Predator Generators: How To Prep, Run and Maintain Them for Years of Service

generator with wheel kit - brand new

You just bought– or are about to buy– your first generator. Good move, it’ll be a valuable asset to you and your family, especially in times of emergency. But, even though it’s got a gas engine and a pull cord, a generator isn’t the same thing as a lawn mower or weed whacker. There are a number of steps involved in the prepping, running and maintaining of your generator that you should be aware of before you try to do anything with it. Here are a few tips to make sure you get a smooth, safe operation, and the power you need:

generator outdoors

  • CRUCIAL– If you take anything away from this post, it’s that you NEVER run your generator in a garage (even an open garage) and NEVER run it in the house. Keep it outside, at least 15 feet from the house, and way away from all windows. As valuable as your generator is to keeping things going, it’s also a carbon monoxide machine. But of course, when used properly, it’s invaluable.

generator manual

  • Before you do anything, read the generator’s manual, from cover to cover. The more you know about your portable gas generator, the more apt you are not to do anything wrong, and it will provide many years of low-maintenance emergency power.

grounding rod

  • Prior to setup, you’ll need to ground the generator. This is done by connecting a #6 AWG grounding wire from the Grounding Terminal to a grounding rod (above) which is at least 24 inches in the ground. The grounding rod must be an earth-driven copper or brass rod that can adequately ground the generator. The grounding wire and rod may not be included with the generator, so make sure you get those as well when you make your purchase.
  • A great feature that some gas generators have is an electric start, because they can make starts fast and effortless. If yours has an electric start, now’s the time to make sure the 12v battery is installed and connected.

generator oil fill

  • Next you need to add the fluids. A key to a generators long life– as with any engine– is oil. It’s also helpful to know that without oil, the generator won’t start. Check the manual and make sure you’re using the right oil type and changing it according to manufacturer’s specifications. SAE10W30 is often recommended for general-purpose, all-temperature use.

generator gas fill

  • Add fuel to within 1″ of the rim of the tank. Be careful never to overfill. Unless otherwise instructed, use regular Unleaded 87 Octane gasoline.

generator startup

  • Now you’re ready to start the generator. Note the slight difference in the above chart between the Manual Start and the Electric Start.
  • Let the gennie run briefly before you plug anything into it, and make sure when you do plug something in, that the appliance is off. Plug in appliances one at a time, and power each one up before you plug in the next one. You want to make sure you’ve got the power to accommodate them. Pay attention to the watts of each unit before you plug it in after the other; you want to always stay under the generator’s max. If the generator overloads, it could damage the appliances.
  • Now you’re ready to rock n’ roll!

Other tips to keep in mind…

  • Never connect your generator with a power cord into an electrical outlet in the house. This power will “back feed” into the utility lines running to your house, and in the event of a blackout, this could kill a utility crew member called to restore power to the neighborhood.
  • Only use  a proper power cord. The power provided by your gas generator is measured in watts. A power cord is measured in amps. If, for whatever reason, you need a replacement power cord, choose one that matches the most powerful outlet on your generator. The power cord would need to be heavy-duty, at least 12 gauge, and less than 100 feet.
  • Never refuel a running generator– or even one with a still-hot engine! The heat could ignite the gas. Shut it off and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. And only refuel in a well-ventilated area.
  • Change the oil during lengthy outages. Check your manual for the proper intervals. If your generator doesn’t have an hour meter (telling you how long it’s been running), keep a log so you don’t lose track.
  • Conserve your gas! If the neighborhood power went out, chances are local gas stations are also down. Only use whatever appliances you need to and, if possible, turn it off overnight. A refrigerator can handle no power for 3-4 hours.

When you’re done

  • When the power comes back, drain the gas from the generator. If you leave the gas in, it can ruin the carburetor.
  • Change the oil one last time.
  • Every month, feed the generator a 1/2 gallon of gas and run it for at least 30 minutes. This will prevent blockage in the carb.

Your portable gas generator will be ready for the next emergency, and will last for years!

When you’re ready to purchase your generator, but need help determining what size to get, here’s a GENERATOR BUYING GUIDE to help you out. And don’t make any decisions until you’ve had the chance to look at the award-winning Predator Generators at Harbor Freight Tools! Read the reviews and research the YouTube videos, and you’ll learn for yourself what a great value they really are.

