A representative contacted me from the FiberFix company to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their product. I agreed to accept a sample and do a review because I think FiberFix has a number of uses which will prove useful to preppers.
FiberFix is repair wrap that is said to be 100 times stronger than duct tape. It’s useful if you’re in need of a quick, strong fix.
It was featured on the “Shark Tank” TV show and is apparently growing in popularity.
This past weekend my wife’s cousin helped me wrap a broken suitcase handle. He read the instructions, and I applied the FiberFix.
The concept of a FiberFix repair is easy, but doing the job was a little trickier than I expected. Several extra steps are necessary in comparison to using duct tape. And it doesn’t help that I’m not that great at handyman tasks, even little ones.
I received the hard sided suitcase as a gift back in the 1970’s. Somehow the handle broke in two after years of use, and we wrapped it with duct tape. It held that way for many years, but eventually the tape gave way.
The first order of business for the repair was to cut and tear off the old duct tape. I used rubbing alcohol to remove as much of the sticky tape glue from the handle as I could. I didn’t get it all off, but I did what I could.
In keeping with the FiberFix instructions, I used the sandpaper, which got a little more crud off the handle. In this instance, it may not have been necessary to do this because the handle had a rough texture, and it was still somewhat sticky.
Normally the coarse sandpaper should be used to roughen up a smooth surface so the FiberFix tape can adhere better.
I put on a set of plastic gloves that came with the package. They’re small, and I wasn’t sure they’d fit. But they stretched and were adequate.
The gloves are meant to protect your hands from the resin in the FiberFix tape. Including them is a good idea, but one size may not fit all.
I took the FiberFix roll out of its wrapping and dunked it into water in the kitchen sink for several seconds. I wrung as much water out of it as I could.
Next came the task of rolling the thick tape around the suitcase handle.
As you can see from the picture above, the repair job is bulky. It’s possible I didn’t wrap the tape as tight as I could have. There was a lot of tape for the task at hand.
My wife said she would have cut off only the amount that seemed necessary, if she had been there to do the repair. But the directions say to use the whole roll. So that’s what I did.
Having a premeasured amount of tape seems to me to be a distinct disadvantage. I don’t see how any unused tape could be reused. It would be better to have a good sized roll that would allow you to measure out the amount you need before getting it wet and wrapping it around the object being repaired.
I realize that, as with any kind of tape, multiple layers adds strength. But if you wanted to repair a crack running lengthwise along a pipe or wooden chair leg, you might need more tape than what you’re allowed in the FiberFix package.
That said, there are different sizes of FiberFix. But you’ll need to determine what length and width you need for the job you have in mind.
Next in my repair of the suitcase handle came the application of an outer plastic wrap, which is supposed to be wrapped tightly around the FiberFix tape for a few minutes to help the tape to seal better.
My wife’s cousin misread the directions, so I kept the outer wrap on for less than a minute, rather than the ten minutes specified. I’m wondering if this also contributed to the bulkiness of the repair.
I put my hand on the FiberFix shortly after taking off the outer wrap, and the tape felt warm. I assume that indicated a chemical reaction as the tape hardened. And it does get hard. There’s no flexibility when it’s set.
One corner edge of the wrap I’d done was jagged, so I cut it off with a pocketknife. That didn’t help much, so I’ll have to sand it down a bit. This showed me it’s possible to cut through FiberFix, but I’m guessing it would be difficult to cut through more than one layer of it.
FiberFix is rough to the touch, which wouldn’t be a problem if you’re repairing a pipe, which you fix and forget. But it’s noticeable on the suitcase handle, since a person’s hand comes into direct contact with the handle repair job any time the suitcase is lifted.
The same could apply if you fix a tool handle at the point where your hand needs to touch it to use the tool.
My repair job may not be pretty or perfect, but I don’t think the handle will ever come apart again.
Here are a couple photos of examples of FiberFix offerings.
Incidentally, FiberFix isn’t meant to be used as a patch. It works when you wrap it around something.
FiberFix is said to be available in 30,000 retail outlets. If you can’t find it, or if you need more info go to www.FiberFix.com.
