The Smart Prepper

Life is hard, it's harder if you're stupid – John Wayne

October 26, 2015

10 Best Lanterns for Camping

Lanterns for Camping

There are so many lanterns for camping available on the market. What qualities do lanterns need to have to be considered in the list of 10 best lanterns for camping. Unfortunately you can’t just take the best of every attribute because some attributes are inversely proportional to each other. If you increase one attribute another will decrease. For example if you want the brightest lantern then you can’t have it battery powered.

Brightness: The brighter the camping lamps the better you can see at night – that’s the reason to have a camping lantern in the first place. Camping lantern LEDs can be very bright, but the most lumens are generated by fuel based lanterns. Lumens are a standard of measurement to talk about how bright the light emitted from the lantern is. Today with LED and halogen lights that use very low watts compared to standard traditional light bulbs you can’t use watts as your measurement of brightness.

Energy Source: There are two types of energy sources for most camping lanterns. The first is a traditional fuel source, which is normally propane. The second is an electric battery. You can either buy and replace the batteries or have a camping lantern rechargeable battery. A battery is measured in milliamp hours. The larger the capacity the longer the lights usually last, or the brighter you can have your light bulbs.

Extra Features: Not all lanterns for camping are created equal. You will have to decide what features are the most important to you. Some camping lanterns are waterproof whereas others may have a compass built into them. One lantern is meant for hanging from a ceiling and others have a rechargeable battery you can tap into for charging usb devices. In the list below each lantern has at least one unique feature.

Number 10:

Number 9:

Number 8:

Number 7:

Number 6:

Number 5:

Number 4:

Number 3:

Number 2:

Number 1:


October 22, 2015

Best Small Flashlight

tk120 tactical best small flashlight
There are so many flashlights available for sale. What qualities exactly make any flashlight the best small flashlight. Growing up my dad collected so many flashlights. We were never more than a meter away from a flashlight in our house. We had a flashlight for every occasion. Such occasions included going camping, walking in town, emergency kits for the cars for winter and summer, flashlights to fit in backpacks that I would take to school, hunting, and so many other situations for which my dad would prepare. Over the years we have gained a little bit of experience for various situations and learned what we need in a flashlight for those situations. The following is a list of requirements any flashlight we buy needs to have in order be be considered the best small flashlight:

  • High Lumens – There are plenty of flashlights that fit on keychains or plug into USB drives. These run off a single low voltage LED. A good flashlight needs to have enough brightness (lumens or candlelights) to be useful. The more focused the lumens are the farther the light can travel.
  • Small (obviously) – Needs to be small enough to fit in a pocket. A flashlight that barely fits in your pocket means that it does not easily go in or come out. A flashlight needs to be small enough to be loose inside of your pocket so you can retrieve it with ease and speed. A small flashlight should also be easy to use in one hand and not be a two hand size.
  • Battery Longevity – The flashlight needs to either have rechargeable batteries or the batteries need to last a long time. Having to replace batteries often is really a crappy attribute for a flashlight. If the flashlight uses rechargeable batteries the flashlight should be able to charge without having to pop the battery out of the flashlight to recharge the battery and after it’s charged put it back in the flashlight. The flashlight needs to have some type of a removable power chord to charge the small flashlight.
  • Lifetime – The light needs to last a lifetime. This is suppose to be the best flashlight right and to be the best means you will never need to replace the flashlight because the bulb dies. Along with the bulb the actually flashlight needs to be made of high grade materials. A small flashlight is easy to drop. The best small flashlight needs to be very durable in various situations.
  • Weather Resistant – Often times you will be in situations that are damp or wet. The best small flashlight should not die under damp conditions.
  • Other Extra Features – Does the flashlight have extra features? For example some flashlights have magnets to attach them to cars or refrigerators. Other flashlights have extra lights in the handle to use as a light bar. Sometimes you can discover features you never knew you couldn’t live without.


