Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Longterm Survival Lighting

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by nightwolf1974, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. nightwolf1974


    May 20, 2006
    Back the hayday of prepping (50s and 60s) people stored candles, a flashight with extra batteries, and maybe an oil lamp in thier fallout shelter.

    During the build-up for the dreaded Y2K bug, I bought and undisclosed yet substancial amount amount of Jewish holiday candles that burn for 3 hours, and came in 72 packs. Along with the candles I bought 6 new oil lamps with a number of extra wicks and 2x 55 gallon drums of Kerosene, and almost 300x D batteries for my flashlights.

    Now for the question.............

    Been wondering the best route to go in long term survival lighting? Take in mind I have animals.

    All my flashlights are either Maglites or the old standby Army surplus bent head OD flashlights (not the cheapos made in China either!).
  2. Dexters


    May 3, 2004
    How long term is long term?

    I'm thinking if it is that 'long term' you would be relying on the rhythm of daylight.

  3. Easier way. Get two or three sets of solar walk or driveway lights, the high output ones and store them. Get some 4inch by4 in wood 3/4 thick and drill a hole in the center to fit the light stands. These will last nearly forever and there's no danger of fire.
  4. doktarZues

    doktarZues I'm anti-anti

    Nov 11, 2003
    Brevard County, FL
    I did a (far from scientific) price comparison about 6 months ago looking at $/hour of light, and LED lanterns w/lithium batteries took an easy win over candles and oil lamps (especially here in Florida where the extra heat would be unwelcome 8 or 9 months out of the year). I guess flashlights aren't on the "8x" longer list of lithium batteries but they're definitely 2 to 3 times longer. But for a "long survival lighting" application, the 15+ year shelf life the lithiums are up to now really sell them over the alkalines.

    Rechargables with a recharging station can really stretch things out (solar+tiny 800watt generator hybrid kit). I haven't got that going yet but it's on my list for this year.
  5. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Yep,adjust your sleep cycle ta save resources.'08.
  6. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Not an unreasonable question.

    There is no good solution.

    Because the source, intensity, fuel, and duration of the desired lighting will vary because of the different situations, you need to think through a variety of challenges.

    If you simply follow the earth's cycle of day and night, you are at a significant disadvantage in dealing with challenges after shtf and your adversaries and/or companions.

    Start simply. Gee, I need to have a small, battery light available in my windbreaker or car. So, you investigate and learn that the military bent head flashlight of the 1950s and the maglite 2D cell flashlight of the 1970s are not going to be your choices. Then you imagine that you need to have some self supporting light on a table so you can fill a pack, sew torn clothing or change a medical dressing. Eventually, you start thinking about how you can recharge batteries using the sun and you research that direction.

    Google is your friend. Use it. Look up REI and the lights that it carries. Look up "best lanterns" or "best solar outdoor lights" It will be frustrating, but there is no alternative.
  7. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    For long-term static in-home use you're either going to have to:

    A) Have a generator and a lot of fuel

    B) Be able to make candles or lamp oil

    C) Use a 12 volt system with a way to recharge the batteries during the day

    I would opt for C. I need to look into that myself.
  8. nightwolf1974


    May 20, 2006
    The solar charging options look good. STUFF doesn't stop happening when the sun goes down. The main reason I shy from generators, is they are noisy and and attract attention.
  9. Babynine


    Dec 8, 2009
    I have read that during WWII in Europe many were buring rendered fats and waste oils in homemade candles/lanterns using butcher twine as the wick. Of course that was after the real candles and oils were all used up.

    I think if it ever got real bad, most would figure out what burns and what does not. I just harvested some tree resins while hiking to play around with making a bushcraft stye torch next time I'm camping. I dont expect it to burn long, or burn clean, but I will try to learn something from it.
  10. jason10mm

    jason10mm NRA-GOA-TSRA

    Jan 27, 2001
    Clarksville, TN
    Hard to imagine a LED flashlight + solar charger combo can be beat. Are you going to be able to make the whole house glow, maybe not, but you should be able to light up a room and still read. If you use candles make sure you get the mirrored reflectors, helps a lot in redirecting light that otherwise goes to illuminating your walls.

    Hard to go wrong with some lamps either. Just make sure you stock up on mantles/wicks along with fuel.

    Be careful with those solar lawn lights. Many of them are very cheap and don't work well (if at all) out of the box. Be sure to test them before you stash them.

