Although we now have the basics we can see that this is going to be rough. Cold food, cold drinks and a miserable life like an animal. However, that was the minimum we were looking at. We want to have at least something decent in our lives and the next thing on our list should be the facility to generate heat, in particular cooking heat.
Cooking food has the added benefit of keeping us warm by warming the food for consumption. Warm food is a lot better for us than cold food in colder times and will be a life saver in drinks like nettle and dandelion tea. Of course, we will have some proper tea, coffee and other drinks to see us through but if they run out we will fall back to the old style drinks.
Now there are several ways to generate cooking heat. Examples are;
- Fire from combustible material like twigs
- Gas cooker
- Solid fuel camping cooker
- Electric cooker
- The Sun
There are also several ways to handle these methods. Again some examples;
- Utilise a fireplace in the home
- Make a cooking area, fire hole, solar cooker
- Use an old barbecue
- Use camping or caravan gear
As with all things you can buy some good well made kit or you can make your own. I like to buy some decent kit but also find out how to make my own although I rarely have the time to do so. This case is no different.
Remember it isn’t just making the unit it is fuelling and starting it for several months. So it is no good having a portable gas stove with one canister and a box of matches. Always remember when you are considering options especially ones where something, anything is consumed, what can I replace that with when I run out?
To keep OPSEC and keep the fact that you have heat and cooking facilities from the rest of the population you need to remember several things. Fire creates smoke, smells as well as heat. Cooking generated smells, nice smells and humans and animals can pick these up. Keep your cooking to a minimum whilst you are being the grey man and hiding your capabilities and select your cooking methods to suit your situation.
In my case I have two methods that I will be using whilst holed up immediately after the event. Gas canister cooking and solid fuel cookers, the little tablet stoves for outdoors. Neither give off any smoke or strong smells and both will heat a pot or kettle. They can be quickly set up and collapsed as needed. My preference is the gas and I have enough gas canisters to last me for several months with enough tablets to do the same.
Next up comes my existing barbecue with the gas canisters for that. That will keep me going for another few months and when the gas runs out the unit can then be used to burn wood and twigs. I’m also looking at having tools such as Kelly Stoves and Rocket Stoves which can burn wood in a controlled environment which makes them virtually smokeless.
Whilst I am using these I am also looking at building solar cookers and setting up fireplaces to use later when there will be fewer people around. I can’t count on having enough smokeless fuel to last a significant time and at some point we will be looking at burning wood. It will be the last step I want to take though. Smoke and the air distortion gives away fires for miles.
So, for our 15 months survival plan we was gas camping stoves, tablet cookers, solar cookers and the fuel for them.
I’m looking at gas lighters, matches and flints for my fire starting capabilities. Even gas lighters without gas will provide sparks to ignite the gas in the cookers and if you have pre prepared cotton wool balls and tinder then you can light twigs, etc. with sparks as well. In the long term though you should look at being able to start a full campfire from a piece of tinder and a flint. It isn’t as easy as people think.
With the above inexpensive items added to your kit you should be able to live in comfort, keep yourself warm and have hot drinks and food. A massive step up from the basic survival items we discussed in the previous posts and your sense of wellbeing and your health should benefit from the addition of this simple kit. It won’t break the bank either.