Recommended Equipment and Sources

This section of the book should be helpful to most readers includingthose who have the booklet 10 Packs for Survival.  Finding the right products and resources tobuild a home is often difficult, so I have listed here some of the most uniqueand valuable resources I have come across over the years.  I have not included many conventionalproducts that are easily available for building but rather have concentrated onthose less conventional items that I have commented on in the text.  I concentrate on products that I havepersonally used or, when they are no longer available, similar looking products,but there are many items that I have not had personal experience with andalthough I have attempted to judge these within the limitations of writtenclaims, you should use your own judgment when evaluating their suitability toyour needs.  I make no guarantees aboutthe performance or reliability of these products or services.  Surely, there are other similar products tothe ones I have mentioned that may be valuable and yet unknown to me.  Because they are not mentioned does not meanthat they are not acceptable. If they follow the general criteria given, feelfree to consider them.  If I have time, Ican try to check out a product of interest to you, if you will provide me somerelevant sources or descriptive information. Any feedback you have, negative or positive, about any of these productswill be appreciated.

Inmost cases I try to list an address, telephone number an Internet website URL(URL means an Internet address, usually preceded by a www).  Going to a company website will allow you toview the product and read important information.  This will save you much time and effort.  If you find errors here or see webaddresses that do not function, please inform me by email (joel at


Here is a listof suppliers who are frequently referenced in the product reviews because oftheir service related to a product or because theysell items mentioned in this list.  Tosave space I will only mention their name as a source instead of giving outtheir address and telephone numbers each time they are mentioned.  Check here for contact information if itisn't listed in the body of the list. 

ABRAHAM SOLAR EQUIPMENTThis is my top recommended sourcefor all your solar and alternate energy products. Mick has low prices and heknows all the equipment personally, including how to install it. Aboveeverything, I can personally vouch for Mick Abraham’s honesty andintegrity.  This is a source you cancompletely trust.  Tel: Order line (800) 222-7242;Consultation (970) 731-4675; address: 124 CreeksidePlace, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

BE SELF RELIANT.COM—This is a companywith a lot of practical experience in designing and installing self-sufficientand multi-fuel systems within homes. They are based out of Idaho and are quickly developing into acomprehensive one-stop resource for self-sufficiency products and information.This includes: alternative energy, heating, home production, self-reliantskills development, consulting, and installation.  They have developed a unique home heatingboiler system that uses any available fuel, simply by changing out the burner.It also uses coal and wood. I don’t know of any other system that matches thisone.  All of their systems come withextensive “How To” documentation for the do-it-yourselfer. Tel: (208) 624-3135 or (888) 624-0040 URL: email:

EMERGENCYESSENTIALS—Largest of the Utah-based full service preparedness productsstores. 653 N 1500 W, Orem, UT. 84057 Tel:(801) 222-9596. URL: Email:

ProvidentLiving—Excellent online shopping for some of the best prices on all thebasics of storage foods. They also sell 72 hour kits and specialtypreparedness equipment. 729 W 350 S, Orem, UT 84058.Tel: (800) 723-0635. URL:

MAJOR SURPLUS AND SURVIVAL—Biggest of theCalifornia survival food and products stores. 435 W. Alondra Blvd.; Gardena, CA 90248.Tel: (800)441-8855 or (310) 324-8855 URL:

NITRO-PAK—Carries a full line of survival foods and products. 375W. 910 S., Heber City, UT 84032. Tel: (800) 866-4876. URL:

WALTON FEED—Largest of the survival food suppliers. 135North 10th (PO Box 307) Montpelier ID 83254. Tel: (800) 847-0465. URL:

LEHMAN’S CATALOG—The largest of theself-sufficient/back-to-the-land suppliers. 289 KurzenRoad North Dalton, Ohio 44618. Tel: (877) 438-5346 Email:

AMATEUR ELECTRONIC SUPPLY (AES)—Biggest of the mail order ham radio andantenna stores. Order their catalog: (800) 558­0411. URL:

HAM RADIO OUTLET—Major competitor to AES with outlets insome major cities. Tel: (800) 444-4799. URL:

RADIO SHACK—Nationwide electronics parts, radios,telephones and security systems. Tel: (800) 843-7422. URL:

WW GRAINGER—Nationwidewholesalers of almost every type of equipment. You must havesome type of business in order to establish a wholesale account with them, butit is worth it. Check their website for the nearest warehouse. URL:

NORTHERN TOOL AND EQUIPMENT—Big discountmail-order catalog company for generators, major tools and equipment. Tel:(800) 221-0516 URL:

Product ListING

Air Filters and Ventilation

Andair(or LUWA) VA-150—Swiss nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) filter.High quality but super expensive (about $6,000). Note:This filter mounts inside the shelter so we recommend installing a prefilter over the outside air inlet so radioactiveparticles are kept out. Available through Paul or SharonPacker, Utah Shelter Systems, 11576 S. State Street, Suite #502, Draper, UT84020. Tel: (435) 657-2641 or (801) 380-2932. URL:

HDT Global—MakesNBC filters for the military. We recommend the M48A1 for up to 100 cfm. It is circular and is perfect for placing over inletpipes to the shelter. The M98 filter works for larger air supplies but is about$2,500 just for the filter so it is only cheaper than the LUWA system if youbuy the filter alone and build an airtight housing to suit your shelter. URL:

Safe Cell—NBCfilter for about $3,900 from multiple sources:,,

Honeywell CPZ filters—Fora cheaper, non-military-grade option, we recommend using a round Honeywell CPZfilter (part # 36200) that will nest within a 99.97% Hepafilter (# 28600) for an excellent quality dual filter for about $250. These canbe purchased as replacement parts from (wholesalerfor Honeywell). Although most shelters won’t need the 300 cfmcapacity of the taller filters, we still recommend them over the 6” tallfilters (if you have room) since the bigger area will last longer. Be sure topurchase these with the carbon prefilter (part #38002). Prefilter should be replaced when the airflowstarts to become restricted. Honeywell recommends replacing carbon filter after3 months of continual use. If airflow is still restricted replace the Hepa and/or the CPZ filters. Make sure to follow our detailso the air gets pulled from the inside of the ring so it passes first throughthe carbon, Hepa and then CPZ filters.

CO2 Monitor—Sensorand alarm if carbon dioxide from occupant breathing gets too high. Each breathonly uses 25% of the oxygen in the air, but elevated CO2 will cause problemsbefore you run out of oxygen. Most carbon dioxide sensors are too expensive forcommon use ($300 to $1,200) but may be worth it for some people. Available frommany online distributors including

Whole-HouseHypo-Allergenic Filter SystemThe CVI-series EnviroConditioner controls every parameter of indoor airquality. As an integrated part of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, airconditioning) system, the air in the entire house is processed and distributedthrough the central air conditioning ductwork. Nothing on the market cancompare to the effectiveness of the CVI EnviroConditionerbut units are expensive. URL:

12 Volt Fans—ITTJabsco model 35115-0020. Best all-around 12 voltventilation fan is the DAYTON brand 12 volt fan from WW Grainger Stock # 2C646.About $75, 175 CFM and fairly quiet. What makes thesefans convenient is their 3” flange which allows you to easily attach it to thevent pipe shown in the shelter designs. The stock number for the 115 voltversion is Item # 2C647. Use the 110 volt fan during non-emergency times tokeep the air in the shelter fresh.

Appliances: Canners and Dehydrators

ALL AMERICAN CANNERS—Makes pressure and steamcanners.Available from kitchen stores and online retailers

UNIVERSAL PEELER—Apple, Potato Peeler(about $30, plus $12 for potato attachments) Available from EmergencyEssentials.

NESCOAMERICAN HARVESTAlso called Harvest Maid.Available at many preparedness stores listed at the beginning.

EXCALIBUR—Toprated dehydrator with large, square trays for easier cleaning. More expensive than Harvest Maid. Availablefrom retail stores and

Appliances: Refrigerators

Small Refrigerators—Kenmore,Whirlpool and Frigidaire brands have 15 cubic foot conventional fridges thatare very efficient—using less than 1.0 kWh/day or $65 to $78/year.

Sun Frost—Efficient,quality fridges in 12 or 24 volt DC, or 110 or 220 volts AC. Prices: Full size($3,500) uses less than 1kwh/day, Medium ($3,300) less than 0.75 kwh/day, Under counter units ($2,500 to $1,800) use lessthan 0.5kwh/day. P.O. Box 1101, Arcata, CA 95518 Tel: (707) 822-9095. URL:

SunDanzer—Top-loadrefrigerators and freezers. Very efficient units.Made for applications with solar power like sailboats.URL: and available from several appliance shops onlinelike

NovaKool—DC and AC/DC small and medium refrigerators for marine, RV andtruck use. Good, durable, units but lacking in thick insulation (becausedesigned for small spaces). $1,200 to $2,000 depending onsize. Available at many RV wholesalers. 1578Hartley Avenue, Coquitlam, BC V3K 7A1 (Canada). Tel: (604) 523-6515. URL:

Koolatron—Portable12v coolers use non-compressor technology (4 amp). Available at most outdoor stores. URL:

Igloo and Coleman—alsohave portable electric coolers or heaters. Place cooler on its side to operatelike a small fridge. Available at outdoors stores or retailers like

Norcold—Designedfor RVs, these will operate on propane, DC or AC power. Insulation is thin andneeds electric power for lights and thermostat even when running on gas.

DometicRGE 400—8 cubic foot propane fridge (same as Servelbrand from Sweden) for about $1,500. Can also buythese with 120 volt backup power, or in natural gas or kerosene. Gasunits are completely self-sustaining (D-battery required for light). Many RVsuppliers distribute this product. URL:

DIY SOLARREFRIGERATION/COOLING—Several projects online show methods forcooling systems with basic materials such as earthen pots( or with more advanced materials likeammonia gas it is possible to make a solar ice-maker(

Appliances: Washing Machines

SPEED QUEEN—Reliable, front-loadingwashers. Same brand as used in many Laundromats. Moderatelyenergy efficient. At 3.0 cubic ft loads are smaller. Look for units with1000 rpm spin speeds to help reduce drying time.

FISHER PAYKEL—This lesser knownbrand produces efficient washers with fast spin cycles (1100 rpm) to getclothes almost dry. Lots of automatic controls including water level andrebalancing sensors have caused users problems. Very energyand water efficient.

ASKO—The best of the current models.Swedish import and top of the line Euro appliance. High priced. URL:

STABER—Washersuse less than 200 watts per load and recommended for solar applications. Lots of mixed reviews. Designed to bemaintained by end user. Maintain the bearings regularly and buy extramotor brushes and belt. Phone support is reportedly awful. Madewith basic components that are all accessible behind front panel. It isa top loader and the clothes go through a door in the rotating drum, which isnot as convenient to load or unload because of the small opening. Tel: (800) 848-6200. URL: or fromseveral resellers.

MANUAL HAND WASHING—Requires agitatingthe clothes in soapy water and then agitate in rinse water. Wringers help getmore water out for faster drying. Look for metal basins that can warm the wateron a stovetop or black basins to heat in the sunshine.

HAND AGITATORS—Some people just usetoilet plungers with a hole or two in the side to help aerate/mix the waterduring agitation. The $20 RAPID LAUNDRY WASHER is similar but is better atmoving water through clothes. Buy at Lehman’s or

WASHBOARDS—Good for scrubbing stains out of clothes.Lehman’s has a glass board that is reported to be easier on clothes and doesn’twear out as fast ($33).