Do it yourself now, and survive later. That’s the idea behind Jim Cobb’s latest book, Prepper’s Survival Hacks. It gives you creative DIY projects to help you survive and save money.
Jim is my guest on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio. What follows is a summary of our visit mingled with my comments about the book.
Incidentally, as our language continues to change, you may have noticed the word “hack” has taken on new meanings in recent times, as evidenced by its use in the title of Jim’s book. I’ll make use of the word below in a few of my headings. I don’t know if I’m using it correctly, but who knows what that is anyway?
Hacking the Author
Jim Cobb has been on DestinySurvival a number of times to talk about his books and advice on preparedness. We always have good conversations.
In case you’re not familiar with who he is, here’s a bit of background info.
Jim and his family reside in the upper Midwest and he is currently working on several more books.
Hacking the Book
Prepper’s Survival Hacks offers a wide range of creative ideas for transforming cheap and widely available items into lifesaving gear. Find 50 nifty D I Y projects related to water, getting food, cooking, starting fires, having light, and more. It’s not marketing hype to say you’ll want this book in your survival library.
This is different than any of Jim’s other books, and he acknowledges that in the introduction. In our conversation we talked briefly of how this book came to be.
If you’re looking for hands-on, how-to projects while saving money, you’ll want this book in your survival library. Plus, the projects would be great to do with your children or grandchildren, whether you’re home schooling or getting the family prepared on weekends.
The book has plenty of pictures, unlike Jim’s previous works. They’re in black and white which is less expensive to produce. Otherwise, this could have been a coffee table book, but it would have been priced out of the reach of mere mortals. It’s meant to be a practical book, not a museum exhibit.
Headings for chapters and individual projects are large, making it easy to find your way around. A list of materials is given near the beginning of each project, which is helpful, too.
Jim’s intention is for this book to be a reference, especially when the Internet isn’t available. As I’ve said before about books, the advantage of having print is that it will be around if everything online ceases to exist.
Even before that time, you have no need for batteries or connectivity with a book. Plus, a book allows you to read the info about each project as many times as you like. If you’re like me–not very handy–you’ll appreciate the need to go over something several times before it soaks in.
I haven’t tried most of the projects, so I can’t say they’ll all work for you. But Jim and his family have tried them all, and you can have confidence, knowing he’s not just recycling theoretical stuff from other books or the Internet.
I venture to say some projects will work better than others for you, depending on the materials you have available and your ability for DIY projects.
Jim believes a big part of what we do to get prepared should make life easier for those times we’re facing down disasters. The less stress the better. Life is going to be abnormal enough without making things complicated and difficult.
Rekindling creativity in our imaginations is one reason Jim wrote Prepper’s Survival Hacks. You may see things you hadn’t thought of. And you may get ideas for projects of your own. What can it hurt to try something that could prove useful when the chips are down?
Hacking the Hacks
Below I’ll give you the headings of each chapter, followed by a bullet point list with a few of the projects it includes. Projects not bulleted are mentioned in the paragraphs that follow, along with a few more observations from my chat with Jim.
Osmosis Water Filter
The fact that projects on water filtration are given first shows the importance of water. After all, we’ll each die without it.
Should you build a solar still? We spent a few minutes talking about why Jim included instructions for a solar still, but doesn’t recommend making one.
This led to Jim’s thoughts on the importance of credible, tested information. SurvivalWeekly.com was created to combat bad information because people’s lives are at stake. Maybe your own.
Pocket Fishing Kit
Why make your own MRE’s? Jim made a good case for this in his book and in our discussion. A word of caution–don’t buy cases of MRE’s (or any other storage food) without trying it first to see how it works out for you and your family.
That’s good advice for buying other prepping supplies as well.
We talked about making your own seed tape using toilet paper folded to half width. Jim gets a lot of favorable comments on this one. Consider this. It’s a project you can do this winter while binge watching your favorite shows.
You’ll find tips on making cold frames as well as small greenhouses from food containers you get from restaurants. We expanded on the notion of using containers for starting seedlings.
If you’re going to take his suggestion to grow your own potatoes from those you buy at the grocery store, you may have trouble. They’ve likely been sprayed with substance that prevents them from sprouting. I’d suggest checking for organic spuds at a local farmer’s market.
