You cannot get much more basic when it comes to preparedness supplies than the flashlight.
Flashlights have come a long way over the past few decades. I can remember as a child my dad having a silver flashlight that ran on 2 D-cell batteries. This silver flashlight had an external slide switch to turn on and off with a button on top of it to turn it on momentarily.
Not particularly bright by today’s standards but lit up the dark whenever the power went out.
A decade or so ago the legendary Maglite was the flashlight to have. Large, bright, machined aluminum – a beautiful creation. I had several as well as the AA smaller version. These worked good and were standard issue at my job. Only problem was I went through bulbs like a mouse goes through a hunk of cheese.
Over the past 5 years or so flashlights have gotten brighter and lighter. Some might say more expensive and in many cases that would be correct. I now own LED flashlights almost exclusively. Conventional bulbs work just fine but have a much shorter lifespan and consume much more energy, thus I prefer LED flashlights.
If you go to any Wal-Mart or Target you can find quite a few LED flashlights to choose from. Prices vary greatly from under $10.00 to over $30.00.
A couple things to consider if considering picking up a new light:
- Lumens – the measure of how bright the flashlight is. The higher the lumens the brighter the flashlight.
- Battery Type – AA and AAA batteries cost the least and are easy to store.
- LED – again, make sure he flashlight states it is LED. I also prefer one which has a single LED lamp rather than a collection of LED lamps. Both will work fine but the latest technology uses the single lamp.
- Run Time – some packaging will state how long the batteries will last. I do not concern myself much with this as all LED flashlights have an excellent battery life.
Streamlight Stylus Pro LED Flashlight and Holster – under $20.00
Streamlight PolyTac LED Flashlight – 130 lumens – approx $35.00
So – get yourself a few flashlights along with a bunch of extra batteries. You will be much better off than most to handle a power outage.
I have a Fenix LD-20 and it has been the brightest and best made flash light I have ever owned. They are not on the cheap side but well worth the money. It runs on one AA battery and has lasted almost a year of pretty heavy use and is still going on the original battery. Flash lights are a very vital piece of gear.
I couldn’t agree more about the value of a good, solid ‘semi-tactical’ LED flashlight in every single kit and vehicle.
In addition, I’d suggest getting a whole boatload of cheap ones. Most big-chain outdoor stores have bins of them for about $2-3 each. Hang one from every bed in the house. Hang one on your favorite easy chair. Keep one under the kitchen table. Hang one from your office lamp.
Just stick one readily at hand anywhere you normally spend a lot of of time, and avoid tripping over the cat on the 5 step journey to get the ‘good’ flashlight out of your EDC bag. :) . Great inexpensive gifts for younger kids, as well. They ARE going to lose a few, that’s just a fact of life, but a good way to start teaching “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
Don’t ignore the cheap battery/LED “camp lanterns” available on many camping aisles, either. 2 of these, on a high shelf, positioned in front of an inexpensive ‘decorative’ mirror will do a decent job of lighting up a room in a more extended power-outage situation. (The mirror works well with oil/candle lanterns as well)