It’d been almost a week since I left home. A week in the woods with only what I could carry on my back. It was my first big trip of my own accord, and I quickly discovered I’d made two rather annoying mistakes: I’d forgotten both a watch and a flashlight. My morale was in the gutter. I should have bought some low-cost camping lights.
For those of you who have spent any significant amount of time out in the woods, you completely understand what I mean when I say to neither have the time nor light is obnoxious. I wasn’t able to tell my mileage per hour, I couldn’t estimate distance, it was hard to determine when I needed to set up camp, and my day was over when nightfall came. It was too dark to do anything safely other than sleep.
Post-disaster, one of the most important things that you need to survive is a positive mindset. As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl pointed out in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, those who give up hope die. As such, one of the most important things that you can do to retain a survival mindset – to keep morale high amongst your group – is to avoid making the same mistake that I did on that first trip.
And the chief way that I’d like to focus on doing such is through having the warmth and assurance that comes with light.
The Science Behind Why You Need Light
Research has proven time and time again that when humans are deprived of light, depression quickly follows. We’ve long known that seasonal affective disorder (ironically called SAD) is a large cause of depression in people throughout the winter months when exposure to sunshine is reduced. This lack of sunlight leads to the circadian rhythm in our bodies being thrown out of whack, resulting in a greater production of sleep-inducing chemicals in our bodies and fewer feel-good chemicals.
The end result? Depression.
Case in point, look at the citizens of Alaska, where the tilt of the earth will result in a complete lack of sunlight for days to weeks at a time. Roughly a full third of Alaskans will suffer depression due to lack of sunlight every winter, and the 18-24 hour nights can push some to suicidal thoughts. Others will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.
As you can imagine, in a survival situation, this can quickly prove deadly. Without proper lighting, you lose control of your mind and sense of well-being. More than light just being a security measure in a survival situation, you need light for mental fortitude.
You Need to Be On Your ‘A’ Game
If you end up in a SHTF situation, neither you nor your family can afford for you to lose your mental edge. For your own as well as your family’s sake, you need to ensure that you are doing what you can to keep morale high once the doo doo hits the fan.
While access to plenty of food, water, and a feeling of safety are most certainly vital components of this, many are prone to overlooking the role that light can play in keeping your family’s mood and spirits healthy as well.
One of the easiest ways that you can do such is by purchasing the flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps that you are going to need for a disaster now so that way you’re not left up a creek without a paddle when disaster does eventually strike. Prepping is expensive, many things to buy and the need to have redundant supply. Not everything has to be the highest-end product, however. You can find a good balance between quality and cost.
The Vont Ultimate Survival Kit
For purposes of this article, I’m looking at low-cost camping lights from Vont, specifically the Vont Ultimate Survival Kit. Within this kit (and all for under $50, mind you), I got two LED camping lanterns, two LED flashlights, and two LED headlamps.
|Vont Product||Purchase Link|
|Ultimate Survival Kit||Amazon|
|Vont LED Camping Lanterns (2 Pack)||Amazon|
|Vont ‘Blaze” Tactical Flashlights (2 Pack)||Amazon|
|Vont ‘Spark’ LED Headlamps (2 Pack)||Amazon|
I find the redundancy in gear to be incredibly important, and for those who are married or have a family to consider as well, this is the perfect way to better ensure that everyone in your survival group has access to the light that they need in order to make it through disaster. Buying a pack of these and spreading them across everyone’s different bug out backpack adds efficiency.
I live on a farm, so I’m up before the sun every day. It’s during the wee hours of the morning that I can be found feeding goats, chickens, honeybees, and the occasional pig – doing what I can to make sure that everybody is fat and happy before I head back into the house for breakfast (proper farmers eat last).
It wasn’t long after I started this daily routine that I discovered the benefit of a properly working headlamp. As Joel Salatin repeatedly points out in his books, the more efficient you are as a farmer, the more efficient your farm will run. Part of the equation here is keeping both of your hands busy at all times. If I have to hold a flashlight in one hand and a bucket of water in the other, I’m now doing half of the work that I could be doing if I had a bucket of water in both hands.
