Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • Yes, you can cook your food using the rays of the sun!

     

    With sunny days on the rise, now is a great time to consider alternative cooking methods, like solar ovens. We think the Sport Solar Oven is a great product so we’ve put it on sale. Here’s a post by our Regional Stores Supervisor, Rob.

     

     

    I doubted how well the Sport Solar Oven would work and I wasn’t alone. The most frequently asked question I get is, “does it really cook food?” usually followed by “so… how does it work then?”

    When I first used the Sport Solar Oven, in the summer, I went for the gusto with a full meal of dinner rolls, a roast, and potatoes. I put the oven in direct sunlight to preheat; within a short period of time the thermometer was at 300 degrees. I put the food in, and four and a half hours later I had fluffy rolls, a delicious roast, and soft potatoes. My doubts melted away faster than the butter on those rolls!

    The Sport Solar Oven will work any time of the year, no matter the temperature outside—you just need sunlight. We tried it out at our Northern Utah store on March 9. It was 35 degrees outside (thanks to the wind chill) and there was snow on the ground. It was mostly sunny during our cooking time, with some clouds.

    The Sport Solar Oven preheated to 275 degrees within 30 minutes, despite the cold conditions. We cooked roast with potatoes in one pot and baked rolls in the second pot. Just like my test during the summer, the food was cooked and ready to eat four to five hours later.

    So, how does a solar oven work? Basically the Sport Solar Oven acts as a slow cooking crock pot that can also bake, generally reaching between 250 and 280 degrees. More specifically, the oven is lined with a dark-colored metal that absorbs the heat of the sun. A clear lid maximizes the direct light and also helps keep the heat in. Optional reflectors compensate for low sun (during winter, fall, and spring). The pots are black, which helps absorb energy as heat. (A similar reaction can occur in your car on sunny days. You may notice that dark materials, such as the steering wheel, are hotter than lighter colored surfaces.)

    What if there is no sunlight? Unfortunately, if there’s no sunlight you won’t be able to use the Sport Solar Oven. If the sky is overcast or hazy, the oven won’t heat up quickly or fully.

    Why don’t I just use the stove with charcoal all the time? Plan for all situations, but if you have sunlight, why not use it? It’s a natural and free source of power. You’ll have reserved your other fuel sources, like charcoal, for times when you don’t have other options. If you prefer to cook with fuels like propane or charcoal, or if you’re looking for a backup to your backup, click here for some good options.

     

    Every Saturday this March, we will be testing out other recipes in our solar ovens at our stores. If you live in Utah, stop by and see the Sport Solar Oven in action. If you don’t live in Utah, we will be posting pictures and giving updates here on the blog so check back each Monday!

     

    Have you had success with your solar oven? Do you have additional questions? Let us know by commenting below.

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, Sport Solar Oven, charcoal, propane, sun, rolls, roast, potatoes, Rob

  • Emergency Essentials is rolling out another great sale starting today, March 15th, and ending March 21st. All Mountain House #10 cans are 20% off. If you buy six or more cans, of the same item, we’ll give you 25% off!

    As long as it comes in a #10 can, you can pick from any Mountain House product. You can mix-and-match your favorites, or try out a few new entrees. If you’re totally new to freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, read about them here, and check out our best-sellers:

     Beef Stew

    Beef Stroganoff

    Turkey Tetrazzini

    Lasagna with Meat Sauce

    Chicken a la King with Noodles

    Mountain House entrees could be a pillar in your food storage supply. They have a 25-year shelf life and provide life-sustaining nutritional value for even longer.  Here are some ways to use the Mountain House entrées even when it’s not an emergency:

    -          Put individual portions in zip-top bags (or other compact containers) and take them with you on your next backpacking trip.

    -          Make a quick meal at home when you’re busy or have surprise visitors.

    -          Consider stocking up if you’re taking a family vacation and want to save money and time on meals.

