Review: How to Charge a Laptop Off-Grid with Enerplex

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Review: How to Charge a Laptop Off-Grid with Enerplex

When it comes to solar panels that charge portable electronics, you have a lot of choices.  At the top of my head, I would say I have reviewed at least six different set-ups and have given as many away to lucky readers.  So, when I was approached by Enerplex to review their entry into this field, I sighed and thought “here we go again”.

But wait.  There was more.  In addition to the Enerplex Commandr 20 Solar Panels, they had the Generatr S100  battery unit that included a 19V laptop port and an integrated AC inverter.  That’s right.  A laptop port.  Taking things one step further, the battery unit could be charged by a standard AC or solar panels.

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

Was I interested?  Heck yes.  Not only that, Enerplex was willing to give the complete set-up away to a Backdoor Survival reader.  That got my attention as well, and I was excited.

Details about the giveaway are below but first, let me tell you about both the Enerplex Commandr 20 Solar Panel and the Generatr S100 Battery Pack.

Enerplex Commandr 20 – A Solar Panel Like No Other

The Commandr 20 looks different right out of the box.  In addition to being extremely light weight, there are a total of six panels which is more than the norm. The panels are made of a proprietary solar on plastic design and the entire package folds up in a compact pouch weighing less than two pounds (1.65 to be exact).

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

While extreme portability is nice, the defining moment came when I unpacked the included “regulator”.  This was different.  The regulator attaches to the panel and the devices you wish to charge attach to the regulator.  Make sense?

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

The back side of the regulator box

After setting up the panels, I connected the regulator box.  At first I thought something was wrong because it made an obnoxious noise which I later determined to be a fan.  As soon as I plugged in a device, however, the noise stopped.  I suppose that makes sense; the panels were generating energy and the energy had no where to go.

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

As I mentioned above, the devices you wish to charge plug into the back of the regulator box.  There is a USB port and 12V/19V port.  To access the 12V/19V port, you use one of the included laptop tips and cable.  I had no problem connecting to my standard size Dell laptop but did not have a tip that would work for my 2 in 1.  Not to worry, though, as there is a workaround I will describe below.

According to the Enerplex website, the Commandr solar panels are designed to operate in even the harshest of condition.  To quote:

The Commandr Series can be dropped, kicked, run over by a car, and can even get wet and still be fully functional

I did not run the panels over with the Subaru but I did drop them quite by accident. They suffered no ill effect and still work perfectly.

All this is well and good but where the Commandr 20 really shines is when it is connected to the Generatr S100.  This is because the Generatr S100 gives you a way to store solar energy!

Enerplex Generatr S100 – A Portable Battery & Inverter Powered by Solar Panels

What you see is a lot more than what you get.  Why do I say that?  Because this portable battery solution will charge a laptop – any laptop!  Remember when I said my Dell 2 in 1 could not be charged using the solar panels directly?  With the Generatr S100, all I had to do was plug my 2 in 1 into the integrated AC outlet and voila!  I was in business.

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

The LEDs on the side of the Generatr S100 indicate the charging level.

I realize I am getting ahead of myself so let me give you some specs.  The Generatr S100 comes with  with two USB ports, a 19V laptop port, and an integrated AC inverter. With the USB ports you can charge almost any portable device you can think of, including smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and other eBook readers.

How to Charge a Laptop with Enerplex | Backdoor Survival

The integrated laptop port is used with included connector tips for most Dell, HP, and IBM laptops.  If one of those tips does not work, there is also an AC outlet.  This AC outlet can also be used to power a lamp or other AC device up to 120W.  I actually plugged my Maximal Power Alkaline Battery Charger into the AC outlet and it worked perfectly.

For testing purposes, after fully charging the Generatr S100 using the solar panels, I was able to bring both my Dell laptop and iPad2 from 10% to a full 100% charge.  This is consistent with the specs which indicate 2-4 charges for a tablet and 1-2 charges for a laptop.

