One of the most disruptive parts of a power outage or blackout is the loss of on-demand electric lighting. It is inconvenient and can also be a safety hazard. Having adequate emergency lighting solutions is a must for preppers and is the backbone of a good lights-out kit.
Every prepper should have the following emergency lighting solutions:
- Flashlights and headlamps
- LED lanterns
- Solar lights
- Chemical light sticks
- Propane lanterns
- Candles, oil lamps, and hurricane lanterns
Having the lighting solutions listed above will give preppers the diversity that they need to keep their world lit through any type of disaster or emergency.
Flashlights and Headlamps
The first lighting options that preppers should invest in are flashlights and headlamps. When selecting them, always try to purchase those with LEDs rather than traditional bulbs. LEDs are more energy-efficient and last longer than other types of bulbs.
Flashlights are a good choice for EDC (everyday carry) since you can keep them in your pocket. Flashlight technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades. You can now find lights that put out 1,000 lumens or more that fit in your pocket.
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Headlamps are good to have in your home and vehicle and office emergency kits since they allow you to work hands-free. During an emergency, there is a good chance that you may have to make repairs or navigate your way around obstacles. Having a headlamp will allow you to illuminate your area without having to fumble with a handheld light.
Traditional Batteries or Rechargeable?
I prefer to have a mix of flashlights and headlamps that are USB-rechargeable as well as ones that run on regular batteries. I use my rechargeable devices as my first line or primary users. This saves money on batteries and prevents waste. USB-rechargeable devices can also be recharged from various sources, including computers, cars, and battery banks.
Having flashlights and headlamps that run on traditional batteries can serve as a backup to your rechargeable ones. You can also purchase rechargeable AA and AAA batteries to avoid waste. However, the cost will limit your ability to store a bunch of these which would be a concern during a long-term emergency. I recommend having as many rechargeable batteries as you can afford plus a healthy stockpile of regular batteries to keep for emergencies.
Recommended Batteries, Flashlights and Headlamps
When it comes to rechargeable batteries, I recommend those made by Eneloop. I bought mine because they are considered to be among the best rechargeable batteries, and I haven’t been disappointed. You can find a starter set of Eneloop batteries by clicking here.
A good-quality EDC flashlight should be the first flashlight that you buy. This will ensure that you always have a reliable light with you when during the early stages of an emergency. It will also come in handy in day-to-day life as well. If you haven’t carried a flashlight with you regularly, then you will be surprised by how often you use it.
Related: How to Make a Prepper Lights Out Kit
Recommended EDC Flashlights
If you want the best, then the Surefire Fury DFT 1500 should be at the top of your list. It is a premium flashlight made by one of the best companies in the business. DFT stands for “Dual-Fuel Tactical” which means that it will run on either (2) CR123A batteries or (1) 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery. It has a max output of 1500 lumens with a 18650 battery and 1100 lumens with the CR123A’s. You can find the Surefire Fury DFT 1500 by clicking here.
If you need a more budget-friendly option I strongly recommend the Maglite XL50. I have been using mine for around 6 or 7 years and it has proven to be extremely reliable. It has survived numerous drops and is still going strong. The Maglite XL50 uses (3) AAA batteries and has a maximum output of 200 lumens. It isn’t as fancy or as bright as some other flashlights but it is inexpensive and completely reliable. You can find the Maglite XL50 by clicking here.
It is also a good idea for preppers to have several cheaper lights for keeping important areas in their home lit. Try to have one for each room of your house. You can keep them in drawers or tuck them away in a closet.
I like the blue lights from Harbor Freight because they are bright and include batteries. Unfortunately, Harbor Freight has changed the way that they do coupons, so they aren’t available as freebies nearly as often. However, they are useful to keep around the house, in the garage, and in your car. They have a magnet and hanging hook on the back to give you a variety of positioning options. You can find a similar light by clicking here.
If you are looking for a powerful headlamp, then the Coast XPH30 would be an excellent choice. It has 4 light modes ranging from 40 lumens on low and 1000 lumens on high. This will allow you to illuminate objects close to you without being blinded but still be able to throw a ton of light when you need to.
The Coast XPH30 can run on either a rechargeable battery or CR123s. It is also removable, meaning you can use the light without the strap. You can find the Coast XPH30 by clicking here.
Another emergency lighting solution that preppers should invest in is LED lanterns. Flashlights and headlamps are good for lighting specific areas. However, LED lanterns are meant to provide light for entire rooms or outdoor spaces.
As with flashlights and headlamps, the LED lanterns are energy-efficient, meaning that they last longer than older battery-operated lanterns that used traditional bulbs. They also run cooler than other types of area lighting, making them a better choice during power outages in warm weather.
