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Best Emergency Portable Solar Generator

If you're a prepper looking for a long term power source that you can easily carry around, we’ll tell you everything about the best emergency power generators on the market.

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Emergencies can be nerve-wracking when they come with a dark house, unpowered home appliances, or flat-battery communication gadgets.

But having an emergency portable solar generator can give this dull and stressful situation a ray of light.

Not so fast though. You’ll need to make the best choice for a solar generator before you can enjoy its saving power.

The best emergency portable solar generator has these 5 qualities:

  • It meets your basic power needs.
  • It has a long-life Lithium-ion battery.
  • It is light and easy to carry around.
  • It has charge controllers to regulate charge and protect the battery from damage.
  • It has several efficiency features such as multiple outlets and parallel connectivity.

One of the best portable solar power generators that meets these qualities perfectly is the EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER 600.

So, if you are a prepper looking for a long term power source that you can easily carry around, we’ll tell you everything about this emergency solar power kit and a few others that make perfect emergency power generators.

But just in case you haven’t read our comprehensive article on the 7 types of Generators, here are some quick basics on solar generators.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Table Of Contents show

What Are Portable Solar Generators

So what are portable solar generators? Here’s a simple breakdown:

They are generators….

Which means they are devices that convert power obtained from an external source into electrical energy that is then tapped as output power through an external circuit.

They are solar-powered…

The external power that is converted to electrical energy is not produced by burning fossil fuels as with other generators but is instead harnessed from the sun through solar panels.

They are portable…

Portable solar generators are purposely made to be easily moved or carried around as standby emergency power sources. They are generally lightweight, and if they are heavy-duty, they are fitted with wheels to help you easily move them.

How Portable Solar Generators Work

Solar generators work by placing solar panels under direct sunlight and connecting them to a storage battery, then using external outlets to draw power to charge devices. In other words:

  • You collect power with solar panels
  • Store the collected power in a battery or power pack
  • Use the stored electricity to charge your gear

Check this quick and interesting video to see how solar generators work.

To complete the power-generating process, solar generators have internal and external components that together make a self-contained portable power station.

Solar powered generator internal components:

Inverter

Which turns the DC power from the solar panels into ready-for-use AC power.

 Battery

Which stores the power that is not immediately used for later use. Solar batteries are usually made of lithium-ion technology or lead-acid technology.

Lithium-ion batteries are often preferred because they accept faster current and charge faster than lead-acid batteries.

Note that most of these batteries are made with the possibility of charging them from an ordinary wall outlet or a 12v car outlet.

Charge controller

Which regulates the amount of power entering the battery from the panels to prevent battery damage.

Solar powered generator external components:

Solar Panels

The indispensable solar panels charge your portable generator with solar energy. Usually, solar panel manufacturers make compatible solar panels to be sold together with the generator.

But they are not a built-in element, which means you can always purchase them separately elsewhere.

Unlike the huge commercial or residential solar panels, portable solar generator panels are smaller in size and wattage, which makes them easily portable and adjustable to better tap the sun’s rays.

Power Outlets

These can be AC and DC outlets as well as USB ports. Advanced models also have USB-PD ports which are universal power delivery ports across USB devices.

LCD Display

Today’s solar generator models have an LCD from which you can stay updated about your battery status in power input and output as well as generator run time.

Why should you buy emergency portable solar generators?

Because their source of power can be found anywhere and they are lightweight. Portable solar generators are a handy emergency backup power sources and the fastest way to get your devices and appliances powered during a blackout.

We’ll tell you about the benefits of portable solar generators and how to choose the best portable solar generator later in the article. Before then, here are our recommendations for the 7 best emergency portable solar generators in the market.

7 Best Emergency Portable Solar Generators

So, portable emergency power generators are those you can easily move around to provide you with power during a power outage, while camping, or in your RV. 

That means they are low-wattage portable emergency power supply systems, even though manufacturers are also making heavy-duty portable solar generators that can easily be moved around by wheels.

