Testing the Bell & Howell “TacLight” This light is very affordable and holds a special place in my heart. I used this light professionally for about 6 months. There were definitely issues with it but I thought it a pretty functional and useful light for the money. If you are a true lumen addict you …
Make no mistake about it: flashlight technology has improved leaps and bounds in these past few years, with the availability of powerful lithium-ion batteries, small circuits, and LED bulbs that last tens of thousands of hours and produce ridiculous amounts of bright white light, all while sipping juice from the power supply. Halogen and krypton incandescent bulbs, while still absolutely functional, have fallen by the wayside: they just don’t perform as well or last as long as modern LED bulbs.
By Drew, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog
However, some older flashlight designs are timeless and soldier on. For the purposes of this article, we’re looking squarely at the stalwart Mini Maglite, a tough, reliable little aluminum beast of a flashlight. At just 5 ¾” long and normally powered by a tiny incandescent bulb and a pair of AA batteries, you can still find these wonderfully rugged flashlights new in most hardware stores and Wal-Marts, soldiering on without any upgrades – the Mini Maglite you purchase at the store today is the exact same design you would have bought 20 years ago. Maglite has since upgraded the design with a modern LED bulb that has obvious benefits, but they cost almost four times as much as the krypton-running Mini-Maglite: at my most recent visit to a Target store, the incandescent Mini-Maglite (with two new AA Energizers and the nylon open topped belt holster we all know and love) was $7.98. The new Mini-Maglite PRO, with a modern 226 lumen output LED illumination system, ran $26.99.
Check Out: Surefire Flashlights
However, I don’t know any outdoorsman worth his salt who doesn’t have at least one or two of the original Mini Maglites kicking around in a glove compartment, tacklebox, or the junk drawer of the kitchen – the flashlights might even still have the spare bulb in the tailcap if they’re lucky. Personally, I have four of them kicking around the house, mostly with the batteries long gone to power remote controls or a kid’s toys. My veteran Mini Maglites have kind of fallen to secondary use after the adoption of more modern flashlights – I now usually carry a Streamlight Microstream with me everywhere I go instead of the older Maglites. But my tackleboxes still have Mini Maglites rolling around the bottom (they’re wonderfully waterproof) with a couple spare batteries, and my wife’s car has one in the center console. These Mini-Maglites are all old friends that I’ve had and used forever – and I was delighted to find out I could upgrade them.
Betterment by Nite Ize
Nite Ize, a company that hails from Boulder, Colorado, pays its bills by producing a wide array of products, ranging from magnetic dashboard cell phone holders to full-blown LED flashlights and glowsticks. Via some online surfing, I stumbled across Nite Ize and their Mini Maglite LED combo upgrade kit. Being the flashlight lover I am, I immediately geeked out over the prospect of pulling my beloved old Mini Maglites back into the daily use herd.
I searched on Amazon for the kits, and lo and behold, they were available, for dirt cheap. $7.57 per kit, to be exact. I figured for the price, I’d still be OK if I ordered one and found out they were less than stellar. I ordered a couple (my father wanted to try one out as well), and the pair of kits arrived on my doorstep a couple days later.
Initial impressions were pretty good; the packaging was nice, and the pictorial instructions were printed on a miniscule piece of orange paper. Included in the packaging were three items: a new LED lamp with two prongs on the back, a new revised reflector, and a push-button tailcap, made from plastic and machined anodized aluminum.
What The Nite Ize LED Upgrade Offers
The Nite Ize LED Combo upgrade offers a few benefits over the original dual AA-powered Mini Maglite. Per the company’s website, the original incandescent bulb Mini Maglite offered a low-but-still-useful 14 lumens of yellow-tinted light. Run time with fresh batteries is about 5 hours. The only method of turning the flashlight on and off was to unscrew the head bezel slightly to activate the light; the beam could then be focused to the desired intensity – from flood to spotlight.
The Nite Ize LED Combo kit boosts the light output to a comparatively impressive 30 lumens – over double the output – and boosts battery life to 25 hours from the same pair of AA batteries. The white light beam can still be focused – a nice feature – and the flashlight can be activated one-handed via the thumb-activated tailcap switch.
An important note to consider: installation of this Nite Ize product WILL void the limited lifetime warranty offered by Maglite.
Upgrading the Mini Maglite: How It’s Done DIY
After a quick perusal of the brief smiley-face emblazoned instructions (also available online here), I attacked my old Mini Maglite. The Mini Maglite is a very simple flashlight; very few parts and all very straightforward to work with…I’ve made repairs on them in the past and had them completely apart; so rest assured – the upgrade is quite easy. First, I unscrewed the original tailcap (the back end, where the batteries are installed) and set it aside. You’ll want to hang onto the original tailcap; you’ll see why later. I replaced the original part with the new Nite Ize unit that sports a button switch: it’s a simple screw-in replacement. Easy enough. Next, I removed the front bezel (the end the light comes out) by unscrewing counterclockwise completely off the flashlight body. This exposes, at the front of the flashlight body, the tiny krypton bulb that comes standard in Mini Maglites. I grasped the bulb with my fingers, and pulled it forward, straight out of the two tiny holes it lives in.
The new Nite Ize LED bulb has the similar two small contact wires like the krypton bulb; however, it also has a small black plastic disc that it lives on. This disc, which has the Nite Ize logo printed on it, along with “LRB2 3.0v AA LED” contains the circuitry needed to convert the power supplied from the batteries into retina-scorching white light. To install the LED bulb, carefully line the contact wires up with the holes you took the original incandescent bulb out of, and gently push the LED bulb into the barrel of the flashlight. It should sit all the way down; if the batteries are installed, it may have a tiny bit of “bounce” since the batteries it contacts ride on a spring in the tailcap.
Once the bulb is installed, you can move to changing out the third piece of the puzzle: the reflector. The reflector is a small, brightly polished or coated piece of plastic that focuses the light of the flashlight into a beam. The reflector lives under a face cap at the outside (all the way forward) edge of the bezel. Muckle onto the front face cap with one hand, while holding onto the tapering back half of the bezel with the other. Unscrew the front face cap off the back end of the removed bezel. It should come right off (be careful not to lose the clear polycarbonate outer lens!), and you will be able to pop the original reflector out, and install the new Nite Ize unit right in its place. Screw the lens cap back onto the bezel, then re-install the bezel head unit onto the body of the flashlight. You’re (likely) done – it’s maybe a three-minute process if you’ve ever had a Mini-Maglite apart before.
Okay, so you converted your old Mini-Maglite to this newfangled Nite Ize LED bulb setup and it doesn’t work. What now? Well, before you assume that it’s junk and broken and go kicking and screaming to Nite-Ize, there are a couple things you can try. First, and most obvious – put fresh batteries in the damn thing. Still not working? Okay, onwards to diagnostics!
First off, just like the original bulb, the bezel assembly needs to be unscrewed somewhat to actually activate the flashlight – just like every other AA Maglite. Give that a whirl. With the bezel at a position where the light would normally be on, try hitting the tailcap switch again. The unit should turn on.
If not, try removing the bezel assembly and checking the bulb installation. The LED bulb needs to have the two little contact wires installed in the proper holes; it does not work if it’s in backwards. Remove the bulb, spin it 180 degrees, and re-install the bulb and bezel. This should cure what ails your little flashlight – I had the same issue with one of my installs. You have a 50/50 shot – it’s a pretty good chance it’s backwards.