Jim says he’s had mixed results raising potatoes over the years, and he can’t grow enough to suit his likes. My experience has varied, too. This year was a bust.
Brick Rocket Stove
Altoids Tin Alcohol Stove
The Original DIY Fire Starter
Egg Carton Fire Starters
Self-Igniting Fire Starter
Cotton Pad Fire Starter
Fire from Electricity
Jim admits he loves fire and making fire starters. If you’ve seen the Panteao Make Ready to Survive DVD’s where he’s featured, you’ve seen him make some of the fire starters he writes about.
Since melting wax is essential for several of the fire starter projects, he puts info on how to do that in the first part of the chapter.
Dryer llint was the focus of our conversation for a while. Who knew there could be a difference in kinds of dryer lint?
Why aren’t magnifying glasses included in Jim’s chapter on fire starters? Hear his answer in our visit.
The fire kit described includes several kinds of fire starters and various types of tinder.
Altoids Tin Candle
Altoids Tin Oil Lamp
Solar Landscape Lights
Milk Jug Lantern
Altoids Tin Survival Kit
Workplace Emergency Kit
Belt Pouch Survival Kit
A couple of these survival kits might be used for everyday carry (EDC). The brevity of the chapter on this may be disappointing to some, but Jim recommends a couple of books with thorough survival kit building info.
Gift Card Cordage Storage
Bucket Clothes Washer
$1 Door Fortification
Be sure to look carefully through this section because several gems which defy categorization are hidden away there. For example, don’t miss the tips on improvised gear or the numerous ways to use aluminum foil and garbage bags.
During our visit we discussed the idea he shares about using a pool noodle or pipe insulation to make a toilet seat on top of a bucket toilet. That’s one small, but important means of providing comfort which family members may truly appreciate.
You’ll enjoy Jim’s comments from our chat about the clothespin alarm trigger.
You’ll like the bucket mousetrap project in the book. Could this be the proverbial better mousetrap?
If you haven’t yet saved copies of your important documents on a flash drive, you’ll want to give heed to Jim’s advice in the book concerning the preparedness flash drive.
You may be ten steps ahead of me on this one, but a friend suggested that I encourage you to put WD-40 in your survival kit. After all, it has hundreds of uses.
When I also saw a piece on ABC nightly news promoting WD-40, I figured it must be time to reckon with it. Or, to be cyhnical, maybe it’s just a sign of how the news media yields to corporations.
Whatever the case, The Ready Store ran an article on its blog entitled WD-40 Survival Guide, mentioning 13 uses for WD-40. The comments below the post give many more uses and tell us what not to use it for. I recommend you take a look.
It’s been said, “You only need two things in life: Duct Tape and WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use Duct Tape, if it doesn’t move and should, use WD-40.”
By the way, WD-40 is a solvent, not a lubricant. Keep that in mind, since it’s not the cure-all for the world’s ills. But it is great stuff, and you should have it in your survival kits, if you don’t already.
Want to be part of a unique network of preppers helping other preppers? If you’d like to help a fellow prepper, be an “ant.”
A.N.T.S stands for Americans Networking To Survive. It’s a survival network of individual preppers called “ants.”
They work together to provide other members basic supplies during disasters. In a nutshell, they do that by relaying buckets of supplies, called supply pods, to any member that needs them.
The network founder is Timothy French, and he was my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. Listen in and find out how you can make a difference in the lives of other preppers and how other preppers can help you.
In late 2010 I learned of Tim French and his organization from Donna Miller of Miller’s Grain House. I did an interview with him for DestinySurvival Radio, but that was in 2011. If you’re curious, view what I wrote about that first chat here.
Not long before the time of this writing I heard Tim interviewed by Joe Alton, M.D., a.k.a. Dr. Bones, from Prepper Camp in North Carolina. I was glad to hear A.N.T.S. is still around, and I thought it was high time to get an update.
Doing the Show
The A.N.T.S. site is loaded with so much information, I began to wonder why I should talk to Tim French at all. That’s because you’ll find general information there, of course; but there’s also a thorough historical timeline as well as an informative FAQ page, to name a couple of the site’s great features.
