• Comments (24)

    • 9

      Glad to see your recommendation of a CO detector. Not a good idea to recommend use of a propane stoves and lanterns indoors, especially to heat an enclosed room. Propane heaters give off CO! Maybe you could remove that reference, or qualify it by saying to only use propane burning items if they are specifically designed for indoor use.

      Saying that winter storms can hit as early as Halloween will make some people smile. By Halloween large parts of Minnesota have already dropped below freezing never to rise above freezing until March (on average). Severe winter storms can happen much earlier than Halloween for the northern latitudes.

      • 7

        Thanks for the feedback Darren. I’ll update the post to be clearer about using caution with indoor propane heaters/lanterns. Usually, as long as someone has CO detectors, cracks a window, and uses something that’s quality and indoor safe (like the Mr. Buddy’s), I feel OK recommending it to them.

        We figured people reading this list weren’t in consistently frozen parts like upper MN, but you’re right!

    • 7

      Get your furnace checked early
      I upgraded last year this year we had it checked. The motherboard fried it’s been 3 weeks an hopefully they get it working today. I live in Minnesota so if I waited till this week to have it checked it might get bad
      As outerwear goes I like Carhartt Artic ware. I like to ice fish I can stay out on the ice all day if I dress warm and put on my Carhartt coat and bibs

      • 5

        Yet another example of why waiting until the last minute is a bad idea!

    • 5

      Not sure if this is the best place to post this question. It’s really about propane tank storage, but since this page mentions propane-fueled options in various places, I thought I’d post the question here. I just bought a bunch of these little 16 oz Coleman propane canisters but I’m nervous about storing them and not sure how to do it after perusing some instructions on the internet.

      The instructions I found are for propane tanks in general, not specific to these very small canisters. What I I found on the Internet says never to store propane tanks inside the house or in the basement.They say to store them outside, but protected from the elements and from very cold or hot temperature. They say to store them on level ground and at least 10′ away from flammable materials.

      I really can’t figure out how to make that all work on my property. I live in a moderate climate — no heat or cold extremes — but I only have a small area to work with outside. I have a small back yard and it’s located on a hill, most of which is grassy. The only area that’s paved over is a narrow strip at the bottom of this hill. The pavement there isn’t very even and there aren’t any structures there to store the tanks and they could easily be knocked over when people walk around. The most temperature controlled area of the house is the above-ground basement, which always stays cool. It also has the most storage space. This is where the canisters are sitting right now. But, if I’m not supposed to put them in the basement or anywhere that’s within 10′ of anything flammable, I don’t know where to put them.

      Are there any practical instructions and guidelines I could use to keep these little tanks safely on my property?

      • 5

        I’ve stored those small Coleman canisters indoors for probably 20 years. Although the safety instructions are technically correct, I suspect it’s much more of a CYA thing + meant for people who’d do something stupid like store them between their baby’s crib, the oven range, and a faulty electrical panel.

        My primary concern would be if they fell or were crushed in something like an earthquake. So put them somewhere logical, like a safe spot in your basement, and you’ll be fine.

      • 7

        For what it’s worth I also wrote to Coleman with a similar question. They sent me these safety guidelines for these specific canisters:

        Instructions for handling and Storage of Propane cylinders:

        1) Keep out of reach of children

        2) DO NOT EXPOSE TO HEAT, sparks or flame. Do not leave in direct sunlight. Do not store at temperatures above 120F


        4) Always use cylinder stand with top mounted camping appliances to prevent tip over

        5) NEVER REFILL this cylinder. Refilling may cause explosion. Federal law forbids transportation if refilled.

        6) Never put in luggage or take on trains or aircraft

      • 4

        Thanks. FYI, we saw your since-deleted comment on the water filter post and have noted it for our next revision. Constructive criticism is always welcome — it’s the only way we can build the web’s best prepper resource.

      • 3

        Thanks. Any chance you could give some pointers on my specific questions about the water filters in the meantime? I’m just starting to assemble my gear on a limited budget and I’d like to at least get the food and water stuff squared away.

      • 5

        Email me hello (at) this website

    • 4

      What’s the best way to store water in your car during winter? Is it not going to freeze and burst if you don’t park in a garage or somewhere protected?