880 34

October 15, 2015

Best Emergency Radio

What does an emergency radio need to be?

  • Water resistant – If you get rained on the radio needs to continue to function.
  • Self powered – Solar cells or hand crank.
    • Hand cranked should be a positive turn usage, meaning you should not have to crank the power for one minute to just get ten seconds of usage. Even a 1 to 1 ratio is exhausting.
    • Solar isn’t as important to have high efficiency cells because you can just leave the radio in the sun while walking or driving. It can charge all day and be ready when you need it.
  • Rechargeable battery – If a power source is available then you should be able to plug into it and get fully charged.
  • Portable battery – Should be able to use the battery built in to charge other devices like your cell phone.
  • AM/FM/NOAA – The radio needs to be able to tune to both frequency and amplitude modulations. More importantly being able to tune into NOAA broadcasts for severe weather or emergency updates is crucial in an emergency.
  • Small – Portability is key in an emergency situation. You need to keep everything you carry as light as possible. A large emergency radio will only add unnecessary weight.
  • Flashlight – Like my dad has always said, “A person can never have too many flashlights.”
  • EMP – If you are worried about any type of electromagnetic pulse causing circuits to surge and break, having a radio that can still hear what is going on around you would be vital to have. There really are no radios or electronics that are EMP proof. You can either build a giant lead case for your electronics, or protect your electronics by building a faraday cage. They are pretty simple concepts and there are a lot of great instructions on the internet on how to build a faraday cage. You can use these for any electrical device you want to protect.
  • Cheap price – You don’t want to break the bank for an a good quality emergency radio.


October 04, 2015

Tactical LED Flashlight

What is a tactical LED flashlight

A tactical light is a flashlight used in conjunction with a firearm to aid low light target identification, allowing the marksman to simultaneously aim and illuminate the target.Tactical lights can be handheld or mounted to the weapon with the light beam parallel to the bore.

Some people want a tactical light that has multiple colors like red or blue. Red light is the best at helping preserve night vision and blue light is best at seeing blood trails. In my experience I have never needed or used either of the light filters. There are a few attributes that I find to be more important than any other feature. The first and most important is having high lumens. If you have an intruder in your house and you have a handheld tactical led flashlight high lumens will blind your assailant thus making attack against you significantly less accurate. The second attribute I find important is how is the beam focused. Various circumstances need a wide girth and others need a narrow girth focus. Having a light that can change the width of the beam is a very important feature. The final option that I find important is being able to change the brightness level. Using your tactical led flashlight at full brightness usually means the batteries will die within a few hours. 1000 lumens requires a lot of energy. Toning down the light until the bright lumens are needed will make the night excursion less chaotic as your flashlight won’t die in the middle of use. Also having the flashlight use LED lights as apposed to halogen or other types helps preserve electricity as light emitting diodes need considerably less electricity.

Two types of tactical LED flashlights



October 03, 2015

Head Flashlight

Head Flashlight Small and Powerful

Why should you buy a head flashlight

Head Flashlight Small and PowerfulJust like having a bluetooth dongle for being able to talk on the phone hands free, having a head flashlight can free your hands when out and about in the dark. Just imagine you are hiking at night and need to carry a flashlight. You are carefully watching where you are walking, but you look up for a second and then trip. You let go of the flashlight to help balance yourself. You are fine, but your flashlight just fell down the edge of the trail and you cannot reach it. Hmmm . . . if only there was a solution. As facetious as that last comment is, there is a solution. Having a head flashlight gives you distracted free light, giving you the ability to enjoy the dark. One of the biggest benefits of a head flashlight is wherever you look the light automatically follows. Having a flashlight you have to always coordinate the light direction and where you are looking. Another important quality I have found a head flashlight needs to have is to be small and light. If the head flashlight is bulky or heavy it is not as easy to use and sometimes the straps start to cover your eyes. The LUMINTOP HL01 Best Cree LED Headlamp Flashlight is one of the best head flashlight’s you can buy.


