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12 Ways to Heat Water Without Electricity You Should Know



Woman heating water in a small camping pocket stove with fuel tablets

In any survival situation, the ability to heat water is paramount. You’ll need to heat water for cooking, for cleaning and also simply to sterilize it via boiling.

Whisperlite stove with pot of boiling water
Whisperlite stove with pot of boiling water

But, most serious disasters usually entail long-term or even indefinite power outages, greatly hampering your ability to heat water in your kitchen.

Knowing alternate methods for reliably and safely heating water might make the difference between life and death.

The good news is that no matter where you live and what the situation is, you’ll have at least a couple of methods you can put into practice straight away.

I’ll tell you about 12 proven methods for heating water below.

1. Tea Light Candles

Tea light candles aren’t just for providing a cheery ambience or for gently heating containers of food in a buffet.

You can take about a dozen tea light candles, crowd them close together on a tray and then it suspend your pot of water over them on a rack and they can boil a couple of liters of water and as little as 10 minutes.

This might not be the most efficient use of the candles, but if they are all you have available they will definitely work and if you’re already relying on them for a little bit of area lighting or even some supplemental heat, this is a great approach.

2. Campfire

One of the oldest, best and still most accessible methods for rapidly heating water for any purpose is over a roaring campfire.


You can build your fire and suspend your container over it using a grate or rack for the purpose, or even hang it from a spit with a little bit of ingenuity.

Depending on the quantity of water you’re boiling it won’t take long, and make sure you’ve got something that will properly protect your hands when pulling the pot out of the fire!

Something else to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily have to have a metal container to use this method.

Believe it or not, it is possible to boil water in a plastic bottle or earthenware vessel if you are cautious!

3. Hot Rock Method

An ancient method for rapidly boiling water is a good one to use when you’re in a serious hurry, have a sturdy metal container and a large quantity of water.

All you need to do is heat up a few large rocks directly in or very near your campfire before dropping them in the container of water.

Now, there are a few risks, namely that porous rocks that have absorbed a lot of moisture could explode when heated.

But so long as you have larger dry rocks for the purpose there shouldn’t be any problem, and they can boil even a few gallons of water almost instantly. As you’d imagine, you better have tongs for handling the rocks!

4. Camp Stove

Pretty much every prepper by now knows how to use a camp stove, and this is a great option for boiling water when in the field or when you don’t have any other option close at hand.

a functioning MSR Whisperlite camp stove
a functioning MSR Whisperlite camp stove

Whether you have a trusty old Coleman or a modern ultralight jet stove, you can place your mug or a small pot of water on one of these handy stoves and have it piping hot or boiling and just a few minutes.

Fuel supply, obviously, is the major concern when using these methods and most are not safe to use indoors either because the whole unit gets very hot or because they will emit hazardous combustion byproducts.

These issues are easily solved, however, and it’s definitely highly convenient.

5. Charcoal or Gas Grill

Pretty much every house in America has a backyard charcoal or gas grill that gets regular service in the spring and summer for cookouts, and this is not an option you should forget about if you need to boil water in the middle of a power outage or any other disaster that has put your kitchen out of action.

If you know how to use your grill, you already know what to do, just make sure the vessel itself is not vulnerable to melting or catching on fire.

This will pretty much limit you to metal once again, but with the grill roaring hot and the lid on you can quickly boil several liters. This is an especially good option if you already have the grill fired up for cooking food.

And, just a reminder, you should never, ever bring a gas or charcoal grill inside your home no matter what the weather is like outside: these things kill several people every year who try it, because they release tons of dangerous carbon monoxide when in use!

6. Alcohol Burner

Alcohol burners are used in all sorts of workshop and laboratory settings for heating beakers and other containers full of various liquids, and they’re also popular for use on boats and ships with cabins because they release very few harmful combustion byproducts, making them safer for enclosed spaces.

