By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin -(Ammoland.com)- It was not a dark and stormy night. In fact it was 7:00 am, the sun was up and it was about 35 degrees outside.
All of a sudden the house went quiet and all electric devices stopped working. My first thought was, what was Putin up to? Or perhaps Boko Haram had attacked a WE Energy (Wisconsin Electric) sub-station and Milwaukee was at the mercy of third-world terrorist.
However, the real time issue was the electric coffee pot was almost empty and our kitchen stove is also electric. My coffee grinder was not going to work.
Luckily we are sort of boycotting Starbucks coffee in our house, so I was not going to grind any Starbucks coffee beans anyway. This had something to do with the president of Starbucks showing up in Milwaukee on one of his politically correct liberal missions. I had a bag of pre-ground Seattle’s Best coffee so that hurdle was handled.
Recently the Colonel found at a thrift store, an old stove top Revere Ware percolator coffee pot, that makes excellent coffee. So I went out and manually opened the garage door. Pulled the car outside and started going through my storage shelves looking for my Coleman propane camp stove. I had not used the stove in over twenty years, but I did have some fresh unused propane cylinders on the shelf, so I was in business.
First I set the Coleman stove up on the kitchen range, but was strongly advised to get it off the Colonel’s glass top stove and take the camp stove outside.
I tested the twenty year unused stove to make sure it worked then I readied the old percolator. Within twelve minutes I have fresh hot coffee.
Since I did not know how long this urban inconvenience of no power was going to last, I poured the newly made hot coffee into a thermos and started to make a second pot of emergency Coleman coffee.
Literally as I was pouring the last drop from the second pot of camp stove made coffee into a thermos, the power came on in the house.
It was a good trial run to make sure I could cook something in the event of a prolonged power outage and the next time I am in a big-box store I will pick up some more propane cylinders.
I spent seven years of my life in Alaska and people who live in the bush really use Coleman stoves and lanterns on a daily basis.
A can of Coleman Camp Stove Fuel was $5 out in the bush in 1988, while unleaded gas was selling for $1 in Anchorage. I saw camp stove fuel this week for $14.
One of the best things Coleman did for Alaska and I assume other places in the world that actually used Coleman products as their primary (and perhaps only) source of cooking and light, it come up with the Coleman Dual Fuel Lanterns and Coleman Dual Fuel Stoves.
You can either use the now rather expensive Coleman fuel or just get a couple of gallons of unleaded automobile gas. You can get approximately four lantern tanks full of gas using one gallon of fuel. You can run a lantern on low for up to fourteen hours. One gallon of gas might get you two hours of run time if you use your precious unleaded fuel in a generator and not your Coleman lantern.
I used to collect antique kerosene Aladdin lamps and Dietz lanterns. I have shelves of them in my house. They all work and in time of crisis I can take anyone of them down, fill it with kerosene and have light. The problem is, have you seen the price of kerosene? Also, can you tell me where in your home town you could get in your vehicle right now, and go and buy bulk kerosene? Yes you can go to a big-box store and buy a two gallon jug of kerosene and pay three times the price or more for what a gallon of bulk kerosene should be selling for. You are paying for the convenience.
Because the price is so high you will not find that many jugs sitting on the store shelf and that is when there is no crisis. If you have a Coleman dual fuel lantern you could siphon some gas out of your car and be in the emergency lighting business in minutes. It is always going to be easier to find unleaded car gas than it will ever be to find kerosene even during normal conditions.
I will admit my propane stove is a lot more convenient than my dual fuel gas stove, so for me I have both. You can never have too much ammo or field gear.
When the lights go out all the unprepared people will love you for your Coleman lantern—so be careful who you befriend in hard times.
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]