Speaking of charging, you do not have to use solar panels to charge the Generatr S100 battery pack.  You can also charge it using standard AC.  During normal times, this is quite convenient and is a real timesaver.  Of course that won’t work when the grid is down but for keeping the battery pack ready to use during short-term power outages, using AC is perfect

There are many other features and specs I have not mentioned.  Although you can read about them on the Enerplex website, I will mention two.  First, there is a series of LEDs on the top of the unit that will provide you a visual status of the charging state.  Second, if the power is out and you are fumbling in the dark to plug in your devices, you can use the integrated flashlight to light up the back panel.  Now how cool is that?

The Enerplex Giveaway!  Total Value $650!!

This is the part you have been waiting for and it is so fabulous that I can hardly contain myself.  Enerplex loves Backdoor Survival and is giving away both the Commandr 20 and Generatr S100 to one lucky reader.

You know the drill.  To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Wednesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States.

The Final Word

After a short break, it is exciting to kick off the summer giveaway season with such incredible products.  Both are available directly from the Enerplex website as well as from a number of retail outlets. (There is a search by zipcode box on the website).  In addition, the Generatr S100 battery pack is available from Emergency Essentials.

From my perspective, having the ability to charge a laptop when the grid is down is a real game changer.  As useful as a tablet can be, serious work needs to be done on a laptop.  Can you imagine having the ability to use Excel and Word to organize community resources after a disruptive event?  What about access to stored financial and medical records?

I would like to thank Enerplex for bringing this opportunity to the readers of Backdoor Survival.  Good luck everyone!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: Using the Enerplex Generatr S100, I was able to charge batteries using this charge.  I simply plugged it into the AC port and was good to go. This nicely built charger will charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box. See How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.

SunJack CampLight USB Bulb:  This 4 Watt USB LED light is bright and ultra portable at just over 3.5 ounces. It is highly durable – shatter, shock, and vibration resistant. Will fully illuminate a tent at night. Power it from any standard USB source – compatible with all USB wall plugs, USB batteries, and laptops.

Ultra Bright LED Lantern – Collapsible:  I admit to now owning 3 of these collapsible lanterns. It uses 30 different LEDS and is powered by 3 AA batteries, including rechargeables.  Instead of a switch, you turn it on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition.  With a lifetime warranty and over 1,350 close to perfect ratings, I can see why this is popular.  Currently with free Prime shipping.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a newcomer to the list. Is ranked the #1 best seller in hunting knives.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one and can recommend it. See my review:  The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  FREE SHIPPING! The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz.  making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.


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144 Responses to “Review: How to Charge a Laptop Off-Grid with Enerplex”

  1. The first thing I would say is , Start out Slow and Research. The #1 Food , Water and Shelter , Access your situation . And I would offer what advice and Help .

  2. I would definitely refer all newbie preppers to this site – and buddy up. Utilize eachother’s skills to avoid being overwhelmed.

    • Wow! What a prize you have this time! Thanks for all of your tips. Hopefully we will NOT have to use them! 🙂 Blessings on our country!

  3. Wow, what an awesome tool to have and how helpful this could be in so many ways – grid down or up. Thanks for telling us about them and thanks for the opportunity to win. IF SHTF having some kind of ability to communicate would be awesome!!! Thanks again. Keep Looking UP

  4. If my neighbor informed me he / she was interested in prepping and wanted advice on getting started, I’d start with the following.

    1st – determine what your prepping for based on your geographical location. For example in California earthquakes and large scale fires are more common than the gulf coast and hurricanes.

    2nd – build a list of needed preps and skills to learn based on items you and knowledge you don’t currently have.

    3rd – create a budget and prioritize your effort based on available money and your sense of urgency.

    4th – research ways to stretch the budget by thrifty shopping for the missing items believed needed. Examples of where to buy at a deeply discounted price, buy off season (winter cloths in the spring), shop at thrift stores, garage sales, eBay, Craig’s list, Salvation Army, discount grocery stores.

    5th – organize your preps. This might be the most important. Don’t just toss what you’ve gathered in the corner, damp basement or hot attic. You’ve worked hard for your money, for the quality goods you’ve purchased and you want them available and in good condition when the need arises.

    6th – Seek out knowledgeable people with the skills you want to learn and master. An example might be the correct way of canning, farming. Farming in particular is a skill that takes a lifetime to master.

    7th – Continually re-evaluate your goals, progress, and don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know.

