Monday, August 11, 2008

Solar and Crank Radio Flashlight

I do more traveling than camping, but this past weekend I got out of the city and went on a fun canoe and camping trip with a bunch of friends. I got to use some of the gear I've reviewed before, including the mini candle lantern (nice), my shake flashlight (awesome), and even a spork.

This combo solar radio and crank flashlight from Gaiam.compictured here has been sitting in my basement in case a tornado hit, but I finally got to toss it into the car and get some use out of it. This item goes beyond "double duty," with a flashlight, flashing signal light, and radio. It can be powered by an A/C adapter, but that seems to defeat the purpose when you've already got a crank and a solar panel. I stuck it out in the sun for a while and then cranked it for half a minute for good measure. We used the flashlight all night without having to recrank it. The claim is that it will run 25 hours on a full charge.

The AM/FM radio sound could have been better in something that lists for $50 it seems: it sounds like your basic cheap transistor radio with a tuner that seems to drift off signal quite easily. Don't try to find a station when your hand is shaking. The whole thing is surprisingly light though, so there's the tradeoff.

The radio is good enough to provide some tunes without being plugged in though and you don't have to worry about the batteries giving out. When you're not using it, this item can also provide some peace of mind. Keep it in the trunk of your car or in your house and you know that no matter what happens to the power supply during a storm or a breakdown, you've got a light, a signal, and a way to hear the news.

By the way, this is post #200 on this travel gear blog. To catch all the new reviews, subscribe here.

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