On the other hand, I realize you may not have heard of this unusual network. Or you may just need to hear our conversation so you know how Tim himself explains things in a way that clarifies what A.N.T.S. is all about.
Thus, our DestinySurvival Radio conversation.
Daring to Do Something Different
As a firefighter, Tim became involved in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He saw deficiencies in how things were handled, and believed there had to be a better way.
Some of the same problems arose in the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010. That’s when he decided it was time to put A.N.T.S. together.
There’s an organized way of carrying out the network’s tasks, spelled out in guidelines and job descriptions. A clever set of terms and definitions centers around ants, the insects. Icons on maps indicate general locations of members or drop points for supplies.
While all of that may give the appearance of complexity, Tim says A.N.T.S. is a simple network of preppers helping preppers. There’s no corporate structure or office.
The mission is simple: To provide members with basic supplies during a disaster.
All members are volunteers who provide help at the local level. The goal of A.N.T.S. is to have at least one member in every city and town.
Doing the Work
A.N.T.S. isn’t a mere theoretical construct. They helped fellow members during Hurricane Sandy and the big tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area. It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear ants have helped other ants after flooding in the Carolinas which were occuring about the time this was written.
When a disaster happens, as quickly as possible, members supply one another with supplies requested by members in need. If a member hasn’t been heard from, other members will check to see how they’re doing.
That sounds encouraging, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you like to be helped by people in your area who know the lay of the land and what’s happening in the immediate situation?
A.N.T.S. strives to help members before other relief agencies arrive on the scene. However, members may not be able to provide help until after rescue teams have made the way safe. For example, roads may need to be cleared in the aftermath of a storm.
Two levels of guidelines describe how A.N.T.S. should work. Level One guidelines are used for disasters where people still have communication capabilities outside of a disaster area. Level Two would be used in an extreme scenario, such as after an EMP, when all communications have been lost, except for shortwave radio.
Tim described the functions volunteers can perform. They include…
Deciding on the Goodies
Supplies given out in a time of disaster can include clothing, food, shelter supplies, and medical and hygiene items–enough to get a person or family through two weeks. The supply pods are 5-gallon buckets containing such items.
All supplies are provided by A.N.T.S members. The best way to be sure adequate supplies are available to meet a given need is to recruit other ants.
A.N.T.S. won’t bring the goods into a disaster area until they know exactly what’s needed and who needs it. That way supplies aren’t misdirected and won’t go to waste.
By the way, you’ll be glad to know A.N.T.S will never ask for your money. It’s the ants themselves who make the system work.
Digging Into the Ant Hill
No demographic information is kept on members. Your OP SEC won’t be compromised.
A.N.T.S. is all about helping fellow Americans in a time of need. It hasn’t quite taken hold abroad.
People with disabilities are encouraged to join A.N.T.S. as well. As with any other ant, it’s up to the individual to choose what they can do.
The number of member ants around the country fluctuates, but Tim says it’s roughly a thousand. Interest was greatest in 2012 when people thought certain catastrophe loomed.
Don’t Count on Group Think
As I was looking over the info about A.N.T.S. before my visit with Tim, it occurred to me that churches would be ideal forgetting involved with the network. While that may indeed be the case, Tim emphasized the point that A.N.T.S. deals with individuals, one to one.
In other words, if your church decided to become involved with the network, A.N.T.S. would help individuals within the church. They wouldn’t bring supplies to the church as a whole.
In a disaster, you might get help from an ant who is a fellow church member, or the ant may be someone else in the local area. As an ant yourself, you might be called on to help a fellow church member or another ant who is not part of your church.
The same principle applies to prepper groups, too. Individuals in your prepper group may become part of the network, but the group itself can’t be defined as an ant.
There’s more on groups and colonies in my conversation with Tim.
It cost nothing and you do not have to disclose your location.
Having one member in every city and town will allow us to transport supplies without traveling far from home.
When disaster strikes, relief agencies will bring supplies, but they will be supplying everyone. A.N.T.S will be looking for you.
If you are traveling away from home when a disaster strikes, you will have a member close by to bring supplies to you or your family.
