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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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!
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Below you will find 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.
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.
103 Responses to “Review: Emergency Solar Lighting With a Goal Zero Torch 250”
Anything works for me…
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!
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.
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.
2 or 3 of these lights would be great so a fully charged one is always available.
I’d love to have a light like this in my car!
I would love to try this out!
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?
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.
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.
would be a great item for our cabin which has NO electricity to it