Hyperbole aside, in the event of an emergency, having a portable gas generator can mean the difference between life and death for you and/or a member of your family.

Badland 12000-lb Winch Review, Installation, Preparation and Safety

12k WINCH OFF ROAD PIC

Wheelin’, muddin’, off-roading, jeeping, four-wheeling. It’s a favorite pastime here in the States, and why not? It’s a heckuva lot of fun and a thrill to explore and experience the rougher side of nature. So, if you’ve got a 4×4, it’s only natural you want a winch. You could very well be boldly going where no man has gone before– and for good reason!– and you’ll need an escape plan.

12K winch on ford

Winches are awesome, powerful mechanisms, but mis-mounted or misused, they can be extremely dangerous. Before you even purchase your off-road winch, you should know how it works, its limitations and how it runs. YouTuber “ghostses” offers an extremely well-covered video on the Badland 12000-lb. Capacity with Auto-Loading Brake (voted “Best Deal in Winching” by Off-Road magazine), and if you walk away uninformed after this, I don’t know what to tell ya.

Some highlights include:

1. Why he went with the 12000-lb. model (00:01:25)

2. Cable layers and winch strength (00:02:25)

3. The components, what they’re for and the manual (00:06:20)

4. The parts of the main winch and motor (00:14:18)

5. Component assembly and installation (00:35:09)

6. Pre-stretching the cable (00:46:10)

7. Other rigging and accessories (00:48:16)

8. Wicked cool demonstrations (00:57:18)

There are a number of extremely important safety tips and pointers throughout this video, so if it’s too long for you, I advise to take it in in “chapters.” Believe me, it’s well worth your while.

There is also a segment where the reviewer opens the housing to re-lube it. THIS WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. As it states in the manual, “The winch’s internal mechanism is permanently lubricated. Do not open the housing.”

Most importantly, of course, go to the Harbor Freight website and read the countless other customer reviews on the Badland 12K winch. You’ll see for yourself why it’s a favorite among off-roaders!

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How To Tailgate the Harbor Freight Way

tailgating 2

Guess which one’s been doing Sea Breezes since 9 AM.

Tailgating is always an excellent idea, but if not well planned, could result in a busted play. The tailgate party is a sacred ritual, much like a holy pilgrimage or pantsing the new kid. And like any ritual that requires serious reflection, one must decide how to best prepare for it (go with the beer shorts, don’t go with the beer shorts?).  But with just a few pre-game adjustments and some new free-agent acquisitions from Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll be drop-kicking this baby to victory! We call this our “PAC 12”:

 1. The Tailgate Tool Bag

tool tote 19-inchAlways keep a tailgate bag in the trunk of your car. This could include a spatula, bottle/can opener, tongs, toothpicks, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, ziplocks, pimento olives, drink umbrellas, condiments, etc. Harbor Freight’s got a wide variety of tool bags, so you’re sure to find the one that’ll make you the Batman of the party. Pictured above is the 19″ Tool Tote with 13 outer pockets as well as generous inner storage. This baby’s rugged and you can pack it to the gills with confidence. rollaway tool bagOr, if total mobility’s how you roll, the Voyager 20″ Rolling Tool Bag is your ride. Two wheels and an extendable handle make this rollaway tool bag extremely easy to transport your tailgating supplies without strain or heavy lifting. This super-duty nylon bag’s got pockets inside and out for organizing all the shtuff and taking this party into overtime.

 2. Megaphone– with Siren!

megaphone with siren‘Cause you gotta make your team pride heard! This 50-watt noisemaker will carry over 2,000 ft– great for taunting opposing fans, alerting the crowd to bad cocktail weenies, or getting the attention of that blue-painted hottie with the foam finger. And you and your friends will have even MORE fun with your Western Safety Megaphone as the beer cooler gets low. We will, oh yes, we will, rock you.

 3.  Gimme Shelter – Popup Canopy

popup canopyStay chill from the sun or rain under this sturdy, 10 x 10 Popup Canopy from Harbor Freight. Easy enough for one man to put up, and it comes with a wheeled storage bag for smoooth, effortless transport. We’ve got you covered, bro.

