Review: UCO 9 Hour Emergency Candles

on December 26th 2012

During our recent major storm that hit our region, Hurricane Sandy, we got a taste of what it would be like during an extended power outage. One of the best things that we had on hand was ways to light our house during the night. And even though we had flashlights (mainly the Fenix flashlight) we primarily used candles during the night-time.

UCO 9 Hour Emergency Candle

The UCO 9 Hour Emergency candles brought hope and a little heat into our life during the night-time hours. What stood out about the candles is that they did not flicker, only casting a constant light throughout the room, which was very important in the bathroom.

Another wonderful aspect of the non-flickering candle feature was that you were able to read a book without straining your eyes. This was perfect because without electricity there was no TV, computer or games. Yes we did have our cell phones but a majority of the area had no cellular service due to the backup systems at the cell towers failing; good lesson for future disasters!

The candles come in a small, easy to carry box of three. Excellent to toss in your emergency drawer, cabin, vehicle, bug out bag or get home bag. You will be grateful you did!

UCO 9 Hour Emergency Candles Package

Before and after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast where we are we received a significant uptick in emergency preparedness purchases, especially in candles. We sold out of our 600 UCO 9 Hour Emergency Candles within 12 hours! I remember going to pitch black US Post Offices to ship them out to needy families throughout the hurricane ravaged East Coast. After the storm we had to replenish our stocks but not until we ordered an additional 300+ candles to donate to Hurricane Sandy victims hit hard in New Jersey and New York.

UCO 9 Hour Candles Going Out To Hurricane Sandy Victims

Most outdoors people and even prepared individuals use these candles in conjunction with the UCO Candle Lantern. As you can see in the picture below a member of an online survival and preparedness community forum included it into his winter gear kit and works excellently inside his tent for light and a little added warmth.

The versatility of these long lasting candles makes them worth their weight in gold come the time when you need them.

UCO 9 Hour Emergency Candle

Manufacturer Description

We have spent countless hours developing our special UCO candles. Wax formula, wick size, and other features were specially engineered to make these the ideal candles for our lanterns. Other candles can “melt down” prematurely due to improper wax formula and can leave significantly more soot on the heat shield compared with our candles. We recommend using only UCO candles in your lanterns. For use in Original Candle Lantern, Original Candle Lantern Plus LED, and Candlelier® Candle Lanterns.


Burns 9+ hours per candle.Special wax formula optimized for use in UCO candle lanterns.High melt temperature minimizes dripping.Special wick provides ideal flame.Produces heat to warm tent and reduce condensation.Economical source of light.Weight (3-pack): 5.0 oz. (142 g)


$3.95 for 3 Pack

Link to Purchase

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As mentioned previously, water is probably the most necessary element for
human life, with the exception of oxygen.

When planning your water resources for survival you need to deal with three

Storing waterFinding & obtaining waterPurifying water


For your in-home cache or survival retreat stash, you should count on two
gallons of water per-person per-day. While this is more water than necessary to
survive (except in hot climates or after strenuous exertion) it ensures water is
available for hygiene and cooking as well as drinking.

Sarges personal in-home stash has enough water for a week, and he
lives near a stream & in an area where it rains frequently!

Commercial gallon bottles of filtered/purified spring water often carry
expiration dates two years after the bottling date. A good rotation program is
necessary to ensure your supply of water remains fresh and drinkable (see the previous section on food for information on rotation).

Sarge purchases cases of six one-gallon jugs, which frequently go on sale
for just under 50 cents per gallon. The heavy-duty cardboard boxes stack easily
and protect the jugs from rupturing.

If you prefer to store your own water, don’t use milk cartons; it is
practically impossible to remove the milk residue. Bleach bottles are
recommended by others, and although Sarge has never used this method, bleach manufacturers do not recommend it.

If you have a spare refrigerator in the basement or the garage, use PET water
bottles (the kind soda or liters of water come in) to fill any available freezer
space. In addition to providing you with fresh, easily transportable drinking
water, the ice can be used to cool food in the refigerator in the event of a
power failure. Sarge has found that these bottles, which are clear and
have screw-on caps like soda bottles, will withstand many freeze-thaw cycles
without bursting or leaking. (The bottom may distort when frozen, but this isn’t
a big problem.) For self-storage of large amounts of water, you’re probably
better off with containers of at least 5 gallons. Food-grade plastic storage
containers are available commercially in sizes from 5 gallons to 250 or more.
Containers with handles and spouts are usually 5 to 7 gallons, which will weigh between 40 and 56 pounds. Get too far beyond that and you’ll have great
difficulty moving a full tank.

