We are not usually the type of folks who listen to the radio while camping, but when offered the chance to test out Midland’s ER300 Emergency Crank Weather Alert Radio, we figured it would be worth it just for the weather information. What we didn’t realize was that the radio is jam-packed with a lot of really cool features, including a flashlight and USB charger for your phone or tablet, and a backlit LCD screen that displays the time and radio station.
Over the weekend, we tried out the Midland ER300 Weather Alert Radio while camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. For a short time, we became the folks who listen to a radio in the campground… and it was kind of cool. Addie jammed out to Pharrel and Demi Lovato on the FM band, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sound.
We used the NOAA Weather Alert feature to access the day’s forecast as rain poured down on our tent overnight. When a weather alert was issued for Mt. Washington, the radio emitted a warning signal to let us know. These weather alerts are stored for up to an hour, so it’s okay if you can’t get to the radio right away.
At night, Addie and I used the LED flashlight feature on our multiple bathroom treks. She was able to hold the radio with the handle on the side. We found that the dimmer flashlight setting worked just fine, but there is also a brighter option for cloudy nights, as well as an SOS flashlight beacon and ultrasonic dog whistle for emergency situations.
The Midland ER300 Weather Alert Radio runs off of a 2000 mAh Lithium Ion battery which can be recharged via USB, or by using the built-in hand-crank or solar panel. We took advantage of the bright sunny days to recharge the lithium battery using the solar panel. There is a also the option of running the radio off the power of 6 AA batteries, but these can be removed to cut weight. To choose between the two power sources, there is a small toggle switch on the right side of the radio. I also really like that there is a battery symbol on the LED screen so you know how much charge is left in the power source.
We had some trouble charging our iPhones using the USB out connection, however that was because we didn’t realize the radio needed to be off to be in charging mode. The radio will turn itself off when you connect a device via USB, but we kept thinking something was wrong with the radio and turning it back on… which makes a great case for reading instructions before trying new gear. Once I figured out the problem, our phones were juiced up!
Though the Midland ER300 Weather Alert Radio is lightweight – only a pound – it’s bulk (6.5 inches x 9 inches x 2.5 inches), would prevent me taking it backpacking or hiking. However, it’s great for car camping trips, picnics, and emergency situations or power outages.
Given Midland’s reputation for making high-quality products, I was not surprised that the ER300 Weather Alert Radio is well made. However, there are a few things that could make it even more epic!
- Alarm Clock – given all the bells and whistles, it would be nice to have an alarm clock on the radio as well.
- Radio Station Presets – Not that it’s a huge hassle to scan, but it would be nice to have my favorites saved.
- Stronger Antenna – Maybe something more like on a walkie-talkie – we broke the metal one fairly quickly when the radio was accidentally knocked off of the table.
I would definitely recommend the Midland ER300 Weather Alert Radio if you are looking for a high quality product for emergency situations or outdoor adventures. At $69.99, it’s very reasonable priced.
Though Midland provided us with an ER300 Weather Alert Radio, our review of the product is based on our own opinions.