse ever arrives in full, the items above are must-haves for anyone looking to maintain a solid level of preparedness in their day-to-day lives. Even during small-scale disruptions due to natural disasters or economic conditions, acquiring useful tools and the skills to employ them will give you a feeling of confidence to meet whatever challenges might come.

    Do you have a favorite must-have survival item? Please share your advice and help others prepare in the comment section below.

    This article appeared at


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      1. Hard not to notice how specific brands drove this list. Just like money drives everything else…

        • It’s also hard not to notice how such individuals would be primary targets by hungry mobs who are desperate to eat.
          I would invest in some serious firepower to keep those hungry mobs at bay because they’ll need it when they’re coming out with their expensive wine.

          • Great article, like to see more of these on non battery appliances and alternatives. Especially the washer. Apprecated the commenters who gave feedback on the Berkey vs the Aquarious. Great to know before laying out the big bux

        • It’s even harder not to notice how cynical, sarcastic and I’m-oh-so-worldly-wise and so all-knowing people are on this site.

          Maybe these are unique items that no one else makes. Maybe this site has to make money, in contrast to you, who must not have to work. Maybe they are just decent products. Who cares? Do your own diligence, and if you don’t like the article, DONT READ IT>

          • How is one to know if they “don’t like the article” if they don’t read it?

            Is this a discussion section or a circle jerk? are other opinions not tolerated anymore on shtf..?

      2. The archery part is good advice. I got myself a Predator recurve (60 lb.), as a Christmas present from me to me, and it’s great fun. Learning to shoot isn’t that tough, there’s a really good book called “Become the Arrow” by Byron Ferguson.

          • Thanks Mac….I’m still pretty much starting out, but once I got past the idea that I “needed” a bunch of doodads hanging off my bow and embraced the concept of “primitive” archery, I started getting better quick.

            Now I just use a leather pad glued on the bow to rest my arrow on as I let it go. I can hit the 9′ rubber bear at our range a fair amount of the time. It’s a measured 80 yards. Still getting used to the other targets. The turkey is pretty easy, deer getting easier. Once I get past about 50 yards,I tend to miss more, but still getting better. 🙂

        • JV,
          I’ve shot bows forever, from the suction cup toys to compound bows, with all the fancy stuff. I like sights on a bow as it extends your accuracy when you are a once a month practice guy, and want 70 meter kill shots.
          What are your thoughts about recurved crossbows, with scopes?
          I’m old and I find all my iron sights don’t work well without glasses that screw up my far vision( I’m far sighted these days) a scope solves this.
          Since we are talking SHTF here, we can ignore game laws.

          • The compound crossbow I bought was a Barnet Ghost Xbow, $765, 385 FPS; which the faster the arrow bolt flies the less arrow drop and misses, has a nice scope, which I used a 30 Cal Laser bore sight and layed it in the arrow guide and zeroed in the scope within a few inches on a target, and 2 practice finished shots for accuracy. At this speed I don’t see much of an arrow drop 75 yards out ore more. Deer and Turkey come within 10 to 15 yards out my front door, so I don’t really even need a scope but it came with the crossbow.

            So get one, you will enjoy it too.


          • I’ll be 50 next year and my eyes are on the decline too lol!! Anyway, I’m sticking with traditional gear. I looked at compounds and decided against them as this purchase was meant to be a true SHTF purchase. Things that have too many parts are things that tend to break. My bow is naked, as it were, no sights or whisker biscuit. I do have the string silencers though.

            Same thing applies to firearms. I have several “SHTF guns” that actually were used in a long term SHTF scenario right here in the good ole USA. It was called the Great Depression. You know what? None of them have detachable 30 round magazines, optics, rails, lights, lasers, etc. Somehow my family managed to eat and defend themselves with these old guns in spite of all the aforementioned shortcomings and setbacks.

            I’m kind of a simple sort of guy. I feel like traditional archery fits right in with my overall plan for this. I cast my own bullets, load my own ammo, and this gives me another way to hunt that’s cost effective and reliable.

        • Thanks, But I will take a crossbow over an old fashion recurve bow anyday. A one armed disabled old guy can shoot a crossbow, which has a faster FPS kill shot than a one strand recurve bow. Which is important for larger game, and may be the difference between eating and starving.

          When considering Off the Grid Tools in survival there is a clear difference between Luxuries and Necessities. Such as:

          1. A Port-a-Loo, a 5 gallon Bucket with a snap-on toilet seat. Then add plastic grocery bags to line the bucket and then tie and toss. Without proper sanitary disposal of human waste, flies and the spread of disease will cripple your community shortly. I have found plenty of free bags for the taking, at the door entrance of Walmart or other stores in the recycled bags drop box. I grab a few bundles before I leave the store after buying more groceries.

          2. I can much cheaper, buy a smaller chest freezer and hook it up to my own Off Grid Solar power company internal grid.

          I’d type more but this site is locking down again, so I hit submit now…


          • Good stuff on the port-a-loo, I lucked into a pair of those lids, and I’m a drywall guy, so I have lots of buckets 🙂

            The guy who set me up with my bow is in Corralles NM. His nickname is Grizz, and he runs Adventure Studios. He’s been guiding archery hunts for NM elk, deer and bear for many years, he’s in his 80’s now…..anyway, he used a bow near identical to mine and his arrow went clean through a bison, heart and both lungs. Killed it dead right then and there.

