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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:51 pm 
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Here's something to stimulate conversation...

Work takes me away from home from Portland to Seattle pretty regularly.
If the Big Quake hits while I am traveling there will be multiple damaged bridges, rivers as well as possibly over 100 miles between me and home.
Under that circumstance sheltering in place makes sense at least for a little while. So what sorts of things would you do to prep for living in your car for 1-3 weeks?
I am looking for things to put in the car that will not be bothered by temperature swings, don't take up too much space and aren't costly to replace if they get stolen.
Basic car tools, a tarp, rope, 2L water bottle and a sleeping bag are easy. I think a cooler is a good idea. I can keep things in it with a bottle of water and limit the temperature swings at least a little and allows me to keep warm things warm or cold things cold as the case may be.
Any other thoughts or suggestions?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:18 pm 
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For me, I'm always concerned on maps and direction. Having paper maps of your area is a good idea as a backup. Also good is to have gps for finding alternate routes. I use maps.me for offline maps on my phone and save all the relevant maps in my area and also to my BOL. A usb battery pack and 20w folding usb solar panel for extended power.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:27 pm 
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What kind of vehicle? Find as many shitty looking bags to put stuff in and maybe it won't get stolen. Or a trunk if you have one.

I'd throw in a cut off full size shovel. Or a short fullsize. For digging yourself out of the snow or thru drifts etc.

Road hazard signs that glow and are orange. Flares don't last to long. But in a real emergency are unmatched. People stop for flares. Not for cones or signs. But long term signs and cones.

Long underwear.
Boots. Even an old pair.
Hat.
Gloves.
Socks.
Candles. To warm the car and to see.
Solar Charger.
Dry bags. Get an opaque white one. Makes a great lamp with flashlight in side. Can double as a washing machine. And will keep your shit dry.
Mountain house meals.
Some cut firewood.
An axe. At least forest size if not full.
First aid
Dehumidifier to keep your car dry inside.
Headlamp
Scanner.
Rainjacket and pants.
Bottle camp soap Dr. Bronners


Basically an INCH bag but no size restrictions.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:35 pm 
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I have a "mid size" car. in the trunk I had a wooden (cedar) box, with a mil wool banket, an old thermarest, 3 large bottles of isobutene, a cheap Chinese pocket rocket stove, 3 MREs, 3 mtn house, pare of long underwear, cheap gloves, boots, entrenching tool, kitty litter, and a 90pc husky tool set. that was until someone broke into my care and stole all that. Left the valuable stuff I think they saw it one time when I opened my trunk because there some ammo, and other stuff in there that was more valuable than what they stole..

I'm down to 2 of the wool blankets waiting for another sale on them before I order more. But with winter coming (its snowing now) I should probably build that back up again.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:50 pm 
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Cardboard for floor insulation. Your feet will thank you.

AM/FM/Weather band radio that runs on a single battery. Like the SONY SRF-M35W.

Flashlight or headlamp.

3 lb coffee can w/lid. use it store a roll of TP - and you can cook/boil water in it. Cost? Zip.

A home-made soda can alcohol burner No cost and it allows you to, you know, cook or boil water with that coffee can.

Some wire coat hangers. These are the stuff of miracles.....fix the auto, make a pot stand and so on.

Some hard candy.

Much of this should fit under the front seat be held/hidden by oily rags or dirty underwear,..you get the idea.

Good luck, I worry about much the same thing.....except in Alaska.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:18 pm 
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TacAir wrote:
Cardboard for floor insulation. Your feet will thank you.

AM/FM/Weather band radio that runs on a single battery. Like the SONY SRF-M35W.

Flashlight or headlamp.

3 lb coffee can w/lid. use it store a roll of TP - and you can cook/boil water in it. Cost? Zip.

A home-made soda can alcohol burner No cost and it allows you to, you know, cook or boil water with that coffee can.

Some wire coat hangers. These are the stuff of miracles.....fix the auto, make a pot stand and so on.

Some hard candy.

