Whether we like it or not, load shedding is here to stay, and we South Africans must find a way to make do. No one wants their lives to be interrupted by load shedding, especially when you need the lights on the most for cooking, cleaning, keeping your phone charged, and navigating your home in the middle of the night. Just like camping, you’ve got to be equipped for a lack of electricity, and we’ve got a few tips, tricks, and essentials to get your through when Eskom lets you down.
Food Prep – Now you’re Cooking with Gas!
There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day to a home shrouded in darkness. Load shedding often takes place at peak hours, when everyone arrives home and needs to cook dinner. With all electrical appliances out of commission, including your oven, kettle, and microwave, it can seem impossible to cook a meal.
But you don’t need to resort to expensive takeout. Cooking with gas allows you to fry up meals at home, and rather than invest in an expensive gas stove you can go with portable gas braais such as the Cadac Grillogas Braai or the Safari Chef 2 to whip up something quick and tasty. They work best for outdoor use. For indoor cooking, you can opt for stovetops such as the Highlander Portable Gas Cooker to keep things cooking during load shedding. Both braai and stovetop are portable, so you can take them anywhere, especially camping.
Tip: When cooking with gas, always keep a supply of gas canisters available in case you run out. It saves you a trip to the store when you need it most, but you should always check that your chosen canister is compatible with your appliances. And always use gas with care!
Hygiene – Take a pass on the cold showers
No one likes a cold shower, and if your power has been off for most of the day, you can be sure your geyser hasn’t had optimal time to heat up. But don’t settle for a short, frigid dip. There’s more than one way to clean up and stay warm while doing so.
With your portable gas stove, you can heat up a pot of water to wash with, though you won’t be filling any bathtubs anytime soon. You can also use a self-heating portable shower, like the Alva Portable Gas Water Heater, to heat your water in a continuous supply of warm water. You can even adjust the temperature setting, and it comes with a shower nozzle for ease of use.
Lighting – Skip the Candlelit ambiance
When the power goes out, you don’t want to be left stuck in the dark. Candles can be a fire hazard, and you don’t want to leave them unattended in your home, especially with children or pets afoot.
For readily available lighting in case of emergencies, torches and lanterns are safer in comparison, with a stronger light source. Their long battery life and rechargeability make them highly convenient, so keep a few lanterns scattered around your home to turn on when things get dark. Even more convenient, you can keep your hands free with a Petzl headlamp, allowing you to work or cook freely; to make things even easier, you can use a set of tonglites, a torch and tongs combo, to help you see clearly while you cook.
Storage – Waste not, want not
When load shedding strikes, we’re all too aware that the power tends to stay down for an extended period of time, which can be catastrophic for fridges and the food stored within them. When you need to keep stuff warm or cold throughout the day, you’re going to need to opt for reliable storage to retain temperature.
And when your fridge dies, wasting good food should be the last thing you want to do. Defrosted food is ruined, and cannot be frozen again once defrosted due to the risk of parasites and bacteria setting up shop. Fridge covers, when closed over the fridge, will help retain their frosty temperature long enough for the power to return.
Coolers can keep your perishables cool on those warm days where your fridge is out of commission; just pack them full of ice and food and leave them in a shaded spot to last till you need them. A heavy-duty cooler box like the Coleman will keep your food items colder for longer, but for shorter periods of load shedding or cooler days, you can go for a lighter cooler bag.
If you know you’re going to need hot water in the near future, but you’re also expecting the power to go out, Stanley flasks can be used to store hot water and keep it at temperature until you need it.
Electronics – Don’t go without your creature comforts
We don’t have to revert back to the stone age every time the power goes out. There are all kinds of nifty gadgets to keep you comfortable and connected with the world. You should have a portable charger on hand to keep your mobile phone charged throughout load shedding, which is a lifesaver.
If you’re unfortunate enough to encounter load shedding on a sweltering day, the humble desk fan can toil away in place of the AC, regulating the temperature and keeping you cool until the power comes back on.
These gizmos and gadgets are life savers when blackouts strike, and with even a few of these essentials, you can keep living comfortably and efficiently until normalcy is restored. This gear works just as well for camping, so you can enjoy some of your home comforts even in the great outdoors. Check out our range of camping gear to find more camping equipment that works for you during load shedding and camping.