Obviously, you can use one for heating a pot of water with absolutely no concerns.

Alcohol burners have a few major advantages, and a couple of drawbacks. First, these things tend to run hot, really hot, and that means they can heat a lot of water to a roiling boil very quickly.

Second, as mentioned, compared to other types of fuels alcohol burners produce no smoke and precious little in the way of airborne contaminants. That’s a great thing from a safety perspective and also an air quality one.

However, the advantage of extreme heat and overall efficiency is also a drawback: many alcohol burners produce a flame that quite literally cannot be seen except as a faint shimmer, and they will also instantly ignite anything that is too close to them.

This means you must be doubly cautious to ensure that they are both extinguished and totally cool before you grab it or move it.

making scrambled egg on rocket stove
making scrambled egg on rocket stove

7. Rocket Stove

A rocket stove is not a brand of stove, but a type: these stoves are designed to use the heat of combustion to suck in air through a tunnel or intake to further feed the flames, greatly increasing the efficiency of combustion and thereby producing much more heat and far less smoke than a normal oven using the same fuel- typically wood.

The great thing about rocket stoves is that they are highly adaptable and easy enough to DIY even with primitive materials.

You can make a wonderful rocket stove simply by digging in the ground and placing a few rocks strategically, or you can purchase a prefabricated, portable above-ground version.

Either works wonderfully for all sorts of purposes, and they can boil a large quantity of water extremely quickly.

Believe it or not, some rocket stoves are also specially built next to large water storage containers and used as a proper water heater in austere environments or other kinds of fuel or electricity are just not available or not practical.

Truly, these stoves can be a prepper’s best friend in a variety of circumstances, not just when it comes to heating water. I highly recommend you look into both the operation and the design of these stoves and add that information to your survival toolbox.

8. Fireplace

Still one of the best ways to boil water indoors is also one of the oldest. A properly constructed and maintained fireplace is tried, true and very convenient in the absence of electricity or even an operational modern kitchen.

The only trick is figuring out how you’re going to place your container for safety and also easy access. If you do nothing else but place a kettle, pot, or another suitable container near the flames you can rest easy knowing it will heat up and eventually boil in fairly short order.

Covered containers can even be placed directly in the flames assuming you have something to safely retrieve it with.

In any case, you’ll need to think fast and have a plan for how you’re going to handle the container once you pull it out, but if you have a brick hearth, or a metal pot stand or hanger nearby you can simply set it there.

Remember that most cooking, to include boiling water, was done in or very near the fireplace prior to the advent of the modern kitchen!

9. Wood Stove

If boiling water in a fireplace just sounds like too much work you can try the same way that your great-grandma and great-grandpa probably did it.

Wood stoves are much safer to be near compared to fireplaces, and almost as effective when it comes to rapidly heating water.

Even better, many wood stoves have flat tops that are designed for cooking, that means you can just set your pot or kettle right on top and wait for it to heat up with no fuss and no muss.

Obviously, the efficacy of a wood stove is very much dependent upon its design, as you typically won’t be able to open up the combustion chamber and safely put a vessel inside. So if your wood stove does not have a flat top you’ll need to figure something else out.

You’ll find that many vintage wood stoves have a better design for this purpose than new and ultra-efficient ones, but with the resurgence in popularity of self-sufficiency modern designers are responding and once more designing wood stoves that have the benefit of advancements in materials and efficiency while also being capable of cooking or heating water on the top. The best of both worlds!

small DIY solar oven with tray of cookies baking inside
small DIY solar oven with tray of cookies baking inside

10. Solar Oven

If you don’t want to mess around with open flames or keeping fuel on hand, and you have the benefit of copious sunshine where you live, a solar oven might be the very best bet for heating water.

A solar oven does exactly what the name suggests: these devices use reflected or “captured” sunlight to heat up a container placed inside them.

