A SHTF event will be disorienting and confusing enough as it is. The last thing you and your family want to deal with is not having a simple thing like batteries on hand to provide needed light, temporary power for your radio, and other battery-powered devices and small appliances.
If you’ve installed a solar power or wind power system, proper battery storage can become critical to your ability to survive long-term.
Proper Battery Storage Conditions
Energizer and Duracell agree that batteries should be stored at normal room temperature (between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit) in an environment with moderate humidity level (35-65% RH).
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessary to store batteries in the fridge or freezer.
1. Faraday Cages
Although you can store your batteries in a faraday cage without negatively impacting their shelf life, you do not have to do it. Batteries have a chemical make-up rather than an electronic one. They won’t be susceptible to the impact of an EMP. But in the interest of having everything in one place when SHTF, you certainly could store some batteries in your faraday cage if you wish.
2. Black Out Boxes or Black Out Kit (BOK)
A black out box or black out kit (BOK) is a good kit to start out if you’re new to prepping and want to be prepared for widespread power outages. This is the perfect place to store batteries for SHTF too. It’s one thing to have the power go out in your home, that can be inconvenient, to say the least.
Most people know their way around their home well enough to fumble around in the dim light to get what they need or flip a breaker. Light coming in from a street lamp or a neighbor’s flood light may help somewhat so you get to the generator in the garage or the breaker in the basement without much risk of tripping and injuring yourself.
But if you’ve ever experienced a widespread blackout, one that impacts your entire neighborhood, all or part of a city, or even an entire state, you know it is a totally different animal. A widespread power outage can mean pitch blackness everywhere for as much as 10-12 hours depending on when the sun rises.
Your black out kit stays accessible, something you can get to when the lights go out. it’s your go-to kit when the power dies unexpectedly. Its purpose is to provide you with what you need to keep your family members calm and comforted and to then take steps to keep your family safe.
3. Underground caches
One popular strategy that preppers use during bug out planning is underground caches. Caches are airtight and typically watertight containers. Their purpose is to hold critical supplies, food, and other gear that might need replenished during a bug out trip or even an extended SHTF event.
If you plan to store batteries there, test containers to ensure no moisture can get inside. You’ll also want to ensure the negative and positive terminals of the batteries can’t touch other batteries or metal items in the cache.
4. Ziploc bags
You can store household batteries in small containers or even a zip lock bag. It’s best if batteries are stored so positive/negative terminals cannot touch to prevent problems.
There have been reports of batteries, especially the 9-volt type, producing smoke and even fire when they come into contact in the right position with other 9-volt batteries, coins, keys, or other loose metal items in your pocket, a drawer, or cache.
If you store loose batteries together or in a container with other items, it helps to tape the ends to prevent accidental contact.
5. EDC Kits
It doesn’t hurt to include a couple spare batteries of the type you use most often as part of your EDC kit. As mentioned, be sure to store so they can’t accidentally contact each other or metal items.
6. GHB (Get Home Bag)
The GHB is designed to carry the supplies and other items that will come in handy if you are stuck in a SHTF event away from your home. The purpose is to get you from wherever you are to your home where your bug out bag (BOB) is stored. Your GHB is a great place to store extra batteries, for your flashlight, cell phone, etc.
7. BOB (Bug Out Bag)
Every good prepper knows that a bug out bag (BOB), sometimes referred to as the get out of dodge (GOOD) bag, is a must have even for those who plan to bug in. Make sure to add some properly stored batteries to your BOB as a backup to what you have in your EDC and GHB.
8. INCH bag (I’m Never Coming Home)
The mother of all prepping bags and kits is the INCH bag. If you subscribe to the two is one and one is none prepper philosophy, then store batteries for SHTF in your INCH bag too.
9. In your Car or Truck
Ideally, you should have a whole list of survival items in there, with batteries stored in waterproof Ziploc bags being at the top of the list.
Battery Storage Tips
- Lithium cylindrical batteries have the longest average shelf life when properly stored. You can expect a shelf life of as much as 10 to 15 years. Cylindrical alkaline batteries can be stored 5 to 10 years whereas carbon zinc batteries only have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years.
- Any storage area that is subjected to elevated temperatures (above 78 degrees Fahrenheit) for an extended period can negatively impact battery shelf life.
- Larger batteries housed in a hard-plastic shell, can be stored on concrete, older batteries (no shell) cannot without risking the moisture draining them.
- Shelf life will be reduced if the battery is allowed to significantly drop in voltage, a battery maintainer can monitor this.
- Some companies sell, and ship batteries vacuum packed with electrolyte in a can for longer shelf life.
Although many people believe that storing batteries in the fridge or freezer prolongs shelf-life, there isn’t a significant advantage to this. For best results, store batteries in a cool, dry place that isn’t exposed to hot or cold temperature fluctuations.