There are “crank” type lights available, but all I’ve seen are cheap plastic junk, which will become useless when the handle snaps off. Rechargeable lanterns with built-in solar panels are great, as long as they are well built.
When it comes to lighting and most other essential prepping appliances, the rule: Three is Two, Two is One and One is None, applies.
Like everything else in life, there are always tradeoffs. The brighter the light, the shorter the run time, but when it comes to LED’s run times of 30-40 hours with AA batteries and a good light output isn’t uncommon.
LED’s are similar to other electronics in that they are continuously improving. If you owned certain brands of the first generation LED flash or camp lights, you could barely read by them. The latest LED lights running off the same battery size are literal retina burners, complete with warning stickers.
Now I’ve had people tell me they were going to use candles, kerosene lamps, propane lamps and other “retro-prep” light makers and my first response is “why?” A two dollar solar path light puts out a brighter crisper light than any candle, and it is safe, renewable and can be easily recharged in a window sill for years of daily use. Take that up a notch and buy one of the many lights that are either designed for prepping, or happen to be perfectly suited for it. One of them is the NoKero solar light bulb which puts out enough light to work by, is solar powered, runs for hours and is quality made. NoKero also has a solar battery charger, that will allow you to keep charged “AA” batteries on hand for unlimited illumination.
In addition to NoKero solar lamps, I have an entire light package for chores, recreation and security, indoors and out, based on rechargeable “AA” batteries which are inexpensive, plentiful, and easily solar charged. For indoor chores I have the NoKero solar lamps which are completely self contained. For security I have Mr. Beams motion lights located strategically around the place. I also have a Mr. Beams motion light with a magnetic base for use outdoors, and as a power outage light indoors. Simple “AA” to “C” battery converters out of ½” PVC pipe cut down to 1 7/8” length let you run “AA” batteries in a “C” device.
For flashlights, I have Coleman High Power Battery Operated 6AA MC-E Aluminum LED Flashlights available on Amazon and online. It looks like a “D” battery flashlight, but actually uses six, “AA’s”. It also runs up to 8 hours on one set of batteries.
A couple of small LED “AA” Ray o Vac Sportsman lanterns for general purpose area lighting round out the program.
With enough spare Solar rechargeable batteries, you can run chore, security, flash and area lighting, and never ever run out of light.
The easiest way to find out how well you are prepared in the illumination department is to shut everything down and break out your light makers, and see how well everything works. Buying lights is the easy part, keeping them going is the challenge.
One final note, Mr.Beams has been kind enough to offer a whopping 30% discount on any order if you use the code GODFATHERPREP. NoKero.com will give you 10% off if you use prepper2014.
DON’T scrimp on lights or NIMH batteries, and go solar. Long after most people have depleted their Alkaline batteries or broken the handles off their crank lights, or run out of kerosene, your solar recharged batteries will still have years left in them.