Much of this should fit under the front seat be held/hidden by oily rags or dirty underwear,..you get the idea.

Good luck, I worry about much the same thing.....except in Alaska.


You know it's fucking cold when the three layers of sound insulation, carpet insulation and carpet aren't enough to keep your feet from freezing inside a car! Welcome to Alaska! LOL!

(Pardon my French.)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:03 pm 
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moab wrote:
TacAir wrote:
Cardboard for floor insulation. Your feet will thank you.

AM/FM/Weather band radio that runs on a single battery. Like the SONY SRF-M35W.

Flashlight or headlamp.

3 lb coffee can w/lid. use it store a roll of TP - and you can cook/boil water in it. Cost? Zip.

A home-made soda can alcohol burner No cost and it allows you to, you know, cook or boil water with that coffee can.

Some wire coat hangers. These are the stuff of miracles.....fix the auto, make a pot stand and so on.

Some hard candy.

Much of this should fit under the front seat be held/hidden by oily rags or dirty underwear,..you get the idea.

Good luck, I worry about much the same thing.....except in Alaska.


You know it's fucking cold when the three layers of sound insulation, carpet insulation and carpet aren't enough to keep your feet from freezing inside a car! Welcome to Alaska! LOL!

(Pardon my French.)


It is hard for some people to understand how cold a piece of metal can be when cold-soaked at -20F.

I lived for several years in Spokane, and cardboard would be appropriate there as well. Sitting your feet on a metal heat sink is bad enough, but add in real cold weather and it can be, at best, miserable.

In addition to your feet, most cars today are so narrow, you often touch the side of the vehicle. Cardboard will make a big difference in this as well.

Good luck, being "prepared" is a tough row to hoe....

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:36 pm 
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Back up insulation is a great idea.
I got some thin blue foam to go under laminate floors a few years back that stuff is great. I have a clear waterproof plastic back and really keeps in the heat.
I tested it by sitting down with a pair of running shorts on with the foam in my lap, then stuffed a pile of ice cubes into my lap so that the space between my legs was full of ice and timed how long until it got cold. I got bored with the test long before I could feel any cold at all.

How much are mountain house meals impacted by tempature extremes?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:01 pm 
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2now wrote:
Back up insulation is a great idea.
I got some thin blue foam to go under laminate floors a few years back that stuff is great. I have a clear waterproof plastic back and really keeps in the heat.
I tested it by sitting down with a pair of running shorts on with the foam in my lap, then stuffed a pile of ice cubes into my lap so that the space between my legs was full of ice and timed how long until it got cold. I got bored with the test long before I could feel any cold at all.

How much are mountain house meals impacted by tempature extremes?


As long as no air gets in I didn't have any problem when I had some sitting in a previous kit. they sat in there for 3 years though summer and winter. Taste was fine, however I'm sure nutrition was impacted. But at least my belly couldn't tell the difference.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:24 pm 
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Sleeping bag.
Flashlight.
Tea lights or UCO candle lantern. ( Adds heat and light but cqpack a window open.)
Get the Mountain House Pro. They're the vacuum packed ones.

Would a 12 cooler with solar panel work if in a place that's hot? It should keep contents cool while you're away from the vehicle.

Would adding reflective housing insulation in between the car body and panels be a good idea?
They seem to do it in van conversions.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:08 pm 
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Halfapint wrote:
2now wrote:
Back up insulation is a great idea.
I got some thin blue foam to go under laminate floors a few years back that stuff is great. I have a clear waterproof plastic back and really keeps in the heat.
I tested it by sitting down with a pair of running shorts on with the foam in my lap, then stuffed a pile of ice cubes into my lap so that the space between my legs was full of ice and timed how long until it got cold. I got bored with the test long before I could feel any cold at all.

How much are mountain house meals impacted by tempature extremes?


As long as no air gets in I didn't have any problem when I had some sitting in a previous kit. they sat in there for 3 years though summer and winter. Taste was fine, however I'm sure nutrition was impacted. But at least my belly couldn't tell the difference.


