Well yes and no because most of my stoves either need good ventilation or are small in size for my “Bags” . Some of my stoves are task specific for certain scenarios though I prefer multi-taskers some stoves are good for cooking or good for heat or need to be used with plenty of ventilation so those types of stove suck for use indoors. It always surprises me when people die because of carbon monoxide poisoning during a storm because they try to use some stove or heater that needs a lot ventilation indoors. It happens with depressing regularity when ever the power out in winter. While many of the heat and cooking sources many preppers use are designed for camping in the great outdoors. There are options that are relatively safe to use indoors if you take proper safety precautions.
- Wood stove or fireplace: This is one of the best sources of heat and cooking but they are somewhat expensive to install and the fuel they require takes up a lot of space. They need good ventilation and they can be a fire hazard for a multitude of reasons. If you maintain the stove properly and burn dry wood it is one of the best alternative heat sources you can have in your home. Big down side is you put out smoke and people will notice it in a grid down situation and they may want to get in on that heat.
- Mr. Buddy type propane heaters: I really like these heaters as they have many safety features and are fairly efficient. Propane storage is fairly safe and a 15 pound tank lasted about 5 days in below 0 F. temps when I did my test heating about 800 sq. ft. of my home. Using a fan with one of these heaters is very helpful so if you can afford it I would get the top of the line model that has an fan built in or have a battery powered fan to circulate the warm air if the power goes out. These heaters are great if you live in an apartment and all you can store is one pound tanks or for bugout/camping. Always turn it off at the fuel supply at night or while you sleep to save fuel and not leave it running unsupervised! Big upside to these stove has no odor while burning so it makes a very stealthy heater.
- Kerosene Heaters: I don’t care for these heaters used in a house, as the odors fumes and ventilation needed, is a lot to deal with for most people. In a tent it could be an option as few of those are air tight or insulated. IMO they are not what I want to use for a heat source but it can be a backup if you get one cheap and make sure you maintain it properly. Always turn it off at the fuel supply at night or while you sleep to save fuel and do not leave it running unsupervised! Like kerosene lamps you will need extra wicks and trim them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Big upside is you can store just one fuel for lamps and heat. Downside less safe than a Mr. Buddy heater for safety features, requires more ventilation and many find the fumes irritating.
- Wood stove for cooking: Has the about the same Pros and Cons as a wood stove for heating. Also cooking on a wood stove is a skill that takes some practice compared to modern appliances. Burnt and possibly inedible food will happen and is part of the “learning experience” using your wood stove. On the other hand it is very easy to have a pot of warm/boiling water always on hand if your water heater stops working. I have a two-step box type wood stove I would recommend on of these stove if you can’t afford a traditional kitchen wood stove for cooking. If you are looking to use your wood stove for cooking I recommend getting cast iron cookware.
- Butane stoves: One of the best options for cooking especially if you have limited space for prepping supplies. You have probably seen this small burners on cooking shows or at catering events when they cook food on site. These little stoves are lot like cooking over gas burners and you don’t need a lot of ventilation when you cook. The fuel is cheap and comes in cans that are in most stores. I can get a four pack of fuel under $7.00 at Cash and Carry and if you are frugal that amount of fuel will last 2-4 weeks. Upside these stoves are multi-taskers and you can use them for camping, bugout and BBQ. You don’t need to buy any special cookware, if you cook on a stove top you don’t need any special skills to use these burners. Downside, pure butane can freeze in cold weather.
- Camp stoves: The stove can be propane, white gas, or even run on unleaded gasoline in some of the dual-fuel stoves, require good ventilation and should be used outdoors only. Upside the stoves are easy to use, require no special skills or cookware. Downside is using it outdoors, cooking odors might attract people.
- Solar ovens: These are slow cookers and work very good for recipes that you might use a crock pot or an oven at low heat 250-350 degrees F. depending on your level of sunlight. Upside free energy, foods don’t burn so you can start cooking a meal in the AM and forget about it until dinner time. I have not noticed any strong food odors while using a solar oven until the meal is mostly done and you take the pan out. Downside You need a sunny, warm day generally to cook. Rice and grains, meats and veggies do fine but beans don’t seem to cook well for me.
- Grills gas and charcoal: Upside Most people have used a grill of some sort and fuel is readily available and easy to store. You can smoke to preserve meats and add flavor by roasting veggies before canning. Downside Food odors are easily noticed. Heck I’m a smoker and I can usually pinpoint any one grilling/BBQing over a block or two distance. If not grilling meats or veggies you will need special cookware for baking.
As you can see there are going to be trade offs you will have to make for your cooking and heating backups as no one solution will be perfect. I honestly had no idea I had collected so many cooking and heating stoves until I did my inventory. Besides my wood stove I think the dual-fuel camp stove that can run on unleaded gas was one of my best purchases for a bugout type scenario as I have cans of gas standing by to be loaded in the mini-van for bugout and not having to pack another fuel to cook with is awesome. For cooking indoors I will be getting one of the Butane Stoves just in case I need to be stealthy and can’t run the wood stove.