What are Your Lighting Options for when the Power Goes Out?

By on June 2, 2018

There are many reasons why your power would go down, it could simply be some minor blip in supply or, the worst case scenario, a full blown SHTF situation. Whatever the reason, you will want to make absolutely certain that your family will be safe. You can do this by making sure you have prepared for just such an eventuality.

Lighting may not be top of most people’s preparation list but if they considered how vulnerable they would be during the hours of darkness without a reliable light source, they might reconsider!

When the power goes out you have to make sure you have a reliable source of lighting that is ready to use instantly and in a location that’s quick and easy to access, this is especially true if the lights go out during the hours of darkness.

The immediate ‘go to’ is the faithful battery operated flashlight

Flashlights that run off AA batteries are considered by many to be the most practical emergency light choice for SHTF situations, They are great in an emergency, and they provide focused, bright light that you can use on a practical basis.

If you ask most experts – as well as most homeowners – AA batteries are among the most commonly used, and chances are you’ll always have them lying around the house. They can be found in old clocks, alarm clocks, and toys. Additionally, you can find them in most portable electronic devices.

Searching for batteries around your home should not be necessary though. If you have prepared properly you will have regularly checked your flashlights and made sure they are safely stored along with spare batteries – ready to go.

If you have kids then you could get them a small pen type flashlight to keep in their bedside cabinet for use in emergencies, you can never be too prepared.

Flashlights are great but you’re running low on batteries!

Of course, no matter how well you are able to sustain and use your battery-operated flashlight, sooner or later your batteries WILL run out, and besides, flashlights are great for providing a more focused beam of light but not so good for lighting a room. You really need a lamp as well, not just a flashlight.

The problem is you do not have any more batteries with which to power a lamp and the power grid is still down. In this scenario, you have two options.

Option 1: The Hand Crank Lantern

The emergency hand crank lantern is an increasingly popular choice amongst the prepping community.

Hand-crank lamps are electronic and mechanical devices that use the motion of magnets or motors for power generation.

When you crank them up, electricity is generated, which is stored in a capacitor and provides lighting for some time. If you keep cranking it up on a regular basis, your lamp will give off light almost indefinitely – or at least for as long as the components last.

Most modern hand crank lamps do not rely on just the hand crank for charging either. Most now have integrated solar panels as standard, which is an important back up charging option to have, especially where preppers are concerned.

Option 2: The Oil or Kerosene Lantern

Oil lamps have been used for hundreds of years and were used by our grandparents and their grandparents before them, and they are are still being widely used today. They are an extremely cheap and effective way of lighting larger areas and they also generate a little heat, which could prove to be a major benefit in colder conditions.

Although it is always recommended to use the manufacturers suggested fuel for any specific oil lamp, many will work with just about any type of oil that is available, which is good to know in an emergency.

The newer style kerosene lanterns tend to be more efficient and produce a brighter light than the still very popular standard oil lamp design, although you will need a good store of good quality kerosene to see you through an extended period of power outage.

The biggest problem with any lamp that burns oil or kerosene is that they are always going to be a fire risk, something that cannot be said about a hand crank lantern. On the other hand, they do provide a much brighter and warmer light than the vast majority of hand crank lamps.

Which Lighting Option Should You Choose?

The honest answer to this question is: Why choose?

The flashlight is a necessity. If you do not think you need a flashlight ready to use at a moments notice then to put it bluntly, you’re not thinking!

Both the hand crank and oil lanterns are both excellent emergency lighting options with completely opposite pros and cons that is why I would suggest having at least one of each on your emergency checklist. A good prepper covers all the bases!

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