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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Top Doomer Accessories

I often see lists of things people like, best electronics or the best cars but what about us doomers? What are the best things we should own to be well prepared?

Now I'm not talking about having a weeks worth of food or 10 candles for an emergency because I expect you to already have the basics, rather I'm talking about more substantial items that would be of great advantages for either powering down or in an emergency. I know this is not necessarily the definitive list but more of way of arguing with myself and with you on how to best utilize my meagre resources and prioritize my doomer centric purchases.

Solar oven

I’ve actually have one of these and think it’s a great tool for cooking small breads, casseroles, roasts, even boiling and sterilizing water but as my current yard is not consistently sunny enough I don't get to use it except at the cottage. The Peak Oil Hausfrau says this is her favourite appliance and has a number of useful posts on oven use I'd recommend you read. There are several types of solar cookers made; some are simple reflectors, some have back up gas heating or are very portable, mine is the Global Sun Oven pictured here which ran about $320 with shipping, tax and dollar exchange. While slower than a real oven this useful toy is absolutely free to use and is also carbon guilt free. Depending on your location this might be only a three season product but fuel saved in one season will mean more available later.

Berkley water filter

Whether it’s for constant use, seasonal concerns about your ground water or even to drink roof runoff in an emergency the Berkley Water Filter family is the Cadillac of free standing home water systems. These systems range in size and flow allowing you to get a good match for your personal usage and your budget. For long term use I would suggest getting several sets of spare filter up front and then repurchases them each time you change them out. This will give you the most use in case supply disruptions should occur as some point

A Quality Grain mill

Wheat's long term storability and nutrition makes it a common find in most doomer's pantries but since most of us don’t want to pound it with a stick or grind it between two stones a good quality grain mill such as the heavy duty Diamant Grain Mill or the more modest but highly rated Country Living Grain Mill is a must. A Grain mill is a tool that could be used several times a week if not daily so it does not pay to cut corners and buy the cheapest thing you can find. Most mills have spare part kits available which you may or may not need but certainly buy a spare set of burrs(the part that actually grinds).

A Pressure Canner

Unless you have guaranteed access to fresh meat and/or a working freezer with a stable power source you control you will eventually need to preserve low acid items such as meat, fish, and veggies.
I swear my Grandmother use to do carrots and beans without pressure canner and no one died but what do I know? Government health agencies say high pressure canning is the only safe way to can low acid stuff, high acid things like jellies, tomatoes, chutneys etc do not need a pressure canner.

A Smoker

A smoker is an ideal way to preserve meat by making hams, sausage or even smoking fish but since many of the commercial smokers look to be propane or electric powered I think I’d be looking to make my own wood/charcoal fired smoker. Or perhaps you'd rather buy the Big Green Egg

A Still

Alcohol is now and always has been one of mans great escapes. With your own still not only can one make potable alcohol but you can also produce fuel for a modified engine, medicinal alcohol for sterilizing wounds and equipment, or for making tinctures, tonics, pain killers like Laudanum. A small still with a hopper or basket allows you to strip essential oils from herbs and plants for medicine, flavourings, or scents. Finally alcohol is a great preservative for such things as seasonal fruit or Admiral Nelson if you’ve got one laying about. There are many sites dedicated to building your own or you can purchase them here, or here.
check local laws I did not suggest that you do anything illegal

A treadle sewing machine

An old singer or its contemporary’s with all the parts and bobbins in tact are ideal for basic sewing and should be a no brainer addition to the doomers home. More recently the Janome made a model called the 712T(and probably others) which fit into the old singer treadle tables and had many of the more modern sewing machine features. Old treadles are a dime a dozen on the used market but because some people think they are collectible they may ask far too much for them, many also are incomplete. Some like my Grandmother's looked original but had suffered an electric conversion and some of the original pieces missing. Look carefully to assure you get both a structurally sound table and a working sewing machine. If you end up with a spare treadle and no sewing machine I've seen some great plans for a treadle powered hobby lathe.

A modest solar recharging system

While it would be great to be totally off the grid with enough power to live life exactly like we live now that is not financial viable for the majority of people. However a modest solar recharging system
consisting of enough solar cells to charge a laptop, cell phones or batteries for flashlights, lanterns small small appliances or toys can add a little safety and normalcy to a tough situation without breaking the bank

Water capture system

Every doomer needs a water system that not only fills rail barrels or a cistern for the garden but one that allows you divert water to tanks for indoor use during droughts. Roof run of is certainly fine for laundry and flushing and if you prefilter for sediment would be quite drinkable after passing through your Berkely water filter, or boiling it in the sun oven. Do both if your paranoid.