WRINGERS—Quality on these matters.Lehman’s reportedly doesn’t last long and rusts. Look for one that will alsomount to curved edges (tubs, barrels, etc.). Dyna Jethas good hand-crank wringers Tel: 913-381-6779URL: Also look for chamois wringers ($160) at autosupply stores.

JAMES HAND WASHER—This is a singleunit with a tub/hand agitator and wringer on the side. It is costly at over$500 and reviewers say it is not durable. Look for the old-fashioned handwashers at antique stores. You can buy the James washer through Lehman'scatalog or call the manufacturer, Lake City Industries at (814) 774-9616.

MEAN GREAN WASHING MACHINE—A barrelmounted with a hand agitator and solid wringer. $230 from Dyna Jet. Tel: 913-381-6779 URL:

LAUNDRY DETERGENT—You can make your own laundry soap bygrating a bar of Fels-Naptha (brand) or Zote (brand) soap or three bars of handsoap(Ivory brand, etc) into small shreds and mixing these with 4 cups Borax, 3 cupswashing soda and 1 cup baking soda (all these are carried in most grocerystores and Walmart). Mix the powders together and add1/8 or 1/4 cup to each load, as needed. The Zote and Fels-Naptha bars are good for pre-treating stains.

Note: be careful storing scented laundry products, soaps, chemicalsor fuels in the same room as food and grains (unless they are both in sealedmetal cans). The fragrance or smells can traverse plastic containers (includingsealed 5 gallon buckets) and change the flavor of the food inside.

Appliances: Wheat Grinders

Family Grain MillThis manual grinder is unique in that it offers both a grainmill and a roller mill attachment. Can be purchased for hand-power, electricdrive or both. You can mix and match the components any way you want. Buy bothoptions for about $270. Available from preparednessdistributors such as Homestead Products, 2049 Woodland Rd., Kamiah, ID 83536.Tel. (208) 935-0292. URL: www.homestead-products.comand

Everything KitchensOnline shopping with competitive prices on wheat grindersand other countertop kitchen equipment. URL:

Nutrimill—Wheatgrinder from, Emergency Essentials or Waltons.

Golden Grain GrinderA conventional type of stone mill motorized grinder.

Country Living GrainMill—Manual wheat grinder with V-groove wheel for quick and easyconversion to electric motor. Cast-iron flywheel for easyturning and smooth flow of flour. 30% less torque or energy required to turnthan any comparable hand mill on the market. Does not grindflour as finely as electric grinders. Available fromsellers above.

Back to Basics HandGrain MillThis is an economical, compact unitbut with limitations. Relatively slow grinding, especially for fine flour.Consider the options above first.


6 volt Golf CartBatteriesCheapest option. About200 amp hours ($100-$150 each). Battery lifespan is 2 to 5 yearsdepending on maintenance and temperature of storage. Available at most auto partsstores and some large retailers like Sam’s Club.

DekaSeveral varieties of high-quality batteries. Consult withMick Abraham for the right fit (see “Solar Resources and Gurus”). Deka Road, LyonStation, PA 19536 USA. Tel: 610-682-6361. URL:

Trojan—L-16and L-16H batteries are 6volt, 400 amp-hours. Good, moderately pricedbatteries. Decent lifespan up to 5 years.

Surrette or Rolls—Heavy-duty,6 volt, 400 amp-hours, deep cycle batteries for Solar Systems. Expensive, but can last up to 20 years.

AGM—Absorbed Glass Matt batteries are sealed fornon-ventilated or living areas. Recommended over sealed gelbatteries. Heavy duty, high amperage deliverycapacities without ruining battery. Prominent brands are Optima orLifeline ( Check with Abraham Solar or otherdistributor sites listed above.

Batteries: Chargers and Maintainers

Battery Web—Seethis webpage for a rundown on battery maintenance technology. We do notrecommend trickle chargers as they keep a constant, low charge across thebattery and they will overcharge and eventually ruin the battery by boiling itdry. Look for a battery float charger or “battery maintainer” which turns onand off as needed to maintain the optimal voltage. Sulfationof the lead plates occurs on all batteries over time. There are technologiesthat keep batteries from sulfating and can even remove sulfationonce it occurs. URL:

SchumacherSE-1125—Automatic battery charger and maintainer. Keeps battery at a perfect float charge without overcharging.About $25 from Wal-Mart and other auto parts stores.

DSRPS-1562A—Battery charger/maintainer ($55). Also consider DSRPSC-15AOB for maintaining car batteries that are sitting for long periods($56). Available from Grainger or other auto part stores.

Power Pulse—12,24, 36 and 48 volt units provide electronic pulse that breaks down sulfurcrystals that build up on batteries, often revitalizing poor performingbatteries. Available at specialty battery sites such as:

BatteryMINDer—Charger/maintainer/desulfator units ($45). Optionalunits with solar power ($100). Available at NorthernTool and online wholesalers like

VANNER—VoltmasterBattery Equalizer 60-50A. Use for combining 12 volt batteries and a 24volt battery system. Available through Abraham Solar or see distributors listedon the Vanner website. URL:

HydrocapsThese units condense the water vapor out of battery gassingso you don’t have to maintain the water level in the battery as often. Available through Abraham Solar (800) 222-7242. URL:

Battery Watering—Systemfor maintaining water levels in battery banks. PO Box 696, Lewisville, NC27023. Tel: (877) 522-5431. URL:

Flow-rite—Automaticbattery watering products. 960 74th Street S.W., Byron Center, MI 49315.Tel: (616) 583-1700. URL:

SUNFORCE—5-watt solar battery tricklecharger.  Small portable batterytrickle charger from Radio Shack. Catalog #55038529 URL:

CRANE 11-in-1—Solar battery charger for D,C, AA, AAA and other small NiMH or NiCd batteries. With batterymeter. Takes 7 hours per set of batteries (more oncloudy days). $25 at REI and several online retailers.

Cold Weather Clothing and Survival

PALS SYSTEM—The very best inextreme cold weather clothing. Available in economical kits or ready-made suits(you add the outer shell by buying high quality Gore-Tex(brand)outerwear. contact: Safe Harbor Alliance in Utah at (801) 503-0322. They alsohave a complete series of preparedness training videos on the clothing systemand all other aspects of survival. Excellent. JimPhillip's website is

Construction: Composite Plastic Decking

GENERAL INFORMATION—Now available at all home buildingstores. We recommend fiber cement board for fire hazard areas (see“Construction: Fire Retardant Finishes”)

VERANDA DECKING—Expensive, but attractivedecking from composite materials. Available at HomeDepot stores. Website:

ESPS PLASTIC LUMBER—Also called"Bear Board." Can be more expensive than Veranda.Tel: (800) 480-2327. URL:

Construction: Concrete Homes

GENERAL INFORMATION—Methods for constructing a concrete homeare described here:

THERMOMASS RESIDENTIAL BUILDING SYSTEMS—Thebest residential system in the world. It uses a thermal sandwich of foam inbetween two concrete precast surfaces. Has heat mass characteristics, rodentscannot get into the foam layer, bullet-proof, and the best sound-proofingavailable. 1999 Highview Rd. Coralville, IA 52241Tel: (319) 351-4232 URL:

KISTNER CONCRETE PRODUCTS—Prefab security buildings andprecast basement foundations. They also have very innovative retaining wallsystems with planting areas. 8713 Read Road East Pembroke, NY 14056. Tel: (716)762-8216 URL:

HOLLOW CORE CONCRETE SLABS—For useas flooring or roofing systems. Heat or cooling air can be ducted throughhollow spaces. FLEXICORE brand slabs is one optionavailable in multiple states. Check with commercial concrete contractors inmajor cities. Example URLs: and

FROST PROTECTED SHALLOW FOUNDATIONS (FPSF)—Protect fromfrost heave without excavating below the frost line with these buildingrecommendations. Website with more information including CAD details go and search for “frost protected shallow foundations” or usethis quick link:

THE NATURAL HOME SOURCE—Thesedesigners and builders have the most experience in heat mass - passive solarhomes. Their system is applicable to most areas of the country, but especiallythe West. I don't agree with all their techniques or their pricing commissions,but you can learn a lot from their information and implement what you want onyour own. They cover waste treatment systems, earth sheltered homes andbuildings, solar air heating systems, composting system components, indoorgardening and attached greenhouses. 186 County Road 1400,Silverthorne, CO 80498. Tel: (970) 262-6727. URL:

INSULATED CONCRETE FORM—ICF construction is one of our mostrecommended construction methods because of strength, insulation and ease ofuse. This construction method is commonplace enough that there are manymanufacturers and installers throughout the country. See below for someexamples. The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has a book on building with ICFand a 5-part video series on the topic. 5420 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL 60077.Website:

ARXX—Foam block system that allowsan 8" wide, full-width concrete wall. Tel: (800) 293-3210. website:

SMARTBLOCK—Variable width form onlyup to 8". Pre formed blocks with integral ties. Plastic ties are builtinto foam, recessed 3/4" from outside which may make it harder forattaching drywall and siding. Often available at Home Depotstores. URL:

LITEFORM—Foam form pieces for assembly or already assembled.Pieces are easier to ship and store but construction takes longer. You can buywholesale direct from the factory and possibly save money. Headquartersat 1210 Steuben St., Sioux City, IA 51105. Tel: (712) 252-3704 or (800) 551-3313.URL:

QUAD-LOCK—Foam forms for assembly. They also have insulateddecking for floors and ceilings. Quad-Lock Building Systems Ltd. 7398 132ndStreet Surrey, B.C. V3W 4M7 Canada. Tel: (888) 711-LOCK or (604) 590-3111.

Construction: Exterior Insulated Finish Systems(EIFS)

GENERAL INFORMATION—This exteriorfinish system consists of synthetic stucco applied over insulation board, whichis then installed over sheathing. These systems have been particularly used incommercial applications. There are many EIFS manufacturers and distributorsincluding: senergy, surewall,finestone, sto corp.Several years ago EIFS systems received bad press from homeowners complainingthat these systems were falling apart. Moisture had penetrated the wall and thesheathing and structural members were rotting. Modern systems now allowmoisture that gets behind the stucco to drain harmlessly to the outside.

DRYVIT—Provider for stucco and concreteproducts with distributors around the country. DryvitSystems, Inc. One Energy Way, P.O. Box 1014 West Warwick, RI 02893. Tel: (800)556-7752. URL:

PLEKO—Dryvitalternative with cheaper prices. URL:

Construction: Fire Retardant Finishes

RETARDANT SPRAYS—The followingthree manufacturers produce a fire-retardant spray for shingles, wood siding andalmost everything else including cardboard. Water-based,non-toxic.



FLAME SEAL PRODUCTS INC.—15200 West Drive,Houston, Texas, 77053. Tel: (713) 668 4291. URL:

GEOBOND—Invented by Patricia Billings, this cement additiveproduces a fireproof cement or plaster that is vastly superior to type XXsheetrock (which merely sloughs off during a fire). It comes in panels as wellas a stucco-like exterior coating and can be used in combination with manyother materials. URL: (website and phone numbersinactive). Truly an amazing family of products, but it looks like it was not acommercial success and may not be available now.

