Review: Emergency Solar Lighting With a Goal Zero Torch 250

The biggest issue with emergency lighting, and flashlights especially, is if the batteries are dead, you are out of luck. Sure, you may have lots of extra batteries but why is it they are never handy when you need them?   Although there are a number of light sources that can be charged via a solar panel, they take both planning and space, and are not ideal for someone on the go.

One solution to the “my flashlight is dead” dilemma is the Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with its integrated solar panel.  You read that right.  This is a powerful flashlight that can be charged using the sun!  But that’s not all.  The Torch 250 can also be charged with a hank crank or via a USB source.  In my opinion, this rugged flashlight is right up prepper-alley, and the best news is I have one to giveaway to a lucky Backdoor Survival reader.  More about that in a moment.

Goal Zero Torch 250 | Backdoor Survival

The Rough & Tough Goal Zero Torch 250

The Torch250 is a solidly built, rough and tough flashlight.  It is well constructed and beefy, roughly measuring 10″ x 3″.  In addition, at about 14 ounces, it is not exactly a featherweight. For those of you old enough to remember, it is about the size of some of the early cell phones, albeit thinner.

None of that is bad because size is needed in order for the integrated solar panel be effective.  In this case, function has trumped form.  All good.

In my testing, I found the Torch 250 came fully charged right out of the box. Since I received the Torch 250 in June, that means it held a charge for longer than three months.  The specs recommend charging every three to six months which tracks with my experience.

Let me briefly touch upon a few of the specifications.

Goal Zero Torch 250 | Backdoor Survival

The spot mode lit up my back yard.

The Goal Zero Torch250 includes two lighting modes, spot and flood.  Each of those modes has a high and a low beam and they are very bright.  In addition the front front-facing spot flashlight has a red light mode  I suppose the red lights would be handy if you wanted enough light to move around at night with out blinding your sleeping companions, but the real benefit is that you can set them to flash made to alert others of an emergency. A downside of the flashing red lights is that they do not flash an SOS code.

Goal Zero Torch 250 | Backdoor Survival

My office was pitch black when I took this photo.  I did not use a flash on my camera.  Impressive!

On the underside of the solar panel, there is a fantastic flood light. The flood puts out 70 Lumens and as you can see, lit up my entire office.  The best part is the flood light, which also has a high and low beam, will operate for as long as 48 hours.  Because this was one of my favorite features, for testing purposes I turned the flood light on at 9PM and 24 hours later, on low beam, it was still bright.

To charge the flashlight, all you need to do it set it out facing direct sunlight.  Just to be clear, it is a slow process taking 23 to 46 hours, depending on the strength of the sun.  Blue LEDs at the bottom of the flashlight near the power switch will alert you to the charging status. The lights blink during charging, and are fully lit when charging is complete.

Goal Zero Torch 250 | Backdoor Survival

Plugged into a desktop USB charging port. Note the blue LED.

Alternately, you can charge the device by plugging it into a USB port. Note that the charging cable is included, although it is a bit short.   I tested charging the device using a USB source three ways:

Accelerated Solar Charging using the Goal Zero Nomad 7 purchased year ago (although any portable solar panel will work)
USB port on my laptop
AC powered USB charging station

My Subaru has a USB port and I have no reason to believe that will not work as well.  I did not test it.  Charging with the USB source took less than 6 hours, including charging from the larger solar panels.

Goal Zero Torch 250 | Backdoor Survival

It can also be charged using the hand crank.  The process is slow and tedious but is easy enough, even if you have arthritic fingers like I do.  One minute of cranking will give you two minutes of light.

Another feature of the Goal Zero Torch 250 is the USB charging port.  Unlike the charge IN port, the OUT port is a female jack that requires you provide your own cable for charging a phone or tablet.  This makes sense because different devices have differing connectors.

Finally, I have not pictured them but there are two integrated hooks for hanging.  These would be useful for flooding an area with light.

The Goal Zero Torch 250 Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note:  Due to Customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to those with a mailing address in the continental United States.

The Final Word

As the princess of emergency lighting you might be wondering how I plan to use the Goal Zero Torch 250.  The answer is simple: I plan to keep it in the car.  Having just spent almost five days on the road, packed to the hilt, I know how precious space can be.  Whereas I had many small flashlights on board, I did not have a rechargeable lantern with me. With its flood light, the Torch 250 would have been perfect, since it can throw off a a wide beam while sitting it on the ground, making it virtually hands free.