            I think it’s about choosing the weapon you like best, then building all the skill you can. If someone can hit their mark at reasonable range, then that’s the whole point. With rifles, I hunt with a 45-70, and you know what? Every fast talking big store salesman I run into tells me all about how I need a minimum of about a 338 to hunt deer and elk with…..what a bunch of hooey. My rifle will kill any animal on this continent just as dead as any so called “magnum”. Just as fast, just as dead.

            Get the one you like and stick with it! 🙂

      3. I have a Biolite that I really like. Great alternative to solar for low light situations. Not that expensive and great for recharging through a USB for phones or computers.

        • Had a biolite base camp model. It has to be at max burn to actually charge anything. Biolite has a kettlecharge version that works well. The biolite had to be dumped because of ash buildup many times during use. Carry a solo stove with me now. Have had it burning for over 3 hours not having to dump it once. I have used this one to start fires in wet conditions on the Shore to Shore trail in Michigan and along the Yukon river near ruby township Alaska. I will say I really was geeked about the biolite when I first seen it. Not worth the weight to carry it.

          • Did you have the small one or the big one? I’ve been thinking about getting one of these. I’ve been keen on energy conversion. Solar is great, but I also want the ability to generate electricity on days without enough sun, so I’m looking at biolite and some kind of physical crank system(like a pedal-a-watt) for alternatives.

            Also, you can make a decent solar oven with dollar store items, no need for the big ticket items.

            I’m looking at making a tumble washer out of a ready-made compost tumbler. Larger capacity, just add agitator blades? It might work.

            I’m also looking at a smaller composting toilet setup, something in the $65 range that is a portable camping toilet with 5 gallon capacity. Couple that with a tumbling composter for humanure only instead of a big composter connected to the toilet. Dump the toilet once a week. Don’t worry, not planning on using the humanure on edibles 🙂

            • I can beat the prices on all that stuff. Especially the underground fridge (just use a large septic tank instead for 1500 bux). We have a great woodstove/oven and it was 1700 with delivery! Berkey filters are totally dangerous and I have experienced a 100% failure rate with 2 of them! Read the reviews on amazon, there are hundreds of people with the same issue! Youtube has vids of the failures too. I had one of those crank washers and for a lot less I prefer the plunger and bucket style for 15 bux it holds more and works a lot better. Why do I need all those knives? For a lot less I can get exactly what I need suited to my needs. I don’t like recurve bows, compound are a lot better and less effort you just need to make a jig to restring them is all. Judging from the size of the panels on the golf cart I could make a solar charger for about 600 bux. Good ideas but they can be had for much less.

              • Spot On Genius!! And you can pay cash… lol


                • Yes I can for about 50% of it. The rest would be debit with balance used up in 24 hours lol 😛

      4. All very good items to have.

        Try an Aquarain water filter, instead of a Berkey. The Aquarain cost LESS than a Berkey and is made in America.

        The filters for the Aquarain are the same size. I know people who are now using Aquarain filters in their Berkey system.

        The Aquarain filters have been rated BETTER than the Berkey filters.
        About 2/3 of the way down in the article, he compares the Berkey and AquaRain.

        • I also highly recommend the Aquarain water filter. Why are they always ignored in prepper articles? I’ve had mine for 12 years and it’s been in almost constant use.

          We recently had a month long boil water order in our town, and using my Aquarain means I didn’t have to boil water.

        • ANYTHING is better than a berkey KY, With berkeys 100% failure rate a coffee filter is better lol. I have an aquarain (had it for 15 years) and love it. My main filter I use daily is a ZEN water filter for half the price of a berkey and it has never failed and rated right next to berkey(when the berkey seals arent leaking).

          • I couldn’t agree more. My Aquarain has been a flawless investment that has been running strong on the same filters for over 5 years. So I bought another one and put it away.

        • We have had our Aquarain water filter since 2011. It works great!

          • KY, same here on the AquaRain. Wouldn’t have any other.
            I remember reading the filters should be good for 60,000 Gallons! (with somewhat clean water to start with). That’s almost forever for a party of two Plus a couple of dogs.

      5. I have a lot of that stuff. The modern cook stoves are useless thou. Find and old sears one and fix it up.
        I have a box that goes down into the ground in my kitchen. It was installed sometime in the 1950’s for holding food. It will keep everything about 50F. Simple to do.
        You dont need a washing machine. Just a bucket and soap.
        I have the same cast iron pans my grandmother had. To clean then we just hang them on the cloth line and the blowing sand or snow scours them clean.

        • What’s the shortcoming of the modern wood stove.Thanks

          • The old fashioned ones have tiny fireboxes. This is so the stove heats fast. I can go from dead cold to cooking in 5 minutes. You use small splinters around 1″ cross or smaller to cook. It lights fast and burns hot.
            It takes 30 minutes for the new large firebox stoves to heat. Most of them also have a window over the firebox. Just try to stand in front of that while you are trying to cook. The only thing that will cook is you.
            Old stoves use a direct impingement system where the hot gases from the firebox are directed thru a duct to hit the plate (burner). You can open whichever duct to direct the correct amount of heat to each burner. Modern stoves dont do this due to EPA and safety requirements.
            (If you remove the plate on an old stove while it is burning you will get a face full of exhaust gasses.)

            • Thanks for the explanation

            • good one, Ed!