REFLECTIX—One of the latestinnovations is bubble poly blankets with foil on front and back. It is greatfor molding into window jambs, stapling to attic rafters or to cover existingattic insulation to reflect summer heat out and winter heat in. Several brandsbesides this one are sold at home improvement stores and URL:

FIBER CEMENT PRODUCTS—Building products made unburnable byadding cement. They also stop moisture and are bug proof. Products come in avariety of forms and board shapes including roofing, siding and trim. It isalmost as easy to cut and use as wood. We have found the following productsuppliers useful when cladding homes in areas of potential fire dangers. Mostroofing and siding require an underlayment to get the most fire-resistantrating (Class A).

PLYCEM—This is fiber cement mixedwith recycled material which has higher densities than all other sheathings.P.O. Box 1893, Ventura, CA USA 93002. Tel: (800) 672-7872 URL:

HARDIE PRODUCTS—Non-combustible fibercement siding and trim products. Mold and mildew resistent. URL:

MIRATEC—Trim from a composite with only a Class C fireRating but with the same moisture and bug resistance as fiber cement. Ok formoderate fire danger. URL:

Construction: Insulation

MINERAL WOOL INSULATION—Sometimescalled “rock wool” insulation. R-values per inch are better than fiberglass in batt form and the rigid board form is almost comparable to poly-iso sheets (R-4.5/inch compared to R-5 for poly-iso). More fire-resistant than fiberglass and does not offgas in heat like other synthetic materials particularly sprayfoam. Most available residential brand is Roxul. Usually available at home improvement stores.

Construction: Log Homes

GENERAL INFORMATION—There are hundreds of log home kit companies.However, it has been my experience that log home suppliers in the eastern USare almost double the price of western log home suppliers. Call for pricecomparisons. It may be cheaper to ship log kits from the west than buy in theeast.

TIMBERLINE LOG HOMES—This is thecompany we use as a reference for a fair price. Check your prices locally andthen give the same specs to this company to see how they compare. We have shippedfrom Timberline to the East Coast before and saved money. 915 N. State St.Orem, UT 84058. Tel: (801) 226-8786. URL:

INTERNATIONAL HOMES OF CEDAR—Theseare laminated cedar homes. P.O. Box 886, Woodinville, WA 98072. Tel: (360) 668-8511or (800) 767-7674. URL:

REAL LOG HOMES—Distributors in moststates. Compare prices with other outfits. Tel: (800) 732-5564. URL:

LOG HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION—Thisorganization helps instruct people how to build a log home as a Do-it-Yourself projectand save significant costs by circumventing the kit builders. We have notattended their seminars but their building method seems sound, and many peoplehave built a cabin with their help. They recommend whole logs with simplecorner joints (butt and pass) and tying the posts together with rebar lengthsto eliminate settling from wood shrinkage while resisting earthquake and windforces. Some find this method less aesthetically pleasing than some of the designercabins out there. See their website for classes, forums and furtherinformation. 14241 NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd #335, Woodinville, WA 98072. Tel:(360) 794-4469. URL:

Construction: Modular Homes

GENERAL INFORMATION—Modular homes can be a quick homesolution. There are many options available today beyond rectangular,single-story homes. Also consider reusing steel shipping containers (insulatedreefers) for quick, drop-in storage. List of modular home providers by state:

EXCEL HOMES—Probably the mostadvanced type of modular homes available. A great deal of customization ispossible. Not your normal modular tract homes. 10642 S.Susquehanna Trail Liverpool, PA 17045. Tel: (800) 521-8599. URL:

STORAGE SHIPPING CONTAINERS—Alsocalled “insulated reefers.” 20' storage containers cost $2 - 3,000 plusshipping. There are many outlets across the nation for these containers.Consider and ebay.

Construction: Structural Insulated Panels

GENERAL NOTES—Factory-made wall systems that replace typicalwood wall framing. Typical panels are sheets of insulation with plywood gluedto both sides. EPS (extruded polystyrene) foam is cheaper than polyurethane buthas a slightly lower R-value and has to be glued to OSB panels because of itscorrosive nature.

R-CONTROL—Structural Building Panels forwalls, floors and ceilings. AFM Corporation 24000 West Highway 7, P.O.Box 246 Excelsior, MN 55331. Tel: (800) 255-0176 or (612) 474-0809. URL:

RAYCORE—The most versatile system.Standard panels have studs in them so they can be cut to varied sizes. Panelshave a polyurethane core and reflective foil. URL:

INSULSPAN—Pre-manufactured wall systemwith an EPS (extruded polystyrene system) core. URL:

THERMOCORE—Pre-manufactured system with polyurethane core.URL:

Construction: Stucco Systems

NOTE—Conventional stucco can be more moisture resistant andcheaper than other sidings

QUIKRETE® STUCCO SYSTEM—Fiberglass-Reinforced Stucco canreinforce a wall and acts as a drainage medium. Great siding system thoughusually applied with a conventional stucco topcoat. This system can be used forthe concrete stack-block method. URL:

TIROLESSA STUCCO SPRAYER—Can beused for applying plaster and small scale shotcrete.Eugene, OR. Tel: (541) 683-4167 URL:

Construction: Underground Homes

GENERAL INFORMATION—All of thefollowing companies have been in business over 20 years, so they know what theyare doing.

FORMWORKS BUILDINGDesigners and installer of anunderground system using concrete dome or tunnel typestructures. P.O. Box 1509, Durango, CO 81302. Tel: (970) 247-2100.

TERRA-DOMEUnderground or bermedbuildings. They have tremendous experience in the field. 8908 S. Shrout Rd. Grain Valley, MO 64029. Tel: (800) 481-3663 URL:

DAVIS CAVES CONSTRUCTIONP.O. Box 69, Armington,IL 61721. Tel: (309) 392-2574. URL:

Concrete Crack Repair

Most products use hydraulic cement which is too rigid. For abetter job, fill the crack on the inside using a tough, but flexibleprofessional-grade sealant. Several options including Sikaflexare usually available at most home improvement and hardware stores.


GENERAL INFORMATION—Cupolas are great for roof ventilationand architectural decoration that used to be common on top of traditionalstyled roofs and barns.

STEPHENSON CUPOLAS AND WEATHERVANES—Several Manufacturersincluding C. W. Ohio, Inc. Tel: (440) 593-5800. URL:

EDON FIBERGLASS CUPOLAS—Indestructible vents that never needmaintenance. Tel: (800) 255-0176. URL:

DECKING—See “Steel Decking” or “Construction: CompositePlastic Decking.”

DOORS—See “Security: Steel Doors.”

ELECTRIC VEHICLES—See “Transportation: Electric Bike” and“Transportation: Electric Vehicle Conversions.”


LIFT-AVATOR—Elevators and lifts for residential homes. 435Park Ave, Lockport, NY 14094. Tel: (716) 434-1300. URL:

NATION-WIDE LIFTS—Distributor for many of the most commonresidential elevators and stair lifts. Tel: (888) 323-8755. URL:

Filter Masks

Smoke HoodsMyXcaper Smoke Mask is a thick face mask that comes moistout of a sealed pouch to better catch particles. Filters smoke, carbon dioxideand other gases ($39 for the mask, $58 for kit with goggle LED light andwhistle). Hyline Safety Company, 421 Seventh Ave, 5th Fl., New York, NY 10001.Tel. (212) 688-5600. URL:

ASE30A—Smoke Hood with built-in filter.Bulky and more expensive ($76-$85) than Smoke Hood but is complete as a singleunit. Available from multiple sources including

Paint GradeRespiratorsThese dual filter masks used bycommercial painters are the least expensive way to get chemical and smokeprotection—about $30-$40 from Home Depot or Lowes.

M95—Dust masks for keeping radioactive particles out oflungs after a nuclear disaster. Available from homeimprovement stores. Store in cars and in all 72-hour kits.

Note: Kaptair Exitairis no longer being produced although a few outlets still sell this productonline.



MAG-SAFE AMMO: Special penetrating shotgun type ammo forauto weapons. Awesome and deadly stuff. URL:

SILENT .22 AMMO—CCI brand CB CAPcartridges. Available at most gun shops.

SPOTTING SCOPES, TELESCOPES—For agreat place to buy binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes, and accessories,try Eagle Optics. Tel: (800) 289-1132. URL:

TRITICON—Glowing night sights from Armson.Tel: (207) 797-8200. URL:

SOUNDPROOFING FOAM—For shootingranges. See “Soundproofing.”

HEARING AMPLIFICATION MUFFS—Thesespecialty ear muffs will not only amplify small sounds, but they will attenuateloud sounds so that everything comes within your hearing comfort range. Theseare a must for combat shooting when you want ear protection but not so much asto keep you from detecting intrusions. Several brandsavailable including Pro-Ears, Silencio and Gentrex. Available from sportenthusiast stores like Cabelas and

MILITEC-1—Dry lube for weapons URL:

BOWIE KNIFE: Western Cutlery 9-1/2" blade Available atlocal knife shops that carry Western Cutlery products.

MAG-NA-PORT ARMS—Recoil reduction mod to weapons. 41302 Executive Drive, Harrison Township, MI48045 Tel: (586) 469-6727.URL:

WILLIAMS TRIGGER SPECIALTIES—Smooth triggermods. 111 SE Second Street,Atwood, IL 61913, Tel: (217)578-3026. URL:

DILLON RELOADING PRESS—Best of the progressive reloadingpresses. Tel: (800) 762-3845. URL:

FIREPROOFING—See “Construction: Fire Retardant Finishes.”

Food Storage

General Notes:Best buys in food storage are in bulk dried grains: Wheat, rice, and beans. Dueto the shipping weight of bulk foods for storage, it may be better to buy theseitems close to home. However many bulk wholesalers like Emergency Essentialshave found a way to get very cheap shipping rates. You can buy large bags ofbeans and rice at wholesale warehouses like Costco and Sam’s Clubs nationwide.You can buy bulk wheat in many locations in the West, as indicated below.

In the Midwest few grain growers bag any wheat for consumersand almost everything grown now is GMO—genetically modified, which you shouldnot eat. The best bet for people in the Midwest is to join together with a fewother families and buy grain from an organic non-GMO grower. Load up yourpickup truck with grain, and then package it yourself in plastic 6 gallonbuckets. Many farmers in the Midwest and Canada have small grain cleaners thatcan take out the dust and other particles from field grain. Add a spoonful ofdiatomaceous earth per bucket of grain to kill any bugs.

EmergencyEssentials—Good variety and fairly competitive prices on food goods andpreparedness items of all kinds. Maximum shipping charge is $12 nomatter how large the order. Order online or via catalog. Tel: (800) 999-1863URL:

AlpineFood Storage—Small outfit in Utah that can ship within the US.Best prices on the most important storage food items but focuses on those thatare healthy and for everyday use. 11800 North 6000 West,Highland, UT 84003. Tel: (801) 319-9111. URL:

ShelfReliance—Competitive Utah-based full-service preparedness products.810 North 2800 West Lindon, Utah 84042. Tel: (877)743-5373. URL: They also have aCanadian outlet. Email:

ProvidentLiving—Excellent online shopping for some of the best prices on all thebasics of storage foods. They also sell 72 hour kits and specialtypreparedness equipment. 729 W 350 S, Orem, UT 84058.Tel: (800) 723-0635. URL:

Nitro-PakCarriesa full line of survival foods and products. 375 W 910 S,Heber City, UT 84032. Tel: (800) 866-4876. URL:

Walton FeedA full service chemical-free supply outlet that has alltypes of survival foods and equipment. Very reputable.135 North 10th (PO Box 307), Montpelier, ID 83254.Tel: (800) 847-0465. URL:

Montana Chemical FreeWheat—Certified organic wheat, grains and other products. URL:

LehiRoller Mills—Triple-cleaned hard or soft wheat. Reasonable prices. 833 E. Main St., Lehi,UT 84043. Tel: (801) 768-4401. URL:

Moistureand Oxygen Absorbers—Preservative aid for dry packing.  Oxygen absorbing packets available at mostdry goods retailers including Provident Living (above). URL:

Storage Buckets—RopakWest, Tel: (800) 547-2347. Also available from EmergencyEssentials or Alpine Food Storage (see above).