    Definitely some good high intensity lights and 123's for when you need them. Probably nothing will be as effective in detering nighttime agression once the power goes out as a 240 lumen beam blasting an intruder in the face. Light at night will say "I have POWER, FEAR ME!" We take night time lighting for granted and once it is gone folks are gonna really miss it.
  11. quake

    quake Millennium Member

    Aug 4, 1999
    Arkansas, USA
    +1 on rechargeables, especially solar rechargeable. Definitely be conscious of the previous warnings here about cheap rechargeables. Some work wel & some don't.

    Also, any way to increase efficiencies? Things like LED flashlights rather than incandescent, or LED replacement bulbs for existing incandescents, etc.

    Also, maximizing purchasing efficiencies can make a real difference. Buying batteries in bulk at places like,, and (sometimes) can save a LOT of money; or else make for a much larger stockpile for the same money.

    Batteries stored in a friendly environment (coolish & dry) will last a LONG time; well beyond their 'use by' date. This pic is from a year ago, showing one of our LED maglights with a sales flyer from Academy, dated March of 2011 (date at bottom right, circled in red). The light was loaded with old black & gold rayovacs, with a "Best if used by" date of July 2002. (When was the last time you saw black & gold rayovacs...?) Almost nine years past their 'use by' date, still running strong.

    I wouldn't store them unused in a flashlight or other device anywhere near that long, due to leaking concerns; but this is one of our commonly-used lights so they get rotated out as needed.

    For task lighting when you need to use your hands (you mentioned animals), a good LED headlamp is very good. A good dimmable one is even better. I've become a fan of the Coast H7 personally. It lets you dim or brighten the light as desired, and also lets you zoom from spot to flood as desired; it's what I've used for probably 3 years now, and I've only broken one. It's not absolute 'top-tier' equipment, but it's very good and only semi-expensive; something like $40-$49 iirc at lowe's.
  12. The Hawk

    The Hawk

    Aug 22, 2008
    LaGrange, Ky
    I have 4 LED solar landscape lights that I bought at W-mart a few years ago. They last all night and are pretty bright. They also have on/off switches. Just for fun I took a couple of them to the basement and was impressed with the light they gave off.
    I also have a couple of flashlights that are solar powered. Not very bright, but will light the way to bathroom, etc.
  13. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    I immediately thought "Torches!" Now indoors this wouldn't work unless you are in a warehouse or something like that, but for a perimeter, campsite, etc... should work well. Yes, there is the added risk of catching things on fire that you don't intend to. But with enough firesteel you can seriously light the way for decades if not centuries. Isn't this what everyone used from BC all the way up to the 1700's?? I know oil has been used for centuries as well.

    Just my thoughts. For long term, I hate things that require electricity/batteries.

  14. Aceman


    Nov 30, 2008
    Long term = Sleep when dark

    Fire otherwise

    Charge using solar for electric lights...
  15. R_W


    Nov 8, 2007
    Any number of LED flashlights that take AA and have tactical bright to nightlight barely glow settings--Fenix, 4sevens, Olight, Streamlight, Surefire, the list goes on. Stock lithiums and oneloop rechargeables. Get a good recharger that will run on 12v.

    You can get a small solar panel that will charge a deep cycle well enough to keep phones charged in a short-term disaster and the oneloops charged regardless.

    LONG term, you will have your natural night vision back because you will not have artificial lights destroying it.
  16. Tom Kanik

    Tom Kanik

    Sep 6, 2005
    S.W. Missouri
    I keep a few extra 12 volt batteries (deep cycle), power inverters, and strings of LED Christmas lights (white/clear) for power outages due to storms, a driver takes out a pole, etc. Though I have not needed to use them yet, I also have solar panels- total of 150 watts - to charge the batteries. This is in addition to all the variety of flashlights, candles, and lanterns I have.
  17. davesretired1


    Sep 7, 2009
    [ame=""] Moonrays 91754 Richmond Style Solar Light, Metal Path Light with 25X-Brighter LED Light, Rubbed Bronze, 2-Pack: Lamps & Light Fixtures@@AMEPARAM@@[/ame]

    Brightest solar walkway light I've ever seen. Comes two to a package, each with 3 1500 AA ni-mh batteries. I wired in a on/off switch so I could leave them out overnight and the light doesn't come on. I don't use the glass lens or stake. Just rest the top, with the solar panel and the batteries, on a small bowl ( the led extends down and could be damaged if laid flat ) and leave it in the sun. So far, it works great for charging the AA's, and if you bring it in at night, the leds are plenty strong enough to read by.
  18. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    Internal not external lighting for us,we use 12v lighting in our bol.'08.