A few years ago I posted about the challenges of living in a rural area during emergencies, especially if the power goes out. Living in a 135 year old house which only received electricity in probably the 1940s or 1950s has it’s challenges. I talked about having alternatives and backup plans. Like oil lamps, wood or kerosene heat, propane stoves or water heaters. But sometimes you just need a little electricity.
You could buy a huge generator but it’s difficult to justify spending thousands of dollars on equipment than you may only use once every few years. I’m going to talk about a few items which might make your life easier for about $100 or less, for most of them together.
The first are having a hand-cranked flashlight and / or radio. You can pick these up at your local big box store for under $10. They’re usually in the camping section but check around. They’re not terrific but work well in a pinch.
My next recommendation is having a power bank. This allows you to plug in your phones and USB items. You just charge them up (when the electricity is on) and they’ll hold a charge for a long time. Keep them in a drawer or place where you can find them easily. It seems the power always goes out when my phone is nearly dead. They’re smaller than a paperback book and cost about $30-$40. Useful for camping, too, but not recommended to keep in a hot car.
Another handy item is a solar powered charger. The one I have folds up to about the size of a wallet. You can set it out, or attach it to your backpack as you’re hiking. Mine also has a built in flashlight. It has a couple of USB ports, too. Costs vary depending upon size and power, but again, around $30-$40.
Finally, a little item that I LOVE is my multi-purpose flashlight / radio. This is the neatest little gadget. It comes with a lithium battery to insert and a little screwdriver. The battery can be charged by hand-cranking or it has a small solar charger on top. It seems to hold a charge for a long time. The charger flips up to show a good light for reading. In addition, it has a very good flashlight on one side and some USB connections on the other. The radio is terrific! It has AM/FM/ and weather band. Very good reception with the fold out antenna. It also has a built-in SOS alarm and light, and a motion sensor good for 3 meters. The cost is about $40.
I recommend that you keep a few of these items handy for emergencies but they’re also very useful for camping or putting into a GO bag. A small waterproof box or bag will make them readily available for use. The links below will take you to more information about some of these items.
Multi-purpose Flashlight Radio https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Radio%EF%BC%8C4000mAh-Solar-Portable-Flashlight-Lamp%EF%BC%8CCell/dp/B083TLZN7G/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=multipurpose+flashlight+radio&qid=1613507123&sr=8-4