Grizzly Tarps Are The Best Heavy Duty Tarps

Grizzly Tarp on tent

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Grizzly Tarps camping – Camping has always been a favorite pastime.

In fact, some of my earliest memories are of being with my family on a rainy weekend, all of us crowded into one leaky tent.

Eventually, we got better gear. My time as a Boy Scout improved my knowledge and abilities in the outdoors.

Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the difference that the right camping gear can make. The right gear means the difference between being comfortable and being miserable.

More importantly, it means the difference between getting home safely versus going home sick or ending up in the emergency room.  

When I think of my most important pieces of camping gear, things like my pocket knife and all-weather matches spring to mind.

However, one of the more critical components in my kit is a heavy duty tarp.

Fast forward and I now have two sons who are both accomplished Boy Scouts in an active Boy Scout Troop in Arizona. They plan camping weekends at least monthly and usually more frequently.

Grizzly Tarps

Our Boy Scout Troop uses Grizzly Tarps almost exclusively now because frankly they are the best.

We have both the Blue Grizzly Tarp and the Silver Grizzly Tarp.

In our Troop we prefer the Heavy Duty Silver Grizzly Tarps.

Heavy duty tarps made with attention to detail quality

We’ve used Grizzly Tarps to make a shelter for a group of boys who’s tent got damage during transportation, create an adult cooking canopy, cover equipment and cover equipment on a trailer during a 700 mile camping and backpacking trip.

I recently used one of the Troop’s Grizzly Tent to cover my tent during a cold Arizona Mountain campout.

Grizzly Tarp on tent
Grizzly Tarp on tent

This picture was taken at about 5,000 ft where the night time temperature dipped below freezing every night.

Grizzly Tarps – Best Heavy Duty Tarps

I’ll usually pack a tarp of two when I’m venturing into the wilderness.

Our Boy Scout Troop takes 3 to 4 Heavy Duty Grizzly Tarps.

They are that useful and versatile.

A Tarp Is Just a Tarp, Right?

I know what you’re thinking. “I’ve got a tarp. It’s nothing to write home about.”

That might be because you haven’t tried Grizzly Tarps.

I was once like you.

I’d head to the hardware store, or Harbor Freight, to get a tarp.

Usually, I’d just buy the cheapest one in the size that seemed appropriate.

I’d take it camping or use it for one of the other purposes that you might need a tarp for, but the result was always the same.

The first good gust of wind would rip it, and it never quite seemed to be up to the task at hand.

Before I knew it, I was back at the hardware store getting another tarp.

Grizzly Tarps outlast the others

Not anymore. Our Grizzly Tarps have outlasted — by far — any other tarp we have ever had. Even more, they are still in brand new shape.

These Grizzly heavy duty tarps still look brand new; they look hardly used.

Both our family and Boy Scout Troop use the heavy duty Silver Grizzly Tarps exclusively.

The upshot is that those inexpensive tarps weren’t really inexpensive.

Nothing that you have to repeatedly buy is affordable, especially when that something is an item that you should be durable.

I expect to buy groceries every week. Food is perishable, and it also gets consumed.

But tarps?

NO MORE CHEAP TARPS!

Grizzly Tarp covering building supplies for Boy Scout Eagle Project
Grizzly Tarp covering building supplies for Boy Scout Eagle Project

Tarps should be built to last.

Grizzly Tarps are Different

Getting acquainted with a Grizzly was a revelation for me.

At first, the price took me by surprise, but when I started to study the product, I realized that this was no ordinary tarp.

Heavy duty tarp

No, this was a genuine, heavy duty tarp.

Piping on borders

One of the first things that I noticed was the piping on the borders.

It was immediately clear to me that this was a tarp I could use even in high-wind situations.

It hardly matters how tight I strap it down or what kind of stress I put on it. The Grizzly wasn’t going to tear.

Grommets

Another feature that I find is invaluable is the grommets.

They are placed at 34-inch intervals.

This means that no matter how I’m using this tarp, it can be securely tied down.

No more flapping in the breeze when the tarp is covering a load in the back of my truck.

Weave

The weave on my first Grizzly tarp also set it apart from the competition.

It was an eight by eight weave, impressively tight and designed for competitive durability.

The laminated polyethylene material was built to last, and that was something that I tested repeatedly.

The manufacturer highlighted many features:  waterproof, mildew-proof and washable.

Once again, I found that my expectations were exceeded.

This heavy duty tarp was just what I needed to take my outdoor adventures to the next level.

Then, I Discovered Silver Grizzly Tarps

The first Grizzly Tarp I encountered was a standard blue-color tarp.

Of course, I could see that the color was the only respect in which the Grizzly resembled other tarps.

Then, I discovered that Grizzly makes a tarp that’s meant for even more stressful applications.

Heavy Duty Silver Grizzly Tarp Covering Wood
Heavy Duty Silver Grizzly Tarp Covering Wood

These silver tarps are remarkable, and once I discovered them, there was no going back.

Highly Recommend the Silver Heavy Duty Grizzly Tarp

Grizzly constructs these tarps out of an incredibly tight 14 by 14 polyethylene weave.

That means that these tarps are even more durable than the blue version.

Plus, the silver tarp has grommets placed at every 18 inches and a thickness of 10 mils.

The result is a heavy duty tarp that’s pretty much the best in the business.

If you need a robust tarp that can stand up to just about anything, then the silver Grizzly is for you.

One of the other aspects of the silver tarps that I appreciate is that they are UV proof.

UV rays are damaging to pretty much anything, so this extra layer of protection can be really important.

That’s especially true if you’re like me and you use your tarps constantly. And living in Arizona at a higher altitude, you have to watch out for sun damage during the summer months.

The Right Size for Every Application

The blue tarps from Grizzly are available in a range of sizes.

They are as small as five by seven feet and as large as 30 feet by 40 feet.

I haven’t had occasion to buy the largest size yet, but I don’t rule it out.

Silver Grizzlies are available in four sizes that include:

  • 8 x 10
  • 12 x16
  • 12 x 20
  • 20 x 30

This diversity of sizes makes these tarps right for any application.

You Can Use Tarps Anywhere

This is especially true when they’re manufactured by Grizzly.

In fact, Grizzly sells its products to consumers and for industrial purposes.

In my job, I don’t have any need to use tarps, but if I did, I’d insist upon a Grizzly.

These products have proven themselves to me time and again.

Here are a few of the ways that I’ve used a Grizzly Tarps:

-Camping
-Hauling
-Moving
-Protecting a backyard construction project
-Sheltering from the Arizona sun at dozens of sporting events
-Storing construction materials

I’m sure that there have been others as well.

The upshot is that these tarps are up to the task no matter what.

I love the number of grommets in these tarps because it means that they are never flapping in the wind.

That translates to fewer chances of a tear.

Plus, I have to say that I really appreciate the rope that’s sewn into the hem.

This piping makes for an all-but indestructible tarp.

If you’re going with a really heavy-duty application, then don’t hesitate to get the silver one.

I swear that it could just about stand up to hurricane-force winds.

Tarps from Grizzly are the Perfect Camping Accessory

I’ve used these tarps a lot, but by far my most frequent use is in connection with camping.

The family and I love to get away for a weekend or even a week.

Also, since I became a Scout Leader for my sons’ Boy Scout troop, I’ve had even more uses for my Grizzlies.

The Boy Scout organization puts a great deal of emphasis on camping and how to live in the outdoors.

There is no end to the books and instructional videos with the hope of helping scouts to be better prepared for camping.

(not our Boy Scout Troop)

Tarps Save a Rainy Camping Expedition

While my son and I are fairly experienced campers, the same can’t be said for other troop members.

Before our first camping expedition with the Boy Scouts, many of the members had never spent a night in the wilderness.

This meant that our first outing was accompanied by a lot of excitement and not a small amount of apprehension.

Some of the boys were pretty uncomfortable with the thought of being technology-free for a couple of nights, but I was determined to prove to them how fun camping could be.

It was the middle of summer, and we’d been dealing with hot, dry conditions for weeks.

It was a good chance to combine lessons about the outdoors with overall fire safety.

What I didn’t expect was the rain. The day before we left, the forecast suddenly changed.

I got calls from alarmed parents.

It might rain over the weekend.

Were we still planning to go camping?

Now, a little rain never slowed us down, so as far as I was concerned, we were good to go.

The trip was still on.

Luckily, the dry weather held for most of the weekend.

When the rain finally came on the second evening, we were prepared.

Each tent was covered with a Silver Grizzly Tarp.

And each tent was using a Blue Grizzly Tarp for their respective ground cover under the tents

No one was going to be sleeping wet on this trip.

I know there’s a bit of debate about using tarps as ground cover versus inside the tent.

I come down squarely in favor of using your tarp as a ground cover, the tent as many people don’t properly size and place their ground cover.

Your Grizzly won’t let you down either way if you use it right.

We even got to sit around the campfire that night because I rigged up another Grizzly over our heads.

No one got wet, and everyone was happy.

Tarps are an essential part of any camping gear kit.

When you choose one that’s manufactured by Grizzly, you’ll be certain to get years of successful use out of it.

Orca Backpack Cooler and Orca Chaser Travel Mug

orca backpack cooler

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Whether you are camping in the Rocky Mountains, hiking the Grand Canyon rim,visiting Canada or bringing beverages for a sporting event, you will love having your Orca backpack cooler with you.

Outdoor enthusiasts know Orca for its exceptional line of coolers and drinkware. We own the Orca Pod backpack cooler. Living in hot, dry Tucson, AZ, it’s been a lifesaver for us.

Orca Backpack Coolers

Orca offers a variety of coolers. They make their backpack coolers in two sizes. We’ve never owned or even seen a backpack cooler until getting the Orca Pod.

We weren’t sure how it would work, what we would be able to fit, and how easy it would be to carry.

Realtree Max 5 Pod Backpack Cooler

The Pod holds 7.13 gallons (28.5 quarts). This is the larger of Orca’s two backpack coolers.

We have the camo print, called the Realtree Max 5. My husband plans on taking it Elk hunting this fall.

orca backpack cooler
Orca Realtree Max 5 Pod Backpack Cooler

To give an idea of it’s size, you can put 15 pounds of ice in it along with 24 cans. While carrying all of this for a long time might pose a challenge for some, what’s great about this cooler is you have the option to carry it many different ways.