Supplies are not wasted and will only go to members if requested.
In an interview with Amanda Ripley, the author of The Unthinkable: WhoSurvives When Disaster Strikes – And Why, Craig Fugate, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency stated:
“To avoid “system collapse,” the government must draft the public. “We tend to look at the public as a liability. [But] who is going to be the fastest responder when your house falls on your head? Your neighbor.”
Between what I’ve written here and what Tim and I talked about, you should have a decent picture concerning A.N.T.S. But you can always get more info or contact Tim by going to Americans Networking To Survive.
When the power goes out, and it’s dark, the first thing we want is light–even before food and water. It not only helps us see, but it provides us with comfort and reassurance. Of course, you want a dependable light source. My DestinySurvival Radio guest and I talked about a unique light source for when the power’s out that gives you that UV glow.
Steve Nagel of 4EverLight International, Inc., and UVPaqlite.com, is this week’s guest. Way back in December of 2011 I had him on the show. If you’re curious, read about it here. Steve provided me with a couple of UV Paqlite samples then, and I bought some of the company’s little Toob Lites. I knew right away there’s a reason his company calls the UV PaqLite the amazing light. These aren’t your ordinary glow in the dark products.
If you haven’t heard of UV PaqLites before, you’ll want to find out what they’re all about. If you have heard of these nifty glow in the dark items before, you’ll be interested in hearing about new innovations and new products. Either way, I think you’ll want to put some of the things Steve and I talked about in your survival kits and prepping supplies.
The Man Behind the Glow
Steve was eager to talk about his company and its products with me. I can imagine he’s not shy when telling others about what he has to offer when he travels to trade shows and expos. Perhaps you’ve seen him or his daughter at a prepper expo, demonstrating their products. Let me tell you a little about him because he’s quite an entrepreneur.
Steve Nagel is a father of 4 children and now a grandfather of 7. His youngest child, Alexis now 31, has worked with him since 2011 on this new venture of creating a new form of light or illumination.
Steve has a varied “venture start-up” background, starting in 1976, after he graduated with his law degree from the University of Wyoming and his graduate and undergraduate degrees in business from Arizona State University.
His ventures have included 3 successful IPOs of microcap companies in the construction chemical sector, consumer electronics, and patented 3 dimensional decoration process for any shaped objects.
Steve was an IFR and multi-engine pilot for 20 years in his own aircraft and spent most of his life in Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona–now living in Las Vegas, Nevada the past couple of years. He and his daughter have been working on the development of products and markets from 4EverLight International, Inc.
The Name of the Glow
You might think UV in the name of these products stands for ultraviolet. That’s a good association with light, but in this case UV stands for Steve’s Uncle Vernon, who played a role in in teaching the family about survival.
The Need for the Glow
Do you have any glow in the dark items among your prepping supplies? If not, maybe it’s because they’ve been a disappointment. Glow sticks can only be used once. Glow in the dark tape doesn’t glow very brightly.
UV products provide good illumination in a small area. However, in the dark they’re also visible from a considerable distance. UV Paqlites and Glow In the Dark Spots (G.I.D.S.) can be handy for marking a trail or fence line. Put G.I.D.S. on light switches around the house, in the bathroom, or on your circuit breaker box. Or put one on your backpack so the person behind you can follow more easily when you’re hiking.
The Nature of the Glow
UV Paqlite products contain nontoxic earth elements that glow in the dark brighter and longer than typical glow in the dark products. They’re not as bright as a light bulb, but you’d be surprised to see how bright they are and how many hours they hold their glow.
One of the neat things about them is their glow can be recharged in a minute or less with a flashlight or car headlights. They’ll even charge up in regular daylight.
Since powered lighting recharges these UV items, the company decided to create what they call the Orb Mule Lite, which combines UV material with a high quality LED light that pulses three seconds every two minutes to keep the glow at its brightest. There’s more on the Web site about this nifty inovation.
Passing on the Word About the Glow
Sales have been direct to consumer, such as at various expos and events. They also sell through their Web site. They haven’t gotten into retail sales yet.
