PostHeaderIcon Affordable Ultra Light & Compact Survival Wood Cook Stove

TomTop has given me this awesome folding camp stove. This stove uses wood or alcohol to cook out in the woods. The stove is made of stainless steel and folds down flat for transportation making it perfect for hiking, camping, fishing and survival.

This is a very affordable stove considering its quality and usefulness in the field. It stays in my bug out bag with my food and cooking gear now. I have used it extensively on survival and hiking trips as the main stove for cooking meals and sterilizing water for drinking.

The stove is very easy to get going and burns just about anything that you can throw at it. You can cook with pine cones, sticks, grasses, paper and any other flammable type of fuel source. It also comes with an alcohol tray so you can pour in some alcohol and cook your meals. This is perfect for no burn zones or where open flames are forbidden but camp stoves are still allowed.

The wood camp stove measures about 5 inches square when set up and about 6.4 inches high. It weighs a mere 12 ounces making it one of the lightest cooking stoves you can get because you do not have to carry fuel with you. This is one of the reasons I love this folding survival wood stove. This folding wood cook stove is made of stainless steel to give it a long life and durability.

You can set up this folding wood cooking stove in seconds. Just open it up, insert the bottom tray and slide the two side tabs together. Finished.

Getting a fire started in this wood cook stove is just about as fast. You build a fire as you would with any normal fire. Tinder on the bottom, followed by tiny twigs or other flammable fuel. Then followed by larger sticks or other fuel source. This is very easy to light with a cigarette lighter, matches or even a magnesium and ferro fire starter. We have tried all of these methods with this ultra light folding camp stove.

Ultralight Folding Wood Cook Stove

The folding survival wood cooking stove comes with a convenient carrying case as well which makes it nice because your gear does not get dirty when you pack it away.

This is also one of the fastest stoves I have ever used since it uses real wood as fuel. Once you get the fire burning you toss on a pot and start cooking immediately. I have brought 2 quarts of water to a boil in mere minutes from the time I pulled out the camp stove from my survival bug out bag.

There is a larger opening in the front of the stove for feeding in fuel as you cook. This makes it good if you have to cook larger meals or a whole lot of water and need to keep the fire going for a while. I have used longer sticks for this and just keep feeding them into the stove as they burn down.

You can get your folding survival wood stove here: TomTop Ultralight Folding Camp Wood Cook Stove

Watch my full video review here: Very AFFORDABLE Stainless Steel Folding Camp Wood Stove

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PostHeaderIcon Hot & Cold Running Water In Off Grid Tiny Home

I finally have hot and cold running water on demand in my off grid tiny house on wheels. I have been working on the plumbing for some time now but the winter months slowed me down. Now that all danger of deep freezing is over I decided to finish the plumbing in my tiny house water shed.

The other day I redid all the plumbing in the water shed and mounted the water pump and accumulator higher on the wall to keep the lines from freezing as easily in the cold winter months next year. You can see the video here: Back To Work At The Off Grid Project & Something NEW

That alone was quite a job because I have cats in the house and they love to climb all over under the kitchen sink. They keep pulling down the drain pipe under the sink. This is just a press in fitting with a rubber seal. It falls apart easily and I had water leaking under the sink when I first turned it all back on. Also somehow a hot water line in the bathroom had come apart and the valve was turned on. This is odd and I have no idea how it happened but it made a mess.

Now it was time to check the hot water lines and connect the shower for the first time ever in my off grid tiny house on wheels.

I took off the old damaged water heater that I was going to use. I had tried installing hot water in the tiny house back in the fall but the water heater was defective and leaked. I have a brand new propane on demand hot water heater which I am swapping it out with.

Tiny House Hot Water
Tiny House Hot Water

These are camp water heaters. They come complete with a propane hose and regulator, water hose and a shower head. It even has a mount for the shower head to permanently mount it to a wall.

I put the new water heater on the wall and connected the water lines. Then I turned on the valve, allowing the tank to pressurize and then checked all the fittings inside my tiny house on wheels. There were no leaks to be found. I ran a bit of water through the lines to be sure before turning on the hot water for real. Still no leaks.

Next I put batteries in the new water heater and connected a 20 pound propane tank to the regulator which came with the water heater.

Inside the tiny house I turned on the bathroom water faucet, closest to the water heater and I had instant hot water!! This was so exciting. This is the very first time that I had hot running water in my tiny house on wheels. Actually this is the first time I have had hot running water on demand in nearly four years now!

I went to the kitchen sink and tried the hot water. It took a few minutes, of course, to get hot water through the lines but it worked!

I then connected the shower faucet which I had never finished before. Then I connected the shower head and hose to the faucet and tried it out for leaks. All good. Next I tried the hot and cold water in the shower and they both worked perfectly.

