Prepper Book Festival 8: Ron Brown and The Non Electric Lighting Series

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Longtime readers of Backdoor Survival need no introduction to my friend Ron Brown. He is the author of the popular Propane for Preppers series and the NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight, a book that teaches how to take a $5 flashlight and MacGyver it so it will operate for 2000 usable hours on a single battery.

Now to be honest, originally the 2000-Hour Flashlight book was to featured in Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival 8.  But, me being me, I did a switcheroo.  Ron’s series of books on non-electric lighting are so fantastic that I twisted his arm and used positive persuasion tactics to convince him to offer one lucky reader a set of the first five books in the Non-Electric Lighting Series.  And he finally agreed.

The Non-Electric Lighting Series by Ron Brown - Backdoor Survival

Enjoy the interview with Ron and be sure to enter the giveaway.  It’s a good one!

An Interview with Ron Brown, Author of The Non-Electric Lighting Series and The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight

Given your background, knowledge and experience, what do you feel are the three most important survival or prepping skills?

These are really soul-searching questions, aren’t they? I believe the single most important survival attribute you can have, you can’t call it a skill, really, is independent thinking.

Remember Kenney Roger’s song “The Gambler”?  “You gotta know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.”

He was talking about poker, a card game. But if we substitute ‘friends’ and ‘co-workers’ for playing cards, there’s some serious truth in that song. You gotta think independently. Know when to stay with the group. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

Second, you must take care of your health. “All happiness begins with good health,” they say. And that’s true in good times and bad.

And third, you need some salable skills. The operative word is salable. Stuff you can carry over an international boundary and they cannot confiscate. Skills that will earn you a living when you get to the other side. How to repair a bicycle. How to grade rare coins. How to sew. How to butcher a cow. How to change an automobile engine. How to hatch eggs. How to make candles.

There. See? I WAS able to work that question around to the lighting theme.

What would you purchase if you only had $500 to spend on preparedness supplies?

Some money would, of course, go towards food.

Potatoes, apples, and carrots can be stored in a cold back bedroom. No canning or refrigeration or freezing is necessary. In fact, no COOKING is necessary. Every one of those items can be eaten raw if need be. Rice would be high on the list. It stores forever.

I have seen my father-in-law in the Philippines go to work, physical factory work, on a breakfast of cooked rice. A heaping plate of steaming white rice. No side dishes, no meat, no coffee, no salt, no condiments. It was a matter of choice, not necessity. And he was one tough old bird, let me tell you. Forget the MRE’s and the freeze-dried dollar bills. Think RICE.

Some money/resources would go into a Geiger counter or the knowledge of how to make a device capable of measuring radiation. If you ever need it, there will be no substitute. This item and/or knowledge is an absolute must-have. Procrastinate at your peril.

I’ve seen it suggested that you could load a lot of personal info on a thumb drive (scans of birth certificates and so forth) and carry the thumb drive in your pocket. But how about an SD card (the kind of “chip” that goes in a digital camera) rather than a thumb drive? An SD card is smaller than a thumb drive and PC’s and laptops all have slots to accept them. My SD card (costing abut $30) holds 32GB although larger sizes are available.

You can scan your birth certificate, marriage certificate, house deed, insurance papers, etc., then drag-and-drop the files onto the SD card. Don’t forget a password-protected list of passwords. Picture yourself sitting in a foreign airport needing funds. And you have funds in your brokerage account. You just can’t remember the most recent password.

Lastly, load up the card with survival books. “Where There Is No Doctor” and “Nuclear War Survival Skills” by Cresson Kearny. Stuff like that.

An EMP-proof method to carry the SD card is to put it in its little plastic case, wrap the case in aluminum foil, and place the wrapped case in a metal Altoids “Smalls” tin. Alternatively, a somewhat sneaky “conceal-carry” method is to put the SD card in your camera. That shouldn’t arouse much suspicion. Everybody carries a camera.

Any leftover money would go into tools and camping gear and flashlights and lanterns and other gadgets, your choice.

Do you feel totally prepared and if not, what prep area concerns you the most?

I do not feel totally prepared. Far from it. The prep area that concerns me the most is my own aging and ultimate demise. I know I can’t stop it. I’m not even sure I can slow it down. I’m 74 and the years just seem to go by faster and faster. You’ll see.

To what extent does your family participate in your personal preparedness efforts?

For the most part, my family equates to my kids. They’re probably closer to my way of thinking than they would like to admit. On the surface they will say, “Oh never mind. It’s just Dad. He’s talking again.”

Today they may be college professors and computer programmers and suchlike, but most of them, whether they ever think about it or not, live in the country with a few acres and a vegetable garden just like I do. Just like they were brought up with.

What is your favorite survival or pepping book? (It can be fiction or non-fiction.)

Carla Emery’s Old Fashioned Recipe Book” (529 pages of small print) would be really hard to beat. REALLY hard. Available on Amazon.

What about your survival favorite movie?

ASIDE: Probably should leave this question out. I’m too busy tinkering in the shop and writing. Rarely see a movie.

Do you have anything else, such as an announcement, message, personal experience, that you would like to share with the readers on Backdoor Survival?

