Andy Fleming writing on living off the grid...

You never know when the power might cut out. Floods, storms, economic collapse…it’s always a good idea to have some items on hand that don’t require electricity.

Fortunately, constant innovation in the field of solar technology gives us a host of tools to provide heat, electricity, light, and clean water in the event that the grid isn’t available. Beef up your emergency kit with these handy, solar-powered items.

1. Solar Powered Flashlight

Flashlight

Everyone should have a solar powered flashlight around, and when you can get two for under $5 why wouldn’t you? At the very least, it’s a welcome change from having to constantly replace batteries. These particular flashlights will hold a charge for up to three years. You can easily stick them in the sunlight until charged, then stash one or both away for when you need them the most.

2. Solar Spark Firestarter

This solar fire tool will allow you to continue sparking fires without using finite resources like lighter fuel or matches. Technically, this Firestarter is just a stainless-steel, parabolic mirror, perfectly designed to reflect the sun’s rays to a precise point. The Firestarter works in seconds and can reach hundreds of degrees.

3. Solar Water Thermos

Solar powered thermos

This “solar kettle” collects solar heat and concentrates it in a small area. Using this, you can heat 16 ounces of water to boiling temperatures in minutes, even in freezing temperatures. This will allow you to sterilize small amounts of drinking water or prepare dehydrated meals on the fly.

4. Solar Cooking System

Solar cooking system

Priced at just $60, this is an extremely affordable, compact, and lightweight way to prepare meals using the sun. This set of parabolic mirrors will cook most food in about an hour, and can also be used to pasteurize water.

5. Solar Oven

Solar oven

If you’re looking for a more complete solar cooking solution, this affordable and versatile solar oven is your best option. You can use it to bake traditional meals or for drying produce and herbs. It folds into a bag in seconds for easy storage and comes complete with some cookware.

6. Solar Shower

Solar Powered Shower

A great way to keep clean without electricity, this 5-gallon bag is covered with insulated and reflective material. Filling the bag and hanging it in direct sunlight will allow you to heat water to over 100 degrees (F) over three hours. This is also a good way to wash dishes in a pinch.

7. Solar Radio

Solar powered radio

One of the most versatile solar radio options. This device can be charged using an outlet, usb connection, or hand crank. The radio also features a flashlight and a solar panel, which will significantly increase its battery life. You can use the radio to pick up news and weather broadcasts or charge any usb device (like your phone).

8. Solar Battery Charger

Solar Battery Charger

Charge 11 different types of batteries, from AAA to D with this solar charger. This is an effective method for “storing” the energy of the sun for later use without resorting to a big, expensive solar battery. A cheap way to prepare for cloudy days.

9. Solar Backpack

Solar Power Charger backpack

The solar backpack is a bit of a “luxury” solar item, but it could be helpful to consolidate your carrying bag and solar charger into a single item. This backpack will charge your devices through a 5V usb port and also features a 1.8 L hydration pack for carrying water. It’s a backpack, solar charging station, and water carrier all in one.

Main image: ©iStock.com/ckellyphoto 

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