Here’s How to Make a Lights Out Box

Sent to us by the author.

With so many survival bags that cover a variety of disaster scenarios (bug out bags, get home bags, everyday carry kits), why would we need another one? Well, because different people prepare for different things and many realize that smaller emergencies are also prep-worthy.

In this article, I’d like to tackle the issue of a prolonged power outage, specifically, how it can occur and how you can protect from it by having a lights out box, also known as a lights out kit.  

According to quoted by, the US power grid is so old that it loses power almost 3 times as much as that of other developed nations, costing millions to billions of dollars over the long term. In fact, the grid dates back to Thomas Edison, causing hundreds and even millions of US citizens to live their lives without electricity for hours or even days.

What causes blackouts?

The most common reasons include storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms but there are other, man-made disasters that can trigger them. One is an EMP or an electromagnetic pulse. Whether it’s man-made or triggered by a solar storm, EMPs will not only cause blackouts but completely fry the grid, along with any electronics (smartphones, laptops, cars, anything electric or partially electric)

The other thing is a cyber-attack.  Though it’s tough to break into a U.S. power company, it’s not that they’re not trying.

Whether we like it or not, sitting in the dark even for a couple of days is bad enough. Add that no Internet and no phone battery and we’re pretty much back in time 100 years. What can we do?

A lights out box (LOB) is the solution.

As the name suggests, a LOB is nothing more than a box specifically designed for power failures. You don’t have to keep it waterproof or in a MOLLE bag, ready to be thrown in the trunk of your bug out vehicle… although it’d be nice if you did.

If you don’t have the budget for something fancy, a plastic box will do. The key thing to remember is to get one that’s big enough to keep all of the things I’m about to recommend.

What you should keep in your LOB?

Let’s not waste time and see out what you should keep inside your kit.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are amazing, provided you get the mil-spec kind. The ones youngsters wear at parties aren’t nearly as good. Plus, we need good shelf life and the good ones can last up to five years.

They work through a chemical process called “luminescence”, which is different than traditional fire and light devices. Glow sticks will never cause a fire and, best of all, they’re EMP proof. They’re also really lightweight so you can keep them in your survival bags or even inside your everyday carry kit.

Ideally, you should store them in a cool, dry, dark place (just like you do with your survival food), but I realize a high temperature may not be possible if your lights out kit is somewhere on the hallway. In this case, you may want to replace them more often, like once a year.

Tip: to make a glow tick last longer, you can put it in the freezer after you’ve cracked it (though that may not be an option when the lights go out unless you have your own generator). Still, this will freeze the reaction, causing the stick to last longer.


How many? Well, that depends on the number of people living in your household, but I won’t say “no” if you have too many. Some people simply love them so I can’t tell you how many you should have.

Here’s a few suggestions of flashlights:

  • As many small flashlights as you think are needed, either AA or AAA. If possible, try to stick to as few battery sizes as possible so you don’t have to stockpile on too many.
  • One or two larger 6 volt flashlights. They’re more powerful and some of these are even water resistant. You’re going to need them for outdoor work or to inspect your property at night (yes, looters will take advantage if your neighborhood or town plunges into darkness for a few days).
  • Hand-crank flashlights. These work without batteries, by winding the crank or squeezing a handle. Useful if the batteries don’t work or if you run out of.
  • Headlamps. These will keep your hands free when working or riding a bike. You never know when a power outage can take a turn for the worse and you might need to bug out.


Lanterns are lights in transparent cases used to light up part or even a whole room. Use them to read a book or play board games with your family. There are plenty of models out there when it comes to how they are charged. Some of them use batteries, others have small solar cells at the top… there’s even the inflatable kind that actually float on water!


What better place to keep all your batteries than you lights out box? If you have many battery-powered devices, keeping them in this box will mean you always know how to find them. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting precious looking around the house for spares.

Plus, all the batteries from all your flashlights need to be taken out and kept separately, to avoid leakage or discharge. Put them in zipper bags or simply keep them in the original packaging, and make sure the ends are not touching each-other.

Also, if they have plastic caps, you should keep them on when the batteries are not in use.

Tip: unlike glow sticks, alkaline and lithium batteries should not be frozen.

Rechargeable Batteries + a Solar Charger

Though you might not need them for power outages that will last less than a week, they can come in handy if you’re left without electricity for longer periods of time. The battery charger needs to be solar for obvious reasons, though one that charges from your car also work.

