During a major natural disaster or extended power outage, there’s not a whole lot you can do because most of the technology we rely on requires power to operate. This leaves you stuck with the option to do things like play board games, read or sit in silence.
Sure, our smartphones, tablets and laptop computers offer a great way to pass a few minutes or hours when we’re bored, and they’re remarkably helpful when we need information fast. However, as soon as they run out of juice, they become useless.
Most folks deal with a situation like this in the same way. They light a few candles, huddle under a blanket or near a warm fire and wait it out.
Believe it or not, there are ways to improve an emergency situation, thanks to several unique gadgets. Don’t believe us? Here are the seven best gadgets for emergencies.
With the BioLite CampStove, you can keep warm and charge up your mobile devices all with one gadget. The CampStove is a portable, smokeless campfire that can burn wood to generate electricity.
That electricity can be used to charge a variety of devices – such as your smartphone – or power additional tools like LED lights. It includes one USB port for power and comes bundled with a free USB FlexLight that you can use to illuminate your work area.
Of course, the CampStove can also be used to cook food or boil water, which means it would be an essential tool during any major power outage.
You don’t have to worry about this thing taking up a lot of room either, as it’s only 8.5 inches high and 5 inches wide. Furthermore, it weighs 2 pounds, so it’s entirely possible to throw this thing in a backpack or travel bag if you need to.
The BioLite CampStove is about $130 through the official site.
- SALt Lamp
During any major outage, there will come a moment when you need light. Although candles are great for this, they don’t always give off enough light, especially if you’re trying to work in the dark. That’s where something like the SALt Lamp would come in handy.
The Sustainable Alternative Lighting lamp or SALt can generate enough power to stay active for up to eight hours with nothing more than a single glass of water and 2 tablespoons of salt.
It uses something called a galvanic cell battery to turn the salt in the water into an energy system and converts that same energy into usable power.
The battery is hooked up to two electrodes, which are resting in the salt water. Those electrodes are able to generate energy because the salt water acts as an electrolyte solution. That energy is then converted into usable power and stored in the battery, which is then ultimately used to power the LED lamp or devices connected to the USB port.
Yes, that USB port can also be used to charge your mobile devices, such as your smartphone.
Unfortunately, there’s no release date or price for the SALt Lamp just yet. The developers plan to enter mass production and begin selling it sometime this year.
- LifeStraw Portable Water Filters
One of the worst things that can happen during a natural disaster is your water source can become contaminated, especially when there’s flooding involved. Since humans need water to survive, that is a dire situation.
Normally, you would have to boil water before drinking it or using it in meals. Not only does this take time, but it can also use up valuable resources, especially if fuel for your fire is limited.
LifeStraw produces a variety of devices that can be used to scoop up or drink water from seemingly any source, even one that is contaminated. The most popular is the LifeStraw, which is a personal filtration system that can be used to drink water directly. Family sized filtration systems are also available.
All of LifeStraw’s products can remove 99.9999 percent of bacteria and 99.9 percent of protozoa from the water before it enters your mouth. The filtration system used is both chemical and BPA free, so it’s entirely safe and healthy.
You can pick up the LifeStraw personal filter for about $20, but the larger size systems are more expensive.
Normally, if you get separated from your family or friends you can use your smartphone to get back in touch. During a disaster, that’s not always possible. Assuming you have the power covered, there may not be any cell coverage to stay in touch where you are located, or the network may have gone down.
The GoTenna is a portable antenna that allows you to use your Android or iPhone devices as a makeshift walkie-talkie. The kicker is that instead of talking to one another through an open connection, you can simply text back and forth.
The way it works is this: You and someone else – presumably a family member – pair the GoTenna to your phones via wireless BlueTooth. The GoTenna devices remain connected for a distance of up to four miles, and at any time you can text back and forth with the person who is paired to the other antenna.
This works out great if you’re forced to separate for some reason but want to stay in contact. The GoTenna is $199 for a pair.
- Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit
If you’re a skilled survivalist, then you probably know how to start a fire using nothing but a pair of sticks. For everyone else out there, the Zippo Emergency Fire Starter Kit is what you need. It’s similar in size and function to a regular lighter, except it does not use fuel – like Butane – to get a fire going.
Instead, the Zippo lighter uses a flint mechanism to create sparks, which can be used to ignite leaves, tinder or dry wood. You can also buy a set of optional fire starters to use in place of the tinder, which can be stored inside the lighter, as well.
Considering the Zippo lighter is only $14, and a campfire could very well save your life during a serious disaster, this kit is a steal.
- LaCie RuggedKey
Chances are you have some remarkably important documents stored on your computer. Whatever it is, you’re going to want to keep a backup in case something happens to your computer.
The LaCie RuggedKey is a durable USB drive that you can use to backup and store all your important data. It comes in three different sizes – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
Another great use for portable drives like this is to install a bunch of portable apps that can be run directly from the drive. This is a great idea if you still have access to your computer and can use it, but cannot get on the Internet to access Web-based apps.
In the end, it’s a good idea to have one of these around just in case.
- Red Cross FRX3 Eton Emergency Radio
To stay informed during an emergency you need a radio, hands down. The Red Cross FRX3 Eton Emergency Radio is just that. It can pick up emergency weather alerts for your local area, and tune in to AM, FM and WB stations. It’s the added functionality that makes this thing special, however.
It can be run with AAA batteries, solar power and backup battery from the rechargeable Ni-MH battery. Of particular note is the option to power the radio via the hand crank on the side. That means all you need to do is wind up the hand crank to generate power if you have no other source.
It has an LED flashlight on the side, digital alarm clock function and includes an AUX-input to play music from an external player, such as a phone or MP3 player.
The best part is that it also includes a DC power input to charge devices, along with a mini-USB cable to connect compatible smart devices.
This thing has it all, without a doubt. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only $60 either.
Build Your High-Tech Survival Kit Before a Disaster
Obviously, these gadgets won’t do you any good after the fact. Make sure you put together your high-tech survival kit before a disaster or power outage strikes. It’s never a bad thing to be prepared, and if you’re equipped with these seven top tech for emergencies, you definitely will be.
Do you have any other products you can’t live without in an emergency, like the LaZerVoLT that we featured on the Discovery Channel? Please let us know!