Definitely an eco-friendly option and one that will ease the strain on your fuel budget, but you need not think these are last-ditch choices, either: a modern solar stove on a clear day placed to receive a full value sun is shockingly effective, and can boil water and as little as 20 minutes, maybe even faster in hotter areas.

These ingenious devices also have real utility for cooking food and other purposes.

But, it isn’t all good news. They are totally useless at night, and their effectiveness is directly tied to how much sun they are receiving.

That means a certain amount of babysitting is necessary to turn or reposition them to continually take full advantage of the sun as it travels across the sky.

Annoying, and potentially unreliable, but these are small prices to pay for this kind of capability that is only dependent on the limitless fuel of the nearest star.

11. Solar Shower Bag

Lots of long-haul campers and off-roaders are probably already familiar with this option. A solar shower can be thought of as a sort of solar-powered water heater, and at its simplest is nothing more than an opaque, dark-colored bag that can be hung up in direct sunlight to allow it to slowly heat the water within to a pleasant temperature.

This option is highly convenient and ready to buy over-the-counter, and it’s also an easy one to DIY, but it has distinct limitations.

Namely, a solar shower is never going to boil your water, meaning it will not get hot enough to kill off microscopic germs that might be in the water. It will get warm enough to provide you with a properly hot shower, or even prepare some hot beverages, though.

This means that any water you’re going to trust for preparing food or potentially using for sanitary or medical purposes must already be properly purified if you’re going to heat it in a solar shower.

Otherwise, it should only be used for non-potable purposes. Despite the shortcoming, solar showers are portable, convenient and they definitely work as advertised.

plastic water bottle with water in full sun
a plastic water bottle with water in full sun

12. Bottle in the Sun

If you are really in a pinch, the only thing you need to do to heat up water is place a clear bottle full of it out in direct sunlight.

In a few hours, the water will be properly warm, and even though it won’t be boiled it’s also possible to use this technique to purify water by killing harmful microorganisms.

That’s because, even though the water isn’t reaching the boiling point, the constant UV bombardment from the sun will work to kill the germs.

There is a catch though: the water must be clear, or at least mostly clear, for this technique to be reliable. That means you’ll need to pre-filter the water as best you can.

ways to heat water without electricity pinterest

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Wilderness Survival Skills That Can Save Your Kids’ Lives 




Teaching children wilderness survival skills can be an enriching and empowering experience, fostering their confidence and independence while instilling a deeper connection with nature. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety and age-appropriate learning experiences when introducing children to outdoor skills. 

It’s important for a prepared parent to find age-appropriate wilderness survival skills for children. These skills should emphasize hands-on learning and the importance of supervision.

Shelter Building For Kids

Building a shelter is a fundamental survival skill that children can learn and practice under adult supervision. Start with simple shelter designs using natural materials such as branches, leaves, and tarps. Teach children how to assess their surroundings for suitable shelter locations and how to construct sturdy structures to protect against the elements.

Identifying Edible Plants For Kids

Teaching children to identify edible plants can enhance their foraging skills and knowledge of the natural environment. Begin by introducing them to a few common edible plants in your area, emphasizing safety and the importance of proper identification. Supervise children closely and guide them in harvesting and tasting edible plants responsibly.

Fire Safety and Fire Starting For Kids

While starting a fire may seem like an advanced skill, children can learn basic fire safety principles and techniques under adult supervision. Teach them about fire safety rules, including selecting a safe location, clearing the area of debris, and using proper fire-starting tools such as matches or fire starters. Demonstrate how to build a small fire and maintain it responsibly, emphasizing the importance of fire management and extinguishing techniques.

How Kids Can Signal for Help


In emergency situations, knowing how to signal for help can be a life-saving skill. Teach children basic signaling methods such as using a whistle, mirror, or brightly colored clothing to attract attention. Practice signaling techniques in a safe outdoor environment, and discuss the importance of staying calm and alert while waiting for rescuers to arrive.