One more thing.  The Torch 250, while not tiny, will fit in the Subaru’s console or in the back seat pocket.  After each use, I can set it in the window to re-charge or plug it into the vehicle’s USB port.  Seems like a no-brainer,.

For more detailed specifications, visit the Goal Zero website or Amazon.com.  And, of course, enter the giveaway to win a Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight for free!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye


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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article as well as other personal solar favorites.  I own all of them.

Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with Integrated Solar Panel:  This rugged flashlight includes an integrated solar panel that really works.  But that’s not all.  In can also be charged using any USB source or a hand crank.  All of this plus it can be used to charge your cell phone or tablet.

Solar Charger for Standard Batteries:  This Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Power Pack , coupled with the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel is what I use to charge up AA and AAA batteries as well as my electronic devices. I purchased mine as a kit from Amazon.

Sunferno Flintstone Portable Solar Panel with Rechargeable Battery Pack:  This sturdy solar power pack is lightweight and small enough to be used in an EDC kit.  I especially like that it has 2 USB ports.

SunJack Waterproof LightStick: The versatile SunJack Lightstick is impressive for its compact form factor and extremely durable, waterproof casing.  In addition to providing portable lighting, it will charge 3 USB devices on a single charge.

Choetech 19W Solar Panel:  This lightweight and compact solar panel works great.  The two integrated USB ports are both rated equally so you do not have to fiddle around to see which one will work with your device. Learn more:  Charge Your Devices With the Choetech Portable Solar Panel.

EasyAcc Monster 20000mAh Power Bank:  This is a robust power bank that can be charged from your laptop, a wall charger, or a solar charger.  This one is beefy, with 4 USB ports that can be used at once.  It also appears to hold its charge for a long time.  I charged mine up then set it aside for a couple of months,  When I pulled it out of its box, it was still fully charged. A nice unit that comes in very handy when power is out.

MPOWERD Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Lantern:  This is the original Luci EMRG Solar lantern. I have put mine through its paces and it is one tough cookie.  It has weathered both a wind storm and rain storm while hanging outdoors for a month.  Lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof, Luci EMRG provides ultra-bright, reliable light to guide your way indoors and out, through blackouts or extreme weather conditions.

Luci EMRG 250_18

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Emergency Essentials | Backdoor Survival

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What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

  1. I would like to know how other readers who try to eat organic fresh foods are dealing with rotation of their stored food supplies. Do other preppers have ideas beyond freeze drying?

  2. I’d like to know more about alternatives to mylar bags and expensive buckets for bulk food storage, and about the availability of USEFUL implements for smaller ATVs.

  3. Future give away-something like radios and radio antenna-also plant lights to help raised plants from seed. Also, this is a great contest.

  4. I especially like the fact that you can either hand-crank or use solar power to rev this light up–and what’s not to love about the floodlight feature? Great product!

  5. How are others learning skills? Internet? Youtube? Physical schools and camps? Friends teaching others? Mother Earth News Fairs? Mormon Church community events?

  6. I Would like some of these products. They look very useful. A ham radio giveaway would be good. They are expensive and out of our budget right now. Thank you.

  7. I am brand new to this and would like to know the best way to prep and store seeds for future planting. Thank you,
    Terri

  8. I seem to remember you had an article about sprouting, but some specifics on types of sprouting gear (mason jars, versus trays) and what works best for basic nutritional supplementing for folks just surviving on beans and rice would be a great topic and giveaway!

    Thanks for all you do Gaye!

  9. I have been looking at several different manufactures of this type of item. Would save me a lot of time, and one less decision to make on which one to buy. Can not get enough of the information and knowledge you share, thanks.

  10. So a flashlight that runs on solar power, huh? Kind of ironic. Won’t help a “my flashlight is dead” scenario if you need it and the sun is down. No more useful than a dead battery. Just sayin…

    Sarcasm for those who miss it

  11. I’d like to discuss prepper burnout & how to stay on track. Every so often, I just want to buy pretty things instead of beans & bandaids! How do others stay focused?

  12. I’d like to know more about prepping medical supplies. But also how to prep in a small house without feeling like a hoarder! There are piles of stuff and we just don’t have space for everything.

