During a prolonged blackout, keeping flashlights, radios, and cell phones running can become a challenge of its own. The most cost-effective approach is to stick to devices that can take regular AA, AAA, or PP3 (9V) batteries; modern alkaline cells have very long shelf lives (10 years), can be bought cheaply in bulk, and will do the trick for almost all portable electronics you can think of. Of course, modern power-hungry smartphones are a notable exception to this rule. For that, you can always try solar chargers ($50) - they work well, but are a bit fragile and may not perform too amazingly in wooded areas or on overcast days. You can also go for hand-crank generators ($30, labor-intensive) or AA power banks ($15, mixed reviews). But ultimately, also allow for the possibility of not being able to call others for a while.
Being a Diehard Prepper has been somewhat glamorized by the entertainment media.  This serves to disillusion and discourage those who are unable to create this type of alternative life for themselves. But don’t despair! It’s important to understand that this is the absolute far end of the scale, and that this lifestyle isn’t necessary to weather the more ordinary storms that we are most likely to face.
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