              • We have a Baker’s Choice basic stove, it is large and has a medium size firebox. It works excellent and heats a 4 bedroom house and will keep warm overnight without adding wood. The only drawback is the way the vents are on the side, We use the ash pan door as a vent and it works a lot better. We paid about 1700 or so delivered. Shop around for best prices, they vary a lot.

                • No offense but the purpose of the stove is to cook. not heat your house. The 1950’s cook stoves wont heat your house at all. That is not the intention or design. Those bakers choice stoves have little regulation. The plates sit right on top of the fire box. You have 2 settings hot burner and not so hot burner. They arent much different than cooking on top of a regular wood heating stove.
                  I can cook on my stove in the middle of the summer without needing to open all the windows. It will boil water from a cold start almost as fast as my electric stove and has an infinite heat setting on all 4 burners.
                  I think you said one time you lived in Wyoming. Keep an eye on craigslist. There was a company in green river called WyoStove that made wood cook stoves up until the 1980’s They look like some piping welded together with aluminum doors. They work very good. They are just very heavy and hard to move.

                  • I get your point Ed, But if your going to invest in a woodstove might as well heat your house too. If I close the vents and doors the fire is just glowing embers. Open the oven door and the surface above is not too hot. Just takes practice to control it they way you want. It also has the warming shelf above for warming stuff. I love that stove and will take it wherever I go. When the pics get out of moderation you will see what I mean. The fire is away from the right side and temp. is very controllable and you can use trivet’s to control it even more. I am going to drill some holes in the ash drawer and install an adjustable vent eventually. One thing I have seen in every older wood stove/oven around here is they are burned out. Metal is in poor condition and thin and dangerous. And they want a fortune for them…..

      6. I actually bought my husband a beer making kit for $11 on clearance. Something really basic I would add would be a solar shower. You can get clean with just a little bit of water and save the water for gray water use.

      7. I’m not a fan of Berkey water filters because of the cost/benefit ratio ($200 to $300 on Amazon), the non portability and cleaning problems. It is just too big and clumsy as a SHFT apparatus. Most people love them at first and swear by the improvement in their coffee. But the thing that turned me off on this water filter was the stories from people on blogs trying to clean or replace the ceramic filters after they clogged up from months of continuous use or the filters cracked.

        Instead I have been using the cheaper Sawyer point one water filters with good results for a couple of years now and keep one in my bug out bag. It does not take that long to get a liter of water through this filter. To clean it all you have to is backflow clean water through the filter. Supposedly this thing will do a million gallons and almost never wear out. I use it each summer to filter our well water so our dogs can drink it. I even iced the filtered water it down and used it myself for several weeks with no ill results. At around $40 on Amazon I believe it is a reasonable alternative to the higher costing Berkey for a SHFT device.

        The Point Zero Two bucket Purifier is also a great choice. It allows more water to flow through and has a higher filtration level if it is needed.

        • I use one also and it
          ‘s a g

      8. Here’s How The Establishment Will Steal The GOP Nomination From Trump

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      9. I’d like to have the washer , didnt look ..but wonder what the price is

        • An industrial type wringer would also be an asset to wring out jeans and other heavy items.

          • if you want a washer/wringer, get one of the large “Clean and Safe” buckets on wheels with a mop wringer, the kind the street cleaners use, you know, “when they are doing their community service”, it works Ok for everything except jeans and heavy shirts.

          • Lehmans sells hand cranked wringers for off grid laundry, but they are a little pricey.

          • Here KY mom, get one of these


      10. Personally, I’m stocking up on chocolate chips in a #10 can which keep 20 years. When you’re the last person in the county with chocolate, you can get whatever you want.

      11. Who has 10k to spend on a root cellar? beer and wine can be made pretty cheap. A little research on you tube shows how to make moonshine. A little modification on a carbureted vehicle and it will run just fine on alcohol.
        couple good panels and batteries with a inverter will run your modern freezer.

        the washing machine is pretty cool though.

        • Citizen, dig down a couple feet here in FL and you hit water. A root cellar here is useless. Rather spend the $10K on- $5K on a full solar system and another $5K on a few out buildings to store all your preps.


          • Reminds me of a conversation I had with a Trailer dealer. He was selling these small single axle Tear Drop Trailers, like the interior is 5 x 7 maybe, and asking $20K for it. Sure it looks cool, but I asked the dealer where exactly is the $20K hiding?? Under the seat cushion? I said at the most expensive part the trailer axle is $800 to $1000 maybe, and the rest is just nicely finished. He said well, once when you get into the plumping it costs more. I said that small of trailer you could plumb for $200,… He basically walked away from me, since I called out his Massive BS. The value of materials in a baby tear drop trailer is maybe $4K tops. The rest goes to the Grease-ball’s bank account.

            Hey if they can sell that stuff, good for them and anybody who buys it,.. is pure stooopid. Go spend $20K on weapons, ammo food, and land.. In FL here you can buy wooded land for $5K to $10K and acre. Annual property taxes $100 a year per acre. And NO Snow.


        • Citizen
          I looked at the washers, they are poorly built from plastic and very small. I went with a Homer bucket and plunger and it worked great. I washed my clothes for a month this winter, using snowmelt… no muss, no fuss. Nothing to break.

