Discussions

I took a course that mentioned some very basic thermal cooking (in order to get beans while camping without spending hours and hours next to a campfire), and the instructor mentioned those books as a good reference for both recipes and for more discussion of the ideas behind thermal cooking. (For example, that water’s high heat capacity makes it a good “storage” material for enough heat to properly cook the food — as you mentioned in a test above– and that’s why a certain amount of water is typically used in recipes to create that heat bank.) I believe both books also address how to consider doing more delicate things like pasta. Another good discussion you might enjoy: https://theprovidentprepper.org/thermal-cookers-powerful-solution-for-efficient-emergency-cooking/ When I learned about thermal cooking, the instructor was emphasizing the reduced energy requirements, the largely unsupervised (and somewhat stealth) cooking process, and the freedom from energy/grid connections at point of serving. This may be harder with a larger hay box, but for the smaller vaccuum/foam-insulated based thermal cookers, a common example is preparing everything on the stove at home, letting the meal cook in the trunk of a car, and then opening it up whereever the family decides to stop for a picnic (no outlets or battery banks required). And that’s a routine, “no emergencies here” use, which is very cool. So I haven’t been too worried about this type of cooker being limited to boiling or steaming, because I’d be planning to use it for its energy- and supervision-saving strengths, and supplement it with other methods when dry heat is needed.  By that I mean, my idle “what do I hope I could do?” daydreams about bugging in if “the grid is down for weeks and we still have to cook for people!” involve a kitchen + backyard with a collection of thermal cookers, solar cookers, a “charcoal” grill (but building small hardwood fires in the grill, instead of limiting ourselves to charcoal briquets), plus a rocket mass heater stovetop with oven that I “conveniently” had in my backyard for entertaining long before the emergency (eg https://walkerstoves.com/photos-and-video.html). Also, plus some pressure cookers, although I don’t have real experience with them yet. (The provident prepper website has a really nice “cooking off grid” experiment/practice adventure that they reported on, which includes discussion of putting the pressure cooker into a haybox to take advantage of both of those technologies.) That was a bit of a ramble, so anyways, thank you for sharing your ongoing tests with haybox cooking!

Thanks for the reminder that it’s easy to make a sleeve — I had been overlooking that and would wrap mine hot water heater in a towel. Speaker of low tech ways to maintain personal heat: When I converted to working from home, I found my apartment was colder to work in than the office, and since years before I had already had some non-ideal interactions with my landlord about making the heat higher when it was cold outside, I was looking for some low-tech alternative methods to keeping warm at home. I found this article discussing the author’s approach to heating a specific person (the example being, while they are working at a desk): https://richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp After reading the article, I was making a shopping list of electric warmers for my feet and hands, when I decided to try out the principles with items I already have. I had a spare pair of wool felt liners meant for winter boots (it was the size that didn’t fit quite so well in my boots), so those became my “sitting at my desk” slip on shoes. I had a chunk of closed-cell-foam (that I normally carried in my backpack to the office, as an emergency insulator), so that went under the desk for me to place my feet on top and further insulate them from the cold floor. I also had plenty of blankets, and spot intended for external keyboards under the top of my work desk, so, I took several blankets and draped them over the external keyboard shelf and created a way to easily drape the blankets over my lap when I pulled my chair into the desk (but also not require me to put the blanket anyway when I left the desk). I also draped more blankets over and around my chair, to block air movement from behind me (onto my back, or onto the back of my legs). After two years, I’m still using all pieces of this system to stay more comfortable when at my computer, and I notice how much warmer I am when I get up from the desk on cool days. When I finally get back into an office, I might have to risk some odd looks and keep up with the blanket on my lap approach.

