By November 21, 2012 Read More →

Light It Up! Lamps, Lanterns, Flashlights and more

Anyone knows that being able to see is very important.  Lighting helps us to see things better and sometimes in new ways.   Lets talk about how to use lighting in an effective manner both indoors and outdoors in our prepping.

Inside Lighting
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.

Storm Lamp (photo credit:

Storm Lamps
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.

Outside Lighting
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.

Coleman Camp Lantern (, or even regular gas or diesel. We have picked up a few propane lanterns and are storing up propane canisters as propane seems to be the best option for us. Propane canisters are generally quite inexpensive and can provide many hours of light from your lantern depending on the settings. A good propane lantern is Coleman's Single Mantle.

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!


Typical Mag Light (photo credit:

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!

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18 Comments on "Light It Up! Lamps, Lanterns, Flashlights and more"

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  1. mjony says:

    If you don’t use your flashlight often, it is a good idea to store the batteries near the flashlight, but not inside.  Leaking battery acid can damage the flashlight.

  2. I have an oil lamp in every room of the house (Bathrooms too) and several gallons of lamp oil in storage so I can reserve the generator for more important duties if things are that bad. I found most of my lamps, many of them antiques, at garage sales for 3 or 4 bucks each. YES People, even out here in Farm Country, are selling wonderful items they would need in an emergency. Those garage sale lamps just needed a little cleaning and a couple needed new wicks and they are beautiful.

  3. These lamps would also work with Kerosene which would be less expensive than oil, but with my wife’s breathing allergies, Odorless, smokeless Lamp Oil is the better Option for us.

  4. Jan Lochman says:

    I have a solar lantern but it still requires batteries. The lamp oil sounds worthy of looking into.

  5. we have solar garden lights for inside the house, you can use the shed solar lights as well just aim the solar unit towards the window, hang the light from the curtain rod etc

  6. Good comments all keep them coming!

  7. Dave Moff says:

    Solar lights are great, as are the various “wind-up” units. Some of the latter are cheaply constructed and may not last long but I have a “Night Star” flashlight which has served me since the late 90s and will, I suspect last my lifetime. Aladdin kerosene lamps not only provide as much light as a 60 watt bulb, but 3500-5000 btu heat as well–I believe there is even an adapter to allow setting a small cooking pot on top of the chimney. Yes, you have to keep fuel around, but they don’t use much. And I’ve heard you can burn mineral spirits and other “stable” fuels in them as well as kerosene (can’t speak from personal experience). Aladdins are still made, but look for them on eBay or in antique stores and chances are you’ll find one at a lower price (modern parts, wicks, and mantles fit). I bought one from a thrift store for $1.49! This past January, there was a 23 hour power outage here. I kept my living space comfortable and well-lit during the entire time with two Aladdins. Brought in several neighbors and we made an adventure of it.

  8. I have a dual fuel lantern – love it!  Have to admit because of the price of fuel – I have just been using unleaded gas in it, cheaper.

    Something else I often wonder about is the tiki torches on our deck, nice powder coated ones – they should last us for years. I mean they are not very stealth but you can put them anywhere outdoors for light. And I bet they would burn a variety of fuels if you swapped out the wick. Just something I have thought about. 

    Great Article! 

  9. Holly says:

    Great article!  We have had enough power outages lately that I have really come to appreciate  the Goal Zero Lite a Life  for things like reading or other fine detail tasks. Trying to read by lantern, candle and flashlight has caused much eye strain and headaches in the past, but now I can comfortably read when the power’s out!  The Lite A Life ( delivers a bright source of indirect lighting and can be suspended overhead using the 9’ cord with built in caribiner.  It can be powered by a 12v cig lighter or any Goal Zero battery pack.  Also DC power from Sherpa power packs. Best of all, they can be linked with others to create a chain of lights.
    These are also great for camping since they are water resistant, light weight and the outer globe is made of a durable plastic. 

  10. Not only will solar lights provide lighting outside, but just bring them inside for light. Have extra ones that you can use to charge batteries. Many flashlights run on AA batteries and they can be recharged over and over. Solar is the only lighting I plan on having. I’m going to stockpile solar lights whenever I see them on sale! Some of them are quite bright!

  11. Doc Granny says:

    Please be watchful when using tiki torches. People can set porch railings on fire when the wind kicks up,or any material the fire can catch hold of. Fire can spread so quickly even in a slight breeze and we may not have access to enough water to put any fires out that get away from us. A major thing is to think things through and see how it might play out. Just my 2 cents anyway. Thanks everybody.

  12. It need not cost a fortune to be prepared. By watching end of summer sales, yard sales and thrift stores you can be stocked up at a very low cost. I have issues with the dark so I buy solar lights at the end of every summer usually at .75 cents ea. I also watch the thrift store for candles and buy huge gallon size zip lock bags full for a few bucks. I pick up flash lights whenever I find them on sale. I camp a lot so my stock of batteries are the hardest thing to keep stocked but at least I know I can charge the solar lights by day and use them at night Brenda aka Mawmaw Said So

  13. Mungo says:

    There are also some very functional olive oil and fat based lamps available that don’t require you to store large amounts of flammable oils you won’t use except in an emergency.  Lehmans, a great source for oil lamp supplies, sells a simple olive oil lamp for about $15, and classic fat and rush lamps can be had from Jas. Townsend and son and other sutlers that cater to the reenactor set.

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