While my wife an I are camping at Martin Dies State Park – which is closee to Jasper Texas – I thought this would be a good time to talk about our Bug Out Box. We do not call it a Bug Out Box per say, we call it our camping box. But it would serve either purpose.
If some kind of SHTF event happens and we have to bug out to the homestead, the box contains everything we need to prepare, cook and eat a good meal – pots, pans, coleman stove, propane, utensils, plates, radio,,,.
As my wife and I use the equipment in the box while we are camping, lets talk about how things are working out.
The Steripen Sidewinder is a hand powered unit that purifies water with UV light. Being hand powered means you can use the unit when there is no electrify, and no batteries required. The SteriPen website claims the UV bulb is supposed to be good for 8,000 one liter treatments. 8,000 liters is an estimated 2,116 gallons.
Fill the included water bottle, then crank the handle for 90 seconds. If you are not cranking fast enough, there are two LEDs that will flash red. When the 90 seconds of cranking has been achieved, the LEDs will flash green.
Instead of cranking for a full 90 seconds, you can crank for 30 seconds, swirl the unit, crank for 30 seconds, swirl the unit, crank for 30 seconds, swirl the unit. the SteriPen website says not to pause between cranking for more then about 6 or 7 seconds.
From the Maxpedition website:
* Main Compartment: 20.5″(H) x 16″(W) x 7.5″(D)
* Front Pouch: 15.5″(H) x 12″(W) x 2.75″(D)
* Slip Pocket: 15.5″(H) x 12″(W)
* Capacity: 2810 cu. in. / 46 liters
* Weight: 3 lbs , 8 oz
* Hydration: Up to 100+ oz Bladder
* Support: 1″ Sternum Strap, 2″ Integrated Belt (min 19″ strap alone / max 52″ strap alone; min 34″ loop / max 67″ loop)
* Optional accessories: Hook & Loop Modular Accessories and Grimloc Carabiner, Hydration reservoir
*1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
* Teflon® fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance
* High strength YKK zippers and zipper tracks
* Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
* High tensile strength nylon webbing
* High tensile strength composite nylon thread (stronger than ordinary industry standard nylon thread)
*AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding material for superior shock protection
* Internal seams taped and finished
* Paracord zipper pulls
* Stress points double stitched, Bartacked or “Box-and-X” stitched for added strength
Some kind of long term disaster has happened, you and your family have almost depleted the food and water reserves at your home, now its time to make a decision, stay or go? Its time to go.
Your family loads whatever gear, food and water you have left in the truck, car or SUV, then you hit the road. You get to the Bug Out Location, unload your gear, and now what? You cook a good hot mean, thats what.
Never underestimate the power of a good hot meal on moral. The smell and sight of cooking food does something to the human mind, it relaxes us. The effect of cooking food might have something to do when we led a hunter-gather lifestyle. The hunters would come back to camp with a leg quarter off a horse, deer or a chunk of meat off a mastodon. The meat was cooked over an open fire for everyone in the group to partake.
Ok, so what kind of stove do you store at the Bug Out Location? This needs to be at least a dual burner stove, something large enough you can cook a full meal on. I am partial to the coleman stoves. Over the past 20 years I have owned two liquid fuel stoves and 2 propane stoves.
One stove I own is the Coleman PerfectFlow insta-Start grill stove, the one with the built on griddle. After cooking some sausage on the griddle, the grease drain pan almost filled up, and the griddle was difficult to clean. The grease dried in the corners of the griddle and was difficult to get out.
Last christmas I added a Coleman instant start grill to my wishlist, and sure enough someone got it for me.
The reason why I picked the grill was because of the built in griddle. That way I did not have to worry about cleaning any pots and pans, just wipe the griddle down and the stove was cleaned up.
I liked the idea of using the griddle to cook more food then can fit in a typical skillet. With a cooking surface of 12 inches by 10 3/4 inches, a lot of bacon and/or sausage can fit on there. The plan was to use the stove top with a small skillet to cook eggs or make toast, and use the griddle to cook bacon, boudain or sausage.
The whole purpose of buying the stove was to have a propane stove that my family can bring on camping trip to the local parks. For camping on the river I have a small single burner stove, but the Coleman Perfectflow stove could also be brought out to the river on camping trips.
My wife and I keep a large plastic tote box filled with camping supplies. Instead of packing liquid fuel that can spill, we decided to get a propane stove.
But that is not the way things worked out.
*Grill stove with two 10,000 BTU burners and PerfectFlow pressure control system
*1 nickel-chrome stove grate and 1 removable die-cast aluminum grill grate
*Regulates pressure of propane to provide consistent cooking performance
*Windblock side panels double as side trays when folded down
*Matchless InstaStart technology
*Grease management system with removable tray
*Dimensions: 23.5 x 15 x 6 inches
Using the Stove:
The stove has 2 burners and runs off of a 1 pound bottle of propane. On the propane adapter there is no on or off valve, and no adjustment, just connect the bottle of propane and you’re ready to go.
