Self-Reliance

Best EDC Flashlight for Survival Prepardness: An In-Depth Look

I often get asked why I carry a flashlight as part of my every day carry.  The simple answer is that I don’t like to be in the dark unless I am asleep.  This comment generally evokes some slightly uncomfortable laughter until I explain a bit further.

I begin by pointing out how much time most people spend inside buildings where there is no available outside light if the power fails.  Most people nod and there is usually someone who mentions that almost all buildings these days have battery-powered emergency lights.  I agree.  Many building codes now require emergency lighting.

The problem is those battery backup lighting systems are notorious for being badly maintained. Many will only last for a few minutes and the rest will never even brighten.

How, I ask, will you find your way out of an intensely dark situation, with panic mounting around you, and no real sense of direction?  Most of those who start this conversation have a sudden realization that they could be left in the dark as well.

That is where my EDC flashlight comes into play.  Sure, it is handy when I am traveling and staying in a strange hotel, or at night when I am fumbling in the dark for car keys, and other mundane uses.  But the real reason I carry that light is for that unforeseen situation where light could make a difference in surviving a bad situation.

I then get a few questions about which light I prefer, and I will get to that in a moment.  First, let’s look at some choices of what I consider to be the top four best EDC flashlights.


Best EDC Flashlight: My List

This list represents my picks of the best choices for everyday care flashlights.  These are in no particular order as I feel that any of them are well worth the price and are dependable enough to serve the purpose. 

Olight S2R II EDC LED Flashlight Review

OLIGHT S2R II 1150 Lumens USB Magnetic Rechargeable Variable-output Side...

Olight, until recently, has been relatively unknown.  In recent years, reviews and product testing have found the Olight products to be real contenders in the EDC and tactical flashlight markets.  A growing system of dealers and Olight’s presence on Amazon and other online markets have gained them a foothold in the flashlight markets.

The Olight S2R II flashlight makes my list of every day carry flashlights easily.  It meets all my requirements and more with the feature-rich design.  This small flashlight has a simple design that doesn’t look “tactical,” and its size makes it easy to carry fulltime.

  • ANSI/NEMA FLT-2009 Tested
  • CW LED unit
  • 1150 lumens
  • TIR lens for a perfectly balanced beam
  • Includes one 3200 mAh rechargeable lithium battery
  • Magnetic cordless charging
  • Battery condition indicator on the side switch
  • Includes optional USB charging cable
  • Five brightness levels plus a strobe function
  • Weighs only 6.4 ounces
  • 3.5 inches long
  • Less than one inch in diameter
  • All aluminum construction

Olights get consistently high marks from other users.  The attention to detail and the quality control exercised during manufacturing are proven out by the experiences related across the board by those who have purchased Olight products. 

Pros

  • Tough and reliable.
  • Clean and efficient design
  • Great battery life
  • Cordless magnetic charging is a great feature

Cons

  • Olight customer service can be a problem
  • Magnetic charger won’t work with other Olight products.

Last update on 2020-10-09 at 07:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SOG Dark Energy Flashlight Review

SOG Dark Energy Flashlight DE-01-188 Lumens, One CR-123A, Annodized...

SOG made a name for themselves designing and producing some of the finest knives available on the market.   Many people swear by the SOG line of knives and won’t carry anything else.  SOG has taken that concept into the flashlight field and produced a line of flashlights with the same attention to detail and ideas.

The SOG Dark Energy Flashlight DE-01 is a perfect example of that kind of engineering forethought. This is truly a tactical style every day carry flashlight.  The SOG Dark Energy DE-01 flashlight offers all the features anyone could want in an everyday carry flashlight as well as a few that make it a dependable survival flashlight as well.

  • Cree R5 Cool White LED bulb
  • 687 lumens on high settings
  • Optical grade polycarbonate lens
  • Four operational modes from 100 percent power to forty percent power
  • Tap switch mode changes
  • Momentary on feature built into the switch
  • Tactical strobe setting
  • IPX-7 protection for water immersion for 30 minutes to a depth of one meter
  • 6061 T6 Aluminum housing
  • Mil-Spec Type III hard-anodized
  • Aggressive checking on the barrel for grip security
  • Belt Clip
  • Uses a rechargeable CR-123A battery
  • Length overall 3.8 inches
  • Weighs 3 ounces
  • Runtime 80 minutes on the high setting
  • Surefire E2D Defender

The SOG reputation for design and dependability reflection the way those who carry this SOG flashlight respond in comments about the product.  Consistently, this flashlight is ranked high among other flashlights and by users. 

Pros

  • Well designed and the heavily checkered barrel makes the flashlight secure and easy to handle even in extreme conditions
  • Tough flashlight that can withstand a lot of abuse on the job
  • Not the brightest flashlight but the beam is tight and focused
  • Exceptional customer service

Cons

  • The switches tend to fail with a lot of use
  • The pocket clip is a weak point

Last update on 2020-10-09 at 07:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Streamlight 88054 ProTac Review

Streamlight 88054 ProTac HL USB 1000 Lumen Professional Tactical Flashlight...

In the last few years I worked as a professional firefighter, I carried a Streamlight every day I was on duty, attached to the front of my bunker gear.  It literally went through hell with me and never let me down.  Streamlight has a reputation among emergency first responders for building flashlights that are rugged and dependable.

