Making MacGyver Jealous

Sure, we might be a little jealous of his survival skills… after all, he could rig his way out of just about anything. He could work the paper clip, Swiss Army Knife and duct tape to a clever outcome, but he sure would have saved himself a lot of trouble if he’d just kept a gunhand crank/solar powered radio/flashlight, some self-heating meals or even an emergency survival kit on hand. And he’d have definitely made quicker work of the bad guys if he’d protected himself with a firearm. Interesting that he didn’t want to handle a gun but didn’t mind using household chemicals to create poisons or blow things up. I’m just sayin’…

While some of us may be as inventive as MacGyver, the general population needs some major planning for sticky situations and we’d welcome a little advanced technology too. Since you can go online and easily find a list of items to keep on hand in case of a power outage or emergency (even on this blog in last week’s post entitled Be Prepared, Save Your Sanity, Sleep Well Tonight), I’ll forgo including another major list today. Instead, I’m offering links to some items even MacGyver might like to have on hand after a hurricane or during some other dramatic situation. There will always still be plenty of opportunities for the paper clip, knife and duct tape to be pressed into service.


L.L. Bean Emergency Weather Radio (Eton FR360) – Hand crank, solar or battery powered

This little beauty, the Eton FR360 radio/flashlight/phone charger is about 6″ X 6″ and costs $39.99  (there is free shipping and it’s much cheaper than the same thing sold by the Red Cross Store and other outlets). This model can be powered by AC adapter, solar power, hand crank or batteries. (However, 90 seconds of hand-cranking only gives 15 minutes of radio play on this model according to the instructions.)

Eton also has a smaller version (Eton Microlink FR160)

which fits into the palm of your hand, and its about $25.00 and runs for about 30-40 minutes on 90 seconds of hand cranking (depending on the volume setting).

Or you could try this:

Grundig Emergency Radio (FR200) – Hand crank or battery powered (no solar option)

The Grundig hand crank radio is the same price as the L.L. Bean (Eton) radio but keep in mind that the features of the two vary slightly. While the Grundig model has no solar option, the description of it states that one minute of cranking keeps the radio running for an hour which is better than the Eton FR360 shown above. So you’d have to weigh the pros and cons. There are numerous other products such as flashlights and radios on the market that operate in the same fashion for a variety of prices.


From the

Adult 3 day Emergency Preparedness Kit – $49.95 – Click the link for the list of items in this kit.



72 Hour Emergency Survival Kit – $49.00 – Click the link for the items in this kit.

This one has some items the Red Cross Store kit doesn’t have, such as a pocket tool (14 in 1), matches and 3 way can opener. However it has fewer glow sticks than the Red Cross version. Check the list of what’s in each, as they do vary slightly.

Make your own kit!

If you want to channel your inner MacGyver, you could make one of these yourself for about half the price, especially if you have any old backpacks lying around. Many of the items in these kits can be purchased at the dollar store. If you have kids or grandkids, it might be  fun to purchase the supplies together and have the kids pack it themselves. It would teach them about self-reliance and planning ahead and maybe start them on a path to following in MacGyver’s enterprising footsteps.

If that’s not for you, just buy one and you’ll be good to go next time that nefarious CONE OF UNCERTAINTY makes it’s debut. Plus you’ll be all set if you ever go camping, hiking, boating or need to evacuate. You could store your emergency kit in the car, but heat and humidity will shorten the lifespan of any food items inside. It’s best to stash it in the house and just take it along when needed.

Other items you might want to include in your kit: Cash, more power bars, nuts/trail mix, other non-perishables, deck of cards, whistle, tylenol, beef jerky (check the package for expiration), wisp toothbrushes (no need for water), wet wipes, extra water, instant coffee, sterno, gatorade, ziplocks and a lighter or some waterproof matches. Oh, and those little pinpoint keychain lights can be life savers. I can’t even tell you how many times mine has come in handy. Plenty.

MRE’s or self-heating meals

These are available many places online and the self-heating meals have a storage life of 60 months if stored in optimum conditions/temperatures and meet about a full day’s caloric requirement. In an emergency situation, one a day could hold you over. The site linked to below sells 12 self-heating meals for about $70.00. Other brands, such as Chef 5 Minute Meals, go for about $84.00 to $100.00 for 12 meals and they are sold by sites such as Amazon, and others. I saw one site that sold them individually for $7.50 for a single vegetable lasagna if you only want to buy a smaller quantity.

One of the sites I found is called Ready Meals. It provides plenty of information along with a video on heating the meals etc., so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect. There are many companies out there that sell these and you may find a better deal.

Oh, and of course, those of you more inclined towards fresh rather than freeze-dried can always break out the ever-popular fishing pole. And never discount the old standbys… the coleman latern, the coleman stove and sterno cooking fuel after a hurricane. However, if you have a grill and some charcoal or propane and a lighter/matches, you should be all set as long as the food holds out.

Chime In

I’m assuming some of you campers, hikers, boaters or hunters have experience with some of the above products and probably have much more insight than I into such gadgets. This is where you need to chime in and give your two cents worth. Perhaps you know of some other helpful products or could give us a thumbs up or down on these. I am not endorsing any of the products listed; they are simply presented for your consideration. I just thought they looked like they’d be good to have on hand, and the monetary investment seemed fairly reasonable. You will have to do your own homework to decide if they are worthwhile for you.

Meanwhile, get prepared, stay safe…Katia is out there churning to our East. Right now she doesn’t look to pose a threat to us, but you never know, we may be needing invoke any MacGyver instincts we have sooner than we’d like…