My girlfriend’s joking nickname for me is “prepper.” Yep; I’ve got a go-bag ready in case a disaster strikes. And why not? We live in an apartment in a large city. You’ve only got to do a quick internet search to see how vulnerable urban areas are to any sort of natural disaster. Without a ready supply of power, food, and drinking water, things fall apart pretty quickly.
I’m not a bunker-digger or anything like that. I’ve simply put together a bag with a few basic items that will allow us clean water to drink, to build a fire, and to eat while we make our way out of danger or wait for rescue.
I also included a Kogalla Solar Storage Bank in my bag. It’s a nifty device: a small, foldable 22 W solar panel that collects energy and stores it in a mobile battery. Watching the news, it struck me that one of the major problems people face when a disaster strikes is loss of electricity and the loss of ability to charge their cell phones. Since we rely on our phones for so much – they’re our communication connection to the rest of the world as well as our maps and GPS guides – a cell phone with a dead battery is a big problem in the midst of an emergency.
The Kogalla solves this problem with a convenient kit that fits nicely in my disaster bag. The solar panel and 10,000 mAh power bank fold into a flat package that’s encased in waterproof fabric. The kit also includes micro USB and lightning cables as well as a USB light. It’s also light and easily portable, whether you’re evacuating before or after a disaster or tossing it in your backpack for a hiking or camping trip.
Ever the optimist, my girlfriend also shook her head at me when I tossed the Kogalla in my backpack when we went for a day hike a few weeks ago. “You really think we’ll need to charge things?” she asked. “Why load your bag up with more stuff?”
It’s not that I’m a pessimist; I’m just a realist, so I shrugged, smiled, and tossed in a few more items.
No one was smiling later that day after we’d taken an unfamiliar trail and were having trouble finding our way back down the mountain. The weather app on our phones had indicated that a storm was moving in and then we watched as one phone… and then the other… both ran dead.
I held my breath as I pulled out the Kogalla and set it up. I hadn’t tried it yet. Would it really work?
We unfolded the solar panel and hung it on a tree, facing the sun. We connected my Android to the bank with the lightning cable and waited nervously for it to do something… anything.
Lo and behold, the phone started charging! As excited as we were to grab it and get moving, we forced ourselves to be patient enough to get a decent amount of charge before we packed everything up. We were able to use the map/GPS app to guide ourselves in the direction of the main highway and find the parking lot again.
Needless to say, my girlfriend doesn’t laugh at my prepping anymore – whether it’s for a big disaster or an outdoor excursion. I’m pretty confident the Kogalla Solar Storage Bank will be traveling everywhere with us for now on.