The Best Survival Flashlight to Keep You Safe
Not all flashlights are created equal. Some will just leave you high and dry while others will really come through for you when you need them. The latter are mostly survival flashlights. They are called so because they can make the difference between life and death.
Usually, we don’t need flashlights during the day. The sun is always there to shine the way and enhance the visibility of surroundings. But as soon as it disappears below the horizon, bad things don’t seem so wrong to many. Predators come out to hunt, thieves get the courage to snatch whatever they want, and hoodlums just won’t let you enjoy a little peace and quiet.
Amidst all that madness, you still have to find your way to a safe place. Of course, not all paths are smooth, and without proper vision, you can easily fall and hurt yourself. If someone or something is chasing you, well, that’s a scenario you don’t even want to start imagining.
Luckily for you, you can increase your safety by arming yourself with nothing more than a survival flashlight. Read on and find out more.
There are Countless Reasons to Have a Survival Flashlight
The obvious reason why you need a survival flashlight is that it will offer you light. There are certain scenarios in which that alone can save you from an emergency situation. It could be your car has broken down on the side of the road at night, your lamp is out of charge when you are away camping, or there is a power outage at home. A survival flashlight is a perfect source of illumination in those and many other situations.
Other than that, most survival flashlights come with different light modes, each of which is beneficial in one way or another. For example, blue-filter light is great for reading maps at night, which could come in handy when you are trying to navigate through unfamiliar territory. Red light prevents you from losing your natural night vision while green light will aid you when you are hunting at night.
The flashlight itself can also be a self-defense weapon. Most are constructed with high-grade materials, making them strong enough to hit someone or something. For instance, if someone or an animal happens to attack you and the only tool you have with you is your survival flashlight, you can use its bright light to disorient the attacker before delivering hard blows with the flashlight. If you are trapped somewhere, you can also use it to break glass doors or windows to make an escape. There are even models that come with a strobe function that you can use to signal for help or communicate with members of your excursion party at night.
Those are just the basic uses of a survival flashlight. Depending on the model you choose, you can get more features that will bail you out of a tricky situation. Generally, the more versatile a survival flashlight is, the better. But don’t go for features that you don’t need in an emergency situation (like an incorporated Taser). More often than not, those unnecessary features will compromise the flashlight’s basic functions and even increase its price. Eventually, the whole thing just becomes an unworthy investment because it won’t help you when you need it the most.
When you are buying a survival flashlight, keep in mind the features that it brings to the table. Hop to the next section and learn more about that as we examine the most important aspects of a survival flashlight.
What Should You Consider When Buying a Survival Flashlight?
Flashlight bulbs come in three different options. First, we have incandescent bulbs, which are cheap but extremely inefficient in energy use. Then we have HIDs, which use two electrodes and an ionized gas to create light. Finally, there are LEDs, which contain semiconductor materials used to excite electrons and produce light.
Incandescent bulbs consume more energy than they produce. They are the least durable and will only last for a few hours—up to 3,000 hours when not used a lot. They produce a lot of heat and very little light, which makes them prone to damage. It is generally advisable to stay away from survival flashlights that use incandescent bulbs.
That leaves you with the choice of either HID or LED bulbs. When you compare the two, LEDs edge out HIDs by far. For starters, LEDs are more durable on account of their resistance to shock and vibration. The same cannot be said to the extremely fragile HIDs. When it comes to their lifetimes, LEDs will last for up to 100,000 hours while their HID cousins will only last for an average of 15,000–25,000 hours.
Although an HID bulb will be as bright as advertised when new, the brightness depreciates over time. With an LED bulb, you will get the same level of brightness over its whole lifetime. Additionally, LEDs take a shorter time to illuminate and have better warranty offers compared to HIDs. Really, the only two things that might attract you to an HID bulb is its lower initial cost and the fact that it can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees F (compared to LEDs at -30). But generally, if you have to choose between an LED and HID bulb, always go for LED.
Another major decision to make is whether to go for a survival flashlight that uses rechargeable batteries or one that uses primary batteries. Remember that batteries are the thing that will power your flashlight. The last thing you want is for them to go dry on you at the most critical moment. So how do the two types compare?
First of all, rechargeable batteries are reusable. That means you only recharge them when they run dry. On the other hand, primary batteries are not rechargeable. Once they lose their power, you will have to replace them with new ones.
Rechargeable batteries are always the better option because of their long lifespan and the fact that your only job will be ensuring that you charge them. They are slightly costlier than primary batteries, but that is only because the latter comes with an array of downsides that you might want to avoid; they have a short lifespan of about five years and are prone to leaking. But perhaps the biggest disadvantage of primary batteries is that you never know when they will go dry on you. That means you always have to stack a couple of spare batteries to avoid an unwanted eventuality.
There are various things to keep in mind when it comes to light output, but the primary consideration is lumens. That is a practical and realistic way of choosing your survival flashlight because, ultimately, you want something that can provide you with sufficient light.
- From a general perspective, any flashlight with an illumination less than 150 lumens is not suitable for the outdoors.
- 150–299 lumens is okay if you want something to light up a backyard or campsite. That amount of light can also disorient an attacker if you focus it straight on them.
- But for real survival and tactical purposes, 300–699 lumens will do the job. That is a type of flashlight that can light up a huge area and stop an assailant in their tracks.
- 700+ lumens is the extreme region of illumination. It is typically suitable for rescue parties and military people, but there’s nothing or no one limiting you from owning one.