    8th – Involve those in your household if possible but don’t let their lack of interest hold you back. Eventually they will come around. It could be as simple as them seeing you in action taking care of a first aid need and having the skills and supplies when needed.

    9th – Lastly stay low profile, don’t wave prepping banner, don’t make this the priority topic of conversation with everyone you know. Discuss it casually and mostly listen.

  5. The first thing I would start with would be a simple every day carry kit. After that we could discuss gathering and storing resources.

  6. Your neighbor tells you he wants to start prepping and needs some advice:

    My first thought would be “who talked too much”.

    I’d then help him start with the basics for our area, like prepping for hurricane season and moving on from there.

  7. My husband is thoroughbred geek and I’m a 100% user! This is a fantastic piece….the equipment and the article. Passing it on to my hubby to see….and crossing my fingers for a possible win! Thank you, Gaye. You’re the bestest blogger!

  8. For someone new to prepping, I would tell them to start by assessing their current situation: their health, financials, etc. What skills/interests they currently have and how they can apply. Then tell them to look at building a 72 hour supply initially to avoid getting overwhelmed and easier to have skeptical family members to support the effort.

  9. I love re-reading all the articles. The infomation is always great. I tell all my friends. Keep up the good work!!

  10. For advice, I would tell the neighbor to start slow and build from there, and don’t be fooled by ad’s for prepping supplies. On a different note, this setup looks awesome!!

  11. Newbie preppers should read & listen to old hands as much as possible. And then take it all with a grain of salt!

  12. I would suggest that they start small. Every week buy a few extra canned goods and water, but only foods your family will eat. After six months they’ll have a good start and can expand from there.

  13. Teach by showing: For example, Invite them over for a barbeque and demonstrate how fire can be started without lighters. Perhaps include a dish or two put together from your food storage. Start with simple. 🙂

    The solar charger would be wonderful to have for ‘bad’ times. Thank you for the great information you share with us.

  14. The first thing I would tell my neighbor is to start with buying extra canned and dry goods on their grocery runs, then lots of research.

  15. Advise to preppers….. Go first to backdoorsurvival and download food storage guide, then read everything archived on the site!! Best info out there covering a wide range of information to move forward!

  16. I would tell them to assess what they have and decide what they need. Encourage them to check out a prepper site or two. Each time they shop add an extra item or two. Maybe every 2 or 3 weeks add things like flashlights, fire starters, etc. to start getting a BOB prepared.

  17. The first bit of advice would be This is not a lark; it takes time to get it started and requires serious forethought. Then I would offer to be glad to help. (I am blessed with a good neighbor.)

  18. My advice to beginning preppers would be 1) sign up for backoorsurvivl and read it. 2)Then starting slowly .start storing food and water.

  19. I would explain that disaster preparedness can be tackled in stages or passes. The first pass is getting prepared for a local emergency in which power and possibly water are lost. We need light sources such as candles and flashlights, non-perishable food and water for several days, and a way to heat food and boil water. All the sleeping bags, quilts and blankets need to be moved to an easily accessible location, along with a tote full of medical supplies. Last but not least, I believe in making an actual usable toilet from a bucket, seat, and the right type of bags. For people who have a yard, they should have the bucket, seat, and more buckets filled with sawdust, to layer in the bucket each time it is used. The mess can be dumped in a hole in the ground and allowed to compost.

    I believe that facing the toilet situation head-on, when first starting to prep is a way of safely facing the possibility of a major disruptive event head-on. Putting together a toilet will take someone psychologically from a few cans, candles and case of water stashed in a closet to facing that disruption of the utilities we take for granted could actually happen.

    The next step is to extend the basics up to a week, then a month, a second month and so on. Including a solar radio, more ways to collect and purify water, and just more of everything.

    After that is preparing for evacuation or voluntarily bugging out short-term. Including rain poncho and mylar blankets. And preparing the car, and an everyday carry or get-home bag. The most extreme level is preparing an INCH bag which stands for I’m Never Coming Home.

    My INCH bag contains several heavy tarps, several wool blanks, hatchet and sharpener, sturdy folding saw, lots of paracord, several nalgene water bottles, stainless steel pot, and many ways to start a fire. Several types of knives and sharpener. Also clothing for all seasons and several months of dried grains, beans, salt, coconut oil, and honey.

