Best Weather Radio – All Hand-Crank!

Emergency radios are one of the most important pieces of survival equipment you can have. They can’t be replicated with bushcraft or natural tools.  In the case of many disasters, power and communications might go down. If you’ve got your own hand-crankable radio, you’ll stay connected. This is why picking the best weather radio is so crucial. In some instances, information about disaster movement could very well mean your life! 

Below I’ve put together a collection of the best hand-crank weather radios I could find. I tried to pull from different categories so no matter your situation, you’ll be able to find the right one for you. It’s a crucial part of your bug out bag!

Best Budget Weather Radio – Esky 3W

Best Budget Weather Radio - Esky 3W

This radio is the perfect example to show that you don’t need to empty your wallet to do some solid prepping. With the yellow model coming in at $20 and the red even lower, this radio is a steal!

This radio has two ways to charge, solar and hand crank. The combination of these two methods will keep you fully charged in any situation.

Not to mention, it’s got a charging port to let you hook up your USB devices. This combined with the flashlight make this a very versatile tool for a very low price.

Reviewers love the value for the price. But they do note that the battery doesn’t last very long when charging smartphones.

Overall, this weather radio is an excellent tool for the absurdly low price!

Best Multi-Use Weather Radio – Midland ER310

Best Multi-Use Weather Radio - Midland ER310

If you’re looking for the Swiss army knife of emergency weather radios, look no further! This radio has all the features that have become standard, with a few fun new tricks.

This radio has hand-crank and solar, but on top of that, you can charge it with a USB. This means that on top of all it’s functionality, it’s a fully functioning power bank. 

It’s got all the standard features. It’s got a built in flashlight, an AM/FM/NOAA radio. But it’s got some fun stuff too. It comes with an ultrasonic dog whistle built right in. The other feature I think is nice is an SOS strobe feature. The flashlight will automatically signal SOS in morse code. A useful feature if you find yourself in trouble!

Reviewers found some issue with the proprietary battery used by this company. (It’s hard to replace). That said, you can also use AA batteries which are possibly the most standard battery out there.

Best Value Weather Radio – RunningSnail

Best Value Weather Radio - RunningSnail

The RunningSnail is the best low-cost but high-function option. Coming in at $30, this radio is a good deal! 

This radio has three ways to charge, hand-crank, solar, and battery power. This radio actually accepts AAAs, which is less common but appreciated by reviewers. 

Owners that have been through hurricanes love this one! They talk about how the battery holds up and really does charge the phone. Since this is chargeable by USB, it’s an effective power bank. That means you can use this all the time, even without an emergency!

Many love the simple sense of security that this inexpensive radio can bring. If you don’t have a weather radio and want to pick one up for the peace-of-mind, this is a good choice for you!

Top Highest Rated Weather Radio – FosPower

Top Highest Rated Weather Radio - FosPower

The FosPower radio is the highest rated on Amazon. With a 4.6 out of over 5000 reviews, this radio has stood the test of time. Don’t take my word for it, this is Amazon’s “Best Choice” for weather radios. 

A feature I like that this radio has is the double light. It’s got a full flashlight on the front but also a reading light on the side. The three charging methods will keep these lights running. Even when everything else goes dark. 

You’ve got your choice of solar, hand crank, and USB charging to keep it stocked. As long as you do, it’ll serve you well.

At $40, reviewers love that this radio is a big bang for your buck. Many have taken this radio through hurricanes and come out the other side with only good things to say!

Best Quality Pick – Kaito KA500

Best Quality Pick - Kaito KA500

This sturdy, feature-packed radio from Kaito is a hit. This weather radio leaves nothing out and will not leave you disappointed! 

With the most options yet, this radio has 6 ways to power! If you want to crank it or use solar, you’re in good shape. If you want to run it off it’s own internal battery or off of AA’s, you’re in luck. You can even plug this radio directly into the wall or a USB port!

It doesn’t disappoint on features either. It’s got a flashlight and reading lamp, as you may have come to expect. It’s also got an AM, FM, Weather, and Shortwave radio, with handy dials to control bands.

There are a lot of good Voyager Emergency radios out there. This one is no exception!

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Bug Out Now! What Is Bugging Out?

Bugging out as a term is something that’s risen in popularity over the last couple decades. You may have heard of bug out bags, bugging out prep, or bug out locations. This popularity stems from growing worry that something could come around the corner. Something that could destabilize life as we know it.

Man mid bug out, stopping to look at forest.

Bugging Out In A Nutshell

“Bugging Out” is when you take your close loved ones and some survival supplies. Then you leave the place where you normally live and do business. There are different degrees of bugging out.

A Common Bug Out Example

For instance, when you live in a coastal area with hurricane risks you have to evacuate. This is asked by the authorities if a dangerous storm is moving in. You’d likely pack up your loved ones and pets and pile into a car with some basic supplies. For something at this level, you can just head to go stay with family or friends or even at a hotel. Even though you’re planning on coming home after it blows over, this is still bugging out.

