It’s National Preparedness Month. Here are some deals to get you ready

The United States government has designated September as National Preparedness Month. With everything going on in the world, and what is shaping up to be the most tumultuous American election in decades, there has never been a better time to prepare.

Ready.gov has broken out each week of this month into actionable themes:

  1. Week 1: Make a plan. Figure out your plans for emergency shelter, family communications, receiving emergency alerts, and how to evacuate if need be.
  2. Week 2: Build a kit. Make sure you have food, water, necessary tools, extra batteries, and more. While Ready.gov doesn’t mention it, it would be an excellent time to evaluate your go-bag.
  3. Week 3: Prepare for disasters. Understand the disasters that are likely in your area, ensure you have adequate insurance coverage, and consider how to better prepare your home to withstand those disasters.
  4. Week 4: Teach youth about preparedness. This is a great time to share your preparedness knowledge with the kids. Do they know what to do if they get separated from you? Can they build a shelter, start a fire, and purify water?

More: Best portable survival water filters

It’s also Labor Day weekend here in the United States, which means that there are some great deals on prepping equipment. Here are a few we like.

Get a go-bag for less

Many of us here at The Prepared are fans of the 55-liter 5.11 RUSH72, one of the mid-tier bags we recommend in our guide to the best bug-out survival backpacks. The RUSH72 usually runs around $180, but you can score it for $99.49 right now. We also recommend 5.11’s 29-liter All Hazards Prime and 40-liter AMP72, which are both down to $159.99 from their usual $199.99 price.

REI is also having a great sale, and the Osprey Farpoint 55 and the Osprey Aether AG 60 are both 25% off.

If your budget is a little tighter, two of our budget-pick LA Police Gear bags are on sale. The Atlas 24, which usually retails for $129.99, is down to $59.99, and the Atlas 72 is down to $69.99 from $169.99 but is unfortunately now out of stock. (I bought an Atlas 72 myself.) You can save an additional 15% at LA Police Gear with coupon code LDAY15.

Headlamps and wood stoves

A headlamp is an essential tool in your bug-out bag. Jon Stokes is a big fan of the BioLite HeadLamp 200, which he described as “very close to an ideal bug-out bag light.” The BioLite usually retails for $44.95 but is on sale for $35.96, a savings of 20%. The sale price is automatic, so no need for a coupon code.

BioLite also has a great deal on the CampStove 2 bundle. It normally sells for $259.95, but you can grab it now for $183.96, a savings of over 40%. The CampStove can use sticks, wood scraps, or pellets as fuel, and not only can it cook food and boil water, but the CampStove generates 3 watts of power to charge your electronics!

Ham Radio Sales

Communications are essential in emergencies. For instance, in Jon Stokes’s hometown, Hurricane Laura has taken out many of the cellular towers, making outside communication difficult. While you need a license to use one, a high-frequency (HF) ham radio can reach people around the world.

More: Beginner’s guide to amateur (ham) radio for preppers

I’ve had my General license since June, and I took advantage of a couple of deals to finally get started. Connect Systems, Inc. has the well-regarded Xiegu G90 for $425 with free shipping. The G90 has an MSRP of about $500 and regularly sells for $450.

The Xiegu G90 is one of the most affordable HF transceivers and is well regarded for its relatively high power output (20 watts, as opposed to the 5-10 watts of most radios in its class), low power consumption, outstanding built-in antenna tuner, waterfall display (which lets you visually see which frequencies are active), and compact size. Ham radio expert Josh Nass (KI6NAZ) recently demonstrated building an EMP-proof trash can ham radio kit with the G90 being a key component.

The Xiegu G90 also gets high marks from OH8STN, a Nordic radio prepper whose YouTube channel I highly recommend if you want to learn more about field operations and radio preparedness.

While the G90 deal is good, what I bought and recommend is the bundle of the G90, the cooling fan stand, and the CE-19 digital interface for $499, also with free shipping. The CE-19 is a must for connecting the radio to your computer to take advantage of digital modes, which can travel farther and more reliably than voice. There are many digital preparedness ham radio nets, such as the AmRRON Intelligence Brief, which is distributed on a weekly basis. Digital modes will make your radio run hot, so the cooling fan stand is essential. Note that the CE-19 does require some light soldering, so make sure you have a soldering iron and a bit of practice.

The stand also lets you easily power the stand + radio with Anderson Powerpoles, the standard power connector used by the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). That means if you deploy with ARES or RACES to a disaster area, or a disaster hits your area that requires the help of ARES or RACES, it’ll be that much easier to power your radio.

Of course, a radio is nothing without an antenna and coax cable to connect it. GigaParts has a deal on the Chameleon EMCOMM III Portable antenna, which weighs only 1.5 pounds and is good for the 10- to 160-meter bands. Add the antenna to your cart and enter code TAYW to have 50-feet of ABR RG8X coax cable added to your cart at a significant discount. The EMCOMM III Portable runs for about $140 and the ABR coax usually runs between $40-50, so you’re getting it for half off.

The EMCOMM III Portable is another component of Josh Nass’s EMP kit, and it was the antenna he chose for his appearance on The Modern Rogue. OH8STN also gives it high marks.

Don’t forget that your radio also needs a power supply. The G90 can run well for hours from a battery like the Bioenno 9Ah LFP battery, which is purpose-built for ham radio and has the Anderson PowerPoles built in, so it’ll plug directly into the fan stand. It can also be kept topped-off with a solar charger.

Anything we missed?

Are there any other great Labor Day deals for preppers that we missed? Tell us about them in the comments.


  • 2 Comments

    • Joe

      Josh,

      The G90 with the Chameleon is a good combination for portability. You mention ARES/RACES; are you suggesting this radio and antenna for service with those organizations? HF capability isn’t actionable for the vast majority of ARES/RACES deployments or activations. ARES/RACES operators respond almost exclusively at the county level, most often using repeaters. HF communication is almost always handled from the local headquarters of a served agency.  Of the five hurricanes for which I’ve deployed the only one where HF was employed wide-scale was in Puerto Rico after Maria and the only reason we used it there was reliance on NVIS because the mountains made VHF ineffective until the repeaters came back online and the original tasking was to send Safe-and-Well messages to the continental U.S. via Winlink, which we never did because tactical communication took precedence. In the other four instances here in FL the operators in the field used VHF exclusively. They didn’t even carry HF gear when they activated.

      Also, at 20 watts the G90 is going to be limited, particularly with sub-par propagation until the new sunspot cycle takes off, still at least a year or two away. Even using narrow band digital mode such as PSK-31 the reduced power necessary, 1/2 full output is recommended because of the 80% duty cycle, HF comms will be difficult, particularly in less than ideal operating conditions.

      I’m not knocking the G90. It’s a great radio at that price point. But it’s not really actionable for ECOM, particularly in ARES or RACES.

      Joe – W1WCN

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      • Josh CentersContributor Joe

        I mentioned ARES and RACES just to demonstrate to laymen why the Anderson PowerPoles are desirable. I’m a little nervous about the 20-watt limit, but I couldn’t bring myself to drop $1000 on the 7300 until I have a better sense of what sort of HF propagation I’ll get in my area. I also like that the G90 is easily powered by a battery in case of a grid down, and fits easily into a small trash can in case of an EMP.

        I also really wanted something portable, because I’m a valley and get terrible VHF reception unless I climb up on a big hill. I had considered the FT-891, but I want a waterfall. I’ve been waffling between the G90, the 7300, and the FT-891 for weeks, and these deals are what finally helped make my decision.

        I figure if I enjoy working HF with the G90, but get frustrated with the power output I’ll feel more comfortable dropping money on the 7300.

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