I've been going through my emergency go-bags as part of my annual review of them, and the old handcrank flashlight/radio is sort of outdated. It still works and is worth keeping in the second go-bag, but it doesn't have the ability to charge devices and it can't charge itself via the sun. So, I found this nifty - and inexpensive - handcrank/solar charger for devices, which not only has a basic radio but offers a weather band that automatically tunes in to the National Weather Service. I got it from amazon.com, but there are many different types of these devices available.
Having a handcrank charging device in your go-bag can be a valuable addition for several reasons:
Emergency Power Generation: In a crisis situation, power sources may become scarce or unavailable. A handcrank charger allows you to generate electricity on-demand by manually turning the crank. This feature ensures that you can charge essential devices like smartphones, radios, flashlights, or GPS units even when conventional power outlets or batteries are inaccessible.
Off-Grid Capability: If you find yourself in a remote location or during an outdoor adventure where there is no access to electricity, a handcrank charger becomes particularly useful. It enables you to harness human power and convert it into electrical energy, providing you with a reliable means of charging your devices in off-grid scenarios. Of course, off-grid doesn't necessarily mean out in the middle of nowhere. It could mean hunkering down in your vehicle for a couple days until help arrives or you can get to a shelter.
Communication and Emergency Services: During emergencies, communication is crucial. With a handcrank charger, you can ensure that your communication devices, such as cell phones or two-way radios, remain operational. Being able to charge these devices can help you stay connected with loved ones, receive important updates, or reach out to emergency services if needed. And, by the way, have you looked at your local emergency services website lately? They offer a wealth of resources. You can find your local emergency services agencies starting here: https://www.usa.gov/state-emergency-management
Versatility and Portability: Handcrank chargers are usually compact, lightweight, and portable, making them ideal for inclusion in a go-bag or emergency kit. They are designed to be easily carried and can fit into small spaces. Their versatility allows you to charge multiple devices, as they often come with various charging adapters, USB ports, or even built-in batteries to store the generated power.
Sustainable and Renewable Energy: Handcrank chargers harness human power, which is a renewable energy source. Unlike traditional battery-powered devices, a handcrank charger does not rely on disposable batteries or access to electricity. By using it, you contribute to a more sustainable approach to power generation, reducing reliance on non-renewable resources.
Long-Term Power Outages: In situations where power outages persist for an extended period, having a handcrank charger can be a lifesaver. You can maintain communication, access important information, or use your electronic devices when traditional power sources are unavailable. This is especially relevant during natural disasters, blackouts, or other emergency situations.
Aside from being able to easily charge devices, I really like being able to tune-in the NOAA Weather Radio on this device. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I received the handcrank radio, I cranked it for about 2 minutes, tops, and could immediately bring in current weather reports and information, having extended the handy antenna.
Remember to familiarize yourself with the specific handcrank charger you choose and test it periodically to ensure it functions as intended. Also, consider complementing it with other power alternatives, such as solar panels or portable battery packs, for a more comprehensive and reliable power solution in your go-bag.