          • I also didn’t use a wringer or even wring much by hand. Using a wringer damages clothing and mangles wrinkles into everything (my grandmother had one). Allowing clothes to just drip dry in the bathroom over the tub (bar over the tub not on the side) had my clothing come out pretty wrinkle free. Took longer to dry, but less hassle overall. Most things were put on a hanger to dry. Towels were draped over the bar. Ditto sheets. For Jeans, I hung them with a skirt hangar, waist at top to dry waist area first.

            • Rebecca,

              Thank you for your post. This is good to know.

            • Rebecca,

              I would miss the convenience of a washer.

              My off grid laundry plan is very basic. It includes two large basins, a clean (new) plunger, clothesline, clothes pins and a foldup drying rack.

              I keep extra homemade laundry detergent on hand.

              I use Zote soap in my homemade laundry detergent mix. It is very mild and you can wash just about anything with it. It works great on hand washing delicate items.

              Zote has long been a laundry staple in many households in Mexico. Zote soap is made with coconut oil and tallow and is scented with citronella oil.

              The citronella oil makes it also useful as a mosquito repellent. If you are working outside (garden, etc.), that is a nice bonus.

              Many stores like Walmart and Kmart sell Zote soap now.

              • KY mom
                I also have started a stash of Zone soap. Mexico had some cheap ugly brown soap that would get any stain out of anything… don’t remember the name but I sure miss it, and never used it without gloves on! I don’t mind the washing so much. I will miss tropical fruits!

                I have now figured out lye from ashes, making basic soap is next. I can make tallow, too. I can make nut oils, manually but not efficiently. Working on perfumes, I have hundreds of German bearded iris aka Oris Root for perfume fixative. It has to be dried a long time, though. A distiller for essential oil is on my list. I am getting comfortable with making simple fruit wines.

        • The issue with alcohol power for a car that was not designed for it is that it just isn’t as simple as changing a few things here and there. Alcohol has far less BTU’s than gasoline and burns much slower. Thus, the fuel system needs to flow much more volume and the ignition system needs a different advance curve. Once you get all that settled, there is still the issue of cylinder wall lubrication. Gasoline may not be great at it, but it is still better than alcohol. In countries where alcohol cars are popular (Argentina?), the engines are built to take the fuel and have higher static compression ratios and chrome faced piston rings. Plus, in a SHTF situation, where are you going to get all of that alcohol from? A large still will attract all kinds of attention and it’s unlikely that you will find a commercial source. Plus, if it is indeed SHTF, where are you going to find the parts for the conversion?

          My option is also a bad one, but I think it is a more credible choice as it can be used on either a fuel injected car or a carburated one, if you know what you are doing. It’s also something that can be fabricated from found materials. Of course I am talking about wood, or wood gas more specifically. As all the carburator is needed for in a wood gas system is the throttle plate, you could just as easily do it with a EFI throttle body (so long as it is a manual throttle and not drive by wire). It’s an ugly solution, but far more likely to be feasible in a grid down situation. There is more to it, so if you are interested it’s worth doing some research and printing out a set of basic plans and diagrams for such a system. It’s a well known technology that has been in use for around 100 years (especially during the depression and WWII), so information should be easy to come by.

          • Winston,

            I’d agree on alcohol in engines. The first problem you have is growing enough of anything to ferment to distill out enough reasonably pure alcohol to do much of anything. That is the whole reason the ethanol from corn business is such a farce. It take about as much energy in as you get back out in the final form of fuel. They don’t produce Jack..they simply do a sideways shift of energy, keep a bunch of corn farmers happy, and destroy more topsoil in the process.

            Wood gas is my choice as well, and my next ’round-to-it’ project to build a gasifier and see what it takes to run a small engine and maybe an old gas engine tractor. The fuel is still labor intensive, but I’m fortunate to have many acres of wood to use.

      12. The hand cranked washer is too small for anything but a couple of socks or one T-shirt at one time.

        When buying cast iron feel the surface. It should be smoothish. The maker should grind and polish that iron or it will never work well. Lodge is a good brand. Be sure to season it as the directions say to do and use a bit more oil on it for the first month or two. It soaks into the pores and becomes almost nonstick over time. When in use, wash it with a bit of hot soapy water and a non scratch plastic pad or a soft brush, rinse and return to heat till dry. Brush with a touch of oil if the pan does not have a bit of a sheen and put it away. These pans are great and will last many life times.

        Don’t forget a good steel to edge your knives but you will also need a good sharpening stone for the long run. A well made knife will still need regular sharpening and the harder the metal the longer you need to run that edge over the stone.

        • Cara, after you clean your cast iron, put the pan back on a gas grill and heat up. It evaporates the rest of any water, and then when dry, pour a little oil in the pan while the cast iron is expanded and rub around all the surface inside the pan, as the pours of the pan will suck up the oil, then remove from the heat, and let cool dry, and when cool, wipe clean again before putting it back in storage. That will produce a good cured surface.


        • I agree. I have some Camp Chef cast iron and I hate it. My favorite pan was an antique when I bought it, a large Lodge cast iron pan that is so smooth it is like a non-stick pan. The Camp Chef surfaces are too rough which makes them unusable in my opinion. I would buy an old pan any day over a new one.

          Clean with salt and boiling water. Sometimes I use a piece of green scrubby but as little as possible. Most of the time hot boiling water and some salt and a fresh coat of oil work to clean and re-season cast iron. I use mine several times a week.