If your light STILL doesn’t work, try removing the tailcap switch and replacing it with the original Mini-Maglite fixed tailcap. Delightfully, the Nite Ize conversion is compatible with the original tailcap, meaning that you’re not required to use the push-button tailcap. If you have the original tailcap on, fresh batteries in the unit, and you’ve tried the bulb both ways, the culprit is quite likely the tailcap switch – if the old cap makes the flashlight work, you’ve got it narrowed down. This situation occurred with one of my kits. I emailed Nite Ize customer service, explained the situation and what I’d done to narrow down the possibilities, and a couple days later I had a new one in the mail that worked beautifully, no hassle or BS.
Wrapping It Up
All in all, this is a really great upgrade for your aging (or new) incandescent bulb AA Mini Maglite collection. The improvement is more than worth the few dollars you’ll spend on the combo kit; and the kit will save itself in battery expenditure along in short order. I like that the kit retains the focus capability of the beam and removes some “dead” spots that the incandescent bulb configurations was famous for – but it does not completely remove the spots. The upgrade also retains the water resistance and shock impact ratings, which was always a selling point to me – the Mini Maglite is a rugged little flashlight for sure.
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The ability to “tailstand” – unscrewing the lens bezel completely, placing it lens-down on a flat surface, and inserting the operating flashlight tail-end into the back of the bezel like a candle – is also retained with this Nite Ize LED Combo kit. This has always been one of my favorite features of the Mini Maglite; you can use the flashlight to illuminate a whole area like a lantern, as opposed to just a directed beam. This feature is a Godsend when the power goes out and you don’t have candles – you can illuminate a room to play board games, read a book, etc. It’s a great capability to have, and makes the lights worth their weight in gold once the power grid is down.
The one thing I don’t like about this kit – the loss of the lanyard loop when you replace the original tailcap with the push-button switch – can be negated simply by replacing the original end cap; so don’t throw out the original parts! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost lost my flashlight while nighttime fishing on railroad trestles – the simple addition of a leather cord lanyard through the tailcap hole has saved my bacon more than once, so you can bet your behind I’ll be changing out the push button tailcap on most of my outdoor adventures. The choice and ability to function in either configuration sure is great, though.
If you’re starting from scratch and are looking for a quality, tough-as-hell LED flashlight for under or around $20 (if you buy those cheapo gas station register multi-LED lights you’re asking for trouble), a great way to go would be to buy a regular AA Mini-Maglite at your local Wal-Mart or on Amazon, then purchase one of these Nite Ize kits.
For those possessing the bigger “C” and “D” cell full-sized Maglites, Nite Ize makes upgrade LED bulbs for those lights as well.
The brighter, white LED beam is much more useful than the order yellow incandescent beam, and this kit delivers the goods for a very small hit on the wallet. It’s a great upgrade to combat the unplanned obsolescence of a truly great, functional flashlight design. The company’s customer service is outstanding as well, and was a true delight to deal with. This upgrade to my old beloved Mini Maglites was worth every penny, and I’ll be buying more to upgrade the rest of the Maglite fleet. I can’t give you a better testimonial than that.
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Power Needs When You Need It Bob Hawkins “The APN Report“ Audio in player below! April Showers bring May Flowers, as well as Thunderstorms. We had a doozy sweep by this week, which put a hurting’ on the local power grid. There were power outages in parts of the county which give inspiration for this … Continue reading Power Needs When You Need It
EDC Survival Flashlight Buyers Guide 2017 Owning a great EDC survival flashlight is not about a fear of the dark. A powerful flashlight is about insight. The better insight you have on a situation the safer and better off you will be. I have used quality flashlights professionally and personally for years. There is no …
Since smartphones are often considered almost as important as knives, guns, and flashlights as part of a personal EDC, it’s time to consider other technologies beyond the usual stuff. Surefire is always full of bright surprises just as they are loaded with cutting edge technology to serve our lighting needs whether reading a map or clearing a cave.
Surefire is well known as the maker of some of the world’s best flashlights, but recently they have let some of their lighting magic seep into the world of smartphones. With Surefire’s new “FirePak Smartphone Video Illuminator + Charger” lighting system, you can carry a blinding light, a cell phone charger, and a lower lumen general lighting solution. By blasting up to 1500 lumens of light onto a questionable subject. That’s like flicking on a 100 watt light bulb in their face!
Sunburn in a Can
The Surefire FirePak was designed for the “millennial” smartphone user so their videos and selfies can continue its madness into the deep night. The lightly rectangular block named the “FirePak” contains a large rechargeable battery, two USB ports (one for charging itself, one for charging other devices), a sliding multi-position switch, a battery indicator light, and most of all two forward-facing LED lights. What’s unusual about the pair of LED lights is they have asymmetrical 10mm reflectors. with one offset in one direction and the other offset 180 degrees. This combination of lights produces full-frame illumination specifically designed for a smartphone’s 16:9 HD aspect ratio. In other words, the FirePak lights up a rough rectangle that is proportioned to what the cell phone camera sees. No wasted light, no dark spots or vignetting. So blasting bad guys or questionable scenes is a simple job for the FirePak.
A side advantage of the FirePak is found when it is actually used for making cell phone videos. Slo-mo can take advantage of the clean flicker-free lighting that is modulated so it does not interfere with the shutter speed of a digital camera or cell phone camera.
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The Surefire FirePak has a six position switch, off—on (but no-light)—low—med low—med high—high. When on but no-light, the light output can be controlled by the App up to 10 meters away (which has it’s own set of advantages).
The runtime for the FirePak on high output is about five hours. You might get about one and a half complete iPhone 7 recharges if the FirePak’s battery is used only for that purpose. And running on the lowest light output of 100 lumens, the FirePak should give about 10 hours of useful light off a full starting charge. Obviously there are many combinations of the above, but you can always head off to school with a full charge if you plug the FirePak into a wall outlet or computer overnight. And you can even charge the Firepak with a traditional external recharging cell phone battery such as any of those so popular today.
Photons don’t lie
The Surefire FirePak produces a bright stream of light that can easily reach out 20 yards or more when needed, or shine a spotlight on a local scene making closer subject stand out from the background. Light output is affected by the inverse square law meaning that the light’s intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. Double the distance between the light and subject and you have one fourth the quantity of photons of light falling on the subject. So brightness is relative. It takes a substantial amount more lumens of light to significantly change the scene brightness. The scale of lumens from 100-1500 of the FirePak is about four doublings of lumens. That’s a pretty good range from reading a book to putting a pretty big dent in the darkness around a campsite.
Related: Surefire Defender Flashlights
The FirePak is designed to be mounted to the smartphone using a slide-on docking attachment system that begins with a custom Surefire phone case. The dual-rail yoke on the back of the FirePak slides into a pair of slots on the back of the svelte phone case Surefire makes. It’s mostly held in place by friction, but there is a mild stopping block that locks the sliding. But overcoming the block and following friction to separate the two is done by just sliding them apart.
Get the App
The Surefire FirePak has an accompanying App called the Surefire FIrePak Illuminator that can be downloaded onto your phone. The App can talk to the FirePak via Bluetooth allowing some on-screen light control and customization. Additional features of the App include grid overlays for photo composition, tools for white balance, a self-timer, output levels, exposure brightness (ISO), and Bluetooth controls including battery percentage. But consider this option: you can place the FirePak about 30 feet from the phone and control its light output from off to 100 lumens to 1500 lumens. And because the connection is Bluetooth, you can do this kind of remote lighting anywhere in the world.
For example, you are camping your bugout location. Before dark, you place your FirePak in to the side of your camp about 10 yards from your tent or bivy sacks. In the middle of the night, you hear a noise. Not a forest noise, but a predator noise. The two-legged kind. In the dark of your sleeping bag, you open the Surefire FirePak App and fire up your FirePak. Suddenly it’s daylight in your camp and even if the disoriented and now frightened intruder attacked the source of the light, you would be safely off to the side ready to take action. A more domestic use would be to run roughly the same scenario in your house. Night. Intruder. Blazing light anywhere. You, the hero.
