Save money on hurricane gear

HOUSTON Some of these items are under $30, but even at that price they could provide some relief from those miserable days without power. We asked a local family to try them out and tell us what they thought.

Even after ten months, for most Houstonians, the memory of Hurricane Ike is still fresh.

"You're at the house, all the power is out at the house," said Jim Fish.

The Fish family lost power at their house in Bellaire, and with two kids, Fish says it was brutal.

"People were out of power for weeks at a time and after the battery went out of the cell phone, there was no way to charge it," said Fish.

Since we don't even know if we'll even have a hurricane this season, many people don't want to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars getting ready for one. So we picked out a few inexpensive gadgets that could make life just a little more comfortable.

We asked the Fish family to give us their take on the gadgets. First up is a portable emergency power charger by O2 Cool that uses D-batteries or your car to juice up your cell phone, iPod, even your laptop. It costs just $25.

"This power adapter was very useful, and has many different uses," said Fish. "I would look into getting one of these seriously."

Next we asked them to try out a portable digital LCD TV by Digital Prism which costs $99.

"It had great picture, great sound, and was easy to hook up and set up," said Fish.

The combo allows you to watch TV and receive weather alerts before, during and after the storm, even if you lose power.

"For me, that's more important if I could see those. I'm a pilot. I watch weather so I would like to see the weather coming in," said Fish.

We also found a battery operated television tower that includes a clock, AM/FM radio, spotlight, fluorescent light and a siren.

"There's a lot you can do if you need to signal someone," said Fish.

The model by Jeep costs $85, but we found one with the same features for $47.

For that, you would need a converter box to get a signal. We used a $40 version by Artec which Fish said was simple to use.

The combo tower TV worked, but it is black and white and that was fish's least favorite gadget.

"I probably wouldn't purchase this. Everything on here is pretty good, but it seems like it would drain the batteries," said Fish.

Speaking of batteries, it's a good idea to start stocking up now on Ds and AAs. They're the most commonly-used, and they sell out quickly once a storm hits.

You can find prices and stores for all the items below:

Gadgets featured in this story:

Portable Emergency Power Charger by O2 Cool $24.95

Battery operated digital TV converter kit by Artec (for analog to digital conversion) $39.95

Digital Prism Portable LCD TV $99.99

Office Depot

Battery Powered TV Tower Combination by Jeep $84.95

Similar Model for $46.50 at

Generators featured in this story:

1200-watt Triron small portable generator $149.00

Home Depot (online only)

Eastern Tools 1200-watt small portable generator $140.00

Items at Home Depot in Hurricane Kit:

  1. Flashlight with battery $3.97
  2. 12 D batteries $11.59 and 36 AA batteries $13.97
  3. Glasses $5.96
  4. Gloves $1.97
  5. Hand sanitizer 1,000 pump dispenser $6.98
  6. Deep Woods Off! $4.92
  7. Fly swatter $1.29

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