None of my Mountain House were impacted by extremes. Like Halfapint, I had mine stored in my car GHB for 3 years, and they were fine. I prefer the Pro-Pak for 2 reasons:

1.) They take up less space
2.) It's easy to tell if they are have been punctured by anything in your bag. I've never had Mountain House get punctured, but it did happen to a pack of Datrex, which was annoying.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:57 am 
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Seems like today, a lot of folks are living in their cars (auto vagabond) because they wish to vice must by having no choice.

Scope out these folks
https://subaruvagabond.com/about/living-setup/

https://snowbrains.com/how-i-survived-t ... -forester/

https://www.reddit.com/r/vandwellers/co ... k_edition/

These are all a Forester, this is a pretty large sedan, almost a minivan.

Again, good luck.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:20 pm 
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My vehicle kit is geared more towards a "Stuck off road in the woods for 3 days in a Midwest winter with the spouse and 2 dogs" scenario, but FWIW... Since weight isn't as much of a concern for a car kit and especially during the time you're sheltering there, maybe canned food, a campstove (dual fuel single burner here), and a mess kit? I have freeze-dried food and MREs in the grab&go bags kept in the house, but it's mostly canned ham, chili, beans, and non-condensed soups (and Alpo dog food) that are left in the truck year round. Well, besides the clif, power, and candy bars that I *try* to keep stocked in the glovebox and console. The consistency of some canned food changes after freezing and thawing, everything being more 'mushy' imo, but it's still edible and it stores well. Ten or twenty bucks in canned food goes a long way too. That I keep a 6 gallon gas can in the truck bed influenced my choice of stove some.

2 meter VHF and an 11 meter CB radio? Help pass the time, keep up with the latest news and events, or coordinate with friendlies. We have a Yaesu FT-2900 for a mobile (and another for a base at the house), plus 2 dual band handhelds that we keep in the vehicle. The handhelds being backups, or to stay in touch for a couple miles distance if it makes sense for one of us to walk out for help. Santa left me a AnyTone Smart Mobile Radio under the tree this year, but haven't mod'ed it for CB use or installed it yet (the 4' FireStik antenna is on the bumper and the coax is already run however) so can't comment on it - but 2m and 11m radios make the most sense to me for highway travel (unless perhaps 70cm repeaters are more common in your area).

Solar panel for trickle charging the car battery and charging small electronic devices? Ah, Portland... maybe not :) I keep a 10w solar panel in the truck for setting on the dash when I leave the truck parked for a week or more just to keep a trickle charge on the battery. This one fit my needs as I wanted one that was weatherproof, and it stores near perfectly under my drivers seat. Also keep a small battery pack in my truck for charging USB devices (this one, although mine's an earlier model: https://www.amazon.com/ALLPOWERS-Portab ... B075R6NHWC). Come to think of it, I really need to upgrade to one that would jump start my truck.

Had the chance to try one of the inflatable back seat air mattresses (this one) on a long distance trip last fall too, and have to say I am fairly impressed. Much more comfortable than just lying on the back seat or reclining in the front bucket seat to get some sleep. It inflates quickly and doesn't require exiting the truck to position it properly, and it and the pump fits back in the storage bag without much trouble. Only used it 3 times so can't comment on its durability yet, but it has a permanent home under the rear seat in the truck now.

Another Christmas item I'm still waiting to arrive is this TIVDIO V-115 AM/FM/SW radio. Wanted a radio to provide some distraction from traffic noise while trying to rest, and one that wouldn't drain the truck battery. Lesson learned from that long trip while trying to get a couple hours sleep parked in a rest area.

Looking forward to hearing other suggestions on this thread too.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:08 pm 
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If you’re really worried about getting stuck somewhere after a huge quake I feel you should also prep to be an effective first responder to help deal with the aftermath.