Here, the main thing that you want to look at is the material used to make the survival flashlight. Materials have a direct impact on durability. So which material should you go for? Here are your options:
- Anodized Aluminum: This material is the most common on account of its light weight. It is generally durable and sturdy, but the level of quality depends on the particular type of anodized aluminum. Type I is a bit weak and not recommended. Type II is the industry standard and makes a good choice. If you happen to land your hands on Type III anodized aluminum, you will have the strongest and most durable flashlight.
- Stainless Steel: This material is extremely strong and durable. The only problem is that it makes the flashlight heavy and bulky.
- Titanium: This material is as strong as stainless steel. However, its light weight gives it an added advantage. The only problem is that you are likely to pay a whole lot more for a titanium-made flashlight than one made of any other material.
- Plastic and Composite Material: These materials are rare, and there’s a good reason for that. They are not durable, so try to avoid them at all costs.
Other than the material used, you should also look at the water resistance rating of your preferred flashlight. While it might not be the most important factor to consider, it does add to the versatility of the flashlight. You will feel safer when you have a survival flashlight that you can use in the rain or even under water. You just never know when you will be forced to walk in the rain or dive into a river or pool at night to rescue someone or something. In that situation, you definitely don’t want your flashlight to die. Here are the common water resistance ratings to choose from depending on your needs:
- IPX4: This flashlight is only splash resistant. It will spoil if you submerge it in any amount of water.
- IPX7: You can submerge this flashlight in water but only up to a meter deep and for a maximum of 30 minutes.
- IPX8: This flashlight is water resistant for up to four hours, and you can submerge it in any amount of water. This should be your preferred choice for a survival flashlight.
Keep in mind that you are shopping for a survival flashlight—basically, something that you can carry around on a daily basis. Of course, its performance is primary, but the key is to find a good balance between power and size. A bigger flashlight will deliver a more severe blow when you are forced to use it as a weapon. But remember that the big size might make it bulky and tiring to walk with, so be sure to choose a survival flashlight that you can handle easily.
Note that your size (particularly hand size) will play a major part in determining the right flashlight size. If you can hold it firmly in a way that an assailant can’t snatch it with ease, then that is the right size for you.
- Your Budget: Generally, good-quality survival flashlights will not bankrupt you. Actually, you shouldn’t pay an arm and a leg to get these. That said, keep in mind that quality is costly, so spare a sufficient amount (at least $50) for a good-quality flashlight.
- Special Light Modes: Some flashlights come with SOS-type lights that will be helpful when you need emergency rescue. Others produce lights of different colors for different situations.
- Accessories: Add-ons are not bad as long as they don’t compromise the basic features of a survival flashlight. But there are some models that come with totally unnecessary accessories. For example, a Taser might be more of a liability than a benefit because, in the heat of a fiery moment, you just might buzz yourself accidentally.
The Best Brands on the Market
As you can see, there are so many features to look out for in a survival flashlight. In case you are feeling a little bit confused about what to settle for, we have a solution right here. We have compiled a list of four of the best survival flashlights from which you can choose one or more. Feel free to buy all four; each one is perfect for a particular situation.
1. Nitecore MH1C
Best For: Daily Use
This survival flashlight is a favorite for many on account of its small size and outstanding features. At a mere 2.4 ounces, you can practically walk with it in your pocket or purse every day without feeling the weight. But the small size should not fool you. It packs a whole array of impressive features, including 500 lumens of light. That is enough to light up a huge area or blind an attacker temporarily as you react appropriately. Its military-grade body is strong enough to withstand all types of rugged use. And while it might not be able to deliver a good whipping to an attacker, it will definitely come in handy when you need to break glass.
2. Olight M22 Warrior
Best For: Tactical Needs
This survival flashlight is hailed as one of the best tactical flashlights on the market today. Its 950 lumens can throw a beam of light up to 3,333 yards away. If you are not using it to blind an assailant, then you might need it to light up the way or an area. Additionally, it comes with various brightness settings, so you can choose the one you need. Despite those light options, this flashlight’s battery can last up to 50,000 hours. The good thing is that it uses a wide variety of rechargeable batteries, including lithium-ion and Ni-MH, so keeping it powered should not be a problem.
3. Sunwayman V11R
Best For: Complimenting Other Light Sources
This survival flashlight might not be the best when used as a primary source of light, but it will come in handy when your light goes out. If you are going camping or on any excursion, you should definitely throw this in your backpack just in case your lamp goes out. Why does it make a great backup? For starters, its brightness diminishes as you use it, which means you can’t rely on it as a primary source of light for a long period. Despite that, it is well constructed and features aerospace-grade aluminum for durability. It is waterproof and shockproof, so you shouldn’t worry about damage regardless of where you are going.
4. Fenix PD35
Best For: Emergencies
The beam from this 1000-lumen flashlight can reach up to 656 feet. That makes it the best for sending SOS signals whenever you need emergency help or rescue. Additionally, it comes with six light modes from which you can choose the most suitable for a particular situation. Switching from one mode to another is as easy as pressing a button. Despite its amazing capabilities, it only measures 5.5 inches, making it very portable. The stainless steel body should guarantee you strength and durability. Add that to its ability to withstand submersion as deep as 12 feet, and your mind will be at peace whenever you have this survival flashlight.
In summary, choosing the right survival flashlight is not an easy task. But with this guide the bulk of the work should be cut out for you. Remember to settle for a product that will actually help you in a life or death situation. Don’t make an investment that will not pay off – one that will leave you stuck in danger with no lighting. If you are finding it too hard to choose one model then by all means go with one or more of the four that we have above.