Minor emergencies build experience

We have been plagued this year with intentional power outages, which, while inconvenient,  are much better than the raging wildfires that result when the power is left on  We usually have advance notifications.  Still, going a day or so with no electricity is a good way to use and adjust your emergency gear.

We already had a decent stock of lanterns and a few power banks.  One thing I acquired as a result of the power outages was an adapter that allowed me to use cordless tool batteries as power banks.  Basically they provide a USB outlet.  We were able to keep our phones fully charged and functional

This provided light, but no ability to cook.  Here we put our camping gear to use providing the vital cups of coffee to start the day. And so on.  Basically we had to adapt an change – for real  good experience for  more serious event – like thee dreaded Big One which will shake our region one of these days.

I am going to explore ways to use our Prius to generate enough electricity to at least power our fridge.  Any feedback on that subject is welcome.

Learn all you can from life’s minor bumps.  The knowledge and experience will come in handy .


  • Comments (5)

    • 10

      First off, I want to say i’m a bit jealous. I’m sure many, maybe including yourself, don’t want any outages to their comfy life and having a power outage really upsets them. But it seems like you guys have a great attitude towards it and do the best with what you are given. The reason i’m saying i’m jealous is because I haven’t had many opportunities during my life to try my preps. But I think a minor emergency, especially when intentional and with advanced notification could be a fun experiment. 

      hikermor – the other day you and I were talking in this forum thread about lanterns. Well, I broke my lantern out after talking with you and it was dead, no surprise though. I wanted to see how long the solar panel on the top would take to charge it up, if it worked at all. We had some snowy and overcast days where we didn’t see the sun and so it didn’t really charge next to the window on those days, but on the day that we got some sun it charged up all the way. 

      This was a cheap lantern that I bought two years ago because it had 5 different ways to charge it, was cheap, and had good reviews. And while I don’t have a professional review about it, I think it’s pretty decent, and maybe worth buying a few of them. It feels pretty durable for indoor use, but may not survive too many camping / bugging out trips. The battery compartment at the bottom has enough room to store the three AAA batteries, a charging cable, and an extra set of batteries if you want. And it has the ability to charge a phone. Not bad for such a cheap package.


      I then told my wife that we are going to pretend that all of our light switches do not work, and we would have to use this single lantern as our light source at night. We quickly realized that we need to get another or maybe more. She was trying to cook dinner in the kitchen by lantern light, and I wanted to read in the bedroom. But we did pretty well and carried that lantern around from room to room if we needed something. It was a pretty decent lantern, and would work in a pinch. And it provided enough light, but still was not the brightest to fill the room. 

      My EDC flashlight set to the 100 lumens setting and pointed to the roof provides room covering light more than this lantern.

    • 7

      That’s quite the task of powering your fridge off of your Prius. I’ve seen YouTube videos over the years while researching solar, of people using old hybrid car batteries in their solar rigs. Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy7kG7r8f5s

      Not something I would feel comfortable with, but good for them being creative and resourceful. 

      I think you’d have to outweigh the pros and cons. I’d imagine that a used hybrid vehicle battery would have been in a hot car all day, charged irregularly, might be ending it’s lifecycle, and other factors that you need to consider. I’d think some new basic car batteries could be more cost effective in the long run, but I don’t know too much about this topic. 

      Most of those videos that i’ve seen are running it off of a removed battery. I think running it off of your battery currently in your car could introduce some more complications like frying your car.  But if you figured it out, could be an incredible prep!

    • 6

      I prep to survive when the grid is down for an extended period.  I couldn’t afford to convert the whole house to solar but I did buy some full size solar panels, a well pump that can run directly from those panels plus I have 2 solar generators to handle basic electrical needs.  Full size refrigerator freezers are energy hogs, so I have a ARB refrigerator freezer that is very energy efficient.  It is not full sized but is easily powered by a solar generator.  Even without a recharge, a solar generator can power it for days.

      I’m prepared to give up most modern conveniences during an extended crisis, but would like to retain some basic capabilities, such as charging electronics, running a few appliances, making ice, cooling meat, keeping the well pumping, etc.




      • 5

        That’s a pretty neat freezer.

        Do you have that running everyday in your normal life, or is that just a grid down backup that you would pull out if you needed it?

        I heard that RV fridges/freezers were also good to run off of solar because they are meant for 12 volt, ran off of batteries, and I bet are more energy efficient. Don’t quote me though…

      • 8

        It is a grid down backup.  I don’t do much traveling anymore.

        Yes, these RV fridges/freezers run off of 12 volt batteries, such as in your car… or from a solar generator.  They are incredibly energy efficient, as opposed to a home refrigerator freezer plus they don’t have the large startup amps seen in home units.

        The way I see it, in a long term grid down we have to make sacrifices and choices.  I choose to sacrifice refrigerator/freezer space so as to have energy efficiency.  I certainly want to have the ability to freeze something or to keep medicines or food cool.  I have some really efficient ice chests and I can see myself using this to make ice blocks to use in those large ice chests.  Used in that fashion, a smallish unit like this could keep large amounts of goods cool in large ice chests.

        I keep several of these chests to work with the freezer.