    As this is all too heavy to carry at once, I believe bugging out requires caches of equipment and supplies to be buried at the place you hope to be your destination.

  20. At last, an easy way to charge a laptop off grid. As an old guy, using my tablet for creating documents and files is extremely difficult due to the small screen and keyboard size. Using my laptop is much easier.

  21. If a neighbor came to me and asked about prepping, I would invite them in for a chat… 🙂 I would refer them to backdoor survival, of course–and would probably suggest that they work out a reasonable plan for getting the most urgent supplies and the ones they are most likely to need, first.

    I love this give-away!

  22. First, I would refer them to this website for a multitude of info. Second, after visiting your site I would ask them if they had any questions and would have a long talk about what they wanted to do and where to go from here. Then I would offer them assistance and go from there.

  23. I am so excited! This is one area that I am really weak in my preps. I have looked and looked at systems, and I just get so overwhelmed no knowing what is a good choice. Thanks for hosting a giveaway.

  24. It’s been said, but do your research first. Don’t start spending money on gadgets or overpriced equipment. Start with the basics water, food, and go from there. But read, read, read first.

  25. I would buy one food item per shopping trip and rotate your food.
    Read survival sitest and practice what you learn.

  26. I would think the first thing to tell a newby prepper is to investigate dehydrated or freeze dried foods and buy lots. Then I thought that even if they stored a years worth of food, that is not enough. They must learn to grow their own.
    The best advice is to learn to garden. If you are going to survive for over a year, you must know how to grow your own food.

  27. I’d first ask my neighbor what made him/her think they needed to start prepping. Then I would encourage them with some specifics in the area they mentioned to get them started. I’d also mention Backdoor Survival because it’s my main site and Gaye doesn’t do doom & gloom. Her stuff is so practical. Otherwise I know I’d overwhelm them with a big dose of WTMI (way too much information). I hope I would develop a kind of relationship that would keep them coming back for more.

  28. I would first recommend the websites I’ve learned from, including this one. Then I would mention what I consider a few essentials without giving away anything about my own stashes of supplies.

  29. First I would recommend your website and possibly a couple of other sites. I would tell them to start collecting water as that is # 1 thing to do. I would ask them to tell me what they have on hand and go from there as to what would be next.

  30. “As soon as I plugged in a device, however, the noise stopped. I suppose that makes sense; the panels were generating energy and the energy had no where to go.”

    Could be a heat thing. If it is generating energy, it is probably heating up something in the case. But, if it was transferring it to the fan to disperse the energy, it would probably be best to find something to use that extra energy on, so it isn’t wasted.

  31. Your neighbor tells you he wants to start prepping and needs some advice. What would you say? What tip would you offer to someone just getting started?

    Why did you ask me?
    Tip: Don’t tell anyone else that you are prepping.

    Get the basics first; water purifier, food, security, then work from there. Don’t go spend happy, think about things before buying. Have short, medium and long-term goals of items or skills to learn. Post them somewhere as a constant reminder to get those goals done. And, again, don’t let people know what you are doing, because when the SHTF, you might be a target more than a resource.

  32. A friend wants to become prepared. I would first ask why. What do you want to prepare for. Open ended questions often direct the conversation more appropriately.

  33. I would give them the link to Backdoor Survival
    And tell them to just take the first step and just keep going… you don’t have to get everything at one time

  34. As usual, I have almost no idea what any of the terms mean in this article. Electronics is not my strong suit. But I do recognize that I need to be able to charge my lap top so I can retrieve some of the seminars and downloads I have put on there for future use. So I will be thrilled if I win this. As for advise on where to begin, I recall that the very first thing I bought that led me to my current preparedness level, was a good NOAA radio with built in flashlight, crank and battery power as well as solar recharging. AM, FM and weather channel and alerts. Yes, I know you can’t eat or drink it but it does give me a heads up as to approaching weather related dangers. And that is a place to begin.

  35. I’d tell my neighbor to start with what he is interested in. For example, I was a nutritionist my first career so I started with how to store food and found I needed to know so much more. Early motivation is key since it can be overwhelming. I’d share info on where I did my early research to see if it’s something he wants to pursue.

