Our eyes are the most effective way to perceive the world, any type of failure or impairment severely limits lifestyle and potential survival. Due to this, our evolution dictated that our sense is to be unobstructed to ensure survival. This is why when you are in the darkness, it becomes easy to be afraid, and easier to find yourself lost within it. As such, humanity developed new ways to create a way to see through the darkness.
The concept has itself evolved over the years. From a torch to a candle, to the lantern, to the latest item of the modern age; a flashlight. In a bugout bag situation, having something that can augment or help your sight, will be invaluable. Something that could allow you to light the way in the darkness, or help you accomplish whatever task in the night, it might just be a godsend to have a flashlight. So let us explore the best bug out bag flashlight for the avid and novice prepper alike.
Battery Powered? Solar? Or Manual?
There are a variety of flashlights that you can purchase, all of which have their drawbacks and their advantages. However, one of the most important aspects you should keep in mind is what will run your flashlight long-term. Batteries? The sun? Your own physical movement? There are pros and cons for each.
Battery powered is the standard of the traditional flashlight. These flashlights are usually the brightest, as they have access to more energy and last for a good amount of time. Some studies have shown that certain brands of batteries can last up to 24 hours straight. The only disadvantage that is evident in this way of energy is due to the issue of having to constantly exchange the batteries. This in itself can become costly as higher end flashlights need bigger batteries to operate, and might need even more of those batteries to continue working for a set amount of time.
Solar powered flashlights are relatively inexpensive and does not require the operator to consistently exchange batteries. The pros of this item are as you can imagine, as long as it gets light from the sun it will function. The only cons from this type of flashlight are that it is not the brightest unless fully charged, and sometimes the sun does not come out, meaning there is no way to recharge the battery. Common problems are also that the solar cells discharge unless kept in continuous sunlight and the solar array itself will wear out after a finite amount of time. In the end, a fully solar powered flashlight will completely be countered in stormy weather.
Human powered or manual powered flashlights are dependent on the human operator. Rain or shine, batteries or not, this type of flashlight will be able to work as long as there is someone there to charge it up. Due to the nature of this way of charging, this could be arguably the most beneficial way to charge a flashlight in a survival situation as it can charge rain or shine. The big problem in this type of manual powered energy is the need to constantly charge the light. In some cases even if you do, the light is not bright enough for a long amount of time.
LED or Incandescent?
LED stands for "Light Emitting Diodes", they were developed at the turn of the 20th century and have evolved to be one of the most used ways to create light in our modern world. LED's are incredibly efficient and inexpensive, as a LED draws in about 1/6 of the power used by a normal incandescent light. As well as, the ability to be used in different colors. The difference is that a LED sometimes does offer the same amount of light as a normal incandescent bulb. Although it is good to keep in mind that the amount of LED's needed to create that light is more than a single one. They also seldom need replacing if they were to burn out, but if they do it might be difficult to find a replacement. Still, the energy draw from this type of light is low, allowing for batteries to last longer.
Incandescent bulbs are what is traditionally used on an everyday basis, found in most light fixtures since the turn of the 20th century. These bulbs are larger and come in many different variations depending on the situation. It is distinct to say that in flashlights it is very useful as an alternative to LED's, due to their luminosity. These bulbs are still subject to burning out and breaking as normal ones often do, but are readily available to replace if the need arises.
In the end
A bug out bag flashlight should be both high quality and functional. The very random nature of the world might lead you to learn how to expect anything and everything a survival situation can throw at you. A good prepper will have a plan and pack with what he or she thinks would be best to have. A flashlight is especially dependent on this pre-planning and could mean the difference between whether you'll have a flashlight when you really need it or not.