  13. I would like to see a discussion of local food cooperatives, in particular the Quad Cities Food Hub in Davenport, Iowa. They seem to have excellent sustainability programs in place (community kitchens, seed saver exchanges, community gardens, classes, and home delivery of locally sourced produce). What programs exist in other parts of the country and how would one go about creating a local one where none exists?

  14. I’d like to hear from folks that have actually used fish medicines The pros and cons, and how long they can be stored before their efficacy is affected.

  15. I commenting for a friend. He wants to know what is in “fixodent and poligrip” that makes his dentures stick in his mouth? Poison? Whats he going to use when the crap hits?

  16. Thank you, Gaye. One more thing added to my Gotta Get list. While sitting with my hands empty some nights I take out the ‘wind up toys’ and get busy. At least I’ll know our radio, etc, and hopefully this flashlight, are ready when the power goes off which it does here frequently.

  17. Boy do I agree about having emergency lighting. Be it having lighters or matches for candles or lanterns to our gizmos that will provide light after cranking to flashlights and lanterns that are solar or battery powered. I am trying to cover all angles so I still need a oil fueled lantern with extra fuel and wick. Where I live there is a somewhat frequency to having outages so I have candles with lighters in the bathrooms so I can start there with getting a light on things in the dark when necessary.

  18. How about information on every day items we over look with dual or outside the box uses. If there should happen to be a disaster in our area and replacement supplies are unavailable we’ll be forced to think outside the box. Dedicated emergency preparedness gear is great to have, but once used, lost or broken and can’t be replaced what could we use as a substitute that might be around us.

    1. That is a great topic! I too am interested in the information. Anything we can make or buy that relates to solar and hand crank items.

  19. At the risk of sounding gross, a discussion of personal sanitation methods would be helpful as hygiene issues are one of the top five causes of death in a SHTF scenario. Examples: the use of “personal” cloths (and how to make them), what to do with human waste, how to improvise bathing, dishwashing, clotheswashing etc (and how to conserve water while doing it, if course).

  20. Good to have redundancy in necessary and important items. Even better when they have different ways to accomplish the task. I have been having problems with batteries in storage leaking. I have also been collecting candles at garage sales.

  21. How long (the use by dates aside) are you planning on storing canned goods? Rgular off the shelf, not freeze dried or dehydrated

  22. I’d like to know more about storing water, how long it is good and if you have sealed water bottles for a year or more can you still boil them or treat them and use them?

  23. We are shifting focus to our “forever” home – our needs and wants. While we may be several years off, there is much research to be done between animal husbandry, buildings, crops, power, etc. Solar is a primary, but we want to look at wind as a solid secondary. I’m not sure water turbines will be a viable option in low flow creeks. I’d like more information on what’s readily available – not just Kickstarters that may not start.

  24. Herbs – how to use (tinctures, etc); how to grow indoors for overwintering, etc; solar cooking. Still learning and enjoy your blog and the info you share with everyone. This giveaway of a solar light source is a great one. Thank you.

  25. More on ideas for dealing with un or ill-prepared neighbors in a SHTF scenario. Also, dealing with a significant “event” solo (and female , if that matters).

    FYI – Using a red filter on a light will allow you to see without degrading your night vision like “white” light does, nor does it “stand out” in the darkness as bad as regular lights for those hoping to keep a low profile.

  26. It would be nice to see solutions for preparing for the necessities on both a budget and a slightly higher income…that is, for communications, for heating, for defense, etc. This is a great drawing!

  27. I would like to hear about other people’s ideas on how to hide some of their preps in their homes to keep it safe when the government comes knocking saying you have to share your resources with everyone who didn’t prep. And what would you hide.

  28. Thank you Gaye, Shall we call you the ‘Flashlight Lady’. As I pack I keep finding flashlights! I wonder who instilled this into me?. Topics: Medical and more info on solar.

  29. I’d like to hear/learn more about things that might be basic for some/most people, i.e., how do you store nuts long term?, if you’ve frozen your flour to kill any “guests”, do you have to thaw it before packing it in mylar bags?, when you store dehydrated food in mason jars should you add an oxygen absorber or desiccant?. Not exactly posts for give-away items, though. I worked in the corporate world for a long time and was able to obtain “things”, but not this kind of knowledge. I’d also be interested in thoughts/experiences about WAPI (water pasteurization). Thanks!

