South African winters are unique because of load-shedding. We’ve begrudgingly accepted (or not?) our reality and in spirit of always ‘making a plan’, here are gadgets to consider to make this winter more bearable.

Nanopresso Portable Coffee Maker

There are various models from Wacaco’s Nanopresso range but the Portable Coffee Maker caught our eye for its simplicity. It’s a handheld manual espresso maker that requires ground coffee and hot water (from a flask or stove top gas kettle). This newer model uses 15% less force to pump compared to its first-gen model, according to Wacaco, with maximum pressure of 18 bars. The Nanopresso device comes with a built-in cup, filter basket, scoop, brush and pouch. If you own a Nespresso, the ‘NS Adaptor’ model supports pods and ground coffee. Price: R1 489 from Yuppiechef.

Cadac 2 Plate Deluxe Cooker

The Cadac brand is familiar to all South Africans thanks to their trusty braai and outdoor equipment so you may want to look into its lightweight easy-to-use 2 Plate Deluxe Cooker. This kit comes with the cooker, two non-stick grill plates, and a carry bag. Gas is purchased separately, which connects with a hose and regulator. The stove features non-slip rubber feet to keep it stable and cooks two dishes at the same time. The stove has a heat output of 4.4kW and according to Cadac, an average gas consumption of 291g/h, with an average operating pressure of 2.8kPa. Not just for hot meals during winter load-shedding, but great for outdoor enthusiasts, too. Price: R2 299 from Builders.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern

The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern features a USB power hub and weighs 498g. It is 600 lumens bright, is multi-directional but lets you extend the run time by illuminating half the lantern. You can hang it, store it or make it stand. It features a 5200mAh Lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged 3 ways: through USB, a Goal Zero solar panel, or a built-in hand crank in an emergency. It offers a nifty simultaneous charge and recharge functionality, while charging one other small device or phone via USB. It has an operating temperature of 0-40 degrees. Price: R1 499 at iStore.

Ellies Surge Protection Plugs

Ellies has an 8 way surge protection plug that comes with a R30 000 Repair or Replace Warranty. The 8 way multi-plug, characterised by its angular plug for a high surge, makes this list because it has 3x 2-pin slots; 1x Schuko round 2-pin slot; and 4x 3-pin sockets, with an extension cord of half a metre. The multi-plug has a built-in checker for your mains, which indicates if there are any possible wiring faults – the indicator lights will show if the Surge Protector is working correctly. A great option to connect your valuable electronics and appliances that could benefit from the R30 000 repair or replace warranty, should it get damaged when the power returns. Price: R405 from Builders.

EcoFlow River 2

EcoFlow entered the SA market officially in March 2023 with the River and Delta Series. We reviewed the Delta 2 earlier this year, but the River 2 makes this list as an ‘entry-level’ offering. It has a 256Wh battery capacity and an output of 300W (X-boost 600W). The Lithium-ion batteries (LiFePO4) promises a lifespan of over 3000 charges before reaching 80% capacity. It charges from 0-100% in one hour on AC, and can be recharged in four ways: AC, solar, car and USB-C. It has five power outlets (AC, DC, 1x USB-C and 2x USB-A). It also has an app to manage usage. The River 2 weighs 3.5kgs and comes with an AC charger and car charger. Price: R6 999 from EcoFlow.

WIN: Recharged has an EcoFlow River 2 to giveaway as part of its new relaunch and rebrand. Head over to the competition page to enter.