15 gallon and 30 gallon containers used for food service – such as delivery
of syrups to soda bottlers and other manufacturers – are often available on the
surplus market. After proper cleaning, these are ideal for water storage as
long as a tight seal can be maintained. 55 gallon drums and larger tanks are
also useful for long-term storage. But make sure you have a good manual pump on hand!

Solutions designed to be added to water to prepare it for long-term storage
are commercially available. Bleach can also be used to treat tap water from
municipal sources. Added at a rate of about 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons, bleach
can ensure the water will remain drinkable. Sarge recommends rotating the
water in storage tanks every year.

Once you are in a survival situation where there is a limited amount of water,
conservation is an important consideration. While drinking water is critical,
water is also necessary for rehydrating and cooking dried foods. Water from
boiling pasta, cooking vegetables and similar sources can and should be retained and drank, after it has cooled. Canned vegetables also contain liquids that can be consumed.

To preserve water, save water from washing your hands, clothes and dishes to
flush toilets.

Short Term Storage

People who have electric pumps drawing water from their well have learned the
lesson of filling up all available pots and pans when a thunderstorm is brewing.
What would you do if you knew your water supply would be disrupted in an hour?

Here are a few options in addition to filling the pots and pans:

The simplest option is to put two or three heavy-duty plastic trash bags (avoid those with post-consumer recycled content) inside each other. Then fill the inner bag with water. You can even use the trash can to give structure to the bag. (A good argument for keeping your trash can fairly clean!)Fill your bath tub almost to the top. While you probably won’t want to drink this water, it can be used to flush toilets, wash your hands, etc.

If you are at home, a fair amount of water will be stored in your water pipes
and related system.

To get access to this water, first close the valve to the outside as soon as
possible. This will prevent the water from running out as pressure to the entire
system drops and prevent contaminated water from entering your house.

Then open a faucet on the top floor. This will let air into the system so a
vacuum doesn’t hold the water in. Next, you can open a faucet in the basement.
Gravity should allow the water in your pipes to run out the open faucet. You can
repeat this procedure for both hot and cold systems.

Your hot water heater will also have plenty of water inside it. You can
access this water from the valve on the bottom. Again, you may need to open a
faucet somewhere else in the house to ensure a smooth flow of water. Sediment
often collects in the bottom of a hot water heater. While a good maintenance
program can prevent this, it should not be dangerous. Simply allow any stirred
up dirt to again drift to the bottom.


There are certain climates and geographic locations where finding water will
either be extremely easy or nearly impossible. You’ll have to take your location
into account when you read the following. Sarges best suggestion: Buy a
guide book tailored for your location, be it desert, jungle, arctic or temperate.

Wherever you live, your best bet for finding a source of water is to scout out suitable locations and stock up necessary equipment before an emergency
befalls you. With proper preparedness, you should know not only the location of
the nearest streams, springs or other water source but specific locations where
it would be easy to fill a container and the safest way to get it home.

Preparedness also means having at hand an easily installable system for
collecting rain water. This can range from large tarps or sheets of plastic to a
system for collecting water run off from your roof or gutters.

Once you have identified a source of water, you need to have bottles or other
containers ready to transport it or store it.


And while you may think any water will do in a pinch, water that is not
purified may make you sick, possibly even killing you. In a survival situation,
with little or no medical attention available, you need to remain as healthy as
possible. And a bad case of the runs is terribly uncomfortable in the best of

Boiling water is the best method for purifying running water you gather from
natural sources. It doesn’t require any chemicals, or expensive equipment – all
you need is a large pot and a good fire or similar heat source. Plus, a rolling
boil for 20 or 30 minutes should kill common bacteria such as guardia and
cryptosporidium. One should consider that boiling water will not remove foreign
contaminants such as radiation or heavy metals.

Outside of boiling, commercial purification/filter devices made by companies
such as PUR or Katadyn are the best choices. They range in sizes from small pump filters designed for backpackers to large filters designed for entire camps.
Probably the best filtering devices for survival retreats are the model where
you pour water into the top and allow it to slowly seep through the media into a
reservoir on the bottom. No pumping is required.

On the down side, most such filtering devices are expensive and have a
limited capacity. Filters are good for anywhere from 100 to thousands of
gallons, depending on the filter size and mechanism. Some filters use
fiberglass and activated charcoal. Others use impregnated resin or even ceramic

Pour-though filtering systems can be made in an emergency. Here’s one example that will remove many contaminants:

Take a 5 or 7 gallon bucket (a 55-gallon drum can also be used for a larger scale system) and drill or punch a series of small holes in the bottom.Place several layers of cloth on the bottom of the bucket, this can be anything from denim to an old table cloth.Add a thick layer of sand (preferred) or loose dirt. This will be the main filtering element, so you should add at least half of the buckets depth.Add another few layers of cloth, weighted down with a few large rocks.Your home-made filter should be several inches below the top of the bucket.Place another bucket or other collection device under the holes you punched in the bottom bucket.Pour collected or gathered water into the top of your new filter system. As gravity works its magic, the water will filter through the media and drip out the bottom, into your collection device. If the water is cloudy or full of sediment, simply let it drop to the bottom and draw the cleaner water off the top of your collection device with a straw or tube.

(If you have a stash of activated charcoal, possibly acquired from an acquarium dealer, you can put a layer inside this filter. Place a layer of cloth above and especially below the charcoal. This will remove other contaminants and reduce any unpleasnt smell or taste.)

While this system may not be the best purification method, it has been
successfully used in the past. For rain water or water gathered from what appears to be relatively clean sources of running water, the system should work fine. If you have no water source but a contaminated puddle, oily highway runoff or similar polluted source, the filter may be better than nothing, but it’s not a great option.

Once the system has been established and works, you must remember to change the sand or dirt regularly.

Chemical additives are another, often less suitable option. The water
purification pills sold to hikers and campers have a limited shelf life,
especially once the bottle has been opened. Sarge considers these good
for the cars emergency kit, or short term emergency pack, as long as they are frequently replaced.

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Unintended Myth about Preppers from TV Shows

CC Photo by_allison_john CC Photo by_allison_john

I occasionally get requests for interviews from the media, but have only agreed to less than a handful of phone interviews.   One recent interviewer told me she and her editor had been watching Doomsday Preppers and other shows about building bunkers and they got the impression that you must have a lot of money to be able to prepare.  She said after seeing all the weapons, gear, precious metals and land that was being acquired, it was hard not to come to that conclusion.

The reporter asked me how I, an apartment dweller, can prepare for a disaster with lack of space and a limited budget.  The rest of the conversation was devoted to discussing low cost ways to prepare,  and hopefully debunk the myth that you need a lot of money to prepare.

People get ideas and form all sorts of conclusions about things they see or hear in the media.  The impression that “preppers are rich” sounds preposterous but some may be coming away with this image.  After reading Why are Preppers Hated So Much, I really hope “because they must be rich” (untrue as it is) is not added to the list.

Money saving tips for beginning preppers

Visit SafeCastle for your preparedness supplies:

Visit SafeCastle for your preparedness supplies

Please visit Solo Stove today and tell them Apartment Prepper sent you.

Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

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Report: Congress To Move Against Guns: “It Will Ban the Sale, the Transfer, the Importation and the Possession”

Amid heated debates about what to do in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting which took the lives of 20 children and six adults, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is prepared to take action on the first day Congress meets after their current break.

Come January 1, 2013, Feinstein will introduce new legislation that would ban assault rifles similar to the bill she championed in California.

“I’m going to introduce in the Senate, and the same bill will be introduced in the House — a bill to ban assault weapons,” Feinstein said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively.”

“The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”

“Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?” Feinstein wrote on her campaign website.

These weapons are not for hunting deer — they’re for hunting people.”

In November, less than 24 hours after the re-election of President Barack Obama, rumors swirled that Feinstein was looking to bring back an assault rifle ban even more stringent than the one passed in Congress under President Bill Clinton.

Though no specific details about the coming legislation have been released, according to earlier statements from Feinstein and individuals close to the situation, the ban would not only restrict access to certain rifles deemed as “assault rifles” but would eliminate grandfather protections altogether, meaning that ownership of such firearms would be illegal and subject to criminal prosecution.

…sources tell me California Senator and longtime gun-hater Dianne Feinstein’s legal staff held meetings on Friday with FTB/ATF legal staff to discuss a new “Assault Weapons Ban” Madame Feinstein would be looking to push through Congress if President Obama wins reelection.

This same “pretty good intelligence” says the items that would lead to a banwould ban pistol grips and “high-capacity” magazines, eliminate any grandfathering and ban sales of “weapons in possession”.

It should be clear that Congress is now moving for a complete ban on the purchase and possession (even if you currently own them) of any guns deemed ‘assault weapons’ under the new legislation.

Author: Mac Slavo
Views: Read by 40,765 people
Date: December 16th, 2012

Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

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VETOED: Michigan Governor Rejects Bill That Would Allow Conceal-Carry In Schools, Churches and Sports Stadiums

On December 14, the very day twenty children and seven adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the Michigan State legislature enacted a bill that would have allowed the concealed carrying of firearms in traditionally gun-free zones:

The Michigan Legislature has enacted a bill allowing people who undergo extra training to carry concealed weapons in places such as schools, churches, day care centers and sports stadiums where they previously were off-limits.

Another provision would eliminate county concealed weapons licensing boards, with sheriffs taking over their duties.

Under the bill, people who concealed carry in gun-free zones would have to get enhanced training beyond basic requirements and spend additional time at the gun range.

Source: Click On Detroit

That bill, which is by far one of the most sensible legislative actions this year, made its way to the desk of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Ironically, after citing the Sandy Hook school shooting, the Republican governor promptly vetoed the legislation.

“While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in manners of safety and security,” he said. “These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit do so.”

Safety and security?

Had a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a student at Virgina Tech, a movie goer in Aurora, Colorado, or a pilot on one of the four planes downed on September 11th been armed, scores of lives could have been saved.

The Michigan legislature took an important first step towards introducing Constitution-friendly legislation that puts the power of self defense and personal preservation back into the hands of law abiding American citizens.

However, instead of embracing legislation that could prevent, or at the very least minimize, mass-murder incidents in the future, Michigan’s governor, and a host of other political figures and foreign governments that would disarm the citizenry, are taking exactly the opposite approach.

Amid all of the emotionally driven rhetoric surrounding the perceived dangers of owning firearms,  few have considered a realistic approach to stopping violent criminals and psychopaths who have no regard for the law or human life. With nearly one gun in America for every person, the task of executing a ban would be daunting, not to mention dangerous for law enforcement officials given that what we’re talking about here is disarming Americans, arguably the most heavily armed citizenry in the history of the world.

Gun bans, as we’ve seen in Australia and the UK, do not work, despite what the communist Chinese suggest we do (speaking of China, has anyone considered that maybe there’s a reason the Chinese want the American people disarmed?)

Does anyone realistically think that a gun ban will remove every one of the nearly 300 million guns in America? Or that mass murders will somehow be prevented once law abiding citizens no longer have access to ‘assault rifles’ ? Do those supporting executive action to supplant the Second Amendment by banning assault rifles actually believe this is the solution? Are we to believe that once guns are banned, that the other 750 million weapons throughout the world won’t make their way to America’s shores via the black market?

We need to be realistic here and understand that guns are not going away, and neither are criminals and those with mental health issues.

Legislation allowing concealed carry in public venues, especially schools, sports stadiums and other high-priority terrorist targets at least gives us a fighting chance.

The alternative is sheep being led to slaughter, just as we saw last Friday.

This article was originally published with the title Michigan Enacts New Law Allowing Guns in Schools, Day Care Centers, Sports Stadiums, Churches and Other ‘Gun-Free Zones’. It has been updated to reflect that this legislation has now been vetoed.

Author: Mac Slavo
Views: Read by 5,205 people
Date: December 20th, 2012

Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

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Review of MRE from Meal Kit Supply

20121212_115114 MRE from Meal Kit Supply             All photos by Bernie Carr

I received samples of MREs from Meal Kit Supply for review.   I have tried other MREs in the past, so I have something to compare this.  The package I tried was the Vegetarian Ratatouile.  It included the following:  heating unit, Vegetarian Ratatouille entrée, Au Gratin Potatoes side dish, cracker and cheese, strawberry banana shake, lemon lime beverage mix, condiments, and spoon.

MRE contents

I set up the heating unit according to package directions.  All you have to do is open it, and add about 1/2 cup of water to the bag, up to the line indicated.  You then wrap the heating unit around the entree and side dish according to the photo illustration.  It was very easy.  Then you place a weight on top of it.

Activated MRE Heating Unit Activated MRE Heating Unit

I felt the heating unit activate as soon as I placed the weight on it.  The whole thing started puffing up and you hear a sizzling sound.  The weight was about to fall off so I removed it when the unit got very puffy.  In about 10 minutes, both the entree and side dish were warm.

I also prepared the strawberry shake.  Just add water to the powder and shake.  It took a bit of shaking to mix it properly, but here is the result.

Strawberry shake with MRE Strawberry shake included with MRE

Once the meal was warm I transferred them into bowls.

20121212_121418 Meal Supply Kit MRE Au Gratin PotatoesMeal Supply Kit Vegetarian Ratatouile Meal Supply Kit Vegetarian Ratatouille

Now for the taste test.

The potatoes had a good texture, and had a creamy cheese taste.  It was comparable to name brand packaged au gratin potatoes.The vegetarian ratatouille was actually pretty tasty.  It had vegetable pieces and sauce was flavorful.The strawberry shake tasted similar to Nesle’s Strawberry Quik; I think kids would like it.

All in all, I thought the MRE from Meal Kit Supply was fresher tasting than other MREs I have tried in the past.   Prior to this sample, I have never finished one; in this case I actually ate the rest of it as my lunch.   (Please note Apartment Prepper has no financial interest in Meal Kit Supply.  I review these samples so I can pass information along.  Food storage quality varies greatly, so it is best to research your choices prior to making a decision.)

Their website is
( – the US site).

The site has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that had some good information.  Here is an excerpt:

What is the shelf life of your MRE’s?5 Years, assuming they are stored at 55°F. If stored at a higher or lower temperature this can be shortened or lengthened based on the test results below :Sustained Storage Temperatures °F Estimated Shelf-life (in months):Are the meals full of preservatives?The meals are preservative free. By fully cooking the meals and sealing them in three layer retort pouches that are thermal stabilized maintains the nutritional goodness, full flavour and natural juices which result in the prolonged duration shelf life without requiring refrigeration.

Lastly, are some important points they wanted you to be aware of:
– Shipping is included in the $129.95 price (a case of 12)
– Their MREs are made from 100% US Military food components (the same
ones used in Military MREs)
– Meal Supply Kit MREs are very fresh (they are currently taking pre-orders for
January production MREs)  This explains why this sample tasted fresher than other ones I’ve tried)
– They pack more items/components into their MREs than any other commercial MRE
They ship to both the U.S. and Canada.

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Key Survivalist Terms

Survivalists and preppers sometimes tend to use military acronyms such as OPSEC and SOP, and terminology common to the gun culture, but they also frequently use acronyms and terms that are fairly unique to their own lexicon. A few of these cross over with those used by Peak Oil adherents. Some key survivalist terms, acronyms and initialisms include:

Alpha Strategy: The practice of storing extra consumable items, as a hedge against inflation, and for use in barter and charity.Ballistic Wampum: Ammunition stored for barter purposes.BOB: Bug-out bag.BOL: Bug-out location.BOV: Bug-out vehicle.Contrapreneur: Someone who foolishly invests in a declining market.Crunch, The: A general term for a major, long-term disaster.Doomer: A Peak Oil adherent who believes in a Malthusian-scale societal collapse.EOTW: End of the world.Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) – an extreme level of electro magnetic energy sufficient to burn out computer chips that may be caused by solar flares or by nuclear explosions above the earth. Such an event would disable the Internet, telephones, computers, and devices that rely on computer controls, including automobiles, the electrical grid, household appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, television, radio, etc.Goblin: A criminal miscreant.Golden Horde: The “anticipated large mixed horde of refugees and looters that will pour out of the metropolitan regions WTSHTF.”G.O.O.D.: Get Out of Dodge (City). Fleeing urban areas in the event of a disaster.G.O.O.D. Kit: Get Out of Dodge Kit. Synonymous with Bug-Out Bag (BOB).INCH Bag: “I’m never coming home bag” Designed to support the life of its owner indefinitely as opposed to other BOBs which are oriented torward sustaining life for a fixed length of time and perhaps an advantage if something unexpected happens.Pollyanna or Polly: Someone who is in denial about the disruption that might be caused by the advent of a large scale disaster.Prepper: A synonym for survivalist that has come into common usage since the late 1990s. Used interchangeably with survivalist much as Retreater was in the 1970s. Refers to one being prepared or making preparations.SHTF: Shit Hits the Fan. A term used generically by survivalists to describe disaster situations.TEOTWAWKI: The End of the World as We Know It.WTSHTF: When the Shit Hits the Fan. A term used generically by survivalists to describe disaster situations.WROL:Without Rule of Law. Describes a potential future lawless situation of society.

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