The Coleman instant start gill has a wind shield on each side of the burners that hold out and snap into place.
To light the stove, slightly turn on the burners and then press the light button located in the front of the stove. It took 1 – 2 presses of the light button to ignite the grills.
Standing at the stove, the griddle is to the right and the stove top is to the left. The stove is far enough from the wind shield to fit a small pan on the burner.
The griddle measures about 12 inches by 10 3/4 inches, which means you can cook a lot of hot dogs on it.
As the meat cooks, the grease drains into a grease trap located under the stove. The bad thing, the grease trap is rather small. Cooking a few pieces of sausage on the griddle almost filled up the grease trap.
After cooking on the griddle I noticed that amounts of grease had become trapped on the risers of the griddle.
Coleman PerfectFlow Insta Start Grill Stove Final thoughts:
In my opinion, I think a hot plate would have been better then a griddle, mainly due to the clean up.
Cooking on the grill was a breeze. Some of these types of gas grills have 2 adjustments – wide open or off. While cooking eggs and making toast, the grill was turned down so that it did not burn what was being cooked.
I will start looking for a hotplate to go on my Coleman instant start gill, because I do not like how the griddle is working out. If I can not find a hot plate to fit the griddle, I will probably use a skittle to cook with.
If I were going to buy this stove again, I would probably just buy a unit with 2 burners, instead of a burner and a griddle.
Its one thing to have a remote camp that you and your family visits on the weekends, its another thing to have this camp prepped and ready to go for a disaster. Having the camp prepped means the difference between having a bug out location, or having a weekend get away. One of the comforts of modern life we take for granted is the ability to cook. We walk into the kitchen, and turn on the oven, stove, microwave, crock pot, or toaster without ever giving it a single thought – until the power goes off that is.
What are your plans for cooking with no electricity? Some people might have a grill on the back porch, some people might have a wood burning stove, with others may have no cooking options at all. Some people might have natural gas – but natural gas requires pumps to be working between your house and the natural gas supplier. When those pumps stop working, the natural gas stops flowing.
Lets divide cooking into three layers:
Family / Unit cooking
Personal cooking – this is a small camp fire, or maybe a single burner stove, something just big enough to cook for 1 or 2 people. Examples could include a Vargo stove, camp fire, Coleman 533 dual fuel stove, single burner propane stove,,, something just big enough to cook for 1 or 2 people.
It was the Sunday morning of the opening weekend of Spring Break 2010. My wife and I got up, setup the 15+ year old Coleman stove and started to cook breakfast. For its age, the stove was doing good, but it was just cooking a little slow. In all, we had about 8 hungry people standing around waiting on their food.
My buddy Lynn made the comment that he had a new propane Coleman stove that he wanted to try out. The conversation went something like this:
Kevin – Watching the bacon cook on the stove.
Lynn – I have a new stove I wold like to try out.
Kevin – Break it out then, this one is taking too long.
Lynn – Well, I did not want to step on your manhood.
Kevin – I’am hungry, get that stove out so we can cook faster.
So Lynn walked over to his SUV, got a brand new Coleman Perfectflow Stove out of the back, and set it up. Within minutes we had bacon, boudain, sausage and eggs cooking.
To be able to cook a lot of bacon at one time, we put a griddle on top of the grill. The griddle fit pretty good, and we were able to cook about 17 – 18 pieces of bacon at one time. The griddle got so hot, it started melting the plastic fork that we were using. So its advised that you use metal utensils when cooking with the Coleman Perfectflow Stove. Because this thing can get really hot real quick – if not a little too hot.
The griddle was also used to cook the sausage and boudain. I think the griddle might have been a “little” too hot for the boudain; it seemed to have scorched the casing a little bit too fast, while leaving the inside of the boudain a little cold.
When the sausage was cooked, it was cut in half and each half put on the griddle. The stove made quick work of the sausage – it was cooked in a matter of minutes.
When we got ready to cook the eggs, the griddle was removed and a skillet was used.
Overall, I was impressed with how fast, quick and easy the stove cooked breakfast for about 8 people. But it seemed to cook a little too hot. If the fuel was turned down too low, the flame went out. It would have been nice to see a simmer setting on the stove for keeping stuff like coffee hot.
Another version of the Coleman Perfectflow Stove is supposed to have an electric start. This model did not have the electric start, so we had to use matches.
Now I know what to ask for for fathers day. This sure beats my 15 year old liquid fuel Coleman stove. The liquid fuel stove does a good job, it just cooks a little slow, and the tank has to be kept pumped up.
On a personal note, I have been using some type of Coleman stove for over 15 years. Whether its a single burner propane backpacking / hiking stove, or a dual burner liquid stove, Coleman stoves have always given outstanding performance.