Being prepared means taking advantage of every advantage. The Surefire FirePak makes for a seriously new tangent in portable lighting. And I’m sure there are many more advantages that have yet to be problems. Surefire has proven itself over and over, so while the FirePak is only a relative of the flashlight, the light it spills is all the same. Just more of it.
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When I run out the door at night, I alway grab a light. Whether to a store, a walk around the block, or out for the evening, an electric torch rides in my left pocket, a knife always in my right. And both are always of the highest quality. Two torches that have the most pocket time are a pair of Surefires, one the dual cell E2D, and the single cell E1D. Both lights are the latest generation but I carried earlier generations earlier. There are many similarities between the lights, both good and bad, but there are some significant differences as well.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author of Survival Cache and SHTFBlog
The things these two lights have in common beyond their maker include extreme brightness, two light intensity levels, tail click switches, crenelated bezels, dual-direction pocket clips, CR123 lithium batteries, aircraft aluminium, glass lenses, LED technology, O-ring sealed housings, and astronomically high MSRPs. The differences include the number of CR123 cells used, the sharpness of the bezel crenelations, the size of the pocket clip, the runtimes (close, however), the max brightness, the weight, and of course the length (but not by as much as you would think).
One For The Road
The single battery E1D is still a handful at four-and-a-quarter inches long, or more than three times the length of a CR123 battery. The E1D has a twin brother with deliberately subdued features to slide in and out of pockets without snagging. It is called the Surefire EB1 Backup.
The E1D’s 300 lumen output is more than enough for big tasks, but the true measure of a survival light is how low it can go and five lumens is an excellent choice. Carrying the light in a pants pocket is noticeable. Not because of the weight but because the bezel shares the same diameter as a quarter. The type of tail-cap switch is an option on the E1D. I chose the traditional two-click with shroud, however even with the shroud the light is still unstable when standing on its tail. But then again, it was never designed for such uses. While the shroud does protect from unintentional lighting, there is still ample room to deploy the switch with almost any bump or corner that is smaller than the shroud. The harsh form of the E1D easily slides in and out of clothing with very little chance of snagging. Four potential lanyard holes cover the tail switch shroud, and the pocket clip prefers a lens-down deep carry.
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The E1D weighs about three ounces with battery which doesn’t add much swing weight to the fight, but if the flashlight weighed much more, you wouldn’t carry it. So light is good for a light.
Make Mine A Double
The E2D Ultra Defender is a full 123 battery longer than the E1D and just under two times brighter at 500 lumens compared to 300. The bodies of both Defenders are textured with a rougher but still comfortable gripping surface. Much better than most other lights that offer little more than a teflon-slick surface that is dangerous under the best of conditions. At 5.6 inches long, the Surefire E2D fits wonderfully in the hand with both primary and secondary striking surfaces peaking out from your fist. The shape of the light housing fits great in the hand with increased diameters at both ends keeping it centered. At a hair over an inch thick at its widest diameter, the E2D is strongly grippable by even small hands.
One of the defensive aspects of these lights include their ability to behave as a club, and a sharp one at that. It’s a mild force multiplier at best, but a multiplier it is with six sharp scalloped crenelations ready to dig into flesh. Although the smooth surface won’t likely capture much skin DNA, the blood that will be drawn can certainly provide evidence should it be needed.
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The E2D should provide a little over two hours of maximum lighting beginning at 500 lumens and tapering down over time. Or, with a second button click, it will give you almost three solid days of five lumens of output. Of course all runtimes assume starting the burn with fresh quality batteries. The Surefire E2D with two onboard Surefire batteries weighs only 4.2 ounces.
Photons from a Phirehose
Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of massive amounts of lumens. Nothing is a cool as lighting up the side of a mountain with something that easily fits into your pocket. Or illuminating the trail at night out a few hundred yards. But turning on a 500 lumen light in a dark place is like a flashbang going off without the noise. Anything within five feet of the light is too bright to look at, and if you were hoping to read a map or find your keys, good luck. Most indoor lighting chores are close up and require no more than a dozen lumens, often much less than that. Surefire offers a five lumen low gear which is plenty for personal tasks and affords enough light to walk briskly over uneven terrain. But don’t take off running with five lumens or you will quickly outrun your stopping distance.
Firing off hundreds of lumens might sound like a good idea, but the contrast difference between a fully illuminated surface, areas within the light’s spill, and those regions still in shadows is so great that your eye cannot adjust fast enough to see anything but a brilliant dot surrounded by utter blackness. About the only way to use a 500 lumen light inside a car is to cover the lens with your fingers allowing only a few photons to sneak out. But that won’t work well or for long. With each movement, the light intensity changes, usually towards the too much light side, and the horsepower of such lights generates enough hot aluminium to burn your hands. Finally, if your other hand is busy, you cannot turn the light off without opening the floodgate for a few seconds. Although your car’s interior won’t quite be visible to the astronauts on the International Space Station, it will show up from miles away.
This Ain’t Burger King
Many high-end flashlights have a user interface that allows more than one choice of brightness level along with a few other outputs including strobe, SOS signal, and moonlight level. But with half a dozen brightness choices comes complexity and unpredictableness. The idea for many choices is a good one…on paper. But in real life, the multitude of choices in a defensive light can be worse than an empty mag or unfamiliar safety. In the case of the Surefires, the two choices, all or just a little, are plenty. And “all” must always be the first option when pushing the switch.
So in a nutshell, the Surefire Defender Flashlights are excellent at providing blinding light, long low-level runtime, and a sharp circle of crenelations to add some spice if things go all hand-to-hand on you.
Having carried and extensively used Surefire flashlights for decades, and the E2D series for years, I am confident that it is one of the very best choices. It is at the top of my Bug Out list, and I travel with it without hesitation. My only concern with the Surefire Defender Flashlight is that some uber-efficient TSA agent will consider it a banned item and keep it for himself. To avoid this violation of my constitutional rights, I often wrap a ring of electricians tape around the business-end neutering the look of the bezel’s crenelations. I’ve also been known to black out the name of items like this with tape in order to prevent easy identification by thieves, and to keep the security-curious from wondering why a flashlight is called a “Defender”.
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Many folks these days are not interested in single-function devices whether a watch that just tells time, a phone that just makes calls, or a flashlight that just, well, flashes light. So enter Celestron, a company known for telescopes and innovation. Celestron is now exploring the market of creative tools that improve your chances of survival. Or at least make the situation more convenient and comfortable.
The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a newer offering that combines a 300 lumen rechargeable flashlight with a pair of 5000 milliamp-hour (totaling 10,000 mAh) USB outputs of external backup power for phones, tablets, and cameras, combined with an electric hand warmer that pumps out enough micro-BTUs to take the edge off cold fingers when it matters most.
A Pound of Light
This set of valuable features does come at a cost. Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 weighs in at 17 ounces (486 grams). That’s a handful, about the same as a fully loaded Glock 42. But given that there is a pair of USB outputs (a one amp and a two amp) this light is more than meets the eye.
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The input jack to charge up this beast requires a standard mini-USB port, not the ubiquitous micro-USB that powers almost all non-Apple cell phones and other portable electronic devices on earth. I’m not sure what’s behind the continued use of the mini-USB since I don’t see any real advantages over the micro-USB that is the global industry standard for cell phones, and properly known as the Common External Power Supply or Common EPS.
The operation of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, or its smaller brother, the Thermotorch 5, is pretty simple but must be memorized. The single large button on the upper side toggles through the low-medium-high flashlight settings. If depressed and held for three seconds, the hand warming capabilities are initiated. Another three seconds of constant button-down and the feature is turned off. It does take minutes before you will notice much of a temperature change in the flashlight’s shaft, and five minutes later you will be enjoying this feature.