      13. survive this

        Here’s a novelty: Hillary Clinton told the truth. Oops!

        “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said Sunday night while boasting about her clean-energy program — and with a big smile on her face. In fact, this is standard Democratic policy: President Obama’s been throwing coal miners out of work for seven years now, aiming to deliver on his 2008 pledge to “bankrupt” the coal industry.

        • Lots of Horse and Buggy whip manufactures were put out of business back when the auto was developed. You folks that like to dig in the dirt for coal is obsolete these days. Coal is the worse polluting product out there and today here in the States, there is not a body of water clean enough to find a fish not contaminated with Mercury and other toxins from trashy coal plants. Geezus Man Think Green like Solar and climb out of your coal caves and see the light from the sun shining bright and clean. Coal is so 1880’s. Learn how to adapt and get educated. BTW/ Not an endorsement for Hitlery, as I proudly cast my FL Vote for Donald J Trump today.


          • That is good advice! Any residual water WILL rust your pans. I put them back on the stove for a lil bit and completely dry them and occasionally oil them lightly with olive oil.

      14. The greenhouse is huge, even in our climate it makes a big difference

        • Kula,
          Why does it make a difference? Bug protection, or over watering?
          I’ve seen a lot of organic farms start stuff in green houses and I’ve seen just fine screens( eg Orchids). ThankX!

          • Bug protection IS a big factor…we don’t seem to get near the problems of outside growing.

            But the main thing is the early heat. We use ours most in spring/fall. You get a 2 month extension on either end of the seasons here.

            Winter, we find lack of daylight hours makes a huge difference, even if you overcome the heating problem…so we just scale back in Jan-Feb.

            Summer, of course, heat IS the problem. We use shade cloth to cut down some heat, and of course a big fan to ventilate, but you won’t be growing lettuce in July in one.

      15. I asked a friend of mine who happens to be a black man if he would consider going on a cruise with me this summer you know just guys getting away from the old ladies and he told me hell no his ancestors may have fallen for that line way back when in Africa but he wasn’t hahaha

        • Funny, yeah.

          But seriously……had his ancestors not come here (and yes, we can all agree it was a crappy way of life at that time), he would today likely be living in a 3rd world shithole. Funny how things work out in the long run.

      16. Root cellars work fair….depends on your location…I’d imagine the northern half of the country is better than the southern half. I have a well built one here in East TN, and right now, the interior temp is 55 degrees….and that will go up to low 60’s come mid summer. Winter, I can get it down actually below ground temps using PVC ventilation pipes and a small duct fan to pull outside air into it. When night temps start dipping into the 30’s, or below, I run the fan, pulling in cold air.

        Problem is, 50+ degrees is “ok” for extending some veggie storage, but not for milk, meats, etc, like a true refrigerator, which runs 40 degrees or less. A root cellar is NOT a substitute for refrigeration.

        Wine kit…no comment.

        Solar panel for electric golf cart: The one referenced with good sun on it in a day (and lot of days, that ain’t gonna happen), might give you 600-700watthrs to your batteries. We have a 48v cart we use around the farm nearly every day, plug it in every night to keep the depth of discharge on the batteries as low as possible (how you extend battery life the most, along with keep ’em watered), and using a Kil-a-watt meter, our charger uses 3 kwhrs about every time….that is 5 times what that roof panel would put out. Even allowing for some charger inefficiency, that roof panel is in NO WAY going to keep up that cart IF you plan to use it more than 1-2 days week, and you better get a lot of sun that week to boot.

        Wood cook stove: Ed has a point….the one shown above is more of a cook stove that also heats your house. A stove meant to cook only does have a small fire box, meant to COOK on, not run you out of the kitchen….remember, cooking goes on in the summer as well as the winter. We bought an older Amish made stove with a small firebox, but also built a ‘summer’ or ‘auxiliary’ kitchen on the back of our garage and put the stove in there. The room also serves as a canning room, butcher room, as well as a place to cook and keep the heat out of the house when you don’t want heat in the house. Old southern tradition to have a ‘summer’ kitchen. SO, if you buy one of those dual purpose stoves, think about some other means of cooking in the summer.

        Cast iron pans: Huh…who knew this was news ? We’re cooking with ‘multi-generation’ hand-me-downs for 40 years now….ahahahaa

        Greenhouse: Yep….highly recommend them. We have two small ones, home built. I put polycarbonate panels on the first one, but went with 4 yr greenhouse plastic on the next one. We grow a huge amount of food in them, cutting way down on our outside growing. Great to grow things like broccoli and have zero worms in them because the white moth can’t get in the greenhouse….same with bean beetles…not a problem inside growing.

        Solar freezer ? We have 7 freezers…all small ones, because we grow most of our own food, including beef, pork, chicken, fish. We use up one, then cut it off.

        But if it came to survival situation, we would get by with one at the most….the rest would be eaten fresh, canned, or dried. Freezing is a true luxury. One of the chest units would be turned into a high efficiency fridge with an external thermostat.

        This brings up a common thread…the need for electric power. Instead of piecemealing it out (golf cart, freezer, etc), we chose to set up a decent sized solar power system that will handle much of those needs, and not be dedicated to any one particular purpose…so if I need to run an electric circular saw, or a washing machine, I should be able to. I built a 6kw system with 1200amp/hr@24v AGM battery backup (it is grid tied, but can go off grid)+ another 5kw that is grid tie only using micro inverters. I believe if it came to grid down permanently, I could re-wire the 5kw into the 6kw, and it would recognize the 6kw as “grid” and produce.