We give you 7 of the most efficient portable solar generators in the market today.

Best overall portable solar generator:

EF ECOFLOW Portable Power Station RIVER 600

We chose the EF ECOFLOW RIVER 600 portable power station as our best overall solar generator because of its many efficiency features.

Most importantly, it has a Lithium-ion battery which has better resilience than a lead-acid battery. The ECOFLOW RIVER 600 also has a compact design and is extremely sturdy, withstanding even extreme temperatures.

ECOFLOW RIVER 600 Best Features:

  • 288Wh capacity with the possibility of adding an extra RIVER 600 battery with equal capacity.
  • A Lithium-ion battery with 3x 600w AC outlets (1800w peak) and 100w USB-C port.
  • 3 recharging options: 1.5M wall outlet AC charging cable, 1.5M car charging cable, 1.5M MC4 to XT60 solar charging cable).
  • Can charge 10 devices simultaneously.
  • 80% charge in 1hr and 1.6hrs full charge.
  • “Quiet charging” mode.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ECOFLOW RIVER 600 Benefits:

  • A sturdy and compact model.
  • 3 recharging options.
  • Multiple outlets.
  • Easy portability (only 11lbs).

ECOFLOW RIVER 600 Disadvantages:

  • Not a complete kit. You have to buy the solar panel(s) separately.

ECOFLOW RIVER 600 FAQs:

Q1: What devices can the RIVER 600 charge?

The ECOFLOW RIVER 600 can charge 80% of common appliances and devices to a maximum of 1800w including light bulbs, cellphones, laptops, cameras, hairdryer, electric kettles, TV, and refrigerator.

Q2: How much solar power does the ECOFLOW RIVER 600 take?

You can charge the ECOFLOW RIVER 600 with a 110W solar panel in series or make a parallel connection by adding another 110W solar panel series. You’ll need to purchase the parallel cable separately.

Q3: Can the ECOFLOW RIVER 600 take the maximum 1800W at once?

With the X-Boost, the ECOFLOW RIVER 600 can support appliances and devices up to the maximum 1800W. But it’s advisable to limit the running watts at one given time to 1200W for better power efficiency.

Also, update your power pack to the latest firmware from the ECOFLOW App before using the X-Boost feature.

.

Best value portable power generator:

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit

We choose this comprehensive kit as our value pack option because it is delivered as a portable solar generator with solar panel and for a reasonable price.

Goal Zero is a household name in portable solar stations and the Yeti 400 portable power station is one of the manufacturer’s most sturdy and powerful generators.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Best Features:

  • 396Wh capacity with the possibility of adding other 33Ah lead-acid batteries for longer run time.
  • 3 recharging options (wall outlet AC, 12V car outlet, or solar panels).
  • Can charge up to 7 devices/appliances at once (33Ah @ 12V).
  • 300 running watts and 600 surge watts delivered with 120W 12V ports and 2.1A USB ports.
  • The 50-watt Solar panel is made of strong tempered glass and has a sturdy aluminum frame plus a kickstand to help set the panel at the best position to the sun.
  • No noise or fumes.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Benefits:

  • Complete kit with a solar panel.
  • Multiple outlets.
  • Can be used with other lead-acid batteries for more power.
  • Easy portability (41lbs entire kit).

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Disadvantages:

  • Lead-acid batteries have a short life.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 FAQs:

Q1: How long does the Goal Zero Yeti 400 take to charge fully?

To charge the Yeti 400 with the 50-watt boulder, you need 12-24 hours depending on the panel’s elevation and the strength of the sun’s temperature among other factors. It takes 5 hours to charge the Yeti 400 on a wall outlet and 13 hours on a 12V car adapter.

Q2: Can I buy the Yeti 400 without the boulder?

Yes, you can buy the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station without the boulder which will cost you a lot less. You can also opt for the lithium-ion battery Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Portable Power Station.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Q3: For how long will I use the Yeti 400 before I need to replace it?

