Illumination Options for a Survival Kit

When creating a survival kit, there are many things to consider and many of the items that need to be included have options. Because people are different, locations are different, and individual needs are different, it is a good thing to have choices.

One thing that should always be a part of the kit is illumination. When it starts to get dark, light becomes a necessity in many situations.  If the power is out, or if one is out in the woods, or in a variety of other situations, having a source of light can make the difference between surviving or not. It can make the difference between comfort and stress.

However, it is also possible that fire may not be a reasonable option. In the woods, if it is dry, or inside a house, or if there are contaminants in the air, it could be a bad thing to have a fire-based source of light. Additionally, many electronic light sources are brighter, which can also be a factor. While obviously candles are one of the options,one may need alternatives to candles for light.

Where to Buy
Coghlan's 36-Hour Survival Candle, 6-Ounce
Stonebriar 35 Hour Long Burning Unscented Pillar Candles, 3x4, White
CandleLife Emergency Survival Candle (Set of 4) - 115 Hours Long Lasting Burning Time
UCO 9-Hour White Candles for UCO Candle Lanterns and Emergency Preparedness



Emergency candles are often the first type of light source that people think about. They are usually easy to add into the kit and often are intended for use in a catastrophe situation. This type of survival candle is often short and thick, made to last for several hours. These can be made of wax or candle fuel, and can have one wick or more than one.

The best candles for lighting a room will probably be those that have more wicks, as they are likely to shed more light overall.

1. Coghlan’s 36 Hour Survival Candle 6 Ounce

This tinned candle has three wicks and will last up to 12 hours if all three wicks are lit at the same time, or up to 36 hours if they are each lit separately. The tin’s cover will protect the candle between uses. This survival candle is excellent for slipping into a backpack or survival kit.

2. Long Burning Unscented Candles

These candles are three inches in diameter and four inches tall, made of unscented white wax. Their cotton wicks will burn up to 35 hours. Individually wrapped, they can be stored indefinitely. Because of their size, they are best used for survival at home, as they could be unwieldy to carry.

3. CandleLife Emergency Survival Candle (Set of 4) – 115 Hours Long Lasting Burning Time

During an emergency brownout, these Candlelife candles are your best buddy. 1 candle burns for a total of 115 hours. Each comes in a package of 6, providing you with a source of light for a total of 690 hours. Don’t worry if you use the candle inside; it is completely smoke-and odor-free, making it an excellent candle to use in power outages. You never know when you might need candles, so make sure you keep some at home. high-quality paraffin for prolonged burning times, no smell, and no soot. It is both safe and strongly advised for use indoors.

4. 9-hour White Emergency Candles

These chunky wax candles will burn for about 9 hours. While longer lasting candles may be preferred in some situations, a candle that has a shorter burn time could be useful for not needing to carry it for an extended period and care for a partially burnt candle. It is also possible to get a version that is made with citronella to prevent mosquitoes and one made of beeswax which burns 12-15 hours.

Where to Buy
Pak-Lite Glow Top LED Light w/Alkaline Battery
PETZL, ACTIK CORE Headlamp, 450 Lumens, Rechargeable, with CORE Battery, Black
Streamlight 88031 ProTac 2L 350 Lumen Professional Flashlight with High/Low/Strobe w/2 x CR123A Batteries - 350 Lumens
ThruNite Ti3 EDC Cree XP-G2 R5 AAA Torch Max120 Lumens LED Flashlight, Mini, Cool White



When fire is not a good idea for some reason, a flashlight can be used for light instead. These are portable and convenient, and while they need a separate power source that will need to be charged or replaced, this is a minor thing that is easy to provide for, as long as the sun is available for solar power or electricity is obtainable somewhere.

5. Pak-Lite Glow Top LED Light

Two LED bulbs that are high intensity. The light has two settings – high and low –that are powered by a 9volt battery. It is weather resistant and offers a wide area of illumination; however, covering the lighted end will allow the light to be more focused if necessary.

6. CORE Headlamp

This lightweight headlamp has bright light with two settings and uses a rechargeable battery. It can shed light for up to 160 hours at a time at up to 350 lumens. It can be charged with a USB cable (micro USB) and the batteries are AAA sized, so can be replaced.

7. ProTac Professional Flashlight

With a pocket clip that can be reversed to fit your preference, this flashlight has a low light level that lasts 35 hours (30 lumens) and a high level (350 lumens) that lasts just over 3 hours.

8. LED Mini Flashlight

This flashlight can be attached to one’s keychain and carried wherever. It has three lighting modes plus a strobe option; the highest is 120 lumens and will last about half an hour; the lowest is .04 lumens and will last about 115 hours.

Where to Buy
Vont 4 Pack LED Camping Lantern, LED Lantern, Suitable for Survival Kits for Hurricane, Emergency Light, Storm, Outages, Outdoor Portable Lanterns, Black, Collapsible, (Batteries Included)
4 Pack COB Camping Lantern, Portable High Lumen Outdoor Camping Flashlight Torch Light, Bright Survival Equipment Gear Kit for Emergency, Hiking, Tent, Backpacking, Outages, Hurricanes, Storms (Grey)
UCO Original Candle Lantern Value Pack with 3 Candles and Storage Bag
4 Pack Emergency-Rechargeable-Light-Bulb, Stay Lights Up When Power Failure, 1200mAh 6000K 15W 80W Equivalent LED Light Bulbs for Home, Camping, Tent (E27, with Hook)
Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan - Hurricane Emergency Survival Kit



A lantern provides more ambient light. Unlike flashlights that are meant to show specific areas, an electric lantern will light up a larger area, similar to a candle, but without the fire (although survival candle lanterns are also available).

9. 4 Pack LED Lantern

These collapsible lanterns are easy to pack into a backpack or survival kit and will last over 90 hours. 30 LED lights offer very bright ambient light in all directions. They are waterproof and durable – constructed with aircraft grade material.

10. Camping Lantern

30 LED bulbs offer energy efficiency and 350 lumens of illumination from 3 AA batteries. The military grade plastic is water resistant. Foldaway handles make it easy to hang or carry; the handle is also the on switch.

11. Candle Lantern

Made from aluminum, this collapsible lantern is easy to pack and easy to extend. Its glass chimney protects the flame from wind and allows the light to shine in all directions.


Emergency lights can take other forms as well, though some may be less efficient while adding some probably much-needed humor or uniqueness to a difficult situation.

12. Emergency Rechargeable Light Bulb

These light bulbs can be used as normal bulbs, but they also collect power to stay lit if the power goes out. They also have a hook that can be used to hang the bulb in other locations, or it can be used without the hook as a flashlight.

13. Portable Camping Lantern with Fan

This fan has 18 LED bulbs and a fan to help cool the air and keep it from getting stale. The lantern is collapsible to take up little space when stored. It takes two D size batteries.