In today’s world of emerging cyberattacks, global animosity and increasing natural disasters due to climate change, long-term emergencies are a very real possibility. In the event of one such emergency, an effective, reliable and rechargeable emergency light is a necessity. The new Streamlight BearTrap work light meets all of the conditions of an emergency light.

Emergency Light Qualifications

A light for long-term use during a disaster or power outage should first and foremost be powered by rechargeable lithium batteries. Lithium provides the highest power output and longest battery life. The lighting system must also be AC and DC rechargeable, giving users the option to recharge the light with a vehicle. Having a whole-house gas-powered generator may not be enough if a disaster or attack takes down the electrical grid as well as natural gas distribution.

A proper emergency light should have the stability to rest on flat surfaces, and the ability to be hung up is even better. Finally, these disaster tools should be able to evenly illuminate a large interior room or basement.

About the Streamlight BearTrap

The name BearTrap comes from the spring-loaded design that allows the light to clamp its base onto various surfaces for elevated illumination work. The emergency light can be clamped in place and has three powerful recessed magnets on its base to hold it to things like automobile hoods. If the clamp or magnets aren’t sufficient for positioning the BearTrap, there is a folding wire carry handle that allows it to be hung on a nail, hook or peg.

The BearTrap’s rectangular lighting module measures 6 ¼ inches by 3 ¾ inches and rotates 270 degrees within the frame. The rotating ability allows the light’s illumination to be focused on the most-needed area.

The light module is unique in that it actually contains two side-by-side lamps. There is a circular spotlight with a more focused, narrow beam and a rectangular flood lamp with 28 elements for area illumination. The spotlight mode would be most useful for automobile or equipment repair when concentrated lighting is needed. And the flood setting is most useful for a wider area or outdoor illumination.

Operating the BearTrap Emergency Work Light

There is one opaque central control switch located above the lamp module. The switch glows either green, yellow, red or blinking red. Blinking red means that immediate charging is needed. Push the main switch once to turn the BearTrap on. Pushing the switch on and holding it in for two seconds switches the lamps between spot and flood. To switch between output levels, turn the light on and then, within two seconds, press the switch again. The spot and flood lamps have different power outputs and run times, listed below:

Spotlight output in lumens (Run time) 325 (12 hours, 30 minutes) 450 (8 hours 45 minutes) 1,000 (4 hours 30 minutes)
Flood output in lumens (Run time) 575 (8 hours 45 minutes) 1,000 (5 hours) 2,000 (2 hours 30 minutes)


As you can see, judicious use of the BearClaw can give you a very long run time in an emergency. An optional DC charger is available to supplement with 12v DC charging capability.

The BearTrap in Action

The compact folded size of the BearTrap — 7.62 x 6.5 x 3.12 inches — allows the emergency light to provide ample illumination without taking up a lot of space. It weighs 2 pounds, 3 ounces, making carrying easy — an important consideration if stored in a bug-out bag.

The emergency light very evenly distributes illumination as a floodlight. Even at the “low” 575-lumen setting, it lights up my entire front yard. When bumped up to 2,000 lumens the area is easily viewed down to the finest detail, making it useful for outdoor gatherings, camping and late-night summer yard games as well. The narrower spotlight beam illuminates a more limited area, out to 174 meters.

Inside is where the BearTrap really shines (pun intended). Unlike a circular lantern, the BearTrap projects light in only one direction. At the 575-lumen flood setting, the entire living room was entirely illuminated to a level by which it was easy to read. And the 2,000-lumen setting is unlikely to be needed for long while indoors.

Streamlight really hit this one out of the park. It is one of the easiest to use and most useful utility lights I’ve ever tested. I found it available online for a wide range of prices, from $145 to $254, no doubt because it is a brand-new product.