Celestron calculates that you can charge your iPhone four times, your iPad once, and GoPro or music player about seven times. The dual 10000mAh (combined) battery power can also be routed to 48 hours of 60 lumen light (low), 30 hours of 100 lumen light (medium), and eight hours of 300 lumen light (high). However, to the human eye, there is not a dramatic difference between 100 and 300 lumens, and between 100 and 60 lumens. So for most use, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 will be used at it’s highest or lowest flashlight setting. As a big fan of Surefire’s decision of a five lumen minimum, I think that amount is a useful low end cutoff when you really do need low light or a wildly long runtime.
An added feature under the tailcap of the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is a four-LED battery level indicator that shows how much juice is left, or how far along the recharging is progressing. The LED indicator is activated with a push of the flashlight button and they stay lit for about 10 seconds.
Baby It’s Cold Outside
The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can also give you up to 10 hours of hand warmer heat between 103-114 degrees F. Or, if doing a little cold weather nighttime E&E, you can get about six hours of 60 lumen light while the handwarmer is chugging away. The handwarmer feature is a welcome addition to cold night use with bare hands. But I found that if it’s cold enough to need a hand warmer, it’s cold enough to use gloves. However, the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can warm up other things besides hands including batteries, electronics, and gloves and mittens. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does not blast out heat but it does take the sting out of your cold hands. Right now it’s about 2 degrees above zero F outside, and I suspect that using the handwarmer might actually improve internal battery life, or at least maintain it at a higher output. Just a guess, but why not test it?
Pushing the Limits
Setting the flashlight outside, I let it cool off to about 8 degrees F as measured by my infrared noncontact temperature sensor. I plugged in my USB tester that measures voltage. When cold, the USB voltmeter recorded about 4.90 volts. After 20 minutes of the handwarmer function turned on with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 sitting in the almost-zero outdoors, it warmed itself up to about 60 degrees F. The USB voltage output was measured at a maximum of 5.02 volts. I learned three things. First, the handwarmer function will not work at the same time as the USB charging ports. Second, the ambient temperature plays a big role in how warm the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get. And third, the heavy aluminum Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 can get dangerously cold to the touch and requires either gloves or use of the hand warmer for any sustained bare hand holding. Smaller lights like the Surefire are also cold when left outside, but have a much lower overall density and thus smaller heat capacity allowing their smaller profile to warm up in the hand much faster. The Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 is like holding a billet of aluminium which in a defensive situation could be a good thing. In fact it is reminiscent of the 2-D Maglite flashlight/club/boat anchor.
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I don’t see backpacking with the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10. But not because of it’s weight or size. But because I like to travel in the wilds with a supply of batteries. Unless I also carried a solar panel charger with mini-USB cable and some sunny weather, I would get one use from the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10, although that is really three uses in one.
Where the Celestron Elements Thermotorch 10 does shine is car travel, off roading, and base camping. Having a rock-solid light/charger/hand warmer is a good thing if you don’t have to carry it far even though it does ship with a nice belt holster with velcro closure. Considering the Celestron’s long-life light and external battery pack, this flashlight will always be on my shortlist of electronics when heading out on a domestic adventure or for camping near my truck.
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I was updating my bug out bag this weekend. I like to do this in winter every year since there are times we can be iced in. I had the toughest time picking which flashlight I wanted to put into my bug out bag this year though! There are so many great flashlights to pick […]
Olight H1 Nova And Olight PL-1 II VALKYRIE First Thoughts
Both lights take a single CR123 Battery. Good for standardizing your lights.
Today is not a full review of either. I have much more testing to do. I don’t like to pencil whip reviews out.
The H1 Nova
The H1 Nova is a headlamp and pocket light all in one. They took the inspiration from the much-loved Olight S10 baton.
This headlamp can be removed from the headband and the pocket clip attached. While I love headlamps in my systems The versatility makes this even better.
Oh did I mention that the H1 Nova has 500 lumens? I remember my first headlamp had a whopping 60 lumens and I thought I was carrying a collapsed sun on my head.
PL-1 II VALKYRIE
PL-1 II VALKYRIE is a powerful weapons light. It is designed to work with both MIL-STD-1913 and Glock sized rails.
This weapons light features a 450 lumen light. I looked up the settings and there are no other brightness settings. It has On, Strobe and off. The strobe mode is activated by pushing both buttons.
In the video, I didn’t realize that the Valkyrie could be mounted on Ar rails. I said I didn’t think I have anything it could mount on. Oh, I certainly do and I’m loving it.
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Yesterday during an interview with Jim Paris I was asked about survival gear. It’s a massive topic and it can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. It’s safe to recommend stocking up food and at least two weeks worth of bottled water. The same goes for essential emergency supplies, but people want specifics and these lists can be massive, overwhelming.
For those new to modern survival I recommend starting with the core items behind such philosophy: The items you are most likely to use during an emergency, meaning the ones you will have on your person. This is what we call EDC, everyday carry items. Now here too it can get a bit intense but I do have a tip for you.
Just start with your keychain.
Everyone carries one. It’s an item you will have with you no matter what and a few carefully selected items can keep the total volume and weight down while making sure critical tools are always available. I’ve had this setup for years and ended up with it after years of trial and error. I guarantee you will be using all of these more often than you’d think.
These are the items I recommend you have in your keychain.
Few other items are as indispensable during emergencies. Today LED lights are surprisingly bright. Surprisingly durable as well and can run for long periods of time.
Pretty basic right? You gotta have a knife. Better yet have a knife and a bunch of small tools. After years of use I recommend either a Leatherman Squirt PS4 or a Victorinox Minichamp, the Minichamp being my personal favourite although the PS4 is objectively as good, maybe better for certain applications.
3)USB Flash drive.
SanDisk Cruzer Fit $9.78
Keep one with your important work files, copies of documents and other important papers and family photos and videos. The Sandisk is a good way to go given that their encryption software is pretty good and allows for the creation of password protected vaults, meaning you can safely use the Flash drive for everyday use too.
Fire being a quintessential survival tool I believe you should have a lighter or at the very least fire starting tools. A ferrocerium rod is suitable for repeated outdoors use, but a lighter provides a quicker flame when needed. This is the one I have, a titanium peanut lighter. Pretty great and totaly worth it.
Its small, light and compact. A small prybar can spare the relatively fragile blade in your keychain tool. For years I had the Vox bar from Boker. Currently I’m using a tiny Pico bar. Either one will serve you well.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
Do you carry a handgun for self-defense? If so, carry a good flashlight. The statistics indicate approximately 60 percent of all confrontations occur in dim light conditions. That does not necessarily mean complete darkness, but rather diminished lighting to the point where your ability to identify the threat is jeopardized. You are responsible for knowing what you’re shooting at and for every round that leaves the muzzle.
Just like a good blade, there are many other reasons defensive-minded folks may want to carry a good light. Defensive strikes, a disorienting strobe, navigation and signaling all come to mind aside from threat identification. High quality pocket carry lights with variable brightness and strobe features are widely available today. There’s no reason not to carry one.
For most, the thought of holding a light and shooting is a daunting thought. Yes, there are weapon-mounted lights and lasers (lasers do not allow for identification), but there are some distinct advantages of a handheld light. One is that you can use a handheld light to search and identify without having to muzzle everyone. This would not be the case with a weapon-mounted light system. Weapon-mounted lights have their place, but you should carry a handheld, as well.
Keeping the above in mind, let’s examine some common methods for using a handheld light and shooting a pistol at the same time.
