Emergency Preparedness, Gift Ideas Edition! Rain Barrel, Gasoline Camp Stove and Lantern, Assorted Stocking Stuffers

If you are normally big on environmental stuff anyway and have (perhaps recently) added a side interest in emergency preparedness, may I suggest a rain barrel as your new love? It’s not as cheap as canned beans and clothesline, but the holidays are coming up!

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Paul found me one on Freecycle.org, slightly broken on the top but still works, just doesn’t keep out the bugs as well as one might prefer. Already the thing is FULL of water. The water is not quite absolutely clear, but for washing or flushing it would be TOP-NOTCH. And we have a bottle of bleach and a bunch of old t-shirts in our emergency-preparedness supplies, for filtering and disinfecting the water if necessary.

Anyway, the rain barrel. In non-emergency situations, the water it collects is excellent for righteously watering things outside. The main downside: if you live in an area where the temperature gets below freezing, the rain barrel is useless during that time—and you MUST remember to empty it before the temperature drops, or else you get a giant rain-barrel-shaped ice cube sitting among the shards of a rain barrel, ask me how I know. This is non-ideal if some of the emergencies you like to prepare for are ICE STORMS and BLIZZARDS.

Another good gift idea is this camp stove that runs on gasoline:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Keeping the cars pretty full of gas is a good “doesn’t cost any more than NOT doing it” emergency-preparedness idea anyway, and it’s even more satisfying if you think of your cars as giant expensive camp-stove-fuel storage devices. (Or you can get a gas can, I GUESS.) The stove comes with a filtering funnel, so don’t get tricked by Amazon suggesting that you may want to add that to your order. You could, however, add a couple bottles of liquid fuel, in case you’d like to start with a short-term solution that doesn’t involve trying to suck gasoline out of your car as the tornado swirls overhead.

There’s a gasoline-powered lantern, too:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

And here is a Paul-approved solar cell-phone charger, for when one of your wife’s biggest concerns about an emergency situation is that she will not be able to check on her Neko Atsume cats:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)


Stocking stuffers!

Fire starter, for those of us who never learned to start one with two sticks and are not really clear on how to do it with a couple of pieces of metal?/stone?/whatever either:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

A nice bulk pack of inexpensive emergency blankets, inexplicably marketed “for men” (ladies, in a pinch I think we can still use them):

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Can opener, because this is no time to be hacking with a screwdriver at a tin of fruit cocktail:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Waterproof matches:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Rubber bands, which are the sort of thing that turn out to be useful in a thousand situations (these super-size ones are fun too):

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Hair elastics, because I am NOT getting caught in ANY situation without ample hair elastics (you may think I am kidding, but I for real added these to our emergency kit):

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

This reflective nylon rope is in festive green! And look: you could use it as a wreath!

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Water purification tablets, if you’re not so sure about the life choices of the bugs in the rain barrel:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

Life Straw personal water filtering device:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

$20 is beyond what I like to spend on an individual item for a stocking, but this would FIT so nicely. It’s like one of those plastic candy-cane-shaped containers that come with Hershey Kisses or M&Ms inside! …Perhaps not quite as festive.

17 thoughts on “Emergency Preparedness, Gift Ideas Edition! Rain Barrel, Gasoline Camp Stove and Lantern, Assorted Stocking Stuffers

  1. Suzanne

    I would love those stocking stuffers. I have also perused some of the multi-purpose utility tools on Amazon, which look super cool and useful.

  2. Rah

    You’ve caused me to consider and even LOOK AT some things that have been nipping at my heels. Thank you. And how awesome are some people’s minds, to come up with these useful items??

  3. RB

    You actually encouraged me to start a preparedness stockpile in our basement! That was a fun grocery trip. Cans.. cans everywhere!

  4. Jean

    Your hair ties made me think of chapstick. I would add probably a ten pack for myself. Also, no, Vaseline will not work. Also also, did you have toothbrushes in your earlier post? How about sunglasses? Those would be my top three must haves (not including food, water, tp and tampons, obvs).

    Most importantly…do you know something I /we don’t know?

    1. Maureen

      I’m a Vaseline girl, I’m addicted to it. But for some reason I never thought of adding that to my emergency kit! Thanks for reminding me to buy a big tub.

  5. rbelle

    This post reminded me to add some fruit cocktail to our cupboard stock. Of course, the problem is that I will actually open canned fruit and serve it for dinner on my lazy nights, whereas only one person in my house will even glance at the 10 cans of beans and bean-related foods we have on hand at all times. I look forward to the apocalypse answering the question of whether any amount of hunger will make my children less picky eaters.