Just chiming in as another person who does use mostly rechargeables, and doesn’t think the guide needs to be redone. Maybe you can put in a note about the most likely issues people might face when trying to switch to using rechargeables, just so readers have a broader sense for why not everyone will want to switch to all rechargeables. 99% of the battery-powered things I use frequently get a rechargeable as they’re my mundane default for AAA/AA format battery power. However this happened, I don’t feel the need to save my rechargeables for special uses. Granted I also don’t worry about children taking batteries out of things, so I would absolutely put them into a remote (which hits the “mundane frequent use” threshold). The stuff that’s used less frequently tends to have a disposable stored somewhere near it (often not in the battery compartment itself). So, for example, my rechargeable AAA/AA batteries are used for:  wireless mouse pocket-carried flashlight(s) household thermometers (I have two that sit around for my own personal entertainment) camping headlamps (there’s some more nuance here, because I was burning through rechargeable batteries while winter camping with a metal-bodied headlamp, so I ended up getting an 18650-powered split headlamp for cold weather use, but in warmer weather, my lights use eneloop rechargeables and allow for potential during trip-recharging if needed). as backup batteries on trips (to put in a charged battery immediately while I lesiurely recharge the discharged original) And some examples for the disposables: AA-powered radio (used infrequently enough that the first batteries I used in it have yet to need to be replaced) Home blood pressure cuff (same thing, still running on first set of batteries due to infrequent use) Back up options in storage if I needed to give out a battery (or otherwise strongly expect to lose the battery), and as emergency options if I somehow end up with discharged and no-way-to-recharge rechargeables.

Josh, kudos on taking the time to post a quick list here! I want to address something that looks to me like a point of confusion in your advice (I re-read your book review and saw it there, then saw it again here). “Compost pile: dig a small bowl where you want the pile so things don’t seep out. Then you need something to hold in the contents. Some wire fence in a circle works well and is quick to put together.” And in the review you said: “Interestingly, while Jenkins cautions against covering poo with soil, he insists that you should put your compost piles directly on the ground, as the soil contact encourages the microbes needed to break down the pile. He recommends digging a small depression under the pile to prevent leaks from the sides of the bin, and lining that depression with organic sponge material like grass.” From my reading, Jenkins emphasizes having a pretty thick “biological sponge” as the bottom of the compost pile (before any toilet material is put on) and also sidewall “cushions” for the compost pile (in addition to covering the top). See how much material he’s putting on the bottom when starting a new pile in this video: Here’s a figure from the Compost Toilet Handbook: I don’t have the scientific/academic resources to support this, but my hunch is that the biological sponge might hinder fecal microbes from being hand delivered to soil. At least until *after* they’ve had some initial rounds of battle with the composting microbes. (Which means the fecal microbes might be in pretty rough shape by the time any of them do make it through the sponge to reach the soil and think about continuing their lifecycle.) Also perhaps the aerobic composting microorganisms are better at moving from the soil to the compost via the biological sponge than the fecal microbes are at moving from poop to soil through the sponge layer. But regardless, Jenkins emphasizes both the biological sponge and the cushion wall, so that toilet material isn’t contacting the soil, nor can anyone touch toilet material by touching the sides of the compost bin. So I think your advice bullet point might be better as: “Compost pile: dig a small bowl where you want the pile so things don’t seep out. Put about a foot of fluffy carbon material in the bowl to make a bottom cushion/sponge, add some wire or wood pallets around it to hold it vertical and then pile another foot of fluffy carbon material, that you can later push to the sides (to make the wall cushions) when you are adding toilet material into the middle of the pile.” When I got a chance to use a functioning Humanure system, it was one that used straw for cover material and chicken wire to hold things up. I clearly remember the manager of this system warning us to make sure we had enough wall cushion material set up, to avoid accidentally pouring the bucket of toilet material through the wire wall and onto our shoes. 🙂