This is probably one of the better-known techniques and has been used for years by police. The shooter holds a light with a rear- or side-pressure switch in the support hand, which moves under the gun hand as the weapon is aimed. Back of hands are then pressed together, creating “back of hand to back of hand” isometric tension. This creates a stable platform for shooting.
A potential downside to this technique is that the light is essentially attached to the gun, similar to a weapon-mounted light. Thus, the shooter must be cognizant of muzzling anything they’re not willing to destroy while searching with light and gun together.
A flashlight with a side-mounted pressure switch is most appropriate here. In the support hand, the shooter will hold the light with the thumb already positioned on the pressure switch. The light is then positioned against and parallel to the support side of the pistol. The shooter’s middle, ring and pinky fingers give nearly full support to the shooting hand. In essence, you can obtain almost a full grip while still utilizing the flashlight. Once again, you must be aware of potential muzzling of unintended targets.
This method utilizes a rear pressure switch light, having a raised ridge or ring around the tubular housing. The light is held in the support hand between the index and middle fingers, akin to holding a cigar. The shooter pulls the light rearward, pressing the switch into the meaty portion of the palm/base of thumb, thereby activating the pressure switch. A full two-handed grip on the pistol can be obtained with the proper light and some practice. There are specific lights made for this technique. A flashlight with a rear-mounted pressure switch that works well with the Rogers method is the Surefire model G2ZX.
This technique requires you to shoot one handed and utilize the light separately. One benefit is that you can use the light to search and identify without muzzling unintentional targets, keeping your handgun in a low, ready position. There are several variations of this method: jaw index, ear index and cheek index. Use a rear-pressure switch light in the support hand and utilize the neck, jaw line, etc., to lightly rest and aim the light.
The FBI method involves holding the light in the support hand, away from the body. This allows you to keep the light away from your center in case an assailant shoots into the light. It provides mobility of the support hand and arm to use the light for searching the threat area. This is another one-handed shooting technique that will require some practice.
As with any defensive firearm training method, I recommend the gun owner obtain professional instruction from a credible instructor. Remember that the majority of self-defense encounters occur in dark or at least reduced light conditions. If you choose to be armed, you owe it to yourself and others to become proficient in defensive methods to include shooting with a handheld light.
What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
3 Step Flashlight Mod That Extends Flashlight Battery Over 360% This cool hack can extend the battery over 3.6% more if you switch out the bulb for an LED. In any emergency you need to have a source of light. Unfortunately most people who buy flashlights will leave them in a drawer somewhere for months …
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These have been around for many years now. Cheap, simple, reliable and tough as nails. For three bucks or so for the pack of ten they are a great deal. In my experience they last well over ten hours. They do start to dim down but a day later you still may have some light left.
Leegoal 10 X Led Mini Micro Black Keychain Key Ring Super Flash Bright Flashlight White Light $3.30
For $0.33 a pop you can’t beat these for budget EDC or keeping in different kits, keychains and bags.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
The Zebralight H52W has been around for a few years. The LED has been upgrading over time, currently it’s a Cree XM-L2, in either cool or neutral white, but the excellent concept, design and execution have remained. In spite of this I did not buy one until now. It seemed I always had something else that I liked well enough or was very happy with. Boy I wish I had bought one of these before.
The Best Survivalist flashlight?
I use the question mark because I still believe that the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II is the ultimate survival flashlight, the one I would have if I could have only one to deal with SHTF for extended periods of time. Having said that, the Zebralight is an extremely strong contender for the #1 place in the list. Both of these are angle head lights, making them very versatile. What I like about the Sidewinder Compact II the most is the military grade toughness and the ability to indistinctively use AA, AAA and CR123 format batteries. This trait is crucial for such a survivalist flashlight. On the other hand the H52W is almost half the size, making it better for pocket EDC, and with the right battery can put almost five times as much lumens downrange with its 500 lumen high mode.
The Zebralight H52W makes very good use of its angle head and clip. Like the old Fulton MX991/U military flashlight, they can be clipped to webbing, straps or belts, keeping the reflector pointed forward. I used it recently attaching it to the neck of my t-shirt (the H52W is small and light enough to allow this) I can also clip it to my belt or front jeans pocket. The Zebralight H52W is actually intended to be headlamp so it includes a headstrap which is compact yet comfortable, turning it into a pretty good headlamp. The H52W uses a single AA battery. This is an important factor given that AA are one of the easiest batteries to come across. It can also run on lithium and li-ion batteries, considerably increasing its capabilities with the use of 3.7V14500 rechargable batteries. Many AA lights expressively forbid the use of 3.7V batteries and the few that do allow it often end up losing functions such as the lower lumen modes. Not the case here. The light includes yet another feature that is important for anyone carrying and using the light frequently as their EDC, a battery voltage indicator. Clicking it four times the LED blinks 1 to 4 times letting you know how much battery is left. Clicking three times you get the beacon and strobe mode, which you can select by double clicking. With 14500 it has a maximum output of 500 lumens. This runs for only one minute before dropping to 270 lumens to avoid overheating. The moonlight mode can be programed as low as 0,01 lumens which can supposedly run for 3 months.
The user interface of the H52W sounds tricky at first to say the least, but once you do get used to it, it becomes almost intuitive and fast to use. The light has low medium and high mode, and there’s a second sublevel mode for each which can be programed into two output modes or three in the case of the second low mode.
A short click turns the light on in high, either one of the high modes used last time. A double click turns the light on in medium mode (again, either one of the two used last) and one long click turns it on low. In any case pressing and holding cycles through low, medium and high and double clicking engages the sub level of each of those. After a few days, it was simple enough to double click so as to get an either brighter or dimmer light if either of the low medium or high mode wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Again, sounds messy but you soon get the hang of it.
As much as I liked the H52W I couldn’t get over the fact that it simply wasn’t a multi battery flashlight like the Sidewinder Compact II… or was it? Out of pure curiosity I dropped a AAA in there and clicked the light. Surprisingly, it came to life. The light is clearly not intended to be used with AAA but the spring on the cap happens to be long enough to make contact. It is not very reliable. The small AAA moves out of contact easily but the point is it does work and using a bit of paper rolled around it to keep it centered in place would greatly improve the reliability.
The Zebralight H52W is now my EDC light. I know something better will eventually come along to replace it. Looking forward to that though, because if it does replace my Zebralight I know it will be one hell of an amazing flashlight.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.
How To Make An Emergency Flashlight From An Old Camera, 2 AA Batteries & Energy Saving Light Bulb Believe it or not, this is an energy saving light-bulb powered with 2 AA battery’s… with just a few steps, you could have this as an emergency light in a SHTF situation. Its basically parts from a disposable camera, wires an energy …
From the site Life’d which say’s “Guys like gadgets, whether for fun or for self-preservation. And when tech combines with tactical, it’s just cool. These days, with natural disasters seemingly on the rise and the threat of worldwide terrorism growing, keeping tactical gadgets handy is more than cool. It might be a necessary precaution. What do you carry now? Will it help you in state of emergency? Here are six tactical gadgets engineered for guys who want to be prepared for every day…and for when the pressure is on.”
1. Shadowhawk X800 Tactical Flashlight
If Jason Bourne could pick his flashlight, this would be it. It packs military-grade LED technology into an aircraft-grade-aluminum-skinned cylinder. And it throws an astounding amount of light. You might be thinking that you already have a flashlight. But do the U.S. Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard use the kind of flashlight you have? The Shadowhawk X800 can illuminate a field or blanket a work area with 800 lumens of glorious light. It can also blind an attacker. Don’t let its light weight trick you into thinking it’s not durable. Throw it, drive over it—it’ll still work. Drop it in six feet of water—it’ll still work. This tough gadget is also versatile. It comes with a strobe setting if you are stranded and need to signal for help, and you can zoom and focus its LED beam to see far, far away. The 3 AAA batteries give it 1,000 hours of life. That makes it ideal for reliable, abundant light during a prolonged natural disaster or emergency…and for lots of everyday uses. This is standard gear if you want to be prepared.