 4. Turn Up the Heat! – Dual Burner Propane Stove

two burner propane stoveYou’ll be the quarterback of quality cuisine  with this rugged, portable Two-Burner Propane Stove. Cook up the brats and keep the nacho cheese hot whilst regaling your friends with buddy banter and gut-busting zingers. This little guy will go up to 11 with its whopping 15,000 BTUs, and features fully-adjustable brass burners to deliver just the right amount of heat when you need it. At a comfortable $39.99, this’ll keep the party fired up!

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Of course we’re just models!

5. Dutch Oven

dutch oven tailgateThe Dutch Oven is the offensive lineman of outdoor cooking. I have no idea what that means, but when it comes to stews to s’mores to 3-alarm nacho dip, the Dutch Oven will tackle just about anything you stick in it. Its secret weapon is its ability to evenly distribute heat, allowing you to cover it with charcoal briquettes, position it in the hot coals near an open fire, or place it on the stove top. Harbor Freight’s 6-quart, cast-iron beauty really needs no introduction, but at a fraction of what the competitors’ cost, it demands the attention of any frugal tailgater. Big enough to feed a crowd and heavy-duty enough to take anywhere, HFT’s Dutch Oven cooks, bakes, fries… and stays hot for a long time with its snug-fitted lid. Just nestle that baby in the glowing coals and prepare to be dazzled.

 6. Magnetic Paper Towel Holder

magnetic paper towel holderIt ain’t a party if you’re not making an epic mess. At the same token, you ain’t no party god if you don’t have something to wipe it up. Presenting one of the neatest inventions since the MacGyver paper clip– the Magnetic Paper Towel Holder! Just stick this modern marvel onto something metal and you’re locked and loaded for any muffed meatball. This one’s a no-brainer, folks.

 7. Sports Chair

foldable sports chairThere are chairs and then there are CHAIRS… and Harbor Freight’s Foldable Aluminum Sports Chair is the latter. A cocktail of convenience and comfort, this sports chair features a strong, lightweight aluminum frame (weight capacity 250 lbs) with an extra-wide seat for… how to put this delicately…. ample coziness. Features include three side pockets for stuff like air horns, cell phones, pong balls… a bottle holder and a folding side table for the grub and libations. At a relaxing price, you’ll be sitting pretty with budget for the more important things, like a cornhole game and bail money.

 8. 5-in-1 Power Pack

5-in-1 power packThis bad boy makes so much sense, I can’t believe I’m taking up space pitching it. The Cen-Tech 5-in-1 Portable Power Pack is equipped with jump start cables, an air compressor (up to 300 psi), two AC plugs with up to 20 hours of charge, a USB port, two cigarette lighter ports and emergency lights– all wrapped up in a tough, rubberized case. So, the blender, the crock pot, the sound system, the iPod, the dead car, the flat tire… all covered with one sweet scoop n’ score! You’re welcome.

tailgating 4

Hi, Mom, it’s Travis! Send money!

 9. Trunk Organizer

trunk organizerFace it, pal. If you’re heading for a tailgate party, you’ve got junk in the trunk. Well, Harbor Freight has just the thing for you to keep it together– the fabulous, “5-star-rated” Trunk Organizer! Comes with both large compartments and side pockets to hold your barbecue tools, groceries, paperware and body paint, all in one safe place while you drive. It’s got non-slip pads that prevent shifting while on the road, and folds up neatly when not in use. Grab it for $11.99. Grab two.

10. Hamburger Press

hamburger pressUniform means more than just wearing the team colors, it means serving consistently perfect burgers to the buds. With this kickass aluminum Hamburger Press from Harbor Freight you’ll be drop-kicking a pile of perfect patties in no time! And for the particularly rabid carnivores, there’s a depth adjuster that lets you make them up to 1/2” thick!  Best of all, with pre-made meat pucks you can go right from the freezer to the cooler to the grill without thawing. Boo-yah!

11. Folding Trash Bag Stand

trash bag standOK, here’s the deal… you can’t do a tailgate without talking trash. This is one of the handiest gadgets for the tailgate, campground, beach party, family reunion or any other occasions of civil unrest. The Folding Trash Bag Stand makes it easy to keep the garbage out of the way and in the bag. Its heavy-duty metal stand has a weatherproof enamel finish and folds flat when you’re done with it.