With traditional coolers you can only carry them by the handle, oftentimes with the cooler hitting you in the leg as you carry it. With the Pod, you can easily carry it on your back, using your body to manage the weight of whatever you put in the cooler.

While many people wouldn’t hike for miles with the max load of 59.5 pounds on their backs, it’s great the cooler can bear this weight, as drinks and ice are heavy.

Also, you can definitely comfortably carry it from your car to your campsite or picnic when it’s filled. The straps are padded. They are also adjustable, so whoever carries the cooler can get a good, stable fit.

It keeps food and drinks very cold, so even if you want to use it for hiking, you can manage it. You may just not want to use as much ice, so it will be lighter.

Orca Pod cooler review

We’ve used this cooler so far for camping with Boy Scouts, local sightseeing, on road trips, putting groceries in it while driving home, and for our kids’ sports.

Orca Pod backpack cooler
top-notch insulation

Our favorite use has been taking it along with us when we sat through our kids’ brutally hot May and June weekend sports games and tournaments. Again, we live in Tucson, Arizona.

Sometimes we would be there all day — up to eight or nine hours — and having this cooler was an absolute blessing. In the mornings we would load it with ice, lots of water, sandwiches, lots of snacks, and even four cool towels.

Sometimes my husband would carry it, and other times we put it in our portable, collapsible wagon with our chairs. Even in the 100+ degree heat, we enjoyed cold drinks and intact food. My kids liked that their granola bars and sandwiches were as they would have been at home — cool and not melting.

We’ve also taken our Pod backpack cooler on road trips and local sightseeing. We have family that lives two hours away, and we often bring snacks for our kids as well as food for dinner for everyone.

In the summer months, we’ve put food in it — ice cream novelties, etc. — so it would keep on our 30 minute commute home from Costco. We didn’t even put ice in it always; it was just to keep it out of the sun.

It fits easily in our car, isn’t cumbersome, and is a great size for food, ice and drinks.

Orca Coolers Pod Backpack
Orca Pod backpack cooler

While we occasionally wipe it out, we always air it out to be sure it’s dry before we close it.

More features of the Orca Backpack

The interior is anti-microbial. It’s BPA-free and made with FDA-approved, food-grade materials.

The cooler walls are sturdy and reinforced. You can stack things on top of the cooler without worrying about it caving in.

Your drinks will stay cold in this cooler, for hours longer than you need them to. Just for fun, I put ice cubes in the cooler — filled about a quarter of the way — with nothing else. I put it outside on the sun-exposed hot brick on a 110 degree June day. I put it out in the morning by 8am (already in the nineties) and there was still ice in it by 7pm. Some had melted, but the vast majority was remaining which is incredible.

You can just tell it’s very well made. There is a heavy-duty zipper that’s very sturdy and seals completely.

We really enjoy using our Orca Pod backpack cooler. It’s been our go-to cooler now, no matter what we are doing or where we are going.

We like that it’s fairly light when it’s empty — 6.6 pounds (3 kg) — and that it doesn’t take up a lot of space in our trunk.

It measures: 18″ length x 11″ width x 18″ height.

Podster Backpack Cooler

The Podster, the smaller of the two, holds 3.5 gallons (14.25 quarts). Orca describes it as a day pack.

We own the larger one, the Pod, and haven’t used this cooler, the Podster.

However, while we don’t own it, I wanted to discuss how practical this cooler would be due to its smaller size. The Podster would be a great cooler to take hiking, short trips, really anywhere.

I could see our family using the Podster often. Being we live in a hot and dry climate, we carry water bottles with us everywhere we go, all year.

From April through November, when we set out across town, or sometimes even jaunts that are just 30 minutes, we usually pack extra water, just in case.

Also, with kids, I’m forever packing snacks. During the hot summer months, you can’t leave anything in the car with the heat, especially food.

It would be perfect to put everything in this Podster, eliminating the need for multiple bags, etc. I would easily just put my ice or ice packs in it along with water and snacks.

This seems like it would be convenient to take to the zoo, sporting events, and trips to the park. You would be able to carry it hiking or pretty much anything you wanted to do.

It comes in Fuschia, Seafoam/Grey, Coral/Grey, and Realtree Max 5 Camo.

It’s a bit smaller than the Pod, measuring 15″ length x 9″ width x 15″ height. Empty, it weighs 3.6 pounds (1.6 kg). Even though it’s small, it can hold up to 28.5 pounds.

Best backpack cooler

These are such high-quality coolers, and depending on your situation, both sizes are convenient. They are made to withstand weather and elements, keeping your food and drinks cold.

If you packed it with ice and put frozen foods inside, like steak, fish, etc., they would stay frozen for a long time safely. The Pod would be great to take if you are wanting to vacation off-the-grid for awhile or going to a rural or remote location.

Orca Backpack Cooler
The Pod (shown) is larger than the Podster.

Orca backpack coolers are portable, lightweight, and roomy.

Orca Backpack Coolers

There are many other great things about their backpack coolers. They are handy for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, road trips and even for airplane traveling.

The compact sizes allow them to fit well in the overhead storage compartments of planes and trains, making them useful for almost any type of travel that your creative mind can dream up!

And while they are soft-sided, they are very sturdy and aren’t collapsible; they would withstand the demands of traveling.

Other features include padded straps with the addition of a T-strap across the chest to help distribute the weight when it is full.

The Pod and the Podster are manufactured with vacuum-sealed inner and outer walls.

While the Pod holds up to 24 cans with 15 pounds of ice, the Podster can accommodate 12, 12-ounce cans with 7.5 pounds of ice.

You can open and close either cooler and after days, most of the ice will still be intact.

What characteristics do the Orca Coolers have in common?

Both the Podster and the Pod include a tough inner shell made of foam and reinforced inner and outer walls that keep the cooler’s shape and prevent crushing and scratching.

Both models have doubly sealed waterproof zippers that prevent air and melted ice from leaking from the flip top.

The material surrounding the zipper is equally as tough and is designed to prevent rips, cuts, and is BPA-free and antimicrobial.

Orca has built them to keep your food not only cool and but safe, too.

Besides being covered with a tough vinyl, the Pod and the Podster include several sets of canvas straps.

These straps allow you to add a variety of accessories, such as a wine bottler opener or maybe your eating utensils.

Inside these backpack coolers is a shell made of a closed cell foam that prevents leakage and maintains stability, keeping your food and beverages at the correct temperature.

The well-padded shoulder straps of the Pod and Podster help distribute weight and keep the person carrying the cooler comfortable.

The Podster also has a third strap, called a T-strap, for use across the chest to help balance the cooler when it is full. (Remember, this one holds 59.5 pounds!)

Orca backpack cooler is built for functionality

These coolers are built for functionality. No oddly shaped pockets adorn them, only the canvas straps useful for accessories and tools.

With the lifetime warranty offered by Orca, the Pod and Podster backpack coolers will serve you for years.

Once you realize all the ways these coolers can be useful, you’ll find yourself using them for more than just hiking and camping.

Orca Chaser Travel Mug

We love our backpack cooler, and we were equally surprised at how much we enjoy the Orca Chaser.

Orca tumbler with snap on lid
Orca Realtree Max 5 Chaser

This tumbler holds 27 ounces.

We have the Realtree Max 5 Chaser which is one of over 10 of their camo patterns. The Realtree Max 5 matches our Pod cooler.

Orca Chaser

We own a lot of travel mugs, travel cups, hot/cold cups, etc. “It’s just another travel mug,” is what I thought when I saw it. However, it has quickly become my husband’s ABSOLUTE FAVORITE to use.

He uses his Orca Chaser on a daily basis, at home and while commuting. He uses it all the time, so much so, that I haven’t ever used it.

However, on a long car ride, I asked him what made it his favorite — and he has a lot of tumblers, travel mugs, etc. “What makes the Orca so much better?” I asked him.

He really couldn’t say enough about it. He likes that it fits well in his hand and in the cup holder in both of our vehicles. And yes, it keeps his coffee hot and his ice and drinks cold.

Orca chaser tumbler

But what he loves is the most is the tight seal and the lid.

He loves the lid. It doesn’t snap on; there’s a piece that fits into the mouth opening and holds it closed. He said, “The lid makes the cup.” It’s what sets it apart from all the others.

Orca Chaser holds 27 oz

They are made with 18/8 stainless steel and have a vacuum-sealed body to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot.

The lid is Tritan polymer. It has a sip hole that can be used as is or with a straw.

Orca Chaser colors

There are dozens of color varieties and patterns available for the Orca Chaser. Unlike the stainless steel option, all of the other colors and patterns come with a transparent polymer lid in colors that compliment the travel mugs.

They have a stunning array of pastels, including floral patterns, including desert cacti, palm leaves, and flamingos.

There are also high gloss finishes in solid colors. You can even get an Orca tumbler with one of the state flags, NCAA teams, NHL teams, and more.

What else makes Orca travel mugs the best?

All of the travel mugs include self-sealing lids, easy-to-clean exteriors and interiors, and the double-wall vacuum-sealed technology found in Orca’s popular hard- and soft-sided coolers.

The Orca travel mug easy fits most cup holders.

It holds 27 ounces and measures 7″ in height.

What is the Orca company?

Orca, the Outdoor Recreation Company of America, is based out of Nashville, Tennessee.

They have been in the business of planning and producing useful equipment for campers, hikers, and hunters since 2012.

Orca quickly gained a name for itself for its hard-sided coolers but it is the soft-sided backpack coolers that are becoming the company’s most popular products.

It’s a company that gives back locally and nationwide.

Orca products for outdoor recreation

People who love the outdoors founded Orca. They regularly test their products in real situations, under the same types of conditions that their customers would use the coolers and travel accessories.

Among its product line, Orca offers travel mugs and drinkware, camping coolers ranging in size from 20 quarts to 120 quarts, and its very popular line of smaller backpack coolers.

Again, being we live in the southwest, in the desert, it gets really hot.

We wanted a backpack cooler to get us through our kids’ outdoor sports. We asked Orca for the Pod backpack cooler so we could try it out.

Our kids play their sports year round. Our usual chest coolers weren’t enough. Little did we know it would become our favorite cooler. We use it often.