Hands-On Learning Experiences

Encourage hands-on learning experiences to reinforce wilderness survival skills and build confidence in children. Plan outdoor activities such as nature hikes, camping trips, or wilderness outings where children can practice shelter building, plant identification, fire starting, and signaling for help under adult supervision. Provide opportunities for children to apply their skills in real-life scenarios, fostering a sense of self-reliance and problem-solving abilities.

Teaching children wilderness survival skills can be a rewarding and educational experience, fostering their appreciation for nature and their ability to thrive in outdoor environments. By introducing age-appropriate skills such as shelter building, plant identification, fire safety, and signaling for help, children can develop valuable life skills and a deeper connection with the natural world. Remember to prioritize safety and supervision, and encourage hands-on learning experiences to empower children to become confident and capable outdoor adventurers.

How do you teach your children survival and preparedness skills? Share your thoughts on how to teach children in the comments below. 

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Knife Skills for Preppers: Mastering Essential Techniques




In the realm of survival preparedness, few tools are as fundamental as the trusty survival knife. However, owning a high-quality knife is only half the battle; mastering essential knife skills is equally crucial for any prepper. This tutorial is designed to guide preppers through fundamental knife skills that will enhance their ability to navigate and thrive in diverse survival scenarios. 

From safe-cutting techniques to carving methods and practical tips for shelter building and food preparation, these skills will prove invaluable in the face of the unknown.

Safety First: The Foundation of Knife Skills

Before delving into specific techniques, understanding and prioritizing safety is paramount. Follow these foundational safety tips:

  • Proper Grip: Hold the knife with a firm yet comfortable grip. The index finger should wrap around the handle, ensuring control and preventing accidental slips.
  • Knife Inspection: Regularly inspect your knife for any damage, including chips or rust. A well-maintained blade ensures safer use.
  • Clear Workspace: Create a clean and organized workspace. Clear away debris and ensure good lighting to avoid accidents.
  • Body Positioning: Pay attention to your body positioning. Keep your non-dominant hand and fingers away from the cutting path to prevent injuries.

Basic Cutting Techniques: Building a Foundation

Next, it’s important to learn basic cutting techniques. Without knowing these cutting techniques, you have no chance of performing more advanced techniques with your knife. 

  • The Rocking Motion: Ideal for chopping and slicing, the rocking motion involves moving the knife’s blade back and forth while keeping the tip in contact with the cutting surface.
  • Draw Cutting: Drawing the knife towards you in a controlled manner is effective for precision cutting, especially when creating fine slices or making detailed cuts.
  • Tip Control: Mastering control over the tip of the knife is essential for intricate tasks. Practice guiding the tip with precision for accurate cuts.

Carving Methods: Precision in Action

A man is cutting mushroom with a knife.

Carving is one of the most important skill sets you can have with a knife. The basic carving methods are as follows:

  • Whittling: Whittling involves carving small, controlled cuts to shape wood or other materials. It’s a useful skill for crafting tools or creating tinder for fire starting.
  • Feathering: Feathering is a technique for creating fine curls of wood, often used in fire starting. It requires controlled slicing with the grain of the wood.
  • Notching: Notching involves carving small grooves or notches into materials, a skill useful for creating traps, shelters, or tools in a survival setting.

Practical Tips for Survival Scenarios: Beyond Cutting


Once you go beyond cutting, there are a number of things that you can use a knife for that will keep you alive in survival scenarios. 

  • Shelter Building: Use your knife to process materials for building shelters. Master techniques such as notching, carving stakes, and shaping branches for a secure and weather-resistant shelter.
  • Food Preparation: From gutting and filleting fish to processing game, a well-honed knife is essential for procuring and preparing food in a survival situation. Practice efficient and safe cutting techniques for various food sources.
  • Fire Starting: In addition to knives with built-in fire starters, use your knife to prepare firewood by splitting or feathering. Mastering these techniques ensures a reliable fire, a crucial element for survival.
  • Tool Crafting: A versatile knife can be used to craft essential tools in the wild. From fashioning cordage to carving simple implements, having a repertoire of tool-making skills broadens your capabilities in the field.

