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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Great gadgets for surviving a hurricane

When hunkered down for an approaching hurricane, the essential things you typically need are power, light, information, water and food. Food is the easy one, and if you lose power you'll be surprised how long you can survive on granola bars and beef jerky. For the other needs, however, some gadgets can keep you out of the dark, powered up, connected and hydrated.

In the past, radio and television broadcasts have been among the best sources of information during a hurricane. They will continue to be so, but due to the prevalence of smartphones and tablet computers, the information provided by social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and local news sites will be even more valuable. So in addition to the gadget list below, add a smartphone with Twitter and Facebook accounts to your hurricane survival checklist.

Watch the video below to see the gadgets in action. Full descriptions with links to everything on the last follow the video.

powerpack600-trans.pngDuracell Powerpack 600

If you're going to stay connected during the storm, you'll need power for your smartphone, tablet computer and other items. The Duracell Powerpack 600 can provide portable power for AC and DC-powered electronics like smartphones, laptops, tablets, small electric coolers, lights, small televisions, fans and more. It has three AC sockets and one DC socket with a built-in inverter. It also has a light, an AM/FM radio and a digital clock. With the attached cables you also can use it to jump-start a car. You won't be using a gas generator until after the storm passes, so this is a quiet and safe way to keep things powered up. Sells for about $150.

gorillatorch-switchback-tall-l.jpgGorillaTorch Switchback

Flashlights capable of more than one task are especially helpful during a storm. The GorillaTorch Switchback quickly transforms from a compact and bright LED lantern to a high-performance headlamp. It's rated to run for up to 72 hours on just two AA batteries and it comes with a Gorillapod tripod you can use for attaching it to many things. Retails for $59.95

 

screen_shot_2011-05-19_at_5.56.30_pm.pngEtón FR160B Microlink weather radio

A good AM/FM/Weather radio is an essential hurricane survival gadget, especially if Internet service is lost. The Etón Microlink is a good choice because it's not only a radio but a hand-crank flashlight and USB device charger too. And for after the storm an attached solar panel can be used to charge things too. Sells for about $30

proaa2d.png

Lenmar battery adapters

Batteries are always the first to disappear from the shelves when a hurricane is approaching. What do you do if you need D cells but all you can find is AA? These battery adapters from Lenmar can help. Just slip a AA battery inside to convert it to a C or D cell. Of course the batteries won't last as long but they will work. Available in packs of four, for about $8

wr2a3ace.jpgEnergizer Weather Ready 4 LED flashlight

Here's another alternative when you need a flashlight but to work with a variety of battery sizes. The Energizer Weather Ready 4 LED flashlight delivers 56 lumens of light and will run on C, AA or AAA batteries. It ships with two C batteries installed and sells for about $14.

screen_shot_2011-05-19_at_3.51.46_pm.pngRCA Battery Operated Portable Digital ATSC TV

If you want to watch local and national news broadcasts during the storm, this small LED TV from RCA will give you a clear digital picture. With a 3.5" LED backlit screen it can be powered for up to three hours with four AA batteries. Smaller than a 3X5-inch index card, it's perfect for your hurricane kit. This model, the DHT235C, will receive digital ATSC signals only but RCA has some other models that also will receive the new Mobile DTV format for reception on the go. Prices range from $89 to $179.

aquamira.pngAquarmira Frontier Pro Ultralight water filter

Water is another one of the things to disappear from shelves when a hurricane is approaching. After a storm, water lines may be damaged and contaminated. The Aquamira Frontier Pro is a water purification device that you attach to a normal water bottle. It uses an antimicrobial filter to remove giardia, cryptosporidium and E. Coli. Each filter is good for 50 gallons of water filtration. Sells for about $20

sp_338275_hand_hurrgadgets_7.jpgAquaPodKit emergency water storage

Many hurricane survival guides will advise you to fill your bathtub with water for use after a storm. You can scrub your tub and fill it but do you really want to drink that water? The AquaPodKit is a large bladder for your bathtub and you can use it to store up to 65 gallons of water in each tub as the storm approaches. Just put it in the tub, attach it to your faucet and fill it. A hand pump is included so you can access the water when needed. The deluxe kit comes with three tub liners and sells for $29.99.

sp_338275_hand_hurrgadgets_10.jpgEZ Grill disposable grills

If the power is off and you're sick of eating granola bars and beef jerky, these disposable charcoal grills by EZ Grill provide a simple way to heat up some food without the worry of propane tanks. Just rip one open, light it and cook your food. They come in different sizes and start at $9.99.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 7:37am]

    

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