Our world is tightly integrated with the power grid.  What would you do if the power went off and did not come back on for days or weeks?  Having some type of alternative power would make your families life much easier in this situation.  You should prepare something so that you can recharge cell phones for communication, a GPS, or even hand held game devices. You know your teenagers will absolutely die if their cell phones battery dies.  Life without texting is no life at all ;). At a minimum every family should have a backpackable solar panel and power kit. This power kit includes a foldable solar panel and power kit to recharge cell phones, personal game players, and AA/AAA batteries. This power kit should be stored with your disaster kit.

Related to power is light.  In any type of disaster the power will be out.  That is a given.  The only real question is how long will it be out?  Having light at night will be a great comfort for the family.  Especially if there are little children.  You need to have batteries for flashlights and radios.  Light at night is a huge comfort.  Try finding a child having a nightmare in the pitch black.  Kids will be a little freaked after any type of disaster and light will help calm them down.

Another thing to consider is the ability to recharge laptops so that you can play games or watch movies as a family.  A disaster does not have to be horrible.  If you plan for it and are prepared your family will survive both physically and emotionally.

Where will this power come from?  You have a couple of choices:

  1. Solar power
  2. Generator

Solar Power

Solar power is cool.  There are battery packs and solar panels small enough to take backpacking.  Which means you can keep one in your emergency bag.  These smaller ones are adequate to recharge cell phones, hand held games, and AA or AAA batteries.  Bigger units have the ability to act as outlets, with the separate inverter.  You can plug different utilities into them.  Based on what you want to power these bigger units can chain together.  There are light kits available to light entire rooms, or just enough to read by.  A useful thing about solar power is that no one needs to know you have it.  It is easier to protect resources that others do not know you have.

Here is a basic description of how solar power works. The solar panel converts sunlight into DC power or electricity to charge the battery or power pack. This DC electricity/(charge) is controlled via a solar regulator (built into Goal0 equipment) which ensures the battery is charged properly and not damaged and that power is not lost/(discharged). DC appliances can then be powered directly from the battery, but AC appliances need a power inverter to convert the DC electricity into 220 Volt AC power.

At a minimum every family should have the Guide 10 Adventure Kit. This enables you to recharge your cell phones and AA/AAA batteries for your flashlights.

Here is a printable solar power description and calculator.


Generators are very powerful – as long as you have gas.  Another disadvantage is they are noisy which means that others around you will know you have a generator.  Be prepared for neighbors to ask for usage and for thieves to break in and try to steal it.  Generators can power fridges, TVs, even the house if you a big enough one and have it wired correctly.

The time to prepare is now.  What is your budget?  What are the chances of a disaster occurring?  What is the cost/benefit ratio of the different options?  The choice is yours, but to do nothing and hope for the best will leave you and your family hanging out to dry.

I sell two styles of zombie shirts, in one the person is prepared and is getting away.  In the other they are stuck up a tree.   Don’t be stuck up a tree.