you know drill. Maybe you even attended once or twice. As the natural disaster loomed, everyone in town frantically rushed to the grocery store, home improvement store, and gas station. In a capitalist nightmare, demand outstrips stock, and most people come home empty-handed without enough flashlights, batteries or cookware to withstand an impending hurricane, snowstorm or wildfire. It is best to stock up in advance to avoid the battle royale. We’ve gathered all the essentials for your emergency kit.
Update June 2022: We’ve added the Coway Airmega 200M Air Purifier, Garage Boss 5 Gallon Gas Tank, N95 and KN95 Wildfire Masks, Mountain House Adventure Dehydration Meal Pack, and Petzl Actik Headlamps.
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This Fenix E20 V2 ($45) is my go-to for affordable emergency flashlights, but ThruNite Archer 2A V3 ($25) is another solid choice. At 350 and 500 lumens, respectively, they’re bright enough while remaining compact, and they last a long time at low-light settings — 200 hours on the Fenix at 5 lumens and 51 hours on the ThruNite at 17 lumens. Both use two AA batteries, and in an emergency your main concern is to have plenty of spare batteries.
If you’re using alkaline batteries, remove them from the flashlight if you’re not going to use them for extended periods of time, or they can leak and cause problems. Store them near the flashlight so you can easily find them. Try strapping the battery to the flashlight.
Pro tip: The best performing flashlights are designed to run on lithium-ion batteries or non-removable rechargeable batteries, which won’t do you any good if they’re dead for a long time.Rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) AA batteries maintain their performance better over the life of the battery, while alkaline batteries degrade even more as they run out, so buy some Panasonic Eneloops ($40). They are better for the environment, but if they die, you can still use regular alkaline AA.
You may prefer to carry your headlamps with you.This Petzl Actik ($50) Is my favorite model, from snowy mountains to dusty deserts, has never let me down. It runs on three easy-to-find AAA batteries and has three brightness settings, the brightest of which is sufficient for emergencies in the home.
Flashlights work poorly when you need to light up an entire room, or when you need to free up your hands for a task.Diffuse light is what you want, while Coleman Divide+ Push Lantern ($16) well-done. It’s smaller than a typical Coleman lantern, which is nice since it’s likely to be in the pantry most of the time. There are two settings: high 425 lumens for 40 hours of operation, and low 50 lumens for 330 hours of operation. It uses three D batteries, which sounds like a lot, but compared to other full-size battery powered lanterns, such as the Coleman Twin LED light that uses eight D batteries, it’s economical.