JARBOX—Mason jar storage bins. This innovative product is a clamshell-likeplastic box that stores 12 jars with enough space between them they will notbump and break during travel, an earthquake or even when dropped while carrying.Multiple bins lock together for easy, sturdy stacking. $16per set. Available direct from the inventor.URL:

Fuel Storage

Kerosene— Ideal for lamps or stoves because it stores well. Note: do notadd alcohol to make it burn hotter.

Stabil—Gasolinestabilizer found at Pep Boys and other auto parts stores.

PRI—PRI-D (for diesel) and PRI G (gasoline)—These are the best stabilizers for stored fuels but also themost expensive. This additive can keep diesel fuel, kerosene and gasoline freshin storage, but you must keep gasoline tightly capped and cool to keep it fromlosing vapor. Gasoline stored over 2 years, even with PRI-G should be mixedwith fresh before using. Available from many distributors

Octane Booster—Givesmuch better mileage on cars where timing is computer controlled (most moderncars) to create maximum compression just short of knocking. It can be found atauto parts stores but is cheapest at Wal-Mart. This additive also helpsrejuvenate old gasoline (although you should always mix old with new ifavailable), so keep several bottles near fuel storage. Also keep fuel injectorcleaners on hand to eliminate residues from old fuel.

DieselBiocideRacor or BioborJF brands. When condensation forms in part-full tanks the water dripsinto the diesel and settles to the bottom eventually accumulating enough togrowing algae and other solid organic matter in the water. These products are akind of pesticide or chemical treatment to kill or reduce these organisms. Available at marine supply and most automotive stores.

FuelTanks—Available in all major cities. See Yellow Pages or checkwith local petroleum distributors.

FuelPumps—Available from online stores such as Northern Tool(

Foot ValvesUsed at the bottom of a suction line. These are available atpetroleum equipment dealers or at large plumbing outlets. Here are some samplebrands of foot valves: Simmons, Merrill, Wayne, Flotecand Brady (plastic).

GATES—See “Security: Gate Openers”

Generators: General Notes

General Notes—Becauseof shipping weight, the heavier generators are sometimes best purchased fromlocal generator dealers (see Yellow Pages). However, always compare price withone of the major mail-order generator supply houses. W.W. Grainger and NorthernTool will supply a wide variety of the cheaper or discontinued generator lines.Also, has most units mentioned here.For the best prices on the high quality units compare to NorwallPower Systems (see below).

Norwall Power SystemsThese people ship all over the world and are experts - verygood prices, too. They don’t sell any junk, and service all major brands (sothey know which ones are best for maintenance). 2455 Kiowa Blvd North, Suite#102, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403. Tel: (928) 453-4494. URL:

Central Maine DieselFor larger generators (7kW and up) this is the source we usefor diesel generators, which we prefer for most circumstances. Prices arereasonable, but they are very busy and lead times and delays can be long. 29Carey Circle, Hampden, ME 04444. Tel: (207) 941-1188. URL:

Generators: Small & Portable (up to 2kW)

Mini Portable Units—Small,suitcase-size generators are available that produce less than 2000 watts, aresuper quiet and very fuel-efficient:

Honeywell6064—800W generator for about $350. Cheap,light, economical. Noisier and less reliable thanbrands below.

Yamaha EF1000—Itis only 1kW but it is very fuel efficient and quiet and runs all day on agallon of gas. Costs double the Generac brand (seebelow).

Honda EU1000i—900Whigh tech wonder from Honda, but it is also the mostcostly for its size. The special inverter gives excellent sine wave power butmay be a high tech problem to maintain.

Generators: Medium size (up to 7kW)

NotesThere are two classes of generators here: the cheap groupwith flat-head, side valve, lawn mower type engines, and the more expensivegroup with longer life overhead cam and valve engines. Here are the mostnotable brands from the best and most expensive to the lower quality andeconomical.

Honda Deluxe Series—Hondais one of those companies with a high quality line and a medium quality line.The deluxe models usually have added features.

Generac EXL SeriesGenerac also has a high and low line. The XL or EXL lineshave the pressurized oil system “vanguard” engine or the Honda engine.

Kubota AV Series—Excellentmachines (Kubota always builds nice engines). See also Kubota Gensets Model GL6500—6.5kW about $4,500 from Kubota TractorDealers.

Generac and Winco—Arecheaper brands.

Generators: Transfer Switches

Manual and AutoTransfer SwitchesMost generator manufacturersoffer a wide variety of these transfer switches. Abraham Solar is expert atthese. Also available from generator distributors like these: http://www.northerntool.comand

Generators: Mufflers

Harco SilencingMufflersThree levels: Extreme, Critical andSuper Critical (attenuates down to nearly silent). They also have similarlevels in a “low profile” unit for small, tight locations but these cost about 25-30% more. All these mufflers arestate-of-the-art silencers and are very reasonably priced. You can afford tostack two mufflers together if near a living space. 1000 Industrial Parkway,Newberg, OR 97132. Tel: (503) 537-0600 or (800) 394-7571. URL:

Generators: For Small Electronics

K-TOR Pocket SocketThis is a compact hand-crank generator ($75) that supplies110 volt power for a 2-prong outlet. Good for low-power items like shortwaveradios but requires significant effort to charge thirsty electronics like iPads and laptops.

EtonBoost Turbine—Hand-crank generator with integrated battery for chargingelectronics via USB cable. Available from online distributors and

Solar rechargeablebatteries—Are another option for small flashlights, etc. ($150 and up). Available via or through most emergency supply stores.


CONLEY'S MFG.—Commercial greenhousemanufacturer. Will send components to you as well as twinwall glazing at wholesale rates. 4344 E. MissionBlvd., Montclair, CA 91763 Tel: (909) 627-0981 URL:

NATIONAL GREENHOUSE—A division of NexusCorporation. Nexus is a commercial greenhouse manufacturer who hascreated the National Greenhouse division to focus specifically on low-costresidential greenhouse solutions. 10983 Leroy Drive Northglenn, CO 80233 Tel:(303) 457-9199 URL:

Greenhouse: Components

PLASTIC COVERS—Cheapest way to enclose a greenhouse is with6mil polyethylene greenhouse film. Look for that manufactured in North Americasuch as by AT Plastics. Available at greenhouse supply warehouses such as

ALLIED TUBE & CONDUIT—Aluminum square tubing, roundtubing etc. See also warehouse supplies available at steel/metal distributorsin all major cities. 16100 S. Lathrop Ave. Harvey, IL 60426 Tel: (800) 882-5543URL:

See also listings under "Solar: Greenhouse VentOpeners"

Lamps: Oil and Kerosene

Kerosene Lamp—RapidKerosene Pressure Lamp uses hand-pressurized fuel and a mantle to generate 500lumens (300 watt light bulb). Burns 10 hours from one-thirdgallon kerosene (one filling). About $100. Getextra mantles and parts when ordering. URL:

PETROMAX—Multi-Fuel Lantern $120 fromHomestead Supply. This German beauty is the Cadillac of lanterns. Burnsall liquid fuels, nickel finish, very classy. Puts outtremendous light. See:

Dietz Wick-Oil LampThe best of the old fashioned wick/oil lamps - beautiful andinexpensive ($20). Available from old fashioned productsstores and Lehman’s (

Humphrey PropaneLampsThe oldest and best company and from Lehman’s (see above).

Lighting: Backup and 12v

Thinlite Corp.We recommend these 12 volt fluorescent lights for the mostlumens-per-dollar: 36” long (item #197) or the 48” long unit (item #139) arepractical. For 24 volt systems use model numbers #297 or #239, respectively forsame cost (about $65). Available via Abraham Solar or RV supply stores such as and

Dome LightsWe like the round 18 LED surface mounted lights with built-inswitch (12 volt). Available at most boat and RV suppliers such as this one:

Note: GE brandcompact fluorescents run better off an inverter than other brands.

Sunpipes—Skylights.1,500 watts of free, fresh light as easy to install as astovepipe. Hollow, super-reflective pipe runs from your roof down to atranslucent ceiling fixture that spreads the light down. Lessexpensive and easier to install than typical skylights. Doesn’t build upunwanted summer heat, create condensation, allow sun-fading or leak.

Lite Touch—Oneof the premier computer/iPad-controlled lightingsystems (now owned by Savant). Great for activating lightsand shutter systems remotely—or anything electrical. There are dozens ofother less expensive automation controls out there, too numerous to list. Tel:(801) 268-8668. URL:

LOG HOMES—See “Construction: Log Homes”

MODULAR HOMES—See “Construction: Modular Homes”

Nuclear Preparedness: EMP Protectors

Waber Power StripsGood quality EMP surge protection (clamping speeds of lessthan 1 nanosec). Also produces whole houseprotectors. Available through electronic wholesalers anddistributors. SL Waber 520Fellowship Road, Suite 306C, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. Tel: (609) 866-8888. URL:

Zero Surge The newest instantaneous clamping technology. Use for allyour valuable plug-in products and computers. ZeroSurge944 State Route 12, Frenchtown, NJ 08825 Tel: (800) 996-6696. Email: sales@zerosurge.comURL:

APCby Schneider—Whole house and powerstriparrestors. 1 nanosecond response time.Available through online retailers such as Allied Electronics,

TrippLiteIsoBar models. Powerstrip arrestors with less than1 nanosecond response time. $60 for two outletversion, $100 for eight outlet powerstrip.Also available at Allied Electronics (see above).

Alpha DeltaCommunications—Coax lightning arrestors, coax switches with surgeprotectors. P.O. Box 620, Manchester, KY 40962. Tel: (606) 598-2029. URL:

Ameritron -Remote coax switches, inrush AC current protector. Louisville Road Starkville,MS 39759 Tel. (601) 323-8211 URL:

I.C.E.—Industrial Communication Engineers.In-line lightning arrestors suitable for EMP. Designed forantenna and coax leads. P.O. Box 18495, Indianapolis, IN 46218 Tel:(317) 545-5412. URL:

Transtector—Topof the line military grade EMP protection equipment that can provide shuntprotection for incoming power lines. Prime source forall US government, so their equipment is very capable. Boise, ID. Tel:(877) 532-9423. URL:

Grounding Straps—TheWireman stocks copper wire up to #4 AWG, 2-inch flat copper strap, 8-footcopper-clad ground rod and 1”x1/4” bus bar. CertifiedQuality. 261 Pittman Rd., Landrum, SC 29356. Tel.(800) 727-9473. URL:

Nuclear Preparedness: Radiation Meters

Victoreen 717—Surplussurvey meters. Range 0-500 rems/hr (highest rangeavailable), comes with detachable ion chamber so you don’t have to buy aseparate probe to take measurements outside the shelter. Usesone D-Cell battery. Simple, low tech, reliable.These are not in production anymore but can be bought unused in new condition.Most have not been calibrated since their original production, but they areusually only off by 10-20% at the most, which is not critical for the high dosemeasurements you would make in a nuclear war. KI4U website: URL:

Calibration Note—Meters can be recalibrated if necessary bysending them to or contact Ed Manughian atJordan Nuclear, 3244 Arroyo Seco Ave, L.A. CA 90065.Call for rates: (323) 222-8141.