The Pod backpack cooler is portable, holds a lot, and the perfect size for our family and adventures.

10 Things Hunters Don’t Know About Whitetail Deer

Things Hunters Don’t Know About Whitetail Deer

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Things Hunters Don’t Know About Whitetail Deer – The thrill of hunting whitetail deer is something that can’t properly be put in words.

These often elusive creatures can be tricky to hunt.

Most hunters will look to gain an advantage on these deer any way they can.

The proper knowledge can gain the hunter a measurable advantage over the whitetail.

Things Hunters Don’t Know About Whitetail Deer
Things Hunters Don’t Know About Whitetail Deer

Things Hunters Don’t Know About Whitetail Deer

Large Antlers are the Result of Three Factors

Large antlers on a whitetail deer are the result of proper diet, genes, and age.

This combination determines how large deer antlers will grow.

Deer Have Good Night Vision

Hunting whitetail deer in the morning is ideal because they are able to see better at night than in the day.

Deer are able to spot shapes at night accurately they may not be able to identify in the daylight easily.

Michigan is Perfect for Whitetail Hunting

Michigan is a hunter’s paradise.

This holds true for the whitetail deer hunter in particular.

Whitetail hunting is so popular there that there is hunting property for sale in Michigan.

Deer Change their Coat during the Season

Deer are able to brave some severe weather conditions.

The thickness and color tend to change with the seasons.

A deer may have a reddish-brown coat during the summertime and have a grayish coat during the winter.

Deer Don’t See Bright Colors Well

Deer perceive many bright colors as shades of gray.

At night time these colors are easier to spot in the nighttime by the deer than in the daylight.

This means that the deer may not be able to see the bright orange colored hunting clothes in the daytime if you are stealthy.

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Deer have a Diverse Diet

Deer are not the pickiest of eaters.

In fact, other than the apparent wild grass that deer consume, deer will also eat leaves, nuts, and acorns.

Adult Deer Have the Same Number of Teeth as Humans

Deer share one fantastic similarity with humans.

Just as adult humans have 32 teeth, mature deer also have 32 teeth.

Deer Feed Predominantly During the Daytime

On similarity that humans and deer do not share in the late dinner time.

Deer are most inclined to consume their meals during the daytime.

Deer Use Their Tails to Send Signals

The tail of the whitetail deer is obviously the reason for its namesake.

However, the tail of the whitetail deer is used to signal to other deer in their surroundings.

Twitching is a common sign that there is no danger to other deer.

Whitetail Deer Live a Long Time in the Wild

Many hunters are curious about the lifespan of deer in the wild.

Deer are able to live a surprising 15 to 25 in the wild.

Doe are actually able to live a bit longer; 20 to 25 years.

Hunting Whitetail Passion

Hunting whitetails is a passion and a labor of love.

Hopefully, these ten tips will offer you the hunter’s advantage.

No matter what type of deer you hunt or where you are, the edge will now belong to you, the hunter.

Portable Air Conditioner – 5 Reasons You will Want

5 Reasons You'll Want a Portable Air Conditioner

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Portable Air Conditioner – Most days, we don’t think about our air conditioner.

Sure, we might relish that first moment of cool air when we step into the house on a hot day.

But most of the time, it hums in the background, keeping us comfortable without us thinking about it.

But when the AC breaks?

Or when you get your electric bill in the mail after a heatwave?

You’ll definitely be giving your unit a second glance.

Most of us rely on either a full-house central air system or a few small window units.

We’re entirely unaware that there is another option… portable AC.

Best portable AC unit

Honeywell Portable Air Conditioner with Dehumidifier & Fan
LG Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control
Black + Decker Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control

Here are five reasons you’re going to want to get a mobile air conditioner today.

Cost Effective Cooling

5 Reasons You'll Want a portable air conditioner
5 Reasons You’ll Want a Portable Air Conditioner

When you flip on your home’s central air conditioner, it cools down the entire house.

Unfortunately, that includes rooms that aren’t being used at that moment.

This can be a huge waste.

Especially if your house has rooms that get warmer than the rest of the home.

If you have an upstairs bedroom with a lot of windows, your air conditioner is going to work hard to get that warm room down to the right temperature.

Even if you’re watching a movie in the basement.

With a mobile air conditioner, you can set the central unit to a higher temperature and bring the mobile unit to the room you’re in.

The mobile unit will cool your room to a comfortable temperature without worrying about the rest of the home.

Meanwhile, your central unit will be using far less energy, helping the environment as well as your electric bill.

Bypass Residential Regulations

If you live in an apartment or a neighborhood with home regulations, a window unit might not be an option.

Some landlords see them as a liability, and some homeowners associations see them as garish and ugly.

You might think that spending thousands of dollars on a central unit is your only option.

But if you’re in an apartment, that’s not even in the realm of possibility.

In this case, a mobile air conditioner is a great option.

You can cool your home without hanging a unit outside the window, so your neighbors and landlords won’t bother you about it.

Cool Down Old Homes

If you live in an old home, there’s a good chance your home was not built with central air conditioning in mind.

You might not even have a ventilation system compatible with a central air system, which makes installation even pricier.

And chances are, your old house might be a little bit drafty.

Your home might not be insulated well enough to cool the whole house efficiently.

Old homes often oddly sized windows as well.

You might not even be able to fit a window air conditioner anywhere in your home.Enter the portable air conditioner.

As long as you have a window large enough for the exhaust house, you can use a portable unit in any room.

And you’re not stuck with one room, either.

Move it into the dining room to keep dinner guests cool.

If you have an attic bedroom that’s constantly sweltering, move it upstairs on a hot day to cool it down before bed.

Many mobile air conditioners also work as dehumidifiers, so if your house gets really damp, a portable AC unit can help immensely.

When Disaster Strikes

As we always say, it’s best to be prepared for a crisis before it comes.

And with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma wreaking havoc on Texas and Florida this year, we’re seeing what can happen if you ignore preparations.

While you probably already have a generator in case of power outages, it’s important to have a backup for your cooling system.

In warm climates like Texas and Florida, heat stroke is a very real possibility.

Power outages pose a more serious threat than losing the food in your freezer: you can lose your life.

Having a portable air conditioner in conjunction with your generator won’t just keep comfortable in a disaster.

It might just save your life.

If you need to evacuate before a storm, bringing a portable cooling unit can also make sure that you have reliable cooling wherever you take shelter from the storm.

Best portable room air conditioner

Make Vacations Comfortable

Whoever said your air conditioner has to stay at home?

If you spend a fair amount of time on the open road in your RV, you might be painfully aware that most RVs don’t have very good cooling units.

Bring your mobile air conditioner in the RV or mobile home to make camping a comfortable, luxurious experience.

You could even put it in a large tent!

Just because you’re “roughing it,” that doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable.

Some of the thing to consider:

What are your power usage/needs

How/where it will vent

How many BTUs?

What is a portable air conditioner?

Indoor air conditioners are also known as mobile or portable air conditioners.

They are small, standalone AC units.

Most often, a mobile air conditioner will be a little bigger than a space heater, and will operate in much the same way.

Good quality portable air conditioners are usually between 8,000 BTU and 10,000 BTU.

They are often used to cool a single room, so they aren’t a good option for someone trying to replace a central cooling unit.

They can be used almost anywhere, provided they have a place to exhaust warm air.

A portable unit is less expensive than a central unit and more versatile than a window unit, which makes it a great option for anyone looking for a little more comfort in their home. Air Conditioning Maintenance

Best portable AC unit

Whether you’re looking for a backup in case of emergency, a serious camper with a taste for luxury, or just trying to cool your home more effectively, a portable air conditioner is the right choice.

These are among the best portable air conditioners:

Top 5 Weather Emergency Radios – Prepare for the Worst

weather emergency radios

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Emergency Radios are important Emergency preparedness is on the top of our minds lately, especially in the aftermath of the latest Hurricanes, wildfires and mudslides.

When a natural disaster strikes, emergency radios can offer multi-use solutions during power outages.

We’ve reviewed the best emergency radios to ensure you will be prepared during severe weather or another catastrophic event.

Top Weather Emergency Radios

Midland ER310 Emergency Weather Radio
Midland ER310 Emergency Weather Radio

I own and recommend Midland ER310 Emergency Weather Radio with Hand Crank

This is the weather radio I personally own.

The Midland ER310 is equipped with a high capacity lithium-ion battery.

The battery will hold a charge for up to 32 hours.

Ways to power Emergency Weather Radio

Emergency Weather Radio Hand crank

Emergency Weather Radio Solar

Emergency Weather Radio USB port???

During a natural disaster, you may find yourself without power for an extended period of time.

To power up the ER310, all you need is one hour of bright sunlight.

The solar panel will allow you to operate the radio for up to 45 minutes on that solar charge.

Another power option is AA batteries.

The ER310 requires six, which are not included.

You can also charge it in a USB port.

The antenna works well, picking up the majority of AM, FM, and NOAA signals.

Midland emergency radios offer an exceptionally bright 130 Lumen Cree LED flashlight.

The high setting provides maximum brightness, but you can switch to low to conserve battery life.

The flashlight also acts as a beacon.

When activated, you can use it to flash an SOS distress signal using Morse code.

If you find yourself in an area that is difficult to get to, the ultrasonic dog whistle can alert search and rescue teams to your location.

This is an incredible feature we hope you’ll never need, but you’ll be glad it’s available if you do.

Midland Weather Radio Best Features

Sustainable power options, including a dynamo hand crank and solar panel

Flashlight beacon

Ultrasonic dog whistle

The Midland ER310 and Midland ER200 are available and rank high on Amazon.

RunningSnail Solar Crank Emergency Weather Radio

The RunningSnail emergency radio is an Amazon #1 best seller for good reason.

The sturdy construction assures a long-lasting product that will even survive a few tumbles.

The 2.1 x 6.2 x 2.9 in radio is worry-free in matters of maintaining a charge and recharging.

With multi-source power capabilities, you’ll always have power, even during power outages.

While power is still available, charge your radio with the external USB.

When the power goes out, recharge with a built-in solar panel or the hand crank.

About one minute of hand cranking provides up to 15 minutes of radio time or 25 minutes of light use.

Have batteries on hand?

Great!

The RunningSnail takes three AAA batteries.

