Top 5 PrepariphenaliaBrian Neville
I believe it was the Oregon Disaster Response team that coined the term “prepariphenalia.” We liked it so much that we decided to share our Top 5 list of favorite emergency preparedness gadgets, more affectionately known as prepariphenalia:
1. Emergency Mylar Blankets – we appreciate anything that has more than one use and Mylar blankets are a must-have in every emergency stash and every emergency kit. Mylar resists ultraviolet radiation so they are very effective at making shade and serving as sun protection, they’re windproof and waterproof so they can serve as lean-to material in a pinch, and when you wrap yourself in one it prevents about 90% of the body’s heat loss. They can also be used the other way, to insulate things you want to keep cold. It’s also interesting to note that if you’re under a Mylar blanket you won’t be detectible by heat-sensing devices. These blankets are cheap, lightweight and fold up extremely small. They usually come in 10-packs, so you should have no trouble coming up with uses for all 10.
2. Magnesium fire starters – Magnesium spark gadgets are the modern replacement for matches and lighters, which are perfectly useless when wet or at high altitude. These inexpensive little guys give off a 5,400 degree Fahrenheit spark anytime, anywhere – even if your material is damp. Also, it’s so incredibly bright you can use it as an emergency beacon. They last for 12,000 strikes, which is about one fire a day for 33 years by our calculations. That ought to do it.
3. Portable solar charging panels – Small solar panels have been around long enough to now have the bugs worked out. The size of a laptop or smaller, these panels can charge cell phones, computers and other electronics for around 20 hours. They’re inexpensive (usually under $100), lightweight (about 5 ounces), charge fully in about 8 hours, and when equipped with a battery can hold a charge for up to 3 months. But solar panels aren’t the only portable charging devices out there. Small camp stoves like the BioLite and PowerPot are fitted with electricity-producing heat-exchangers that can offer similar charging capabilities as portable solar panels.
4. Mini water purifiers – It’s smart to have a family-size water purifier in your stash. However, if you have to leave quickly or get stuck traveling in emergency conditions, a mini water purifier may be the most important thing you’ll have. Dehydration can happen in a matter of hours even under normal conditions and cause all kinds of other problems once it sets in, including becoming a life threatening situation. Clean water is also hard to come by , and when found can also become tainted very easily. A good mini water purifier (like the Katadyn Mini Ceramic Water Microfilter) will filter about 2,000 gallons of water and is small enough to fit in a small bag or coat pocket.
5. Rain barrels –As one of the most underestimated, hardworking emergency preparedness items on the market, rain barrels cost around $100 and are inexpensive, durable and priceless if the water goes off. Rain barrels catch a huge amount of clean rainwater and keep it handy and insect free for you until you need it. There are all kinds of add-ons for rain barrels that make them even more useful, from portable pumps to downspout diverters. Get the black version and you’ll have solar-heated water for cooking and bathing.