The Yeti 400 lead-acid battery is similar to that of a car and will need to be replaced after 5-8 years.

Best multi-recharging portable solar generator:

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500

Jackery portable solar generators are a popular model for their efficiency and extremely comfortable portability.

The 5-star Jackery Explorer 500 won a spot on our list for its multiple recharging modes among other efficiency features.

While most portable solar packs charge on solar panels, AC wall outlets, and a 12V carport, the Jackery 500 also charges on other generators with an 80W input maximum.

Jackery Explorer 500 Best Features:

  • 518Wh; 24Ah, 21.6V Lithium battery.
  • 4 charging options (wall outlet AC, 12V carport, 62W solar panel, and 80W generator).
  • Can charge up to 7 devices/appliances at once including TV, projector, small fridge, and other communication devices.
  • 500 running watts and 1000 surge watts delivered on 3x USB-A ports (5V, 2.4A), 2x 6.5 DC outputs (12V, 7A), and 1x 500W AC outlet.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jackery Explorer 500 Benefits:

  • Multiple recharge modes.
  • Multiple outlets.
  • Can be used as UPS.
  • Easy portability (13.3lbs).

Jackery Explorer 500 Benefits:

  • Not TSA approved.

Jackery Explorer 500 FAQs:

Q1: How long does the Jackery Explorer 500 take to charge fully?

To charge the Jackery Explorer 500 with the Jackery Saga 100W solar panel, you’ll need 9.5 hours. Charging the generator from an AC wall outlet takes 7.5 hours while it takes 16 hours to charge from a 12V carport.

Q2: Is the Jackery Explorer 500 sold with the solar panel?

You can buy the Jackery Explorer 500 generator alone or opt for the Jackery Solar Generator 500 with Solar Saga 100 at an additional cost.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Q3: Does the Jackery Explorer 500 have a built-in MPPT controller?

Yes, all Jackery power packs have a built-in Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) to maximize the charge from the solar panels at any given time.

Best high-capacity portable solar generator:

MAXOAK Portable Power Station BLUETTI EB150

When you want a high-wattage survival generator without necessarily opting for a heavy-duty model, the MAXOAK Portable Power Station BLUETTI EB150 could be what you are looking for.

The power pack will give you 1000 running watts, strong enough to charge high-power devices/appliances such as fridge/freezer, blender, drill, and hairdryer.

MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 Best Features:

  • 1500Wh (3.7V 405,000mAh, 101,351mAh/14.8V) Lithium battery.
  • 3 charging options: wall outlet AC, 12V carport, or solar panel (need power inverter).
  • 1000 running watts delivered on 2x standard AC110V outlets, 1x 12V/9A car cigar outlet, 1x PD 45W USB-C, and 4x 5V 3A USB ports.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 Benefits:

  • High-wattage.
  • Multiple recharge modes.
  • Multiple outlets.
  • Sturdy and comfortable easy-carry handle.

MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 Disadvantages:

  • A bit heavy (37.9lbs).

MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 FAQs:

Q1: How long does the MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 take to charge fully?

The time to recharge the MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 depends on the strength of the sunlight and the input power. A 300W compatible solar panel will take 5-5½ hours to charge the power pack fully.

Q2: Is the MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 sold with the solar panel?

No, you’ll need to purchase a compatible solar panel separately.

The compatible solar panel should be Open Circuit Voltage (OCV):16-60V/Max.10A, Max.500W, and without charge controller (power pack already has a built-in MPPT).

A DC7907 to MC4 charging cable is included with the MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150.

Q3: Does the MAXOAK BLUETTI EB150 allow parallel panel connection?

Yes, you can connect solar panels in series to increase input power. Just ensure they do not exceed the recommended OCV: 16-60V/Max.

Best touch screen portable solar generator:

Flashfish 81000mAh Solar Generator:

We’ve all become used to the touchscreens on our communication gadgets, so a touch-screen solar generator is no doubt welcome news.