  36. My general advice might be for them to think about what they do every day in going about their normal routine and consider how they would do these everyday tasks with no power. That they need to think about having food, water, heating, cooking and lighting options. Basic medical supplies and hygiene provisions. Gardening and food preservation supplies.

    More specifically, it would depend upon their budget and goals. I am about to have a well dug with a manual hand pump installed. Therefore potable water will be available for my immediate neighbors. I would explain that they would have to find another source for non-potable water (rain barrels, etc). I would likely suggest the idea of trying to come up with a few extra dollars each week and to watch for sales to be able to start to build a food supply with reasonably priced shelf stable food.

    If they are interested in pursuing it further than that, I would let them know that I would be available to offer suggestions and information if they want it. (I sooooo want to help, but don’t want to be pushy).

    Actually I have been thinking about putting together a printed list of things that a person might want to get in a last minute type of situation. In a scenario where something happens but we have a little warning, I would like to have a short list of suggestions that I could basically hand out to my immediate neighbors. The “basics” so to speak.

    I just moved and so I do not know my neighbors very well yet. My closest neighbor is a prepper of sorts, but seems to be somewhat lacking in common sense. I live up a “holler”, sort of a country cul-de-sac. LOL That means that I have a handful of households in my immediate vicinity and we are somewhat isolated from the larger rural community. The geography is such that this is a very defensible area and if the other neighbors had at least a decent start on prepping, we could make a go of it in a SHTF situation.

  37. Awesome giveaway, I don’t have any solar power, this looks more adequate for charging multiple devices quickly. I like the fact you can recharge unit on AC outlet.
    People new to prepping could start with organizing the family bug out bag. Next, grocery store to stock up for a week. Then move on to water and heat concerns.

  38. I love this giveaway! Sounds like a great solar panel/charger set-up. Definitely something I’d want to have handy. Thanks!

  39. When starting out go slowly. Reasearch. Start by making a rough plan (and be prepared to change it. Don’t be afraid to spend money on “Quality” but don’t spend it just to gain “Quantity” so spend wisely.

  40. Like everyone is saying start slow and build up. Make sure you have a way to get water so stock up now with either pallets of water or like Lifestraw filter, you have to have something to get water safely. Also, when you are stocking food stock something you will eat! Last rotate your food stocks so you dont end up with twenty year old dated food that taste terrible!

  41. I’d explain that prepping means being prepared, not just for the big disasters, but for the simple every day things of life [out of cash for food, power out because someone hit a power pole, etc]. We’d make a list together of what they might need for, let’s say, an evening without power and take it from there.

  42. Excellent product and the time is right – Now!! I can use this immediately and with some old-fashioned joy!!

  43. I’d tell them prepping is a lifestyle you continually work on, a way of living similar to the way the pioneers did. I’d offer to help and give advice, Like knowing how to preserve/can your own food, learning how to properly store water, homesteading, planting a garden. Having supplies so you can continually survive, food, water, heat, livestock, & canning. Including medical supplies, ointments to splints and everything in between. Your health is extremely important so stockpile, stockpile, stockpile!

  44. Survival necessitates having that which we need to stay alive and thrive. There are a number of basic necessities that we cannot do without, i.e., water, food, shelter, safety. When one begins this process of preparing, one quickly realizes that within each listed category above, there are categories, or line items that must be addressed, such as water filtration, number of people needing water, storage, etc.: how many people needing food, caloric needs, special diet needs, cooking of food, storage, etc.: number of people needing shelter, types of shelter, keeping warm, camouflage, storage, etc.: protection from attackers, thieves, all types of violence, methods of protection, practicing use of weapons, purchasing weapons, storage, etc..
    There are so many layers to preparing and some of it is very basic and some of it is more specialized, depending on what you plan on doing. This is a very general breakdown to begin preparing.

  45. Start with the basics, a B.O.B. water filters, and a quick week supply of food. Also throw in a first aid kit.

  46. I would explain that I don’t prepare for a major disaster but for everyday life. I might suggest they start with prepping for a power outage. I would explain what being without power could mean as far as needing water, maybe a small stove, food, and so on.

