Taking It Lightly – Flashlight EDC Basics
If you asked me what piece of EDC gear I use most often, I bet you’d be surprised to hear it isn’t my knife. Though we usually think of the pocket knife as the corner stone of the EDC community, the piece of gear that I find I utilize more than any other is my flashlight. You don’t carry one? Well, why not?! Did you know there are flashlights of all sizes, materials, battery type, led type, and almost any option you can think of? You didn’t? Well, let’s get into some basic types and fix that.
The first thing to consider when picking a flashlight for daily carry is how big you want that light to be. Will it be a tiny keychain light (I have one as a backup), or a full sized duty light like you’d see a police officer carry? That size will dictate what kind of battery your light will use. The most common would be AAA, AA, and CR123 (a lithium ion battery common in cameras). Some choose the more common AAA or AA because of how easy they are to find and how cheap they are. Personally, for my daily carry I prefer a light that uses the CR123 battery. The CR is able to produce more brightness (measured in lumens) for a longer period of time than its counterparts. Some lights will also utilize 2 batteries such as 2 AA’s or 2 CR123’s.
The second consideration will be light output. How bright is your light? This measurement is usually measured in lumens and you’ll see most brands advertise how many lumens the output of the light is as a marketing point. However, buyer beware. Cheap lights claiming to have ultra-high lumens are usually BS. If you see a 20 dollar light putting out 1200 lumens. I’d bet money it’s not even close. For your average day to day tasks a light that goes up to 500 lumens would do just about everything. The lower settings (5-50 or so) can do most of your small close up lighting, like seeing text in a dimly lit room. (100-300) can handle most other things like illuminating a dark room. The higher (4-500) lumen output is bright enough to light up a back yard, large internal room, or just about anything and will be bright enough to use defensively. There are lights commonly available with 1k lumens (legit lumens) and more, but I don’t find the need for those higher settings in my EDC. I have a 1k lumen light as my bed stand light.
Prices on lights vary from cheap “Made in China” offerings that can run $10 all the way to hand made custom turned light tubes out of premium materials like Damascus steel, titanium, timascus, copper and many others. A few good brands to check out in the more affordable side of things are Streamlight, Fenix, Eagtac, Olight, 4Sevens, and Nitecore. They’ll handle nearly anything and most of the lights are under $100. For you out there with a few more dollars to spend, check out Lenslight, Hanko, McGizmo, Sinner, or Okluma.
Give a flashlight a try for your EDC, I think you’ll find you use it more than expected!