UrbanMan’s Comment: I prefer the AA flashlights as they run longer than the powerful flashlight that use DL123 or the commonly called 3v surefire batteries. Plus AA rechargeable batteries that can be recharged with a solar panel are common place.
2. TrackR Bravo
When you attach this coin-size, James Bond-style tracking device to an item, you have a 20,000-times chance of getting it back if you lose it. The accompanying app enlists the help of network TrackR users to locate your lost bag, bike or dog. Last count, there were over 20,000 strong in their Crowd GPS. Of course, you will probably be able to get your wallet or whatever back on your own. The TrackR app will display how far you are from the keys or case you dropped, and it will sound the alarm to help you pinpoint its exact location. If you realize you left your bag after you travel to another location, all other TrackR users in the network are notified, and when one passes your missing article, you’ll get an update sent to your phone. What if you can’t find your phone? Use TrackR to ring it, even if it’s on silent mode, and you’ll find your phone fast. TrackR helps you keep your stuff…especially if you’re a chronic (keys/wallet/bike/car/bag) misplacer.
UrbanMan’s Comment: This sounds useful, but if the internet is down such as in a collapse of the nation, you’ll have just a useless little device.
3. Shadow X Dual Beam Lighter
This is the baddest lighter on the market since ZIPPO set the bar for badass lighters. It is engineered to make you look cool, and cool you will be wherever you break it out: bar, ball game, backpacking, hunting. In fact, it might be worth becoming a smoker just to use the lighter. (Don’t actually start smoking just to use the lighter.) Forget harmful butane, because that’s not its fuel. Pay no mind to rain because water does not affect it. Don’t worry about blocking the wind, because there is no flame to protect. Get that? There. Is. No. Flame. Just an electric current forming a hot X that ignites anything in its crosshairs. Tactical, practical and flat out cool. You recharge it via a USB and you ignite it by pressing a button. Keep it in your pocket for those times you need fire and want to look cool. Real cool.
UrbanMan’s Comment: Hey, I’m always us for a new fire starter, but it needs to have replaceable batteries. If re-chargeable then a solar panel and cigarette plug adapter; will likely be needed.
4. Shadowhawk Military Tactical Laser
Another great gadget to have. It’s fun, it’s useful, and it could save your life. Simply speaking, it can help you point to that thing way over there, even half a mile away. Speaking from a safety standpoint, a blast of this beam of light can blind a person. Not recommended for use on friends, but on a would-be attacker or an intruder into your home, your Shadowhawk Military Tactical Laser lets you get all Star Wars on him. ZAP, and he’s on the ground or holding his eyes, letting you go to work on him or just get away. It’s also good in the woods if you ever lose your way. The powerful beam will point Search and Rescue to your exact origin. And on nights when you’re not walking the streets or wandering in the woods, your dog will get a kick out of chasing the laser point on the living room floor.
UrbanMan’s Comment: This is a visible laser. A laser is useful for pointing out positions however a visible laser can also point out your position! Remember the old adage about tracer ammunition,….it works both ways.
5. TL900 LED Headlamp
This Tactical Headlamp is survival gear at its best. It blasts a massive 1000 lumen beam, enough to light a field, an emergency work area or a basement. With five settings, you can focus the beam to pinpoint targets at a distance of 500 meters! (That’s over 1640 feet…or 546 yards.) The design is the result of multiple attempts at perfection. It seems these guys have nailed it with a 90° pivoting spotlight and a completely water-resistant head unit. The beauty of this equipment, though, and what it makes it a top-tier tactical tool, is the hands-free capabilities it gives you. You never know into what situation you might be forced to work or search in the dark, and being able to freely use both hands could be the difference between success and failure…even in mundane use when there’s no pressure.
UrbanMan’s Comment: Head lamps are useful, red and white lights specifically, but how about some battery info?
6. Garmin Tactix GPS Watch
This watch will not only make you look good, it will let you know when’s a good time to pull the chute. Even if you’re not a skydiver, the Garmin Tactix is gold for any guy who likes to go for a hike or to just explore the unbeaten path once in awhile. You can rely on Garmin’s GPS to get you home if things go awry. There’s even a TracBack feature. If you think you might lose your way, this is like virtual breadcrumbs, guiding you back to your origin along the path which you came. The design of the watch is not only sleek, but functional. The scratch-resistant lens is curved so there’s no reflection preventing you from reading the display. Even with night vision on, you can read the display which gives you real-time information about your surroundings including barometric and compass readings. It won’t, however, tell you when the boss is walking by your cubicle.
UrbanMan’s Comment: I don’t like GPS’s. We have become a nation of people not comfortable with a map and compass. The watch feature is good for synchronizing times, etc., but a $20 timex will work for this.
Best Bug Out Bag Flashlight For The Value A flashlight is one of the most important items you can have on you in an emergency or just to find your way around after dark. Finding a good flashlight that isn’t expensive is pretty difficult sometimes though. Well I’ve found one for you. To be a …
SureFire is known as one of the most highly regarded brands in the tactical flashlight world. They are expensive but quality is outstanding. As good as their products are, many of Surefire products aren’t as exciting for flashlights fanatics, also known as flashaholics. There are several brands out there that are more affordable, offer good value and update their products more frequently to satisfy the demands of their lumen thirsty clients.
Surefire recently presented two new EDC lights that depart from their more classic line. Both are keychain lights, which is a category I’m always interested in. I firmly believe that what you have in your keychain is likely to be there when needed most, so I pay particular attention to that.
SureFire Titan Plus $89.79
The Surefire Titan Plus is the one that really caught my attention. I droll all over a powerful AAA keychain light and this one is currently the brightest at 300 lumens for high (300 lumens / 1 hour), medium (75lumens / 2 hours) and low (15 lumens / 7 hours). Like the Sidekick, it has a proprietary faceted reflector (MaxVision Beam™) which creates a broad, smooth beam.
Surefire Sidekick $78.99
The second one is a small keychain light called Surefire Sidekick. It has the form factor of a small square polymer remote control, multiple intensity outputs, Low (5 lumens / 45 hours), medium (60 lumens / 4 hours) and high (300 lumens / 1.25 hours). The nice thing about this light, besides its peculiar shape which departs from the traditional tubular form factors, is that that it uses a fixed battery rechargeable through a micro USB port. I favour replaceable batteries but I do like the micro USB recharging feature. Given how common these are I can see how someone would easily integrate this to their routine, recharging his EDC light just like they recharge their phone with no problem.
ÖKO Odyssey™ – The Six-in-One Survival System ÖKO Odyssey 6-in-1 bottle, filters water and shines light. This is a great addition to any emergency kit. Especially for its low price. You carry a water bottle around with you anyway so maybe think about swapping the bottled water and save a boat ton of money and even save …
Concealed carry is on the rise, but, unfortunately, we may not always have access to firearms for self-defense.
Below are nine different items that can be used effectively as self-defense weapons. These tools are also small and lightweight so you can carry them easily and discreetly with you wherever you go.
This is probably the first weapon besides a gun that comes to mind. The knife, whether it be a small pocket knife or a larger, fixed-bladed one, is a very commonplace tool because almost everybody has at least one or two of them. While larger knives can draw attention to you, there are plenty of smaller knives that can be easily concealed on your person. I recommend a folding knife with a serrated blade that can be opened and closed quickly.
