Light It Up! Lamps, Lanterns, Flashlights and more
Guest Article By the nature nurd -via APN
We are going to make the assumption something has happened and the power grid is off either temporarily or perhaps long-term. Obviously the usual flipping of the switch may not work in this case. Hopefully you have stashed some alternative light sources in your prepping supplies just in case this exact scenario happened.
Growing up in small town East Texas, I can remember having storm lamps that ran off kerosene on my parents mantel above their fireplace. We only burned these a couple of times growing up when the power was off for more than a few hours. If you have storm lamps of this nature remember two things: keep them in safe location so they wont get knocked over and start a fire, and allow for plenty of ventilation. You don’t want to smoother yourself with too much carbon monoxide! These lamps generally work well, but are of course limited by how much fuel you have on hand. Store any liquid fuel sources in a safe location such as a storage building outside or garage to keep separate from the lamps itself.
In our home we have an emergency flashlight plugged into an outlet that keeps it charged at all times just in case we need it. All of our rooms except the bathrooms have at least one flashlight in them in an easily accessible location. These come in handy for power outages, home defense situations, etc.
Almost all of our flashlights run off an LED bulb. These bulbs tend to last longer, burn brighter, and respond to abuse a little better than conventional bulbs. Also they tend to use less batteries.
Speaking of batteries, make sure you store plenty of extras in dry cool location. We have a couple hundred of various sizes put up. Later in the article I will talk about flashlights in an outdoor setting as tactics are a little different there. A good one we have is the Nebo 8 LED Black Tactical Light, but many others are available out there also.
Another valid light source is candles. My wife loves candles and collected them long before we became preppers so we probably have hundreds in various locations throughout our home. With candles, again be careful to guard against fires. Most candles do not put out a large amount of light, but the trade-off is long burn times and no adverse effects from weather. Candles also have their use outside which we will discuss later.
Many choices abound for outdoor lighting such as: fires, camping lanterns, flashlights (again!), and others. Lets talk about fire first. Fires are valuable for a multitude of things like: cooking, heat, and of course light. Before lighting your fire make sure you have a way to contain or at least reduce its spread. The usage of a fire ring might be practical depending upon your location. If a fire ring is not available make sure the area is clear of flammable materials such as branches, grass, leaves, etc. where you are going to build your fire. Fires can be started multiple ways besides matches or a lighter. Make sure you practice using alternative methods to start your fire such as the Ultimate Survival Technologies Mini Sparkie. Also keep in mind smoke and the fire itself may attract others you may not want around so only build a fire big enough for your needs. Firewood right now is plentiful in most places. Start stocking up now!
Camping Lanterns run on different types of fuels.
Traditional Coleman Lanterns are quite common and usually run on white gas aka “Coleman Fuel”, a special blended fuel that currently is about twice regular gas price for a gallon. They are highly efficient but can get pricey. A good choice for a traditional Coleman-type Lantern is the Coleman Premium Dual Fuel which runs on Coleman Fuel or Unleaded Gas. Most of these lanterns have an igniter built-in, but can also be lit from matches or other sources if that for some reason doesn’t work. Use caution when burning these in a shelter and never burn them in an enclosed area or where flammable materials are present such as a tent. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation if burning inside a cabin or similar type structure. Battery powered lamps have their place also such as the Coleman 4 n 1 Microburst Mini Lantern. No dangerous fumes, but the same rules apply as with flashlights…store plenty of batteries!
For outside use you may want a higher powered flashlight or headlamp (for hands-free operations) since distances will be great than when indoors. A good solid performer you can’t go wrong with is the Mag Light LED. It has powerful beam and long-lasting bright bulb. Generally they are inexpensive too. I carry one in my truck and it doubles as a striking device also if I need it. If you are using a light in conjunction with a weapon, make sure you only illuminate your target just as you need it. Any longer and you could reveal your exact position to someone meaning to do you harm. Trust me from being in Law Enforcement, I know what I am talking about. As mentioned above make sure to store plenty of extra batteries and periodically test your light and its batteries to make sure it will work when you need it. Headlamps are good and provide easy light without having to use your hands. Many headlamps on the market also have different colored beams such as red, green, or blue to improve night vision and reduce being seen by others. A good choice is the Energizer 7 LED for the budget minded and the Petzl TacTikka for a little more. I own similar models to both and both are great!
Hopefully with this article I have brought you to the light and helped you realize some of the choices available out there. Continue to do your own research to find what is right for you and your family. Please comment below and read my other articles! Happy Prepping!