      • 7

        I’ve had luck storing those small cheap disposible water bottles in my car. If I drink about a third of the bottle and then squeeze the edges slightly as I tighten up the lid again, it seems to be enough to allow expanding without bursting. And yes, it will freeze unless you put your car in some place warm. So maybe also include a way to warm up water in your car incase your only water supply is frozen.

        Always carry a waterbottle with you wherever you go. If you get into this habit, when you go out to your car everyday, you will have a liquid form of water and you will also take it with you when you leave your car so it will probably never freeze.

      • 2

        I keep a six pack of bottled water in a personal Igloo cooler.

        I also never leave the house without my Nalgene w/spacesaver cup.

      • 1

        I’ve always wondered if storing water in a small igloo cooler would be enough insulation to prevent the water from freezing. I’ve always thought that it would help temporarily, but if you leave it in your car for a week straight it eventually would become the same temperature inside the cooler as it is outside.

        John, you gotta help me out here. Do you leave your water in your vehicle all winter long and don’t have issues with it freezing in the cooler?

      • 2

        I actually don’t know any way to keep water stored in a vehicle all winter from freezing, the cooler theoretically lowers the temperature before the water freezes solid. On a more practical note, the cooler contains spillage if the water freezes and breaks the bottle. 

        By using bottled water it is easier to thaw them vs the gallon jug of water.

        Temps here can fluctuate a lot in the winter, I  just assume that the water in the truck will be frozen.

      • 1

        Thanks for your answer. I may have to do some experimenting this winter and find out what I can do to keep bottles from freezing solid.

    • 8

      Does anyone have any thoughts on a Mr. Heater Little Buddy kept in a VEDC? If it were just me, I think blankets/clothing would be enough, but I have young children. However, I’m not sure if the tip-over/fire danger is too great. For what it’s worth, I also have a vehicle specific fire extinguisher.

      • 3

        I’m not too familiar with what a VEDC is… So my answer might change if you explain that.

        As for safety with the Mr. Heater Little Buddy, it seems like a decent setup. It has a wide base, and multiple safety features. If it tips over it will turn off, if it gets too hot it will turn off, if it uses up too much oxygen in the room it will also turn off. 

        But, there is a risk. I likely scenario I can see is your kid kicking around their blankets in the middle of the night and a blanket lands on the heating element and catches fire. 

        If you were to sleep between your kids and the heater, although you would rather them be warmer and closer to the heater, but you might have a bit more control then them of tipping it over. 

        Another idea is to get a bunch of disposible or reusable hand warmers and put those all around your kids to keep them warm. No risk for fire that way.

        Another idea to prevent tip over is to make a DIY fire screen. Like in the one below. Maybe just get some chicken wire or something from the hardware store and make a foldable screen that can be placed around the heater to prevent tip over.


      • 6

        Thanks for the response!

        VEDC is what this article references regarding items you carry every day / consistently in your vehicle, i.e. Vehicle Every Day Carry, so my question was aimed at using a Little Buddy if stranded in a vehicle in the winter.

      • 5

        Oh, haha! I was way over thinking it and thought it was some cool kind of RV or camper. Thanks for clarifying for me. That Mr. Buddy will be a great heat source!

      • 2

        No experience with Mr Heater little buddy heater,  my first thoughts aren’t encouraging, It would require at least two fuel canisters, (primary and spare) as well the unit itself.

        I keep a 100 hr storm candle (big tin of wax w/multiple wicks), in my truck. Coupled with blankets, in a vehicle should keep me alive, until help arrives.

        I also have a 12″ Pyromid solid fuel stove, and a Pocket cooker.

        Of course, how big a vehicle is would affect best options as to heating it.

        My Ranger, requires less to heat it, than my wife’s Grand Caravan.

    • 6

      How about some layered clothing recommendations for women, as well.

    • 1

      I was just looking through this section of your site for advice to send to someone in GA trying to deal with the cold in his home.  A small section about how to deal with an unprepared home that’s gone ice cold would be a great addition.  He was looking for advice about buying a tent to put on his bed to sleep in (he and his wife are in their 70’s and the wife has 3 broken ribs). I told him to make sure the tent has a large opening to make it easier for his wife to get in and out.  Suggestions about eating energy dense snacks before bedding down for the night and such would be great for people who are not preppers but are dealing with the sudden cold weather we are experiencing right now.

      BTW, this is the best site by far I’ve ever seen for common sense prepping.  I’m always suggesting it to people.