Without This Tool in Your Hurricane Supplies, You Could Be Screwed

by | May 24, 2019 | Emergency Preparedness | 35 comments


This article was originally published by Jeremiah Johnson at Ready Nutrition. 

I wrote several articles (a series, a few years back) about my family’s experiences in Hurricane Katrina (Editor’s Notes: Links to these articles will be provided at the end of this article). With hurricane season about to crop up again in a few months, it’s important to remember how important tools are for hurricane preparedness endeavors and for rebuilding after a hurricane.

To maintain a general readiness stance for what may come down the pike, we’re going to discuss drills. Simple enough, right? Not necessarily, because all drills don’t satisfy the same needs: even two drills that are the same size and specs in appearance may function in totally different manners.

Not All Drills are the Same

Drills with cords are important. During times when electricity is available, the drills with cords will run stronger and steadier. Cordless drills are “finite,” in that the power pack/battery will eventually run down and have to be charged. That being said, I have a pair of Sears Craftsman’s from “back in the day” that run on cords for general-purpose work.

The biggest problem with cordless drills is that the battery runs down and becomes “un-rechargeable” long before the actual drill goes kaput. Then the price of a new battery is only a few dollars less than buying a completely new drill package. This is purposed: the planned inefficiency of a tool with a finite lifespan in order to assure new purchases of batteries or the whole shebang. The “Dick Jones” parts and contract philosophy out of the original “Robocop” holds true here.

I had a Ryobi cordless, an 18 V that just recently crossed the River Styx after serving me well for six years. My replacement for it? A DeWalt 20 V Model DCD 791 D2 ½” drill, that comes with an extra LiIon (Lithium Ion) battery pack. It comes with both battery packs fully charged, and this thing has a really high output. It has a variable speed trigger (essential when you don’t want to stop drilling but you don’t want it turning at full speed), and a three-setting work light built into the drill.

The cordless is really important for times when you don’t have power, and also to use on hard to reach places where a cord either will not stretch or you don’t have the time to fool with it. In addition, if you’re on the road, unless you have an outlet in your vehicle, the cordless drill is the way to go. I explained in the other articles how I needed to affix pressure-treated plywood to pre-drilled sections of my window casements prior to Katrina striking. As I used galvanized deck screws with hex heads, with a ratchet set it would’ve taken a while, but with the drill, I affixed them in no time.

With the two-pack of power packs, I can do my work and then have a fresh pack when the first one is expended, then charge the first while I’m working with the second one. This drill has a good warranty: three years on the drill, and two on the power packs. It has different torque settings for different drilling strengths, and all in all, it’s pretty rugged. I picked mine up for about $180. If you can’t find one in your area, you can order it online at www.amazon.com and have it sent to you.

The only thing I didn’t like about it is that it didn’t come with any attachments…not even your usual “token” piece with standard and Phillips screwdriver-heads on opposite ends. No matter: I’m using the one from the Ryobi and the other attachments that I already had. The best thing about it is that if I need to work with it, I can pull it out and begin without fooling around with any cords or what have you. When you’re pressed for time or have to fix something that was unforeseen (such as board up a window smashed out by a storm), you want a good drill that you can rely on. I highly recommend this one for price and quality: it should serve you well for whatever your need may be.  JJ out!

Additional Reading:

A Family’s Survival Story: Hurricane Katrina, (Part 1)

A Family’s Survival Story: Hurricane Katrina, (Part 2)

The Hurricane Primer

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    1. Honeypot

      There is something I’ve discovered at the hardware store. It is so small it will fit in your bug out bag or just about anywhere. Those screw in thingamajigs you use to put up a clothes line.

      I was screwing one into a beam. My son was busy and I was not paying attention to him. He asked me what I was doing. I told him I was screwing in this thing so I could put a rope up for a clothes line. He asked me to step aside, removed that thing, and drilled a hole for which I could now screw in the thigamajig.

      Ya, I can attest. Those drills are mighty helpful when you need to screw in a thigamajig for an old fashioned clothes line.