Light up dark spaces with the 1W LED flashlight or focus a strong beam with the zoom function.

RunningSnail weather radio Best Features

Adjustable zoom LED flashlight

IPX3 waterproof level

Flashlight adjusts to a 4 LED reading lamp

The RunningSnail weather radio has a great ratings on Amazon.

Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Emergency Radio

That’s right.

The Kaito KA500 powers in five ways. It:

Accepts AA batteries

Includes a hand crank to charge the internal battery

Features photocells that convert sunlight to power the radio and recharge the internal battery

Has a built-in NiMH battery source*

Charges using an AC power adapter (sold separately)

*Nickel-metal hydride batteries are rechargeable, making this not only a convenient but cost-effective charging method.

The solar panels are designed to tilt to follow the sun’s position in the sky.

This allows the photocells to receive maximum absorption of the sun’s rays.

The AM/FM/NOAA knob is designed with a PLL crystal control circuit.

This allows for superior fine-tuning to receive stable reception from emergency channels.

The flashlight has a super-bright LED light that can switch to a red flashing emergency signal.

This particular Kaito model is available in five different colors: black, blue, green, red, or yellow.

Kaito KA500 5-Way Powered Emergency Radio Best Features

Five ways to power up

Tilting solar panel

USB cable is 24″ long

The Kaito KA500 has the highest Amazon rating for portable emergency radios.

American Red Cross Weather Radio FRX3

The American Red Cross encourages families to always “Be Red Cross Ready,” and they’re helping you out with this handy portable emergency radio.

weather emergency radios
weather emergency radios

The American Red Cross FRX3 offers four power sources.

So regardless of the emergency, this device will constantly have power.

The radio operates with solar power from the built-in panel located in the handle.

The hand turbine powers the radio and the rechargeable batteries, which are included.

It runs on three AAA batteries.

If power is still available, it will receive charge from an electrical outlet via the included USB charger cord.

Similar to other emergency radios, the FRX3 signals emergencies such as hurricanes and other severe weather, when the alert function is engaged.

The device offers a dump-charge feature that enables a quick, healthy charge to smart devices.

An AUX-output allows you to listen to alerts through headphones, or if you need to relax, your own tunes.

American Red Cross Weather Radio Best Features

Multiple sustainable power sources

Dump charging capability

Display has an alarm clock function

The American Red Cross FRX3 great Amazon ratings.

Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Weather Radio

The Kaito Voyager is another emergency weather radio that offers many power source opportunities.

The built-in battery pack features three NiMH rechargeable batteries.

The NiMH batteries can be recharged using the dynamo hand crank and the AC adapter, which is included.

Solar panels are another option for recharging.

The solar panel is a patented design.

The flip-up panel adjusts 180-degrees and powers the radio without needing a battery inserted.

The back-lit digital display not only provides the date and time but temperature and humidity too.

It also has a very convenient station memory program.

There is also a two-alarm clock feature complete with snooze.

A built-in key lock feature disables the radio keys.

This is excellent for preventing battery drain due to accidentally turning on radio features.

The top of the LCD screen shows a key symbol when the key lock is engaged.

Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Weather Radio Best Features

Includes an AC adapter

180-degree adjustable solar panel

Programmable memory for station locations

Customer reviews give the Kaito Voyager high marks on Amazon.

Put Emergency Radios at the Top of Your List

An emergency radio should be on the top of anyone’s list who is at risk of a power outage due to severe weather.

When a radio is your family’s only means of connecting with the outside world, you want a quality one that will do the job it was intended to perform.

Don’t wait for an emergency to realize how important it is to have a reliable source of communication and emergency lighting, and a rocket stove.

To stay up-to-date on surviving weather threats, as well as helpful tips and advice on rural living, subscribe to our mailing list.

And if you’ve ever considered an off-grid lifestyle, check out our DIY solar generator. It’s surprisingly simple and cost-effective!

Essential Hurricane Supplies to Prepare to Be Ready

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If the recent string of damaging hurricanes has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to be prepared with hurricane supplies.

Hurricanes can cause flooding, power outages, and damage from high winds.

You need to protect yourself, secure your home, and prepare to stay put for days or weeks without the convenience of electricity.

Good: Champion 2,000 watt Portable Generator
Better: Yamaha EF2000is Portable Generator
Best: Honda EU2000i 2000 Watt Portable Generator

Must-have hurricane supplies

Being prepared for a natural disaster will give you something priceless: peace of mind.

Start now twith these hurricane supplies and products.

You will be ready no matter when a hurricane occurs.

Go bag

When it comes to natural disasters like hurricanes, you must heed the warnings of government officials.

If they say you must evacuate, it could truly be a matter of survival, so be sure to follow evacuation orders and instructions so you can get to safety.

That will be faster and easier to do if you have a “go bag” ready for each member of your household.

The bag itself should be a sturdy, waterproof backpack.

Backpacks should include a flashlight, clean water and/or an emergency water purifier, a first aid kit, food bars, batteries or a portable device charger, and a change of clothes.

It’s also a good idea to include copies of important legal documents such as identification.

If you or your family requires medication, put a supply in your go bag.

Also, make sure to fill your gas tank when you learn about an approaching storm.

That way, you will be prepared to leave town should there be an evacuation.

Surviving in your home without power

In addition to your go bag, you should have some hurricane supplies stocked up to survive waiting out the storm at home during a blackout.

You should keep the following survival items on hand:

First aid kit

Flashlight and emergency lighting

Portable charger for your smart phone: Once a luxury, these are now almost essential.

Battery-operated or hand crank radio Many models are solar too.

Manual can opener

Lighter or matches

Portable generator: This is a great-to-have option.

When you buy a portable generator, you can use it at home or take it with you should you need to evacuate.

Plan for a five-day supply for each member of the family for these emergency supplies:

Non-perishable food

Water

Personal hygiene items

Wet wipes

Batteries

And, if they apply to you:

Baby supplies (i.e. diapers, formula)

Pet food

Additionally, books, a deck of cards, or other non-electronic recreational items will help you stay sane and avoid cabin fever.

This will be especially important if you have children.

How to prepare for an emergency

hurricane supplies disaster kit
hurricane supplies

There are several things you should do when you learn about an upcoming power outage:

A power outage could mean that you may not have running water in addition to power.

For this reason, fill up the bathtub and other containers with water while you still have it running.

This can be used for washing and flushing and can make a big difference in the comfort of your survival.

Cook your perishable food and while you still have power and freeze it.

That way, you’ll have the option of eating it as it thaws if the freezer goes out.

You can also repurpose some common appliances during a power outage:

Washing Machine

Since it already has a built-in drain, you can use your washing machine as a cooler by filling it with ice or frozen water bottles.

Dishwasher

Store things you need to keep dry, such as important documents, photographs, or a stack of extra cash, in the dishwasher.

It is sealed off extremely well and will stand up to the pressure of external water.

For extra measure, it’s a good idea to seal off whatever you put in the dishwasher in a freezer bag.

Securing your home

Of course, at the first mention of an approaching hurricane, you should start securing your home.

Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, and decor that could be picked up by wind gusts and cause serious damage.

If you have a pool, drain it by only one to two feet and leave it uncovered.

Wind gusts could get so high that they collapse the pool or lift it from the foundation if it is not properly weighted down by water.

The cover will stand no chance against flying tree branches and high winds, and it could easily fly away and cause damage itself.

Doors and windows

The high winds that come with hurricanes can blow out windows, inviting dangerous wind and rain into your home, so it is important to secure them as much as possible.

The best defense against a hurricane comes from storm shutters which are installed permanently and can be easily rolled down to protect all vulnerable doors and windows.

To properly secure a window without storm shutters, you’ll need to gather plywood that is at least 5/8 inches thick and 8 inches larger than the window or door frame on each side.

Anchor the plywood with heavy-duty screws to the walls of the home, not to the window frame or door frame.

High winds could compromise the frame itself, not just the glass.

This option is effective and inexpensive.

If you have the supplies on hand before the hardware store sells out during a storm, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.

You can also get hurricane film, which protects glass from shattering.

While this won’t help from the entire window being blown out, it will protect you from shattered glass, so it’s a good additional precaution.

Garage door

You’ll also need to reinforce your garage door, which can be particularly vulnerable during a hurricane.

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you should definitely make sure that your garage door is at least 14-gauge weight and is securely mounted.

Additionally, you can strengthen your garage door with both vertical and horizontal 2 by 4 boards.

Anchor these to the walls surrounding the garage door with heavy duty screws.

Preparing for a hurricane is much easier to do when you don’t have the pressure of an imminent threat.

Keeping hurricane supplies like these around can be a game changer in both your comfort and your survival should a tropical storm head your way.

Want more preparation tips?

Check out our article on preparing for a food crisis next.

It’s a good idea to always have a well-stocked hurricane supplies stash so that you’ll be ready to weather the storm.

Read on to find out what is recommended to keep on hand.

Are We Safer in the City or the Country?

I am looking out my farm office window and watching it snow.

It is peaceful and I feel secure.

Throughout this winter,  I have continued our planning for the spring and summer.

I’m pretty jazzed about all that will be coming our way.

Another thing I do, though, is follow the global economic markets.

I no longer accept the media bias or the bogus economic statistics that say we are all fed every day.

Everything is NOT OK and there are things that are just not right happening all around us.

I am now more than a little concerned about the state of affairs affecting our nation.

Our family is working hard at developing our farm, yet there is now a new urgency in doing so.

While no one—especially economists–knows that will be happening in the coming months and years, one thing is clear in my mind.

Our country is now heading down a path which will lead to a very difficult time for us.

Those of you who have even remotely considered that things aren’t all they seem to be:

Let me encourage you to think about your own situation.

Should you, like many of us, prepare yourselves for some hard times ahead?

There are many resources with ideas how to do this.

But it is a very personal process that must be done in light of what you think might be happening in the future and how it will affect you.

I personally think that the economic system is in a time of transformation, and that things ultimately will be getting violent.

I believe life will be most difficult for those in the city.

But for many, the writing on the wall will go unheeded.

When I ask myself why many refuse to look deeper into what is really going on, I remember a condition that is commonly called the “normalcy bias.”

If you Google this, you’ll see that there is a vast store of information about it.