  30. I would love to add that to my lights. Also I would also like to know more about protecting my food stores should I have to “cache” them. What should I wrap the sealed buckets in or should I wrap the sealed buckets in waterproof materials before caching? I know that since the oxygen tabs have iron in them and Mylar is also metallic putting food in the Mylar bags with oxygen tabs runs the risk of someone with a metal detector finding my cache. What number of vac-pac bags per item would be adequate to store in the buckets for caching? For example I vac-pac my rice in Mason jars in the pantry but if I had to empty the jars to cache them how many vac-pac bags per 1/2 lb-1 lb portion would be adequate to keep it safe long term in the “cached” buckets. 2- 3 bags? Haven’t seen anything on line talking about that so far.

  31. I am still pretty new to prepping, I am curious how others deal with skeptical spouses? How did you convince your spouse it was a good idea? If you haven’t convinced them YET where did you start? We’re in a cold part of the country so I have gathered extra items under the guise of preparing in case a snow storm takes away our power. We also just retired military and it was a bit challenging to store too much because of weight issues when moving. Don’t have that issue any longer!

    Probably not a good topic for a “giveaway”! 😉

    1. Starting with preparing for local weather events is a great start, since having a way to deal without power in the cold can help with lots of situations. Then it’s a matter of slowly building up things and introducing the ideas gradually. I convinced my wife to let me get a generator to deal with power outages because we have sump pumps and in a severe storm we could lose power to the pumps. Then I convinced her that FD cans of food were smart because they are good for decades so I’m not tossing out expired food. Next was a food rotation rack so that our cans of tuna, soup, ravioli, etc could be kept in expiration order to reduce waste. Things like that. And as news events show instability around the world that can be used as a conversation starting point. The basic idea is to ease your spouse into the idea of being prepared to stop any active opposition to your prepping for your family, then when an event happens and you can bring out just the right thing to help that’s a way to open the door a bit more.
      The first 24+ hour utility power outage was fun for me because of the generator and it showed that I’m not as crazy as I look. 😛 A few months later I convinced her to try some pilot crackers from our FD supply and she actually thought it was tasty, opening the door to storing a bit more FD food. I’ve now got about 1/3 of the basement filled with supplies. Because flooding is a concern with multi-day rains, I put a good amount of my supplies in mylar bags and then in 5 gallon buckets. So I don’t have to worry if bags of rice or beans had any punctures and might get ruined by flood waters. And because the buckets stack easily (as long as you use the original covers, don’t stack on gamma lids!), I can have a LOT of stuff in a small footprint.
      If your spouse isn’t receptive to the idea of being prepared, then try the saving money option. Buy things in bulk during sales so you can use it until the next sale, and point out how much you’re saving over time. Once you get some shelving stocked with canned goods or other shelf stable items, then you’re halfway there.

    2. I am still dealing with a skeptical spouse but I am ignoring him (LOL) Seriously, I have been adding to the pantry a little at a time each time I go grocery shopping. When there are sales on the can goods we eat, ie Buy one get one free or buy 3 and get one, etc. I pick those deals up and put the extra cans in the downstairs “pantry” I’ve also bought beans(dry) and rice in the bigger bags and sealed them in canning jars, I separate them by jar size . For the two of us a pint jar of rice when cooked is enough for a meal for the two of us. For the family and long term storage, I use half gallon jars and seal them with my “sucky” machine (food Saver)

  32. Aquaponics, specifically a small set-up designed for an urban environment. How small can you go and make it worth your time and effort?

  33. Love your articles and giveaways. Im slowly going through all past articals so not totally sure what i would like to see next. If you havent allready, i would like to see an article on bugging in. How to fortify.

  34. I love these plain honest reviews of this product and all the others like it. Just keep them coming. It is not always necessary to be that technical in a review. Is it reliable, and does it work well! Thanks for all your work

  35. I would like to know how to build a box that would keep it’s contents safe from an EMP. I think you addressed this topic in the past, but I missed it.

  36. I always enjoy your articles on being self reliant, homesteading, alternative energy and water purification. Knowledge is power, books are great!

  37. Hmmm….maybe a few questions about making moral or ethical choices in a SHTF scenario. For example: Would you kill someone persistently knocking on your shelter in place in search of food or water? Would you take in an elderly neighbor who needed help but could not contribute in re work, foraging, etc.?

  38. i have a few battery-operated and hand-cranked flashlights, but none as bright, sturdy or high-quality as this one, and i have nothing solar-powered at all. i’d love to win one of these, since there’s no way i could afford to buy it! since both my apartment windows face west, it shouldn’t be too hard to charge up either.