One of Steve’s goals is to keep the products affordable. And they are, especially when you consider the cost of glow sticks you can only use once.
When I looked at UVPaqlite.com recently, I was surprised by the number of products they have available. The company has come a long way since I first heard of them back in 2011. Several products are patent pending, so perhaps one day these items will get greater recognition and wider distribution.
Customers are happy with the products, and they don’t return them. That’s definitely a sign Steve’s company is doing something right.
Newer products, such as the UV Matlite, are designed to be more attractive then the original UV Paqlites. Of course, all the products work well, regardless of appearance. Some of the other products include the Tooblite, Scooblite and Glostik.
How People Are Using the Glow
I’ve mentioned a few possibilities already, but throughout my conversation with Steve, he told stories of how people are using his company’s products in all sorts of clever ways. It seems you’re only limited by your imagination.
Because Steve’s company does so much direct sales to consumers, they receive a great deal of feedback. That’s what prompts development of new products and tweaking of older ones. One example is the development of the UVO necklace, which children love to wear.
Here’s an example of a terrific way to use a UV Paqlite or UV Matlite. Place it near your bed at night to help you find something you need in the middle of the night, whether it’s medication or a firearm for self defense.
Let me say here that I have no financial relationship with Steve or his company. I don’t earn a dime if you buy his products. I’m happy to get the word out about what he has to offer because his company has some fascinating, fun and practical light source options which preppers will want to have. These products deserve to be widely available to all.
Do you have candles on hand in case the lights go out? You may want to rethink that. Did you know that a startling number of accidental fires are started by candles?
My DestinySurvival Radio guest was Kevin Dawson, creator of Kevin’s Kandles, a truly safer candle for emergencies. They provide you with a clever fire safety solution. Once you’ve heard Kevin talk about them, you’ll never see emergency candles in quite the same way.
Before I go on, allow a brief disclaimer. Other than receiving samples of Kevin’s Kandles to try, I don’t earn anything from promoting them. But this is one of those innovative products that could truly save lives and property, so I’m glad for the opportunity to share what follows with you.
The Kandle Kreator
Hey, if Kevin Dawson can misspell candles for branding purposes, I can misspell creator, just this once. And maybe another word or two as well.
But who is Kevin Dawson anyway? Here’s a little info.
“Kevin is semi-retired from the fire service after 32+ years in Westmount and Montreal, Canada. He also served an appointment for the United Nations as the Fire Marshall for UNMIL in Liberia, Africa, in 2007 and 2008. As a member of the Fire Service for most of his life, he has a passion for fire safety and fire prevention.”
You’ll notice that passion when you listen to our conversation. He’s (Dare I say it?) fired up about his subject matter. It’s his desire for fire safety and prevention that drives his candle endeavors.
The Kase for Kevin’s Kandles
If you can do it, have flashlights, especially LED lights, and fresh batteries on hand for those emergencies when power is out. But you know how things go. You might have flashlights all over the house, but how many work when you need them? As Kevin notes, we will have power failures, and people will use candles.
Candles sound like a great solution, and they’re the first thing many of us turn to in the dark; but as many as 10,000-15,000+ accidental candle fires are reported in the U.S.A. each year. In North America, 3-4% of residential fires are candle related.
A majority of the deaths and injuries occur during power failures and in houses where the electricity has been disconnected. Kevin says, in his iexperience as a fire investigator, half the fires started by candles were caused by tea candles.
Kevin’s Kandles are designed to greatly reduce the risk of accidental fires. If a Kevin’s Kandle is left unattended, it will go out. So no worries if you fall asleep while it’s burning. In fact, even if it’s tipped over, it will go out. That may seem hard to believe, but watch the demonstration video below to see for yourself.
One Kandle to Rule Them All
Here’s how they work. Begin with a clear glass half full of water. Pour in half an inch of vegetable oil. Insert a wick into the center of a round, plastic, Kevin’s Kandles float. Place the float into the glass and light the wick.
Kevin says his candles help eliminate the “Stupid Factor” when people run out of batteries during extended power failures and “get creative” with their illumination. That’s because Kevin’s Kandles are Safer than traditional candles. They’re also inexpensive and environmentally friendly.