Nukalert NukAlert ER is the newest and best multi-range meter. It is a dosimeter, Geiger counter, and fallout meter and dosimeter all in one. $750. They also have a Smallkeychain unit chirps in the presence of radiation. We like the prices and easeof use of the distributor in CA. URL: but you can also order through or

Dosimeter Corporation—Producestop of the line quality radiation meters. Recommend model 3009a with range of0-100 rems/hr.

Kelly Fallout Meter (KFM)—Thiskit meter is available for under $20 from Emergency Essentials( or the plans are free from KI4U (

Nuclear Preparedness: Thyroid Protection

Transformative IodineThis nascent, bio-available form of iodine is easier for thebody to uptake without getting iodine poisoning. Can be takenas a daily supplement too. Available from Sunstone formulas, or “Detoxidine” from

Potassium Iodide orIodate tabletsTake after any nuclear incidentto saturate the body with stable iodine and avoid thyroid contamination byuptake of radioactive iodine. Available from most preparedness stores and

Plumbing: Gray Water

Simple Gray WaterSystems—Ideas for building one from common plumbing materials can beseen here:

Natural Home BuildingSourceSells a tank with a filter and optionssuch as a pump. Their website has many common-sense recommendations about graywater use. 0186 County Road 1400, Silverthorne, CO 80498.URL:

Plumbing: Toilets

Biolet—Mini-compostingtoilet. Finally a composter about the size of aregular toilet. Look for the BTS 33 for a non-electric model. Tel: (800)524-6538. URL:

SunFrost—“Human Hummus Machine.” One of the mosteconomical composting toilets around. Purchase these kits for convertingtwo 55 gallon drums—one for use and the other to store material as it composts.Low watt fan requires DC or AC. P.O. Box 1101, Arcata, CA 95518 Tel: (707)822-9095 URL:

Clivus Multrum—Specialtoilets as part of a large tank system. Will compostcontinuous use for multiple people and also kitchen waste. Large tanksystem must be sited in a basement area.

Sun-Mar—Lookfor self-contained units that are moderately sized for placement in bathroom.Non-electric, AC or DC and automatic controls depending on unit. From $1,200-1,800 depending on options. Many onlineretailers such as

ChemicalToilets—($20-50) available at camping and RV stores.

Marine ToiletsOur preferred manual toilet system for shelters. Thesetoilets have a manual pump that will pump waste up a 1-1/2” pipe as high as 6feet allowing use in basement shelter systems where one must connect toexisting plumbing drains at ceiling height. JABSCO brand,order model #29120-2000 for the larger, elongated bowl. Available at yacht and marine supply stores or

Porta-John Systems—DryFlush Toilet. 50633 Ryan Road, Utica, Michigan 48317. Tel: (888) 767-8256. Several retailers online.

Toilet DistributorThis site compares several composting and non-electrictoilets next to each other:

Plumbing: Misc.

BiodegradableDetergentsRequired if you reuse gray water soas not to damage plants. Look for “camp soap” products or natural products fromwebsites such as:

Grundfos—Variablespeed 3 inch submersible pump. URL: shows distributors.

PEX—Flexible plastic piping. Thereis no better plumbing system for the do-it-yourself plumber than flexibleplastic pipe systems. Easy to install and freeze resistant since it will expandrather than split or break. There are a variety of clamping ring connectors orslip-on, non-clamping connectors on the market. Available atall plumbing supply stores.

Radios: Suppliers

AmateurElectronic Supply (AES)—Largest mail-order supplier of ham radios andantennas. 5710 W. Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53223. Tel: (800)558-0411. URL:

HamRadio Outlet—Major competitor to AES, with more stores around thecountry. 390 Diablo Rd., Suite 210, Danville, CA94526. Tel (Corporate Sales): (800) 444-4799. URL:

UniversalRadios—Old standard in radio sales. 6830 Americana Parkway,Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 Tel: (800) 431-3939. URL:

RadioShack—Nationwide electronics parts, radios, telephones and securitysystems. Scanners and CB radios but no ham radio equipment. Tel: (800)843-7422. URL:

Radios: Transceivers

High FrequencyTransceivers—Ham radios that transmit and receive in a compact andportable design. Requires a ham radio license which is nothard to get. The four major manufacturers of ham radios are Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, andStandard—all of which put out extremely high quality products. Radios have asimilar range. If you aren’t going to get deep into ham radio (which requires alot of study and time), choose an HF transceiver that has the minimum featuresplus a built-in antenna tuner. These will cost between $1,200-$2,000.Don’t go for the top of the line models as they are very complex and hard toremember how to use.

Desktop Ham RadiosPowerful units for sending and receiving. Larger panels withknobs make them somewhat easier to use than handheld models below.

Handheld PortableUHF, VHF Radios—Portable base station units. Lots ofoptions depending on the model including units capable of dual band and actingas a repeater. Keep it simple for beginners. Folks at HRO are veryfriendly and helpful.

Radios: Antennas and Towers

Rohn Towers—Mostlyradio towers but also copper strap and tower grounding products. Rohn products available through Amateur Electronic Supplyor Ham Radio Outlet (see above). P.O. Box 2000, Peoria, IL 61656. Tel: (309)697-5612. URL:

Car Mount Antenna—There are severalwhip-type antennas available, including some with magnetic mounts for the cartop. Store in trunk when not in use.

Base Station AntennaThis is your fixed antenna at home or retreat. Make sure itwill match the bands and power ratings for the desktop radio you are using.

CBAntennas—Flexible antennas of various lengths. See Radio Shackcatalog.

SWL Antenna—Shortwave antenna for your world band portable. Available from HamRadio Outlet.

Cell Phone AntennaBooster—Cellular phone signal boosters. Many brands and options. Stronger signal boostingcapabilities cost correspondingly more, but most are between $100 and $300.Available from electronics outlets such as Radio Shack (Tel: 800 843-7422)

Radios: Scanners

General NotesListen to radio chatter from Police, EMT and other publicsafety departments as well as aviation, marine and utility radio transmissions.In big metropolitan areas police and city radio transmission keep getting morecomplex with computer controlled channel swapping to maximize their bandwidth.Scanners have kept pace except for some localized systems in big cities andencrypted government transmissions. Many counties now use trunkingand digital scanners which require a more sophisticated (and expensive)scanner. We found the FAQ page at Scanner Master to be helpful( and their prices on new products are usuallycompetitive. See also Ham Radio Outlet (

Pre-programmed unitsThese are easy to use, just input your location.Subscription-free updates of frequencies using USB cable or SD card keep yourunit tracking the frequencies around you.

UnidenHomePatrol—A very popular and capable preprogrammed unit that alsoreceives digital trunked systems ($500).

Desktopunits—Consider Uniden Bearcat models andcomparable GRE or Radio Shack units.

Antennas for Scanners—Homebase station: Diamond D130J. Car-mount: SpectrumforceWideband ($20) or Austin Spectra ($120) for tuned 4-band. Availablefrom most radio shops.

Radios: CB and Walkie-Talkies

Family Radio Service (FRS)—Nolicense required, 1-2 mile, 0.5 watt powered. These are the cheapestalternatives to ham radio for short distance communication. Like a walkie talkie, only higher quality. Availableat electronic and large department stores.

CB radios—40Channels, no license required. 4 watts maximum power, though many transmit athigher powers illegally. Most CB radios cost less than $100. Available at allradio stores including Radio Shack.

Radios: Shortwave

Shortwave Radio—Receivenews and stations from all over the world. Critical in anemergency. Common bands include AM, FM, Aircraft Band (118-137 MHz) andShortwave (1.6-30 MHz). Some units will even receive some Ham Radiotransmissions.

Eton Globe Traveler ($100) and TECSUN PL660($160)—Intermediate brands that also offer aviation bands (communicationsbetween and for aircraft).

Sony ICF-SW7600G—Bestbuy of the medium-sized, fully capable receivers ($300).

ETON (Grundig)Satellite 750—Excellent desktop unit for serious shortwave reception. SSB reception for eliminating interference. AM, FM, Aircraft Band and Shortwave. About$275.

Sony ICF-SW100sThe ultimate in miniature-sized world band receiver (size ofcassette). Available second-hand ($200) from online retailerslike Amazon or eBay.

Hand-crankAnd/or solar powered shortwave (SW) radios. Although thereare many reliable hand-crank radios that receive AM, FM and Weather well, wehave yet to find one with even decent shortwave reception. The Kaito KA009 ($40) is no exception (unfortunately) but welike that it receives AM, FM, shortwave (4-26 Mhz), and aviation (118-137 Mhz).Also Consider the Eton (Grundig) FR350 ($150) or Kaito Voyager Pro ($80). The hand cranks are reportedlyunreliable, so consider solar battery charger and a mini external generator (see“Generators: for Small Electronics”).

Seeds: Non-Hybrid

Non-hybrid, non-GMOseeds—Sealed in moisture-proof packets and stored in #10 cans. 4-5 year shelf life. Much longer ifrefrigerated or frozen. Available from the following sources:

Preparedness Seeds—URL:

Territorial SeedCompany—P.O. Box 27, Lorane, OR 97451. Tel:541-942-9547. URL:

Harris Seeds—Tel:(800) 514-4441. URL:

Heirloom Seeds—

Jankala Organic Seed—

Pre-packaged “SeedVaults”—Available through preparedness wholesalers like EmergencyEssentials and Alpine Food Storage (

Security: Gate Openers

NOTE—We prefer the technology thatuses hydraulic actuators instead of gear motors for strength and longevity.

STANLEY—Full range of residential and commercial gates andopening types (available nationwide) call 1-800-STANLEY for distributor info.

MIGHTY-MULE—DC and solar power gate opener systems. 738 Capital Circle NW, Tallahassee, Fl. 32304. Tel: (800)543-4283. URL:

Security: Steel Security Doors

Amweld series 1544—Bulletresistant to Level III (high powered handguns) about $1,500 including highsecurity locks. Available through architectural door suppliers such as and

Trussbilt—LevelIII and level IV (good for up to 7.62 high velocity military round) ballisticprotection available. Trussbilt’s detentionhollow metal products are used in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities anddetention centers worldwide. URL:

ESCO Supply Co.—Armored steel plate. Custom order for yourdoor size. Thickness is 3/8” (actually 5/16”) tempered steel for levelIV protection. Order from ESCO Supply in Phoenix, AZ. Tel:(800) 528-4021 or local (602) 252-8061. Attach this plate to a 14 guage steel door such as provided by Deansteel(see below).

DeanSteel DoorOnly steel reinforced door with metal strips attaching frontand back face panels making it suitable for gravel fill. To make a bulletproofdoor for all normal handgun loads fill the inside of a 14 gauge B-series doorwith pea gravel. Order it with two deadbolts at 1/3 and 2/3 of the height forthe least expensive secure door for a shelter. Specify no insulation—and don’tmention gravel fill. San Antonio, Texas. Tel: (210) 226-8271.

