Each year I try to encourage my readers to consider buying preparedness gifts for the holiday season. While a bit non-traditional, a first aid kit, or an LED flashlight, will come in far handier during an emergency than an ugly Christmas sweater or a boxed selection of exotic cheeses.
This is something I've done for friends and family for decades, and something I have promoted in this blog since 2007 (see Hickory Farms Will Hate Me For This).
Over the years I’ve given water filters, LED lanterns, NWS weather radios, MREs, batteries, first aid kits, and emergency stoves for gifts. Most of theses gifts were had for under $25, and they are the type of thing that most people don't think to buy for themselves.
Batteries, and battery chargers make terrific preparedness gifts. Just about everyone uses AA or AAA batteries, and you can either buy a decent quantity of disposable batteries, or go `green’ with a handful of rechargeable batteries and a charger for under $20.
When the lights go out, nothing beats having a couple of good LED flashlights or lanterns. And each year they get brighter, and cheaper. Most run between $5 and $10, and that beats the heck out of cursing the darkness.
A couple of years ago I bought several water filtration systems, one to keep and a couple to give to prepping buddies. LifeStraw ® is now available in the United States and Canada; at just 2 ounces, this personal water filter will reportedly filter 1000 liters down to .2 microns. Not bad for around $20.
While I've not tried it, I hear good things about the Sawyer Water filter (again, about $20). And if nothing else, a bottle (or box) of water purification tablets will work in a pinch,.
Emergency cook stoves can be had for under $20. A 1 burner propane camp stove costs about $12, add a couple of 1 pound propane cylinders (about $3 each) and you can cook for a family for a week.
Something as simple, and as utilitarian, as a multi-function `Swiss’ army knife or a `Multi-tool’ also makes great preparedness gifts.
For emergency electrical power, I found an 80 watt cigarette lighter inverter for my car. It can power a small laptop, and has a USB charger port as well. Under $20. A few of these will end up in the stockings of friends this year.
And for under $10, you can pick up a cigarette lighter USB charger, that can top off your phone or mobile device.
While I can’t predict what 2017 will bring to you and your loved ones, it’s pretty good bet that between severe weather and other natural disasters, there are going to be plenty of people across this country who will wish they had most – if not all – of these items before the lights went out.
Because, during any emergency, the advantage always goes to those who were prepared.