Just a personal anecdote you may find amusing. There was a question/test on Facebook a while back to the effect, “Are you right-brained or left-brained?” You may have seen it. It starts with a ballerina balanced on one foot. “Is she rotating clockwise or counterclockwise?” the question asks.

Left-brained people are logical. They tend to be engineers (like me). Right-brained people tend to be more creative and intuitive.

Halfway through the test, the mouse slipped out of my hand and clattered on the floor and the screen flickered and flashed. So . . . did I just answer the same question twice? Or did I miss a question altogether. I went on and took the rest of the test and it said, “You are 92% right-brained.”

Well, that’s ridiculous. So I started over and took the test again, being careful not to drop the mouse this time. And it said, “You are 92% right-brained.”

WHAT?!! AM NOT! Am balanced. Balanced I tell you. Am not 92% anything. And, besides, I worked my whole career as an engineer. Machines and numbers and stuff. Am logical!

Then again, as I think back over my career . . . even as I think back over my answers to these questions . . . hmm . . .

Gaye’s Note:  Indeed. Ron changed his interview answers a couple of times.  I think he was trying to make sure I was still awake and on my toes.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

Something I did not mention is that I have written for Foreword not only to the 2000-Hour Flashlights book, but also 4 of the 5 books (so far) in the Non-Electric Lighting Series.  They were good enough for my stamp of approval which, as you know, is not always easy to get.

Here are the five books in the giveaway.


You can read more about Ron Brown here.  Good luck!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight:  The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight

The first edition of this book (“The AMAZING 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contained 54 illustrations. This edition (“The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contains 128 illustrations.

The first edition showed how to modify one flashlight, a specific Eveready model, such that it ran 2000 hours on one battery. Unfortunately, Eveready has replaced that particular light with newer models. This edition shows how to obtain extended run times using other brands – one of which runs 2200 hours, better than the original. (Incidentally, 2200 hours equates to three months of continuous running, night and day.) In general, the modifications or “hacks” are accomplished by adding a resistor (30 cents) to a $5 flashlight.

Simplicity is the watchword. Wire glue (a glue containing carbon that conducts electricity) can be used in place of solder. Wire glue eliminates soldering and reduces the task from a techie project to Junior High School level.

What with floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, typhoons, earthquakes, blizzards, and downed power lines, there’s always a blackout somewhere. If people in general knew the information in this book, life would be a lot easier for a lot of folks.

Bargain Bin:  For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival as well as a link to the books mentioned by today’s author.

Prepper Book Festival 8 – Non-Fiction

Tools for Survival: What You Need to Survive When You’re on Your Own
The Organic Canner
The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight
The Garden Pool – Feed Your Family From Your Backyard Ecosystem
Survival Savvy Family: How to Be Your Best During the Absolute Worst
Doctor Prepper’s Making the Best of Basics Family Preparedness Handbook – Version 12.5
The Prepper’s Financial Guide
Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti Earthquake
The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present
Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required: An Everyday Approach to Disaster Preparedness

Prepper Book Festival 8 – Fiction

After the Crumble (Volume 1)
A Time to Endure (Strengthen What Remains)
Aftermath: A Story of Survival
Resurrecting Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series)
Game Changer

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook is only 99 cent plus the print version is available for less than $6.00.


Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.  This month note the great sale prices two of my favorites, the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) now only $14.95 and the Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid, now only $11.79.



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Prepper Book Festival 8: Ron Brown and The Non Electric Lighting Series — 68 Comments

    • I have some very good info on my bookmarks and trying to figure out how to copy those onto something permanent…but my wife says anything on my bookmarks is on the internet? help!

      • If using Firefox, go to bookmarks>show all bookmarks>export bookmarks. This will make a .json file which will be saved to wherever your downloads are saved to. (I save to my desktop) Then just drag to the SD card window.

  1. I am curious of all things “lighting”. Flashlights, lanterns, candles, and all the new solar lights. As things hit the fan and there is continued decline, I don’t think you can know enough about illumination! Love to follow your site.

  2. There is so much valuable knowledge on your website..Thank you.. I am now living in an RV; don’t know how long but the info is what I need especially for living in a much smaller space….

  3. We lost power for a few hours yesterday. We are NOT prepared to live this way. It’s always a rude awakening. Any information will help us establish ourselves better. We’re (relatively) new to seeking info. Thanks for a chance to win this aid.

  4. The suggestion to protect an SD card from an empty is brilliant. Can’t wait to see what other ideas he has.

  5. I am short on all things of illumination. We have flashlights, candles, and some oil lamps. That being said, information on making candles and alternate light sources would be invaluable. Thanks for all the information you provide us. I have so many notebooks of hard copies of your articles for reference. Each notebook is a wealth of info. As I try certain things the article is put in notebooks titled “Can do” or “Needs some practice”. This journey has become an every day learning process. Thank you, again.

  6. I have flashlights, candles, and oil lamps, so think the next logical choise is solar. Saw some pretty good ideas on Pinterest.