More water to distribute, plenty of burn and trauma supplies, a water filter for you at least, and cook gear. Probably a 2-4 man tent as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:00 pm 
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Oh man, I was forced to consider this kind of scenario, actually. Cars provide good solid shelter, even if immobile, whether hot or cold outside. In heat, you can get some shade, in cold, you can get out of the wind. Obviously in rain it's nice to have a roof over you, too. And if you have gas and a functioning battery, you can even have A/C and heat, and a way to power devices.

Here's what led me to think hard about what I have in my car and how to stay in it if necessary.

I once stopped for gas at a station that was closed, but the pumps were on...it was in the corner of town so traffic wasn't very heavy. I filled up and hopped in to start my car again.

I got a couple clicks and dings, but the car didn't start. Battery was kaput. Had all sorts of corrosion around the positive terminal...like the stupid plastic red cover on the positive terminal was popped up and there was a rectangular CAKE of this stuff inside! It was 13F outside and my little girls were in the backseat in their carseats. They were in winter gear, but i had no extra blankets or anything. I knew I could do better. Phoned my wife and friend to see who could arrive first. The car got VERY cold within 10 minutes of just sitting there. The girls freaked a bit, they were 4 and 2. Heck I freaked a bit, wondered if I'd have to flag down someone to get them warm for a bit...or hike them through wind and snow and cold about a mile to someplace warm. My friend and wife showed up about at the same time and the girls went home, I got a jump and got my car down the road to a shop for a new battery.

I took it as a learning opportunity. In my opinion, staying warm and staying cool are going to be top priorities, along with of course having a source of water. This will let you hang out to ride out whatever is going on, for a while.

So first things first, if your car will be your shelter, check out your car! Check battery, check gas, oil, washer fluid, whatever you can to make sure you're in decent shape. I overlooked the battery for too long, and it bit me hard.

I have a Honda CRV which has a handy shelf panel that sits over the cargo area but can fold up out of the way. Excellent for hiding whatever's in your car, so it looks "empty."

Buy stuff off-season and stash it. Way cheaper.

For winter, I store the following in my car:

  • Blankets - 3 fleece, 1 wool WWII surplus. The girls like the fleece on cold mornings on the way to school.
  • Hats/gloves - any extra "old" pairs in the house i could find. Holes were fine so long as not excessive (a dry pair of gloves with little holes is better than cold and wet gloves). Bought cheap hats and gloves when i ran into them, and stuffed them in the box in the trunk area too.
  • A little Esbit stove
  • Altoids tin with sticks of fatwood in it, and a box of matches/mini Bic inside.
  • Metal coffee can to melt snow in, and heat water.
  • Hot cocoa packets, tea, Nature Valley granola bars in mylar sleeves (in the coffee can)
  • Collapsible silicone cups (in coffee can)
  • French 3 piece aluminum mess kit (basically two pans and a little metal tray that fold together - 2 collapsible cups fit in it)
  • Mylar "emergency blankets" for insulation/warmth
  • Those hand warmer things activated by air. Buy a box. Sometimes they don't work. Don't rely on like 2 or 3.

Summer
  • Water bottles. i try to keep as many as I can in there. When the weather cools, I pour them out on our plants around the yard and buy fresh next spring...old water bottles sitting in summer heat have got to have nasty things leached into them...i'll drink it in a pinch, but not by choice.
  • Hats, especially anything with a brim like a floppy hat or boonie hat.
  • Sunblock SPF30+
  • Old jeans - nothing worse than walking through brush unexpectedly and getting your legs cut up and ticks because you just have shorts to wear.
  • old tshirts - feels great taking off a sweaty nasty shirt and putting on a dry fresh one. Dry the sweaty one in the heat and soon enough you can switch again.
  • Coffee can with drink powders in it, kool aid etc, granola bars, and collapsible cups.
  • Cheap battery powered fans. Keep a pack of AA's in the car for them.