        • Saw ice chunks from a lake in winter, with sawdust surrounding it, and a cover it in a hole in the ground for a summer’s supply. That’s how my grandparents got their ice in the early 1900’s and how my mom got her ice down the road from the cabin in summer to fill her “icebox”. You can also set out milk jugs of water to freeze in winter and set them in the ground with lots of sawdust too.

          • If you don’t have a lake, would one be able to just freeze blocks in containers to use? I’m in N Idaho, it would freeze easy.

            • RR
              I don’t have a lake but could freeze buckets of water. Especially if the ice can be slid out and the bucket reused. Our cold spells come and go, but definitely could generate ice.

          • Where do you get all that sawdust from?
            Do you have a sawmill nearby?
            Even if you do, how do you haul it to the magical root cellar?
            Let’s think these thing through, folks before we hit the “enter” button…

            • Willie,
              Try not to be too literal. Sawdust was a readily available, free insulator in many areas. The concept is broader than “sawdust” look for a free or cheap material to insulate with that is nontoxic. Sand comes to mind for those who have it freely available. Soil ditto.

        • TnAndy, we are thinking of converting our greenhouse heaters to run on solar for the winter. It’s free-standing 10×12. Any thoughts on what type of solar power system would be good? Portable or installed? I’m kind of new to learning this subject. Would appreciate sources to learn from. My thanks.

          • What do you have now in the way of heaters ?

            One of our houses is built back into the bank, and with the polycarbonate glazing (triple wall, 16mm)it never freezes.

            The other is more open, and we have tried heating it using solar hot water with PEX in ground, and a wood stove. What we have discovered is heat is only part of the equation….winter light limits you as much as cold…things simply don’t get enough light to grow, even if kept warm.

            SO, we’ve pretty much given up on ‘dead of winter’ growing….we use the houses mostly to extend the seasons on each end. Wife does keep some stuff going thru the winter (cabbage, broccoli, greens), but she gets them well started in the fall so much of their growth is there before December. It simply isn’t worth trying to raise tomatoes, for example, after Christmas…..of course that will also depend on your growing zone.

            • It has a small Marley (coil-type) electric heater that came with the greenhouse kit. BTU output is 13650/10238. Full load watts 4000/3000w. (I’m just learning this stuff). Full load amps 16/138A. Also, I was just growing greens throughout last winter. We finished assembly in Nov and started greens (mostly for chickens and some for us) in December. There was actually enough winter daylight in E Kansas and we did not hook up the grow lights at all. But the electric bill was high. I believe I need to go solar to maintain the greenhouse for any type of food growing in SHTF future. I do appreciate any help or sources. Again, my thanks.


            • Is an electric unit came with the greenhouse kit. Marley coil-type BTU output 13650/10238, full load amps 16/138A, and full load watts 4000/3000W. We finished in November and just grew greens of rthe chickens (and us) over the winter. Had enough daylight here in E Kansas and did not hook up any other lighting. I’m thinking we may need solar power for the future for sure. Any help and sources are greatly appreciated.

              My first reply went to moderation? My thanks. Sorry if this double posts everyone.

              • 4K or 3K is a LOT of power to run constantly on solar. You better have some deep pockets!

                • Wow. And I was thinking of getting a bigger heater that maybe wouldn’t run as much. I’m really lost here. Is there a “Solar for Dummies” book out yet? I need one. Perhaps I could just run the heater mostly at night. I am floored by how much better plants and greens are growing in the greenhouse; better than the garden for sure. And this spring – no pests!

                  • Forget using solar for heating at night. Use propane or a small woodstove. You will save a buttload of money! To run 3k all night (battery system) would cost about 80 grand. People use wood or coal stoves in greenhouses with good results.

                    • I’d agree… don’t want to go down the road of using solar to run resistance heating at night with a battery based system.

                      Now, what you ‘might’ look at is PV solar connected directly to heating elements in water heating tanks.

                      Doing that, you cut out a lot of stuff….no charge controller(s) needed, no batteries, no inverters….you simply heat water, then run that thru an air-air (radiator) at night, or PEX tubing in the floor. I haven’t run the numbers, but have been told this is economically feasible with current panel prices.

                      The other method to heat with solar is using a water based system (this is the route we went) using flat panels or vacuum tube to heat water directly. Conventional wisdom has been heating water has been much cheaper than producing electricity.

                    • Wow. Hadn’t thought of propane or wood heat. I think that’s a better idea for this greenhouse. Plenty of wood around. Or even heating some type of water tubes. My thanks everyone! I love how everyone shares info on this site. It will help all of us in the end. Blessings to all.

                    • Thanks Genius! I am certainly looking into alternative methods now.

                    • TNAndy, absolutely that will work too BUT, Using a conventional glycol circulating water heat system is expensive and insane. I don’t know which type you are thinking of just saying. Get direct powered DC heating elements and heat the water in a well insulated tank and it should work fine and 1/8th the price of glycol based systems. This is the system I want to install in a 1500 gallon tank that will be wrapped in radiant heat barrier and 1/3 with dirt. 500 watts of panels direct to the element I hope it works lol. A DC (like it matters) element is about 50 bux for a 1000 watt rated and 1000 watts of panels is about 7-800 bux if you shop around. A high temp continious pump is under 100 bux all you would need is the pipe and a small solar setup to run the pump at night.

