5 Deals on Utility Gear – The New York Times

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Roughing it doesn’t have to be rough. But if we’ve learned anything from various post-apocalyptic dramas, it’s better to be prepared. Joel Miller and Rick Grimes may have fared better with the likes of a versatile and durable portable solar charger or a compact flashlight that packs a powerful punch. Luckily for the survivalists watching from home, we’ve uncovered utilitarian deals to help you endure and survive to the edge of the universe and back—or at the very least, your next trek into the Great Unknown.
BigBlue 28W USB Solar Charger — Top Pick
Amazon deal price: $58; street price: $70
What we like: Produces the most power of any portable solar battery charger option we tested. Includes three output ports with weatherproof port protection. Smaller and lighter than similar options.
Other things to know: It folds closed with a weak strip of Velcro. Long and a bit unwieldy to get in the right position. Deal matches low, but is a regularly recurring deal.
Read our review of the best portable solar battery charger.
PackTowl Luxe (body size, deep sea) — Also Great
REI deal price: $23; street price: $33
What we like: The best-performing plush microfiber towel we tested. Dries quickly. Doesn’t easily absorb dirt and mud into the fabric. Fresh-smelling, even after a couple of days. Feels much closer to cotton than other microfiber options. Ideal as a wrap or beach blanket.
Other things to know: Not as compact and packable as our other picks. The carrying pouch’s thin zipper may not hold up over long-term use. Choose store pickup or have an REI membership to get the deal price. Available in deep-sea blue in both body and beach sizes.
Read our review of the best packable travel towels.
ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Flashlight — Top Pick
Amazon deal price: $24; street price: $30
What we like: Bright and compact—the size of a Sharpie pen. Multiple brightness settings. Waterproof. Doesn’t roll on flat surfaces. Stands upright on its end. Full of features found on pricier flashlights.
Other things to know: Not rechargeable—requires AA batteries. Difficult to tell if low-power mode is on in daylight. Flimsy belt clip. Not the brightest option available.
Read our review of the best flashlight.
CamelBak Arete 18 Hydration Pack (saffron) — Also Great
REI deal price: $35 with store pickup or REI membership; street price: $65
What we like: A basic and lightweight hydration pack with a 1.5-liter reservoir. Great for sightseeing or light hiking.
Other things to know: Lacks padding and articulated backing of our other picks. Small reservoir only suited to light activities. Currently only available in saffron color.
Read our review of the best hydration packs for day hikers.
Mercer Millennia 10-inch Bread Knife (wide) — Runner-Up
Amazon deal price: $15; street price: $19
What we like: Thicker blade and larger serrations than our top pick, but performs almost as well. Comfortable handle. A solid kitchen workhorse. A great value at less than half the price of our top pick.
Other things to know: Less maneuverable and slices bread and tomato a bit wider than our top pick.
Read our review of the best serrated bread knife.
This article was edited by Ignacia Fulcher.
Kaitlin Mahar
Kaitlin Mahar is a staff writer for Wirecutter’s Deals team. Her byline has appeared in Delish, Esquire, and Town & Country. When she’s not hunting for deals and fiercely defending the Oxford comma, she’s a proud cat parent, an avid yogi, and a co-producer and co-host of the podcast Crime Culture. Please tell your pets and grandparents she says hi.
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Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).
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At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.

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