M.E., I thought about this, and want to clarify something. The Humanure System is very knowledge-based. This is great because you don’t have to buy expensive things to put together the system, and it’s not rocket science level of knowledge needed. However, if you are currently under a lot of stress for dealing with a whole collection of issues (only one of which is figuring out where to put your poop), me suggesting “go read this book!” could be very frustrating and unhelpful. So, two clarifications: 1) In case my above comments implied otherwise, I don’t necessarily expect my recommendations to solve your *current* problems in an efficient manner. If you’ve got the mental bandwidth, fantastic. But it would make total sense to me if you put off reading about Humanure until after this plumbing problem is solved, instead of trying to learn a new system while dealing with everything else. 2) The Humanure Handbook is free online, but despite my recommendation above, you might consider getting the $20 PDF copy of The Compost Toilet Handbook instead (https://slateroofwarehouse.com/Books/Joseph_Jenkins_Books/Compost_Toilet_Handbook). I pulled up my PDF copy on my phone to see how reading it on my phone looks, and the dimensions of the pages were decent for sizing to a phone’s screen (and I could also zoom in on text and photos fine). The Compost Toilet Handbook is slightly more focused on how to make the toilets, which may be helpful sooner. Basically the Compost Toilet Handbook spends way less time talking about the history of sanitation, is free of poop jokes, and has tons more photos and case studies about people using the system. Ok, time for me to get off my compost toilet soapbox.

M.E., Many condolences that you are having/had to deal with this, and many thank yous for taking the time to record your observations and experiences. (I know you mentioned being mortified about sharing this subject, but I really, really appreciate hearing practical, actual experiences on this matter, so know that I’m part of your audience who completely appreciates the candor.) “Pails are REALLY handy. LOTS of pails.” This takeaway reminded me of a thread on another forum where someone was documenting their experience of getting hit by Hurricane Michael and then spending the next one to two years rebuilding their home. He remarked that 5 gallon buckets were some of the most useful tools available during the period, especially when he was living in a garage during the rebuilding process. Obviously it sounds like “waterproof container” is the key here (not specifically 5 gallon buckets), so thank you for reminding me to think about my waterproof container resources. It sounds like you found good uses for a lot of them really quickly. I also appreciate the note about breaking past habits by needing to put visual reminders about where/when to change behavior to avoid making the backup problem worse. Also, very interesting that you experienced a reluctance to use your preps. I’ve heard *some* anecdotes about this issue before, and I think it’s part of an interesting conversation about the whole of prepping. We don’t just need to have helpful gear+appropriate skills, we also need the habits/mindsets that allow us to feel confident that “yes, this is the appropriate time to use Prep X to make life better.” One of my issues with planning for a water loss (and I haven’t yet thought through a “sewage block without clean water loss” situation) is how long I would plan to stay in a home without water. Basically the question of “how many flushes should I store water for before I stay in my place in an emergency, no-flushing water conservation mode or I leave for a place with water.” So for me that involves defining when and how I use my preps. But I am still figuring it out, so I would definitely expect some “should I really use my preps now?” resistance, should an issue happen right now. If you get any spare time (most likely in the future after this has been resolved), the composting toilet approach discussed in the humanure handbook was an incredible eye opener for me about options for dealing with our poop and pee. It’s based on composting, so a clay-based kitty litter probably won’t be compatible (and thus I don’t know that it solves your current problems), but it might give you some helpful ideas for the future. I hope the plumber’s visit was accompanied with very good news! And if you get bad news, I also look forward to hearing about your hotel cooking kit — I’ve been loosely looking into those the past few months.

Nice post! I recently moved, which was arduous, because I and wonderfully helpful friends were taking all of my life possessions up multiple flights of stairs (no elevator), and then I was busy with work for a while. So, months later I only remembered how heavy the books were and forgot the weight of everything else. I mentally hand-waved my bug out plan as grabbing a “reasonable” list of things, hauling it downstairs to a vehicle, and heading out. That reasonable list included 2-3 of my “portable” water containers to make sure I and any travel companions had water on the road to a safer place, and also give me the flexibility of multiple containers when trying to acquire (and possibly treat) water while traveling. I have two 3.5 gallon containers, and two 6-7 gallon containers that are part of my preps. Well, I got enough free time to start going car camping again and on the first trip I took just one of the smallest (3.5 gallon) water containers down those multiple flights of stairs. I quickly realized my bug out assumptions were misguided. Because of the weight of a filled water container, and also that just one container monopolized a hand (I couldn’t carry anything else with that hand), in an emergency I’m pretty sure I’ll only be willing to take one of the 3.5 gallon containers with me. Even if I get my knees and quads back in shape for moving multiple heavy items up and down the stairs. So, now I have a better idea of this constraint to plan around, but I would have be surprised by this issue if I hadn’t used one of the water containers for camping fun and been getting more familiar with it that way.