12. Generator

700-900 watt storm cat generatorYou didn’t actually think we’d do a “must-have” countdown without any mention of a generator, did you? It’s practically a tailgater’s mascot! Here’s the one we like, the perfect size and power for your garden variety tailgate soiree: The 700-watt, 2 HP Storm Cat Recreational Generator. Its 63 CC air-cooled gas engine will deliver up to 5 hours of run-time (at 50% capacity), plenty to run a nice-sized TV, some fans, a microwave, laptop or sound system. A tried-and-true favorite among tailgaters, campers and RVers, the Storm Cat keeps the bash bashing.

Tailgate Like a Boss

Here are some basic rules to make your tailgate successful:

  1. Enough food and libation for friends and wander-in strangers. Getting friends to chip in is ideal
    1. Paper and plasticware
    2. Meat
    3. Starch
    4. Cheesy stuff
    5. Sweet
  2. Keep it friendly. Be a good guest/host. Be helpful. If a guest, bring something extra, like hooch.
  3. First aid kit: Tums, Tylenol, Band-Aids, hand-sanitizer, alcohol wipes (no, the beer doesn’t do it), sunblock, aloe
  4. Extras: Extra cooler with at least one bag of ice, bottled water, non-alkie beverages, bottle opener, scissors, pocket knife, cork screw, wet wipes
  5. K.I.S.S.: Simple grub, simple recipes, simple set-ups.
  6. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting messed.
  7. Stay in touch. Make sure you come with a fully charged cell phone.

So, at the end of the day, if you’re thinking tailgate, think Harbor Freight Tools! While you’re there, pick up low-priced extension cords, tarps, first aid kit, bug zappers, ceramic knives, rope, flashlights and more! More than just a great tool store, we’re also your tailgate party source!  tailgating 1

Monitor Your Home, Shop or Garage with This 4-Camera Surveillance System

You can’t put a price on peace of mind, so the 8 Channel Surveillance DVR with 4 Cameras and Mobile Monitoring Capabilities (Item #: 61229) would be a bargain at any price. But you’ll get the best bargain for your buck with this one available at Harbor Freight Tools!

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With this surveillance system, you can easily keep an eye on your home, garage, workshop, store or jobsite from nearly anywhere. Four infrared day/night security cameras capture up to 2,500 hours of video stored on a 500GB hard drive for playback at any time, giving you a full record of what’s recorded. Then, the footage can be viewed directly from your Smart phone! Easy to set up and easy to use, this security system is a must-have for any property or area you want to keep safe.

“Bought this set last year and installed it in one day by myself. Figuring out how/where the cameras will be placed is honestly the hard part in all of the setup. Once you download the app and set it up on your phone, you can view when you’re not home. This product is great for the price and great for the insurance it will give you when you need to see your property.” – by NYJZA70 from Brooklyn, NY

“I have had this unit installed now for almost 2 years. For the price you get a good deal. The colors are a little off, but the video is pretty good otherwise. This system, as a local Police officer said to me, “only has to catch someone once” to pay for itself. My security company wanted $10 per camera per month with the 4th free. Even if your internet goes down with this model, you are still recording on the DVR. Not so with the security companies’ cloud based video recording.” – by Bears Fan from Crystal Lake, IL

“True the images are grainy at a distance but I’m talking about 100 feet. I have a good image far enough for me. All I intended it for is to record would be thieves trying to break into my building when I’m not there and I like the remote excess thru a phone or computer via internet. I’ve had this two years with no issues.” – by mule from Gladwin, MI

Whether you’re monitoring the inside of your warehouse or the perimeter of your ranch, this surveillance system has the features you need at a price that can’t be beat. For affordable security that won’t let you down, get to your local Harbor Freight and pick one up today!

How To Build a Teardrop Trailer

teardrop trailer complete

In the March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft an article ran– along with detailed plans– for a new, cool oddity called the “Honeymoon House Trailer.”

