My favorite emergency fuel to store for survival is also one of my favorite topics to talk about, just so you know. I have a small yard, so I am not able to store as much as someone with a large piece of property. If I had a large parcel of land I would have a large truckload of my favorite charcoal/coal delivered. (I don’t own a truck). Emergency fuel is an important topic, so that’s why I decided to update this post from a few years ago. I’ve updated this post to get the word out about storing fuel.
I purchased several red five-gallon buckets with red Gamma lids to store my Ozark Oak hardwood lump charcoal. The reason I chose to purchase this brand of charcoal is that I read about the chemicals in the barbecue charcoal briquettes you buy at grocery stores or large box stores. I’m not a scientist, but I’ll give you some tips on what to buy based on what I’ve researched.
I started buying Ozark Oak hardwood lump charcoal several years ago. They have now closed their doors and are no longer in business. Dang! For years, I have had to order it online, but now I’m seeing other brands of lump charcoal at major hardware stores. I haven’t done any research on those companies because I have so much Ozark product on hand, I’m set for my lifetime.
If you store your fuel properly it will last indefinitely, with the exception of butane. I store only about 12 canisters of that product. Propane must be stored upright and stored several feet away from your home. I store all my propane outside, not in the garage. Remember it is combustible. As long as the propane containers don’t rust, they’ll store indefinitely, if you keep them upright.
I store my charcoal briquettes in blue-colored Gamma lid 5-gallon buckets. Anyone who knows me is aware of my organizational skills, or whatever you want to call them. I have my washed and baked pinecones (to get rid of bugs and sap) in black 5-gallon containers with black Gamma lids. The freshly cut wood pieces in need stored are in 5-gallon green containers with green Gamma lids.
There is no question regarding how much fuel I have available because I have the colored containers lined up in my garage. Please note, I don’t buy charcoal briquettes with the lighter fluid imbeded in them. The regular charcoal briquettes without the fluid will last indefinitely if stored in air-tight containers. I realize some people just store the briquette bags all stacked up, but I prefer air-tight containers. Gamma Lids and Colored 5-gallon buckets store and stack so easily, they are a lifesaver for me.
Stores indefinitely if the containers are stored upright and don’t rust. I can use propane with my Volcano Stove. If you buy one, make sure you have the right size adapter for the large tanks or the smaller canisters of propane, depending on which size your prefer. Different Volcano stoves are sold with different size adaptors. Propane Tanks I would check Sam’s Club, Walmart, or Costco to buy your tanks. Don’t be surprised if you notice the prices have gone up. Welcome to today’s supply chain issues!
If you have a Costco near you, sometimes they sell the tanks at a good price. Buy one every month and stock up on propane. Be careful of your local laws because some locations only let you store so many containers of propane at any given time.
Doesn’t store indefinitely. It’s a great and relatively inexpensive way to boil water or cook a few meals after a disaster. They are also really handy when used for camping. You will love it! I bought one for all four of my daughters for emergencies. Butane Stoves and Butane Fuel
We actually used a butane stove for a few months while we waited to have our new natural gas stove to be installed. It was just too hot in the attic to run the gas line, so our plumber friend waited for cooler fall temps. We cooked all our “stove top” meals on the small butane stove. We could only cook one meal item at a time, but we planned ahead and things worked out well for us.
Low ash, burns hotter, burns faster, and less evenly because you are burning blackened wood, usually oak, pecan, etc. The pieces are not formed by a machine to be the same exact size. They are pieces of cut wood from all different sizes and shapes of lumber. They look like pieces of blackened wood because they are wood.
Hardwood Lump Charcoal I can use these in my Volcano Stove or firepit in the backyard.
These burn longer and more evenly because they are all pieces of uniformly manufactured pieces of briquettes. Some manufacturers use chemicals, fillers, and add sawdust to make perfectly formed briquettes. Be sure and check the brand you are buying. Some briquettes are made with little or no chemicals. Some have several fillers and chemicals in them. These produce more ash than hardwood charcoal.
There are many disputes as to whether the ash leftover is safe or not safe to add to your garden. I don’t add it to my garden since I’m not confident what they might have in them chemical wise. Kingsford Charocal Briquettes I can use these in my Volcano Stove or firepit in the backyard.
Blocks of wood:
They store indefinitely as well. I can use these in my Volcano Stove or firepit in the backyard. We visited a cabinet shop every week for a few months and bought their scrap wood that they sold by the bag. To help them fit better in the Gamma lid buctets, Mark took our miter/chop saw and tried to make the pieces a little smaller and uniform in size. They light fairly easily and burn pretty quickly, faster than a log of wood.
My friend, Lisa, mentioned to me that it’s a good idea to bake the pine cones on some aluminum foil when baking them in my oven. If there is a lot of sap, you won’t have all the clean-up after baking them. It worked. I baked the pine cones at 200 degrees for 2 hours. In the first batch, I was a bit nervous because I have never baked pine cones. No problems with baking them. I made sure that I had zero pine cones hanging over the edge of the cookie sheet because I didn’t want any drips of sap in my oven. My favorite cooking stove where I use pine cones to cook is the Kelly Kettle!! Kelly Kettle Stove
In case you missed this post, How To Use A Kelly Kettle
I have enough emergency cooking fuel stored to cook one meal a day for several years. I have propane, wood, pine cones, lump charcoal, charcoal briquettes (without the starter fluid), and butane as well. As mentioned above, I store small pieces of pine wood (not painted or varnished) that I buy for $1.50 a bag that I fill as full as I can. Plus, I don’t need a hot meal every day, so my fuel choices that are stored will last me a longer time than I originally expected.
I can use different fuels for my Volcano II stove and in the firepit that I have in my backyard. I can also use charcoal or lump coal to cook with my Dutch ovens in my Dutch oven stand. Please remember, these are all outside cooking fuels only. I have used a butane stove at stores where I teach classes and in my home. I crack the door or a window for a little ventilation when using my butane stove in my home. Do your homework before using the butane indoors.
The instructions in my butane stove suggest using the stove outside only. Just giving you the heads-up here. As mentioned above, I used one for a number of weeks in my home while I waited for a gas line to be installed for my new gas stove. This is why storing different emergency fuels is critica since each emergency is different and may require an approach to meal prep.
I read on the Emergency Essentials website: “We need approximately fifteen-20 pound bags of charcoal in order to cook one hot meal a day for one year.” It’s all about emergency fuels that are ready to use when we need them. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. You never know when a disaster or unforeseen emergency may hit your community. May God Bless this world, Linda