Emergency Lighting

Your survival preparations should include a plan for emergency lighting, especially in the first couple of days where you won't be sure of the overall electricity situation and how long the sun will be in the sky for each day. The lighting will be necessary both for the moment you decide to bug out as this may be under the cover of darkness and when you arrive at your safe camp while you get everything set up and organized.

Remember: You can turn off electric lighting much quicker than dousing a fire if you're concerned about being followed or raising the alert about your location.

Power Options

You should think about having as many options for emergency lighting sources as possible so that if one fails, you have plenty of back up. Numerous different options will also allow you to give them out to members of your hunting and exploration teams.

The big thing to think about in terms of your emergency lighting options is how the power for the light is generated, and the following are some of the more common options:

  • Battery - battery power will always give you the strongest and most reliable light sources whether it's an LED flashlight or battery powered hurricane lantern. Most lighting options for a survival situation recognize that there may not be options for new battery supplies and so come with rechargeable batteries already installed. You will then be able to connect it to a power supply such as a portable solar panel to keep the lights on.
  • Hand crank - hand powered lighting sources will last for years without needing an electrical source to keep them working and the dynamo technology is such that a few minutes of turning and cranking gives at least an hour's worth of light. The only downside is they lose their charge very quickly and the lights will start to dim to conserve the power for as long as possible. It can be frustrating to pick up a dead flashlight and have to wind it before the power comes on.
  • Solar powered – The nice thing about a solar-powered lighting source is that you don’t have to worry about batteries, nor will you suddenly lose illumination because the device needs to be cranked.
  • Fire - the other most common option for emergency lighting is to go natural and use a fire source. You can pick up 100 hour candles which are designed to burn as slowly as possible and while most don't live up to their names, you will find certain brands who give you the specified longevity. The only downside is that you'll need to have a fire starting kit to avoid the need for a constantly burning campfire.

Combination Devices

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The shrewd prepper will know the importance of doubling up on as many items as possible to make the best use of the space and weight limit of their bug out bags. You should therefore be looking for lighting devices that also provide other functionality. The most common ones double up as a charging station for a cell phone or cigarette lighter adaptor.

The use of the secondary function will drain the energy quicker letting a hand crank device to come into its own. Otherwise, you may end up in the strange situation of using solar panels to power the combination device, which then in turn charges another item.

Where possible, you should have plenty of emergency lighting options already stored out at your designated base camp. This will give you some level of security when you first arrive as well as making the whole transition to survival living a bit smoother.

Bearing this in mind, you will also need to make sure that each and every member of your survival party has some form of lighting in their bug out bag so that no one is without a light source when it's time to leave.

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