  47. After finding out why they decided they want to prep, I’d them a few specific pointers and then recommend this blog and maybe one book, depending on their interest. Hopefully they’d keep coming back for more.

  48. First thing I’d suggest is a bug out bag. Then expand on what’s in there for your home. Start with some extra canned goods and dry goods, find a safe cool dry place for storage. Go to Backdoor survival for tips on what and how to get started.

  49. This looks like a great product. It would be so nice to have one of these, so many thanks for the chance to win one.. Keep up the good info you send out. Blessings!

  50. I would suggest they think of a possible emergency such as a power failure,then look around the house for things they could use and gather them into one spot.

  51. I would start with, “what do have already?” Then move to the basics. Starting with small steps as not to burn them out or scare them, either.

  52. I’d suggest that they start stockpiling extra food and water for a three day power outage. I’d tell them about to download specific lists for emergency preparedness.

    Gaye, I can’t find your newsletter sign-up box on your website. Am I just not seeing it or is it not there? I’d like for them to get your daily newsletter for preparedness tips and planning.

  53. I’d start by asking why they are thinking about prepping(and find out how they knew I was prepping). Once they’ve defined what it is they want to do and why. See if they are really serious about this and it’s not just a knee jerk reaction to what’s going on in the world. Help them start slowly putting together Food, water,etc. Refer them to this site and the LDS site for references.

  54. I think camping is a good inroads to prepping, since you need a lot of the same sorts of gear, and it’s fun!

  55. I would suggest to start slowly stockpiling food, water, first aid, etc. Begin by saving up for 3 days, 7 days, etc., as much or as little as you can afford.
    I would also be very, very happy to have a neighbor to begin building a tribe with!

  56. I’d suggest that he or she adds canned goods to their pantry until they have a week of food and store bottled water for a week as well. Then I’d suggest they go online to read more about basic events that might happen, starting with and I’d hint there are other more in depth sites, but I wouldn’t want to overwhelm them with info at first. If they come back I’d point them at various online prepping sites like here, where they can read more in depth articles on what to do in certain emergencies. Baby steps are important to not scare off the newbies. 😉
    Whenever I’m talking to my wife’s extended family about emergencies, I mention how people have fire and theft insurance, and freeze dried food is basically food insurance. Of course, for folks living in the semi-arid regions of the US, I also mention I store drinkable water and have a good filter, just in case. Tailoring the arguments for the audience helps to get them to buy into the ideas presented, and once you have them hooked you can introduce them to other ideas over time…too much at once just gets folks to shutdown and say I can’t handle it so they walk away.

  57. I’m still learning myself. So, I would direct them to websites like this one to get good information. My personal tip would be not to fall into the trap of paranoia and gloom and doom. Prepare for the worst but enjoy today also.

  58. I would suggest starting slowly with the basics first and above all read a book on Prepping before you really get going -helps in keeping you from buying gear you don’t really need.

  59. I would steer them towards researching the concept of resilience. Resilience will be useful whether prepping for job loss, food shortages, or disasters of all kinds. Resilience will be investing money to save future money on things that neighbor will need anyways. With a good, enabling outlook on resilience instead of gloom and doom, they will likely succeed in prepping for themselves and encouraging others. The neighbor will eventually progress into more ‘traditional’ prepping areas, is my guess.

  60. Talk to them to determine how far they think they want to go in their prepping. Start them with the concepts of EDC and 72-hour bags to get them started. Refer them to this website for more detailed information.

  61. I would recommend the site, or perhaps the American Red Cross site. I would try to be as new into prepping as they are, we would learn together so to say, after a couple weeks, I would mention the new site I found “”. I would also introduce them to some good books every prepper should own, the boy scout handbook, I have several books on camp cooking, I have EMT training in my past, I would introduce them to first aid training. I would show them some preps I picked up, maybe a water filter, ask what they think about the Big Berkey, start the conversation, “hey, could we build this”. I would want to start slow, this is someone I would have to trust with my wife, and my life! And of course I would show off my solar charging system, I won at Backdoor survivial.

