Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prudent Prepping: Flea Market Finds and Earthquake recap

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate  on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping. 

Prudent Prepping:
Flea Market Find and Earthquake Recap

 I go to the local Flea Market about once a month with my list of Wants But Can't Afford New, just to see if I get lucky. I'm always on the lookout for good sleeping bags, tents and cooking gear. This past Sunday I scored this nifty item for $10!!!

A Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove   
 Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove, model #T-415 Product description: 
 "Got wood? If so, you'll never need to carry stove fuel again with the Hexagon Wood Stove. Uses easy-to-find, renewable fuel wherever your travels may take you. Basic fire skills are needed. Folds flat, quick setup, conical shape. Hinged fuel/damper door for easy fuel loading. Includes black nylon carrying case."

Shown collapsed with my Kershaw Leek for size comparison.

 The stove folds out flat from an accordion pattern and then fits around the perforated base, with the upper panels held in place by tabs on the base plate.
Since this is a used item, I did have to do some cleaning and tweaking to get the hinges to open smoothly, and other than a small problem with the locking tab (which keeps the upper from coming off the base when opening the door) being smashed down a bit, this stove set up just fine.
Here is the stove set up and ready to go! The slot on the left panel takes the locking tab and just visible in the center panel is the tab used to open the door for adding wood. Vargo recommends no larger than a 1.5 liter pot be used on this stove, so I set it up (without fire) to test. Here is where I found why someone might be getting rid of this item- the previously mentioned locking tab not fitting securely into its slot. It shouldn't take too much work to spring the tab open a bit, even if this is made of titanium!

Seeing that all the pieces fit I gave it a live test to see how fast it would boil 16oz of water in my 1qt camp pot. Gathering enough fuel took more time than the boil test, but I needed to have plenty on hand as I've never used this small of a stove before. I used a match to start a pile of oak leaves, dry grass and acorn shells, placed under some pencil diameter twigs. After those started burning well, I added some thumb diameter sticks that were 6" long. 6" is too long to close the door, but I wanted to see how things were burning at all times, so the door was open. I needed to keep about 1"-2" deep stack of twigs in the stove at all times to get a good flame going well enough to start the test. My test was taking the water to a full boil and the total time to that point was 10 minutes. That 10 minutes was spent pushing sticks in, moving ash from side to side to keep the bottom vents clear and watching for the boil point. Please see our esteemed Editrix alternate review of this stove here.

So to recap:  Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove, model #T-415
Small, compact and easily stored. I give it 5 stars at the price I paid, but only 4 stars at retail, since I would be hesitant to spend that much on an item which will get so little regular use.

Earthquake Recap
Thank you all for checking in on me, it was the largest quake here since the 1989 shaker that collapsed a freeway and bridge. I have used this as a reminder to my friends to check their personal and emergency items:
  • Flashlights Replace your batteries and make sure everyone knows where their own flashlight is stored. Check with your kids to make sure their flashlights have good batteries and that it is easily found in the dark. This earthquake did occur at 3:30 in the morning!
  • Shoes Have a real pair of shoes by your bed, all the time. Flip flops or Hello Kitty slippers work fine getting you to and from the bathroom, but getting out of a damaged house with broken glass or other hazards requires better protection.
  • Supplies Your normal prepping supplies should be available to you, since they are stored in as safe a place as possible, right? Right.
Recent Purchases
 The Vargo stove, $10 at the flea market
44 Duracell batteries, 32 AA and 12AAA from Sam's Club $20.98

As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased be me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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