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We live in uncertain times. With the coronavirus pandemic and reports of an especially active hurricane season, it’s important to be prepared in case a storm hits during quarantine. Many disinfecting items like cleaning wipes are still hard to find, and you do not want to be without essentials only to find they’re out of stock when you need them most.
Organizations like the American Red Cross recommend stocking up on non-perishable food and water in case of a hurricane, high winds, tornadoes, or other natural disasters as well as having items like flashlights, multi-tools, and first aid kits. Here are 14 things to buy right now to be prepared for a storm or other emergency.
1. The best flashlight we’ve ever tested
A powerful, long-lasting flashlight is essential in every storm and power outage. Our experts found that the Olight S2 Baton is the best flashlight of all the ones we tested because it's lightweight yet durable. It also uses something called Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens, which creates a bright beam of light that stretches up to 21 feet away.
2. Long-lasting rechargeable batteries
It’s recommended to keep a stash of batteries to power your flashlights, lanterns, and other essentials if the power goes out. When we tested reusable batteries, we found that these Energizer rechargeable ones were the best. They can hold an above-average 2300 mAh, will last for up to five hours with continuous use, and they come fully pre-charged and ready to use, so they’ll be fully juiced up when you need them.
3. A battery pack to keep your electronics charged
Even when the power goes out, you're going to want a powerful portable charger to keep your electronics (think: smartphones and Nintendo Switches) juiced up. The Jackery Bolt has a capacity of 10,050mAh, which is enough to charge an iPhone XR three times (!!) along with other devices. That’s why we named it the best USB battery pack of 2020. Aside from a USB port, it boasts lightning and micro USB cables and can charge multiple devices at the same time. Plus, it comes with a built-in flashlight, which is great for emergencies.
4. A multitool with a plethora of gadgets
Storms often coincide with damages—most of which can be difficult to fix immediately. But small damages like a broken hinge or leaky faucet can be fixed with some tinkering and a great multitool. Here at Reviewed, we recommend the Leatherman Wave+, which is our favorite multitool. Not only is it packed with 18 useful tools like needle nose pliers, wire cutters, straight blades, scissors, and bottle opener, but it’s high quality and can handle some quick household chores (we were able to install a dishwasher and take apart a watch with it).
5. A portable generator to power the big stuff
A portable generator is great to have around when prepping for a storm and can be used to operate some of your appliances and devices. While on the pricier side, reviewers swear by this 2,200-watt portable generator from Honda. It’s earned more than 300 reviews on Home Depot and maintains a 4.8-star rating. Reviewers claim it lasted them up to five hours of continuous use on just one gallon of gas and have used it for everything from power outages from hurricanes to camping in the wilderness.
6. An emergency blanket to keep the heat in
When temperatures drop at night and the heat is out, it’s going to get chilly—fast. And while layers of fuzzy blankets and comforters might keep you warm, the most effective way to keep the heat in is to use an emergency blanket, which is recommended by the American Red Cross to have on hand during a hurricane. Although it’s thin and lightweight, this blanket is made of vacuum-metalized polyethylene Heatsheets and reflects 90% body heat that will keep you nice and toasty.
7. An expertly-stocked first aid kit
A solid first aid kit is always good to have on hand, but it’s especially important during a storm. You never know what kind of accidents will happen and you don’t want to be out of band-aids when you can’t make it to the store. One of our editors, who lives on the road, recommends this one from Adventure Medical Kits. Although it's intended for hikers, it has everything you could need for basic injuries.
8. These clips to protect your windows
In cases of intense winds, you’re going to want to protect your windows with wooden boards or hurricane shutters to prevent the glass from breaking in. It’s also essential to secure them so they don’t blow away and leave you uncovered. Reviewers trust these window clips to keep everything in place and say they’re durable and easy to put in. One user says these clips made sure their boards didn’t even budge in 115+ mile per hour winds.
9. Our favorite umbrella on the market
Depending on the severity of the storm, you’re going to want a durable umbrella for when you need to take the dog out or book it to your car. Of all the umbrellas we’ve tested, we found that the Davek Solo was the best of the best. It held up when faced with strong winds and rains, which is essential for staying covered during a storm. Plus, our editor-in-chief has owned his for years and can attest to its durability.
10. Bug spray that actually keeps insects away
Stocking up on bug spray likely isn’t your first thought when it comes to prepping for a storm, but believe me, you’re going to want it. When the power and the A/C goes out, the bugs start to fester. With more than 4,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating on Amazon, reviewers love this 40% DEET insect repellent. They claim that the scent isn’t overpowering and some say that it’s the only repellent that actually keeps mosquitoes off them.
11. A bright lantern that will last through the night
While a flashlight is fine and dandy, you’re also going to want to have some lanterns around for some illumination when the power goes out. These ones, in particular, are highly-rated and water-resistant, so they won’t short circuit during a storm. They’re super bright at 1,000 lumens and can run continuously for up to six days with one set of batteries.
12. A trusty can opener for non-perishables
Before any storm, it’s essential to load up on non-perishables like canned beans, soup, and dried food. But you also need to make sure you have a reliable can opener, so you can actually open your goods. Trust me, attempting to open a can with a knife is both frustrating and dangerous. That’s why we recommend having the EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener on hand as it’s the best can opener we’ve ever tested. It’s ergonomic and will last for years to come.
13. A solar-powered radio
While you can get the weather and news updates of a storm from a smartphone, if said phone dies, you’re plumb out of luck. But a radio ensures that you can get these updates the old school way. This one is certified by the National Weather Service and has over 4,000 reviews as well as a 4.5-star rating. Reviewers say it has great sound quality and reception (it picks up AM, FM, and seven NOAA weather stations), is easy to use, and is powered via hand crank generator, solar panel, or batteries—meaning you can always have access to important updates.
14. Strike-anywhere matches
Whether you’re lighting a candle or your gas stove, matches are essential to have on hand during a store. With more than 1,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating, reviewers are fond of this 900 count set from Diamond. Reviewers claim they light fast and last long enough to light multiple candles at once.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed.com: 14 things to buy now in case of a storm during the pandemic