A rugged bike and trailer

Eventually getting around or shopping will no longer take place in a car and a durable bike for all members of your household is very important as is at least one trailer for hauling what ever it is you need to move from place to place. If age, health, mobility is an issue they make adult trikes with a good size cargo basket on them or get an electric assist bike

A real first aid kit

I'm not talking one of those crappy 3 band aids and a safety pin things the car emergency clubs give you as a premium but a real high end kit supplemented with a good assortment of painkillers, antihistamines, antidiarrheals, antibiotic creams, calamine etc as well as a complete backup set of any prescribed medicine you use that is regularly rotated to keep fresh. I’m not a first aid expert but a couple hundred dollars is minimum to get a relatively complete kit.

Now I can probably think of many other things I think doomer should own or could find useful but what do you think? And before someone starts on me about this, lets leave a discussion on guns and firepower to another day, ok?

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ChristyACB said...

Awesome post!

While I don't consider them to be particularly doomer-ish purchases, I've also begun purchasing them. I like the sustainable aspect to a lot of it and the handy factor isn't to be discounted at all.

It is fantastic to be able to get a nice pot-roast together, stick it in the solar oven, go do my puttering about in the garden without going inside to check things and then bring in a delicous smelling and fully cooked meal without adding a bit of heat to the house! Too perfect for words really.

Berkey water is fab. You won't go back after drinking it.

Bike trailers are the best! Especially when trying to move heavy dirt and stuff through the passage on the side of my house where the bigger machines just won't go. Plus they are fun!

I'm drooling over that still, that water tank and that treadle machine. Finding one that works is almost impossible unless you want to pay extremely high prices.

Deb said...

Love the post. I too am trying to amass this stuff, found a site with plans for a bamboo bike trailer (home made) download plans from/www.simple-city.com/bamboo/ if you are interested in building your own.

PeterC said...


What does it say that the only thing I do not have, or have the parts to easily make is the water filter, still and REAL first aid kit.

Maybe I'm thinking too long term and not short term enough?

Especially on those anti-diarrheals....


GAB said...

I don't know what it says about you , but it makes me damn jealous.

your my hero;)

gab said...


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PeterC said...

Well, the wife insisted on the grain mill, actually, the model shown on the right of your blog post.

We got the treadle sewing machine, smoker, and solar chargers all cheap and on sale. Again, because of the wife. Perhaps I'm more married to a doomer than am one myself. Or perhaps she just has a lower threshold of needing to get prep'ed.

Anyhow, we are looking at getting a seed bank from one of the companies in your seed bank post now....

Theresa said...

GAB, where did you get your solar oven? Is it a Sun Oven? Thanks for all the info on the other stuff too - I'm trying to make some headway on obtaining these things sooner rather than later this year...

Saskboy said...

Good tips, has me thinking, and will keep my eyes peeled now for some of the things I didn't think of. Pepto bismal might not be perfect, so I should find some pills that stop the poops ;-) Dehydration is dangerous.

Theresa said...

Sorry, should actually read things before spouting off with questions - thanks for the price and brand info for the oven. Did you order it from a Canadian company? If so, I would love to know which one, since I am definitely going to be ordering one of these before summer comes.

GAB said...

Theresa,, once again this is something I could not source in Canada, I think I did eventually find one at a crazy price after I had made my purchase. If I ever win the loto I'm opening a online doomer store and get all this stuff into Canada and sell at break even

I bought mine from this place
which was a better price than the manufactures own site, albeit without a pot or book,(I got a pot at homehardware for $12, I'm looking for another pot the same diameter but taller.)

If you were going to buy several different things at once to save on shipping, which was considerable due to the ovens bulk , Lehmans is probably the single store that has the largest number of these items on my list.

MMMM, no one has offered any alternative list items that I've missed,I totaly forgot a solar dryer and some other things. I'm already thinking of the next list -Churn, Crocks, hand pushed gargen cultivators, wood fired bread oven, Evaporation cooler for food.

Theresa said...

Thanks GAB - I will check them out. I would so buy stuff from your online doomer store!