Let there be LIGHT…in an Emergency!


  1. Redundancy – Have several ways to meet your lighting needs
  2. Spare Parts – have extra matches and spare mantels, glass chimneys, burner assemblies and funnels
  3. Familiarity with Options – When unfamiliar with lighting options or only using them on rare occasions, then please be extra cautious. The first long power outage shouldn’t be the first time you take your new Coleman lantern out of its box!


(Information adapted from Please click - or copy and paste the URL- to see more complete information.)

Battery-operated lighting

  • Buy headlamp flashlights so that you can move around with your hands free. They are inexpensive, even with powerful LED light bulbs. Most use AAA batteries.
  • Maintain a supply of easily located flashlights and fresh batteries
  • Look for high output (300 lumen +) flashlights that are waterproof and shockproof
  • Consider purchasing rechargeable batteries and a solar battery recharger

Solar-operated lighting

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Obviously, need sun to recharge
  • Tend to put out less light than you expect (think of solar sidewalk lights)
  • Good to use when you have nothing else, but not the best option.

Mechanical (hand-generated) lighting

  • Inexpensive
  • Have a small motor that is activated when you either crank a handle or squeeze a lever for a long time
  • Inconsistent performance; some are just novelty items


  • Inexpensive
  • Can be long lasting
  • Don’t put off much light so you need more of them
  • Puts out decent amount of heat; can be used to reheat food
  • Depending on candle, may put out smoke and soot
  • Open flame fire hazard; consider using candles in glass containers for stability

Oil Lamps (Use with wicks) (see fuel options on next page)

  • Reasonably priced
  • Have a sturdier base than most candles
  • Brighter light than a candle
  • Safer to walk around with than a candle, but still a danger if dropped
  • Flame is better protected from the wind than a candle
  • Can be used indoors with the right fuel

Gas Lanterns (Use with mantles)

  • Use outdoors only; requires ventilation
  • Incredibly bright light output
  • Safety depends on fuel used (see next page)
Olive Oil Safest oil to burn
Safe to store indoors
Almost any container can be
turned into an olive oil lamp
If the lamp overturns, it is self-extinguishing
Offers little to no fire hazard
Motor Oil (Outdoor only) Low flash point like olive oil
Slightly higher fire danger
Don’t use in oil lamps
Burns dirty; lots of soot and smoke
Liquid Paraffin High grade kerosene that burns with
little or no smoke or odor.
Highly flammable. Caution!
K-1 Kerosene
(Use K-1 not regular kerosene in oil lamps)
Suitable for oil lamps
Burns bright.
Relatively Inexpensive
Easy to find; can buy in bulk
Burns easily and hot
Can be used indoors
Stores Indefinitely
Burns dirty; leaves soot
Flammable-use with caution
Diesel Fuel Similar to Kerosene Burns dirty; leaves soot
Flammable-use with caution
Do not use in oil lamps.
Only has an 18-24 month shelf life
without additives
Unleaded Gasoline
(Outdoor only)
Some lanterns can burn gasoline or white gas. Highly flammable. Caution!
White Gas/ Coleman Fuel/Naphtha
(Outdoor Only)
Used in White Gas Lanterns
Is highly refined gasoline
Unlike gasoline, has no additives
5-10 Years storage life
Relatively Inexpensive
Easy to Light and Burn
Priming Required
Highly Flammable-Caution!
Propane (Outdoor Only) Useful for lanterns and camp stoves
A by-product of natural gas
Held in liquid form inside container
Relatively inexpensive
Readily available
Comes in various sizes
Can fill smaller containers from larger.
Stores Indefinitely
Rotten egg smell alerts you to leaks
If leaking, gas can accumulate
and explode at ignition source