In our household, we have a Sun Oven and a Solavore, SilverFire and StoveTec rocket stoves, and a dual-fuel Coleman stove, which uses both unleaded gasoline and Coleman fuel. I have the supplies for putting together an improvised cement block rocket stove, and a backyard full of trees, pinecones, and leaves. We purposely chose a gas stove for our home in order to have the ability to cook in a power outage.
In the emergency cooking department, we have numerous bases covered. Looking at these different types of stoves, it’s not enough to just have alternative cooking methods. You also need to make sure each one uses different types of fuels.
When we lived in the desert, sunshine was not an issue and we could use a solar cooker pretty much every day. In the forest, it’s a different story. We still haven’t found the ideal location for solar cooking, and I may have to chop off extra limbs on numerous trees to allow enough sunlight into our backyard.
However, with this limitation, I’m not too worried. Those same trees are providing massive amounts of fuel for our rocket stoves, a campfire, or a fire pit. In my part of Texas, it would be a very long time before I had to worry about running out of this particular fuel type, and yet, it could happen. In a very long term power outage, the problem would be ending up with a lot of unseasoned, green wood.
In that case, I have propane tanks and stored gasoline. In a pinch, I could use the propane with a gas-powered grill and the gasoline with the Coleman stove. Of course, there are safety issues with gasoline storage as detailed here.
Here’s the bottom line — your multiple cooking methods must have multiple fuel sources, so if you run out of one, you’ll have others to rely on.
A solar oven is highly recommended, since the only fuel you need is the sun. In some parts of the country, you may only have a few days a month for solar, but on those days, use it! You’ll be able to preserve the other fuels you have for days when solar cooking isn’t an option.
One thought I had when we lived in the desert and didn’t even have a fireplace, was to buy a half cord of wood or so, just to have it as a fuel. In most desert communities, it’s rare to find a large expanse of trees suitable for firewood. Our backyard had exactly 5 trees, and although they were all nearly full-grown, we would have had to wait several months for the wood to become seasoned before we could use it. In a power grid loss, I wouldn’t be the only desert rat out there trying to scavenge firewood.
Multiple cooking methods + multiple fuel sources, and you’re golden, and if the fuel is either renewable (biomass) or solar, that’s the best combination.