Alright y’all, let’s talk about another basic for preppers. Light. Those of us living in northern locations have winters that are long and noticeably dark. Even in summer though, light makes all sorts of things easier. The great thing about light for us preppers, is there are tons of options for it. Let’s go over as many as I can think of, and I’m sure you’ll find a couple that fit into your prepping strengths. (Always have at least two, that way if one way is failing for some reason you have a chance that the other will succeed.)
Flashlights – Here of course there are options. LED bulbs are bright and energy sippers, buy flashlights with those if you can. You can go with rechargeable batteries. (Radio shack is good for rechargeable batteries in sizes other than AA) Combined with a solar charger you could have power for a long while. This is a good option if you already have a reliable stash of flashlights that work well. If you are starting your prepping, you do have the option to skip the recharging batteries, and just go straight to solar powered flashlights and lanterns. Hand crank flashlights can be a long lived option too, if not the best for long continuous light.
Candles – Any will work in a SHTF situation. Big, small, scented, I’m betting it won’t matter much. This is one of those options that you can find cheaply/free if you are savvy about it. Stick around for clean up of events, (weddings, dinners, etc) and if it’s a large enough event with the right sorts of table decorations, there are often large bags of partially burned candles that end up getting tossed when nobody wants them all. Goodwills in my area will sell partially burned candle sets for cheap. Garage sales can be another possibility. Stock up on candle holders when you can, if you can, otherwise they are easy to DIY with pie tins or empty cans.
Oil lanterns – This is one of the light sources I keep on hand. I have some extra wicks and a couple bottles of the lamp oil. It’s fragile glass, and I probably don’t store enough fuel to make it suitable in a really long lasting blackout, but I love the light it puts out. Call me a romantic.
Glow sticks – These can work for very specific situations. They can be nice for kids, and for short spells of darkness. For instance, we find when camping that the toddler is much easier to keep an eye on with a glowstick hanging on a necklace around his neck. If the transition to a life with less light is a sudden transition, glow sticks can help ease things. They can work as temporary night lights for places like bathrooms, especially helpful if you also have an influx of refugees also on hand. They can’t be recycled into anything useful when they spend their rather short lifespans though. For that reason they are only good for relatively short periods of illumination. Possibly a good barter item though? Their best selling point is their toughness, uncracked they will last for years, through flood and earthquake.
Hopefully I’ve laid out all the options clearly here, there are definite pros and cons to each one. Like Road Warrior said earlier this week, just start with one step. Some light will be better than no light. Imperfect light will be better than perfect darkness.
– Calamity Jane