Lighting stuff up!

Flashlights:  A bit pricey compared to some LED flashlight is the Mini Mag flashlight. But you can still get them for about $10.00- $20.00 new and they come with a backup bulb and are very bright! . I carried one for over 13  years of heavy use in the Army just replacing 4 bulbs and batteries and I still have it though it needs a bulb replaced.   I like the mini-mag because you can adjust the beam from a wide angle for walking your dog in the dark,  down to a narrow beam if you are working on something. Needs 2 AA batteries

I have a multi- LED flashlight High Unita Gear I got from Emergency Essentials for about $5.00 and I have replaced the AAA batteries 1 time in over 3 years.  You can’t adjust the beam like the mini-mag but it has a solid metal housing and the multi LEDs are quite bright.  Small enough to keep by your bed with a long battery life.

I’ve bought several $3.00 and under LED flashlights that are okay for keeping around the house if you have a good backup flashlight or for barter or kids that tend to lose stuff.  I bought several Emergency  kits that contained a windup radio and flashlight that will power for a few minutes after 30 seconds of cranking but these flashlights tend to mediocre at best though the radios do a good job.

Solar yard lights:  Get some of these as they will work as a nite light and the solar cell will recharge batteries during the day. These are cheap Ni-cad batteries usually in AA and you can get these for as little as $1.00 each. and several big box stores sell Lithium batteries for recharging and you will get longer use from good batteries.  Clean the metal contacts of the batteries and the solar cells with a pencil eraser or a little brush and check for rust and you might be surprised on how well these little cheap lamps keep going.

Kerosene lamps:  12 gallons of kerosene will run 1 lamp four hours per day for a year. That’s an incredible bang for your buck on stored fuel.  Depending on how much natural light your windows provide you will need less hours lighting in the summer and more in the winter and five gallons of kerossne will cost about $36.00 at my local farm store, about $10.00 or less per gallon at the big box stores,  add a mirror behind the lamp and you can light an entire room.  I see these lamps a lot at yard/garage sales and you can pick some up for under $10.00 in the camping supply sections or farm stores.  Kerosene is fairly safe to store long term it does not go bad as quickly as gasoline. Crack a window and have a carbon monixide alarm just in case and don’t leave one burning over night/unsupervised because anything that burns will eat oxygen and getting dead because you are afraid of the dark is a darn stupid reason to die!  Trim your wicks and buy extras. The internet will probably be your best source for cheap wicks! The new LDS prepping manual tells you how and why to trim wicks.

Coleman type camping lanterns: These run on all kinds of fuel from “White Gas” to propane and or duel fuel models, but figure using up one mantel every 3 months and buy extras for your pantry. Buy a couple of  extra glass globes that cost under $10.00 each just in case one gets broken. Yes you will need them especially if you have kids or you are klutzy like me.

Lighters and matches:  A big box of “strike anywhere” matches can be had cheap at your local dollar store.  I have bought as many as 3 boxes for a dollar. The smaller boxes of  32 wooden matches can be had for 10 boxes for a dollar.  Dip in a little paraffin wax, they are water proof.  Trick birthday candles can be bought at your local dollar store and they stay lit in the wind and are great for camping. It’s a lot easier to use a match or lighter  light a little birthday candle than it is a fire.  Bic lighters if you get them for around a dollar or less each are not only great to have on hand but seem to be a great barter item.  I’ve bought everything from Zippos to cheap 3 for a dollar lighters and the bic lighter seem to hit the sweet spot for costs if you get them for around a dollar each in cost.

I’m not knocking candles but the light tends to be some what iffy. It’s usually not good to read by, and you have a fire hazard if they are knocked over.  They are an okay back up but for good and safe lighting I’m going with rechargeable batteries and kerosene lamps as the best compromise on safety, ease of use and cost.





11 Responses to Lighting stuff up!

  1. riverrider says:

    j, those solar yard lights are the bomb. we have been using them for 10 days now, handy as nightlights,and to light the stairs, but turn it away from you and it makes a decent flashlight, as well as battery charger. lowes has some touted as 4x brighter. it is, but it doesn’t last the night. my wife favors a small solar flashlight. the led solar lamp we bought at harbor freight has been a great light for the kitchen area, holds a charge well, and can be charged by cord if no sun or runs on batts. we shy’d away from propane due to the heat except for on the patio. my solar system ran a 40watt cfl lamp, puter,tv and satbox. another light we used was the streamlight survivor. pricey, but worth every penny. like a laser beam,cuts the dark like a light saber. inside we turn it upwards and it lights the entire room, runs forever on 4aa batts. they are reportedly used by major fire depts. day 10 of grid down, no end in sight. they promised power last friday, saturday,sunday, now midnight monday but we had more damage last night from storms. heat not as bad as has been, 104 yesterday, 85 today.

  2. Jamie says:

    river, glad you are catching a break from the heat, if not the electric company. I finally convinced Mom to get some little solar lamps for just the purpose you used them.
    I think being able to cook outside in this heat would help a lot.
    Can I ask how big is your solar setup in wattage and batteries (voltage) ?

    • riverrider says:

      it was too hot to cook, outdoors or in. like standing in the oven. we ate alot of sandwiches and took trips to eat out in the powered areas, upwards of 90 miles east. felt like cheating on the test, but the misses needs to be kept happy 🙂

  3. Karen says:

    Praying for y’all riverrider!

  4. riverrider says:

    whoohoo, relief! we got power just 10 hours short of 10 full days. storms threatening the are right now though. if it goes out again this soon i may just go on vacation….okay.. i run two 45watt sets of panels from hf(three fiftheen watt panels, 159.00 on sale) into a xantrex 30 amp charge controller(amazon) into a bank of 4 twelve volt 100 amp hour marine deep cycle batteries(sam’s), into a 2500run/3000 surge inverter. i thought the inverter was jacked but a little diagnostic work determined that the cord i was trying to use had a short. replaced the cord and it ran fine. of course that was after i smoked my backup inverter with said short circuited cord, literally.. holy crap, storm rolling in. more later….

  5. riverrider says:

    that was interesting, thought i was going to lose power again.nasty little storm….anyway so i’m running 90 watts right now. hf had a sale a while back and i picked up 4 more sets of those panels on the cheap for adding on and bartering. i would think a set would be worth a cow at least,or a couple of goats, don’t you? the nice thing is they come with a little charge station type box and 2each 12v flourescent lights. the box has plugins for 3,6,9 and 12v accessories. can’t beat it for the price, on sale of course. regular price is 229.00, but they run them on sale all the time for 159.00, plus you can find 20% off coupons in magazines.

    • Jamie says:

      I would think they would be good for trade or you could create a seperate little charging station and sell/barter charging up Ipads, laptops, phones and batteries.
      Besides a solar setup it’s amazing the appliances that run od 12 volts DC power. I may look into getting a few of those in the future.

      • riverrider says:

        ohhh! charging station, great idea! that way it never quits earning. Thats why i come here, jamie. you are just full of great ideas.

  6. Jamie says:

    River thanks, I wouldn’t blame you about the vacation. Glad you found the fault for your inverter. I hope things start getting back to normal for you.

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