      • Arby5

        Our clothes line has a pulley on each end. The end that is away from the house is up a bit on a tree so the clothes stay well off the ground. You just stand in one spot and and string them up as you go. I bought some roller things that hook onto the line every so often to keep the line from sagging as you fill it up.

        I love my cordless drills. I try to have at least three batteries for them as now several tools can use the same battery.

        • Genius

          I got lyrics for every article lol….

          If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
          If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
          When the levee breaks I’ll have no place to stay
          Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
          Lord mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
          It’s got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home
          Oh well, oh well, oh well
          Don’t it make you feel bad
          When you’re tryin’ to find your way home
          You don’t know which way to go?
          If you’re goin’ down South
          They got no work to do
          If you don’t know about Chicago
          Cryin’ won’t help you prayin’ won’t do you no good
          Now cryin’ won’t help you prayin’ won’t do you no good
          When the levee breaks mama you got to move
          All last night sat on the levee and moaned
          All last night sat on the levee and moaned
          Thinkin’ ’bout me baby and my happy home
          Going to Chicago
          Going to Chicago
          Sorry but I can’t take you
          Going down, going down now, going down
          Going down now, going down
          Going down, going down, going down
          Going down now, going down
          Going down now, going down
          Going down now, going down
          Going d-d-d-d-down
          Woo, woo
          Songwriters: John Bonham / John Paul Jones / Robert Anthony Plant / James Patrick (jimmy) Page
          When the Levee Breaks lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

    2. Nailbanger

      The Dewalt cordless tools are better than Ryobi by a mile, Dewalt overall is an excellent product, personally i have Makita and Milwaukee, just because of sales at the local tool shop i buy stuff from, the Makita set is better, was a hell of a deal, 4 batteries, two tool kit with a circular saw as well for under 500$, i use the impact gun all the time and the heavy duty hammer drill/driver that was in the kit i use regularly to mix drywall mud/mortar/grout even cement from time to time as well as drill all sorts of holes, it will break your wrist if you are not careful,
      Watch for deals and sales,

      • Honeypot

        On “breaking your wrists”, when the electricity goes out and the battery run won’t work, got that trusty old manual drill. It works.


      • rellik

        Due to latencies in Mac’s system and my slow typing I did not see your post till I finished mine.
        I’m very partial to Makita for cordless drill/drivers.
        I notice a lot of places use Dewalt and Ryobi because
        employees abuse tools so badly and they are throw away
        Makita is expensive, but you can always gets parts to fix them.
        My list for portable electrical tools;
        Drill/drivers – Makita.
        Circular saws – Skil wormdrive.
        Saber saw – Bosch or AEG.
        Table saw – Hitachi.
        Power plane- Skil.
        Sawszall – Milwakee.

        As you can see, I’m not particularly nationalistic, these are what experience has taught me works, even when dumb
        shiites abuse them.
        I once had a Makita repair place accuse me of abusing their tools because of the way I stored the cord around the tool.
        I wrap the cord around the drill body and put the plug through
        the loop at the end of the handle. Tool was out of warranty, so they had no skin in it other than reputation.

        • Genius

          relik, I built 2 cabins and 4 sheds with …

          A makita chop saw that I bought used with a million miles on it.
          An ACE master mechanic sawzall
          A black and decker 110 drill
          A makita cordless drill
          A cheap chinese cordless drill
          A ryobi impact driver
          A Skil circular saw
          A skil jigsaw
          A ryobi table saw
          A Stihl chainsaw
          A bosch grinder

          They did the jobs fine. I now have mostly all Dewalt tools. They perform very well with no issues. But then I don’t use them a lot because I have all my large projects finished.

        • Son of patriot

          I have a Makita drill. Still works, bought it in 1986. My first drill. I hafta say tho that the best SHTF tool is a gun.

          SHTF Toolkit:
          set of screwdrivers, sae and metric, torx, hex
          socket set, sae and metric
          If you have an AR15, you need the above and an otis tool to clean the bolt, and an AR tool/wrench. You wouldn’t believe how many AR owners have no gun tools to dissasemble and clean it, and run it dirty until it wont work, then trade it to a pawn shop. Most pawn shop ARs have problems, from being run dirty.