Continuous Improvement: Sharpening and Maintenance

Even the most skilled preppers need to maintain their knives for optimal performance. Regularly sharpen your knife using your preferred technique, whether it’s a whetstone, rod, or sharpening system. Keep the blade clean, dry, and well-oiled to prevent rust and maintain its longevity.

Knife skills are the unsung heroes of the prepper’s toolkit. By mastering essential techniques, preppers enhance their ability to navigate and conquer diverse survival scenarios. From safe-cutting practices to carving methods and practical tips for real-world applications, continuous improvement in knife skills is an investment in preparedness. 

As you embark on your journey to master the edge of survival, remember that the knife is not just a tool; it’s an extension of your capabilities, a versatile ally in the face of the unpredictable challenges that may lie ahead.

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Prepping with Kids: Teaching Your Children Survival Skills




In the world of prepping, involving the entire family is not just a practical decision—it’s an essential one. Teaching children survival skills not only imparts valuable knowledge but also fosters a sense of resilience and preparedness. Balancing age-appropriate information with practical skills is the key to making prepping a family affair. 

Getting Started Teaching Your Children About Survival Skills


Start with age-appropriate discussions about preparedness. Tailor the information to the child’s understanding, focusing on the importance of being ready for unexpected situations. Avoid instilling fear but rather emphasize the empowerment that comes with knowledge and preparation.

Conduct family emergency drills to make the learning experience tangible. Practice fire drills, evacuation procedures, and basic first aid. Make it a game by timing each drill and celebrating successful completion, turning what could be a stressful experience into a positive and empowering one.

Teach basic navigation skills through fun activities like treasure hunts or geocaching. Introduce the concept of using a compass or map, turning it into a game that enhances both navigation skills and the ability to communicate effectively in the wild.

Making Survival Skills an Adventure for Children

Plan family camping trips to teach children essential outdoor survival skills in a controlled environment. Teach them how to set up a tent, build a fire safely, and cook simple meals. Use this time to introduce concepts like Leave No Trace ethics and respecting nature.

Involve children in gardening and foraging activities to impart sustainable survival skills. Teach them about edible plants, gardening techniques, and the importance of self-sufficiency. This not only provides practical knowledge but also instills a sense of responsibility toward the environment.

Cooking can be an excellent way to teach children practical survival skills. Demonstrate how to prepare meals using non-perishable or long-lasting ingredients. Discuss food preservation methods like canning or dehydrating and involve them in the process.

Engage in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that build preparedness tools. Create emergency kits together, incorporating age-appropriate items like a flashlight, whistle, or small first aid supplies. This not only imparts practical knowledge but also instills a sense of ownership over their preparedness.

Use Your Words to Teach Survival Skills to Children


Incorporate storytelling into the prepping process. Share survival stories, both fictional and real-life, to emphasize the importance of quick thinking, resourcefulness, and preparedness. Discuss the characters’ actions and decisions, encouraging critical thinking in different scenarios.

Create an open environment where children feel comfortable asking questions and expressing curiosity. Encourage them to share their thoughts on preparedness and discuss any concerns they might have. This fosters a preparedness mindset and reinforces the importance of ongoing learning.

Prepping with kids is not just about imparting survival skills; it’s about building resilient families. By balancing age-appropriate discussions with practical activities, families can turn the prepping journey into an engaging and empowering experience for children. 

From outdoor adventures to DIY projects, every activity becomes an opportunity to instill a sense of preparedness, responsibility, and the importance of working together as a family. As you embark on this journey, remember that teaching survival skills to children is not just about preparing for the unknown; it’s about shaping resilient, capable, and confident individuals who can navigate life’s challenges with strength and resourcefulness.

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