Streamlight has migrated those same characteristics to the Protac HL USB Flashlight, and it makes my list of every day carry flashlights for more than just fond memories from my earlier days.  The USB recharge capability is a handy feature in any light and more so in an every day carry light that may need recharging away from home.

  • C4 LED bulb is shock resistant and includes solid-state power regulation
  • Produces up to 1,000 lumens and a 219-meter beam
  • Fully charged the battery will last 1.5 hours on the high setting
  • Four mode operation, High, Medium, and Low beam plus tactical strobe
  • Uses two CR123A batteries, or a rechargeable 18650 battery
  • USB recharging recessed into a sliding sleeve to protect the flashlight
  • Tail switch design
  • Aircraft aluminum construction
  • Type II Mil-Spec anodizing
  • Glass lens, gasket sealed
  • Removable pocket clip
  • Length 6.5 inches
  • Weight – 7.2 ounces
  • Package includes the flashlight, battery, USB charging cable, car charger, and wall charger

You won’t be disappointed with this Streamlight flashlight.  It is a bit bigger than the other flashlights. That slight size difference is more than offset by the amazing runtime you get from the rechargeable batteries and the capability to recharge your every day carry flashlight on the go in your car or from your laptop.

Pros

  • Consistent high quality and dependability
  • Small enough to carry comfortably but packs a lot of power and long run time
  • Extremely bright light
  • The USB charger for the car is a great idea for keeping the flashlight charged on the go

Cons

  • The batteries are expensive
  • Customer service can be a problem

Last update on 2020-10-09 at 07:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fenix PD35 V2.0 Tactical Flashlight Review

Fenix PD35 V2.0 2018 Upgrade 1000 Lumen Flashlight Built-in USB...

I first discovered Fenix Flashlight when I had my store open a few years ago.  I saw the first Fenix lights at ShotShow in Las Vegas and immediately put in an order.  I have carried and used Fenix flashlights regularly since that time.   I still carry a Fenix PD35 Tactical Flashlight as my every day carry light.

Fenix lights feature rugged construction, top of the line materials, and an eye to functionality that makes them ideal flashlights for almost any circumstance.  The PD35 meets my criteria across the board.  The quality and dependability of these flashlights keep them in my pocket all the time.

  • 1000 lumen output
  • Cree XP-L HI V3 light
  • 273 yards of beam illumination
  • Tail switch design keeps accidental turn-ons almost unheard of
  • Tap operation for switching through modes
  • Uses two CR123A batteries or an 18650 rechargeable lithium battery
  • 180 minutes of runtime on high or as much as 430 hours on low mode
  • Digitally managed output for constant brightness no matter the battery condition
  • Reverse polarity protection to protect the bulb and electronics
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum construction
  • Type III hard-anodized finish
  • Glass lens with anti-reflective coatings
  • Waterproof to IPX-8 standard up to 6.5 feet submersion for 30 minutes
  • Length overall 5.4 inches
  • Weighs on 3.1 ounces
  • Built-in USB rechargeability
  • Package includes the flashlight, recharging cable, rechargeable battery, pocket clip, and soft carry case

I have carried the earlier versions of this light for years and have never been disappointed in my choice.  I still have several older models in my spare kit drawer and keep some version of a Fenix flashlight in my bugout bags, my get home bags, and my other outdoor gear.  There is even one in my range bag.  I just ordered the Version 2 with the onboard recharge capability.

Pros

  • Very bright light with great distance
  • Tough and durable construction
  • No as expensive as some other comparable lights
  • USB charging is extremely useful when traveling or on the go
  • The design of this light makes it easy to carry every day

Cons

  • Uses CR123A batteries which can be expensive to replace and hard to find in some places
  • The soft holster is almost useless

Last update on 2020-10-09 at 07:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What do I look for in an EDC Flashlight?

When choosing an everyday carry flashlight, there are some features that I consider.  For a flashlight that I intend to carry every day, these features are non-negotiable.

If I may need to depend on that light to get my family and me out of a dangerous or very dark situation, I want the comfort of knowing that I have the best possible tool in my pocket for the job.

  • Reliability – When I push the switch, I want light.  As part of my reliability test, I want the components of that light to be of the highest quality, the materials from which it is made rugged and durable, and top-quality manufacturing practices.
  • Brightness – When the world goes dark, the more light I can throw on the situation, the better.  I want to see as far as I can and as much area as I can illuminate.  If the situation calls for it, I want to be able to blind an opponent momentarily from a distance.
  • Battery life – When you need light, you can never be sure how long the situation will call for that every day carry flashlight to work.  A good EDC flashlight will have several power modes that can provide light while conserving battery power.  The type battery you carry in your EDC flashlight can affect how much time you may have before the battery fails.
  • Maintenance and repair – A good every day carry flashlight may represent a considerable investment for some people.  The ability to get spare parts, to make effective repairs, and do the proper maintenance on your flashlight is as crucial as performing the same sorts of tasks on your EDC concealed carry gun.

When the Lights Go Out

No matter where you are when the lights go out, it is a good idea to have a source of portable light handy.  That is why having a dependable flashlight as part of your everyday carry is so important.

Choosing which light to carry is almost as personal a choice as which every day concealed carry gun you choose.  Making that choice is up to you.  You know your needs and wants better than anyone.  I hope that my insights and the information in this article make that decision a little easier.

If you found this article of help, or if you have comments or experiences that you can share about every day carry flashlights, please do so in the comments section below.  Your experiences and knowledge can help up all as we seek to be better prepared for the unforeseen.

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