Keep This Gear at Home In Case of Emergencies

Flashlights do a poor job when you need to light up a whole room or if you need your hands free for a task. Diffused light is what you want, and the Coleman Divide+ Push Lantern does a very good job of it. It’s smaller than the typical Coleman lantern, which is nice as it’ll likely spend most of its life in storage. There are two settings: 425 lumens on high for 40 hours of runtime, and 50 lumens on low for 330 hours of runtime. It uses three D-cell batteries, which sounds like a lot, but next to other full-size battery-powered lanterns, such as the Coleman Twin LED lantern that uses eight D-cells, it’s economical. 

You can leave the batteries in this one, even if you’re using alkalines. When not using the Divide+, rotate the battery compartment to separate the batteries from the contact terminals so they won’t corrode in storage (smart!). There’s also a foldaway wire handle so you can hang it off a carabiner or on a hook.

A Water Purifier

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Grayl Ultralight Compact Purifier Bottle.

Photograph: REI

Most of the time, your water supply will work even when the power goes out. But major natural disasters can knock it out or damage it, and you might only get dirty water. The Grayl Ultralight Compact Purifier Bottle is a solid and fast one-person filter that’ll last 300 uses—a total of 40 gallons—before you need to swap the filter. It’s what I trust when traveling to countries with no guarantee of water sanitation.

Another option is the Katadyn Steripen Adventurer ($100), which purifies using ultraviolet light. Dunk it in your water and stir. It won’t filter out sediment, but it’s small, lightweight, and runs on replaceable CR123 batteries. You can also try Katadyn Micropur tablets ($14). They’re cheap and easy to store. Drop them in water, and wait briefly. The taste isn’t great, but no water treatment tablets or droplets are, in my experience. Another option is LifeStraw’s personal water filter ($30)—just sip out of it like any regular straw and it’ll filter out 99.99 percent of waterborne bacteria for up to 1,000 gallons of water. If you have a large household, you may prefer something like the MSR AutoFlow XL Gravity Filter ($100). Gravity filters take longer to purify water. 

You can boil water, but it won’t filter out sediment, and boiling uses fuel and takes time.

A Propane Camp Stove

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Coleman Gas Camping Stove

Photograph: Amazon