Spring has sprung, but this past winter was one of the most extreme in recent memory. In fact, according to weather.com, the United States suffered more than its share of extreme weather and climate events in the past three years. There have been devastating tornadoes (like the one that destroyed large parts of Moore, OK, back in May 2013), Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and a literal parade of deadly tornadoes in 2011.

Weather.com’s experts admonish us to prepare for more large-scale climate events that will cause extreme property damage, contaminate water supplies and cripple power grids resulting in prolonged power outages.

Being prepared for an extreme weather or climate event means having a sustainable back-up power supply. Companies like Goal Zero and Suntactics offer a range of solar-charging panels and power solutions for emergency situations, as well as on-the-go power for hikers, hunters, campers and photographers.

Goal Zero’s smallest kit, the Guide, is able to power or charge small devices, such as phones and tablets. Its 2200mAh battery can be charged via USB or by plugging it into a solar panel, such as Goal Zero’s Nomad 7 Solar Panel, for three to six hours. Or Suntactics’ sCharger-14, which outputs 5V (2800mA), 14 watts via two USB ports and can actually charge two devices simultaneously.

Goal Zero Guide 10 and sCharger-14
To power small devices, try the Goal Zero Guide 10 (left) or Suntactics sCharger-14 (right).

If you need portable 12V power, check out the Escape 150. It is a 14,000mAh power pack that can be charged by A/C or by plugging it into Goal Zero’s Escape 30 Solar Panel Briefcase for four to eight hours. The Escape 150 will power a laptop or charge a camera, but you can plug almost anything with a standard A/C power cord into it.

Goal Zero Escape 150
For portable 12V power, try the Goal Zero Escape 150.

Just a few months ago, I used Goal Zero’s 26lb, Extreme 350i Power Kit, which features 350Wh, 33Ah of power, during a three-day blackout in a very remote location. It took 12 hours to charge with Goal Zero’s Escape 30 Solar Panel Briefcase and it worked brilliantly! I was able to power my MacBook Air and a satellite phone, as well as a small refrigerator. I now keep this kit in my bottom desk drawer, and I can tell you from personal experience, when you need a solar-chargeable power supply, you are really happy you have one.

Goal Zero Extreme 350i Power Kit
For heavy-duty or prolonged power, you’ll want something like the Goal Zero Extreme 350i Power Kit.

Whether you’re without power for an afternoon, a day or a week or you have to travel to a remote location where power is not available, solar-power charging panels could not be simpler to use. You literally just plug them in and the sun does the rest.

About Shelly Palmer

Named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Technology, Shelly Palmer is CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice focused at the nexus of media and marketing with a special emphasis on machine learning and data-driven decision-making. He is Fox 5 New York's on-air tech and digital media expert, writes a weekly column for AdAge, and is a regular commentator on CNBC and CNN. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com or subscribe to our daily email http://ow.ly/WsHcb

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"Portable Power Everywhere" by @ShellyPalmer

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