  39. Other topics I’d like to see discussed: Sanitation (for at home and away), small container gardening, water storage and purification (distillation)

  40. This is so cool! I love your articles, and reviews. I have some Luci lights and put them in my family’s go bags. But I do love the solar light! I’d love to hear more about winter gardening. I’m very interested in that, living in the north. Thank you!

  41. I have one Goal Zero product and it’s awesome. After the recent Hurricane blew out our power I grabbed it. Still was charged and the best light I have. Would love to have another of their products.
    I also have a question about survival food. I have been asking questions of a company that is featured on your site regarding GMO’s and why the sodium content in a serving of food is more than an adult should have in a day, why the corn has to have 7 grams of sugar in a 1/2 cup serving and why the number of servings is like trying to compare apples and oranges. No one ever answers anything. Therefore I’m not buying their food which is what I had wanted to buy because it might be cheaper per serving but no way of telling on so many items because of the lack of info. Don’t know if you ever have any contact with them (really don’t want to name them)but I really feel that they need to address these questions. That’s all folks!

  42. Not to sound like a crazy man but we are retired and on a fixed income, my rent keeps going up, my trash collection is up, my taxes are up, heating fuel and tax is up, food is up, medical is way up, cable is outrageous, all utilities are up, my prescriptions are up, DMV fees are up, labor for anything is up. We can’t afford a newer car, we don’t go on vacation gas is expensive and I’m worried about my car. If your young one doesn’t think about it but if your health is not good and you can’t work anymore what can be done? I have a degree and worked and saved for 40 years, possibly didn’t make the best investments. The population of the US is getting older the income gap is worsening, what happened to the American retirement dream? We have downsized to the limit, only heat part of the home, drive a 16 year old GMC truck. Purchase at the discounted stores. It took six months for our budget to recover from a Disney World trip for the grandkids. Should we have denied our kids a chance at a college degree? Chosen to live in a less safe neighborhood, etc, etc 20/20 hindsight.
    Shouldn’t we talk about the elephant in the parler. My parents died with the bank clawing at their small farm. They worked up to the end, died with a mortgage that they had to take out to live.
    Is Government too big?
    What would all the prepper stuff mean when you have a health incident, or are forced into retirement before your pension can be obtained.
    I will not vote for Trump but Hillary is not the answer either.
    Possibly you could have a blog about what we are doing to our aging population.

    1. As someone who lost most of my retirement savings (in IRAs) during the crash of 2008/2009, I feel your pain. I have written about this many times but have held off lately for fear I am beating a dead horse.

      Perhaps it is time to revisit.

      As far as a pension – what pension? I have been self-employed most of life as has been Shelly (my husband). We have been sold a bill of goods relative to the American Dream. I get so tired sometimes but am afraid to stop working.

  43. What could a mix of solar devices do to help you get off grid altogether, if you can’t afford solar panels or a solar powered home altogether?

  44. Thanks for all the great articles! Keep it up. I would like to see prep lists compiled in one place or fewer articles, like backpack-go-grab list, car survival list, purse list, 30-min pack list, 90-min pack list, disaster prep list, etc.
    Also I would love to hear more ideas on hiding valuable or things in the house.
    I also need bean recipes that the average person LIKES! I really don’t like beans, and just can’t seem to get up the guts to start trying to store them. But if your readers could shares some recipes, it’s worth trying, especially for the sake of long term storage/survival.

  45. Looking over what I’ve saved on my Pinterest survival board from this sight, it’s mostly lists that I find useful. Because I’m in earthquake country (LA), I think more about emergency situations, rather than riding out the storm. Keeping things simple, practical, and affordable is what interests me. Portable safety equipment that will fit in my bug out bag and has multiple uses, is what I look for.

  46. I’ve wanted to try out a Goal Zero product, and this sounds like a nice small investment for testing them out. Thanks for the info!

  47. quite the lil “torch” there, and solar is always a good thing…slow to charge, is better than no charge i say. goood luck all….

  48. Another great post and give away, solar is the way to go, my thought would be to have multiple lights like the torch 250, so one can rotate between one to use, one to charge.

  49. Always try to use a slow charge when possible, rather than a quick charge, such as the car charger. The slow charge (trickle charge) gets the most life out of the device, while a rapid charge shortens it. Also, never let it get drawn down to zero, as that will also shorten the device’s battery life.

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