  62. I would ask her why she wants to prepare, and ask questions. Hurricane season starts soon and I would remind her we lost power for 36 hours during Sandy. Then tell her that retired firefighter neighbor is willing to help people prepare (he said this publicly on several occasions) by listening to your situation and pointing you in the right direction.

  63. We’ve been doing this at work (preparing for emergencies). We worked on what each person would need at work, in the car, and at home. Starting with the basics and adding to it. Also having a family communication plan for different scenarios and practicing with the gear if not familiar with it. Several of the previous posts have mentioned good resources for those new to emergency preparedness.

  64. I would tell the neighbor to start buying food and then a water purification system. Build from that.

  65. Awesome item. I could sure use one of these in my preps. Just starting out. I would recommend reading and evaluating your personal situation.Then starting with water and food storage.

  66. I would ask her why she wants to be prepared and tell her why I want to be prepared. I’d encourage her to keep it simple and realize that she already has many things in her home that she could use, if she thought outside the box. I would show her the wisdom of keeping things grouped so that they are ready when needed. I’d encourage her to only spend the big bucks when she deems an item really necessary. I’d show her how to search the web for many DIY tutorials that would help her with the common necessities of surviving and thriving. I would turn her on to

  67. I would refer them to some good prepping websites and blogs, with this at the top of the list. Tell them to read everything they can and then I will be glad to answer questions and help as I can.

  68. Begin. Buy extra food you know you’ll eat. Stash some cash. Items for barter. Be aware of others prepping also.

  69. I’d refer them to this website – so much practical information in the 12 months of prepping! And I’d tell them not to get overwhelmed – take it slow and steady.

  70. wow! This product looks fantastic! I’ve been researching this for a while… waiting for the most lightweight and powerful power source. Power and Communications are # 1 for me after the basics of Water, Shelter, Food and First Aid. I got my Ham license recently and bought radios for all of my family that live around the country. They’re getting cheaper by the day. You can get a decent Baofeng for around $25. The comfort we’d have of being able to know we’re ok in the middle of whatever crisis would be invaluable.

  71. My tip would be to first start with some back-up sources. Start with wood, charcoal,gas, solar. Have portable power and water purifying equipment, for both hunkering down and travel

  72. The beginning prepper should fill some bottles with clean water FIRST. Then buy a little extra of whatever you are already buying at the grocery store. Build up from there.

  73. I would start with personal security if you have not already. All the preps in the world will hold little value if you can not stop someone from taking them from you. Society is crumbling and the façade of civility is slipping.

  74. I would suggest that a newbie prepper (which I still am!)first become informed and then educated on survival and self-reliance. would be a great place to start!

  75. I believe the obvious first step is to have at least a weeks worth of food and water for everyone, but ideally start with a months worth and build from there to a years worth. I would also tell them to begin checking out your site and a few others for all the great beginning information, it’s how I got started.

    Thank you for that!

  76. The Enerplex solar panels and generator are so neat! Would be great for powering ham radios in emergency situation!

  77. I would suggest they turn off their power for a couple of days and realize where their shortcomings are regarding running water, cooking, lighting, etc. as a good beginning to understanding what they might need to focus on.

  78. Inventory what you already have, and start small with updating and replacing what needs that, then start to build on that foundation.

  79. I would suggest my neighbor start with a 3 day supply of water and food.This is doable for most people and not intimidating.I would recommend a manual can opener, flashlight or lantern and a way to start a fire (matches or lighter) or cook without electricity (gas grill, for example). I would give them a list of helpful websites to learn more.
    I would encourage them to prepare for emergencies that might happen in their area. Here it is hurricanes. I would encourage them to add to their supplies each shopping trip and let them know I would be happy to answer any questions they might have.

  80. I would suggest they first think about at they may be preparing for. Are there natural disasters that can happen, definite discussion point, or is there something else they are concerned about. I.e., what are their reasons for wanting to begin preparing.

  81. I would encourage a newbie to start with baby steps: adding a few extra cans to the grocery cart, rinsing out 2 liter bottles to save water, setting a few dollars aside for an emergency cash stash. It is easier to start small and grow bigger as you learn more and gain new skills. I would also encourage OPSEC, which can be hard when you want to share your new passion.