Since these candles are great for providing emergency light during storms or other times when power is out for hours or days, they would have come in quite handy during and after Hurricane Sandy.
The Kandle on Trial
Watch the short demonstration video below, then I’ll share my experience with Kevin’s Kandles as well as a few thoughts Kevin passed along in our conversation.
A package of Kevin’s Kandles contains 5 plastic floats and 100 wicks in a ziplock bag. That’s enough to get a family through as many as 20 power outages, if you use all five floats for burning candles around the house.
Complete instructions are on the inside of the cardboard labeling stapled to the bag. I’d suggest keeping these directions with the bag, since you may not be using these that often, if you only use them for emergencies. However, Kevin’s right when he says you’ll remember how to use the candles once you’ve burned one.
But then I’m the kind of guy who keeps manuals for everything.
The whole package is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket. Therefore, they’re much easier to store than regular candles because they take up so little room.
I love the fact that the wicks and floats are in a resealable bag. It’s easy to keep everything together. The floats are reusable, so the only thing to throw away is the wick when it has done its job.
Our Test and Impressions
My wife thought these were similar to the float candles she’s seen at the Dollar Store. She’s seen them used at weddings. But Kevin says his candles aren’t the same thing because they’re not wax candles. His will each last 10 hours, not 2-4 hours. His are much cheaper, too.
My wife thought the wicks were a bit difficult to insert into the float because they’re small. The indention in the float isn’t very large either. I expect assembly would be easier the more it’s done. Kevin told me the wicks are the size they are because it has to do with compliance with certain safety standards.
We put our candle into a white glass bowl. (Sorry for not having a picture of it to show you here.) While there was some reflection from the sides of the bowl, Kevin recommends a clear glass because the illumination will be better. There’s more of a lantern effect, rather than that of a torch facing upward.
We experimented and found that if you blow the flame out, it can be lit again. We tried this a little while after we lit it initially. Then we let it burn five hours that evening. We left the bowl out out overnight, hoping our curious cats wouldn’t discover it. They didn’t.
We relit the wick the next morning. It was hard to light because it was so small. After a couple hours (about six or seven hours into the expected 10 hours), the flame wasn’t as bright.
According to Kevin, we should have taken the float and wick out of the bowl to keep the wick from getting saturated. If we would have done so, we would have experienced a bright flame until the end. Or, if we’d have let it burn uninterrupted, the flame wouldn’t have dimmed.
The flame burned itself out after a little more than the anticipated 10 hours total burn time. The float was still in good shape, ready for reuse. Furthermore, the floats won’t melt.
Why are these so environmentally friendly? Floats are reusable. Wicks are made from cotton. No wax is involved. Water and vegetable oil are all that’s necessary to use Kevin’s Kandles.
The Oil You say
OK, the K-thing with the headings in this post could only go on so long. Maybe I’m just not klever (Er, I mean clever.) enough to make up more. So I’ll kwit while I’m ahead.
Now, back to more enlightening info on the subject at hand.
Any kind of vegetable oil can be used for Kevin’s Kandles, including olive oil, though it’s more expensive. Even used oil, such as from restaurants, can be put to use.
One key advantage of using vegetable oil is that it’s something most of us replentish as we use it. So it’s not as if it’s a peculiar item we have to scrounge for.
Here’s another advantage. The oil won’t burn, even if you tip one of these candles over.
Kevin gave me a lesson in flamable vs. combustable fluids. Vegetable oil that has not been heated for cooking is combustable, not flamable. Both of those terms sound rather ominous, but just remember that the vegetable oil used for Kevin’s Kandles won’t start a fire.
Just Another Pretty Candle?
Would you believe restaurants are using Kevin’s Kandles? Though Kevin primarily wants to let you and me know about their uses for emergencies, you could use them for other purposes, too. Go decorative with colored water. Or make it a scented candle with a few drops of your favorite essential oil in the water.
There’s plenty of room for creativity. Again, think of the possibilities for introducing family and friends to a preparedness item.
Cheaper by the Dozens
Retail price of a package of Kevin’s Kandles is about $10. If that sounds costly at first, think of all you’re getting–100 wicks and five reusable floats. That’s about 10 cents per wick.
