Powering Electronic Equipment
If the power goes out where you are staying, whether it’s in your home, vacation site, office, hotel or if you are camping or hiking off the grid, how do you handle powering lights, phones etc.? Most families have some type of backup for lighting, whether it be flashlight, lantern or candles. It is important to make sure that whatever backup source you have is in working order and has adequate power to last for the period you will need it. Also it is important that you know where your flashlight, etc. is located and that you can get to it easily in the dark.
Now that you have a working backup source and can access it easily (and know how to use it) the next question is, how long will that power source last and do you have a backup for it? Most of the time if we are in a grid down situation it is for only a short time, but that is not always the case. Many of the victims of Hurricane Sandy were in the dark for well over a week, some longer than that.
Last year I took inventory of the flashlights and lanterns in our home and found that they ran on an assortment of C batteries, D batteries, small propane tanks, AA batteries, AAA batteries, and one on a battery pack. Some could be recharged from the wall socket only. Some of the lanterns were quite bulky and could be used at home or car camping but I wouldn’t want to haul them around with me it I needed to evacuate my home. After some study online I decided to buy a small solar battery charger and extra rechargeable batteries and to build my emergency power backup around this.
There are a number of solar battery chargers on the market and reviews range from bad to above average. I purchased one that is not inexpensive, but it has great reviews from outdoorsmen who have used it for extended periods while backpacking. The Goal Zero Plus Solar Kit has a solar charger that will charge 4 AA or AAA batteries at one time. It also will charge most phones (check with the company for your model). The 12V port will run a fan that I own which is a plus. It charges my Kindle. However, if you wish to charge your laptop or larger tablets this unit is probably not sufficient. There are larger models available for that application. If you have any questions, you may contact Sister McDermed or the company directly.