STEELCRAFT – Steel security doors. This company makes heavygauge production doors including 14 gauge steel thickness for both doors andframes which are bullet-resistant to some small .22 or 25 caliber arms. See Deansteel doors above for gravel fill. SteelCraft 9017 Blue Ash Road,Cincinnati, OH 45242. Tel: (513) 745-6400 or (800) 243-9780 URL:

Total Door—“SecureSentry” is a hurricane rated door. 6145 DelfieldDrive, Waterford, MI 48329. Tel: (800) 852-6660. URL:

SPECIALTY METAL HATCH DOORS—Thebiggest and best company to supply all types of specialty hatch doors (roof,floor and wall hatches) is Bilco door. Long known for their sloping basement/tornado shelter doors.The Bilco Company, P.O. Box 1203, New Haven,Connecticut 06505 Tel: (203) 934-6363. URL:

Security: Bullet-Proof Armor, Panels and Fabric

ALPINE ARMORING INC.—Armored SUVs, sedansand trucks. 503 Carlisle Drive, Herndon, Virginia 20170 Tel: (703)471-0002 or (800) 992-7667. URL:

BULLDOG DIRECT—Kevlar fiber buildingpanels for protecting walls. A do-it-yourself source.Also sells armored vehicle kits for level IIIA hand gun protection from: 9 mm,.357 mag., .44 mag., and higher. Each armor kit comes with installation instructions.P.O. Box 8561, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A., 45208-8561 Tel: (513) 281-6700

ArmorcoEverything for bullet-proofing from fabric to helmets. URL:

KevlarReinforcing—4x8 Kevlar and fiber-reinforced panels for homeinstallation. Use webbing to create an earthquake or tornado-proof roomor closet in the home. Nail special Kevlar webbing crosswise (X-pattern) aroundhome or walls to make powerfully rigid shear walls. Also binds home down tofoundation. Tape is 3” wide in 100 foot rolls and about the thickness of anickel. Very strong stuff. URL:

BULLETPROOFME.COM—(Nick Taylor) Brand-namebullet proof vests and body armor accessories at discounted prices. Veryreliable source you can trust. URL:

Security: Vault Doors

LibertySafe Co.—Strongest vault doors available for self-installation ($6,000).Springville, UT. Tel: (801) 489 8550. URL:

Fort Knox Co.Same vault door quality as Liberty, slightly differentoptions. Taller rough-in opening requirement—see discussion in Chapter 3. 993North Industrial Park Road, Orem, UT 84057. Tel: (800) 821-5216. URL:

Homeland SecuritySafe—For cheaper, less-beefy alternatives ($2,000) for a vault door getthe “Economy” or “Elite” vault doors from this manufacturer.

AMSEC—Lightweight vault door. ModelVD8030 ($4,500). Rough-in opening: 77-1/2” H x 26-1/2”W Weight: 550 lbs.American Security Products Co. 11925 Pacific Avenue Fontana, CA 92337. Tel:(800) 421-6142. URL:

Security: Door Hardware

ElectricDoor Strikes—Von Duprin Company, Strike Forceelectric latches. URL:

Bronze Pivot BearingsFor concealed pivoting cabinet (about $3 for a set of two).All major cities have bearing specialty shops. Check the phone book. Ask foroil-impregnated brass or bronze bushings.

DoorClub—Simple reinforcement for the bottom of the door. Available from locksmiths and online retailers like

Security: High Security Locks

MedecoHas special pins and key that rotates the lock tumbler pinsto prevent picking. URL: (Available at locksmiths everywhere).

Assa6000—Pick-proof, double-keyed, drill resistant dead bolt (at locksmithsnationwide).

Security: Safes

Liberty Safe Co.—Buildsmany safes including gun safes and vault doors for home installation (alsobuilds National and Remington brand safes). See contact info above.

Fort Knox Safe Co.—Gunsafes and vault doors. Owned by Liberty Safe. Seeabove.

FloorSafes—Hayman Safes (, AdescoFloor Safes (, Value Safes (

Security: Shutters

ALL SEASON ROLLING SHUTTERS—Thesepeople have the best product on the market now. URL:

Roll-A-Way—Fullline of hurricane shutters, including rolling or accordion shutters inAluminum, PVC, or clear Lexan. 1661 Glenlake Avenue, Itasca, Illinois 60143. Tel: (866) 749-5424.URL:

Rolsafe—Hurricaneprotection. 12801 Commonwealth Dr. Suite 7, Fort Myers, FL 33913. Tel:(239) 694-5400. URL:

Rolladen—Topof the line, most expensive system, aluminum, PVC rolling shutters. Rolladen also produces working colonial security shutters.Tel: (800) 748-8837. URL:

Security Systems

GE SECURITY SYSTEMS—Self-install systems available with wirelessor hardwired connections. URL:

HONEYWELL—Used to be APEX (hardwired) Advantage has thelatest in voice prompting technology (voice tells you where intrusion is). Italso has numerous control features included which allow you to control lightsand equipment automatically. URL:

ADT PRO—Custom hardwired or wireless systems. ADT is thelargest national chain of alarm systems. The ProCustomsystem has most of the features that the Honeywell/Apex system has, includingvoice annunciation and being able to check the whole house from any masterkeypad. Tel: (800) 238-3009. URL: Check out the entire listing anddescription of all the different types of security devices you can order.

Security System Components and Misc.

SECURITY BASE—This website has manysecurity components from security cameras to stun guns. URL:

INTERCOMS with Cameras – Nutone,inc. Get their top of the line unit, with remotelisten in, plus up to 10 cameras.

VEHICLE ALARM SYSTEM - Mobile AlertVehicle Security System from Radio Shack. Also consider Optima II(monitors vehicle electric system for any turn on, or motion) from a variety of online sources. For example:

HIDDEN VIDEO CAMERAS - Security Base (see above) has thewidest selection of covert video cameras.

VIDEO MOTION DETECTION—There are many options for securitysystem monitoring via cameras, including DVR recording linked to multiplecameras including with night vision options. See Radio Shack, and

MICROWAVE FENCE AND PERIMETER DETECTION—Southwest Microwave’sIntrepid system uses coax cable and sensors to detectany vibration (3 yards accuracy) on fence from climbing. Their Micronet system is even more accurate and displays intrusionsonto a computer screen with a map of your property layout. 9055 South McKemy Street, Tempe, AZ 85284. Tel: (480) 783-0201. URL:

SURVEILLANCE AND ANTI-SURVELLANCE EQUIPMENT—Electromax International has a full range of high-techequipment available for surveillance and counter-surveillance. 11140 Westheimer, #276, Houston, Texas77042. Tel: (281) 531-7437. URL:

DRIVEWAY MONITORS - DWA-3 Suitable for burying besidedriveway - so you won't have to dig up asphalt or concrete drive. ($200)

STRESS FLOOR DETECTORS—Stress sensors detect walking onflooring, roofs, decks or on boats for marine security by Sure Action.

GPS VEHICLE LOCATORS - To protect againstauto theft or carjacking and kidnapping in your own vehicle. Smalltransmitter is hidden in vehicle which allows a GPS signal to alert a NorthAmerican tracking company of the vehicle location.

AERTRAX VEHICLE LOCATOR—Address: AerComTecInternational, 1359 Silver Bluff Rd., Suite G-5, Aiken, South Carolina 29803Tel: (803) 649-2900. Available from many sites online: Sample:

ROOM FOGGER—Smoke Cloak fogs the room in seconds with adense, non-toxic glycerin-based fog that dissipates with no residue. This is anexcellent passive defense against mobs or vandals entering the home. Smokecloak Ltd., 10 Cochran Close, Crownhill,Milton Keynes, MK8 0AJ, ENGLAND Tel: 44 (0) 1908567007 URL:

Shelter Systems and Plans

Oldcastle Precast—Custompre-cast waterproof concrete tanks. These can be modified and even combined tomake economical sealed, drop-in-the-ground shelter systems. They have localmanufacturers in several states. Oldcastle Products, 2820 AStreet, SE Auburn, WA 98071. Tel: (253) 833-2777 or (888) 232-6274.

Culvert Pipes—8foot diameter steel culvert pipes can be used for an economical undergroundfallout shelter. Bury at least 5 feet underground. About $10kfor the basic structure.

Utah Shelter Systems—Galvanizedmetal pipe system buried deep. Comprehensive shelter units, built to suit. Usesthe Swiss Andair (LUWA) NBC filters (See notes onthis under Air Filtration). P.O. Box 638,-Heber, Ut 84032. Tel: (801) 942-5638. URL:

Storm Chaser Shelters—Smallshelters for storms. 1200 Lawson Road, Fort Worth, TX 76131 Tel: (817)847-9000. URL:

HomelandCivil Defense—Civil Defense and nuclear preparation info includingdo-it-yourself plans for tank type shelters. 2251 DickGeorge Road, Cave Junction, Oregon 97523. Tel: (541) 592-4142. URL:

Safecastle—Lotsof options with these shelters. Fairly expensive. URL:

Survival Center—Submarine-styleburied tanks. Note: the air filter should be outside the shelter.

American Bomb Shelter—Do-it-yourselfkit or individual parts. URL:

Radius—Pre-manufacturedand installed shelters. Sleek but expensive. URL:

Solar Resources and Gurus

Abraham Solar—MickAbraham really knows all things alternate energy, from solar and hydro tobatteries and inverters. He is our best consultant on these topics. Mick isparticularly helpful if you are doing anything yourself. He is a friendlyconsultant, a dealer for finding the best price on equipment and an expert atpartially or completely assembling components for easy install. Address: 124 Creekside Place, Pagosa Springs,CO 81147. Tel: (970) 731-4675 or (800) 222-7242. URL:

Online AdviceMany of these websites have good advice about choosing solarpanels and batteries, including:, or The website has good products but only sells to licensed solardistributors so work through Mick (see above).

Do-It-Yourself EnergySystems—Gary Reysa maintains a great websiteresource for alternate energy enthusiasts. Nothing sold on this site justhelpful tips and lists of sources and materials. URL:

Solar: Photovoltaic Panels

Solar Panel Brands—Solarpanels are cheaper than ever partly due to Chinese companies producing cheappanels that are fast approaching top tier in reliability. We would still ratherbuy from non-communist countries but that line has become muddied as moreproduct lines have some parts from China. An important factor in choosingpanels is often space—available square footage facing the sun. Sanyo panelshave some of the best watt per sq. foot units. Abraham Solar is very good atfinding the most cost-effective type and number of panels for your needs (see“Solar Resources and Gurus” above).

Suntech and CanadianSolarThe cheapest (watt per dollar) and areboth Chinese brands.

Sharp and Kyocera Considered better quality but cost more. They are bothproduced in “more-free” countries.

Sanyo (Panasonic)—Panelsare compact to give you more watts/sq. ft. but are also expensive. Theircost/watt is almost double that of Suntech.

SunpowerOnly designed for grid-tie, not for a battery bank, which isthe key part of your electrical backup. Look elsewhere.

Solar: Current Boosters

Linear CurrentBooster (LCB)—Regulates the power between solar panels and pumps or DCmotors to keep systems (like motors or pumps) running off panels gettingconsistent power during intermittent clouds or sun angles. Many units havevariable voltage converters to draw the most power from the solar array (byvarying the voltage/amperage ratio).