And when you figure in everything else, including vegetable oil, your cost is roughly 25 cents per candle. Where can you buy a 10 hour emergency candle for anywhere near that price:?
The fact is, you might not ever need more than one package of these for yourself. That’s not good for repeat sales of Kevin’s Kandles, but you could always buy some to have a second or third package on hand for your bug out location. Or you might consider geting a few packages to give as gifts.
Incidentally, Kevin doesn’t want to be a candle retailer. He wants to get the word out about these candles and get product recognition. He’d love to have a celebrity like Oprah promote his candles. And as already noted above, he wants to contribute to greater fire safety and prevention.
Kevin and I talked about fund raising campaigns for fire departments and sports teams. These candles would also be great if you wanted to do a fund raiser for a school, church, or scouts. Perhaps you’d want to tell your local Red Cross or CERT group about Kevin’s Kandles. What a way to introduce people to fire safety and preparedness at the same time.
One other important point. Kevin was deliberate in his decision to have his candles manufactured in the U.S. No child labor is involved.
To Africa, and Beyond…
It was Kevin’s time as a fire chief for the U.N. in Liberia which heightened his awareness of the need for his candles in that part of the world as well as other lesser developed countries. Hundreds of shack fires can occur in a month in just one place like Cape Town, South Africa.
Plenty of places throughout the world don’t have electricity. In Africa, six hundred million people don’t have it. Kevin’s Kandles could provide a safe, inexpensive means of lighting. And they don’t give off particulate matter like wax candles. Therefore, they won’t aggravate breathing problems such as asthma.
We talked about how you can buy Kevin’s Kandles in larger quantities as well as an inexpensive way to ship hundreds of packages without paying high shipping costs. If you know of a charitable group or church that would be interested in helping distribute Kevin’s Kandles to far flund places in need, get in touch with Kevin.
Editor’s note: Capt. William E. Simpson II shares this review of a compact camp stove you’ll want to have among your prepping supplies.
Capt. Bill is the author of The Nautical Prepper and was my DestinySurvival Radio guest twice in October of 2013. View posts about those shows here and here. He has occasionally contributed articles for your consideration here at DestinySurvival. – John
Arguably The Best Compact Gasifier Stove Today!
It doesn’t matter if you’re into backpacking, hunting or prepping, SilverFire’s new compact ‘Scout’ camp stove deserves a close look. I have to say that Todd (the brains at SilverFire) has a winner with this cool little stove that encompasses many of the features of larger stoves. In fact, the Scout is so awesome, that the copy-cats are already hard at work trying to flood the market with cheaply made look-alikes that aren’t even close to the quality and functionality of a genuine ‘Scout’!
First off: The Scout is small enough to fit into any Prepper ‘go-bag’ (bug-out bag), as well as easily fitting in any backpack. In fact, I see some advantages in carrying two units in my backpack; one for cooking and another for simultaneously heating water.
The construction of the Scout is absolutely top notch! The stainless steel parts are beautifully finished as if they were fine jewelry, yet are precisely made of durable heavy gauge stainless steel that will certainly withstand the test of time (plan on handing this one down to the next generation). Trust me; this stove is NOT like the other small stoves you have seen or used!
The Scout comes with its own nylon pouch and when you first take it out, it’s deceivingly compact as a result of some amazing engineering. My wife thought that it was just a small cooking pot! The entire stove is cleverly designed to fit within the cooking pot, including the metallic sticker!
Here is the Scout set-up and ready to use
When the Scout is setup, it provides a good size stove and cooking pot with an excellent capacity (about 1-liter/3 lbs.) for heating food or water quickly using locally available ground scrub (twigs, grasses, leaves, crushed pine cones, etc.). This stove is designed for a solo hunter or backpacker, and would serve Preppers in ‘bug-out’ mode very well.
From my chair, this compact stove is a must-have item for Preppers, hunters and backpackers (heck it can easily fit into the glove compartment of most cars and trucks). And its retail price of less than $60.00 represents a great value. I just hope that Todd can keep these little beauties in stock!
Cheers! Capt. Bill
Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus