We discovered another reason why every household should have basic camping equipment, even if the owners never go camping.

We hired a local company to repair, sand, and finish an old wooden kitchen floor. During the project we couldn’t access our refrigerator or stove. Camping gear came to the rescue. For a couple of days we cooked on our  portable  camping stove, while an ice chest kept  yogurt, milk and other perishables cool.

Massive storms are increasingly knocking out utilities, and millions of Americans have had to endure upwards of a week without electricity.  A camp stove, lantern and ice chest make riding out a storm more comfortable, and they can come in handy during a renovation.



This two burner Sterno keeps food warm but is less useful for cooking. Great for old style fondue parties!

There are three basic types of camping stoves. Most common are two burner gas models fueled by green propane bottles commonly sold in grocery, camping, and hardware stores. They are  convenient and easy to use. A second type is fueled by gasoline, sometimes called Coleman fuel. These stoves are efficient but take skill and patience to operate properly. A third type is a simple folding stove that runs on gelled fuel, often called Sterno.

Propane and white gas stoves enable extensive cooking and many an outstanding meal has come off them. Gas and propane stoves must be used where there is good outdoor ventilation.  Using them on an outside picnic table is ideal. Sterno type stoves don’t produce enough heat long enough for significant cooking but are handy for warming up food and making an occasional cup of tea.

A diversity of camping lanterns is on the market and they’re ideal for when the power goes off. Some are fueled by propane or liquid gas. But the safest and easiest models are battery powered. They are safe indoors and models with LED bulbs provide hours of light on one set of batteries.

Quick firing stove

This fast heating camp stove is great for backpacking and to heat water and cook food in an emergency.

Camping stoves, lanterns and ice chests can be purchased at big box and camping stores, but used ones are often found at garage sales at bargain prices. Be sure to have enough fuel or batteries on hand to last  a week.