Flashlights have made great changes in the last 20 years. The big heavy flashlights that you remember from days past have been replaced by lights that are brighter and more compact thanks to the arrival of LED. What was once seen exclusively as a tool for hiking and camping or to have around the house in case the lights went out, has become a practical tool to be carried every day. Because of this, the term “EDC” which stands for “Every Day Carry” has become synonymous with flashlights.
So just what are the benefits of carrying a flashlight? This guide will go over some practical reasons why you should consider carrying a flashlight as well as what options are available to help you find the right light for you.
Why should I carry a flashlight?
Flashlights can come in handy in a variety of situations. The great thing about a flashlight is that you can carry it with you wherever you go. If a flashlight falls out of your bag or pocket in a public area, it isn’t a problem. Contrast that to a knife or gun and you can see the advantage. Some additional benefits to consider are:
To Identify Potential Threats - Flashlights today are brighter and have longer beam distances as well. When walking down a dark street or to your car at night, they can help you spot potential dangers while still far enough away to gain an advantage.
For Self-Defense - A flashlight will enable you to temporarily blind a would be attacker and gain valuable time to get away. It only takes 60-100 lumens to cause temporary blindness. Some lights even have a strobe mode that is specifically designed to disorient a perpetrator by emitting a rapidly flashing super bright light. Additionally, the sturdy metal construction enables the flashlight to be used as a non-lethal weapon and can even be used to hit a perpetrator over the head if need be.
In Emergency Situations - In an emergency situation where the power is knocked out, having a light is imperative. In a survival or rescue situation where being located is the top priority, you need a way to signal your location. Some flashlights come with special modes such as SOS and beacon for just such a situation.
To save the battery on your phone - Seriously! If you’re phone battery is dead, it can be a real problem in a variety of circumstances. Instead of using precious battery life from your phone to provide you with light, a flashlight can be used instead. Then, when you need to use your phone, it’s available.
If you’re sold on the benefits of carrying a flashlight and think it might be the right choice for you, the next step is becoming familiar with the basic features available. Once you understand your choices, you will be able to decide which light is right for you.
There are many features and options available in flashlights today. When considering a flashlight as an everyday carry (EDC) you will want to look at the basic features available. Once you’ve decided on the basic features, you can then take a look at the additional options to consider. The basic features to consider will be:
- Beam Distance
- Light Modes
Most flashlights today use LED bulbs because they are brighter and more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The light output is typically measured in lumens and lights can have anywhere from 20 lumens to 2000 or more.
Beam distance is measured in meters as the distance from the flashlight to an object or to moonlight space. It is often referred to as throw or flood.
Run-time is measured in hours. Some flashlights can run for 100 hours of more in low output mode. For an EDC, you will want to choose a light with a higher lumen output. Somewhere in the 500-1000 lumen range.
Flashlights need to be durable and to be able to withstand tough conditions when being considered as an EDC. Look for lights that are built using top quality military or weapon grade aluminum. Additionally, a textured grip helps to keeps the light from slipping out of your hand which is especially important if you need to use the light for self defense.
In order for a light to be an EDC, it needs to be comfortable to use. It should be lightweight and compact and easily fit in your pocket or bag or clipped to a belt hook.
Multiple/ Special Light Modes
Flashlights today offer multiple light modes (high, medium, low) and some offer additional special modes. These modes include SOS, strobe and beacon. SOS and beacon offer signalling for emergency situations while strobe delivers a bright rapidly blinking light for self defense.
Some other important features to consider:
Some flashlights are designed with multiple switches to allow the user to quickly operate the light in a variety of situations. Switch types are tail-cap, body and head/tail twist. Tail-cap and body switches can be simple on/off or they can cycle through modes. Rotating or twisting switches turn the light on and change modes by turning either the head or tail of the light. These types of switches are great for situations where the light will be stored in a bag or backpack and you don’t want it to accidentally get turned on. The downside is that it takes two hands to operate which would make it a poor choice for defensive situations.
Impact resistance is measured in meters and is determined by how well a flashlight holds up when dropped from a particular height onto a concrete surface.
Measured using an IP rating system and comes in three categories:
- IPX4 is water resistant or splash proof from all directions.
- IPX7 is waterproof and resistant to 1-meter submersion for 30 seconds.
- IPX8 is waterproof for a submersion of 4 hours.
The batteries you choose can affect the performance of your flashlight, so it is important to understand your options.
- Disposable Alkaline - These are the common AA, AAA, C and D batteries you find at the grocery store. While they lack in power, their advantage is that they are easy to find.
- Disposable Lithium Batteries - These batteries are more powerful and last longer than alkaline batteries, but they are more expensive. CR123A batteries are commonly used in tactical lights due to their power and size.
- Rechargeable - While they are pricier upfront, rechargeable batteries will save you more money in the long run and offer performance advantages such as higher lumen output and longer run-times. The most common chemistry for re-chargeable is Li-ion or lithium ion. Commonly used rechargeable batteries for tactical lights are 18650 and RCR123A.
Now that you know the basics, here are a few top choices for EDC Flashlights
|Nebo 6392 Redline RC
|Nebo Slyde King