Solar Converters Inc.Is the principle source for LCB’s. Multiple sizes and specsfrom low to high amperage (and corresponding cost). This company has severalgood products including battery desulfators. 558 Massey Road, Unit 1, Guelph, Ontario, N1K 1B4 (Canada).Tel: (519) 824-5272. Distributors include:,

Dankoff LCB—Input12/24/36 volt DC, 12/24 volt output. About $350.Available from many distributors including:,

Solar: Control Assemblies

Notes—Basiccontrol assemblies are mass produced by Outback, Xantrex,Apollo, Magnum or Midnite. Almost all of these needsome customization or modification such as addition of a circuit for the chargecontroller. The modifications can be done on site or by a shop such as AbrahamSolar.

Sine Wave Inverters—ProduceAC power from DC with a nearly perfect sine-wave output (as opposed to thecheaper square wave inverters), similar to utility-supplied power and thuscompatible with most AC electronic devices. Solid state inverters (more commonnow) means the sine wave conversion is accomplished electronically without movingparts.

Xantrex—Inverters,chargers and charge controllers. Considered by many to be “top of theLine” but energy guru Mick Abraham says they have now become too complex. So,now he also sells Victron units (see below). Mostsolar dealers sell Xantrex including Abraham Solar.

Magnum—Inverters,chargers and interconnect panels. 2211 W. Casino Road, Everett, WA 98204. Tel:(425) 353-8833. URL:

VictronEnergy—Inverters, chargers, panels, batteries and more. Simpler to use than Xantrex. De Paal 35, 1351 JG Almere(The Netherlands). Tel: +31 (0)36 535 97 00. URL:

Solar: Charge Controllers

NotesThese units regulate (step down) the voltage from the solararray to meet the needs of the battery bank. Cheap controllers discard thepower when not needed, moderately priced 3-stage systems ($200 range) have moresettings to keep the batteries floated but still don’t extract all the powerthe modules can produce. MPPT (Maximum Power Point Trackers) charge controllersare the most expensive ($600 to $900) but these units can get 15 to 30% morepower compared to a “legacy-type” (non-MPPT) controller. MPPT units regulatethe voltage/amperage coming from the solar panels to maximize the watts(energy) out of the system and then use this to charge the battery bank.Available brands include: Outback Power, XantrexXW-SCC, Blue Sky Energy, Apollo Solar, Midnite Solar,Morningstar MPPT and a few others. We recommend the MidNiteor Xantrex units.

MidNite—MPPTcharge controllers rated up to 96 amps and many other solar and battery controlproducts. MidNite systems have an impressive array ofoptions but they are also more expensive than most of the competition. Manysolar distributors sell these units. 17722 67th Ave NE, Arlington, WA 98223.Tel: (360) 403-7207 URL:

Xantrex—Goodquality charge controllers (3-phase and MPPT), inverters and control panels. Often cheaper than MidNite systems butwithout as many features. Sold at almost every solarwarehouse online and via Abraham Solar.

Outback—Chargecontrollers (3-phase and MPPT) available mounted to a power center fromOutback. Prices similar to MidNitewithout as many features. URL:

Morningstar—forsmaller solar arrays (150 to 200 Watts) use SS-20L (20 amp) charge controllerto inexpensively ($75) maintain small solar setups with a battery (or two).URL: Available at many solar wholesalers suchas:

Blue Sky Energy, Inc.—SolarBoost 3024iL can compete with the big Xantrex and Midnite MPPT controllers but for a much better price. One of the few controllers with power diversion to a heat sink orsecond battery bank when the first batteries are full (see DUO-option).2598 Fortune Way, Suite K, Vista, CA 92081. Tel: (760) 597-1642 or (800)493-7877. URL:

Solar: Power Arrestors

Notes—Energyguru Mick Abraham says beware of the complexity with arrestors, there are manyissues to consider here. Each system seems to have its weaknesses. Transtector ( has goodproducts but their applicable surge arrestor is not rated for the highoperating voltages of most solar arrays. Delta arrestors( are lagging behind MidNitein performance but both of these allow too much power through and don’t shutdown fast enough for EMP. We recommend running an extra stranded grounding wirefrom the solar panels and combiner boxes to a solid grounding rod. This shouldbe larger than the power lines coming off the panels. Shielded wire should beused between the solar array and the charge controllers and interconnectingpanel below. See also “Nuclear Preparedness, EMP Protection” for other kinds ofsurge protection.

Solar: Water Heating

GENERAL NotesWe have seen mixed results with solar water heating. Vacuumseals leak over time and plastic parts decompose after years in the sun. But itis hard to beat this basic form of solar collection and, fortunately, systemsand controls are improving thanks to European technology. They are still mostvaluable as a backup and pre-heat system so don’t invest a lot of money to makethis your only hot water or hydronic heating source.

ProgressivTube—ByTCT Solar. Insulated units with glass-covered coppertubes. 101 Copeland Street, Jacksonville FL 32204. Tel: (904) 358-3720URL: Available from many distributors including: or Abraham Solar.

Solahart—Self-containedstorage tank, optional enclosed system for cold climates, easy to install. USoffices (partners with Rheem) RheemManufacturing Company, 101 Bell Road, Montgomery AL 36117 Tel:  (800) 621 5622 URL: Several distributors in OR, CA and southern states.

Cirrex by A. O. Smith—Completesystem for a moderate price (approx $1,700). Lots of dealers listed on theirwebsite. 500 Tennessee Waltz Parkway, Ashland City, TN 37015.Tel: (800) 527-1953 URL: and

Skylineby—Simple, complete systems. Skyline5 closed loopsystem (cold climates) starts at $4,500. Skyline3 open loop systems (temperateclimates) start at $3000. 5840 Gibbons Dr. Suite H, Carmichael, CA 95608 Tel:(888) 801-9060 or (916) 481-7200.

ThermomaxThermoTech’s evacuated tube collectors. This company haswide experience in joining a solar water heating systems with a wood heatingbackup system into a hydronic floor-heated home. 5560Sterrett Place, Suite 115, Columbia, MD 21044. Tel:(800) 776-5277 or (410) 997-0778. URL:

Sol*Saver—Solarwater pasteurizer by Safe Water Systems who also makes a wood burning waterpurifier. 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 721 Honolulu,HI 96814 Tel: (808) 949-3123. URL:

Solar: Misc

Solar Vent OpenersFor regulating temperatures in greenhouses. This websitesells several kinds including Thermofor, Univent, Regal and Optivent.

BaylessMk-7 or XL—Made in the UK. Lifts up to 14 lbs.You can buy directly from them online or through greenhouse suppliers. URL:

Oasis MontanaHas a webpage where people post their used or surplus solarand alternate energy equipment. URL:

Abraham SolarHas a link for surplus or used items on his webpage.

Solar Wiring

Wiring SizesThese will vary according to specific installation, but thisshould give you a general idea for a small to medium installation. Solar panelsto junction box use #6 stranded copper. For junction box to APT power center orcharge controller use two #2 stranded copper or one #6 stranded copper forexternal ground connection. For the battery interconnect cables use #2 strandedcopper (available at most auto supply stores). For the connection from thebattery bank to the inverter use #2/0 stranded copper, preferably welding wire.


Soundproofing101This website has reasonable ideas for soundproofing andlinks for materials and windows. URL:

SoundproofingmaterialsThis seller has glue that can be laiddown between two layers of sheetrock for good sound attenuation. URL:

A plastic layer laminated between two panes of glassprovides excellent soundproofing and reinforces the glass. They are sold here:

Insul-Tek—Aself-adhesive, automotive-type soundproofing with O.E.M. Sound Deadener.This is a very compact, effective material. Call Juliano’sto order. Orders: (800) 300-1932. Technical Assistance: (860) 872-1932. URL:

Sonex foam—Sounddamping finger foam, ideal for shooting ranges. Fairly expensive at $5 per sq.ft. Acoustical Solutions Inc, 2420 Grenoble Road, Richmond, VA 23294. Tel:(612) 521-3555. URL:

RockwoolInsulation—Better sound absorbing qualities than fiberglass. Roxul is a typical brand name. Available at some homeimprovement stores, including Lowe’s (

Steel Decking

GENERAL NOtesMany brands of steel decking are available at local steelsuppliers in most large cities. Deal locally to avoidshipping costs. When pouring a composite concrete over metal deck getdecking with embossments to reduce reinforcing steel.

FormDeck—Comes36 inches wide in a variety of lengths. 49 Cardiff St. Johnstown, PA 15907.Tel: (814) 536-8731. URL:

Metal Deck DirectAllkinds of metal deck. URL:

Metal Deck Supply—Tel:(800) 894-7741. URL:

STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANELS—See “Construction: StructuralInsulated Panels.”

Stove and Heaters

REGENCY/HAMPTON WOOD STOVES—Reliable andcheap dual-burn steel stoves with decent efficiency ratings. The convectionheating of air gaps around this stove make the blower option particularlyeffective. The large F3100 model (80,000 BTU) can easily heat over 2000 squarefeet. Cost is about $2000. Regency/Hampton products are sold at most localshops. Specific dealers can be found on their website. URL:

WOODSTOCK SOAPSTONE STOVES—Radiant heat stoves are moreexpensive but very efficient. Dual burn and catalytic burn systems combinedwith unique air distribution results in up to 81% efficiency. The large “ProgressHybrid” stove is rated for 80,000 BTUs and goes for $3200. 66Airpark Road, West Lebanon, NH 03784. Tel: (800) 866-4344. URL:

GAS FIREPLACES—Look for “heater rated” units rather thanjust decorative gas fireplaces. Heater rated gas fireplaces can be moreefficient than a gas furnace (although they won’t move the heat to other roomsof the house as well). Get the firebox and flue that is built for wood burningso in a crisis you have the option of converting to wood heat (by remove thefake logs and gas pipe).

ROCKET MASS STOVES—Build your own veryefficient stove that uses inexpensive materials and burns one-tenth the wood oftypical fireplaces. Information and plans are passed around freely on forums suchas but the most information and details are in the book Rocket Mass Heaters by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson. Order from their website( or pay less for the e-book. For an easier time considerthe kits and parts from Dragon Heaters: Tel: (281) 292-2177. URL:

Kerosun DC 100—Mostfuel efficient Kerosene heater and with the cleanest burn. Nolonger imported but available second-hand. MSI Wicks sells wicks andparts and has a few of these and other stoves. A wick should last a few seasonsdepending on Kerosene quality. Stock up on a few extras. Tel: (765) 584-2041 or(888) 537-6786. URL:

Blueflameby ProCom—One of the last ventless heaters onthe US market. Fortunately it comes as a dual fuel unit. Also look forthe infrared units which are still available at some sellers. Sold by Northern Tool, Harbor Freight, Grainger and many heaterwholesalers. We still recommend Vanguard and Martin Industries propaneand natural gas radiant heaters for their efficiency and warmth, but apparentlythey aren’t being produced anymore. Still available at somewholesalers and second-hand stores.

