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For all of us who are adults, we understand the dangers of fire in an enclosed space. (That was the disclaimer, so if you do not understand, get some TP and isopropyl and stop reading…)

Like most of the people on this forum, I have experimented with a variety of heat sources for emergency situations: terra cotta candle heaters, alcohol heaters, multi wick open candles (least desirable unless in bucket for stability), and even considered other options. An unexpected turn of events last winter put me in a place to try something new..,

I was stuck in my car in a virtually inaccessible area during a week of snow, ice, 40+ mph winds with base temps dipping well below zero. I did not have chains and the storm was unanticipated. Fortunately, my emergency supplies were in the trunk. Up went the insulated window shield cover BACKWARD so the foil was facing inward (reflecting heat inward while insulation blocks some of the frigid temps). I secured a tarp over the back half of my car -windward side- leaving uncovered part of the front windows for ventilation. Next, donning extra layers of socks and clothing, grabbing water jugs before they could freeze, and un-stuffing my down emergency sleeping bag, I was jubilant to find my great grandmother's 5" iron skillet, a brick, and a mini rocket stove and fuel starter pods recently made in a session with my grandkids. We had used these items to show the effectiveness of our fuel pods using the can stove. I keep a small alcohol stove setup in my pack, but this was nothing less than a blessing!

With a clear passenger side floorboard and the seat pushed back, a brick and foil base went on the floor, then the 5" skillet for a more style base and ash catcher. The 4" x7" soup/tomato paste can rocket stove fit perfectly in the skillet - I was not torching my car! Even if it wasn't painted blue, my car would have been blue with cold! The weather and wind were monstrous for the mid-atlantic. It felt more like Montana: even area emergency services were shut down.

Weeks earlier, the kids had learned to make high output fuel pods from tea candle tins, melting the wax and dripping it into hardwood sawdust-sprinkled newspaper and thin cardboard strips, folded, coiled and wedged back into the tiny tins. We had made dozens of these, and had filled a bag with processed kindling. I had mindlessly thrown the 'crafts' into my Felix-the-Cat bag (a legendary "room of Holding") AKA trunk. Guardian angels must have been looking out for me…I've heard they help kids and fools so we are covered!

The diminutive setup was made complete with a small bale-handled pail used for melting wax. For three nights and two days, monitoring ventilation I heated the car, drank hot tea/coffee/cocoa, and even ate ramen noodle with canned chicken/tuna, and progresso tomato basil soup. Each time I made hot water I also refilled my coffee thermos with boiling water. It served as a hot water bottle to use with my scarf as a neck pillow; it was also a handy source for between-cycle hot beverages. The car kitchen facilitated my remaining warm inside and out.

My handy-dandy Goal Zero Guide 10 solar charger was useless, given the weather (I had used and forgotten to recharge the batteries in advance). 'mI bad! So, I tapped into the existing power of my laptop to charge the phone then turned it off again, storing it in the warmth of my sleeping bag to preserve battery life. Easily bored and unable to go anywhere until the weather improved, I was able to keep a trusted friend updated that I was safe and roughing it while waiting out the stormy arctic blast. Note to everyone about preparation and boredom: REAL books don't need batteries to access ;). The hundreds of ebooks in my iPhone would only serve to further drain my battery.

The heat output was excellent, thanks to the DIY fuel pods and copious deadwood and kindling. By keeping the setup close to the floorboard it drew air from below (older car cabins are not even close to airtight) and drafted out the passenger window (opened 1" with half stuffed with the end of the tarp). Because it was a rocket stove with a foil around the small pail, there were fewer fumes than if using an open multi-wick candle heater. Fast starting, hot burning with minimal fuel consumption, it functioned effectively and efficiently. I will be ever thankful for that tiny stove set up. It did everything I needed it to do, safely (as long as I used my brain). To this day, a similar kit stays in my car. Other things can go, but my emergency kits remain.
 

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Nice! You were well equipped and had a full set of brains, a depressing number of folks have neither. You didn't mention starting the car for heat and re-charging, cold got the battery? I'm a fan of having a couple of cheap nasty paperback books in the car or one in my backpack, any number of uses as well as reading.
 

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At least you have an emergency bag. I carry one with old snowmobile cloths because they are designed for high wind with warmth. Snowmobile cloths are one of the warmest cloths you can wear! No need for much heat with them on, start truck once in awhile to take off the bite.
 
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