“Hi, my name is Todd and I’m flashaholic.”
I’m addicted. Is there a recovery program called Flashlights Anonymous?
Dirt Road Girl stumbles upon my hidden stash, rolls eyes, and offers up a little prayer for intervention. Or reaches for an ink pen only to find it’s, you guessed it, a freaking flashlight!
Just last week, a student asked me if that was a flashlight clipped into my front pocket as I strolled past her desk. Even at school, I can’t seem to break the habit. Is it a disease? Maybe it’s the choices I’ve made. The company I keep. Maybe, as an infant, I was breast-fed too long or not enough. Seriously, I’m drawn to lights like a moth to a flame. I see no way of breaking free. Nor do I intend to. This a great time of the year to feed my addiction.
I own 3 or 4 pair of reading glasses with lights. These get the most use of any of my torches. During lessons in my classroom, I often turn the overhead lights off for easy viewing on the active board. To help a student at his/her desk in low light situations, I often illuminate their work with my LightSpecs. At first, kids made fun of my “glowing glasses”. Now, its old hat for Mr. Walker to light up their work space.
We recently lost power at school and Mr. Murphy showed up. The backup generator failed. My interior room with no windows was pitch dark. I simply reached up, hit the switches near my temples, and quickly navigated to my “get home bag” and retrieved a larger flashlight. The howling stopped when I flipped on my handheld torch.
By far, my LightSpecs see the most use. They’re not a defensive tool per se. Wearing them switched “on” would give an aiming point for a gun-wielding thug. A tactical flashlight is needed for self-defense applications. I’m not a fan of tacticool stuff. I want my stuff to be functional, dependable, camouflaged (to appear un-tacticool) yet up for the task. Depending on your budget and individual preferences, there are many lights to choose from. Before buying, keep these tips in mind.
- Size: You want a torch that fits in the palm of your hand. Like a concealed carry gun, if it too large, you’re likely to leave it at home. It should easily fit in your pants pocket or attach to your belt or purse. A 3 D-cell Maglite makes a great blunt force object, but not an everyday carry item.
- Lumens: Most experts recommend 100 + Lumens. I own a couple of Streamlight flashlights. I acquired my first while on the road, literally. The flashlight gods dropped it in the middle of the road last year on our way home from school. I yelled, “FLASHLIGHT!”, did an immediate U-Turn, and salvaged this light from the heavens. DRG shook her head in disbelief at my addiction and driving. The strobe feature is designed to disorient and confuse an attacker with 125 Lumens. The battery is rechargeable. No need to get all the bells and whistles. Press on, press off with enough Lumens to temporarily blind a threat is all that’s needed to give you time to fight or flee. Here’s the charging cradle I just received…with a spare battery always trickle charged.
- Construction: If all you can afford is a plastic flashlight, buy it. True tactical lights are lightweight metal, waterproof, and durable. If employed in striking with the bezel end, it’s sure to leave a mark on the threat.
- Sticker shock: You don’t have to mortgage you home to buy a quality torch. I’ve got some disposable lights – the ones you buy that come three to a pack at the box stores for 10 bucks. For a quality light, you’re going to have to spring for a little more. I just ordered a few more of the Streamlight 88031 Protac Tactical Flashlight 2L. A 180 Lumen light for $44.00. I use mine for EDC – Every Day Carry. It clips into my left front pocket. The other two will make great stocking stuffers. Correction. DRG has just added one to her purse.
- For more research, check out CandlePowerForums, a site with more information than you can shake a flashlight at. That’s right. There are entire sites that feed my addiction.
- Button Lights. Love these too! DRG has a small button light on her key chain. You can find these at camping stores, online or brick and mortar. They’re useful for finding stuff like keyholes or dropped items. I carry a button light that is designed to clip on web gear on my “get home bag”. It emits a blue light powered by a small LED bulb. Clipped on my boonie hat, it offers just the right amount of non-white light when getting set up in my hunting stands. I hate that I can’t give you a link for ordering. I’ve had this one for three years and never changed the battery. They say the mind is the second thing to go.
- Pak-lite LED Flashlight. I first heard of these on a review at SurvivalBlog. They seem amazing, tough, and long-lasting. I’ve got two in my Amazon cart now. These little LEDs on a battery get rave reviews from folks. EagerGridlessBeaver Blog has an extensive write-up on testing these simple lights. You’ll want one after reading it.
- All purpose weather radio/flashlight/lantern. Get one with a backup hand crank for emergency use.
- Head Lamps. They offer hands-free lighting. I’ve got them in all our bug out bags. I use the one in my tool box when doing handyman work in dark places.
The Light Emitting Diode is your friend. Stock up and stash ‘em. And don’t forget the batteries.
Still doing the stuff,
P.S. Please pass this along to your friends. What’s your light “drug” of choice?