Year-round
  • Flashlights w/batteries.
  • Hand crank radio - if it has a flashlight too, bonus.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste in a separate ziploc
  • A comb
  • Dental floss
  • First aid - band aids, gauze pads and/or rolls, bandage tape
  • Battery pack to charge stuff. Mine is 20,000mAH and can charge my phone 10 times over and holds a charge awesomely.
  • plastic grocery bags - great for storing stuff, keeping wet stuff of other things, impromptu rain hat, signal kite using the dental floss, who knows.
  • Swiss army knife with scissors (Victorinox Climber)
  • Toilet paper in a gallon Ziploc (honestly this has come in handy more often than anything else - neglected portapotty or in the woods.
  • Duct Tape - for a million and 1 uses.

I think this covers what I generally pack. :words: Seems like a lot, but it's really not, i have plenty of room in my trunk for shooting and golf stuff :)


Last edited by stonecutter2 on Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:43 pm 
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I've been told that if I'm going to be driving between cities by myself, I should just replace the battery every 2 years, whether I need it or not.

We've made the battery work again when it was majorly corroded by pouring a diet Coke over the contacts, then pulling the cables off, knocking the crud loose, and putting them back on. Of course, this only works if you have both the diet Coke and the wrench.

We bought battery packs that can theoretically jump a car on clearance for about $50 at Tractor Supply - 1 for each of our cars, and 1 for each of us. I mentioned using it out camping/hiking/backpacking and hubby doesn't want me to get back to the car and have the car AND the battery be dead.

If I'm traveling in the winter, my cloak goes with me. Full length, made of wool military blankets and lined with fleece. Full enough for me, the kids, and maybe even the husband to huddle in if it comes down to that. I can pin it closed if I need to walk somewhere. It's pretty well waterproof as long as you're not laying down in water, and I've walked in the cold pouring rain in it for several days straight and stayed dry. I need a new pair of waterproof boots.

Now, if only the car would not turn into an oven when it's 110 out...

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:04 pm 
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CG wrote:
I've been told that if I'm going to be driving between cities by myself, I should just replace the battery every 2 years, whether I need it or not.

We've made the battery work again when it was majorly corroded by pouring a diet Coke over the contacts, then pulling the cables off, knocking the crud loose, and putting them back on. Of course, this only works if you have both the diet Coke and the wrench.

We bought battery packs that can theoretically jump a car on clearance for about $50 at Tractor Supply - 1 for each of our cars, and 1 for each of us. I mentioned using it out camping/hiking/backpacking and hubby doesn't want me to get back to the car and have the car AND the battery be dead.

If I'm traveling in the winter, my cloak goes with me. Full length, made of wool military blankets and lined with fleece. Full enough for me, the kids, and maybe even the husband to huddle in if it comes down to that. I can pin it closed if I need to walk somewhere. It's pretty well waterproof as long as you're not laying down in water, and I've walked in the cold pouring rain in it for several days straight and stayed dry. I need a new pair of waterproof boots.

Now, if only the car would not turn into an oven when it's 110 out...


My best advice is to have AAA change your battery. They sell the same batteries for cost to their clients. OR at least no more expensive than elsewhere. And the batteries are cold crank rated as well as the big name companies. Plus they come to you. They take your old bat. And put in your new one. And if anything happens to your battery. AAA comes back out and replaces it free of charge. Wherever you break down.

Additionally, you get three or four free tows or service calls for like $54 a year. They'll even test your electrical systems and replace parts or give you gas. No one should be without it. It's the best 50 bucks I spend each year.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:20 pm 
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moab wrote:
CG wrote:
I've been told that if I'm going to be driving between cities by myself, I should just replace the battery every 2 years, whether I need it or not.

We've made the battery work again when it was majorly corroded by pouring a diet Coke over the contacts, then pulling the cables off, knocking the crud loose, and putting them back on. Of course, this only works if you have both the diet Coke and the wrench.

We bought battery packs that can theoretically jump a car on clearance for about $50 at Tractor Supply - 1 for each of our cars, and 1 for each of us. I mentioned using it out camping/hiking/backpacking and hubby doesn't want me to get back to the car and have the car AND the battery be dead.

