My little fold up solar panels and wind up flashlight came today from American Science & Surplus. The flashlight comes with a DC power outlet that can charge up a cell phone or a small electronic device. A nice feature I did not know it had and I really like how you can turn on 1 to 5 of the LEDs based on needs and power.
The fold-up solar panels are compact and can be charged via the panels, via DC power with the cigarette lighter cord for the car or via an AC outlet. Both panels come with multiple phone charging cords but I think the larger “notebook” panel offers a lot more options via the 3.3 v and 5 v plugins and a built in flashlight. Both of these items are about the size of a deck of cards so they would make a nice addition to a BOB or your car’s emergency kit. The 2 fold-able solar panels, the crank flashlight and ten P38 can openers cost $30.00 including shipping. I’ll be doing some more testing on how the solar panels charge using all methods but I have to say I’m already pleased with the light output of the crank flashlight.
I’ve been doing a lot of small solar panels and the the power packs based on cost, and have a lot of options and redundancy. Having a series of backups saves you from any one failure point stopping you in your tracks. Plus even a little power for gadgets is better than no power at all. You can feel a little better and more in control of your situation. Just like adding the P38 can opener to your keys, you know you will always have a can opener with you at all times for EDC, BOB, BOV or your get home bag.
The tires involved a long wait time to get installed. Looks like everyone saw the weather report of cold, rainy and possibly snow this week and decided today was a good day to get tires. They had a small mistake on them putting on two tires instead of all four, but luckily I caught the error before going out the door and they got right on putting all four. I could feel a difference right away as the city was kind enough to do some street work and I had a nice little slalom course on wet roads to test the tires out. I figure on just based on the tires mile warranty, I shouldn’t have to buy tires for about seven years. Les Schwab tires can be a little more expensive but they are super for service and warranty after you have bought the tires. That’s great for me as rotating tires and other stuff mechanically is a bit beyond me physically! They do all kinds of work so my brakes and other under carriage items must look okay as they are good about giving you a heads up if you need more work done. Plus Les Schwab is local to the Pacific NW so it’s a good fit of having lots of locations but still not a Big Box tire store.
Made for a long day waiting on the tires but defiantly worth it for safety on the road and if oil spikes up again, paying more for tires is one less thing to worry about the next few years.