In light of the recent hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami, and the general uncertainties of modern life, it is smart to have contingency plans. Especially with our unending reliance on all things electronic, loss of power can mean a total loss of communication. And while all of those devices we use are supposed to make life easier, they usually require toting along various cords, adapters, and power units, and then you still need to find a place to plug everything in. So check out these options for on-the-go power, with or without a plug. Sure, you could travel with accessories and connections for each piece of equipment, but why not consolidate?
With the holidays upon us, remember that these gadgets make great gifts too!
Hammacher Schlemmer: The Cell-Phone-Charging Hand-Crank Radio
This contraption is an ingenious combination of weather radio, flashlight, and cell-phone charger--all powered by a hand crank. For major emergencies or quick power outages, this offers both peace of mind and practicality. The flashlight includes a siren and a blinking alert light; the radio accesses seven weather channels and can also be powered by three AA batteries should you tire of cranking. $49.95 www.hammacher.com
Brookstone: Power Pod
"Power Pod"--it just sounds cool, doesn't it? Designed specifically for charging cell phones, this unit lets users recharge from virtually anywhere--a USB port, a car lighter, a 9V battery, or (if you're feeling conventional) an electrical outlet. It fits most phone models and is designed to maximize portability with a retractable power cord and travel pouch. $35 www.brookstone.com
Sharper Image: IGO Everywhere Power 7500
Sharper Image's portable power offering allows you to run and charge a laptop as well as one other device at the same time. The Power 7500 comes with seven connection "tips" for almost any laptop and additional tips are available for phones, MP3 players, PDAs, or digital cameras. $139.95 (marked down to $79.95 at presstime) www.sharperimage.com