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Stay prepared with the American Red Cross Axis Safety Hub

American Red Cross Axis Safety Hub offer a radio, cell phone charger, crank dynamo power source, and flash light all in one unit.

The American Red Cross Axis Safety Hub from Eton.
The American Red Cross Axis Safety Hub from Eton. Dong Ngo/CNET

I am not the type who's well-prepared (my fridge is almost always empty), nor do I want to scare people into getting things that they don't really need.

However, I ran across the American Red Cross Axis from Eton the other day and thought it was a really handy device to have around the house, or in your car.

It's hard to classify the Eton Axis as one specific type of device because it's many things in one. It's a radio (AM/FM/NOAA Weather), a flashlight, and a cell phone charger. Best of all, along with powering it using the power outlet, you can also charge its internal battery by cranking the device's built-in dynamo. You can also use regular AAA batteries with it.

The Eton Axis is well-built and feels solid, though it seems to be made out of mostly plastic, except for the dynamo which is aluminum. The dynamo's crank handle is designed in a way that it can be hidden away and at the same time easily pulled out to use. It's ergonomic enough to crank for an extended amount of time without straining your hands. According to Eton, you can make decent use of the device after cranking for a few minutes. Still, be prepared for a workout if you want to crank it to fully charge an iPhone.

The device's four-LED flashlight is not super bright, but bright enough for walking or for changing a tire in the dark. It has a flashing red emergency mode you can use as a flare. Its radio also works well.

The Eton Axis is bulky for you to carry on a backpacking trip, but it's small enough to keep inside your home or in the trunk of a car. At $70, it's rather expensive for a device that's not weather-proof and doesn't have a built-in solar charger, but if you needed to use it just once--and I hope you never will--it'd be more than worth the investment.