I’m very happy to see this review! To me, Joe Jenkins’ years worth of work seems extremely valuable for preparedness minded folks. His recent book, The Compost Toilet Handbook , is a more practical (less humorous, but also potentially more family friendly), and less citation- and history-heavy approach to humanure systems. It also has a bunch of pictures of example systems. I’d recommend a copy of it (available in print and in PDF) for anyone look for more advice on building the system. I also highly recommend digging into the videos on his Youtube channel — they have a lot of case studies and practical tidbits. For example, the humanure playlist includes a three-part presentation on starting a humanure system in Haiti after the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NCuawEqPCc&list=PLFD5D0CE103FD3A56&index=42 I also enjoy the visual of a community’s “sanitation plant” being a bunch of large compost bins in a banana tree grove: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY5K2Jn7Om0&list=PLFD5D0CE103FD3A56&index=31 Basically I see knowledge of compost-based sanitation as something as important for preparedness as knowing how to collect rainwater. It’s a very accessible and yet powerful skill in the face of serious damage to the water and sewage utility grids. (Let alone as a tool for increasing household resilience and sustainability.) I also recently saw a youtube video on toilets for car-based travel, and the presenters found that setting the 5 gallon bucket into an upright milk crate improved the stability of sitting on the bucket for a toilet. (In case someone is in a pinch and didn’t build a custom, wooden “loveable loo” priority to an emergency.) P.S. Your article made me realize that I might be an oddity: I prefer getting PDFs over ebook formats/downloads. Granted, I do a lot of reading on my computer for work, and maybe the state of EPUB as a format to counteract against proprietary formats has changed since I last looked at things.


Load more...

I took a course that mentioned some very basic thermal cooking (in order to get beans while camping without spending hours and hours next to a campfire), and the instructor mentioned those books as a good reference for both recipes and for more discussion of the ideas behind thermal cooking. (For example, that water’s high heat capacity makes it a good “storage” material for enough heat to properly cook the food — as you mentioned in a test above– and that’s why a certain amount of water is typically used in recipes to create that heat bank.) I believe both books also address how to consider doing more delicate things like pasta. Another good discussion you might enjoy: https://theprovidentprepper.org/thermal-cookers-powerful-solution-for-efficient-emergency-cooking/ When I learned about thermal cooking, the instructor was emphasizing the reduced energy requirements, the largely unsupervised (and somewhat stealth) cooking process, and the freedom from energy/grid connections at point of serving. This may be harder with a larger hay box, but for the smaller vaccuum/foam-insulated based thermal cookers, a common example is preparing everything on the stove at home, letting the meal cook in the trunk of a car, and then opening it up whereever the family decides to stop for a picnic (no outlets or battery banks required). And that’s a routine, “no emergencies here” use, which is very cool. So I haven’t been too worried about this type of cooker being limited to boiling or steaming, because I’d be planning to use it for its energy- and supervision-saving strengths, and supplement it with other methods when dry heat is needed.  By that I mean, my idle “what do I hope I could do?” daydreams about bugging in if “the grid is down for weeks and we still have to cook for people!” involve a kitchen + backyard with a collection of thermal cookers, solar cookers, a “charcoal” grill (but building small hardwood fires in the grill, instead of limiting ourselves to charcoal briquets), plus a rocket mass heater stovetop with oven that I “conveniently” had in my backyard for entertaining long before the emergency (eg https://walkerstoves.com/photos-and-video.html). Also, plus some pressure cookers, although I don’t have real experience with them yet. (The provident prepper website has a really nice “cooking off grid” experiment/practice adventure that they reported on, which includes discussion of putting the pressure cooker into a haybox to take advantage of both of those technologies.) That was a bit of a ramble, so anyways, thank you for sharing your ongoing tests with haybox cooking!