Essentially the normalcy bias is a mental state people have when facing or evaluating a potential disaster or pending danger.

It causes a vast underestimation of the likelihood of a catastrophe actually happening and the potential consequences of such an event.

It is the deer in the headlights refusing to move.

normalcy bias dark storm clouds
normalcy bias dark storm clouds

Normalcy Bias

The normalcy bias explains why the Jews refused to leave Germany even in light of evidence of the holocaust already occurring and major signs of pending danger.

It explains why many people on the Titanic, even while it was sinking, refused to believe that it could ever sink.

Passengers were slow to enter life boats, as that itself would be an acknowledgement that indeed the Titanic was going to sink.

It explains why so many in New Orleans stayed in their homes even with the notification that Hurricane Katrina was on its way and urges to evacuate.

They couldn’t believe it would be that bad.

It also explains why so many today choose to put their heads in the sand, believing that economic catastrophe could never happen in America.

This even as Europe is on the brink and there is no question the U.S. is truly connected at the hip to Europe economically and socially.

I hope I am wrong, but I believe that a total upheaval of our global economic system will be happening.

As I talk to folks who have concerns about the future, the conversation inevitably leads to the question of whether they should move to a rural setting in preparation.

My consistent answer is YES, but I also believe that it isn’t for everyone.

No place is perfect, and there are challenges everywhere.
garden veggies asst
So each person or family should make their decisions based on their own set of circumstances, beliefs, and information research.

In this regard I highly recommend that you do consider it.

Granted, it does take time and energy to read and evaluate information.

There are many resources for this on the internet.

Some are very skewed one way or another, but one that I have found to be pretty balanced and full of information is Preparing Your Family.

It’s a site that is helpful regardless of where you live–and it’s very practical.

After living almost our entire lives in the city and suburbs, we can say that our ranch is now our real home.

For some of you the city may remain home for various reasons.

But I would encourage you all to investigate the reality of the benefits a more independent and self-sufficient rural lifestyle will offer in the coming years.

We consider ourselves blessed.

Best Emergency Lighting for a Power Outage: What to Buy

Emergency Lighting

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Emergency Lighting – You’re more likely to encounter a power outage now than ever before.

With the increase and severity of natural disasters, it’s time to be prepared.

Emergency lighting is essential along with an Weather Emergency Radio.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is affordable.

And technology is making smaller and more efficient lighting options which don’t rely on costly disposable batteries to operate.

Best small solar light
Longest lasting
Best solar lantern
Overall best rechargable
Favorite headlamp
Best flashlight

The new emergency lights on the market are easy to store and practical to use.

After reading hundreds of Amazon reviews, these are the best emergency lights.

Luci Inflatable Solar Light

The Luci Inflatable Solar Light is one of the best options when it comes to emergency lighting.

It’s an extremely durable solar LED lantern that only requires sun to operate.

With seven hours in the sun, the Luci will stay lit for twelve hours on a single charge.

The Luci is collapsible, lightweight (4.4 ounces), and entirely waterproof with an IP67 rating.

It’s an extremely versatile light that can help you get through hours of darkness.

It can also serve as a camping, patio, or barbeque light.

It comes with 10 powerful white LEDs that shine in three different settings: bright, super bright, and flash mode.

You’ll always know exactly how much charge is left in the light with the charge indicator so you know exactly when you’ll need a recharge.

It comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

This light offers everything you want in a lighting source.

It provides up to 200 hours of light from one charge.

This is practically unheard of and essential in an emergency.

This is the light to have to prepare for hurricanes and tornadoes.

There are low, medium and high light settings.

Other features which make it great for emergencies are the SOS beacon light and the red hazard flashing features.

Another awesome bonus is you can charge your cell phone with it.

It charges with a rechargeable lithium ion battery (included).

You can also charge it with a USB.

What’s great is you won’t waste money on costly disposable batteries.

Amazon reviewers loved bringing this light camping and hiking.

It’s light and portable at just 1.3 pounds.

It’s also water resistant.

It has a two year warranty.

You will want to use this light for a lot more than just emergencies.

Bigfoot Outdoor Compact Solar Camping Lantern

Be prepared!

This compact solar camping lantern and flashlight isn’t only great for camping, hiking, and trekking, it’s great for use as an emergency light.

It’s also an incredibly affordable option.

The light has three lighting modes: high, low, and SOS.

Let anyone know you’re in trouble with the SOS option as it will send out a lighting pattern that rescuers will recognize.

You can charge the light with solar power or with the USB.

One charge provides 10 hours of light.

This light is compact.

You can put multiple lights in your basement and one in your car for roadside emergencies too.

Something special about this camping lantern is you can charge your phone in the USB port.

This is a great feature to have as an emergency, when camping, etc.

You wouldn’t want to rely on it to charge your phone from 0%, but it’s nice to keep it from dying out.

We just love the solar feature of this light.

You can leave it out during the day so you can use it each night.

GRDE Zoomable 3 Modes Headlamp

This headlamp comes with rechargeable batteries, a car charger, wall charger, and a USB cable.

That makes for a plethora of recharge options when it comes to emergency lighting.

Best emergency lights

With a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours, this headlamp will get you through multiple emergency situations.

It has brightness capabilities of up to 1800 lumens.

With a 3-in-1 multi-function capability, you can use this headlamp in a variety of ways.

Depending on the situation, you can use the lamp on your head, around your waist, or set it on down to light a room.

It’s zoomable, adjustable, and extremely durable.

The lamp also has three different modes: low, mid, and strobe.

This is a highly portable light source that you will likely find many uses for even outside of emergencies.

It’s great to take camping, running, hiking and more.

Eastshien Professional Tactical Flashlight

This compact flashlight will provide great lighting in an emergency.

It is 1,000 lumens.

You can use the rechargable batteries or charge it with the USB. According to Amazon reviews, this is the flashlight of choice for military and law enforcement professionals.

It will be great to take with you on camping trips.

You can charge it up in your car.

You will be surprised at how robust this flashlight is, and how light too… just 4.8 ounces.

Coleman Northstar Propane Lantern

If the sun isn’t going to be coming around for some time to recharge your solar operated emergency lighting, then kick it old school with a propane lantern.

This reliable option is a lamp that sits on top of a small propane tank.

No power outage can take your propane away.

This leaves you with a solid option for light.

The Coleman Northstar Propane Lantern is a great choice.

It will generate light for long periods of time, has adjustable brightness levels (up to 1543 lumens), and is easy to use.

You will find multiple uses for this, not just for emergency preparedness.

It’s sturdy, easy-to-use and practical to take camping.

This Coleman propane lantern comes with a case which keeps it together, protected and organized.

Note: Propane lanterns do require very specific sizes based on brand, so pre-purchase a supply of propane that will last you for weeks.

These lamps can also come in handy during a winter power outage or summer storm.

Serenga 2 for emergency lighting

These emergency lighting lamps can be placed in your ceiling at heights of up to twelve meters.

They have a futuristic design that offers a high degree of operational reliability and can distribute light throughout large rooms and corridors.

The lights can light up stairwells and will guide you to safety.

The minute the power goes out, these lights are designed to immediately switch to the battery powered built-in support system.

You don’t have to forgo design in your business or home just to have emergency lighting options with the Serenga 2.

It’s important to consider a backup power generator for outages as well.

Parrotuncle emergency light

This light can serve as both an emergency light and a handy, powerful lantern for camping trips.

It’s a portable LED lantern that requires batteries for use.

A single bulb in the lantern provides up to 100,000 hours of light.

The Parrotuncle is also adjustable for various lighting levels during your emergency.

Konig Rechargeable LED

The Konig rechargeable light has 13 LED emitters and a built-in rechargeable lithium battery.

Make sure the battery is always charged in case of an emergency, and this light can be an effective and efficient source of light during an outage.

It provides 5 hours of continuous light.

Best emergency lighting

Power outages are inevitable, so have these go-to lights the next time you are without power.

With high percentages of power outages happening, it’s important to be prepared for one.

There are certain things you can do to prepare for a power outage.

Buy several, and keep them in an easy-to-access cabinet or your emergency preparedness box so you will have them when you need them.

The last thing you want to do is to have to rummage around for them in the dark.

Prepare for a power outage with emergency lighting

Emergency preparedness is a necessity.

A healthy supply of food storage, as well as emergency lighting, is important for optimal preparedness.

It’s very important to be prepared for a power outage.

Having proper lighting will calm your animals during an emergency situation too.

Having lighting is one of the most basic and easiest things to do.

Unfortunately, natural disasters and epidemics are on the rise.

10 Things to Do to Prepare for a Power Outage Hacks

power outage

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Power outage – Despite predictions, it can be impossible to know the damage a natural disaster will cause until it has already hit.

This is especially true with power outages.

In the case of the recent hurricanes, millions of people were left without power and no sense of when they would get it back.

We’ve outlined 10 things to do to prepare for a power outage.

Being prepared will help keep you as calm and safe as possible if you do lose power in your home and along with an Weather Emergency Radio.

Put together a power outage emergency kit

When the lights go out, the last thing you want is to be scrambling for supplies.

It can be dangerous to reach into drawers or shuffle through closets when you can’t see what’s in there.

While you do have power, assemble everything you might need in one container.

A plastic storage box or duffel bag would be a good option.

Put the kit in a location that’s easy to access so you won’t have to shuffle through things to find it when you need it.

It’s most likely best to have this on the main level of your home so you can hopefully avoid stairs.

Everyone in the house should know where it is, so the person nearest to it can retrieve it and be a better position to safely help others.

Buy an emergency weather radio

There are excellent options for emergency weather radios. Many operate with solar power or with a hand crank.

What’s great is they won’t drain your batteries or require a generator to operate.

Invest in one and keep it in your power outage emergency box.

They are portable so you can take it with you should you ever need to evacuate along with an Top 5 Weather Emergency Radio.

Have flashlights and batteries for everyone

Read our emergency lighting reviews.

There are excellent choices available that you will likely find many uses for in your everyday life, not just emergencies.

power outage
power outage

Inevitably, the first thing everyone asks for when the lights go out is a flashlight.

Having one will make everyone feel instantly safer and calmer, regardless of if the power outage is likely to last for days or just a couple of hours.

It provides a sense of security to have some control over even the smallest amount of light.

