One of my more favorite prepping “solutions” is to utilize an inverter connected to a car battery to power the refrigerator/freezer. So long as you have gasoline to run your vehicle this idea can work for a long time. After all, a vehicle’s engine is a rather efficient generator. (note: I didn’t think of this on my own but, rather, heard it from Steven Harris of Solar1234.com.)
And since the only investment is in a power inverter (an 800-watt inverter should do nicely) which can be had for about $50, an extension cord (here’s a decent 50′ 12/3 cord) for about $30, and gasoline in gas cans which you should be doing for a variety of reasons anyway, you can have a makeshift generator setup ready to go for significantly less than purchasing an actual generator.
Of course, there are a few very good reasons to invest in a generator eventually, but for most people I’d suggest starting with the aforementioned strategy. In so doing you have both a strategy to rely upon faster as well as a backup solution if/when you do purchase a generator. Anyway, the point in this post was to suggest that regardless of what you or I choose to use–an inverter or generator–we should do our best to maximize the effort.
For example, if my plan is to connect a refrigerator off and on to my car battery via inverter then there’s no reason why I shouldn’t also utilize this effort to power other stuff at the same time, be it recharging batteries, running a laptop, or even to power small lights for a time. Obviously, there will be a very defined limit as to what I can power doing this but the point is to NOT just power the fridge and forget everything else while doing so. In this way I’m making the most of a very finite resource: gasoline.
Sure, I could choose to power the fridge for a while and when I’m done move on to power something else but this is inefficient! To be honest, I’ve yet to try powering anything besides my refrigerator while connected to an inverter so that’s something I still need to experiment with.
I should also mention that if you’re thinking this is a GREAT idea and that you should just purchase the biggest inverter possible so you can power everything you own… not so fast. There is a limit as to how much power a typical car alternator can provide and that limit is about the same as what a typical 800-watt inverter can supply. Oh, and you can’t just idle to car the entire time either… you will need to rev the engine on occasion to recharge the car battery.
The question now is: in what other ways can we maximize your prepping efforts?
Here’s a few more thoughts…
- If you’re going to collect rainwater then go BIG. Collect rainwater from every downspout you have and in anything that holds water, even if not food grade, since there are many reasons to use water besides consumption. Why stop there? Dig holes and line them with garbage bags, string tarps from trees and funnel water into garbage cans (lined with clean bags, of course), consider leaf transpiration, or whatever you can think of! Since water is so necessary to life and because rainfall can be unpredictable and scarce you should do everything you can to collect as much as possible when given the opportunity.
- If you’re going to start a campfire to cook food then utilize some of it to boil water as well. IMO, finding water that’s consumable (for drinking, eating, hygiene) will be a never-ending preoccupation. Sure, you can and should have a resource like a Berkey water filter but there are other reasons to boil water, such as for bathing, doing the dishes, laundry, etc. And while you’re at it you can dry out clothes next to a campfire too… hope you like a smoky odor. 😉
- If you’re going to grow food perhaps setting some traps or active hunting wild game are in order? Personally, I don’t hunt but I do know that an assortment of wild animals are attracted to my garden. These days they’re a nuisance but in tough times they could become a meal, from rabbits to deer, it’s all edible.
I’m sure there are plenty more useful ways to maximize your prepping efforts. What ways can you think of?