Thanks for the reminder that it’s easy to make a sleeve — I had been overlooking that and would wrap mine hot water heater in a towel. Speaker of low tech ways to maintain personal heat: When I converted to working from home, I found my apartment was colder to work in than the office, and since years before I had already had some non-ideal interactions with my landlord about making the heat higher when it was cold outside, I was looking for some low-tech alternative methods to keeping warm at home. I found this article discussing the author’s approach to heating a specific person (the example being, while they are working at a desk): https://richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp After reading the article, I was making a shopping list of electric warmers for my feet and hands, when I decided to try out the principles with items I already have. I had a spare pair of wool felt liners meant for winter boots (it was the size that didn’t fit quite so well in my boots), so those became my “sitting at my desk” slip on shoes. I had a chunk of closed-cell-foam (that I normally carried in my backpack to the office, as an emergency insulator), so that went under the desk for me to place my feet on top and further insulate them from the cold floor. I also had plenty of blankets, and spot intended for external keyboards under the top of my work desk, so, I took several blankets and draped them over the external keyboard shelf and created a way to easily drape the blankets over my lap when I pulled my chair into the desk (but also not require me to put the blanket anyway when I left the desk). I also draped more blankets over and around my chair, to block air movement from behind me (onto my back, or onto the back of my legs). After two years, I’m still using all pieces of this system to stay more comfortable when at my computer, and I notice how much warmer I am when I get up from the desk on cool days. When I finally get back into an office, I might have to risk some odd looks and keep up with the blanket on my lap approach.

Just chiming in as another person who does use mostly rechargeables, and doesn’t think the guide needs to be redone. Maybe you can put in a note about the most likely issues people might face when trying to switch to using rechargeables, just so readers have a broader sense for why not everyone will want to switch to all rechargeables. 99% of the battery-powered things I use frequently get a rechargeable as they’re my mundane default for AAA/AA format battery power. However this happened, I don’t feel the need to save my rechargeables for special uses. Granted I also don’t worry about children taking batteries out of things, so I would absolutely put them into a remote (which hits the “mundane frequent use” threshold). The stuff that’s used less frequently tends to have a disposable stored somewhere near it (often not in the battery compartment itself). So, for example, my rechargeable AAA/AA batteries are used for:  wireless mouse pocket-carried flashlight(s) household thermometers (I have two that sit around for my own personal entertainment) camping headlamps (there’s some more nuance here, because I was burning through rechargeable batteries while winter camping with a metal-bodied headlamp, so I ended up getting an 18650-powered split headlamp for cold weather use, but in warmer weather, my lights use eneloop rechargeables and allow for potential during trip-recharging if needed). as backup batteries on trips (to put in a charged battery immediately while I lesiurely recharge the discharged original) And some examples for the disposables: AA-powered radio (used infrequently enough that the first batteries I used in it have yet to need to be replaced) Home blood pressure cuff (same thing, still running on first set of batteries due to infrequent use) Back up options in storage if I needed to give out a battery (or otherwise strongly expect to lose the battery), and as emergency options if I somehow end up with discharged and no-way-to-recharge rechargeables.