Propane Camp StoveKeep one with several containers of propane gas availablefor emergency cooking. There is even a portable stove/oven available from CampChef (cheaper at Amazon) URL:

KeroseneStoves—Useful so you don’t have to store multiple kinds of fuel.Many don’t burn as hot as propane but reliable. Buy extra wicks when orderingthese. More information and sold by Miles Stair ( andfrom St. Paul Mercantile (

AladdinHas the most complete line of kerosene heaters and stoves.And their lamps are the brightest kerosene lamps available. But they are priceyand burn more fuel than other brands. Handle with care as they get hot. See theAladdin website ( or buy from online distributorssuch as Lehman’s (

Alpaca—Greatstove if you need something stronger and simpler than a backpacking stove. Verysturdy and will take as large a pot as you care to put on it (about $79). Extremely simple, reliable design, with a minimum of moving partsto wear out. Fuel tank holds 0.9 gallons and has a fuel level gauge. Runs for 16 hours on a filling. Output 8,500 BTU; weight 13lbs; size about 13” high x 13” diameter. Availablefrom preparedness supply stores and old fashioned outlets like Lehman’s. Thereare many foreign models as well, since Europe and South America use keroseneextensively. Primus is perhaps the largest foreign model (available at outdoorenthusiast stores).

STUCCO—See “Construction: Stucco Systems.”

Transportation: Electric Bicycles and Equipment

CONVERGENCE TECH, INC.—Plans to Convert a Mountain Bike: $29from Bill Gerosa, 12-6 FoxwoodDrive, Pleasantville, NY 10570 Tel: 914-773-6749 URL:

ZAP POWER SYSTEM—Add-on package to motorize a mountain bike.Can still pedal with this system. ZAPSX Rear Range 15 miles with SX and 8 miles with DX. Has regenerativecharging of battery while going downhill and pedaling. "ElectricCruiser" and mountain bike model can be purchased with the electricpackage. URL:

CHARGER BICYCLES—Electric bike designed from ground up withthe latest innovative technology - multi option pedal assist system, dualchain, 20 mile range.

US PRO DRIVE—Here's a direct-driveadaptive system with a variable speed controller. The direct drive systemmounts on the rear hub of most 26" bicycles and weighs 6 lbs. The batteryshell locks. Most people change out the awkward thumb throttle to a twist griptype. Van Nuys, CA 91406 Tel: (818) 947-0366. URL:

EV RIDER, INC.—Mostly electric powered wheeled carts, butalso have a folding electric bike. 060 Commerce Boulevard, North, Sarasota,Florida 34243 Tel: (888) 743-3738 URL:

ELECTROBIKE, INC.—Complete bike with 20 mile range:

Transportation: Electric Vehicle Conversions

ELECTRO AUTOMOTIVE—This is the mosteconomical way to get an electric vehicle. Convert a pickup or van to electricuse with batteries and solar panels. Great when gas becomes unavailable, butmaximum range is typically 40 miles. The most experienced one stop shop for allnecessary items is in California: P.O. Box 1113, Felton CA 95018.

UNDERGROUND HOMES—See “Construction: Underground Homes.”

Water Filters and Treatment

BerkeyOne of the few filters that also filters fluoride. Filteralso removes chlorine and its byproducts like trihalomethanes(THM’s). Countertop unit is completely portable. Downside is the slow gravityfilter. $250 to $350 depending on size. Many distributors including a cheaper ($190) version of the same filter units look for the Doulton brand. Available at

Pureflow2000—will remove bacteria, Giardia, Cryptosporidium,chlorine, chlorine byproducts, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), trihalomethanes, pesticides, herbicides, tastes, odors andmore but falls short of removing fluoride. Uses cleanableceramic microfilters and a dense solid block ofextruded activated carbon ($270). URL:

AquasanaUses high tech filters for longer life with low replacementprice. Shower filters are also available. Best price is direct from source.URL:

Big Blue 20INCH—Generic whole house water filter for a good price. UV sterilization ispossible. Available from many sources including

Aerobic KO7—Oxygenbased water purifier with potassium base. Only buy the potassium based liquidwith the “K” in the title. (Aerobic O7 is chlorine based). Approximately$16 from local and online health food stores.

Lifestraw—Portablewater filter that filters pathogenic bacteria,particulates. About $20 each. Available from

Water Desalinators and Distillers

WaterconesFloating water distillers. These units convert non-potablewater sources such as lakes and oceans into 1.5 liters of distilled water perday in strong sunlight through evaporation. URL:

PUR/Katadyn—Solarand manual desalinators. Manual units aresurvivor 06 ($1,000) and Survivor 35 ($2,200). PowerSurvivorunits are 40E, 80E and 160E ($3,600 to $5,200) and are all 12 volt operated.URL: and through outdoor recreation wholesalers

SeaRecovery—Marine desalinators for boats.Consider the Crystal Sea 12, 24 or 110 volt models. P.O. Box 5288, Carson, CA90745. Tel: (800) 354-2000 or (310) 637-3400. URL:

BlueSpring—Large solar desalinator units. Requires significant solar array to run. Produces80 to 1800 gallons per day (depending on unit).

Water Heating, with Wood Stoves

For solar water heater section see “Solar: Water Heater”

THERMA-COIL—This U-shaped stainless steel pipe can beinstalled inside the firebox of almost any woodstove to heat water whenever thestove is lit ($130). Be sure to follow the instructions so there is a pressurerelief valve in the system. 399 E. 7th Street, Chico, CA 95928. Tel:530-743-0900. URL:

HILKOIL—More U-shaped pipe coils to install in the fireboxof your stove. This brand is slightly more expensive but has more sizes andoptions. Note: more coil length is not always better. Since these coils areright in the firebox they can cool the fire and make it smoke or burn lessefficiently. Manufactured by Thermo-Bilt.375 Altamont Avenue, Schenectady, New York 12303. Tel: (800) 807-7041. URL:

Water Storage Tanks

NotesThere are several types of plastic water tanks on the marketand all of them are preferable to steel in the small to medium sizes. The whitetanks are polypropylene, colored tanks are usually polyethylene and black tanksare ABS plastic. Fiberglass tanks are used for the larger reinforced tanks andare not suitable for stored drinking water due to chemical outgassing.We do not list individual suppliers here because these are obtained locally inevery rural farm community in the country, including the entire East Coast.Check the Yellow Pages for “tanks” or “water tanks.”

Water Barrels—New55 gallon polyethylene

Kolaps A Tank—Bladdertype, collapsible tank that is useful for hauling water in a pickup, and fortemporary storage. It will even act as a giant solar water heater.


GENERAL Notes—Waterproofingcan be a difficult task in underground situations. Many of the best productsare applied on the outside of the foundation and are often only sold atcontractor outlets. We still list some of those here. Your local homeimprovement store will also likely have several products not listed here.

CONCRETE ADMIXTURES—Concrete additives that react with waterto make the concrete impervious—even fills in small cracks. Some products canbe painted on afterwards to soak in. Check with your concrete supplier for thebest product. Xypex is common:

SupersealThe ultimate sealing system around foundations with dimpledplastic sheeting, cloth, drains and paint. Fairly expensive.PO Box 61646, Brookswood RPO,Langley, BC, V3A 8C8 (Canada). Tel: (800) 571-1877. URL:

Tremproof201/60—Ideal for waterproofing foundation walls. By Tremco Incorporated 3735 Green Rd., Beachwood, OH 44122Tel: (216) 292-5000 or (800) 321-7906. URL:

Tuff-N-Dri H8New asphalt emulsion product also by Tremco(see above) and is “good up to 8 feet of hydrostatic pressure.”

Bituthene—Heavy-dutywaterproof membranes that can literally surround the outside of a basement(even under slabs and footings) to make it waterproof in a high water tablearea. Bituthene 3000 by W.R. Grace Co. Available at building and constructionsupply stores. See website for distributors:

For underground roofs—Apply30 or 45 mil EPDM rubber pond liner material over polyurethane foam sprayed oninsulation. Pond liners widely available at rural farmstores.

Watertite TPM—Coldapplied, two-part liquid rubber for exterior application of foundation walls orrooftops. URL:

Bluemax—Rollon rubber coating. Best if applied to exterior or surface in contact with water(not inside of basement). URL:

Vulkem #350/351—Pedestrian Deck Coating System. Also a Tremco product (see Tremproofproduct above for contact info).

Polyurethane deck coatingsThereare several brands including Sonoguard, Conipur or Polycoat. Thesesystems have a basecoat and topcoat of color. Contractor distributors sell mostof these products, for example:

Wind Power

SOUTHWEST WINDPOWER—AIR 403 is the best small windcharger. Cost is about $550 for the new 400 wattmachine. Installation is cheap and easy because this system is so small andportable. URL: Available through many solar outletslike Abraham Solar and

WHISPER CORP.—Excellent units from 600 watts to 4500 watts -cost all below $2.00 a watt. Widely available online including at:

AERMOTOR EQUIPMENT AND PARTS—Dean Bennett Supply keeps theseand Fiasa windmills running. Toll Free: (800)621-4291.

AMERICAN WINDMILLS—New, used and refurbished windmills andplans for towers. Tel: (530) 644-3008. URL:

AERMOTOR WINDMILLS—New units and parts.P.O. Box 5110, San Angelo, TX 76902 Tel: (800) 854-1656 URL:

AIRLIFT WINDMILLS—New windmilllifts water as much as 315' using pumped air bubbles. No moving partsunderground. Installs without a crane. 1540 Barton Rd#263, Redlands, CA 92373. Tel: (909) 446-1780 URL:


UNILUX WINDOWS—Top quality and super-efficient triple paneEuropean style "tilt and turn" windows. Comes with a top price, about$100 per sq. ft. Few other windows feel as solid orperform as well. Also comes with a safety package: 4 bolt locking and"highly tear-proof" safety glass. Website is in German (click on british flag icon for English).There are several distributors in the US. URL:

CANADIAN WINDOWS—Ultra-efficient with good solar gain (forheating in winter). Prices are "only" $40 to $50 psf. These are the mostcommon manufacturers: Accurate Dorwin(, Duxton(, Fibertec(, Inline Fiberglass ( Thermotech (

US WINDOWS MANUFACTURERSThe Dept.of Energy maintains a website of high-efficiency (R-5) window manufacturersthat offer storm windows. Although there are likely good windows outside thislist, it also shows relative pricing.

GILA FILMS have a full range of energy saving films to applyto windows. Available at most home improvement/hardwarestores. Website:

SHATTERGUARD—Unbreakable film backing tostandard glass. Can be applied to existing windows.Makes windows bullet-proof to small caliber (.22) weapons and makes windowsimpenetrable to intruders. Youcan also use this on car side and rear windows to keep thieves from breakingin, which is highly recommend. URL:

WINDOW QUILTS - Quilted insulating curtains for solarwindows. Rolling shutter type system that is easy to install. URL:

SCAPEWELL—Premanufactured wellswith cast-in steps by The Bilco Company. The Bilco Company, P.O. Box 1203, New Haven, Connecticut 06505Tel: 203-934-6363, sales 800-854-9724. URL:

Window Wells and Skylights

WINDOW WELL SECURITY - The Improvement Network ( ) markets a full range of lexan plastic window well covers for emergency escape andsecurity against entry. Tel: (888) 934-6776.

ROTO FRANK—German made, high strength skylights. Available in the US at skylight distributors.

ANDERSEN WINDOWS—Makes a triplelaminate glass with polymer layers in between. These windows areintrusion-proof, and will not scratch like Shattergardfilm. This is the glass system they use on their high strength(hurricane-proof) skylites. You can order this glassin their regular window line as well. Cost is about 30% higher than standardglass/wood windows. Andersen Windows (available at window supplierseverywhere).