  • Output light strength that ranges from low moonlight to high.
  • When at high output the head flashlight has 610 lumens.
  • When at low output the head flashlight has .8 lumens.
  • Battery life can range from 30 days to 1.5 hours depending on strength used.
  • This is water proof. Don’t worry about getting rained on.
  • Beam shines 101 meters away.
  • The head flashlight swivels up and down to give you more light in concentrated areas. I.E. If you are walking in the dark and want to see where you are walking you can angle the head flashlight down rather than always having to look down.


October 03, 2015

Best Flashlight Holster For Cheap

Generic Flashlight Holster

Why do you need a flashlight holster

Generic Flashlight HolsterAny important tool that you need access too should be in a place that is quick to reach. For example, cops keep their walkie talkies, guns, maize, batons, and flashlights on their belts. If you are going any where in the dark then you most definitely need a flashlight. Keeping this flashlight on your belt for quick access may be the difference between life and death. You don’t want to be walking in the middle of the night and trip over obstructions, or if you hear an animal near you. Some flashlights come with a holster in them already, but if you prefer to use your own flashlight then you need a generic holster. This flashlight holster will fit most generic sizes. I have used this with a  MagLite C-Size and it worked just fine. I used a friends SureFire Z2L-BK Z2 CombatLight LED 80 Lumens and it fit in this flashlight holster. Having it with a snug fit is the best. You do not want the flashlight ever falling out. The mesh material stretches to fit slightly larger flashlights.


Flashlight Holster Size

The “back” part that holds the clip is 6″long. The part the wraps around the flash light is 2-1/8″. The width of the back is 2″. The part that secures the flashlight is also 2″ but expands to the size of your light. One drawback of the holster is if you stretch it to fit a larger flashlight the material does not always shrink back down to it’s original size. They are cheap enough that you can buy two of them.

October 03, 2015

LED Flashlight Rechargeable

LED Flashlight Rechargeable


LED Flashlight Rechargeable

This is the Hybrid Solar Powered Flashlight with Emergency Battery Backup – Black (2 pack). This flashlight is great for several reasons. The price is extremely reasonable. This flashlight has a solar rechargeable battery. The battery takes about 12 hours to charge, which then in turn is usable for about 12 hours. The reason this is a near one to one charge vs usage is because the LED’s are extremely powerful without using much voltage. The hybrid solar flashlight is balanced so that the if it rolls or falls in the water the solar cell will appear on top. This guarantees that the battery will be charged.  If the flashlight falls in the water that is ok as this LED flashlight is waterproof. I have used it snorkeling and diving in the past. This was waterproof ability was tested up to at least 10 meters. The flashlight does not need to be in direct sunlight to charge. As indicated below the flashlight was charging off of the light from a bedroom. This can hold charge for up to three years after it’s fully charged. The backup battery will last for seven years on the shelf. One would be great to store in a backpack and one next to your bed. The flashlight is also very durable. I dropped one from a ridge I was hiking for about 100 meters. Minus some scuffing that normally happens to the plastic the flashlight still held a charge fine, was able to charge without problems, and was still waterproof. Finally when buying this flashlight it comes with two of them.


The flashlight floats in the water, which makes it great for going rafting or boating with. Scuba diving with this LED flashlight works for shallow waters great, however as you dive deeper and deeper the buoyancy of the flashlight is greater making it harder to keep under water.
floats in the water solar side floats up floats in water

Light Status

LED flashlight charging status

With the middle light on this means that the LED flashlight is charging.

LED flashlight using backup battery.

The green light on the bottom/right means the flashlight is using the backup battery.

LED rechargeable solar battery in use.

The top yellow light means the flashlight is using the rechargeable solar battery.


I love this flashlight I have boughten several over the years. They make great stocking stuffers or gifts. Take it hiking, camping, boating, or wherever you need. The longevity of this flashlight definitely puts it at the top of the list for a prepper’s must have.
IMG_2657 IMG_2656