Josh, kudos on taking the time to post a quick list here! I want to address something that looks to me like a point of confusion in your advice (I re-read your book review and saw it there, then saw it again here). “Compost pile: dig a small bowl where you want the pile so things don’t seep out. Then you need something to hold in the contents. Some wire fence in a circle works well and is quick to put together.” And in the review you said: “Interestingly, while Jenkins cautions against covering poo with soil, he insists that you should put your compost piles directly on the ground, as the soil contact encourages the microbes needed to break down the pile. He recommends digging a small depression under the pile to prevent leaks from the sides of the bin, and lining that depression with organic sponge material like grass.” From my reading, Jenkins emphasizes having a pretty thick “biological sponge” as the bottom of the compost pile (before any toilet material is put on) and also sidewall “cushions” for the compost pile (in addition to covering the top). See how much material he’s putting on the bottom when starting a new pile in this video: Here’s a figure from the Compost Toilet Handbook: I don’t have the scientific/academic resources to support this, but my hunch is that the biological sponge might hinder fecal microbes from being hand delivered to soil. At least until *after* they’ve had some initial rounds of battle with the composting microbes. (Which means the fecal microbes might be in pretty rough shape by the time any of them do make it through the sponge to reach the soil and think about continuing their lifecycle.) Also perhaps the aerobic composting microorganisms are better at moving from the soil to the compost via the biological sponge than the fecal microbes are at moving from poop to soil through the sponge layer. But regardless, Jenkins emphasizes both the biological sponge and the cushion wall, so that toilet material isn’t contacting the soil, nor can anyone touch toilet material by touching the sides of the compost bin. So I think your advice bullet point might be better as: “Compost pile: dig a small bowl where you want the pile so things don’t seep out. Put about a foot of fluffy carbon material in the bowl to make a bottom cushion/sponge, add some wire or wood pallets around it to hold it vertical and then pile another foot of fluffy carbon material, that you can later push to the sides (to make the wall cushions) when you are adding toilet material into the middle of the pile.” When I got a chance to use a functioning Humanure system, it was one that used straw for cover material and chicken wire to hold things up. I clearly remember the manager of this system warning us to make sure we had enough wall cushion material set up, to avoid accidentally pouring the bucket of toilet material through the wire wall and onto our shoes. 🙂

M.E., I thought about this, and want to clarify something. The Humanure System is very knowledge-based. This is great because you don’t have to buy expensive things to put together the system, and it’s not rocket science level of knowledge needed. However, if you are currently under a lot of stress for dealing with a whole collection of issues (only one of which is figuring out where to put your poop), me suggesting “go read this book!” could be very frustrating and unhelpful. So, two clarifications: 1) In case my above comments implied otherwise, I don’t necessarily expect my recommendations to solve your *current* problems in an efficient manner. If you’ve got the mental bandwidth, fantastic. But it would make total sense to me if you put off reading about Humanure until after this plumbing problem is solved, instead of trying to learn a new system while dealing with everything else. 2) The Humanure Handbook is free online, but despite my recommendation above, you might consider getting the $20 PDF copy of The Compost Toilet Handbook instead (https://slateroofwarehouse.com/Books/Joseph_Jenkins_Books/Compost_Toilet_Handbook). I pulled up my PDF copy on my phone to see how reading it on my phone looks, and the dimensions of the pages were decent for sizing to a phone’s screen (and I could also zoom in on text and photos fine). The Compost Toilet Handbook is slightly more focused on how to make the toilets, which may be helpful sooner. Basically the Compost Toilet Handbook spends way less time talking about the history of sanitation, is free of poop jokes, and has tons more photos and case studies about people using the system. Ok, time for me to get off my compost toilet soapbox.

M.E., Many condolences that you are having/had to deal with this, and many thank yous for taking the time to record your observations and experiences. (I know you mentioned being mortified about sharing this subject, but I really, really appreciate hearing practical, actual experiences on this matter, so know that I’m part of your audience who completely appreciates the candor.) “Pails are REALLY handy. LOTS of pails.” This takeaway reminded me of a thread on another forum where someone was documenting their experience of getting hit by Hurricane Michael and then spending the next one to two years rebuilding their home. He remarked that 5 gallon buckets were some of the most useful tools available during the period, especially when he was living in a garage during the rebuilding process. Obviously it sounds like “waterproof container” is the key here (not specifically 5 gallon buckets), so thank you for reminding me to think about my waterproof container resources. It sounds like you found good uses for a lot of them really quickly. I also appreciate the note about breaking past habits by needing to put visual reminders about where/when to change behavior to avoid making the backup problem worse. Also, very interesting that you experienced a reluctance to use your preps. I’ve heard *some* anecdotes about this issue before, and I think it’s part of an interesting conversation about the whole of prepping. We don’t just need to have helpful gear+appropriate skills, we also need the habits/mindsets that allow us to feel confident that “yes, this is the appropriate time to use Prep X to make life better.” One of my issues with planning for a water loss (and I haven’t yet thought through a “sewage block without clean water loss” situation) is how long I would plan to stay in a home without water. Basically the question of “how many flushes should I store water for before I stay in my place in an emergency, no-flushing water conservation mode or I leave for a place with water.” So for me that involves defining when and how I use my preps. But I am still figuring it out, so I would definitely expect some “should I really use my preps now?” resistance, should an issue happen right now. If you get any spare time (most likely in the future after this has been resolved), the composting toilet approach discussed in the humanure handbook was an incredible eye opener for me about options for dealing with our poop and pee. It’s based on composting, so a clay-based kitty litter probably won’t be compatible (and thus I don’t know that it solves your current problems), but it might give you some helpful ideas for the future. I hope the plumber’s visit was accompanied with very good news! And if you get bad news, I also look forward to hearing about your hotel cooking kit — I’ve been loosely looking into those the past few months.

