My Favorite Emergency Fuels To Store For Survival

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My favorite emergency fuels to store for survival is 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 do not own a truck).


I purchased several red five-gallon buckets with red Gamma lids to store my Ozark Oak hardwood charcoal. The reason I chose to purchase this brand is that I read about the chemicals in the barbecue charcoal briquettes you buy at the grocery stores or large box stores. I am not a scientist, but I will give you some tips that I have 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 am seeing other brands of lump charcoal at major hardware stores. I have not done the research on those companies because I have so much Ozark I am 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 do not rust, they will store indefinitely if you keep them upright.

I store my charcoal briquettes in blue colored Gamma lid 5-gallon buckets. Anyone that knows me is aware of my organizational skills, or whatever you want to call it. 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 are in 5-gallon green containers with green Gamma lids.

There is no question on how much fuel I have because I have the colored containers lined up in my garage. Please note, I do not buy charcoal briquettes with the lighter fluid. The regular charcoal briquettes without the fluid will last indefinitely if stored in air-tight containers. Some people I realize just store the bags all stacked up, but I prefer air-tight containers. Gamma Lids and Colored 5-gallon buckets Here are some of my favorite emergency fuels.

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Emergency Fuels


Stores indefinitely if the containers are stored upright and do no rust.  I can use propane with my Volcano Stove (make sure you have the right size adapter for the large tanks or canisters of propane. Different Volcano stoves are sold with different size adaptors. Worthington 303955 20-Pound Steel Propane Cylinder With Type 1 With Overflow Prevention Device Valve

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.


Does not store indefinitely. It’s a great inexpensive way to boil water or cook a few meals after a disaster, or for camping. You will love it! I bought one for all four of my daughters for emergencies. Camp Chef Butane 1 Burner Stove with Camping Case and 12 Butane Fuel GasOne Canisters for Portable Camping Stoves

Hardwood Charcoal:

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 exact size. They are pieces of cut wood all different sizes and shapes. They look like pieces of blackened wood because they are wood. Eco Charcoal 20-Pound All Natural Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal Bag  I can use these in my Volcano Stove or firepit in the backyard.

Charcoal Briquettes:

These burn longer and more evenly because they are all pieces of uniformly made 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 the hardwood charcoal.

There are many disputes as to whether the ash left over is safe or not safe to add to your garden. I do not add it to my garden. Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes, 7.7 Pound (Pack of 2)   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.

Pine Cones:

My friend, Lisa mentioned to me to bake the pine cones on some aluminum foil. If there is a lot of sap you will have no clean up after baking them. It worked. I baked the pine cones at 200 degrees for 2 hours. 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 did not want any drips of sap in my oven. My favorite cooking stove with pine cones is the Kelly Kettle!! Kelly Kettle Ultimate Stainless Steel Large Base Camp Kit

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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. Update, now 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 do not need a hot meal every day.

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.

The instructions in my butane stove suggest using the stove outside only. Just giving you the heads-up here. I used one for about six 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 critical.

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 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 you for your efforts in storing emergency fuels.

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10 thoughts on “My Favorite Emergency Fuels To Store For Survival

  • September 20, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Hi, Linda! I have a question… why bake the pine cones? I have a half dozen enormous spruce trees around my house that shed cones like crazy. I just pick up what I need, off the ground, when I want to use them in my EcoZoom. When I camp, I often do the same with pine cones. What would be the advantage of baking the cones, rather than just using them directly?

    Thanks, my friend!

    Hugs, Mare

    • September 20, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Mare, you are so lucky to have six enormous spruce trees where you live. I want to make sure the pine cones do not have termites or other critters hiding that would infest my emergency preparedness items in my garage. This is why I bake them to store for years to come. Plus I do not want the sap in my Kelly Kettle or Volcano stove. Oh, what we do to be prepared for the unexpected. Hugs to you my friend, Linda

      • September 21, 2016 at 11:24 am

        That makes perfect sense! It’s so simple I should have thought of it. *BG*

        Thanks, Hugs, Mare

        • September 21, 2016 at 11:31 am

          Hi Mare, I think we all have aha moments from time to time! This is why I love reader comments. Hugs! Linda

  • September 20, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Hello Linda. I live in Africa,so our situation and environment is obviously a bit different. Obviously in this part of the world trouble is always round the corner. Having lived through a terrible economic meltdown, there is one fuel that made life bearable…kerosene…we call it paraffin. We run our deep freezers on it, cook over pressure cookers ( primus type) and use pressure lanterns ( mantle type) for our lighting.We also run our old British Lister Diesel generators on it. Believe it or not some older automotive diesel motors run faultlessly on paraffin too. That takes care of our transport fuels too,our light trucks and tractors can run on paraffin too! Solar power here is reliable, but the battery packs are problematic ,but solar water heaters are fantastic. We are considering building a bio gas generator,but one needs a good supply of animal manure. If you live in an urban setting thats a problem.So now we stock pile 1000 of litres of paraffin. Of course, I prefer on grid power,diesel from the filling station. Propane is fantastic,but once your stocks run out,that’s that. The facilities needed to refill your tanks will be non existent. .Remember specialist transport is needed for bulk gas supplies….that we found was quickly all abandoned.Fuel for thought!

    • September 21, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Hi Realist, thank you so much for your comment. This is a great comment and I’m adding it to my post. I have two SunOvens so I can get by without any fuel to cook meals or boil water. If the sun is shining. I wrote about kerosene in my book, thank you so much for the reminder. Linda

  • December 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    How long of a shelf life does the butane have? I am looking for long term but you state it does not have a long shelf life. I am thinking maybe five years.

    • December 19, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Mary, I cannot find the shelf life of the brand of butane canisters I have stored. I never buy more than 12 at a time. I have had mine at least five years. I know they still work but for how long, I do not know. I looked for other shelf life on any brands of butane. I’m sure it would have a lot to do with the temperature where it is stored, etc. This is why I always recommend more than one type of emergency cooking devices. Linda

  • September 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Interesting that you mention having a load of coal delivered – revives a memory that gets jogged to the front on these occasions …

    Wayyyy back in the 1970s an old “survivalist”, that lived thru the Depression wrote – he had a gully to fill in on his rural property – locally coal was as cheap a fill as any other solids – had a few loads delivered and capped over lightly with gravel for parking – eazy to dig thru for that emergency cache of coal ….

    he’s long time gone – been wondering if the new property owners know what they park over every day …..

    • September 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Illini Warrior, it’s so funny because I can still picture the black dust blowing from the truck after it dropped our coal in the driveway!!! I miss having a wood burning stove. Happy Wednesday, Linda


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