A headlamp fixes this problem.
I’ve been using these Vont headlamps every morning and every night when I take care of the animals for roughly two weeks now, and they’ve been functioning great. I have my hands free to do what I need to do, and the LED bulbs not only provide me with plenty of light to work with, but have made it so that after two weeks of consistent use I still haven’t had to change the batteries.
Think of the post-disaster implications of this latter trait. If you’re in a WROL situation, do you really think you’ll have access to plenty of spare batteries? Will you be able to just drive on down to the store to go and get some more?
I don’t think so.
It’s because of this that you need to ensure that you are conserving battery power where you can, and LED flashlights are one of the easiest ways that you can do this.
I long ago discovered that if you’re going to be spending multiple nights out in the woods, you are going to want some form of camping lantern. This allows you to stretch your day further, easily find the gear that will inevitably become lost amidst your sleeping bag in the middle of the night, allow lighting for evening entertainment (survival board games), and help you to get settled in when it grows time to go to bed.
However, you also don’t want to haul extra weight that you don’t have to. This presents something of a challenge. How do you balance the need for light with the need for light? (See what I did there?) The key is to find a camping lantern that doesn’t eat batteries for breakfast, that puts out plenty of lumens without blinding you inside your tent, and that packs well within a backpack.
I think the Vont camping lanterns do a perfect job of finding this balance (in addition to cost). While the lights are bright, they aren’t going to leave you squinting within the confines of your tent, and should you need to gauge how much light that you are putting out, you can easily just shut the lantern more to decrease the number of LEDs that have access to the outside world.
The on-off feature is an incredibly easy design that won’t leave you frantically searching around your lantern for the ‘on’ button either when a raccoon is scratching against the outside of your tent at 3AM. All you have to do is grab both ends of the lantern and pull. The light will automatically turn on as it is retracted away from its housing. It’s as easy as that.
A sturdy base means that you don’t have to worry about this thing tipping over at the campground – a very convenient feature to have that I’ve found most other camping lanterns (which typically come in with a base the size of a pencil eraser) don’t have.
Should you desire to hang your lantern from the top of your tent or from a tree branch, you can easily use the carry handles to do so. The lantern is light enough (no pun intended) to be suspended from either without the risk of bringing your tent crashing down to the earth.
And even if you’re not camping – let’s say you’re bugging in – you could easily keep these lanterns tucked away in the corner of your nightstand’s drawer for easy access should your power go out in the middle of the night.
Ya’ll. These are cool.
Aside from having a holster with a belt clip that will keep these within reach whenever you need them, they’re adjustable as well. By that I mean that the light can easily be used with a broad, dimmer beam, or it can be focused into an incredibly bright laser-beam type setting.
They’re water-resistant, meaning you can use these out in the rain without having to worry about ruining them – 200 lumens, and have a number of different modes (e.g. strobe, SOS, etc.) and levels of power that you can utilize with them to help conserve battery or for different purposes.
They aren’t as sturdy as a full-metal mag-light, and they aren’t designed to withstand striking like the tactical flashlights out there on the market, but if you’re looking for a flashlight that is inexpensive, produces a lot of lumens, and is convenient to carry, this is a great option to look into.
Low-Cost Camping Lights Conclusion
If you have newly weds in your family, or college-aged kids who are going away to live by themselves for the first time in their lives, I highly recommend doing what you can to further improve their disaster resiliency. Weapons, BOBs, car breakdown kits, and the like all make fantastic gift ideas. But to give the gift of light is probably one of the most practical gift ideas that you can give to them and is one that they’ll get the opportunity to use on a regular basis.
You really can’t go wrong with the Vont Ultimate Survival Kit as a gift for such, or even for your own use. Without proper lighting a disaster can not only sap one’s willpower, but it can easily prove to be unsafe as well. Think about changing a tire beside a busy road in the middle of the night. Proper lighting is a must.