    3. EDC

      It’s easy to lose cordless drills when working with other people in busy or chaotic environments. I always write my name on my drills with a sharpie. I don’t accidentally take someone else’s drill that way and I think it makes my drill less desirable too thieves, unless they have the same name as me :). Same goes for the batteries.

    4. Ossqss

      FWIW, I invested in Ridgid 18v tools. If you register them properly, you get a lifetime warrant on the tool and batteries if purchased as a kit. I just had an 11 year old drill replaced free of charge. I had replaced both the batteries 3 times at no charge prior to it failing . The tools are quite diverse that can use those same batteries. Anything from a portable 3 gallon wet vac (invaluable), USB power source cap, to hybrid fans, great assorted flashlights/work lights, and other hand held tools (grinders, sawzal, circular saw, sanders, etc.), along with the Jobmax interchangeable head tool line. They all are compatible with the batteries I have (9). Some of the newer additions have 9 amphour batteries (large comparatively speaking). All the kits have a lifetime warranty with them. One time purchase if you do it right. JMHO.

    5. rellik

      I have built boats for a living.
      Today I’m a “gentleman farmer”.
      I own lots of tools, so I will just mention a few types I use
      for screws/drilling/driving.
      “Yankee” drill driver
      (my oldest tool, it was my Great grand father’s).
      Klein 11 in one screwdriver.
      Makita 1/2inch cordless hammer drill 18V.
      Makita 1/2inch corded electric drill.
      I also have Rockwell air drivers/wrenches.
      I have pretty much all bases covered.
      If electricity is available, I’d say historically,
      my most used tool is the corded Makita.
      Historically, with no electricity, the “Yankee”
      drill/driver wins hands down, it is over 100 years
      old and still working.

      • Genius

        relik, I posted this a couple days ago for you, just wanted to be sure you got it…

        relik, me again lol. Just a fyi, be sure you use UL7403 rated PV wire in all your outdoor interconnects and anything that isn’t in conduit. Ebay has wire and MC4 connectors at great prices. I bought a new 500 ft. roll of 7403 PV wire for 125 bux! As far as battery connections I use welding cable because it is easy to work with (but the jacket isn’t as tough). What kind of inverter setup are you planning on?

        Comment ID: 3999740
        May 23, 2019 at 2:11 am
        To add, I always use #10 wire even if it is overkill. Did you tell me once that you bought the solar design and installation book from SEI? That has great wire sizing charts and sun charts and all the info you would ever need. It was 50 bux but might be out of print now.

        • rellik

          Found it,

          • rellik

            BTW for all you confused people
            it is UL 4703.
            Being a boat guy I use Ancor tinned wiring, although Belden is just as good.

            • Genius

              Oooops, my bad. Gettin old sucks lol.

    6. Ketchupondemand

      A water filter is probably #1 on my list [after] a hurricane.

      On a cement block house like ours I installed threaded sleeves at the top of doors and windows that accept 3/8″ all thread, so all we have to do is hang the pre-cut and drilled 3/4″ plywood over the thread, and add big washers and nuts.
      The bottom of each cover gets a 3/8″ bolt thru it into the open sleeve.
      Quick and easy. Survived 130-150 mph winds on 9/17
      Only works on concrete, though.

    7. Asshat

      Porter cable circular saw
      Craftsman drill corded
      Dewalt mitre saw
      Earthwise chainsaw
      Earthwise rototiller.
      Husky power washer
      All these plug in tools have worked without problem.
      Echo commercial gas trimmer
      Craftsman lawn tractor
      Fiskers x25 splitter
      These tools I use the most around my place.
      Went with electric tiller and chainsaw cus they were cheap and I am surprised at how well they work they have proven to be reliable. People want to borrow the tiller from all the time. I loan it out and it gets used hard don’t show any signs of breaking. The chainsaw has been through a lot of firewood no beefs with it. Paid $39 for it with low expectations. Best $39 I ever spent. Look at the earthwise they good home duty tools.

