I thought I’d look back at how my light inventory has both grown and evolved over the past 25 years.
1) Matches - you carry matches in your car, purse and/or briefcase don’t you? “But I don’t smoke”, you say. “Doesn’t matter”, I say. Not only can matches be used in an emergency to create light, they can also build a fire to create heat or signal for help. They’re small, light, and free, so why not throw a couple packs in each vehicle and your daily carry bag.
2) Bic Lighter - see above. Buy a mega-pack at Sam’s Club and stash them around.
3) MagLite – back in the day these were considered state-of-the-art. This 4D cell now resides by the nightstand next to the bed. It’s too darn big and heavy to carry around, but can always serve as an impact weapon in a bind. But it was the first “real” flashlight that I ever bought. I used to have the AA MiniMaglite as a companion, but the lens cracked so I eventually tossed it.
4) Photon keychain Micro-Light, White Beam – Resides on the keychain. Surprising amount of light for the size. Relatively inexpensive, I’ve seen some in the $3 range; most are less than $10. No reason that everyone in the family shouldn’t have one on their keychain.
5) Sure-Fire 6Z - At the time, this model was all the rage. It threw a lot of light for something its size, is light to carry on the belt or in a pocket, and can be used easily in conjunction with a handgun for shooting in the dark. This one travels in one of my day bags.
6) Sure-Fire Executive – I bought this one because I wanted something that would easily fit in my front pants pocket. I swapped out the original tail cap and put a “Lightsaver” on instead because I wanted the “click on/off” function and the ability to have a dimmer setting. I also did a “koppo” wrap with paracord so that it was more secure in the hand. Carried it for a while, but now it mostly serves as a backup or gets carried in a coat pocket when I’m out in the woods or on a stream.
7) Generic 6 LED, blue light - Picked this up as a trade show giveaway in Dusseldorf. Fairly bright. Sits on a dresser by the closet so that I can paw thru my stuff in the closet or dresser without turning on the room lights. Appreciated by the Mrs.
8) Coast AAA Single LED – most similar to their current G10 model. I picked this one up for just $5 S&H when they were running an introductory promo. Small and light it makes a great pocket carry.
9) Streamlight Stylus - 3 AAA LED, I got this for shirt pocket carry when I used to travel a lot on planes. It was easy to move thru security and was useful on long flights when the lights were out and I was trying to find something in a briefcase or seat pocket. It now is clipped on the inside of my briefcase. At this point I would recommend the Stylus Pro instead, since it uses 2 AAA and is shorter and easier to carry in a shirt pocket.
10) Fenix P1D – My friend TB turned me on to the Fenix line. This one is bright, light, and has a range of lighting options (bright, dim, strobes). It’s my current every day carry in the right front pocket. Twice as bright as a 4D MagLite. My only complaint is that it requires twisting the lens cap to turn it on and to manipulate between beam intensities. So it’s not the fastest to get into action and it requires 2 hands, but I use this little bugger a lot.
11) Streamlight ProTac2L – Uses two 3V 123 batteries and generates 260 lumens on high and 13 lumens on low. I bought this one to have a brighter alternative that can also be manipulated with one hand. Easily carried in a front pocket next to the phone, without being too “bulgey” or embarrassing.
12) Fenix PD35 - Yowza! 850 lumens from this bad boy. This will light up your world all the way to the neighbor’s house and back. Newest addition via Christmas present. I like the tail cap switch and the fact that you can program between 6 output options with a selector switch on the side. A little large for front pocket carry (“yes Ma’am, I am glad to see you”), but if you wear cargo pants with extra pockets on the side or front, that would be ideal.
13) Petzl Headlamp – Great for any outdoor use (or anything that will require hands-free). This one travels in the pack or coat of the current hunting/fishing season. This is an older model with 3 intensities plus a strobe function. Also a great addition to a car kit or Bug-out-Bag.
14) Stanley FatMax – Rechargeable Lithium halogen light. Picked it up on an impulse purchase from Sam’s Club a year ago. Wanted something to have in the car that was bright, had a broader beam, and was rechargeable. It has a nifty multi-position stand that can be used to angle the beam up from the ground if you want to work hands-free. No complaints so far.
There you have it. A quick look at some lighting options for every day carry, home, or car. If purchased over time it’s easier on the wallet, and technology changes so quickly that it’s amazing how much light can be achieved out of some of these small packages. Think about your current lighting capabilities, check out some of these current alternatives, and don’t be afraid to make this investment.