When you’re putting together your emergency kit, you could account for one flashlight for every member of your family.

It may be more than you need, but each person being able to hold on to their own could make a difference in their feeling of safety.

Also be sure to include several packages of the right kinds of batteries.

You may also consider a solar lantern to brighten up your evening, especially if you want to read or play games with your family.

Be able to purify water

There are so many options available now to purify water.

Even if you have enough water in storage, it’s a good idea to purchase a LifeStraw or other way, such as tablets.

This is different than a water filtration system.

Buy a food thermometer

You may already have a food thermometer in your kitchen.

If not, it’s worth purchasing one for use during an emergency.

When the power goes out, you should try to avoid going into your refrigerator as much as possible.

If you’re only without electricity for a short time, your food may be safe to eat when the lights come back on.

A food thermometer will allow you to test the internal temperature of any perishable food that was in your fridge or freezer during an outage.

If you’re unsure if something is still safe to eat, the internal temperature will let you know.

Stock up on non-perishable food and water

The moment you hear a big storm could be heading for your area you should check on your supply of bottled water and non-perishable foods.

Avoid the crowded stores and empty shelves by taking the forecasts seriously and shop early.

For water, a good rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.

If you have children, stock up on their favorite non-perishable foods.

You may want to have a small stash of their favorite cereals, dried fruit and other treats.

If the storm turns out better than expected or doesn’t impact your area as much, you should be able to return unopened items to the store.

Or, if your budget allows, keep them.

Start a small area in your home where you can begin storing an emergency food supply.

You can buy foods you enjoy regularly and work your way through them, replenishing as necessary.

In this way, you will always be prepared.

Be prepared to cook

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to heat up some of those canned food items you bought?

You can enjoy warm foods during a power outage with a solar oven or rocket stove.

Boil water for pasta or mac and cheese using an eco stove.

Enjoy warm soups and vegetables that you heat up in your solar oven.

You may find lots of recreational uses for your rocket stove even when there isn’t a emergency, such as camping, scouting, etc.

Buy a portable generator

Having a backup power source is a smart investment, particularly if you live in an area of the country that is affected by hurricanes.

Purchasing a portable generator will allow you to keep electronics running even after you lose your main power sources.

There are a wide variety of models available depending on functionality preferences and budget.

Portable generators today are quieter and lighter so that you can use them camping and for other uses too.

In the event that an extreme power outage does occur, it will become your most valuable possession.

Get together and stay together

There’s no telling where in your home you’ll be during the exact moment the power goes out.

But if at all possible, everyone should gather together in one room.

This includes your pets.

This will make it easier to share the supplies, like water and flashlights, you’ve stored in your emergency kit.

If you lose power during the winter, being closer together will also produce more body heat to keep everyone warmer.

Think about what the safest room in your house is given the particular natural disaster you’re experiencing.

If things suddenly get worse, and you need to evacuate, you’ll be in the best position to do so.

You’ll have everyone accounted for.

Have activities

During any power outage, the first concern is for everyone’s safety.

Once that is secured, boredom can quickly set in and make everyone feel a little less calm.

This is especially true during a power outage caused by a routine thunderstorm, or one that has the potential to last for days.

Along with the emergency supplies you’ve prepared, include some easy, fun activities to pass the time.

This could include word games and puzzles or books and magazines.

Especially if you have younger kids, keeping everyone occupied will distract them.

Kids may enjoy snuggling with a stuffed animal.

Having something routine to pay attention to will make everyone feel safer.

The time until the lights come back will go by much faster, and the experience won’t seem quite as scary.

Prepare for a power outage

It’s not just powerful hurricanes that leave us in the dark.

Strong thunderstorms and downed power lines can cause homes to lose electricity at any time.

Whether or not you live in a natural disaster zone, it’s important you and your family need to know what to do if a power outage occurs.

You want to be prepared before it happens so that you don’t panic.

Now is the time to prepare for a power outage.

Doing so will enable to you plan and budget.

You can shop for sales on nonperishable items.

You can start creating an area to store your emergency kit and your water and food.

Storms and natural disasters can come when you least expect them to.

That’s why it is so important to prepare as much as possible for a power outage… before the lights go out.

Best Rocket Stove Review – EcoZoom Versa vs. Stovetec Big Foot vs. Kelly Kettle Ultimate

EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove

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Rocket Stove Review – We invested in a solar oven for emergency preparedness but wanted a portable stove as well.

These rocket stoves don’t rely on propane.

We tried the popular models and liked three rocket stoves.

These stoves work for camping enthusiasts, backpackers, preppers, and survivalists.

FireFly Lantern Cookstove – rocket stove

If you’re looking for a way to make your camping and backpacking adventures more streamlined and efficient, then you’ve got to take a look at the FireFly Lantern rocket stove.

There are many reasons to love this relatively new product from Oregon-based StoveTec.

FireFly Lantern Cook stove rocket stove

This innovative product isn’t just a lantern that makes it easier to see at night in your campsite.

It’s also an efficient cook stove.

Just as attractive, this rocket stove easily breaks down into its component parts so that it can be conveniently and efficiently transported.

The idea behind this dual-purpose rocket stove product is great.

It’s perfectly sized to sit on a tabletop where it can shine a bright light on the entire surface.

This makes it possible to do meal prep work even while you’ve got water boiling on the cook stove.

How Does the FireFly Cook stove Work?

The FireFly Lantern is made up of several components.

These include a sturdy base that provides plenty of support.

The lantern is largely made of stainless steel, ensuring years of trouble-free use.

Included components are a combustion chamber, a stove unit and a lantern unit that features a removable glass cylinder.

It only takes a few minutes to set up the lantern and get it going.

All you need is about three cups of clean-burning pellet fuel.

This fuel will last about 45 minutes, easily long enough to complete a meal or read a few chapters in your favorite book.

One of the best features of the FireFly Lantern Cookstove is that it’s so clean burning.

The wood pellets leave virtually no ash behind, so cleanup is a snap.

Wood pellets are small and light, making them easy to take with you wherever you go.

Moreover, all of the components that make up this combination lantern and stove can be nested together for efficient transport.

When set up for use, this lantern and stove is 11 inches tall with a diameter of four and three-quarter inches.

When nested, the lantern is just six and one-quarter inches tall.

At four pounds, this is an easy and convenient tool to add to your backpacking gear.

It takes just 10 minutes to boil a half liter of water on the cookstove top.

That’s because the FireFly stove is an efficient Top Lit Up Draft, or TLUD, cookstove.

Whether you need a little illumination or to cook some breakfast, the FireFly Lantern can do it all with ease.

EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove

Our favorite stove is the EcoZoom Versa.

This rocket stove has proven to be a great cooking alternative for camping and emergency preparedness at home.

What fuel does the EcoZoom Stove use

  • Wood
  • Charcoal
  • Dried biomass fuel

The hinged doors enable a seamless conversion to charcoal from wood fuels.

EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove
EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove

EcoZoom Stove  info

It weighs 14.25 pounds, making it doable for camping trips and other outdoor adventures.

It’s a fairly streamlined unit and easy to manage.

Measurements: 9.5″ tall with a diameter of 11.2″

EcoZoom’s combustion chamber

The biggest plus of EcoZoom Rocket Stove is its durable and abrasion resistant ceramic combustion chamber.

The chamber’s vertical section has a diameter of 10 cm, which allows the flame and the released gases to blend well with each other and thereby prevent harmful emissions.

Another highlight of the Versa is the refractory metal lining inside its combustion chamber.

This feature will:

Keep the chamber’s ceramic insulation protected

Enhance its combustion efficiency

Allow the stove to last for years.

EcoZoom makes all its products undergo strict tests for safety.

Both the main door of the unit’s combustion chamber and the damper (bottom) door come equipped with reinforced metal casing.

Besides ensuring that the doors are secured closely, the hinges also play vital roles in regulating airflow.

I like Versa’s three-pronged, reformulated stove top.

It’s made out of cast iron and offers easy heat transfer irrespective of the kind of pot you are using.

Most videos I found showed people using the Versa with a flat bottomed pan.

However, I found using a round bottom pan on this stove works equally well.

When well-fueled, you can use the stove as a water bath canner which can be great for homesteading.

EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove is very portable

There’s a sturdy stainless steel handle which makes it easy to carry.

It has a silicone grip so the handle remains cool even if the stove turns extremely hot.

It’s easy to carry on its own, and even more so with the EcoZoom Stove Carrier Bag.

However, you have to buy this bag separately.

It’s a nice way to protect the stove when you’re not using it.

There is a one-year warranty.

EcoZoom Dura

We didn’t test out the EcoZoom Dura rocket stove though it receives good reviews.

It is a tad less expensive than the EcoZoom Versa.

Stovetec Big Foot Deluxe
Stovetec Big Foot Deluxe

Stovetec Big Foot Deluxe Multi Fuel Cookstove

We enjoy using the Big Foot Deluxe rocket stove from Stovetec.

Fuel to use in Big Foot Deluxe Stove

Wood (sticks)

Charcoal

Big Foot Stove Product info

22 pounds

Measures 17″ tall and 15″ in diameter

This stove is heavier and larger than the Versa but it was compact and fairly easy to carry.

I carried it from my parking spot to a faraway campground.

However, if I had one of those foldable, collapsible wagons (my next purchase!) it would have been a cinch!

Stovetec Big Foot’s combustion chamber

The most prominent feature of the Big Foot Deluxe is its kiln-fired, rugged combustion chamber.

It is ceramic.

The chamber comes equipped with an intelligently designed internal chimney.

Like the EcoZoom Versa, this stove also forces the gases/smoke to blend well with the flame ensuring that there’s no harmful emission.

You can easily fry, boil or simmer foods.

The combustion chamber in the Stovetec unit carries a durable metal alloy liner.

This feature of the stove increases its life.

It’s simple to clean as well.

Stovetec Deluxe’s Rocket Stove doors

Another feature that common both in the EcoZoom Versa and the Stovetec Deluxe is that both their doors (the door leading to the combustion chamber and the damper door) carry reinforced metal casings.

The smooth hinges added to the doors, on the other hand, ensure that optimum airflow gets regulated when the stove is in use.

Guide to Berkey Water Filter – Review and Tips

You can also use this on a tabletop if it’s heatproof.

