GadgetsI have to admit, I love gadgets that make my life easier. I’m always on the lookout for preparedness type gadgets that will make my life easier even in a “survival mode.” I figure you might as well make use of the technological advances we have now to survive without traditional technology later. So here’s a list of some of my favorite “gadgets.” You can do an internet search to find any of these items.

My List of Favorite Gadgets:

A Hand-Held Beater: This gadget your mom used to use before the electric beaters came along. Storing eggs is great, but you won’t want to exert the energy necessary to beat them with a whisk. So invest in a quality hand beater or two now.

Bosch Hand-Held Crank: This is a handy dandy gadget that I simply put on the top of my Bosch bowl and then hand crank the bowl in the event I don’t have power. It allows me to still benefit with the kneading attachments of the Bosch and knead my bread without having to exert tons of energy. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, but I knew I had to have one when I did!


Tray Kitchen Sprouter: This gadget is made by Victorio. It is AWESOME from sprouting. Instead of having to rinse and drain carefully, all I do is spread the sprouts out evenly on one of the three trays, fill the very top of the gidget/gadget with water and then the proprietary system trickles the waters down through each of the tray levels, ending at the bottom one where it pools all of the excess water far away from the sprouts. I simply repeat this twice a day. As you may know, properly draining your sprouts is important to their proper growth. The watering in this case is gravity fed, so I’m always in “drain mode” every time I use it.  I can grow three different sprouts at a time or a lot of one. I LOVE this thing!

Solar Oven: Duh! Like you didn’t expect me to mention this gadget? You all know how in love I am with a solar oven. No fuel, no hassle, perfect tasting food every time and it replaces my need for a canner and a dehydrator. Invest in a commercial quality one so that it can handle Gadgetscooking multiple meals a day for the long term.

A Mason Jar FoodSaver attachment: This attachment allows me to save dried foods for 3 to 5 years in a Mason jar. I store foods like chocolate chips, brown rice, Snickers bars, almonds, coconut, etc. with this type of item and I presume that I will still want to do so in the future as well. While I use it with my Foodsaver now while the electricity is aplenty, I can still use it with a tire pump without the electricity in the future. Simply reverse the direction that you’re pumping the air so that it sucks the air instead of pumps it. I couldn’t live without this gadget!

A Hand Grinder/Flaker: When making a choice as to which hand-grinder you want to have be sure that you find out how many cranks it will take you to make a full cup. I prefer the ones that have a “stone grinder” on them. I’ve compared these to others and it “only” takes 100 cranks for a cup of flour, whereas the smaller ones grinding mechanism, such as those found on the Grain Mill model, requires over 7 minutes of cranking just for a cup of flour. That’s a lot of exerted physical energy. Getting a model that will also act as a flaker is great for making flour or flaked pieces out of dried sprouts, beans, and groats.

Bucket Wrench

Bucket Wrench

Bucket Lid Wrench: This isn’t about preserving fingernails. It’s about making a job a hundred times easier. Spend the $5 bucks to get yourself the green or red plastic wrench that allows you to simply pop off the lids on your round or square buckets. I use mine all the time!

Solar Powered Battery Recharger: Obviously the success of this gadget is in purchasing rechargeable batteries. But it’s worth the cost difference to me since I can let the sun continually recharge them. It’s virtually impossible in my mind to store enough batteries that I would use for a full year otherwise.

Pressure Cooker: Kuhn Rikon all the way baby. This is the ONLY brand I recommend. I can buy cheap cuts of meat and cook them in the pressure cooker and you would have thought I slaved away all day after a small fraction of that time. Also it rehydrates freezer burned meats. Taking advantage of it’s inherent heat retention, all I have to do is bring it up to full Gadgetspressure, then remove it from the heat, wrap it up in towels and it will retain it’s heat for a full hour…cooking all along the way. As a result, cooking on the weekdays when I’m swamped is SO easy, and cooking in a survival mode won’t require me to store oodles and oodles of fuel. (By the way, I have three of these and have used them all at one time on several occasions when I’m making a “big fancy meal” that’s intended to impress but I don’t’ want it to zap my energy.) 🙂

Asian Cook Stove: These little puppies run on a simple can of butane. There are tons of them out there with different names, but I just call them the little Asian cook stoves. (The brand I have is called “Joy Cook”  You can Gadgetsget them $15-$20 bucks. They fold up in their own little black case and they are super light. I have a few of them on hand in the event I’m using all three of my pressure cookers.

Indoor Safe Propane Heater: This is a great option to heat your home without having to ventilate your home. (kind of defeats the purpose of heating your home while having to let cold air come inside, eh?) It’s specially made for that purpose and is called the Big Buddy or The Little Buddy. Bottom line is this gadget uses a special canister of propane and it’s indoors safe.

GadgetsSquare Buckets: It’s not secret that I LOVE these. And while they may be simplistic, I still consider them a “gadget.” I not only store my items in them, but I also keep a few on hand in case I need to send someone on their way with some provisions. You can purchase them at Five Star Preparedness.