If you can, get one that also charges your phone, your kindle and any other device that will allow you to communicate or that holds precious survival information.

Traditional Lighting Devices

Matches, lighters and candles should definitely be part of your lights out kit. Another thing to have is some steel wool in a separate zipper bag. If you have a 9V battery, you can use it to light a fire in your backyard.

An Emergency Radio

You can find plenty of them on Amazon. Some are even charger and have built-in flashlights of their own! Since many blackouts occur due to bad weather, it’s always good to have an emergency radio to hear the news of what’s happening, especially one that’s hand crank.

Anything else?

Since you’ll be playing with fire, it’s always good to have a fire extinguisher nearby. With no electricity, your lights out box will be the center of attention and your kids might use the items inside improperly. Better safe than sorry.

You may also be interested in having a battery-powered fan, particularly if you live in a hot climate.

Where should you keep everything?

Ideally, you should keep the box in a place that’s easily accessible, such as the hallway. When the lights suddenly go out, you’ll want to quickly get to it. Some people have no problem walking around their homes in complete darkness, then know the inside that well.

Another thing you can do is have a few glow sticks in each room of the house, including your safe room, your basement and even your tool shed. These will light your way for a little while until you ca get to your lights out kit.

4 thoughts on “Here’s How to Make a Lights Out Box

  1. lol flee…….

    i got a self contained lighting system i am developing right now for no power situations.. it uses a rearranged lead acid battery from a lawn mower and some circuitry based on the Joule Thief..

    the 12v battery was a dead one, had less than 3v in it and had a dead cell.. i drained it and used a solution of baking soda and water to neutralized the acid left in the battery. this also cleaned most of the corrosion out of the battery..

    after the acid was neutralized i took out the bad cell and run a connector out of the plastic to the original stud and sealed that hole off.. i then took some pickling alum (yes the stuff you get from grocery store) and i added enough to some water til it would not dissolve any more.. i then put this in the battery and then put it on charge for a few hours..

    i only get about 7v out of the battery but it works for the circuit i built to run the 500lumens of LEDs.. the battery is what is called an “Alum Lead Battery”. you can look it up to learn more..

    but i have a 8v solar cell off an old fence charger run to it to keep it charged.. i also have it set up where it will automatically cut on when the light reaches a certain level or i can turn it on myself.. so far i have not had to touch the system since i put it up 6months back. it has been running itself for that long.

    id post a pic of the system circuit if i could post here..

    but just google “Joule Thief” and use these modifications.. instead of a fixed resistor, add in a fixed resistor and a potentiometer in series with the resistor.. make sure it is atleast a 50k Ohm potentiometer if you intend to use it on more than 3v..

    next wind a coil of fine wire on a 2inch toroid core. must be the powdered cores for the high frequencies.. wind the coil with 2 wires side by side for 40-50 turns.. for the transistor i used a 2N2222A NPN transistor..

    when hooking up the LED to the JT do not use the standard hookup where they hook the LED positive to the collector and the negative to the emitter, draw the power directly across the main coil. the positive input of the coil will become the negative hookup and the collector will become the positive hookup.. this way the LED only sees the reverse pulses created by the collapsing magnetic fields.. this also conducts the reverse pulses through the LED and draws them to zero faster thus allowing for faster operations and better efficiency because the reverse pulse is drawn to zero and the system does not have to fight it when the transistor turns back on.

    my system draws as little as 800uA setup like this, and this is running 12 3V LEDs in parallel. this should be impossible as the LEDs are rated for 20mA and that times 12 is 240mA.. it is the high voltage spikes that allow this.

    i am running these LEDs off of the 7v battery. i can get away with running the 3V LEDs off of 7V because with the LED in the circuit backwards it never sees the battery voltage and runs solely off of reverse pulses..

    the circuit i built is sensitive enough to run off of a copper rod and magnesium rod driven into the ground.. i have fried a battery operated clock with the ground using a circuit i built a few years back. im probably the only person in the world who can say i fried a clock with the planet..i was getting 48v from the ground, no large amps but i got good voltage.

    but this is just a few simple things to do for free power..

    1. Awesome. .. I’ve got three wind turbines I’m going to try and hook up this spring and summer.

      I’m going to keep them separate from the solar when it come to wiring.

      Parallel systems and redundancy along with reducing a single point of failure is key to being off the grid.

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