Arm yourself with choices when choosing a flashlight for your emergency kit. You cannot afford a flashlight to fail. When you need it, it must work reliably. The cost of failure is too high to cut costs on a flashlight or batteries.
Cheap or Expensive
Your flashlight is the first item in your emergency kit that you might want to spring for best quality.
75 small items in my emergency kit are cheap. But not the flashlight. The flashlight is critical when needed. Flashlight failure can be minimised by saving up and buying a quality product.
I have a crank power dynamo flashlight that I use daily to walk to my office at 5:00 am. I am never left in the dark. I recharge it via a power source. Alternatively, I choose to use a Maglite with LED and lithium batteries. It cost about $50.
All batteries stored in the lights NEED to be lithium.
Some people prefer ExtremeBeam Tungsten Carbide 3.0V RCR123 LFP
I rely on lithium batteries because they have 10 years of shelf life and do not leak.
Do not use alkaline batteries. They leak.
Keep a fresh cell for each light, outside the light, in a waterproof zip-lock bag or container, and keep next to the light. I also keep a small battery tester with our batteries. (Available from electronics stores like Dick Smith and JayCar).
Compare battery performance here http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Common18650Summary%20UK.html
The led lights today are advanced from even 5 years ago.
Headlamps are helpful
A head lamp that will take lithium cells would be my 1st choice.
Use a headlamp and a small multimode flashlight with XP-G emitters for the flood beam which covers more area and let you see potential dangers around you better. Emergency lights should cover as many emergencies as possible.
Headlamps other people recommend
A headlight like a Princeton Tec EOS, Quad or a Fenix HL20 headlight. A Fenix LD20 have been recommended as some of the best for this use. They are bright and last a long time on low.
The 4D packaway Coleman Cree XR-E lantern will work with 160 lumens on high for 18 hours, and a month on the 10 lumen nightlight mode. The lantern is for a common area like a living room where the family can spend time together.
Monthly battery check
I’ll just add that I would never leave a flashlight in a kit without checking it usually at least monthly. I use a cheap battery tester to do this.
Flashlights other people prefer
Go to Candlepower Forums
Many people prefer lithium batteries. Some like a neck lanyard. Some dislike IQ switches which save power but include a strobe which many people don’t want. Simple is best. Screw switch can be an advantage over a button switch as it is less likely to be switched on in error.
Thanks to the photographers for these awesome photos. You really have made all the difference. Thanks you for sharing.
1. Child on beach at night by Sean Dreilinger at http://www.flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/4400922266/
2. Child in snow by www.guigo.eu http://www.flickr.com/photos/paldies/5327450107/