If you are using alkaline batteries, remove them from the flashlight if they sit unused for a long time, otherwise they will leak and cause problems. Place it near the flashlight so you can find it easily. Try taping batteries to the flashlight barrel.
Pro tip: The best flashlights are made specifically to use lithium-ion batteries or have non-removable rechargeable batteries, which will do nothing for you if the power is out for a long time. Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) AA batteries continue to perform better throughout the battery’s life, while alkalines’ performance declines as they wear out, so buy a few. Panasonic Eneloops for $41. They are better for the environment, but when the charge runs out you can still use regular alkaline AAs.
You may prefer to keep a headlamp handy. the Petzl Actik for $40 is my favorite model and has never let me down, from snowy mountains to dusty deserts. It runs on three easy-to-find AAA batteries and has three brightness settings, the brightest of which is more than strong enough for emergencies around the house.
Coleman discontinued our previous favorite pick, the Divide + Push Lantern, so the Coleman 4D LED Camp Lantern for $19 is the next best option for not much coin. Flashlights don’t work well when you need to light up the entire room or when you need your hands free for a task. This basic lantern offers a setting of 54 lumens, with a runtime of 175 hours on four D-cell batteries. That may seem like a lot, but next to other full-size battery-powered lanterns, like the Coleman Twin LED lantern that uses eight D cells, it’s economical. Fifty-four lumens isn’t what I’d call bright, but it’s bright enough for most tasks, even reading, while conserving battery life.
If you want to save batteries or just want to hang out with the gentle flicker of a candle, keep an emergency candle or two. the Coghlan’s 36-Hour Survival Candle for $10 there are three wicks that last for 12 hours each. Keep a lighter or some matches nearby.
A Water Purifier
Usually, your water supply will work even if the power goes out. But major natural disasters can knock it down or damage it, and you may end up with dirty water. the LifeStraw Go Series Water Purifier Bottle for $45 marries the straw component of LifeStraw Personal Water Filter with a BPA-free plastic bottle to filter out 99.99 percent of water-borne bacteria for up to 26 gallons of water. The original, straw-less bottle is still a good backup option for $17, and it filters up to 1,000 gallons.
Our previous top pick, the Grayl Ultralight Compact Purifier Bottle for $81, is still a very good and dependable choice. It’s just expensive. However, it’s a durable and fast one-person filter that lasts for 300 uses—a total of 40 gallons—before you need to replace the filter. This is what I rely on when traveling in countries where water sanitation is not guaranteed.