BlastMatch Fire Starter: This is kind of a cool gizmo. All you do is forcibly pound this against cement or a rock. Strike it near whatever it is you want to light.  It sends sparks out from the friction of the tool and the surface and you can easily light your fire

Magnesium: I know this may be a lot like the previous mentioned gadget, but I just can’t control myself sometimes. Hee hee  I have this uncanny fear that I won’t be able to start a fire when I need one. A few flecks of magnesium will light up and burn even in a wet environment. My husband keeps one on him regularly. You simply use a pocket knife to strip off a few flecks and then light it. Voila. You’ve got what you need.

So, here’s my list that I can think of right off the top of my head.  At least it will give you a few things to ask Santa for this year…that is assuming that you’ve been behaving yourself.



Houstonmom · November 19, 2009 at 12:15 am

I thought “gun” would be at the top of your list.

    Kellene · November 19, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Ha ha…that’s not a gadget to me. That’s a PART of me. 🙂

Kristine · November 19, 2009 at 12:53 am

Where do ou get a Bosch Hand-Held Crank? I would love one!

    Kellene · November 19, 2009 at 4:55 am

    I got mine at Home Storage Basics.(.org) But you can get it online somewhere I’m sure.

jamie · November 19, 2009 at 2:19 am

My gadget is the “Leatherman” Multi-tool. A lot of the other multi-tool knock offs are impossible to use. They cut into your hands, weak steel or no leverage because they are so small. I don’t like Swiss army knives, it seems you trade off quality for quantity. Leathermans are hefty, strong and can do the job for years. I don’t know of many is the Army Signal Corps that didn’t have one. If they didn’t the would borrow one instead of going to the tool box.
The US Army tried to recreate the muti-tool. It had very nice Plastic Insert handles. Everyone I knew got a Leatherman.
I have 2 the standard model and the the beast. I used the standard model for 10 years of daily use and nothing broke and always worked. Pricey compared to a lot of pocket knives, but cheap compared to a traveling tool kit.

    Kellene · November 19, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Ah…that’s a good one too!

    JT · January 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Leatherman’s are nice, but the best multitool I have found (and purchased) is a SOG Armory multitool. One-handed opening, tools that lock in place, interchangeable tools, I could go on and on. Once my buddy pulled it out at the range I knew I had to have one. Amazon has them for ~$60.

    I haven’t owned a Leatherman, but I’ve shown friends my SOG and they complimented its construction over a Leatherman.

Jackie · November 19, 2009 at 4:47 am

Where do you get the blast match fire starter and the magnesium?
I will be glad to help anyone with the water filter…..I have used mine since 1998! [email protected]

Suzanne · November 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm


This is a great list! Some of these things I’ve not heard of.

Gail · November 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Where do you snag the square buckets? I rarely see them at the places I get my round ones from. Thanks for ALL of you good information.

    Kellene · November 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Gail, I get mine year round from my hubby’s company, Five Star However, you can contact a local fruit grower or even the bakeries of the grocery stores in your area and see if they have some. If they do, they will be free or cheap for ya.

Jeanne Gross · November 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

I have been trying to find a joycook stove. Can you tell me where to find one?

    Kellene · November 19, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    any camping store has them…I know Macey’s has them, REI, and Recreation Outlet.

Sarah · November 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm

You know, the Leatherman company has a tendency to support anti-gun agendas. (Not very smart of them if you ask me, since many people who like knives also like guns.) A lot of people are boycotting them, or only buying used. There are other brands out there, like Gerber, that are just as good quality.
Just FYI

Believer · November 19, 2009 at 11:43 pm

This is a good list of helpful items. Anything that can be of use if we don’t have electricity is helpful.

In the olden days, when we used hand held beaters, they were called egg beaters. Everyone had them. Now, a lot of people don’t know what they are.

Thanks for the information.

Jen · November 19, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Howdy Kellene ~

I was wondering if you could provide more information on the Mason Jar Food Saver attachment. I’ve been interested in it for some time, but have never heard it mentioned that food saved this way will last 3-5 years. Where do you get that information? Thanks very much!!!


    Kellene · November 20, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Remember it’s only good for preserving dry goods, not meats and veggies which require pressure canning. However, the best way I’ve found them consistently is on the internet. They will run you about 7-9 bucks. You’ll want a regular mouth size and a wide mouth size.