The Flashfish 330W solar generator is an all-in-one solar power pack with numerous outlets and an SOS LED flashlight.

Flashfish 81000mAh Solar Generator Best Features:

  • 300Wh (81Ah/3.7V) Lithium-ion battery.
  • An LCD touch screen that lets you read input and output watts, charging status, and battery level, plus it automatically turns off after 1 minute when the solar generator is not in use.
  • 2 charging options (wall outlet AC and solar panel).
  • Plenty of outlets: 2x AC outlet (110V 330W 380W Peak), 2x DC output (12V~16.8V/168W), 1x DC carport (24V/3.8A), 2x QC3.0 USB+USB (5V 2.4A), 1x PD-Type C Port (45W max), and 1x SOS LED flashlight.
  • 330 running watts and 380 surge watts.
  • Easy-to-carry retractable handle.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Flashfish 81000mAh Solar Generator Benefits:

  • Touch-screen LCD.
  • Lots of outlets.
  • Low cost.
  • Can be used for pass-through charging.
  • Easy portability (6.6lbs).

Flashfish 81000mAh Solar Generator Disadvantages:

  • Limited on the range of devices it can power.

Flashfish 81000mAh Solar Generator FAQs:

Q1: What can I charge on the Flashfish 81000mAh?

The Flashfish 81000mAh is best for charging mainstream electronics and small appliances like smartphones, cameras, tablets, laptops, drones, and car fridges.

Q2: How long does the Flashfish 81000mAh take to charge fully?

The Flashfish will take 5-6 hours to charge on the AC wall plug and 7-8 hours to charge with the Flashfish 100W solar panel.

Q3: Does the Flashfish 81000mAh come with the wall plug charging cord?

You have to purchase the wall outlet charging cord and you can also purchase a special DC power cord to charge the generator with a carport.

Best outdoor emergency portable solar generator

Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240

Another of Jackery’s best-seller solar generators that is excellent for your low-power emergency needs.

The Jackery Explorer 240 is perfect as an emergency survival power generator, as a prepper power generator during your outdoor camping escapades, or just as an emergency power backup for home use.

Jackery Explorer 240 Best Features:

  • 240Wh (16.8Ah, 14.4V) lithium battery.
  • 4 charging options (Wall outlet AC, 12V carport, 50W solar panel, and 42W generator).
  • Can charge up to 4 devices/appliances at once including laptops, a mini-cooler, and drones among others.
  • 200 running watts delivered on 1x AC outlet (110V 200W 400W peak), 2x USB-A ports, and 1x DC carport.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jackery 500 Benefits:

  • 4 recharge modes.
  • Multiple outlets.
  • Extremely light (6.6lbs).

Jackery 500 Disadvantages:

  • Limited wattage.

Jackery Explorer 240 FAQs:

Q1: Can the Jackery Explorer 240 be charged while powering devices?

Yes, you can use the Jackery Explorer 240 to power devices while charging. But it is highly discouraged since it will damage the battery fast.

Q2: What solar panel should I use with the Jackery Explorer 240?

The Jackery Solar Saga 60 solar panel is recommended for charging the Explorer 240 and will take 6.5 hours depending on the strength of the sunlight.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Q3: What do I get when I purchase the Jackery Explorer 240?

When you purchase the Jackery Explorer 240, you receive the Power Station Jackery Explorer 240 Portable Power Station, an AC adapter, and a car charger cable.

Best light portable solar generator

Rockpals 250-Watt Portable Generator

The best portable solar generator needs to be light and easily portable while providing the power you are looking for. The Rockpals is a perfect choice in that case.

The Rockpals 250-watt is extremely small (8.86 x 3.94 x 6.3 inches) and extremely light (5.5lbs). You can carry it anywhere without feeling the weight.

