Under the Radar

Weather a Crisis With the 10-in-1 Survival Sidekick

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The Champ Survival Sidekick 10-in-1 Multi-Tool looks like a flashlight but it aims to do so much more. This $49.99 device wants to be there for you when you need to get bailed out of a car wreck during a hurricane in the middle of the night.

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Initially, I had a hard time figuring out exactly what the ten tools were. I counted a few times and came up with totals that ranged from 8 up to 12. And then I couldn't exactly remember how I got up to 12, so I asked the PR rep for Champ and got the definitve list that I couldn't locate on their website.

Here's the ten tools that come with a Survival Sidekick:

  1. Compass
  2. Distress Light
  3. Siren
  4. Glass Breaker
  5. Seatbelt cutter
  6. 3 LED Flash light
  7. Magnetic Base
  8. USB Charging
  9. Hand Crank Charging
  10. Weather Radio
That's not exactly how I counted. I never came up with the siren and their list leaves out the AM & FM radio options and the NOAA Weather Alerts. So, let's just say it does at least ten important things in a crisis.

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The bottom has a mechanical compass that works when your compass app won't work because your smartphone is out of juice.

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You might want to keep this in your car's glove box or center console, because there's a seatbelt cutter and a glass breaker that will come in handy if your run off the road and you're sinking into a lake.

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There's a solid 3-LED flashlight with magnets on that end of the device so you can secure it to the top of the car when you're using the distress light or the siren on the other end of the device.

The weather radio is the big upgrade in this device and you can set it to deliver NOAA severe weather alerts in dangerous conditions. There's also the AM and FM radio bands controlled by the same buttons and a display window so you can figure out what frequencies you're monitoring.

You charge the Survival Sidekick via a micro USB cable. The manufacturer says you should give it a full charge every three months. There's also a USB out port so you can use it as a backup battery to charge a phone in an emergency. Best of all, there's a hand crank so you can get some kind of charge even if the grid's gone all the way down for a few days.

The Survival Sidekick is a well-made piece of plastic but it's still plastic: the hand crank stands out as the part that might break first. Still, if you're the kind of person who wants multiple backups in a crisis, a couple of these would definitely find a place in your disaster toolkit.

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