Kelly Kettle Ultimate Base Camp Kit
Kelly Kettle Ultimate Base Camp Kit

Kelly Kettle Ultimate Base Camp Kit

This unit is perfect for scout events, family picnics, and car camping. It’s also a top pick among survivalists.

The kettle takes just a few minutes to boil water and will enable you to cook small meals at campsites very easy.

Fuels to use in the Kelly Kettle stove – Twigs

Unlike the two products, reviewed above, this one only uses twigs as fuel.

4.95 pounds with everything

It’s so easy to take with you, wherever you are going, including hiking and backpacking.

Older scouts would find this easy to tote and easy and safe to use.

The build and appearance of the Kelly Kettle is also significantly different from the Versa and the Big Foot Deluxe.

The Kelly Kettle is made entirely of stainless steel.

It’s super easy to clean.

The best feature is that it uses a small amount of fuel.

Two other highlights of the product are its orange stopper (it seals the kettle’s water opening) and carry handle.

How to use the Kelly Kettle

The bigger opening of the two allows steam/air to escape.

The second opening allows the water to enter a secret tank.

The tank can hold six cups (or 50 ounces) of water.

The Kelly Kettle is located on top of a bowl (also made of stainless steel), which has a tiny hole on its side.

You’ll have to place a few twigs inside that hole and light the fire.

That’s it; you are now ready to go.

Kelly Kettle Ultimate Base Camp Kit includes:

2 stainless steel cups

Plate set

Hobo stove

Pot supporting braces

Cook set pot

Carry/storage bag

The braces fit the opening snuggly and are capable of holding a medium sized pot (a pot capable of holding four cups of water) comfortably.

Emergency preparedness stoves, Rocket Stove and camping stoves

So which of these portable rocket stove is best?

We are partial to EcoZoom’s Versa as it’s the most versatile.

We also love EcoZoom’s focus to help people in developing nations.

It’s a quality stove that is drastically changing people’s lives abroad.

However, if you are looking for something extremely light and portable, you will be happy with the Kelly Kettle.

Any of these rocket stoves will do the job for your disaster survival kit.

These are great to have for when there is a power outage as well.

Read our review of our beloved American Sun Oven

Advantages of Using a Solar Oven

There are so many reasons to use a Sun Oven / solar oven.

It’s great for camping, off-the-grid living, and being more eco-friendly in daily activities.

We wanted to try a top-rated solar oven and chose All-American Sun Oven, arguably the best solar sun oven today.

It’s easy, portable and convenient to use.

We absolutely love it.

Here’s our All American Sun Oven review.

All American Sun Oven review ~ Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package

This sun oven is a one and done type of product:

You buy it and that’s it.

You don’t need to buy anything else to use it.

All American Sun Oven Review
All American Sun Oven Review

We have been using the All American Sun Oven with Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package.

This is the deluxe model and comes with everything you need to cook and bake.

Here’s what’s included:

All American Sun Oven

Two 3-quart pots which stack; one glass lid and one enamel lid

Two Baker’s Secret loaf pans for bread, cake, meatloaf, etc.

Multi-level dehydrating and baking rack set (3 racks)

Earth-friendly parchment paper (70 square feet)

Water pasteurizing indicator

Two stakes to keep it mounted in the wind

CD with recipes, instructions, tips, etc.

Sun Oven with Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package
Sun Oven with Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package

All American Sun Oven ships their sun ovens for free in the contiguous US, which is fantastic.

All American Sun Oven 3-quart pots
All American Sun Oven 3-quart pots

This sun oven is a unique product and one that is practical and fun to use too.

All you need is the energy from the sun.

All American Sun Oven Baker's Secret Loaf Pans
All American Sun Oven Baker’s Secret Loaf Pans

Where can I use a solar oven?

You can use a sun oven anywhere you have access to sun.

Out and about: Camping, boating, picnics

At home: Use for recreation, off-the-grid living, when power is out, to be more eco-friendly, to keep kitchen cool in the summer; fun with family

Educational events: school, scouts, science and STEM activities

Advantages of a Sun Oven

There are many benefits and advantages of using the All American Sun Oven.

Here’s what we like about it:

Boil, bake, steam, dehydrate, and slow cook in it

Cook meat, casseroles, vegetables, desserts, breads, rice and more

Reaches temperatures between 360 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Easy to set up and put away

Safe to use — just need oven mitts

Portable and easy to store

Folds easily

Easy to carry with the handle

22 pounds

Can be used anywhere

Glass door so you can see into the oven without opening it

Great to use when there’s a power outage

You don’t need to use your conventional gas or electric oven and heat up your kitchen on hot days

Eco-friendly using solar power

Boil or pasteurize water (Guide to Berkey Water Filter)

Can use when there is a fire ban

You won’t burn or overcook your food

You can cook more than one thing at a time with the racks

No danger of fire

Wind resistant: contains ground stakes and alignment legs

All American Sun Ovens made in America

The All American Sun Oven is made in America with all of the component parts also made in the USA (except for the thermometer).

https://youtu.be/VcDAJV73yfU 

How much sun do you need to use a sun oven?

The sun oven works best on clear and sunny days.

A bit of cloud cover will slow down the cooking but doesn’t stop the cooking. You can use this whenever you have sun.

How do you know if the sun oven is positioned correctly in the sun?

There are two sun tracker indicators on the sun oven.

They aren’t electronic; you simply look through the top opening/hole to make sure there is a round dot centered over the bottom hole.

sun shining through indicator light
sun shining through indicator light

In addition to placing your sun oven in the proper sunlight, you can further modify it by using the built-in alignment leg on the back of the oven.

You can easily adjust it, raising it up or down to maximize sun exposure.

What if I’m not home to turn the sun oven toward the sun?

You can set your food in sun oven in the morning and head to work without worrying.

It works like a crock pot in that way.

Simply focus your sun oven for the mid-day sun, and it will cook while you are gone, keeping the food warm for when you are ready to eat.

How fast does the sun oven heat up?

Like a conventional oven, you should preheat the sun oven before cooking your food. In strong sun, the oven will typically reach 300 degrees in about 20 minutes.

How long does it take to cook in a sun oven?

It takes about the same amount of time to cook something in the sun oven, assuming your oven was preheated and in the full sun for the duration of the cooking.

Add 15 minutes to the cooking time whenever you open the glass door.

What’s great is that you can leave the food in longer and not worry about it drying out or burning.

How do I clean the sun oven?

Cleaning a new sun oven

When you first get the sun oven, you need to set three cups of vinegar in a bowl and leave it in the sun oven for 90 minutes.

Then wipe down the inside of the oven with the (hot) vinegar, being sure to wipe the sides and the glass door.

Ongoing cleaning for sun oven

The All American Sun Oven is easy to care for.

Simply wipe the interior with a dry cloth, eliminating any moisture from the oven.

Occasionally, you need to wipe the reflector material and glass to keep it clean so the oven will heat properly.

When you store it, do not latch the door closed.

Why is it better to cook in a sun oven?

We love that you can use it anywhere and it’s environmentally-friendly.

Here’s what else is unique about using the All American Sun Oven.

Foods won’t burn or overcook in sun oven

You won’t need to stir the foods after they are put in the solar oven.

Also, they won’t burn or dry out like with conventional ovens.

Foods stay moist

Foods retain their natural flavors, without baking out.

There is less shrinkage as well.

Less liquid required

When cooked in covered pans, recipes will use less water than in a conventional oven.

This will be true for sauces, rices and stews.

For baking, follow the usual directions with liquids.

It’s portable

At just 22 pounds, the All American Sun Oven folds up easily.

It’s easy to carry with the handle.

There is a easy-to-use strap which secures the reflectors.

For all it does, it is fairly small which makes it easy to travel with and easy to store.

Look cooking outdoors?

Learn about rocket stoves, also known as eco stoves.

Sun Oven measurements

Closed: 22″ x 19.5″ x 13.5″ (at it’s highest point)

Open: 29″ x 29″ x 28″ (at its highest point)

Before you use the All American Sun Oven

You will be excited to use your sun oven as soon as you get it, but reserve some time to clean everything first.

Here’s what you need to do.

Once you take everything out of the box.

Place your All American Sun Oven in the shade and take your time taking the plastic off the reflectors.

Be careful to get it all off, especially around the screws.

It took about five minutes for me to get all the plastic off.

Sun oven with protective plastic

Sun oven with protective plastic

Use a screwdriver to loosen the latches so you will be able to seal the oven door.

Place your sun oven in full sun, making sure to check the indicators for proper alignment.

Put three cups of vinegar in an open bowl in the sun oven.

Latch the door.

Leave the vinegar for 90 minutes to clean the oven.
Cleaning Sun Oven with Vineger

Cleaning Sun Oven with Vinegar

Wash out the pots, racks, and pans it comes with.

After 90 minutes, use oven mitts to remove the vinegar.

Take a towel and use the hot vinegar to wipe down the inside of the oven, including the glass from the inside.

Tips for using the sun oven

Be sure to wear sunglasses at all times.

The sun oven’s reflectors will be magnifying the sun.

It will be intense.

Always use oven mitts when cooking or baking in the sun oven.

I have and love these, and they worked great with the sun oven.

Always preheat the sun oven before use.

Plan ahead and have the solar oven in full sun to maximize cooking time if you will be in a rush to eat.

Use lightweight black or dark colored pans for best results.

If you need a lid, using Pyrex works the best.

Be sure to use the leveling rack; don’t set pots and pans on the oven floor.

Know that some food may take longer to cook than usual if there is cloud cover or if the sun oven isn’t aligned to get full sun.

Latch the glass oven door in both places.

When you open the oven door, you need to add 10 – 15 minutes to the cook time.

Solar cooking recipes

If you go to their website, you can find lots of recipes to cook and bake your favorite foods.

Cooking and baking in the All American Sun Oven

We were excited to try out this solar oven.

It was easy and fun to use.

We used it in our backyard and at a picnic (to show our family and friends) at a nearby park.

Everything we made turned out very well.

So far, we made the following, in this order:

Brownies

Rice

Chicken with vegetables

Hot dogs

Casserole with potatoes, cheese, onions, sausage, milk

Baking brownies in the sun oven

The first thing we tried was the brownies.