If I'm traveling in the winter, my cloak goes with me. Full length, made of wool military blankets and lined with fleece. Full enough for me, the kids, and maybe even the husband to huddle in if it comes down to that. I can pin it closed if I need to walk somewhere. It's pretty well waterproof as long as you're not laying down in water, and I've walked in the cold pouring rain in it for several days straight and stayed dry. I need a new pair of waterproof boots.

Now, if only the car would not turn into an oven when it's 110 out...


My best advice is to have AAA change your battery. They sell the same batteries for cost to their clients. OR at least no more expensive than elsewhere. And the batteries are cold crank rated as well as the big name companies. Plus they come to you. They take your old bat. And put in your new one. And if anything happens to your battery. AAA comes back out and replaces it free of charge. Wherever you break down.

Additionally, you get three or four free tows or service calls for like $54 a year. They'll even test your electrical systems and replace parts or give you gas. No one should be without it. It's the best 50 bucks I spend each year.


We definitely need to get AAA again. Since I hadn't been driving out of town as much, it hasn't been a budget priority.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:05 pm 
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So first, a few conclusions I have reached in the cold in my car.
1. chemical hand warmers are awesome
2. a blanket is a must
3. Some people mentioned a candle which is a great idea but, If you put a candle in one of the old Folgers tin cans and then light it you will raise the average temp in the car 15-20 degrees
4. Those portable power chargers don't always work when you need them, don't depend on them
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2nd part, questions I have
1. Would an older 1950's-1970's car be better as they use steel and a lot of it. I know it's not great for mileage but more material could mean less heat loss?
2. Would an all electric car stay warmer, say like a Tesla where the batteries (hundreds of laptop Lithium batteries are lining the floor of the car)?
3. Would enough light window tinting ( light so it doesn't make it illegal) make up for most of the heat loss through windows?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:32 pm 
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Since I carry my get home bag in my car at all times, which I update with seasonally appropriate gear, I feel I'm prepared for a lot of contingencies. That includes everything - and I mean everything including extra clothes, food, shelter and heating sources - to sustain me for three days. But additionally, I have an extra winter coat, hat, gloves, boots and wool socks in the trunk as well. If not for me then for someone less prepared who might need it.

Beyond that, I keep my largest and most comprehensive trauma kit is in my car at all times, courtesy of a horrific roadside incident I encountered (and was completely unprepared for) as a college student. As well as tools, spare bulbs, fuses, automotive fluids and a half gallon of potable water. Plus jumper cables, car starter/battery bank and air pump (2 actually, a 12 volt electric compressor and a bicycle floor pump that absolutely lives in my car). No signal flares, but I do have a couple of those collapsible reflective triangles. Speaking of collapsible, I also have a snow shovel and trekking poles. Plus a pair of those corrugated polymer traction plates for getting out of deep snow, fleece blankets, extra flashlights (one of which is a cellphone battery bank), various snow brushes, windshield scrapers, etc.

This pretty much fills up the back of my aging Saab wagon. I bought a car with that body type so I'd have the capacity to occasionally carry extra stuff. But the truth is it's pretty much full all the time with my prepping/emergency gear.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:18 pm 
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Well I can tell you that a Copenhagen can filled with hand sanitizer will burn long enough to take the edge off of a cold locomotive engine that had the heaters quit on it. Of course wearing 2 layers and good Carharrt gear helped to.

I feel that I could deal with being in my car for a day or two if I had to. Since it's cold and snowy here in Mo my gear shows that. I leave my grip in the trunk of car, since it goes with me everywhere, and it's always got a complete change of clothes in it, a spare hoodie, snacks, water, sqwinchers for the water, insulated tumbler mug, 3 ways to charge my phone, dental kit, 3 ways to start fire, first aid kit, 4 Buckle Ice Traction Overshoes, 2 sets of ice traction aids, 2 stocking caps, 3 sets of gloves and 3 sets of thermal glove liners, chemical hand warmers, 2 Mylar "emergency blankets" for insulation/warmth, 3 variable Focus Rail-Tec Headlamps, and a Rail-Tec LED Trainman Lantern with Magnetic Base, and the needed batteries for them and other misc. gear such as ziplocks, toilet paper, bailing wire, leatherman, duct tape, zip ties and switch keys.