Another good thing about LED lanterns is that they don’t pose a fire hazard. Traditional oil lamps and lanterns use fuel and flame to produce light. Knocking them over or placing them too close to flammable materials could easily result in a fire. They are also a burn hazard, which is a big consideration if you have small children.
As with flashlights and headlamps, I like to have a mix of LED lanterns that use both rechargeable and disposable batteries. My rechargeable lanterns are what I use for everyday tasks and are what I will use first during an emergency. This allows me to save my expensive D-cell batteries for when I really need them. You can also find rechargeable lanterns with built-in solar panels.
I like to use LED work lights produced by power tool companies as my primary lanterns. Mine are made by Milwaukee and run on my drill batteries. This allows me to have multiple batteries that I can swap out as needed. It also eliminates the possibility of my lanterns becoming useless because of a faulty internal battery.
I have both the M18 Lantern and Floodlight and M18 Rover Floodlight. They produce a ton of light and last a long time on a battery. The Lantern and Floodlight can also be used to charge a cell phone. If you are invested in another power tool lineup, such as those from DeWalt, Makita, and others, you should be able to find lighting options in their product lineups.
My other LED lantern uses regular D-cell batteries. I set this one aside for situations where I deplete my drill batteries and am no longer able to charge them. This lantern by Energizer can run on either D-cell or AA batteries and has a maximum output of 500 lumens using D-cells.
Solar lights are another emergency lighting option that preppers should consider. The small solar pathway lights are easy to put outside during the day and bring inside at night. They have been around long enough that you can find them pretty inexpensively at most home improvement, hardware, and big-box stores.
Solar lights such as these don’t produce a ton of light but work well to illuminate high-traffic areas such as hallways. This can prevent trips and falls. The cheaper solar lights that aren’t as bright can also work well as night lights for kids.
In addition to providing light indoors, solar lights can also help keep your home secure. Solar motion-activated floodlights, such as this one, will work whether your home has power or not. They can help you keep your home safe from prowlers and can also be used to work outside if needed.
Chemical Light Sticks
Chemical light sticks (also known as glow sticks and chem lights) are another emergency lighting solution that preppers should keep on hand. Like solar pathway lights, they work well to keep high-traffic areas illuminated. They also help you save your batteries and fuel for when you actually need them.
Chemical light sticks also make power outages and blackouts more fun (and less scary) for kids. You can pick up some chemical light sticks by clicking here.
In addition to lighting areas in your home, chemical light sticks can also be used to create visual alarms. Check out the video below to learn how to make a tripwire signal from a mousetrap and light stick.
Preppers should also consider adding propane lanterns to their emergency lighting options. These run on common 1-lb propane bottles and can generate heat. This would be useful during a winter power outage.
However, this heat also makes them a potential fire hazard. Keep them away from flammable materials and take care to not knock them over. It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
If you add propane lanterns to your preps then you will need to stock up on propane bottles and mantles. If you have multiple items that use small propane bottles make sure you have enough for all of them. Also, only use propane lanterns in well-ventilated areas due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. You can find a good propane lantern by clicking here.
Candles and Oil Lamps and Lanterns
The final emergency lighting solutions that preppers should have are candles, oil lamps, and hurricane lanterns. These work best as a complement or backup to other types of lighting. Candles and oil lamps/lanterns produce heat which would be desirable during winter power outages. You could also use tin foil or a cookie sheet to reflect the heat back at you for an even greater effect.
When using candles be aware that you will need several to provide a substantial amount of light. To prevent fires, I strongly recommend using short fat candles or candles in jars. These will be harder to knock over.
Oil lamps and hurricane lanterns can be kept on a desk or table to light up a room. Larger oil lamps and lanterns will have a wider wick and can produce more light than smaller ones.
If you plan on using oil lamps or oil lanterns make sure to store plenty of fuel and wicks. You can use either clear lamp oil or 1-K kerosene for fuel. The size and type of wick(s) that you need will depend on your specific lamp or lanterns. If you have several sizes and types then you will likely need to store multiple sizes of wicks.
Oil lanterns, also known as hurricane lanterns are portable and wind-resistant. You can also hang hurricane lanterns from a hook or nail. Dietz is one of the best manufacturers of hurricane lanterns. You can find one by clicking here.
Candles and oil lamps and lanterns all pose fire hazards. Special care must be taken to keep them away from flammable items such as paper, curtains, and clothing. That includes both the actual flame and other hot surfaces such as oil lamp globes and the top of hurricane lanterns. When using candles and oil lamps/lanterns, always keep a fire extinguisher nearby any time you are using them.