It was built in the late 30’s by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California, a guy who literally saved his dimes for the little traveler so as to take his new bride on their wedding trip. The 8’x4’ floor plan had tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis, a Chevy front axle with 28” wheels and 1926 rear fenders.  The mini trailer slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for a rear kitchenette, complete with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosure outside the starboard entry served as the “dressing room.” The whole project set him back about $60 ($1,026 today). This may or may not have been the very first teardrop trailer, but it was certainly in the ballpark.

DIYers went crazy. They followed Rogers’ plans and soon added touches of their own. After World War II, subsequent models morphed even more, sporting Jeep wheels and exterior skins made from bomber wings. After the 50’s, though, their popularity waned as big RVs appeared. Then, once again, the teardrops returned with a vengeance. Today you can find a number of websites for plans (some free!), photo galleries, forums and clubs. Teardroppers believe that creating, renovating and modifying unique, personalized models are what give the little campers their timelessness—and the most rewarding way to own a teardrop!

vw teardrop

The coolest part of all this is, you don’t have to be a master builder to make your own drop-dead gorgeous teardrop trailer. If you’ve got just a basic knowledge of woodworking and some tools, you’re already ahead of the game.

First thing, how to go about it? On a recent Google hunt, I found this most EXCELLENT “HOW-TO” tutorial on building a teardrop trailer on Instructables.com with extremely detailed steps, TONS of pics (man, you gotta have pics!) and a comfortable daily planner. Building it on a Haul-Master 1720 lb-Capacity. 4’x8′ Super Duty Trailer

HF super duty trailer…the author created this beautiful camping capsule, complete with aluminum siding, wiring and lights, vent fan, sink-&-stove kitchen area, windows on the sides and front, and a roomy bed with a second kid-sized bunk, all for under two grand!

teardrop beds

Necessary Tools:

teardrop camping

While it’s not exactly a 2-weekend project, the finished product will leave you buzzed with such sublime satisfaction, and give you years of fun and memories that you just can’t buy.

Of course, most of the tools necessary to make this dream a reality can be found at Harbor Freight Tools. Make sure you check the ads for specials and coupons for even greater savings!

Destroy Weeds and Trim Hedges with the Electric String Trimmer

The summer is full of recognizable sounds from lawn mowers and sprinklers to the ice cream truck coming down the block. But, this summer there is one noise you may hear less of. While the traditional “weed eater” is a staple of lawn maintenance during the summer months, there’s no denying the noise can be a bit grating. This year, pick up a 13” Electric String Trimmer (Item #: 62338) from Harbor Freight Tools and give your ears (and your neighbors) a rest!

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But the sound reduction is just one of several great reasons to add this tool to your landscaping arsenal. Not only does the string trimmer trim grass and hedges with less noise and vibration but is also safer on the environment than a gas trimmer. Using clean electricity and reliable power, the string trimmer is an eco-friendly, quiet way to spruce up your yard! Just ask these guys:

“I bought this trimmer to replace my gas trimmer that died after many years of use. This electric trimmer is just as powerful as the gas trimmer it replaced. However, it is a lot less noisy and there is no gas/oil mixture to fuss over. This trimmer adjusts in overall length and the trimmer head is easily rotated for edging jobs and the head can also be adjusted relative to the shaft for a more upright position or angled for reaching under bushes, etc.” – by PeterA from Norwalk, CT

“I have a small yard and did not need to go far from the house. This trimmer has all the features as a pro gas trimmer without the price. The auto feed feature works great. The motor is strong and does not bog down. The edge feature works great also. Great product if doing light trimming in a small area.” – by DrArcade from Grand Prairie, Tx

“Great for general grass trimming around trees, flower beds, mailboxes, fences, etc. The price was good and even better using the 20% off. This trimmer can be rotated and locked in place near the middle, so it can be used for edging around driveways or curbs.” – by Handyman Dad from Humble, Tx

The string trimmer features four cutting head positions so you can trim and shape your lawn, hedges, and bushes any way you like, whether it’s a larger patch of grass or edging along the sidewalk. An oversize grip and adjustable side handle make this tool easy on your hands as well so you can work longer without even noticing it! If you’re ready to take your lawn care skills to the next level (quietly), then get to your local Harbor Freight and grab one of these excellent string trimmers today!