Rockpals 250-Watt Best Features:

  • 240Wh (3.7V 64.8Ah/12V 20Ah) Lithium battery.
  • 3 recharging options (wall outlet AC, 12V carport, and solar panel).
  • Can charge multiple devices/appliances at once including smartphones, laptops, cameras, 32ʺ TV, and a mini-cooler among others.
  • 250 running watts and 300 surge watts delivered on AC 250W/300W max output, Dual AC outputs, 2x USB 2.1A, and 4x DC 12V (60W) ports.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rockpals 250-Watt Benefits:

  • Multiple recharge modes.
  • Multiple outlets.
  • Extra light and extra small.

Rockpals 250-Watt Disadvantages:

  • Limited wattage.

Rockpals 250-Watt FAQs:

Q1: Does the Rockpals 250-watt support pass-through charging?

No, the Rockpals 250-watt does not support powering devices while charging. You should instead opt for a higher-wattage model, the ROCKPALS Portable Power Station 300W.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Q2: What solar panel should I use with the Rockpals 250-watt?

The ROCKPALS SP002 Foldable 60W solar panel is recommended for charging the Rockpals 250-watt and will take 9-10 hours in the best sun condition. Compatible 60W or 100W solar panels can also be used.

Last update on 2021-07-24 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Q3: What do I get when I purchase the Rockpals 250-watt?

The package comes with an AC power adapter, a car charger, and a cigar-lighter plug. Compatible solar panels are sold separately.

With your list of best portable solar generators complete, you might want to know what the benefits of going for portable solar generators are and if there are any drawbacks.

Portable Solar Generators - Benefits and Drawbacks

Compared to fossil fuel generators, portable solar generators are excellent options when it comes to the best generator for emergency preparedness. But they also have some limits depending on what you are looking for.

Portable solar generators benefits

Here are the 5 key benefits of portable solar generators.

Free solar energy wherever you are

Unlike conventional fossil fuel generators that require you to perpetually buy the fuel, solar generators rely on free solar energy once you have purchased your solar panel and a generator.

Clean natural power

Choosing portable solar generators saves the environment from the toxic emissions produced by fossil fuel generators.

Quiet operation

Portable solar generators are the best quiet portable generators when compared to their fuel-powered counterparts. In reality, they do not produce any noise because they have no moving parts.

Low maintenance costs

Because they do not have any moving parts, portable power generators do not need consistent maintenance, which saves on costs. 

Reliability

During emergencies, you can never be sure that you will be able to find and purchase enough fuel for your fuel-powered generator.

Instead, as long as you have your generator and solar panel, the ubiquitous sun will charge your solar power pack and save the day during emergencies and in whatever corner of the universe you are in.

Portable solar generators drawbacks

Portable solar generators also have limits, among which these 3:

Low power supply

Even though our focus on portable solar generators targeted low-power generators that you can easily carry around during emergencies, solar generators are generally limited in their energy output capacity. They are, therefore, your best option for low-power appliances and devices like cellphones, tablets, laptops, and low-power fridges and TVs.

So, if you have high power needs, you might want to go for large standby/stationary solar power systems or other fuel-charged portable power generators.

High initial cost

Portable solar generators are high-cost options, often going for more than $1,000 without counting the cost of the solar panels. This is a lot more when compared to fuel-powered options. Different from conventional fuel models, however, you have no fuel charges once your power pack is purchased.

Slow recharging

You’ll need plenty of patience when using portable solar generators since they usually recharge slowly. Even though some have a UPS function or allow pass-through charging, most solar generators require you to first recharge them then use them to power devices. If you need power that is consistently delivered, you might want to go for a fuel generator.

So, if these are the strengths and limits of portable solar generators, what features should you look for to ensure you buy the best portable solar power generator? Read about these features in the next section on portable solar generators buying guide.

Portable Solar Generator Buying Guide

Buying the best portable power generator is more than just finding the cheapest generator and deciding on one that fits your budget.