  7. Right now it’s the candles and oil lamps I have but am extremely interested in alternatives and how to make them.I’ve never found those garden solar lamps to be much use. We have them along the pathway in FULL sun but after a couple of days of “glowing” at night, they die. I would rather have something that will work on a consistent basis.Not sure why they die but after DaHubs kept replacing them, we gave up on the solar pathlights people say they would use.

  8. I’m going to get some paq lights. They charge by solar and are good for 10 hours. They say they never expire, like batteries. Supposedly will last forever. They are not a beam light, just general green type of light but you can move around with them. They are crystals that don’t wear out.

  9. My next lighting project on my bucket list is his 200-hour flashlight. Otherwise, I’ve got it pretty-well covered.

  10. I have night blindness, which means my eyes do not dialate. In considering non electrical lights, most give poor light. I am trying to brighten the rooms, by adding mirrors, my problem is how to do safely. I have great-grandchildren, who will be toddling soon, and I want no accidents. I hope this book addresses this problem.

  11. I’ve covered my lighting needs with candles, flashlights, and lanterns both propane and battery. What I now need to focus on is a solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries. With all the flash lights and battery lanterns the need now is for recharging them. If there should be some sort of long term power outage recharging the batteries would be critical.

  12. Hi Gaye, thanks for offering another great contest. Ron Brown is very inventive and I hope to win his books. As for lighting, my next purchase is more AA rechargeable batteries. I have 3 flashlights standardized on that, and a solar charger. Following that I need another flashlight because I put one in each type of bag that I have prepared. At home I have tons of candles but would like to get a solar light or many solar lights. For the apartment, I am embarrassed to say we have nothing. My husband burned all the candles, burned hot wax on the table, and clogged the dishwasher. Good thing I don’t mind doing dishes by hand.

  13. Next on my bucket list is making some solar rechargeable lights from the small pathway/garden lights that are real cheap and readily available.

  14. I know how to make candles but, knowing how to make, use and store other useful lighting is always welcome!!

  15. More solar. If I plan that as my primary, I can save the batteries and candles for time of poor sunlight. I live in high plains desert so there’s some sunlight year round.

  16. Great raffle! My wife and I are planning on kerosene lamps, a la Lehmen’s catalog, but really need to learn more about the options.

  17. OK! I admit it!! I am a flashlight junkie. I would love to squeeze more light out of each battery. I am really addicted to those little AA lights (Cree from Amazon-almost Free) you identified sometime back.

  18. We had really good lanterns that pulled apart into several smaller lights, but they corroded, so I would like to get some more.

  19. My vote goes to more of the Inflatable Solar Air Lanterns from Survival Frog. I only have one and think they work great. I am also planning to pick up some sale SD cards–your article reminded me to do that and use my coupon for discount, while they are also on sale.

  20. Candles. I just got my father-in-law’s liquid fueled Coleman lantern, but candles are never a bad thing to have.

  21. I haven’t really thought about the next form of light. I am always getting different types of lights, fueled (coleman type), solar powered, crank, shake, battery powered etc. About the only “light” I haven’t gotten and wish I could, and isn’t really a light, is a night vision device. That would be for when I want to see at night and not advertise my location!

  22. Good solar lights or LEDs with rechargeable batteries.

    Thank you very much for the chance to win this! It sounds wonderfully helpful.

  23. A lot of the inexpensive solar lights have problems with the battery contacts that seem to corrode after a little while and even quicker in humid areas. If you get any make sure they use the AA batteries and not the 2/3AAA types as those little batteries cost more to replace than the whole light usually costs.

    I have been using solar lights for about 15-years and the only problems I see with the AA battery types are that the batteries die after years and years of use as they are only good for about 500 charge/discharge cycles. The connections are also a minor problem but with all the rain recently have become more of a problem.

    One other thing I noticed on the long string lights is that certain ones the wire gets brittle from the elements and if any section sways they break. Minor repair but a pain as I have them as lighting running under the deck cover with the solar charge panel out in the sun and the length in the sun is what goes bad.

    Interested in the book for additional information and if I don’t win it will be on the next book order.

  24. The smartest thing I learned is rendering, from James Townsend and sons. Now I’ll never rn out of fuel for my lamps.

  25. I’m learning about all the ways I could’ve had light, cooking food inside, and just about everything else that cost me so much money while I was electricity & water deprived for 3 years back in 2007. That plus loosing EVERYthing in a house fire started my slow move toward being ready in case of anything. Thank you, Gaye, once again.

  26. In case…..Have a number of oil lamps as well as other light. My question: does anyone know what can be used in oil lamps when my large collection of lamp oil is used up?

    • Your question about substitute lamp fuels is a good one. It’s important to know what can be used as well as what can NOT be used. I think you’ll find answers “Book 3: Lamp Fuels” as well as “Book 4: Kerosene Lamps” in “The Non-Electric Lighting Series” on Amazon. Each book is only 99 cents in Kindle format. In general, “combustible” fuels (kero, diesel, mineral spirits) are safe in wick-type lamps whereas “flammable” fuels (gasoline, Coleman fuel, alcohol) are not. It’s certainly worth understanding — REALLY understanding — to avoid putting your family at risk.

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