    8. reper sleepr

      I got news for you. If A big’un hurricane is coming my last thoughts are gonna be what fecking drill and bits I’m taking with me.

      • rellik

        Keep in mind, people like Nailbanger, Ketchupondemand, and myself, have NO place to go if a hurricane is going to hit us.
        So we stay in place and prepare as we live in our BOL.

        • Genius

          Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do….

    9. repr sleepr

      Damn, ‘aren’t gonna be’

    10. Mensa Graham

      It is true that the old ‘blue’ Ryobi’s with the NiCad batteries were not the best you could get by a mile but the ‘green’ ryobi’s with Li-Ion batteries are great and will compare favorably with any others particularly in price.

      Also, Ryobi batteries can be bought on Amazon under a variety of other names such as Powilling that are generally of higher capacity and a lot less expensive than retail batteries.

      • Rock Roller

        Mensa I agree I have a green Ryobi cordless drill and have used it almost every day for three years now. Still holds a charge fine. Also a Ryobi cordless weed eater, works great. It’s Dewalt I’m not impressed with, bought one of their jitterbug sanders and it didn’t even last one job ! Took it back, exchanged it for the same and it also was a piece of crap.Took it back, got a Ryobi sander and have been making money with it ever since.

    11. Anonymous

      I have hand powered screwdrivers. Not quite as fast but they always work ,unless you lose your arms.

    12. Biblyswacker

      I went through hurricane Michael in Panama City, Florida, and my drill did not come out of the toolbox until two weeks after power was restored Taking a shower was far more important than a drill.

    13. Sarkin

      I have lived 100% offgrid for about 7 years since my 29th birthday. I own every tool that Ridgid makes 18v I think. The lifetime warranty is incredible, I have had a battery and a charger replaced and 1 saw totally rebuilt with new parts for free under warranty. That is years of hard, hard use too. Just make sure to register them after you buy them to setup the warranty.

      Charge them off solar, ever my older batteries hold a charge for months. I alway’s buy around this time of year, the fathers day and memorial day sales are always amazing.

      They make a 2500 lumen floodlight I would recommend to everyone. The 1/2 impact remove’s any bolt I have ever tried, even the tractor and dozer.

      • Genius

        If I used my tools for a living I would probably use ridgid or milwaukee.

    14. AlterNative

      Whoring for DeWalt, are we?

      Well, why not?


      My nephew was the manager of a hardware store and I asked him to give me a good deal on replacement batteries for my Dewalt drills and saws. He admonished me to reconsider and switch over to Makita. He based his advice on the number of complaints and returns and general comments he got in the store. On reflection, I’ve got to admit he was right – Dewalt tools seem superior at first (when they’re new), but they don’t stand up over the long haul. Their batteries are especially prone to an early death.

      • Genius

        Dewalt replacement batteries are super cheap on ebay. Higher capacity and less then half the price of factory stuff. I use them all the time and they are great. NEVER buy factory replacement batteries if you have half a mind.

    16. Clown World


      This discussion assumes that you have tools, wood, and the same weather probably happens at least once a year.

    17. JRS

      Sheesh. Learn how to solder. All rechargeable batteries are simply readily available smaller batteries soldered together to give the voltage required. Bust the case apart and see for yourself. You can rebuild these cheaper than buying them.

      • rellik

        Been there done that for years with Ni Cads.
        Batteries are spot welded. You have to be
        inventlve to solder, but it can be done.
        I’ve repaired many a battery pack,
        but at a certain point, just switch
        to Lithium battery tools.

        • Genius

          Skip the hassle and just buy them on ebay. Some shit just aint worth the trouble.

    18. Rick in nyc

      I keep a cheap 12V Milwaukee in the car. $79 for the drill kit. Added a dell and driver set plus some basic harbor freight tools and hardware, nuts bolts screws etc. Won’t cry too much if it gets stolen from vehicle. Always handy and saved me more times than I can count.

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