                    • TN, sorry I see that you WERE talking about direct PV elements lol 🙂

                    • My father in law used a small potbellied stove in his 12×15 greenhouse

                    • My 6Ft 4 Panel Solar system can produce 3 to 4KW per day. The Outback 80 controller shuts off though during the day, because the batteries are fully charged, so it only appears it produced 2KW. I only use about 1.5KW per day on average. That’s using a 24/7 small fridge/ freezer, fan and lights at night, occasional power tools, etc. At the most I ever used is about 2KW a day. If the batteries were fully drained I bet it would reflect on the control charger at least 3 to 4 KW per day. In my area of Florida the KW’s per day is rated at about 5.5KW of sunshine. Maybe that is here, not sure what your area is rated for. That’s why they call it the Sunshine State. Solar Power is a No brainer here. Basically if I don’t use the power it produces, I basically am wasting free electricity. A great problem to have. I will see this summer, when using a wall A/C unit, during the 90+ humid days. My cottage is heavily insulated, now so I may do pretty well. Let you know then. Its all an experiment out here at my BOL, so I try to max out all the efficiencies for benefit gains.


        • TnAndy,
          I’d be curious to see the wiring diagrams, you used to get
          your permits. I’m doing a off grid 6kW split phase 220 system now, it will feed my house, freezers, and shop( welders, 5 hp wood working tools, and air compressors). I’m avoiding micro-inverters as they are mainly for grid tie systems, it is a pain to use battery backup with them.

          • Rellik,

            Permitting here was nearly nothing. I built my system over several years, starting with the grid tied/battery backup part….2.1kw to start, then expanded to 6kw (panel) because I figured that would max out the pair of 2500w Outback inverters I had initially installed. One requirement the local utility DID have was I had to feed back 240v….so that meant twin inverters.

            Once I saw what that did to offset my use, I just added the remaining 5k (2500w at a time)using Enphase inverters just to get rid of the rest of my bill….by that time, panels were down to $1/watt (versus $4 when I started in 2007).

            My original intent was to put up enough to supply about 1/3-1/2 our current use in a long term grid down situation. Enough to handle some refrigeration, some lighting, some ‘extras’ like washing machine. I’d assume if the grid goes down, and stays down, things like computers, entertainment, microwave ovens, etc, would all go to the dust heap of history, and one could live quite nicely with a LOT less electric power. We already cook with propane (and store a lot), can cook with wood, already heat with wood, water heating is propane, and have wood backup for it.

          • relik, microinverters have a huge failure rate. Trust me I know, I had to replace a shitload of them (enphase) when I did solar for a company. Don’t get permits if you don’t (or can get away with it)have too. They say ooooh we won’t up your taxes (a fuckin lie) but wait and see! Trust the govt.? I guarantee the added value when you sell will be added to taxes if not before (like they keep their promises). Think about it man…..

            • Besides using a central inverter gives you the option of using your solar off grid! Why the hell would you have solar that is only on grid capable? Outback makes some bad assed inverters that do both and 8K watts to boot! A little pricey but man it is the BEST shit you can get! Microinverters have a VERY small nitche in places that have shading issues, other than that they are pure SHIT!

              • Yes, if I had it to do today, I’d go with an Outback Radian inverter….but in 2007, that wasn’t an option, so I went with GTFX twins….it’s been a learning curve for me.

                But my micro inverters have been up for 4&5 years now with no problems, so maybe they worked out the bugs. I like being able to watch them online in real time.

                • Thinker, you heard it lol. Radian is a bad assed inverter. I need to hear from you before long as I am fixin to move to the reatreat for the summer. Hope your still readin here lol 🙂

          • We use the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. DH knows current code for electric, plumbing, and many other trades. Permits cause your property taxes to go up.

            • If you get smart meters on your system, you won’t be able to hide the infeed if you grid connect.

        • A properly designed root cellar will stay between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit year round in any part of the country. Key words here are “properly designed”. It does not sound like your root cellar is a real root cellar, but really sounds like it was not placed deep enough or is poorly designed. Part of the problem may be your pvc pipes you installed.

          Also, have fun swapping out those AGM cells every few years for your solar setup – edison batteries would have been the smart bet. Working at a battery company, I wouldn’t take AGM’s for my solar setup if they tried to give them to me for free!

          • Well, Yo, you’re full of crap.

            HOW exactly do you get 32-40 degrees out of ground temperature of 50 degrees, smart ass ? The only place you could do that is near Alaska….northern Alaska at that.

            When the ground freezes here, (and our ag zone is the same as southern Michigan) it will freeze solid for 6″-1′ in depth, max, and as soon as the weather moderates, it thaws……once you get 4-5′ in the ground, the temp is a steady 50 degrees year around. Measure it in any cave. My water line is 3′ deep….1500′ from my spring…..water temp is right at 50 degrees year round.

            If it were not for the PVC piping to suck cold outside air in, I couldn’t get the temps down to anywhere near what I do now.