I used a glass pan even though the directions explained to use the darker pan — I read this afterwards — but they still turned out wonderfully.

My son said the brownies were “the best he’s tasted in his life,” even though we always buy the exact same mix!

I do agree that they did taste MUCH better in the sun oven.

They were moist and baked perfectly through.

I baked them in an 8″ x 8″ pan which was great for thick brownies.

If I owned a 9″ x 9″ I would have used that instead though, just personal preference.

Making rice in the sun oven

I was trying to think of something easy to bring on a camping trip so I decided on rice; however, I did make it in my backyard.

The All American Sun Oven comes with two 3-quart pots so I put the rice in one of them.

I choose the glass lid so I could see right through the oven door and into the food to check on it.

Cooking Rice in Sun Oven
Cooking Rice in Sun Oven

Per the sun oven’s directions, when using liquids for cooking, you need to cut the liquids down by a third, which I did.

Even though the rice directions said to boil the water and then add the rice, I put them both in together.

I checked on the rice after an hour and 15 minutes; I’m sure it was done much sooner though.

The rice cooked perfectly and tasted great.

It didn’t stick to the pot, and it didn’t burn or overcook.

Making chicken and vegetables in the sun oven

The third time we used the sun oven, we used it to make chicken with potatoes, onions and carrots for dinner.

I put it in the 3-quart pot with the glass lid.

I put a little bit of olive oil and water on the bottom out of habit.

Next time I won’t add water as the sun oven won’t dry out foods.

SUN OVEN
SUN OVEN

I used frozen chicken.

This time I set the food in the sun oven at 1:00 pm and checked on it at 6:00 pm in time for dinner.

The vegetables cooked well and had a nice consistency.

They were done but not overcooked.

The chicken was cooked through and tender and not at all dried out like what often happens in the stove.

ADVANTAGES: I loved being able to leave the food and not having to check on like I do when cooking in my oven.

It was also nice to put it in the sun oven and then take it out when we were ready to eat without having to reheat it for dinner.

Cooking hot dogs in the sun oven

We brought the sun oven to a gathering at a park to see what it was like to use it somewhere other than our house.

First of all, it was the talk of the party.

All the adults and children were interested in it and talked about it.

The “sun oven talk” also lead to other ways people were trying to be eco-conscious and also talks about camping and other trips.

We were glad we brought it because the sun oven was a huge hit!

It was important that we were able to cook a lot of hot dogs at once so we used the multi-level baking racks.

We let the sun oven preheat which took about 18 minutes on the hot day.

We put the hot dogs on the bottom and middle racks then lowered it into the oven.

Once it was in place, we put more hot dogs on the top rack.

We let them cook for about 20 minutes.

They were precooked so we could have taken them out sooner probably but because we cooked so many at once, we thought it was better to leave them in longer.

The hot dogs turned out great.

Everyone enjoyed them; even a few kids tried them who usually don’t eat hot dogs.

We cleaned the bottom of the sun oven with paper towels and water.

The next time we would probably line the bottom of the racks with the parchment baking paper but we forgot to bring it.

Cooking potato and egg casserole in the sun oven

Another day, I successfully made a casserole with potatoes, eggs, onions, milk, cheese and sausage.

I used the small, frozen link sausages and put them in a casserole dish in the sun oven frozen.

It would have been interesting to see how fast this would have taken to cook; however, I put in the sun oven around 10 am in the morning and checked on it when I arrived home at 5:15 pm.

I usually make this casserole in my 13″ x 9″ pan in my conventional oven.

I knew it wouldn’t fit in my sun oven so instead I put it in my 11″ x 8.5″ x 2″ oval-ish Corning Ware dish without the lid.

If I needed it cooked faster, I would have used the lid.

The sun oven kept the casserole warm so we were able to take the food out and eat it for dinner.

It wasn’t overcooked; it was perfect!

I would never leave my stove on all day, so it was nice to be able to start this in the morning and come back to a cooked meal.

I use my crock pot to do this for meats and stews but have never used it for a casserole so I really enjoyed making this in my sun oven.

Each time you use the sun oven, be sure to preheat it first.

There are so many more things I want to try in this sun oven.

We are going to try making bread and then pizza next.

All American Sun Oven review

We choose to review Sun Oven International’s All American Sun Oven because they are at the forefront of solar cooking.

They are making it possible for people to become more self-sufficient without relying on electricity.

Harness the energy of direct sunlight for cooking, boiling and steaming food and drinks.

They ship for free too!

We always choose to support practical and environmentally-friendly ways of living which made us excited to use the sun oven.

Sun Ovens International's All American Sun Oven
Sun Ovens International’s All American Sun Oven

Cooking with a sun oven is a viable alternative to cooking with charcoal and wood.

Solar cooking also helps minimize our reliance and dependence on fossil fuels and electricity.

The All American Sun Oven has a very low carbon footprint.

Unpacking Your Sun Oven
Unpacking Your Sun Oven

We are excited to take this sun oven when we go camping with our Cub Scout pack, and we also plan to bring it to my children’s school’s Earth Day celebration.

Whether you love cooking and baking or you think of it only as a necessity, you will enjoy using the All American Sun Oven.

Amazon Best Selling Tactical Folding Knives

Amazon Best Selling Tactical Folding Knives

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Amazon Best Selling Tactical Folding Knives – A reliable, well-made tactical folding knife is like a trusted friend.

It’s always there for you when you need it, whether you have to defend yourself or just need it as a useful tool for camping, fishing and other everyday activities.

The most worthwhile tactical folding knives are up to all of these tasks and other challenges.

Choosing one seems difficult, which is why looking at Amazon best seller knives is such a great place to start.

Each of these models offers the best in performance, durability and usability.

You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but one of these knives may be better suited to your purposes than the others.

Comparing the Best-Seller Tactical Folding Knives on Amazon

Amazon Best Selling Tactical Folding Knives
Amazon Best Selling Tactical Folding Knives

The first model in our comparison is the TAC Force TF-705 Series Assisted Opening Tactical Folding Knife.

One-handed opening is possible thanks to the spring assist, then a liner lock ensures that the blade stays open when you want it to.

The handle is lightweight but sturdy aluminum, and the blade is stainless steel and features serration along half the blade.

Other features of the knife include a screwdriver, bottle opener and glass breaker that is suitable for shattering car windows in an emergency.

A pocket clip makes it easy to have this tool always at your side.

The second knife is Kershaw’s 1990X Brawler.

This model has the company’s exclusive SpeedSafe opening system, which includes a liner lock and a “flipper.”

Opening is activated by a push on the thumb stud or by pulling back on the flipper for extra flexibility.

The Brawler’s blade is steel while the handle is glass-filled nylon, which is both lightweight and durable.

With a straight-edge blade, this knife is easy to sharpen.

The blade may be thin, but it also is powerful enough for tough tasks.

The pocket clip may be moved to one of four positions.

The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S rounds out our comparison.

This model has a high-carbon steel blade and an aluminum handle.

There is no spring-assisted opening feature, but it is still possible to open the knife with one hand thanks to the ambidextrous thumb knobs.

A partially serrated blade appeals to users who want to cut through anything.

The pocket clip makes it easy to keep this knife close to hand at all times.

How Much Do These Tactical Knives Cost?

The TAC Force knife sells for anywhere from eight to 11 dollars on Amazon, depending upon which color you choose.

Kershaw’s offering sells for approximately low twenties while the Smith & Wesson tactical knife sells for around the sames as the TAC Force.

The bottom line is that all of these tactical folding knives are affordably priced.

You could easily buy two or three of any of them so that you can keep one in your vehicle, another with your fishing and camping supplies and a third to be carried on you at all times.

Everyday Carry EDC Knives
Everyday Carry EDC Knives

Comparing Tactical Knife Features

Without a doubt, the TAC Force knife boasts more features than the other models.

With its screwdriver, bottle opener and glass breaker, it’s somewhat closer to a true pocket knife or a multi-use tool than the other knives in our comparison.

However, if you are only looking for a sharp blade, then any of the three knives that are described here could suit your purposes.

With its lack of serration, the Kershaw is probably the easiest to sharpen, and that may appeal to you if you are a heavy user.

What About the Opening Mechanism?

The TAC Force and the Kershaw have the advantage here as there is no spring-assisted opening mechanism on the Smith & Wesson.

Nonetheless, all of these can be opened with just one hand.

This can be a distinct advantage over other knives, particularly in a high-stress situation.

The more you practice with the opening mechanism, the faster you’ll be.

Also, you’ll find that the movement becomes more natural with repeated use.

Are These Knives Legal?

A great deal of confusion persists regarding whether or not it is legal to possess these knives.

This typically arises because of the one-handed opening mechanism that is a feature of all of these models.

However, none of these knives is a true switchblade.

A genuine switchblade opens automatically, while these knives only have mechanisms to assist with quicker, one-handed operation.

Accordingly, it should be legal to own and use these knives in all 50 states.

It may not hurt to review local ordinances and rules in certain buildings so as not to run afoul of other restrictions.

Comparing the Blades on Amazon’s Best Selling Knives

The TAC Force knife has a stainless steel blade.

This is good news as stainless steel resists corrosion and does a fair job of maintaining an edge.

TAC Force does not disclose the precise stainless steel used in this model, but it’s safe to say that it is 440-type steel.

This is an economical choice, which may translate to being more prone to rust and not holding an edge for an extended time.

The Kershaw uses an upgraded 8Cr13MoV steel blade with black oxide coating.

With the coating, the blade does not reflect light, which may be valuable for some users.

This steel blade may be more corrosion resistant and offer improved edge retention over the TAC Force model.

With the Smith & Wesson model, you get a 7Cr17 high-carbon steel blade.

The company says that the blade is stainless, which is unusual for high-carbon steel, which tends to corrode more than true stainless steel.

You just might find that the high carbon steel in this blade gives you superior edge retention and hardness.

Good: Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S
Better: TAC Force TF-705 Series
Best: Kershaw’s 1990X Brawler

Choosing a Folding Tactical Knife

For even more tips and hints about choosing a folding tactical knife for yourself, check out the video.

It provides an educational look about several considerations that you may want to weigh as you choose a folding tactical knife.

For their affordability, functionality and durability any of these best-selling knives from Amazon are a great choice.