Your electricity suddenly stops working. Your house is dark. Sounds you hadn’t noticed earlier appear. It’s time to grab a flashlight, but do you have the right one … and do you know where it is? Here’s how to choose the best urban survival flashlights to help you stay safe and calm.
First, let’s look at the factors you’ll want to consider before choosing the best urban survival flashlight:
- Flashlight size: How large should your flashlight be? Do you need a pocket light that’s easy to carry, or should you choose a large, heavy light that can also be used as a weapon?
- Flashlight power source: Batteries can drain quickly. Should you get a rechargeable light, a solar-powered light, a hand-cranked light? The last thing you want is to discover (right when you need it) that the batteries are all but dead.
- Flashlight construction: Will a plastic case do, or should you choose an urban survival flashlight that’s water-resistant and sturdy? Will you use it at home only, or will the flashlight go with you in the car or on a hike?
- Flashlight performance: How bright should your flashlight be? Do you need enough power to use it as a longer-range spotlight, or will you only depend on the flashlight for in-house navigational help when the lights go out?
- Flashlight features: Will it be helpful for your flashlight to blink on and off (strobe effect) or act as an emergency beacon? Do you want it to sound a siren or have a compartment that contains other urban survival emergency gear?
You may think price is the most important factor in your urban survival flashlight selection, but when your power fails and every room in your home goes dark … you’ll want a flashlight that does what you need it to do and will get you through the outage. Most of the time, you’ll only need handheld light for a few hours, but it’s not uncommon for storms or other natural disasters to knock the power out for days or even weeks.
The sooner you’re equipped with the right urban survival flashlight, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll be able to protect and shelter your family. There are times other than power outages when a good flashlight can prove to be one of the best friends you’ve ever had, though. Let’s talk about that.
Why You Need an Urban Survival Flashlight
We’ve mentioned the primary criteria: size, power source, construction materials, performance, and special features. Making the best choice for your situation will also depend on … well, the situation.
- Power failure: The most common reason why you might need a good flashlight in a hurry. The home that’s so familiar during the daylight can turn into a maze that threatens to damage your toes or cause you to fall when the rooms go dark.
- Camping: Have you ever gone camping, then realize you forgot to bring a flashlight — or the batteries you thought were good turn out to be all but worthless? Every camper needs a proper flashlight.
- Hiking: Every year there are news reports of hikers who headed out on a daytrip, became lost, and either had to spend the night outdoors or didn’t make it back at all. Carry a flashlight with you every time you hike. You might need to depend on it to get you back safely.
- Car travel: Flat tires, mechanical troubles, and other issues can make having a flashlight in your vehicle one of the best ideas ever. Some cars have lights pre-wired under the hood, but most don’t. Always carry a flashlight.
- Emergency prep: Each of us should be prepared to face whatever comes our way, and a survival flashlight is high on the list of necessary equipment. Try spending some time without the luxury of electricity, and you’ll quickly see why.
The most amazing thing about urban survival flashlights is that most of us aren’t properly equipped with them. We only realize our mistake when it’s too late — when we desperately need light. Flashlights are relatively inexpensive and readily available. If you’re just beginning to gather survival gear, this is an excellent place to start.
How to Choose the Best Urban Survival Flashlight
We’ve listed five major use categories — power failure, camping, hiking, car travel, and emergency preparation — but if you choose your urban survival flashlights carefully, your strategy can be simple and effective.
Here’s the Hunker Bunker plan:
Keep small, inexpensive flashlights strategically located throughout your home. You’ll especially want one alongside each bed, in the kitchen, and in the family room. Battery-powered lights are fine, but you will want to check those batteries regularly and replace them when needed. You’ll also want to keep a supply of the right-sized batteries on hand. One of my flashlights operates on solar and/or crank. Another uses a rechargeable battery that can be charged via a USB connector. Two others are battery power only.
Where to get the best urban survival flashlights
You’ll find flashlights in all sorts of stores — everyplace from Walmart to Home Depot. And any light (with power) is better than no light at all. One thing to definitely do: Test the light to make sure it is working. Try it in the dark to get a feel for how well it performs. You might even drop it to see if it holds up to impact.
I ran out of patience with standard flashlights, so the cheap models aren’t my favorite — but, hey, if they work for you … that’s what counts. Fact is, you don’t have to spend a whole lot more to upgrade from a junk model to a trustworthy, well-made light.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Survival Frog is a site worth checking for all sorts of “survival” gear. I won’t even try to list what’s available, but if you enter “Flashlights” in the search box they will pop up. Check the mini and the tactical (Tact) lights. They make an excellent combination. The mini for your pocket and the tactical light in your pack.
- Amazon carries a generous selection of lights, but be careful. I like (and own) both the solar hand-crank light and the J5 tactical light.
- REI runs on the expensive side for lights, but I do use a pair of headlamps I purchased there. The great thing about REI is the ability to walk in a store and walk out with your gear.
Whichever light system you choose … don’t wait to get going with this. Trust me … a few days without electricity and you’ll be glad you have a flashlight that works.
A few more tips: You seldom need to leave a light on all the time … even when you’re hiking a trail. I like to use the light to illuminate the path, then switch if off until I need it again (normally, you’ll have light from the heavens to help out). Keep candles available for hours of lighting, but draw power from your batteries only when you really need to. And don’t forget to keep a supply of fresh batteries on hand.