Here are five thing we saw at this weekend's Arizona Survivalist/Prepper Expo that caught our eye. Either because of their utility, their uniqueness, or their out-and-out coolness. Sometimes all three.
The expo was hosted in the Glendale Civic Center with vendors packing its main hall and spilling out onto the sidewalk. We saw everything from home-brewed discount bulletproof glass and floor-to-ceiling food organizers to a foam-form house that claims to be bulletproof.
H2OPE Solar Powered Water Purifier When people make lists of what they'll need if everything goes pear shape, they tend to put things like food and guns at the top of the list. That's all well and good, but it bears repeating that you're going to get thirsty a lot quicker than you're going to get hungry and that finding something safe to drink is probably going to be harder than finding something you can eat.
That's where the H2OPE system shines. It's basically an oversize wheeled trunk stuffed with car batteries that are recharged using solar panels on the lid. You can use the stored energy to run a staggering number of electronics, or you can activate the water-purification system inside to churn out clean water. The water-purification system can purify lightly contaminated water with UV light or it can use reverse osmosis to give you extremely pure water. Furthermore, they've also included the ability to produce alkaline water, in case you need to make noodles or something after the apocalypse. Even better, the water purifier comes with two sets of pumps so you can pump and purify at the same time. In other words, you could theoretically hook up a washing machine to this device and it'll go.
Additionally, the system has a power inverter, which means you can hook up pretty much anything that generates electricity to help recharge the batteries. That means you can hook up wind power, additional solar cells, or a stationary bike. We favor the later because, as we all know, the first rule of the zombie apocalypse is cardio.
EcoPod Gardens Aquaponic Systems EcoPod Gardens offer you all the awesome that is aquaponic gardening but with the convenience of not having to track down a bunch of giant plastic bins and hand-make your own siphon pumps. Aquaponics is a method of raising both plants and fish in a symbiotic loop. Fish poop in their water, that water is used to feeds plants, and that filters the water so it can be returned to the fish. If you're very slick, you can raise particular kinds of plants, such a duckweed, which can also be used to feed the fish. The upshot of all this is that you can have all the crazy growth associated with hydroponic systems without needing to invest in a small warehouse full of chemicals to feed your plants. Also, you get fish for eating or for making more fish.
The major problem with aquaponic systems is that they can be time-consuming to build on your own. Finding food/fish safe plastic containers for fish and plants is difficult and hooking it all together takes a non-negligible amount of engineering. If you already have some of the pieces for your own aquaponic system they're happy to sell you components and if you have money to burn they also do custom work as well.
It's worth noting that their work doesn't come cheap. The smaller indoor unit featured above has an asking price of $1,395.Tim Ralston Survival Series Rokon
Tim Ralston's Gear Up Center probably had one of the largest tables at the expo. Ralston managed to spin the fame he generated from an appearance on National Geographic'sDoomsday Prepper
series into a full on career of selling all sorts of prepping solutions. He's probably most famous for theCrovel
which is basically a sharpened collapsible shovel, with a bottle opener. The unveiled a similarly themed combination tool, theNAX
at an expo last year.
This year they had something a little different for us. A custom version of the Rokon Trail Breaker, an all wheel drive motorcycle designed for traveling quickly where most other vehicles can't. While their version of the Rokon retails at just shy of $8,000 you're getting a vehicle that can, among other things:
- Carry two people at once.
- Store two and a half gallons of fuel or water in each wheel.
- Run for nine hours on a single tank of gas.
- Be repaired fairly easily due to a redundant design. As an example, they use the same standard type of ball bearing throughout most of the bike.
- Can be driven into a river, floated to the other side and driven out of the river. That's right: If you have one of these after the End you can pick "ford the river" every time.
Sun Power Cooker Honestly, we're not sure what, if any, advantages this has over other solar cookers, but we were taken by the fact that it appeared to be easily frying bacon on a slightly overcast day. A device capable of cooking up the last of humanity's dwindling supply of post-apocalyptic pork belly is a worthy device to own. Particularly if it can do all that cooking without need for anything besides a little sunlight.
Though it's not exactly cheap at $349, it certainly seemed more convenient than trying to wrangle some cardboard-backed foil panels into a solar oven. In fact, that's one of its major selling points. Most solar cookers are actually solar ovens and, as such, rely upon using solar energy throughout the day to slowly cook things like stews. The concentrated power of the Sun Power Cooker means you get much more intense heat over a smaller area. That's why you can fry bacon and eggs and saute vegetable much easier than your traditional solar oven.
It's also hard to overlook the fact that it's basically your own personal solar day ray.
If you've watched any movie about the end of the world you probably realize that, even if you survive the initial "event," you're in for a difficult and possibly cannibalistic hard-scrabble life. Unless of course, you manage to think ahead and purchase yourself an impenetrable bunker that'll keep you and closet compatriots alive for months or even years.
But digging your own underground bunker isn't exactly easy and dealing with the issue of air filtration, water purification, and so forth isn't exactly something you can pick up from reading a few things on the Internet. So if you've got the serious scratch to burn you can give Radius Engineering's regional sales rep, Steve Welch, a call at 480-510-8705 and have him arrange to install one of their many designs in a location of your choosing.
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Their bunkers are designed to withstand the full range of disasters, from earthquakes to nuclear fallout, and they feature internal power-generation capabilities, water filtration, and even space to maintain an underground farm.
On the low end of the line is the Hexoid shelter system, which can protect four adults for up to two months and has a base price of $56,000 plus installation fees. At the other end of the spectrum is the Earthcom 50-11 which is described as a "16-condo underground community." Base price for that? $4.26 million, so you'd better start saving your box tops now.
For those of you who don't have a million dollars to blow on an underground bunker, take heart! Those who can afford to have a bunker installed in their backyard probably live in Scottsdale, so you can find someone who has one when it all goes down.