Lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy show us that having reliable lighting could have prevented several deaths; especially deaths related to elderly individuals (10 deaths were attributed to people falling down dark stairwells).
When talking about light sources, you have many options. Most veteran preppers rely on oil and kerosene lamps. While oil lamps have been used safely for several thousand years, they still pose significant fire and burn risks, you need a moderate supply of expensive fuel, and some fuels are hazardous to your health. If the power outage is prolonged, what happens when you run out of the gallon or so of the lamp oil you have stored.
The next go to option is battery powered flashlights. While you can purchase budget battery powered flashlights, they still require batteries. And, what is one of the first items to disappear off your local Walmart’s shelf before a major storm hits? Batteries. Batteries can be expensive, and if you need to power your flashlights for an extended period, you will quickly exhaust your battery storage.
For an extended power outage situation, it is hard to beat solar powered lighting. This is why we highly recommend the d.light S10 Solar LED Lantern. The d.light is three to five times brighter than a kerosene lantern, is fairly rugged, and provides between four to eight hours of lighting per charge.
The d.light History
In 2004, during d.light co-founder Sam Goldman’s Peace Corps service in Benin, Africa, his neighbor’s son was badly burned by an overturned kerosene lamp. This incident, along with the knowledge that 2.3 billion people in the world still do not have access to reliable electricity, inspired Sam to participate in a class called Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability at the Stanford Design School, where he met co-founder Ned Tozun. That’s where they developed their initial prototype solar lantern and an ambitious plan to bring safe, bright, and renewable lighting to people around the globe (source: dlightdesign.com).
d.light S10 Characteristics
The d.light S10 provides up to 8 hours of light on a full battery using highly efficient LEDs. The S10 includes a micro solar panel, but can also be charged by AC power. Normal house lights appear to charge the lantern, and the lantern can keep a charge for several months. It provides 360-degree space lighting, and includes a mutli-position handle which allows various mounting and display options. It is weather resistant, lightweight, and can be easily carried in a Bug Out Bag, vehicle, or placed around your home.
We have extensively tested the d.light S10 during multiple field excursions, and have even used it during several power outages. One test included leaving the d.light exposed to the elements (wind, rain, high temperatures, and UV exposure) for two weeks. Following the two week period, the S10 was brought inside and taken apart. Although we had received nearly an inch of rain during the test period, and temperatures were in the high 90’s, the lamp light was bright, there were no signs of damage to the light or rugged case, the electronics remained dry, and honestly, it looked as if we had just taken it out of the box.
The battery that is included in the d.light, can be replaced. However, finding the battery at a decent price has become a challenge. Instead of purchasing additional batteries, we recommend to purchase additional lanterns ($7 a battery vs. $15 for the S10 lantern and $12 for the S1 lantern).
With the recent push to alternative energy, especially within the preparedness community, the move to solar powered lanterns is a logical and cost effective solution. You can purchase a d.light S10 for the same price as a budget oil lamp, and the d.light does not require any fuel. In our opinion, the d.light series of solar LED lanterns are one of the best lighting purchases you can make. So pick up a few for your home, vehicle, and replace those propane lanterns in your camping gear.
d.light S1 Solar LED Lantern – Similar to the S10, but does not include the enclosure. Four hours of bright light. Intended for spot lighting; great for desks.