Winter is coming. The temperatures are dropping fast. Hoodies are coming out. Pumpkin spice everything has arrived. From all the reports I’ve seen this winter will be the worst in 20 years.
Even my beloved Tennessee is going to get colder. Much colder. Glad I chose this year for my off-grid adventure.
Winter brings a whole new facet to prepping. Many things need doing to get ready for winter. In the winter you need to change out your Bug Out Bag. Car kits need upgrading for the cold.
If you have not already started, you’re behind. Today let’s look at some considerations for winter prepping.
Prepping In the Winter brings challenges not faced during warmer months. Even here in the South, we have issues. The biggest issues I see are maintaining core body temperature, increasing calories and travel. Taking care of those three will do you well.
Freezing to death is a very real concern. If your only means of heat is electric and the power goes out what do you do? With plummeting temps, you will be burning more calories to maintain warmth. How will you get those extra calories?
If we get serious amounts of snow this year road travel will be dangerous. Icy spots outside your home and vehicle can build up and unless you use a product like Traction Magic, you can seriously injure yourself.
How will you get around? Should you even try to travel? Let’s begin our winter prepping series today with Keeping warm.
To me, this is the most important part of winter prepping. To survive you must maintain your core body temperature. Where you are plays a big part in staying warm. We will focus on the home today. Later I will tackle the car and outside.
I know a thing or two about staying warm at home. I have not used the heat at home the past three winters. This past winter we had temps in the single digits. I did not freeze at home. My apartment temperatures in fact never got below 50. Those were rare occasions. Normally the temp was in the low 60’s.
I do not walk around in shorts during those times. Usually, a sweater does the trick. I like to use 100% wool clothes as much as possible at this time. Wool is a must for winter prepping. Start hitting up goodwill and thrift stores for cheap wool. Army surplus stores are great for wool clothing too.
During the winter I cover windows with black plastic. Not the entire window though. I use a black window curtain over the windows. Behind it run a strip of black plastic. Leave a few inches on the top and bottom. This leaves a space between the window and the curtain that gets superheated. The hot air raises to the top and flows out the into the room and the cold air gets pulled in from the bottom. No this is not a magical off grid heater. It does help to keep the apartment tolerable.
Behind it run a strip of black plastic. Leave a few inches on the top and bottom. This leaves a space between the window and the curtain that gets superheated. The hot air raises to the top and flows out the into the room and the cold air gets pulled in from the bottom.
No this is not a magical off grid heater. It does help to keep the apartment tolerable.
Another trick I use is to only heat myself. Heating an entire house is very inefficient. Wasted heat makes up a large part your electric bill. I like to use heating pads and blankets.
I like to use heating pads and blankets on the couch .I put down a heating blanket to sit on. The heat radiates through me making me warm. If it gets extra cold I’ll put the electric blanket
If it gets extra cold I’ll put the electric blanket over me. I now prefer the heat of an electric blanket over AC heat. You can feel the heat soaking into you. Electric blankets are a great winter prepping item. Just don’t go too cheap. I bought one from a low price store and it broke in days. The ones I have now are
I now prefer the heat of an electric blanket over AC heat. You can feel the heat soaking into you. Electric blankets are a great winter prepping item. Just don’t go too cheap. I bought one from a low price store and it broke in days. The ones I have now are
Electric blankets are a great winter prepping item. Just don’t go too cheap. I bought one from a low price store and it broke in days. The ones I have now are Sunbeam Twins. I’ve used them for three years with no problems.
Ceramic Pot Heater
Last year I tried out one of the Ceramic flower pot heaters. The internet was full of them. I built one and tested it thoroughly.
After weeks of testing, I called it Myth Busted. It was not enough to warm up my tiny closet sized bathroom.
I had someone comment and say it does work but you can’t measure the difference. Yeah, Sure thing lady. It is a hand warmer and that’s it. Don’t bother building one for winter prepping. It’s a waste of time and money.
Heat From Cooking
Winter is a good time for using the over for slow cooked dishes. I like to get out my dutch over and slow roast meat all day. I get a delicious meal and some extra heat.
The opposite is true for summer. Then I like to do a portion of my cooking outside.
I also don’t batch my cooking as much. Usually, I like to do a lot of cooking for the week all at once. In the winter I will cook daily to get a little extra heat in the home.
What winter prepping article would be complete without talking about heaters. I will talk about a few methods today. For off-grid power out heating, we will be using either wood or gas. I don’t know enough about oil heaters to speak on them today.
For quick and easy heat the little propane heaters are great. You can buy a buddy heater and stock up on propane cylinders and be set.
Like all options today make sure you have a working CO2 alarm. The Buddy heaters give off a decent amount of carbon dioxide. If you have the money this might be the easiest option.
A buy and forget option for winter prepping. No home modifications. In an emergency find the smallest room and heat that one. Normally I would recommend sealing the room off. With the Carbon dioxide though some air flow is better.
Kerosene heaters are another option. They are readily available from almost all big box stores. The price on them is usually around the $130~$170 range. They will really heat up a large room.
If you want to heat up more space than a buddy heater then kerosene is the way to go. Kerosene is not as easily found anymore though. Growing up I remember just about every gas station had a kerosene pump. If you can find one it will cost you around $4 a gallon.
The price is on the high side for me. It’s still better than no heat, though. One last point about kerosene is the smell. When they go out it will stink up your whole house.
Wood heat is the ultimate in heating for winter prepping. You can always find something to burn for heat. You will need to gather wood for winter. It is best to wood dry for at least a season. Keeping the wood dry is important too. A wood shed would be best.
You will need to either buy cords of wood or process it yourself. You will need to have the wood ready to go before winter comes. Splitting wood in the winter is going to suck.
To burn the wood in you have many options. Wood burning stoves, Fireplaces, rocket mass heaters. Most of these options will be very expensive. You will need to do massive remodeling work on the home.
If you are in an apartment this will not work for you. Rocket mass heaters are built from scratch. They are the best option if you have any building skills. Rocket mass heaters will work from sticks over big logs. You cannot just buy one. If you have money you can buy a wood burning stove and have it installed.
Wood stoves are not cheap, though. It is my best pick for off grid heat, though. Nothing beats wood heat for winter prepping.
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