2. Tactical pen
While it’s true that any pen can technically be used as a stabbing weapon, tactical pens are better for this purpose. Tactical pens differ from regular pens in that they are constructed out of a very durable metal and the end of the pen has a sharp edge that can be used for protection.
3. Pepper or wasp spray
Both pepper and wasp spray are non-lethal weapons that serve as effective deterrents because they inflict significant irritation to the mouth and eyes.
While the active ingredients don’t typically lose their sting and can be stored for a long time, keep in mind they don’t perform well in all conditions, such as rainy weather.
A durable flashlight — such as a My Personal Defender — will hit hard and give you lots of reach, allowing you to fend off assailants with something that has the “punch” of a baseball bat.
The My Personal Defender actually has a telescoping feature that extends it to more than a foot.
5. Stun gun
A stun gun is going to do just as the name suggests and buy you some time to get away to safety. While they are often designed to look like traditional guns, many models are designed to not look like weapons and can be carried discreetly, without drawing attention to yourself. They also work in the rain whereas pepper or wasp spray do not. Of course, they aren’t legal in all states.
6. Keychain knuckles
Keychain knuckles are easily the most effective self-defense weapon that can be attached to your keychain. They have sharp edges and are constructed out of a virtually unbreakable plastic. In addition, they are very lightweight and deliver a brutal punch.
The belt is one of the most common items, and it can be used just as well for self-defense as it can for holding up your pants, but only if you have the right kind of belt and know what you’re doing.
The metal buckle not only delivers damage to an opponent, but can keep him or her at bay if you’ve wrapped the other end around your fist.
Just as there are certain pens that are built for self-defense, there also are umbrellas that are built for the same reason. The difference between self-defense umbrellas and regular ones is that the former are constructed out of a fiberglass material that is both lightweight and offers the same hardness as steel.
If you have literally nothing else to use as a self-defense weapon, look for a rock. You can pick up a rock with a sharp edge to use as a knife-like weapon, or a rounded one to use as a club in your hand.
What items would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Travel Items That Will Help When SHTF
For most beginners, let’s all admit packing for a long day’s travel is our worst nightmare because we have no idea what are the necessary items to have on hand when a certain situation happens. For the most part, it’s because we haven’t experienced worst case scenarios yet which we should all be thankful for. But let’s say (theoretically speaking) that the end of the world is about to happen, ask yourselves this – Am I prepared for it? For any of this? I mean some of us would answer truthfully – No, I’m not. That’s a good thing, but the worst part you can do is not taking any action to remedy that. So, make better of yourself and prepare for the unpredictable. The world is ever changing so it’s best to adapt along with it.
So aside from your clothes, important personal documents, cash, and phone, here are some of the ten travel items you need ready when, or if, the world is about to go rogue!
- Your mode of transportation should be secure, in good working condition and ready to go. Logically, you want your car ready and filled with gas. Stocking up on fuel is a must! Gearing up your Toyota Vios in the Philippines is a good tactic, especially the habit of making sure that it doesn’t reach the low level of its fuel meter. This will save you from a lot of trouble in the future if you are constantly making sure to check on its fuel level.
- This is quite necessary when you are stocking up on your rations since some foods will be inedible and rot once they are soaked wet. Storing your food in waterproof containers will make sure that it’s preserved. Air tight containers are also equipped in housing your food supplies so that ants and other insects cannot contaminate it.
Water purification tablets
- Other than having a good supply of water for staying hydrated, make sure to also have water purification tablets because when your water supply runs out, you will need to find a water source and you will thank yourself later for having those tablets ready.
Lighter, Matches, Flint
- You’ll need a heat and light source for when the night goes dark and cold and these three items can very much provide you with fire. In addition, teach yourself how to make fire with the use of sticks or stones like they do in survival guides.
Compass and Maps
- These two are definitely a no-brainer since you want to know all the necessary roads to take or shortcuts when you need to leave an area in quickest way possible. Do make sure that your maps are the most updated version and take note of some of the roads that may be blocked during a disaster situation. (Editor recommends: Military Lensatic Sighting Compass w/Pouch.)
Swiss Army Knives
- You will need some form of protection and with a swiss army knife safely secured in your pocket, traveling will be much safer. Swiss Army knives also vary in size, but with that, make sure to also have other forms of protection with you just in case.
- Crowbar is a handy tool to have. You can use it to prop open cases and sturdy materials. You will likely use this most of the time when you are in urban or city areas.
- Having a small axe like hatchet is useful to have when you need to make shelter. This tool can also help you out while you are hunting for food, or gathering wood and other supplies that will require you to cut through and chop down thick branches.
- There are flashlights that can be recharged and powered manually or through sunlight, which can be especially useful when the electrical outlets shuts down. You will need to have at least two of these so that traveling at night will not be a hassle. (Editor Recommends: Eton Scorpion II)
- To keep yourself updated through the current events of the world, you will need a working radio. Make sure to pack batteries for this as well. You can opt for an alternative and find a self-powered radio instead so you wouldn’t have to constantly rely on batteries to keep it charged. (Editor Recommends: Eton Scorpion II)
There you have it, all the must-have ten items for when the world has changed to ‘The Walking Dead’ setting.
Randolph Hoover and his family were originally from San Diego California but he is currently studying Business Administration in Umea University in Sweden. Aside from being a student, He also helps his parents with their home maintenance business in their home in Umea. He is also one of the marketing guys for Toyota.
3 Essential Items for EDC
There are many common-sense items you should carry every day, but these 3 essential items for EDC lead the pack.
A good pocket knife will come in handy all the time. especially a Swiss Army knife, or other multi-tool. One of these can provide you an assortment of handy tools to help you conquer many situations. Make sure this is in your pocket, pack or purse whenever you leave your home.
Another style of pocket knife, that you need to consider, would be a lock blade for self defense.
There is no one-size fits all knife for every person. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are some very strong folding knives, produced by some great companies, like Columbia River Knife and Tool – Shizuka Noh Ken Tactical Knife (3.75″ blade), the Otanashi noh Ken Tactical Knife (4.52″ blade), or the M21-14SF (3.99″ blade).
You should always, Always, have a pocket-sized LED flashlight on your person.
If the lights go out, while you are in a unfamiliar building, hotel, mall or a big box store, how will you quickly find your way to safety if you are stumbling around in the darkness?
I can’t begin to tell you the number of times, I’ve been stuck in a hotel with no power. My flashlight enabled me to navigate the stairwells and to comfortably navigate my room. I was also able to read until it was time for me to go to sleep.
A flashlight can also serve to disorient an attacker in the right circumstances.
A tactical pen can come in very handy if you find yourself in place, where you may not carry a pocket knife or a pistol. The tactical pen can be a very efficient self defense weapon, especially if you are assumed to be totally unarmed.
There are many styles of tactical pens. I prefer the Schrade Tactical Pen, but my daughters carry the Blackjack tactical model instead. Some people don’t like the bulk and weight of the full blown tactical pens, but they can opt for a Zebra F-402 Ballpoint Pen. The Zebra F-402 is a regular pen, built with a Stainless Steel barrel!
Keep in mind, you’re not going to take down a street gang with your tactical pen, but it’s much better than being totally unarmed.
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A very important piece in serious prepper’s survival kit is the flashlight. No one should go without one. If SHTF at some point or another, any old flashlight will do if survival flashlight is not in reach, but nothing can compete with a professional, state of the art lightning gadget that’s been designed specifically for such occasions. These survival flashlights are superior to a normal flashlight in both battery life and durability. Most of them come with new and improved LED lighting systems and extremely powerful batteries (rechargeable batteries) that will outlast regular flashlights; there’s is hardly any competition there. Because they’re meant for usage in extreme situations, they are built to be extremely tough and robust: they’ll withstand shocks, they’re waterproof and (most of them are) and will deteriorate slowly (if at all) even in extreme climates. And the term “survival” applies in more ways than you can imagine; because they’re so sturdy and tough, made up from strong alloys, they can be used as a self defense clubs in case you’ll be forced to protect yourself.