A Machete That’s a Cut Above the Rest

Whether you’re clearing brush in your backyard or slashing through foliage during a camping trip, the best solution for getting through thick vegetation is the 18” Machete with Serrated Blade (Item #: 69910)! The sharp blade slices leaves and vines while the saw tooth back is perfect for hacking through thicker branches. Made of tough stainless steel, the blade is designed for longevity, allowing it to accompany you on many future excursions. And when it’s not in use, the machete is conveniently stored in an included protective sheath until you’re ready to wield it again.

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Here are some trail-blazing reviews from real satisfied customers:

“Well made machete, and I have spent many years in the jungles of Central and South America. Nice rubber type handle. Sharp blade and good saw blades on the rear of the blade. Good for jobs too small for an axe or yard pruning (branches, grass, bushes, etc.) Downside would be the sheath which I don’t expect it to last long without extreme care. The saw blades catch on the sheath when pulling the machete out. But the money was put into the machete – and that’s what is important!” – by Brazil Bill from Monument Valley, Utah

“Heavy duty blade with a rubberized handle to reduce shock to your wrist. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of use from this.” – by Mike from West Virginia

“Wow…this is one of the best I have ever bought. Really like the blade and super-good grip on the handle. Sheath worked well also. Liked the one that I bought so much that we just ordered four more.” – by jagsouthern from Mobile, Alabama

Lightweight and affordable, this machete is an indispensable element of any outdoor exploration or camping outing. With its lightweight design and comfort-grip handle, this easy-to-use tool separates the beginners from the serious outdoorsmen. So get down to your local Harbor Freight store today and pick up the 18” Machete with Serrated Blade today!

How To Prep, Run & Maintain Your Portable Generator

generator with wheel kit - brand new

You just bought– or are about to buy– your first generator. That’s great, it’ll be a valuable asset to you and your family, especially in times of emergency. But even though it’s got a gas engine and a pull cord, a generator isn’t the same thing as a lawn mower or weed whacker. There are a number of steps in the process of prepping, running and maintaining your gas generator that you should be aware of before you do anything with it. Here are a few tips to make sure you get smooth, safe operation, and the power that you need:

generator outdoors

  • CRUCIAL– If you take anything away from this article, it’s NEVER run your generator in a garage (even an open garage) and NEVER run it in the house. Keep it outside, at least 15 feet from the house, and way away from all windows. As valuable as your generator is to keeping things going, it’s also a carbon monoxide machine.

generator manual

  • Before you do anything, read the generator’s manual, from cover to cover. The more you know about your portable gas generator, the more apt you are not to do anything wrong, and it will provide many years of low-maintenance emergency power.

grounding rod

  • Prior to setup, you need to ground the generator. This is done by connecting a #6 AWG grounding wire from the Grounding Terminal to a grounding rod which is at least 24 inches in the earth. The grounding rod must be an earth-driven copper or brass rod that can adequately ground the generator. The grounding wire and rod may not be included with the generator, so make sure you get those as well when you make your purchase.
  • A premium feature that some gas generators have is an electric start, which makes for fast, effortless starts. If yours has an electric start, now’s the time to make sure the 12v battery is installed and connected.

generator oil fill

  • Now it’s time to add the fluids. A key to long engine life is oil. Also, without oil the generator won’t start. Check the manual and make sure you’re using the right type and changing it according to manufacturer’s specifications. SAE10W30 is often recommended for general-purpose, all-temperature use.

generator gas fill

  • Add fuel to within 1″ of the rim of the tank. Be careful never to overfill. Unless otherwise instructed, use regular Unleaded 87 Octane gasoline.

generator startup

  • Now you’re ready to start the generator. Note the slight difference in the above chart between the Manual Start and the Electric Start.
  • Let your generator run briefly before you plug anything in it, and make sure when you do plug, that the appliance is off. Plug in appliances one at a time, and power each one up before you plug in the next one. You want to make sure you’ve got the power to spare. Pay attention to the watts of each unit before you plug it in after the other; you want to always stay under the generator’s max. If the generator overloads, it could damage the appliances.
  • Now you’re ready to rock n’ roll!

