Archive for March, 2011

Solar/Windup Emergency Light-Radio-Phone Charger

Rating 4/5 ★★★★☆ 

Although I live in England now, I have kin just a few miles from where three tornadoes touched down recently. People got hurt (one woman died) and a lot of the town was destroyed. I’ve also been through some crises in the UK (repeated floods) and elsewhere (including hurricanes and blizzards).

You never expect the power to go out for as long as it does. You don’t think about how to reach people with the telephone system down. If you stockpile batteries in advance, you forget about them and when the emergency hits they’ve run down too much.

That’s what this gadget is for. It isn’t just for getting some radio news about the situation and having some light. I’ve noticed that the cellular phone network starts working pretty quickly after most disasters, but the battery in the phone runs down while the towers are out of service. That’s why I prefer this particular unit so I can charge my pocket phone.

I’m not going to quote other people about this–I personally hate to face a disaster without it. Click here to get it from QuakeKare Inc emergency preparedness specialists.


  • Compact
  • Produces enough light, for long enough, to deal with emergencies
  • Don’t need to keep it charged, either put it in the sun for a while or wind it for a while before using it
  • It’s multifunction so your emergency kit is more compact
  • Since the light is LED, one charge goes a long way at night and you don’t have to worry about bulbs burning out


  • Not terribly bright (but it sure beats pitch dark)
  • Has a bluish tint
  • Has ni-cad batteries, so you should let the battery run all the way down before recharging

In an emergency, there’s no substitute for being prepared. QuakeKare offers this at a good price, and some variations if your priorities are not the same as mine. For example, if you’re in tornado country, you might prefer the version with a Weather Band radio.

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Draper 45943 3 LED Waterproof Wind-up Torch

Rating 4.5/5 ★★★★½ 

For years I’ve carried a small battery powered torch in the car in case something goes wrong at night. Torches with LEDs stretch a battery for a long time, but not forever. I forget to change the batteries and the torch is useless when I need it.

At least, that’s how it has been up to now. Not any more!

This is small enough to keep in the car. It runs long enough on a one-minute wind-up session (about 40 minutes) to get me through the crisis of the evening. It’s waterproof, which is essential in Britain.

“Jonathan C” says:

Since I purchased one back in November last year (and a second in January) it has illuminated my journey home from work through a couple of heavy snow blizzards and 5-metre visibility fog – on muddy paths through woodland in pitch black darkness, no street lights anywhere near. I normally wind it for about 15-20 seconds before each use and it’s never faded on me yet, even when used continuously for up to an hour. The beam isn’t focused enough for close-up work, but then there are other torches designed for that use.

Want one for your car, or for that drawer in your kitchen where you keep a torch in case the power goes out? Click here to get it at Amazon.


  • Compact
  • Produces enough light, for long enough, to deal with nighttime emergencies
  • Don’t need to keep it charged, just wind it for a minute before using it
  • Works in the rain (and I understand it’s even submersible)
  • Has three operating modes: dim, bright or flashing (handy for getting traffic to go around a broken-down car)


  • Not terribly bright so get a different model if you need more light
  • Has a bluish tint

Like it already? Amazon is carrying it at a nicely discounted price.

If you’re concerned that winding it might be hard for you to do, “J Morris” says:

Used by a handicapped child whilst on a weeks school holiday.Was easy for him to use and met all his needs, also made him poplar with the others as no-one else had bought spare batteries for their torches. Brilliant

That said, it will only take a reasonable amount of abuse. Drop it a lot or mash the switch like you’re The Terminator and you can break it. If you’re hard on your torches, look at the alternatives Amazon suggests–but you’ll have to pay more to get something better. I think this is good value for money.

It’s eligible for inclusion in free Super Saver shipping. Click here to see it at Amazon UK.