Nice post! I recently moved, which was arduous, because I and wonderfully helpful friends were taking all of my life possessions up multiple flights of stairs (no elevator), and then I was busy with work for a while. So, months later I only remembered how heavy the books were and forgot the weight of everything else. I mentally hand-waved my bug out plan as grabbing a “reasonable” list of things, hauling it downstairs to a vehicle, and heading out. That reasonable list included 2-3 of my “portable” water containers to make sure I and any travel companions had water on the road to a safer place, and also give me the flexibility of multiple containers when trying to acquire (and possibly treat) water while traveling. I have two 3.5 gallon containers, and two 6-7 gallon containers that are part of my preps. Well, I got enough free time to start going car camping again and on the first trip I took just one of the smallest (3.5 gallon) water containers down those multiple flights of stairs. I quickly realized my bug out assumptions were misguided. Because of the weight of a filled water container, and also that just one container monopolized a hand (I couldn’t carry anything else with that hand), in an emergency I’m pretty sure I’ll only be willing to take one of the 3.5 gallon containers with me. Even if I get my knees and quads back in shape for moving multiple heavy items up and down the stairs. So, now I have a better idea of this constraint to plan around, but I would have be surprised by this issue if I hadn’t used one of the water containers for camping fun and been getting more familiar with it that way.

I’m very happy to see this review! To me, Joe Jenkins’ years worth of work seems extremely valuable for preparedness minded folks. His recent book, The Compost Toilet Handbook , is a more practical (less humorous, but also potentially more family friendly), and less citation- and history-heavy approach to humanure systems. It also has a bunch of pictures of example systems. I’d recommend a copy of it (available in print and in PDF) for anyone look for more advice on building the system. I also highly recommend digging into the videos on his Youtube channel — they have a lot of case studies and practical tidbits. For example, the humanure playlist includes a three-part presentation on starting a humanure system in Haiti after the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NCuawEqPCc&list=PLFD5D0CE103FD3A56&index=42 I also enjoy the visual of a community’s “sanitation plant” being a bunch of large compost bins in a banana tree grove: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY5K2Jn7Om0&list=PLFD5D0CE103FD3A56&index=31 Basically I see knowledge of compost-based sanitation as something as important for preparedness as knowing how to collect rainwater. It’s a very accessible and yet powerful skill in the face of serious damage to the water and sewage utility grids. (Let alone as a tool for increasing household resilience and sustainability.) I also recently saw a youtube video on toilets for car-based travel, and the presenters found that setting the 5 gallon bucket into an upright milk crate improved the stability of sitting on the bucket for a toilet. (In case someone is in a pinch and didn’t build a custom, wooden “loveable loo” priority to an emergency.) P.S. Your article made me realize that I might be an oddity: I prefer getting PDFs over ebook formats/downloads. Granted, I do a lot of reading on my computer for work, and maybe the state of EPUB as a format to counteract against proprietary formats has changed since I last looked at things.


Load more...