Off Grid Tiny House Plumbing
Off Grid Tiny House Plumbing

I took a piece of 2×6 lumber and used it as a frame for the shower head. The Durastall shower is made of just very thin plastic and I want to make this a solid shower. So I am backing all the fixtures with wood framing. I fastened the shower head holder and gave it a try. Everything works nicely.

Next I had a nice, hot shower in my off grid tiny house on wheels. This was a huge milestone for the tiny house and it felt so good.

You can watch the entire video of my work here: Hot & Cold Running Water In Off Grid Tiny Home

While you are over there please subscribe and follow my daily YouTube videos as I strive to become self sufficient.

PostHeaderIcon Making A Chicken Coop From An Old Rabbit Hutch

Melanie and I built a chicken coop for our Bantam chickens using an old rabbit hutch and some scrap lumber I had laying around. The total cost of the project was about $15. I had purchased the rabbit hutch at a garage sale last fall to use on this project.

First we carried the rabbit hutch over to the place where we wanted to put the chickens. Next I laid out some cement blocks on the ground where the feet of the chicken coop would be. This will keep the wood off the ground and protect it from rot. This should extend the life of the chicken coop indefinitely.

Old Rabbit Hutch

Next we took an old door to try out as a roof for the new chicken coop. The rabbit hutch did not have a roof on it so it was pretty cheap. The door fit perfectly with a small overhang in the front and a longer overhang on the back. It has a large overhang on both sides which will provide protection from the sun and the elements. The birds will have plenty of shade in the summer months.

I cut a piece of OSB that I had laying around to fit as a front wall of the new chicken coop. This OSB I got for free from a small engine shop. It was used one time as shipping crates for yard and garden machines. It works perfectly for projects on the off grid homestead. I used baling wire to secure it to the chicken coop frame.

Next came the end wall of the chicken coop. I cut it to fit the angle of the roof as well to provide a nice fit and give the Bantam chickens good shelter from the elements. I drilled holes in it and used baling wire to secure it to the chicken coop.

Melanie helped me removed the door/roof so that I could get the piece of OSB in place inside the chicken coop.

Next I put in a piece of scrap plywood which will serve as a solid floor for the chickens in the sheltered area. This will hold in the nesting material and keep it from falling out. It also stops the wind from blowing through into their home.

A piece of scrap 2×4 make a perfect roost. I used a knife and shaved off the top edges to round them off. This I screwed onto the side walls of the chicken coop. The chickens will be able to jump up and roost on the board at night.

Building Chicken Coop

Next I took some more scrap lumber and made the final wall of the chicken coop. This was the inside divider wall which completes the chicken shelter side of the chicken coop. I cut a doorway for the chickens to come and go into their new house. I uses some 2×2 lumber as framing to hold the wood in place.

I put in a piece of wood as a divider to make one nesting box for the chickens to lay their eggs in. I was going to make three boxes but decided to leave room for the birds to jump up onto their roost.

Melanie and I captured the Bantam chickens and then put them into their new home. I added some food and water for the birds and left them to explore their new happy home.

Homemade Chicken Coop

You can watch the entire video here: Making A Chicken Coop From An Old Rabbit Hutch

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PostHeaderIcon Testing The New BioLite PowerLight Mini LED Lantern

BioLite sent me a pre-release LED lantern to try out. This is a small sized lantern with amazingly powerful light output. It is actually one of the most powerful lanterns, even beating lights much larger for brightness and battery life.

BioLite PowerLight Mini
BioLite PowerLight Mini

When I first opened the package I was surprised to find that there is a bicycle mount included. It is unusual and rare these days to get anything extra in the package. Plus there is a cloth braided USB charging cable, an owners manual, brochure and a warranty card.

BioLite PowerLight Mini Review
BioLite PowerLight Mini Review

The BioLite PowerLight Mini is packed in a stainless steel case to keep it thin and light weight. It weighs in at only 2.8 ounces (80 g) and measures only 3.35 x 2.01 x 0.59 inches in size. But although it is rated at 135 Lumens, it blows away most LED lights much larger with higher output ratings. I am truly impressed with this little light. The case also doubles as a heat sink, which allows the manufacturer to keep the light slim.

Stainless BioLite PowerLight Mini
Stainless Steel Case BioLite PowerLight Mini

Now I do not have to feel guilty when carrying a lantern out in the mountains, backpacking and on survival training missions. This handy light weighs very little and takes up hardly any space in your pack.

Plus it doubles as a cell phone charger and battery pack for USB powered devices. With its 1350 mAh Li-on battery pack it can keep your small electronics topped off in an emergency. Now there is no need to carry a light and a backup battery pack. This unit does it all. I love multi purpose devices.

I charged up the LED light the first evening and came back to it later on.