  82. I would refer my neighbor to this site first and let them look around for the information they need to start.

  83. Ok, here’s a scary thought. Our local paper just started a series to prepare for a local potential disaster. Their goal? To increase the number of people who have supplies for 3-5 days from 6% to 20%! I could not believe the low numbers! Even if it’s double that in real life, that is still a pathetic percentage. So, I’d go slow. First,, then if they want more, Backdoor Survival, then Survival Mom. And being able to charge a laptop would be so useful! I’m in!

  84. The charge controller with both 12V and 19V DC outputs is a great idea. It really ties solar panels and computers together. I would suggest it would be a very short step for Enerplex to offer a 12V Converter for computers and small electroincs, phones, tablets and book type computers. It would put out direct 19V for laptops and usb Voltage for all others. I haven’t seen a converter like this. They already have the multiple tips for some laptops. And I already have several 12v Power Stations with direct 12V outlets on them. I do need that converter!

  85. First-research a great site (like this one!!!)
    Second-Baby steps not everything needs to be done yesterday.
    Third-Water, water, water.

  86. First I would recommend Backdoor Survival for info as well as a few others, but this website is more informative and realistic. Then ask the question of what do you do to prepare for weather emergencies. Talk with my neighbor about the importance of at least one week of food and water for each family member and pets. Stress the importance of food storage safety, like not storing items to eat or drink in their garage or storage shed. Ask your neighbor what do they have in the way of a first aid kit. Discuss the importance of OPSEC if they are looking to becoming more prepared and self sufficient. Find out if they have plans for security, remind them their home security system may not work if electricity is not available for a long period. Meet more neighbors but watch what you say on this topic in case the others do not believe in preparedness. How to find resources such as Preparedness expos, gun training, etc. Main item is not to be overwhelmed and ask questions on Backdoor Survival for further help.

  87. For a newbie, I would recommend that they start off with the most basic of all–emergency food and water with a long shelf life and small storage size requirements. things that can sustain life if there were nothing else available. Like: Wheat, rice, beans, 2-liter bottles of water. –George

  88. I would tell the neighbor to not tell anyone he is prepping, to start with survival and choosing the right items to stockpile.

  89. What a great giveaway this week! I would love to win this one. Getting family and friends to buy-in to the idea of preparedness is difficult, as most live only for themselves and for today. I’ve always been a planner and a saver, so it was an easier transition, I’ve only found two other family members who understand–my oldest brother and a first cousin–both 1300 miles away…hope I can get to them when the SHTF.

  90. I’ve been prepping for the last 5 years. Off grid power is an area in which I’m sadly lacking. I also have a Dell 2 in 1 laptop and have been searching for a way to charge it. So far no luck in finding a simple way to do it. This would be wonderful.

  91. Store some water and no cook food enough for 72 hours then stop and read everything you can get. Follow good websites like this one. Do your research, lots of scammers out there. Then determine what might come your way and start some training and purchases

  92. I would suggest that newbies prep, first and foremost, for OFF-GRID survival. Begin by listing everything they need that depends on electricity, and then start acquiring non-electric replacements. That would automatically take in the PRIMARY requirement for survival, which is water. The tap won’t work! I have read too many articles on prepping that suggest doing things and buying things that require electricity, but most likely that won’t be available after a disaster strikes.

  93. The first thing I would do is send him to this site and advise him to start researching in order to get a broad general overview and then determine the specifics of preparing him and his family for any emergency situation. I would advise him to dedicate an area in his home for storage and to start with food and water storage, and a generator and a Berkey if possible.

  94. I would tell them to go to Backdoor Survival website & follow your advice & then they will be well prepared.

    Thank you so much for all your wisdom & for the giveaways!

  95. My best tips would be to start saving food/water for yourself and family and medical supplies. I’d also send them to Backdoor Survival.

  96. I would suggest they expand on the prepping people already do around here for hurricanes and expand from there following some more research about their own needs.

  97. I would tell the newbie prepper to go to and sign up to get your newsletters. I would also tell them to download the 12 Months of Prepping articles and begin slowly using those articles as a guide.

  98. Find out what they want to prepare for. Advise on where to find information. Refer to Backdoor Survival to read articles and meet the gang.

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