One hit over the head and, ironically, it’s lights out! There’s great variety on the market in the survival flashlight department; products vary in shape, sizes, type of battery (primary or rechargeable), lightning filters and sequences etc. I’m about to show you some of those that I actually got to use and could be an asset to anybody in distress.
This particular flashlight is still, in my opinion, the best option out there for those who are on a tight budget. It’s the best if you consider the price / quality ratio, considering you can buy it for about $50. It’s 5.7 inches long (1.6 in diameter) and it weighs 5.15oz. The M22 Warrior‘s body is made up from a very durable aluminum which is also used in aircraft manufacture. It used the latest and greatest in LED technology (Cree XM-L2 LED), which can put out about 950 lumens; this is more than enough to give you visibility coverage of about 1000 feet. It has a adjustable brightness level that works on 3 settings and a strobe mode for signaling your position or disorienting attackers. The mode selection and strobe can be turned on / off through a selector unit built into the head of the flashlight. There’s another switch located at the opposite side which controls brightness, but also the auto strobe mode, for quick access. The power source is optional: you can use 2x CR123A batteries units or 1x 18650 battery. At the lowest setting (20 lumens) you get 30 hours of battery time and 1 hour at its highest setting (950 lumens).
The SureFire E2D Defender is probably the best self-defense oriented flashlight that I got my hands on. If it’s a white weapon you want that can also light the way from time to time, look no further. It has a crenellated front bezel and tail, all to make it more menacing at to give more angles and edges that can be used in a combat situation. It’s probably the toughest survival flashlight on the market and will take quite a bit of striking force to actually break it; you most probably won’t. If you hit hard and precisely enough, it will stop any attacker in its tracks, be it man or animal. We got the self-defense part covered and we can all agree the SureFire E2D Defender is force to be reckoned with. If you expect it to be less efficient as a flashlight than it is as a weapon, you’d be wrong because it’s actually pretty good. It has a 2 settings mode: the full power mode will have it working at 200 lumens and will deplete the battery in about 2 hours. The ultra power-saving mode will get it down to 5 lumens, but it will keep battery life for up to 76 hours. It measure 5.4 inches in length and it weighs about 3.7oz.
This is a very good choice for those who are looking for a large yet lightweight flashlight, that’s easy to use and carry around. It’s 2.5 inches long, 1.6 inches in diameter and despite its size, it weighs about 1.6oz without battery. It has 3 adjustable brightness settings and it also has an SOS lightning mode, which is perfect for signaling for help. At its highest setting of 120 lumens it will deplete the battery in about an hour and a half. But if you let it run on power saving mode, its setting of 3 lumens will keep the battery lasting for about 55 hours. And all this can be achieved with a simple AA battery. The power saving mode of 3 lumens is not bright enough for visibility over long distances; you’ll only be able to walk without tripping over anything in the dark.
Choosing your personal flashlight is no easy thing and you should do it by the book. Consider the possibilities, scout the market thoroughly and make the right decision. Of course you can have more than one, just to play it safe. When comes to survival flashlights, the prices may vary from $15 to even $400.
By Alec Deacon
I have dozens of flashlights ranging from very small and just a couple of lumens to larger super bright models. Ever since I was a kid and had an old silver flashlight that had an ultra-cool button on the switch that allowed me to do morse code with it I have been hooked. Flashlights today are lighters, smaller, and much brighter than just a decade ago.
The Olight S1 Baton represents modern flashlight technology at its best providing excellent brightness in a small package. I have been using the S1 over the last two months. Here are my thoughts…….
– Utilizes Cree XM-L2 LED, creating a brightness level up to 500 Lumens
– 4 Variable Brightness Levels Plus a Strobe Mode
– Strobe – high – mid – low – moonlight
– IPX-8 Waterproof Standard
– S10 Baton safe in water up to 2m deep
– Magnetic Tailcap for Attaching to Any Steel Surface
– Battery: CR123 Lithium Ion
– Length: 2.4″ inches
– Reverse Polarity Protection
– Includes Pocket Clip and Lanyard
Solid. The Olight so far has proven to be rugged and well built. No machining marks can be seen and craftsmanship looks to be Grade A. Threads are smooth and the lens is clear. On/Off button has been solid and consistent. Pocket clip is extremely strong but with a light this small it is not needed. It belongs in my pocket.
The knurling is noticeable and makes for gripping this tiny light easy. The hexagon-shaped collar keeps the Olight from rolling around when on uneven surfaces.
The Olight S1 throws a true 500 lumens. There are many lights out there “claiming” x-number of lumens and Olight is accurate in its specs. For a flashlight so small it amazingly bright. The Olight has a flood beam which generally I am not a fan of however with 500 lumens being thrown there is plenty of illumination for walking down trails or even running in total darkness.
Runtime has been phenomenal.
The magnetic tailcap provides a strong bond to any ferrous steel. This can come in handy when working on a car, during a power outage, or any situation where two hands are needed.
If you’ve read this far you know I am very impressed with the Olight S1. I own so many flashlights but when it comes as close to perfection as possible the S1 is there. It really is an engineering marvel to have the combination of small size, incredible brightness, and long runtime. At a price of around $50 it is a great deal.
Highest recommendation. For more information click HERE.
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How could I do flashlight reviews without talking about the original tactical flashlight? The Mini Maglite AA, now comes in a super bright LED version. Maglite’s have proven themselves for their durability and reliability. The other thing that makes them great is they take super cheap AA batteries.
With a twist of the head it has 4 Selectable Modes:
- High Power
- Low Power (25%)
- Blink Mode – Blinks approx. once a sec.
Length: 6.607″ (167.8 mm)
Barrel Diameter: .709″ (18 mm)
Head Diameter: 1″ (25.4 mm)
Weight with batteries: 4.15 oz. (117.75 g)
Following up with our review of flashlights, Next is the Surefire G2. This flashlight has been around for awhile and is the most affordable of the Surefire line up. I carry one in a vehicle and another attached to my M4 carbine. I can attest they are built for abuse.
Brightness/Run time: 65 lumens w/ a 60 minute run time
Colors: Hi-vis yellow, Black, OD green, Desert Tan
The G2® is a high-output flashlight featuring a tough, corrosion-proof Nitrolon® body and bezel. It uses a precision micro-textured reflector and a SureFire incandescent lamp to produce a smooth, brilliant beam with enough power to temporarily blind and disorient an aggressor by impairing his night-adapted vision. With a push button momentary on and twist constant on tail cap.
Overall a nice product especially when you cant justify spending $100 or more on a flashlight
For the next few days we are going to go over a few different flashlights on the market. Surefire by far is one of the best tactical brand flashlights on the market. They are used by FBI, Special Operations, and Search and Rescue teams worldwide.
The body is the Nitrolon Body with an Aluminum bezel. The Nitrolon is has a great feel and provides a secure grip.
Power: CR123A Lithium
LED bulb virtually indestructible
It has two modes….Mode 1 has a 200 lumens brightness setting (super bright) w/ a run time of 2.5 hours
Mode 2 has a 15 lumens brightness setting w/ a 45 hour run time
The grip is awesome and I like the aluminum bezel, as well as that its an LED. The dual brightness feature will definitely save on battery life. Also having a low light option will benefit in tactical environments. It’s one of Surefire’s mid range flashlights so it wont hurt you wallet too bad, but I think its definitely worth it with Surefire’s no hassle guarantee.