Aurora Herrera


Last Minute Gifts to Unplug with

So, what’s in your off-grid Christmas gift kit? If you’re having some trouble choosing what to get for your off-grid someone, here are five suggestions to make your shopping easier.


goTenna Mesh

The goTenna Mesh is a great gift for the outdoor lover. This off-grid communication tool is lightweight as well as weatherproof and can be used with both iPhone and Android systems. If one loses their bearings, they will be able to send texts as well as share the GPS locations on detailed offline maps. They can also relay those messages through other goTenna Mesh devices nearby to extend the overall range which has the potential to be life-saving. It currently retails at £125 for a pair.


SR Utility Blanket

This is an all-purpose heavy-duty utility blanket. The denier nylon material is hand sewn and includes pack cloth front and back panels. The industrial threading ensures durability for outdoor performance. This blanket is a great gift to anyone planning to camp out, keep them warm and dry. It retails for £175.


Leatherman Rebar

The Rebar is new to Leatherman’s multi-tool collections. It contains 17 tools including a wire stripper, 420HC knife, 420HC serrated knife, regular pliers, a can opener, a bottle opener, a wood/metal file, an 8 in ruler, a saw, premium replaceable wire cutters, premium replaceable hard-wire cutters, an electrical crimper and Phillips screwdriver, a small screwdriver, a large screwdriver, an Awl w/Thread Loop and needlenose pliers. The Rebar pliers have been optimized for strength and feature replaceable wire/hard-wire cutters is a first for a four-inch tool from Leatherman. It retails for £56.


Pendleton Men’s Merino Jacquard Park Crew Socks

Your loved one can tell you that one of the most important things to pack when gearing up to go explore is a pair of good socks. The Pendleton Men’s Merino Jacquard Park Crew Socks is a great addition to any Christmas kit. It is made up of 89% Merino Wool, 9% Polyester and 2% Spandex. One fun fact is that this new line of wool park socks celebrates 100 years of national parks and exclusive Pendleton jacquard designs are combined with National Park Stripes. Also, not only is this fashionable, it is also functional. Designers have added just the right amount of spandex to prevent slippage and ensure a consistent fit throughout the day. A deep, welted top helps hold the sock in place and reduces pinch lines. With a fully cushioned sole for comfort and fit, this is a great gift retailing at £25.


Portable Charger

A portable charger is a great tool for people who are going off-grid and are unable to get to the usual power supplies. With the RAVPower 22000mAh Power Bank, those going off-grid can recharge their iPhone batteries up to 9 times, making sure that they are never out of touch with their loved ones. There …

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Flushed with Pride – toilet that recycles

Toilets are a key piece of off-grid technology that receive less attention than they deserve.

EAWAG, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, has announced it is making good progress with a multi-faceted toilet it calls the Blue Diversion Autarky.

This toilet (see infographic below( separates urine, faeces and used flush-and-wash water and then puts the used water through a multi-barrier treatment system. This allows the water to be reused in the system, on site.

This means safe and sanitary toilet facilities anywhere without typical water and sewerage infrastructure.

Moreover, the Autarky is sustainable. Every part of the waste is used; the urine and faeces become resources. After they become separated, both are safely extracted from the toilet chambers and recovered off site at a community scale Resource-Recovery Plant where fertilisers are produced.

This Autarky toilet is a follow up and upgrade to the Blue Diversion Toilet, which has been tested successfully with two pilot projects in Kampala Uganda and Nairobi, Kenya. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation financed research of the concepts that were originally presented at their Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

At this stage, there is still more testing to be done and Eawag is trying to attract investors with a profitable franchising model. The key to the social success of an off gird toilet is making it affordable to the people living in remote areas.

Eawag has targeted India for an official launch and reportedly have been in contact with industrial partners in order to upscale the Blue Diversion Toilet. With a belief that the majority of costs can be reduced by industrial production economies of scale, the focus is to get in contact with interested stakeholders and establish collaboration with an industrial partner.

Stay tuned!


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