I also always carry my Kenwood TK290 radio at all times, along with a spare battery in a ziplock bag, and a charger. I can get any UP, BNSF, NS, CP, etc channel in the Midwest, plus a lot of other channels, as well as the weather alert channel on it so its nice to have.

In the summer this will change accordingly, but the trunk stuff stays pretty much the same.

Other than that that, I keep misc. tools, automotive fluids and some bottled water in the trunk. As well as jumper cables. I also have about 40 fuzzee's in a box. I also have a small shovel. Plus various snow brushes, windshield scrapers, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:35 pm 
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Brekar wrote:
Well I can tell you that a Copenhagen can filled with hand sanitizer will burn long enough to take the edge off of a cold locomotive engine that had the heaters quit on it.


Good to know! In my case it would be an Altoids tin rather than a can of Copenhagen, but thanks for reminding me that hand sanitizer is primarily alcohol!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:08 am 
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Regarding vehicle heaters, I did some experimenting with kerosene lamps and homemade alcohol stoves as vehicle heaters last year.

#1) Dietz Hurricane oil lamp with a 1/2" wide wick and K-1 kero
#2) Dietz burner with a 1" wide wick, like this one, attached to a half-quart Mason/canning jar, with K-1.
#3) Some variations on the "toilet paper roll in a 1 qt metal can saturated with alcohol (denatured)" heater some prepper sites suggest.

Tests were done (except #3) in a 1999 "cab and a half" F-150 which is anything but airtight anymore due to rust, and one window opened 1/4" inch. Tests done on overcast days with temps near freezing (20-40F).

#1 - Set on the passenger side floor, produced no rise in the inside temp one hour later. None. It made a fairly good hand warmer and good lighting (of course).

#2 - Set on the passenger side floor produced about a 10 degree F rise in temp over the outside temp one hour later. I tried different combinations of lamp chimneys, a standard glass chimney and a 14 oz metal soup can with holes drilled in the sides and top. The cleanest burning being the glass one, the metal can (varying the number and location of the holes) tended to carbon up after the hour of testing resulting in more smoke/soot.

#3 - This never proved safe enough for testing inside the vehicle. A 4-oz can packed tight with heavy-duty paper towels and 3 oz of alcohol produced a lot of heat and burned for about 25 mins before the alcohol was depleted and the paper began burning (with yellow flames rising 6-8" above the open-top can).

There wasn't an easy way to gauge the heat rising off the 'stove' while the alcohol was burning, but too much for the of clearance from the floorboard to the plastic glovebox above and the seat fabric above/beside it. Set on a flat console in the truck with ~2' of clearance to the roof? Maybe, but too much a hazard for me to feel safe about trying (one bump from an elbow afterall). I then tried a 14 oz can (packed the same and with 8 oz of alcohol) and some different chimney/cap designs to help control the burn rate and the heat output. An adjustable metal lid over the top of the can had the best results, it allowed some control over the burn rate and burned a little over 2 hours before the alcohol was gone and the paper started burning more. Still a lot of heat however, and still not safe imo given the clearances to combustibles. The last test was a metal coffee can (varying the number of holes and their locations) over the top of the 14 oz stove, hoping to further reduce the burn rate, distribute the heat better, and not have open flames. This actually burned faster and hotter, pre-heating the alcohol and getting some secondary burn off the alcohol fumes that couldn't escape being my guess. Burn time was 1 hr 45 mins (same 8 oz of alcohol) before smoke from the burning paper was visible and a oven thermometer placed on top of the outer coffee can showed 375 degrees F for most of time it was burning. How this could be made safe with a 1 quart (paint) can and a roll of TP (as some sites suggest) for use inside a vehicle is beyond me.

Just my observations, YMMV. For now our plan is #2 and an additional 6 cans of Sterno in each vehicle, safest options with the best results imo.


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