Other tips to keep in mind…

  • Never connect your generator with a power cord into an electrical outlet in the house. This power will “back feed” into the utility lines running to your house, and in the event of a blackout, this could kill a utility crew called in to restore power to your neighborhood.
  • Only use  the proper power cord. The power supplied by your portable gas generator is measured in watts. A power cord is measured in amps. If, for whatever reason, you need a replacement power cord, choose one that matches the most powerful outlet on your generator. The power cord would need to be heavy-duty, at least 12 gauge, and less than 100 feet.
  • Never refuel a running generator, or even one with a still-hot engine. The heat could ignite the gasoline. Shut it off and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. And only refuel in a well-ventilated area.
  • Change the oil during lengthy outages. Check your manual for the proper intervals. If your generator doesn’t have an hour meter (telling you how long it’s been running), keep a log so you don’t lose track.
  • Conserve your gas! If your neighborhood’s power went out, chances are the local gas stations are also in the dark. Only use whatever appliances you need to and, if possible, turn it off overnight. A refrigerator can handle no power for 3-4 hours, and your neighbors will love the break, too.

When you’re done

  • When the power comes back, drain the gas from the generator. If you leave the gas in, it can ruin the carburetor.
  • Change the oil one last time.
  • Every month, feed the generator a 1/2 gallon of gas and run it for at least a 1/2 hour. This will prevent blockage in the carburetor.

Your portable gas generator will be ready for the next emergency, and will last for years!

When you’re ready to purchase your generator, but need help determining what size to get, here’s a GENERATOR BUYING GUIDE to help you out. And don’t make any decisions until you’ve had the chance to look at the award-winning Predator Generators at Harbor Freight Tools! Read the reviews and research the YouTube videos, and you’ll learn for yourself what a great value they really are.

Hyperbole aside, in the event of an emergency, having a portable gas generator can mean the difference between life and death for you and/or a member of your family.

Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast

mountain man breakfast

Every year we go beach camping up and down the California coast with 10-12 other families, and every year our meal assignment has been the Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast. Like Coke and Mentos, and the midnight grunion runs, the Mountain Man Breakfast has become a demanded tradition of us and ours. It’s got all the favorite breakfast foods in one dish: sausage, eggs, cheese, hash browns. Not only is it the most delicious, wonderful mess you’ll ever shovel in your mug, it sends torturous wafts of incredible aroma throughout the campground, causing many a family to look down miserably at their breakfast bars and weep.

So, without further ado, here’s our recipe for the quintessential Dutch Oven Mountain Man breakfast (makes 6-12 servings):

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork sausage (mild, medium or hot, it’s up to you)
  • 1 pound bacon (honey cured is sometimes preferred)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (2-pound) bag of shredded hash browns
  • 12 extra large eggs, beaten
  • 1 16-oz. bag shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Add any other spices you might like: salt pepper, butt rub…

dutch oven

Directions

  1. You’ll want to get a campfire going about 90 minutes before you’re ready to eat. Let it burn until it’s accumulated a nice layer of coals.
  2. Add and stir the sausage, bacon, onion and garlic into a 12-Inch Cast Iron Dutch Oven with a lid, with the oven beside–but not directly in– the coals, so you have a nice medium-high heat. Cook and stir until the sausage and bacon are no longer raw and the onion is tender.
  3. Stir in the red and green bell peppers and hash browns until nicely blended. Keep stirring for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are hot and the peppers are now tender.
  4. Add the beaten eggs evenly over the top of the potatoes, allowing them to sink into the mix, then cover the Dutch oven.
  5. Carefully place  8-10 hot coals under the Dutch oven and 13-15 on top. Allow your concoction to bake around 35-40 minutes, until the eggs are firm.
  6. Carefully remove the lid, keeping the coals on, and sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the eggs. Cover and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. The cheese should be melted at this point.

Adjust this recipe according to your crowd, of course. There’s nothing wring with having leftovers, though, this chow makes for GREAT leftovers!!

Clean-Up

As any Dutch Oven enthusiast can tell you, there are some “Do NOTs” when is comes to cleaning a Dutch Oven:

  • Do NOT use dish soap or detergent (it can leave a soapy taste in the oven that may transfer to the food).
  • Do NOT use a metal scrapper or scouring pad (it can remove the “hard-earned” seasoning).
  • Do NOT put cold water on a hot Dutch Oven (it can cause the oven to crack).
  • Do NOT “burn out” your Dutch Oven over the fire. (It can warp or crack the oven).