    1. rbelle

      Also, I wanted to recommend this: http://amzn.to/2etNeWb. After your earlier post, I told my husband that we needed light, light, light, because all we have are smallish flashlights (which rarely have batteries because they corrode before we need them) and our camping headlamps, which are fine for avoiding stumbling around in the dark, but pose problems when you actually have to look at your family members without blinding them. He came home with one of these, and I told him to go buy about four more because it is nice and bright and light to carry and it charges on sunlight. Fab.

  6. Lisa Ann

    I live in an apt. with very limited storage space. Besides a flashlight/batteries, my one must have in my “emergency” kit is a swiss army knife. So versatile and so so handy on an everyday basis. I carry the tiny one in my every day bag and cannot tell you how many times I’ve used it. Makes great stocking stuffer too!

  7. Maureen

    We bought a small camp stove that runs on little canisters of sterno. We bought a bunch of the canisters when we saw them on sale, so we are good to go with that. We also have a Traeger grill that we can use with our portable generator-I think a lot about what we would do if our house was severely damaged, since we live in a very active earthquake area. The water is always an issue for me, we can’t store it outside in the winter because of the our extreme winter temperatures. We do have a creek at the end of our road, and bought the Lifestraw for each of us. We could cut through the ice to the water, and haul it up.

    I put the waterproof matches in my amazon basket, even though we have matches in ziplocks, my husband thinks it would be a good idea to have matches that will light no matter what.

  8. JanS

    While I realize that in a family with kids it might be more practical to have such a stove, I cringe at a gasoline stove. I would prefer to store three dozen canisters of propane (for that type of camp stove), or adapt the stove to run off a large tank of propane and have two tanks. And use an outdoor grill.

    In any case, if you aren’t usually campers, give all your gear a trial run — one big “pretend disaster struck” day, to test things out.

    In addition to solar-powered chargers (especially for those in rainy climes) there are inexpensive battery packs (like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01AKQPBE8/ref=s9_top_hm_awbw_b1MrSyp_g263_i6?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=mobile-hybrid-11&pf_rd_r=F7K5YTMCQP9031DTXS09&pf_rd_t=30901&pf_rd_p=451397ec-f4bb-5dae-87ba-9e4e79f2f9f0&pf_rd_i=1253955011&th=1&psc=1) that also can jump start the car. Again, test it out.

    I don’t have kids, so my emergency foods are peanut butter, bread/crackers, and ramen noodles.

    Also, those matches are crap, they’re too flimsy and way too short. Buy storm proof or windproof matches, augmented with long fireplace matches.

  9. British American

    So I skipped over all the emergency preparedness research and I’m now playing the super cute cat game on my Kindle! Ooops.

  10. Grace

    I don’t know why I love these posts so much, but I really do. I really love your gift idea posts too. And your accomplished-things-on-the-to-do-list post (and comments)! Maybe I just love lists? At any rate, things are going into my Amazon cart!

  11. Alissa

    I have emergency hair elastics too. Most of my comments on movies and TV shows after disasters are, “Look at her hair! It wouldn’t look like that! It would be all knotted and tangled, not hanging free. Where’s some rope to tie it back?”

  12. Shawna

    “in case you’d like to start with a short-term solution that doesn’t involve trying to suck gasoline out of your car as the tornado swirls overhead.”


    “if you’re not so sure about the life choices of the bugs in the rain barrel”


    And may I just say that I’m the person who suggested a life straw on the last emergency prepardeness post, so I’m pleased to see you thought it was a worthy suggestion. :)

  13. Maureen

    I just thought of another thing to add to my emergency kit-Dawn dishwashing liquid. I was washing dishes a few minutes ago (we don’t have a dishwasher) and I thought-cleaning the dishes! We use the antibacterial Dawn, so that might help a bit with germs if everything goes to heck in a handbasket. Dawn is such a great grease cutter, it works even if you don’t have hot water, which has been an issue for us when we lose electricity. So even if you only have cold water, you can clean things, wash your hair in a pinch-a good product to have in an emergency.

    I was trying to think why this subject appeals to me so much, beyond practical considerations since I live in Alaska, cut off from the lower 48. I decided it was all the reading of the Little House books growing up-I loved how self-sufficient they were. So while I live in an urban area, close to all I hold dear like libraries and grocery stores, I still want to be prepared!

  14. Sarah!

    Sawyer Squeeze is a great, affordable water filter, as well, and better for filtering larger quantities of water (like for cooking) than the life straw. The Sawyer Mini (same thing but smaller/cheaper/slightly slower to use) is what I carry for camping/hiking.

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