You’ve probably heard the term “Bug Out Bag” if you’ve heard about bugging out. These can go from simple to elaborate. For this hurricane threat, you may consider having a bag (or tub) with some water, some protein bars, a first aid kit, and maybe a few other pieces of gear. This would be planning for the unlikely event that something unexpected happens while you’re evacuating.

Complex Bugging Out

Bugging out can get a lot more involved than a simple evacuation. Some bug out plans don’t involve ever coming home again. This of course would be very unnecessary in the case of a hurricane. Of course, a more catastrophic disaster could make this necessary. Even some sort of threat from a foreign military presence could call for this. In the case of these more serious events your bug out bag is going to be much larger. It’s going to have a lot more supplies. And it may even be geared to just getting you out of your normal area and to a secondary location. This secondary location (or bug out location) is somewhere that you’ve planned to evacuate to before hand.

In larger situations like this you may hear the term “INCH Bag” or other “INCH” related phrases. This stands for “I’m Never Coming Home”, and is as serious as it sounds. The only situations you would consider this in are ones where you believe that your home won’t even be there anymore. Possibly, situations where the area around your home will become too dangerous to ever return.

A Historical Bug Out Example

A historical example of an INCH situation might be the Chernobyl Disaster. The residents of Pripyat hardly had time to gather anything before being hurried out of the city. They were never able to ever return to their homes due to the radiation. INCH situations are a severity of bugging out. They’re the highest one you could encounter.

For situations like the one we mentioned about with hurricanes, it’s a good idea to have at least a basic bug out plan. Some people consider this and all “prepping” to be doomsday nonsense. That couldn’t be more wrong. There are plenty of situations that you should be prepared for. Situations that wouldn’t be nearly interesting enough for a movie plot.

You don’t need to let the fear of something bad happening get you down, though! In fact, knowing that you’re prepared if something should happen can bring a lot of peace of mind. In the event of a real disaster you won’t have much time to prepare. By preparing ahead of time you can ensure that you’ll be ready. As they say, hope for the best, prepare for the worst!

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Bug Out Location: What Is A Bug Out Property?

A bug out location is anywhere that you plan to bug out to. A bug out property is a property specifically owned for fleeing to in the event of a catastrophe or it’s a property that people agree to meet at in case of a SHTF (S*** Hits The Fan) scenario. These properties are usually out away from the city and for that reason are more important if you live in a major city. 

Bug out location high on a mountain.

Why A Bug Out Location Instead Of Your Home?

Major cities are inherently unsustainable. They can’t produce enough resources to support themselves, it’s just a fact. During normal life, this isn’t a problem. Cities are hubs of trade or creative products so they generate value and can trade. There’s a flow in and out of resources and people are generally taken care of. That flow relies on lots of massive and intricate supply chains. Those supply chains rely on things we may take for granted. Things like power, communication, and physical resources. The chains themselves need fuel and supplies to run!

In the event of major catastrophes, or even localized ones these supply chains break down quickly. The 2006 Hurricane Katrina remains a frightening example of this. Existing resources within a city can be quickly depleted. (As we even saw with the runs on toilet paper and other necessities with the start of the Covid-19 lockdowns). When these resources are depleted cities are not a good or fun place to be for you or your loved ones.

You Need To Get Out Of Dodge

When the SHTF you can take your supplies and go pitch a tent in the woods. You’d likely be better off there than in the middle of New York City. Or you can bug out to a location that you’ve planned on previously.

It’s common to see in history (and movies about history) that when there are bad things afoot, we head for the hills. During WWII, families sent their children from urban London out to rural England. They’d stay with family or even with non-family that would offer to take them.

In half of the apocalypse movies out there (probably more), the main goal of the heroes is to get away. They’re working towards some family member or friend that has a property away city. They’re trying to flee the hellscape that the city has become. The morale of the story is that you need to get out of heavily populated areas. These areas with their dwindling resources get unsafe.

Where Should Your Bug Out Location Be?

In comes the bug-out property. This is a place that (ideally) you can go to before you need it. You can stash supplies or other resources that will come in handy. You can fell and get to this place if and your resources if the SHTF. A bug out property is usually also a place with natural resources. A place that won’t be disrupted by supply chain breakdown. Fresh water is a must for any long-term survival. The presence of animals and plants that can support you is also important. A bug out property isn’t very useful if you have to go back into the fray a couple weeks after leaving it.

The final important factor in what determines a good bug out location is isolation. Even out in the country you’ll need to make sure that your bug out location is far enough away. Stay away from places of interest so that you don’t get harassed. If you’ve got a nice thicket of woods picked out but it’s a couple hours walk from a major city, you won’t be alone out there. The whole point of the bug out property is to get away from people that could do you or your loved ones harm.

To wrap it all up, a bug out location is a place that you own or have designated that you can “bug out” to. If the going gets really rough, you know where to go. Ideally this is a place with resources (natural or otherwise). A place that will let you stay there and far away from unrest in areas with denser populations.

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