The importance of good lighting cannot be stressed enough during a short or long term situation. Without adequate lighting, injuries and mistakes become more common.
Easy lighting options are more plentiful than ever. For this post, I wanted to talk about a wide range of lighting options for those that want to be more prepared and secure.
I even chose to include an emergency radio that has an excellent light on it.
Charging and power
Some of the lights discussed have multiple ways of charging. If you are concerned about having some power on hand to keep lights and small devices going, you may want to consider a small power center. This allows you to plug in USB devices to charge and you have a standard power outlet. I am not going to tell you to get a huge power center and spend a lot of money because you don’t need that much to keep a few things going during a power outage or other emergency. Something like the Jackery 160 will work just fine and is under $150. If you add a solar panel in, you can keep going indefinitely with a bit of back up power.
On the other hand, many of the lights have their own solar panels so as long as they have some light, you are good to go.
Here a few examples of what a power center can do. On the right is the Jackery Explorer 240 running a basic clamp light. On the left is me running a 17-inch laptop and a large floor lamp off the Jackery. I like having the backup.
These work like a normal led light bulb but have a built-in battery and solar cells so in a power outage they can be charged with sunlight. They have a 5-hour battery life, but unfortunately, due to the small size of the built-in cells, it takes 22 hours of sunlight to fully charge the battery. So in an emergency, after the initial charge is worn off these will provide about 2 hours of light for every 9 hours sitting in the sun.
The other option for charging is to screw them into a standard lightbulb socket in your home. If the power goes out, then you will have a charged bulb that you can use for temporary lighting. This is a good idea for people that live by themselves or that have a hard time getting around because then they have some light that comes on if the power goes out.
This LED light bulb charges with a small external solar panel or via USB it has a 5 hour run time and an 8 hour charge time with the external solar cell. It is a pretty basic light, but it is a nice touch that they include the solar panel with the bulb.
This is a small power center with a solar panel and two lights. The 6 hour charge time and a 14 to 5 hour run time is adequate for emergency lighting needs. There is also an extra USB port for charging phones and other small devices or adding the 3rd light.
These small solar lights have impressive 40-hour battery life and will also charge a cell phone or other small USB device. They are collapsible for compact storage and weatherproof for outdoor use. For those that want a lot for their money, it is hard to beat the range of small collapsible lanterns that are out there today.
I am a big fan of Goal Zero products. No, they are not the least expensive products out there, but you get a lot for your dollar, and they perform well under tough conditions. This flashlight recharges via its own solar panel. When the power is out for the long term, being able to keep some small devices charged for entertainment sure is nice. The Torch 250 is a 4,400 mAh battery bank. While that is not much, it will still allow you to keep a phone and e-reader topped off or possibly a small tablet.
As far as flashlight options, the Torch has a floodlight, flashlight, and red light emergency mode. Another bonus is that it has a USB cable built in for charging. It seems like just about everything can be charged via USB nowadays.
The Lighthouse is a 400 lumen light and battery bank for charging small devices. The battery bank is 4,400 mAh just like the Torch 250 Flashlight I previously talked about. The lantern recharges via built-in USB cord. On a full charge, the light will last 2.5-48 hours depending on how bright you set it. Of course, if you have a power center and solar panel, you can keep this charged via USB quite easily.
I have the Goal Zero Yeti 400, so I am planning on adding some of their lighting products to the system. We use the Yeti for a lot of things around here, from powering our grape spray rig off the solar panels to emergency power at my Dad’s house.
I know this is a radio, but it has a good enough lighting system that I think it is worth mentioning. I got a Kaito KA900 to test out. I was skeptical about how well something would work that claimed a lot of different functions. I tested the flashlight and reading light out, and I was impressed with how bright the light is and how easy it is to carry the radio as a flashlight if needed. The reading light is adjustable and ideal for keeping on a nightstand at a bug out cabin or in my case, a cabin loft. It is also a shortwave, AM/FM, and NOAA weather radio. There are a hand crank and solar panel for charging. The solar charging is slow, but it seems to keep it topped off if you just use your radio occasionally. It takes micro SD cards too so you can listen to your music. I love to read and listen to music, so this takes care of the lighting and music aspects of it for me.
Pretty yet functional landscape lighting
If you want to have some extra light around your property regardless of a blackout, then there is something to be said for inexpensive landscape lighting. Prepping doesn’t have to be all about tactical lights! There are a ton of beautiful lights that can make your walkways look better and provide lighting that can help prevent falls.
I get a little paranoid about falls because it gets harder to recover the older you get and I have known of way too many older folks that were doing just fine and then they fell and that was the end of them being able to take care of all their own needs. My Dad always carries a light with him just in case, so he doesn’t have to stumble along in the dark. With his disabilities, falling could be very catastrophic.
Lighting up pathways can prevent falls and injuries during good times and bad. Remember that if SHTF and the grid is down, medical help may not be available if you or someone you love injure themselves just trying to get around to do basic tasks.
Here are a few options. There are countless designs and patterns.
These just caught my eye because they are basic but stylish enough to look good anywhere. You get eight lights, but since they are on Amazon, you can always buy another eight later and create a network of landscape lighting.
There is no way I am going into summer without ordering some of these! I love the idea of just being able to take a mason jar and make a cool light. Six lids and hangers for under $22 is an excellent deal. I like that these are very mobile so you can pick and choose where you use the lights with ease. The one downside is that a glass jar is prone to breakage so you would want to be careful about placement or save these for hanging up for additional lighting.
Security and light
Motion sensor activated lights can help alert you to movement around your home while also conserving energy spent on lighting by only coming on when necessary. These are a good choice to place near doorways and porches
I have been considering some extra security lighting, so I was glad to find these solar-powered lights. I love that you can just slap these up anywhere and have a motion sensor light! You could even put these along a pathway at intervals, so you have motion sensor lighting down an entire walkway. The lights are totally waterproof so you could also tack them to a tree or to a board and post and place anywhere
For when you want a lot of light all at once, there is this style of solar light. At 1000 lumens you are going to be amazed how bright this thing is. Matt and I have one that is similar on a pole out in the driveway, and it will light up a big radius. It is a good light for security against people and animals alike. A light that suddenly comes on can help prevent predators from getting into your livestock.
Lighting has come a long way over the years. Have you found easy lighting solutions that you like? Do you have any experience with the products in this post? Please share in the comments below!
Samantha Biggers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.