Even though you have to go for an affordable generator, you should also consider a few other factors including the following:

Portable solar generator capacity

If you are looking for a portable solar generator for your essential power needs during an emergency, a low wattage generator is good enough. Even then, you will need to make your decision based on your power needs.

For example, if you just need to power a cellphone, tablet, laptop, or other low-wattage devices during a power outage or an outdoor escapade, a 200-watt solar generator is more than enough.

Instead, you’ll need a lot more wattages to power a TV or mini-fridge, which is why we gave you portable solar generator options of up to 1000 watts.

Portable solar generator battery type

Portable solar generators come with either a lead-acid battery or a Lithium-ion battery.

Lead-acid batteries work in a similar manner as those used in cars. Their major advantage is that they are cheaper than their Lithium counterparts but their shorter lifespan is a huge drawback. Some Lead-acid batteries have special gels to help improve their durability and safety, but that does not improve their performance.

Go for a Lead-acid battery emergency solar generator only if you are on a tight budget and you can get a value-for-money deal as in the case of the reviewed Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station Kit.

Lithium-ion batteries have a longer life. Besides, they are lighter and more compact. Their one disadvantage is that they are expensive and will inflate the cost of the solar generator. Nonetheless, if the cost is not your worry, always go for a Lithium-ion battery.

Portable solar generator weight

If you want a portable solar generator, you definitely want one that you can move around with ease. Our reviewed options go from one with a weight as low as 5.5lbs (around 3kg) to one with weight as high as 37.9lbs (or 41lbs for a complete kit with solar panel).

Consider what you want to use your solar generator for and how often you’ll need to move it before buying a generator that is too heavy to move.

Portable solar generator charge controllers

Charge controllers regulate the amount of input charge from the solar panel to the generator. This prevents the battery from getting damaged. Safer solar generators are equipped with MPPT to regulate current flow and preempt battery damage.

If your solar generator is not equipped with MPPT, ensure the solar panel has built-in charge controllers.

Portable solar generator efficiency and convenience features

To get the most and the best out of your portable solar generator, go for one with these efficiency/convenience features:

  • Multiple outlets: including AC, DC, and USB ports.
  • Parallel connectivity: which allows you to connect more solar panels or more solar generators/batteries for more power.
  • LCD panel: to control power input, output, and run time among other functions.
  • Pure sine wave: is saver for your devices and causes less wear.
  • Convenience handle: as opposed to generators that are just a block with no handle and difficult to move.

Apart from the features you should look for when purchasing a portable solar panel, there are others that you should instead avoid.

Characteristics you should avoid when purchasing a portable solar generator

Avoid portable solar generators with these characteristics:

  • Solar generator kits that require you to buy additional pricey components to be able to use them.
  • Solar generator models whose production the manufacturer has discontinued since this means no replacement parts will be available (you can always check for those details from the product’s page on Amazon).
  • Portable solar generators with short warranty periods (less than a year) could indicate poor quality or manufacturers without a solid market presence.

Best Portable Solar Generator Summary

Being without power during an emergency can be stressful. But you do not need to resign yourself to a dark home, flat-battery devices, or unpowered appliances.

A portable solar generator can be that long term survival power generator that makes the strain of an emergency situation less nerve-racking.

Even though it should be light enough to allow you to move it with ease, your portable low-wattage solar generator should be good enough to charge your basic devices and appliances.

You can choose one that is as low as 200watts if you just need to keep your communication devices charged or one that is as high as 1000watts if you want to power a few more medium-power appliances such as a fridge or TV.

Ensure your charging solar panel is compatible with the solar generator. You might want to go with the one recommended by the manufacturer for your choice solar power battery to be on the safer side.

Bear in mind also that most portable power generators can be recharged from a standard wall plug or a 12V carport. You will most probably need to purchase those extra cables separately.

Lastly, your solar generator will have a Lead-acid or a Lithium-ion battery. You should always opt for the latter as it has a longer lifespan. Even though you will need to dig a little deeper into your pocket, a Lithium-ion battery gives you better value for your money.

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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