      Mark · November 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm

      Sarah, the Leatherman company and owners are not confirmed to be “anti-gun” or “anti-hunting”. This assumption started back when they endorsed John Kerry for president because they agreed with his stance on environmental issues, not George Bush’s. Also it was only a vote, not campaign contributions. I do like Gerber products, but they are not as robust in harsh environments as Leatherman tools. Also, Gerber products now made in China (as well as Buck knives) if that matters to some people.

razr · November 20, 2009 at 5:33 am

OK here goes: best place to get bucket wrench?? Asian COOKER? Solar Bat recharge……would appreciate these sires….thank you,,,,,,ps be ashamed! we cannot get buckets (not food grade ) where I am… are one lucky gal!!! As usual…..Thanks for the info

    Kellene · November 20, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    anything and everything that I mentioned is available on the internet. Just give it a google. As you all know the buckets and solar ovens are available via five star preparedness.

jamie · November 21, 2009 at 3:46 am

Some good thermoses, I like a couple of brands but get a heavy duty one. You can use them as a slow cooker. Prime them with some hot water, just a cup or 2 of hot water for 30 minutes. Then put in some Brown rice and beans and boiling water let them set for 8-12 hours. Voila dinner. I have read you can do the same with Oat groats but haven’t tried it yet. Great for Gravy, It keeps them warm without thickening. I used to use them a lot in the Army. Get some hot water into them at night then wash my face and other stuff in the morning with nice warm water.
Yes I know you can get clean with cold water. Warm water always raised my morale while cold water always made me feel miserable. I don’t need practice at being miserable.

Suzanne · November 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Unfortunately I didn’t know about the hand cranking standard when I picked up my grain mill. When looking for grinders/flakers is there a ‘hand cranking’ comparison chart they post on their website or do you need to ask?
(hint: any specific brands to start with?)

On your rechargeable batteries: rechargables have duty cycles (how many times you can recharge them before they drop into useless) and some will drain quicker in storage than others. New technologies in hybrid rechargeables are hitting this market NiCds tend to be better in high voltage applications than NiMds. Enelope technology in rechargeables is showing a slower discharge over time than some other brands of rechargeables. You can ruin your rechargeables if you don’t have them in a cool place while recharging them.

jamie · November 26, 2009 at 9:46 am

Mason jars, the 1/2 gallon size. They can be decorative, make great gifts, sealed with a food saver attachment or used for canning. I’ll be using mine for pre-mixes this xmas. Meals in a jar for a family of 4. Just add water. The family probably won’t appreciate them at 1st. But, I’m going to build them meals in a jar. They’ll have to keep them cause its craft from me. Screw the stores. The value is whats important, 3 meals at least. I’ll need to break them down, breakfast then lunch/dinner, beverages and desserts.

jamie · November 26, 2009 at 9:50 am

I guess I should add sprouts and directions as well. Dang I’m not good at this selfless giving thing. Got to hit the book again. LOL

jamie · November 29, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Has anyone used one of those Little power stations?
I have seen a few that have a sealed 12volt battery that you can charge AC/DC. They have a small inverter, can jumpstart a car and some other bells and whistles along with it. I am thinking of purchasing one that I can plug a solar charger into and run a light, tv, or charging small electronics. Not a generator I already have 2 of those not counting my car and RV.

    Kellene · November 30, 2009 at 1:56 am

    Yes. They are a great tool. Get a deep cycle battery, or two or three. Then have a small inverter and some solar or wind power available for an emergency. Just FYI FiveStarPreparedness sells these for only a hundred bucks for locals. (too expensive to ship)They normally retail for $250. Disclaimer: The husband of the author is a part owner in FiveStarPreparedness and thus this recommendation cannot be viewed as completely impartial. 🙂

jamie · December 2, 2009 at 1:22 am

Thanks, I found a small one only a 200 watt inverter but that will be enough for a small tv or radio.
I have a couple of 3000 watt generators for major power needs. Rotating fuel is the biggest pain with these, though I read about keeping 3 fuel can. 1 full, 1 in use and 1 ready to fill. Plus a few bottles of fuel stabilizer.

Shelli · January 7, 2010 at 7:45 am

I am confused about the hand grinder. Not all say how many turns it takes. Any recommendations? Have you heard of the one by Victorio? It seems less expensive, but maybe good? Thanks.

    Kellene · January 7, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Victorio is one of those that will take you a LOT of physical energy to get your one cup of flour.

Gina · December 28, 2010 at 12:48 am

Kellene, I’ve searched your blog to see if I could find which brand of hand grinder or flaker you use, but I haven’t seen anywhere that you say. So, which grinder do you suggest? Thank you…I have loved your blog!

    Kellene · December 30, 2010 at 3:36 am

    I have a couple. One is the Family Mill and the other is the Bosch attachment.

Charlene · April 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hey, I’m new here. I’ve been dehydrating veggies and making veggie soups stored in mason jars. Ready to go with hot water, but I have a question. Everything I put in the jars (green beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, celery and corn) I dry and just put the lids and rings on them….then store them in the pantry. Is there something else I should be doing to store them for long term storage? Thanks, the site is GREAT!

    Kellene Bishop · April 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Yes, Charlene, if you’re drying them, then you want to also be able to suck the oxygen out of the jar. Secondly, a lot of people don’t go to the hassle of drying their produce, rather they can it wet, with water and a steam bath or pressure canner depending on what kind of food it is. There’s a whole new world waiting for you in the canning realm. Blue pill or red pill? You decide. 🙂

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