If it’s not convenient to clean the Dutch oven right away, you can pour some hot water in it and let it soak. For BEST RESULTS, though, follow these steps:

  1. With a plastic scraper, scrape out the excess food.
  2. With a little hot water and a dish cloth, wipe up the residual gunk and finish cleaning it out. Then dump out the dirty water and rinse the pan with warm water.
  3. Dry the dutch oven thoroughly with a paper towel, or leave it in close enough proximity to the campfire to dry itself.
  4. When dry, take a clean paper towel and wipe a thin coat of oil all over the Dutch oven, careful to remove any excess so it doesn’t leave a rancid puddle.
  5. Finally, fold another clean paper towel and put it  under the lid and hanging slightly out the side  to absorb any excess oil and moisture and to allow some air into the oven.

Before you even go camping, though, the best thing you could do is season your 12-Inch Cast Iron Dutch Oven  to get long-lasting, top notch performance out of it. You can read about how to season this and your other cast iron pans HERE. Also, you can pick up a Dutch oven at Harbor Freight Tools for a great, low price!

Be sure to check out other recipes you can make in your Dutch oven, like stews, chili, desserts and so much other delicious grub. It may not be pretty sometimes, but it always eats good.

 

HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN 55-GAL. BARREL BBQ*

steak

There’s nothing better than the high octane performance of a flaming charcoal barbecue– and there’s nothing cooler than manning your own 55-gallon barrel grill, made with your own hands. Here’s a cool tutorial we found on the Super Chevy website. Hey, summer’s coming, dude. Let’s talk about how you can make this a reality.

Things You Will Need:

barrel - found

  • Find a 55 gallon drum. Sometimes you can avoid buying a new one by checking out Craigslist or other local classifieds, pet shops or weed n’ feeds. The best kind of 55-gallon drum barrel to get is food related. Try to avoid one that housed toxic chemicals, but if you’re not sure what it contained, you’re going to want to burn it clean when you cut it open. 

barrel - taped

  • Rather than cutting the barrel in half, we’re going to show a clam shell it with a quarter cut. With the masking tape and a level, set all your lines ready to cut.

barrel - cut

  • The next step is to use the trusty cut-off tool and cut down the side of the barrel along the blue tape. The cut off quarter is going to be the BBQ grill’s lid. When you’ve cut out the quarter section, build a large fire inside of the barrel to thoroughly burn out any lingering harmful substances. Then, once cool,  dump the ashes and give it one last thorough hosing.
  • Next, take some angle iron and weld a rectangular shape out of it. Then weld it into place in the middle of the drum. This will provide as a rest for the grill.

barrel - mesh

  • Find a good mesh that can be used as the grill surface, preferably a heavier gauge metal, and one where the edges are flattened so there are no sharp points sticking up. If you need to flatten the sharp edges yourself, that’s what the grinder is for. Here they welded 1/8″ metal rod all along the edges and eventually added some cross bars as well. Besides not getting gouged every time you BBQ, it also makes it easier to scrub after grilling. 

barrel - stands - relief cuts

  • Take two lengths of 1/2″ box tube and make relief cuts every two inches so you can bend them to the shape of the barrel. Then bend it around the barrel.

barrel - stand - relief welded

  • Once you’ve got the shape you desire, weld the cuts smooth with your 70 amp stick welder. This creates a sturdy cradle on which you’ll be attaching the legs.

barrel - stands welded on

  • Then weld the half moon shapes to the ends of the barrel. They should make a nice snug fit.

barrel - hinges

  • Attach hinges to the barrel and lid, and reinforce it with steel plates on the inside to ensure a long-lasting, sturdy hinge.

barrel - on legs

  • Determine how high you want your grill to be (3-ft. is good) and accordingly cut the 2×1 square tubing into legs. Cut relief marks about 6″ down the legs so you can bend them outward for greater stability. Now weld on the legs, and you have your very own, cheap and efficient 55-gal. drum grill!

barrel - complete

Of course, you’ll probably want to add handles, a couple of vents, a hole on the bottom for dripping. If you came this far, though, I trust you can take it from here.