NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tech gadgets are nothing without power.

But sometimes you are nowhere near an outlet and you wind up with a dead smartphone, cell phone, iPad or other device. So instead of gifting another electronic gadget to a friend or family member, consider these "powerless" gadgets that don't require electricity and can help existing electronic gadgets stay alive.

Sun & Cloud Self-Generating Digital Camera

Remember when cameras didn't need batteries? No? Well, here's a first: The Sun & Cloud Self-Generating Digital Camera from Superheadz Japan.

There are three ways to power this boxy camera -- the usual USB route, a solar panel on top or a hand crank. With those options, there is really no reason for it to run out of power.

The 3-megapixel camera is a basic digital camera that stores images on a memory card (it can take a 16 GB Micro SDHC card). It has three shooting modes, 15 filters (for that Instagramy look) and an LED light for night shots., $200

SpareOne Plus

When all power fails, the new SpareOne Plus emergency mobile phone will be there for you. A special battery-isolator tab keeps the battery from draining so unused, the phone will still work 15 years later.

When it is time to use it, the single AA battery offers 10 hours of talk time -- no electricity needed. The phone, which has a GSM version for the U.S. and for Europe, also doesn't need a SIM card to work in countries where the ability to call 911 is required sans SIM.

There's also a few emergency touches: A built-in LED flash light for 24 hours of continuous light, a panic siren, audible feedback of numbers dialed if you're dialing in the dark and an SOS torchlight on top that flashes Morse code., $80

BioLite CampStove

With a few twigs and this compact camp stove, a person can cook a meal and recharge an iPhone with no power for miles. The BioLite CampStove generates electricity from heat created by the petite fire, which itself is made from small dry branches.

Some of the electricity is used to power a fan to improve airflow and combustion. Excess energy is used to charge devices via a USB port. The camp stove launched last year but BioLite isn't a one-stove story. This year, the company added a few accessories: a grill attachment plus a portable kettle that doubles as a CampStove carrying case., $130

The PowerPot

If you've already got a camp stove, you just need a new pot to charge gadgets without electricity.

The PowerPot doubles as a cooking tool and charger by converting heat into electricity. Just place the pot on a heat source and add water. The PowerPot immediately can start charging USB devices, providing up to 5W of power. The company says that the pot will charge a cell phone in 60 to 90 minutes., $189

Eton Rukus XL

Eton went all out with its new solar-powered speakers, the rukus XL. An attached solar panel flips up to gather beams and gets fully charged after 5 hours in the sun (or 2.5 hours when plugged into a power outlet). It can then play for eight hours.

Built-in Bluetooth offers wireless pairing with smartphones. There's even a USB port to recharge other portable devices. The speaker itself isn't too shabby. With eight speaker drivers (two tweeters, two woofers and four passive radiators), this might just be better than what some of your friends have at home., $199

Brunton Hydrogen Reactor

There are a gazillion portable power chargers to take on a power-challenged road trip, but many lose their oomph over time. The Brunton Hydrogen Reactor, on the other hand, doesn't degenerate and it'll be the one friends talk about. Yes, it's powered by hydrogen. But it's not as scary as it sounds - it's approved for carry-on luggage in airplanes.

The Hydrogen Reactor includes two Hydrogen Cores, which look like regular batteries. Two Cores can recharge an iPhone six times. Plus, they are reusable. If you also have a Brunton H2O Hydrolizer, all you need is water and the Hydrolizer separates the hydrogen to refill the Core. You can also send empty Cores back to Brunton, which refills them for free excluding shipping. Brunton is also working with stores to add hydrogen refilling stations., $170


For bikers who take rides that last longer than their smartphone battery, the EcoXPower headlight and device charger is the perfect gift.

The bicycle attachment charges USB devices and offers an LED headlight - as long as you keep pedaling to power it up. A built-in rechargeable battery means that even after pedaling, you'll still have power. The light also has two red LED rear lights for extra safety. With the extra pedal power, bikers can utilize a phone's GPS for navigation, plus listen to music and make calls., $100

Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator

For the mother of all power outages, the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator is essential when you have no clue when the power will return.

The hefty 103-pound generator does take 40 to 80 hours to charge via the built-in solar panels (or 18 hours with a regular wall charger), but the point is that it can continue to recharge without electricity available. Recharging smartphones and small gadgets is a piece of cake. The Yeti 1250 is meant for larger devices, like a refrigerator and home health-care equipment., $1,400

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Tamara Chuang is an outside contributor to TheStreet. Her opinions are her own. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @gadgetress.