Commander Zero put up a post about battery cases a bit ago and seeing how I’d already covered the need for a couple quality flashlights as part of your kit for Living Well In Tumultuous Times I thought I’d chime in as well on storing, carrying , and organizing battery reloads for your lights.
The first step is figuring out how many batteries you need. Since the math is easy, let’s say you have a small family and you have 5 flashlights and headlamps total and they all run on AA’s. If you want them all to have batteries and one reload you need 20 batteries total. But, hey, batteries aren’t that expensive and on high the Flashlight I linked too only lasts 96 minutes under ideal conditions. My experience has been that when you REALLY NEED A FlASHLIGHT the conditions won’t be ideal. Because of the cold winters in The Driftless Area I can pretty much guarantee my battery life will be lower than advertised from mid-November though mid-March, sometimes quite a bit lower. Soo…
Let’s say that small family needs their 5 lights to get them though a storm that lasts 4 winter days and nights with no electrical power, no car, and no stores open. 40 batteries gives you 5 lights ready to go, 3 reloads for each light, and reasonable chance of making it through the storm without running out of battery power. It’s also a big old stack of AA’s. You’re going to need a way to keep them organized and clean (so they don’t drain/blowup/find some other way to fail), and you’ll want an easy way to transport them so you can always have a reload with you.
My first attempt at battery org was to Gorrilla Tape a few together and then run the tape over the exposed ends of the batteries. This worked OK for one reload going into a bag or pocket over the short term, but over the long term the tape attracted grit and lint. This also does nothing to protect the batteries from getting crushed or poked and it did nothing to help keep the battery pile at home sorted. Next up was vacuum sealing. This also works, but since there’s no air to suck out, you’re increasing the space needed for storage, not shrinking it, and it’s a complete PITA.
Nowadays, I keep the single CR123 battery I need for my EDC light reload vacuum sealed in my messenger bag, and all the other batteries from opened containers go into storage boxes. Storage boxes keep the batteries protected and it’s easy for me to keep track of what I’ve got. This also makes it easy have batteries where you might actually be (at work, in the car, in the living room etc) when you need a reload and makes it so you don’t have to get the big, heavy box where you stashed all the emergency stuff out of the back of the closet without a light handy.
The Storage container on the left of the pic holds 8 AA batteries and is actually 2 4-packs slid together. Easy enough to hand the teenagers a 4 pac and a reminder to stick together when they head out to explore winter wonderland. And since you can have that 4 pack somewhere handy (like in your pocket) you probably won’t forget to give it to them. All of the boxes in the pic were picked up on Amazon for just a couple of bucks. None of them are waterproof, but sticking them in a zip lock bag serves my waterproofing needs. The boxes are much nicer than digging around in a desk drawer or storage bin in your car, or the bottom of a bag for batteries that you know “are in here somewhere” and might be so battered by the time you go to use them that they no longer work.