Reducing your energy needs is the single best energy-specific preparedness measure you can make. Less demand requires fewer resources. If your preparedness plans require heat sources, cooking methods and equipment that are all dependent on energy that won’t be readily available in a catastrophe, you need to make plans to generate that energy (or stockpile a ton of it). This adds a whole other layer of preparedness requirements if you’re to survive a long-term SHTF scenario – and more cost!
The prepping plans I prefer are the ones less dependent on high levels of energy. A long-term doomsday scenario (for those that survive) will look a lot like the days of old – before electricity. People got by without.
So what does it meant to prep for less energy? A comparison:
The Energy Hungry Prepper invested in a nice Honda generator to power the central heating system, well pump and half the house, and gallons upon gallons of stored gasoline. Food isn’t a concern, he has TWO freezers full of meat, veggies and ice cream! He has boxes of batteries in case he needs to power his electronic gadgets and the hoity toity battery powered optics on his mighty AR-15. He has a laptop stored in a faraday cage that contains all of his SHTF files, pdfs upon pdfs of information. WTSHTF he’ll have all the information he could need stored on his hard drive. Back up plans? He’s got ’em. He bought a smalls set of portable solar panels that charge deep cell batteries stored in his basement. He’ll be able to re-charge his cellphone – and yours too!
The Energy Happy Prepper doesn’t own a generator. He heats with wood, puts his food in a cold storage room or root cellar, and cans the rest. He does store some fuel, lamp oil as an example. He dug a well on his property, which proved helpful for the garden he maintains. He has a lot of paperback books that contain the information he needs. If he nears the end of his emergency candle supply he has a backup plan – go to bed early.
Obviously I painted a very stark comparison, but when it comes to energy needs (and many other things in life), less is more.
How do I prep around energy? More comparisons:
- gravity fed Berkey purifier versus a hand pump water purifier (physical energy)
- wood burning stove versus a furnace
- crank flashlights versus non
- crank radios versus non
- cast iron cookware that can be used with an open fire versus more pretty cookware
- peak oil bicycle versus a dirt bike
- axe and saw versus chainsaw
- map and compass versus GPS
- iron sights versus battery powered holographic scopes
You get the idea. Conveniently, many of the low-energy items mentioned also have fewer moving parts (and cost less). Simple is good.
Some survival bloggers (here and here) might disagree with me as they recommend the energy dependent Kindle as a piece of survival gear, but – personally – I can’t justify the expense of the Kindle as a piece of survival gear. I would justify the expense if I thought I’d use the Kindle on a daily basis now, but as survival gear? I’ll build my survival library with paperback books.
I don’t think that anything requiring an outlet or a set of batteries is bad – let’s make that clear. I love my GPS. Nothing would beat a hand held GPS if you needed to bug out of the city. We use our freezer all the time, it’s convenient. Daily life without power, particularly now in February, would be really rough. A generator would be nice if the power went out for a few days, but that very rarely happens and I can’t justify a generator for that. If the power goes out for a short period of time it’s an “adventure” for the kids. I question the use of the energy dependent generator in a long-term SHTF scenario. It makes noise and stays thirsty. Won’t there be enough other things to feed besides generators and gadgets?
– Ranger Man