I ran it one evening until the light went out to see how long it would last. I was surprised to have it last 4 and a half hours before the light went into the dim setting and then ran another 15 minutes with the charge status indicator blinking to warn me that the light would go out soon. I love this feature. Rather than having the light suddenly go out in the night leaving you blind and lost – it goes dim and allows you to seek an alternative. Thank you BioLite!!!

This light also has multiple modes of operation. It has a normal light mode which I will get back to in a minute. It has a bright mode. It has a red light mode which I love for emergency or survival situations. For stealth red light is better in the night because it can not be seen as far away as white light. It has a flashing red light mode and a white flashing light mode.

The white light mode is amazing and super bright. My tiny house on wheels measures 10 x 24 feet. I can easily read a book at night with the lantern on one wall and I am sitting on the opposite wall. I have done this already with no problem. No other light I have tested was this good. You could also read across the other end of the tiny house if you want.

There is a stand built into the PowerLight Mini which doubles as a shirt clip. You can slip it onto your shirt pocket for hands free operation. You can also fold out the stand and leave it sitting up for a room or camp light. Or you can hang it from its clip as an overhead light. The bike mount is a plus as well.

For ultra light hikers, sports enthusiasts and serious survivalists this light is a must.

You can get one here:

Check out my full YouTube video review here: Video Review: BioLite PowerLight Mini ~ My New Favorite Lantern

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PostHeaderIcon Snowy Day And I Am Preparing For The Maple Syrup Harvest

Since I am now buying 56 acres of land and am surrounded by beautiful maple, black birch and walnut trees I am going to get into tapping and making syrup heavily. Each year I try to improve my maple syrup production. But you can also tap many other trees for their sap. Black birch tastes so amazing I cannot get enough of it.

Some of the most popular trees that are tapped are, of course, the sugar maple trees. But you can also tap black birch trees, walnut trees and many others. Black birch is used to make birch beer which many people are familiar with. I have not tried walnut yet myself but I hope to get into it next year. I have to mark the trees this fall before the leaves drop so that I can tap the trees next year.

Black birch trees are easy to identify though because of their smooth gray bark.

Maple syrup sells for about $20 per quart around here on average. The price per gallon ranges between $60 to $160 a gallon. That is a lot of profit but then again you need about five gallons of sap for a pint to a quart of maple syrup.

There are higher and lower grades of maple syrup with varying prices but you get a pint of pure, homemade maple syrup for about $10. New York is very lenient on the regulations for producing maple syrup for sale. There are no licenses or fees involved. You have to go by the NY State grading policies and labeling and there may be random checks and controls on your syrup.

Last year I made maple syrup outside on a homemade maple syrup evaporator made out of cement blocks and BBQ grill grates. I managed to put away quite a few pints of maple syrup for my own personal use. But it was not enough quantity and not good enough quality to sell. This year I want to change all that.

Maple Syrup Processing
Maple Syrup Processing

I have two stainless steel restaurant pans. These are about 12 inches wide by 24 inches long by about 4.5 inches deep. I also got an old house wood stove from a friend. I plan to use the wood stove as a boiler for my maple syrup. I will remove the heat shielding on the wood stove. Then I will cut off the top to fit on the stainless steel pans. I have to cut the stove to fit the pans properly with no extra space for heat to be lost.

Wood Stove For Maple Syrup Evaporation
Wood Stove For Maple Syrup Evaporation

This will be a more efficient maple syrup evaporator. I have studied them online for years now and have learned that this is the most common way for small scale producers to boil down their maple syrup.

Stainless Steel Pans For Maple Syrup Evaporator
Stainless Steel Pans For Maple Syrup Evaporator

I also plan to build a sugar shack this year. One of my biggest problems in boiling maple syrup is the weather. If it is too windy or raining then the process cannot be done for the day out in the open. The trees are still producing sap but I cannot boil it down outside in bad weather. The sugar shack will be a simple shack built out of wood pallets. It will be 12 feet wide by 8 feet deep by 8 feet high. I have some free tarp materials from the local lumber yard which I will use to cover the shack on all sides to keep out the wind and debris. This will greatly improve the efficiency of my maple syrup production this year.

I will put my commercial sized meat smoker in the sugar shack as well. This will extend the life of the smoker indefinitely. It will also allow me to smoke meats in all sorts of weather.

Back at the off grid homestead it was snowing so I had to sweep off my solar panels. I also cut some more fire wood for the off grid tiny house on wheels. I am heating with wood only and the past weekend was so cold that I burnt through a week’s worth of wood in two days. The wind was brutal and the temperatures below 0 F.

It snowed all night and we got about 4 to 5 inches of heavy snow. But it turned to freezing rain in the night and started to turn to a sloppy slush by morning. It is supposed to rain heavily all day.

You can watch the video of my day here: Watch – Preparing For Maple Syrup Harvest & Its Snowing

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