Lighting Alternatives, by Rick C.

Looking at today’s troubling times I cannot help but wonder about how to best prepare for them. I am new to this arena and in the last ten years. Yes its taken me that long, I have come to realize that being prepared is not being some Nut Case, but the very real, important, job of every family to ensure survival. Its too bad most of us are not even aware, or willing to acknowledge what is happening. Only in the last two years have I started to react to this and start preparing my family. I regret my “Head in the Sand” outlook. Besides the Beans, Bullets and Band-Aid preparation approach, which we should all know about and practice, there are many other areas that also need to be examined and implemented. It is very interesting reading to see all of the ideas put forth in your blog. The ideas are great and I have learned a phenomenal amount of information from it. Since I have started prepping, its amazing to find out just how many did it, many on tight budgets.

When I moved to my current location, I was naive with regards to relocating and after reading Mr. Rawles’ books I would probably have made a different choice. But I am here, fully employed and likely to stay for at least four to six years. I chose a smallish city, or at least that’s what I thought. I moved to the high plains in 2006 from Phoenix to get away from all the issues Phoenix has, from gangs, crime and population congestion. Realizing how bad Phoenix is, and wanting to still stay in a city offering all the amenities, I chose a small High Plains city of about fifty-five thousand. It has a low crime rate, good affordable housing, employment and is generally a pretty nice place. This, of course is what, I am sure, most would say about their cities, that is until The Schumer Hits the Fan. At that point all will change and many, many will seek shelter elsewhere. Leaving me, and many others with choices: Leave, take your chances and go with the multitudes, or stay and hunker down. I keep both options open. flight with truck, flight with truck and trailer and hunker down at home.

Whatever locale you choose, lighting should be considered. We all need some form of it. 

There is so much to do and so little time to do it. However, I must approach this with a budget in mind. I don’t want to be in debt, any more than I have too. Any approach to preparedness must be calculating. I wanted to bring up lighting. I am sure that a lot has been said about it and being new to the forum I hope that I am not being redundant. We all should know that when it (The Schumer) hits, and I believe it will, your home becoming the target of looters, or worse, is a very real possibility. While power is still available, and after even  when it is not, lighting discipline will be critical. I don’t think that I can stress that enough. This could very well mean your life and that of your families.  No light must be allowed to emit from you home/dwelling/retreat/cave….whatever. None! If they can see the light, well can you say “target”?  

HIDE THAT LIGHT: I suggest that you make a real effort to black out your home, or whatever. Not just putting up some extra curtains.  And don’t think tart cut up black trash can liners will do the trick. I suppose that several layers, duct taped to the inside of your windows could work. But do you really want to risk your life and that of your families to trash can liners? Better to spend the extra money and get good quality 4 mil or thicker opaque black plastic sheeting. This can be purchased at home improvement stores, or on the internet for about fifty dollars for a nine foot by one hundred foot roll. And of course the almighty, ever useful Duct Tape. I personally do not believe that you can ever have too much Duct Tape. For that matter doors could be an issue as well, so check them, sheet them and tape them. By the way this all should be practiced before TSHTF. Think of it as a good Saturday dry run and follow it up with a good barbeque meal for the family.

OPTIONS: There are a lot lighting of options out there. If power is still available, then lighting is not a real problem, just hiding that light could be problematic. If power is out, you don’t want to advertise your presence with a noisy generator. But even if you do, once again, hiding the light would be an issue. Please put into practice a strong effort to hide that light. Good light discipline is going to be an essential element to survival. This is especially true on Refugee Line of Drift, such as homes near interstates, or other highways. They will seek out visible light as possible places of shelters or as a means of sustenance. 

Some lighting alternatives are:

  • Flashlights are good. But they are very battery-needy. Hopefully you have thought about NiMH re-chargeable batteries and solar chargers. Flashlights are really good for directed light when needed for a specific task/target. They can also have filters attached for even more light discipline. Flashlights with LEDs are very efficient, offering extended battery life. My suggestion is to have plenty of them. I have several different varieties even tough I also have too different batteries as well. I am a functionality nut, every tool has a job and every job has a tool. I prefer rechargeables….always.
  • Lanterns also offer good lighting options, again, hopefully you’ve have thought about both types of re-chargeable batteries. Lanterns with LED capabilities are very efficient, offering extended battery life. The old battery lanterns were of very limited use. They quickly ran down batteries and offered limited lighting. Today’s models are a different story. Their uses are multi facetted and offer good battery life while providing fairly decent light. They are easily transported and charged. They are effective for a stationary element. Their downfall is that while mobile, they are not space efficient for a bug out situation. . 
  • Solar walkway lighting is another good alternative. Think about it. They charge all day long and then provide light for hours at night. Yes, its true it won’t be white, blinding, dazzling brilliant light, but it will suffice. It will provide adequate to find things and move discreetly about the house. The light will be dim enough not to brightly illuminate the world, but adequate for needs of the household. And the are a renewable resource. The sun will re-charge them daily for you. Wal-Mart sells a cost effective variety at $20 for eight lights. I use them as driveway lighting and garden outline lighting. This gives me about 20 solar power lights for use inside. And yes I have tried them and though they are not especially bright, they do give off satisfactory lighting. Which is all I require of them. Best of all…You guessed it, they are sun-charged.
  • Candles are a good choice, [is used with sufficient safety precautions] but a disappearing one. By that I mean that they will slowly be consumed. They also will require an ignition source such as matches or a lighter, of themselves not bad items to have around. Depending on variety they produce by products such as smoke, order etc. Not especially desirable, so choose them wisely. I am not saying you should not use them, just select the best ones. Though when TSHTF, any will be better than none, and I have many of them. The devotional candles that come in glass jars are cheap and effective. [JWR Adds: These have on rare instances been known to shatter, so they should be used with he same fire safety precaution of any other candle:They are best burned in the center of a discarded cookie sheet with a rolled-up lip, placed on a surface that cannot tip over.. Used cookie sheets are available for a pittance from almost any thrift store.]

I try and have several alternative options on hand at all times. I keep spare batteries (rechargeable) in storage. I have a solar charger on hand and I keep about 30 solar garden type lights on hand, including two spot lights.

Whatever you choose to do with regard to lighting don’t forget all the other things that need done. I personally have a decent armory with ten thousand available rounds. I am working on one year food supply for a family of ten. I keep all of my vehicles in good running order. I am also working on fuel storage, both gasoline for my vehicles and propane for heating and cooking. I keep my options open and read, read, read. SurvivalBlog has provided hundreds, if not thousands of very good ideas.

Hopefully this gives someone, maybe a newcomer like myself, some ideas and maybe, just a little thought provoking. I hope so, as I am getting tons of ideas from the blog and it would be great to give back to this community. I do bring some experience to the table. I a former US Marine and have been in law enforcement for 27 years.