Good illumination is useful in many emergency and non-emergency situations. You should have a variety of lights in your home, vehicle, and hiking kits.
- Home: Include a variety of lights including candles, flashlights, and lanterns (in that order). Keep spare batteries and store the lights where they are easy to find in the dark.
- Vehicle: At the very minimum include a rugged, bright flashlight and headlamp. I would also recommend a small lantern with a distress blink option (three short blinks, repeated). The light can be used for signaling, checking the car, walking at night, or tactically (if you are well trained). Start with a flashlight and add a headlamp. Be sure to have some spare batteries stored in a waterproof zip bag.
- Hiking: Carry a headlamp, flashlight, and spare batteries. Store the spare batteries in a zip bag in case they leak. Try to choose a headlamp and flashlight that use the same batteries.
Here are some suggestions for lights for your home and vehicle kits:
- Candles: Buy larger candles for home. You can find inexpensive candles at dollar stores or discount stores. Keep an ample supply of candles and ways to light them.
- For inexpensive flashlights I recommend the Energizer TUF2AAPE (about $16) or the Streamlight Stylus Pro (about $20). These have a long runtime, use standard batteries, are rugged, produce a good light and are affordable. There are many other good lights out there. When choosing a general light be sure it is bright (at least 90 lumens), rugged, and water resistant or waterproof.
- If you want a more powerful flashlight then consider purchasing one of the many exceptional tactical flashlights. Be sure to have an ample supply of spare batteries. Cost: $40 – $200.
- Lanterns are not required but they are very nice to have. I want to have a Streamlight Siege AA in each car and a Streamlight Siege in the house. There are other excellent lanterns made by Coleman, BioLite, Black Diamond, etc. Cost: about $40 for Siege AA and about $50 for Siege.
With all of these products be sure to test them periodically and have amply spare batteries. For hiking and vehicle kits store spare batteries in zip bags to contain contamination if the batteries leak.