    We’ll be highlighting a different Mountain House #10 canned item every day until the sale ends. You’ll get more information on popular entrees and on some surprising additions to the freeze-dried food line up. I can’t let the cat out of the bag but you’re not gonna believe what they’re freeze-drying at Mountain House…

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: mountain house, dehydrated, freeze dried, lasagna with meat sauce, turkey tetrazzini, chicken a la king with noodles, beef stew, beef stroganoff, #10 cans, mix-and-match

  • Goal Zero Solar Power

    Hey all!

    Emergency Essentials got a mention on Twitter (thanks @AndyBenge!) that turned into a conversation on Goal Zero and their Solar Kits.

    You should know, right off the bat, that I’m in love with solar power. I think it’s the greatest concept in town and can’t wait for the technology to get to the level where it’s uber affordable and we’re all using it. Till then, there’s always Goal Zero (which is actually really well priced).

    I can’t get over how cool the Goal Zero Sherpa 50 is. It’s super portable which makes it great for camping trips, backpacking, and mobile outdoor photography.

    Here’s a Goal Zero video that says it all in less than a minute.

    Goal Zero Sherpa 50

    -- Steph

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, Goal Zero, chargers, batteries, photography

  • Friends, can you believe it’s March already? February absolutely flew by. And good riddance, right? I’m ready for spring to start.

    In February my plan was to save $5 toward preparedness supplies since I only saved about $2 in January. Well, guess what? Since I was thinking about it more, I actually saved almost $20! Here’s how I did it:

    1)      I took out cash for my monthly expenses (outside of larger expenses, like rent, that I pay for by check).

    2)      I requested the cash in $20 bills.

    3)      When all that was left of a $20 was loose change and $1 bills, it all went into my prep fund jar and I broke the next $20.

    4)      The end result was that I never even missed that extra change or the $1 bills.

    So, my ending balance from January was $1.01. In February I saved $19.55, bringing my total to $20.56. Here’s what I bought:

    I’m going to try saving just as much in March—we’ll see how it goes. Eventually I want to buy a small stove, a tent, a bivvy, and some MREs. But I’m also going to consider items that are on sale each month (like some of the great sale items this month), so I have to be patient and pace myself.

    What about you? Were you able to save some pennies and get something for your preps in February? What’s your goal for March?

     P.S. Guess what? I got a Katadyn Vario™ water filter as a gift in February! I couldn't believe it—what a blessing! I would have had to save my pennies for the rest of the year to buy that!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Urban Girl, Prepping on a Budget, Budget, Pennies for Prepping, Sanitation, Utensils, Tents, Bivvy, MRE, Stove

  • A Primer on Preppers

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    Check out this great article entitled "Stop Demonizing Preppers." Whether you self-identify as a "prepper" or not, you will surely be able to recognize some of the false stereotypes the author talks about. A great article that shows not all preppers are alike.

    In fact, the prepper community includes a lot of political and cultural variety. If there is right-wing survivalist DNA here, there is also the DNA of the Whole Earth Catalog and several generations of bohemian back-to-the-landers, plus a fair number of families whose inspiration isn't much larger than the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared."

    This is a great article to share with those who aren't familiar with prepping or preppers, as well as those whose exposure to the idea through media has left them with a less-than-realistic impression of what emergency preparedness is all about. (Click here for the full article.)

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  •  

    The last couple of weeks our baby steps have focused on building a preparedness group, network, or team. This week we're continuing on with that same topic, plus some baby steps on other topics that we'll post later today. This article has some great ideas for putting a preparedness group or team together: 

    To begin to look at the team, you have to ask yourself what elements are needed in order to survive (and hopefully thrive) during and after any crisis. Then, it’s a simple matter of finding people who can fulfill the joint objectives of the team. In our lengthy design, we came up with the following elements (we call domains), which are now the core instruction at Ready 5:

    Situation Awareness, Planning, Communications, Mobility, Practical Fitness, Food and Water, Medicine, Shelter, Equipment, Personal Protection, Financial, Preparedness, and Enduring Mindset

    Read the rest of the article "Strength in Numbers: Building a Preparedness Team" here.

    We'll be back later with more baby steps!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: baby steps, Neighbors, Neighborhood Emergency Plan, emergency preparedness, Preparedness Group, Preparedness Team

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