            As for my AGM batteries, guess what….I DID get them for free. Absolyte GP batteries….20 year design life. $15,000 set of cells (12 x2v). Buddy of mine worked for a cell phone company out in Kansas. One day he calls me up and says “They sold us out, and I was told to get rid of whatever we have in the warehouse for scrap price”. He went on to describe these batteries, had 2 new sets, and one that had been pulled from service with 4yrs on it.

            “What’s scrap price?” “$300”.

            I jumped in the truck with a trailer behind me, drove 17hrs to Kansas and came home with about 9,000lbs of batteries ! Sold one set to a guy in Michigan who came here and got them for $1,500. Gave the used set to a buddy that went with me on the road trip. Kept the last new set. I figure I cleared mine for free including ‘shipping’.

            So let’s see….you’d turn down a free set of great batteries to spend 15-20k on a set of Edisons ? Really ?

            Why not find out a bit more before assuming you know it all ?

            • Ha ha you tell em Andy! This guy is so full of shit, he has NEVER done this stuff and is an armchair wanna be 😛 Thanks lol.

              • No, I won’t assume what he does, or doesn’t know. But I will refute when someone says you get get a root cellar down in the mid 30 degree range almost anywhere.

                Heck, look at the national weather service website for soil temps for TODAY….


                40″ deep, the 45-55 degree line TODAY is already up to the Great Lakes…..go deeper, it gets warmer farther north.

                I put my cellar in about 10 years ago, and KNOW what it will, and will not, do. It’s built ‘right’…..including the needed ventilation…or your stored apples will off gas, and sprout you potatoes in December.

                A root cellar is good for what it is….a cool place to extend storage life of some fruits and vegetables. It is not a refrigerator for most places in the country, especially from late spring to early fall. You try to store fresh meat or milk in one, and you’re gonna get a good dose of food poisoning.

              • Edison batteries have all kinds of charging issues and are very expensive. Do some unbiased research. Try “”. I have a root cellar underground. 40 in the winter and 50 -55 in the summer.

                • Thank you Dave!

                • Thanks for the report from Idaho, Dave. I suspected that was the case for even as far north as you, based on soil temp maps, but I KNOW it is the case for me because I keep a dadgum thermometer hanging in mine and have kept an eye on what it does for many years now.

                  Anyone selling a ‘ground refrigerator’ is selling you an expensive pile of crap….but of course, the nice artwork helps…ahahhaaaaaa

                  Reminds me of those over hyped ‘solar generators’ with a 100 or 200 watt panel that will ‘run you household’ (yeah…for about 15-20 minutes, 1 day a week) taking advantage of most folks total lack of understanding of electrical power, and what it really takes to generate it.

                  • What kind of temps could I expect out of an “in ground” fridge here in the tropics, LOL?
                    Not cool enough..maybe if I put it 500 ft. down?

                    • Actually, at that depth, you’d be on the edge of running into the opposite problem….heat.

                      One of the limiting factors in deep shaft mining is just that…heat. Get down a couple thousand feet, and the temperatures get in the 120-140 degree range, and moving air to keep it cool enough for workers to mine becomes a real economic factor. My uncle worked in the deepest copper mines in the US, in upper Michigan. Even with veins of rich, nearly pure copper, it got too costly to bring it up, and the heat/air issue was a big part of that.

      17. Why don’t Obama want oil drilling in Atlantic damn gas could be 1.00 gal or cheaper and no foreign oil at all I think the government hates us if they left us alone we would all live great

      18. I’m in good shape. No close washer. Do have a wash board. No solar freezer but I can hook up my solar array to run my small freezer. Only have to use it in the summer/warm months. Don’t have the groundfridge. but I can make one. Everything else I have. There are other stuff I have that would run with out power like my peddle generator. Works well on 12 volt items. Also keeps you ion shape.


        • Sarge, when my wife wants a washer at the cabin I show her the washboard lol. Silence IS golden ha ha ha.

      19. Freeze 5 gal bucket water in winter make blocks pack in sawdust would that work or do you have to cut giant blocks from a pond Lake

        • G.S.
          You would be better off collecting the water in the 5 gallon buckets. And pack them with saw dust. t will last along time if you bury it under ground. Then when it thaws you have water you can use for other things.

          I like the down spout thing. Remember when you were a kid. we did this all the time. Mom wasn’t happy but we had fun!



        • It doesn’t get cold around here long enough to freeze much water. This winter didn’t even kill the grass and weeds in the yard. We could have gathered greens from the yard for salads throughout the winter.

          I just mowed the front yard Saturday, so everyone else in the neighborhood has to mow because I’ve made their yards look bad.

        • Mix the sawdust with the water and then freeze it. What you will have made is called “Pikereet”. The sawdust acts as an insulator and binder and makes it both stronger and more resistant to melting. In WWII this was proposed as a way to make large ships, and they even made a demonstrator which was still afloat for months after it was abandoned and the refrigeration was turned off.

      20. I’ll stand under the down spout of the gutter and shower and wash my clothes at the same time may even brush my teeth

        • Yes,please brush your tooth 🙂

          • Just kiddin, Thats the apple/cherry wine talikin 😛

      21. so basically a bunch of stuff that costs an assload of fiat money.

        • DEPENDS on what your diaper will hold lol.

        • Same thing I was thinking. I like using technology, but I try to find ways to improvise solutions rather than buy everything. Then again, my income isn’t high enough for a $10,000 prep.

      22. for transportation I will use my horses,,,,, someone would see that golf cart coming

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