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Thread: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

  1. #1

    Default Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    What features make a good SHTF/survival light? And what flashlight do you think best fits this description? Optional: What batteries would you use in this flashlight?

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    Flashaholic whiteoakjoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    For me (in my situation) I like having AA lights running eneloops. (mostly Quarks) I keep a AA headlamps and 2XAA flashlights in my kits. I have a AA EDC (running 14500) light and Jetbeam PA40 in the truck, to complements those.

    My headlamps are a big part of my system, because they give me the most options for use, I can do about anything with a headlamp. So the Fenix HL21's and HL30 and Zebralight H51's are the core of my SHTF lights, along with fenix headbands for other lights.

    The newer 4XAA to 8XAA's really do a great job of holding their own with more exotic battery types and its easier for me to get extra batteries in my area without having to place orders for batteries. I use 123a/16340, and 18650 lights but my kit lights are AA's stocked with eneloops and my bug out location (cabin) has a solar system to charge automotive batteries that can run the Nitecore I4 charger, and I have a I2 charger for the truck on order.

    For me being able to run to the hardware store in my rural location and pick up batteries like energizer lithiums off the shelf is a plus. And in a pinch can grab a big pack of alkaline duracells. The 123a's run 10 bucks a pair in the stores here! So I feed those lights on ordered batteries or 16340's but can't count on a large supply unless I make bulk orders. The shelf life of AA lithium matches those batteies so it negates the shelf life issue for me.

    I can't tell you that "My Way" is the best way but it works for me. I am really pleased with the output of the high end AA lights and those batteries are available for other itmes that I need to run. (one of my pet peevs with the exotic batteries I have yet to see an 18650 radio, walkie talkie, or other needed item but if i do find them I will get some.)
    I also like the fact that I can get cheeper "throw away" LED or Incan lights in 2xAA format cheeper than other battery type to stash around the house, cabin or vehicle.
    Last edited by whiteoakjoe; 04-09-2013 at 06:55 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    From my limited knowledge of flashlights, I would say a good AA light with a long runtime low mode and a boatload of rechargeable AA's and a few packages of alkalines for backup. Having multiple flashlights is a good idea as well. Out of my dozen or so lights I own, if i had to pick one, it would be the Fenix LD41. It has good lumen spacing and the low (5 lumens) mode will run 160 hours.

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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    I like the Peak stainless steel Logan 17500 ... with the adapter set, you can run AA, AAA, (R)CR123A, 17500 / 14500 / 10440, among other power options

    Another great (if rather expensive) option is a Malkoff M30 / VME combo .... With the appropriate variety of E-series compatible tubes, this can be powered on AA, CR123A, RCR123A, 14500, even 18650

    Both of the above options are simple, reliable, and durable - excellent qualities for use as emergency torches.

    Rechargeable cells and a solar charger (plus a stock of lithium primaries) are good accessories to add, as well
    Last edited by archimedes; 04-09-2013 at 06:57 PM.
    ... is the archimedes peak

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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Malkoff M61 (or 61L/LL) in a 1x18350 P60 host with a few 18mm ID body extenders to run anything from 1xCR123 up to 2x18650 or 2xAA, and just about anything in between. Alternately, the same setup, but with a Nailbender 3.6-16V P60 in the light, and a Nailbender .8-3V P60 (which Dave rates as safe with 2xAA Lithium primaries even though they hit 3.4v peak when fresh) in a secure carrier.

  6. #6

    Default Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    I'll +1 with the AA folks, along with efficient, low lumens and moonlight mode, which will give you 200-400 hrs on a AA alkaline with enough illumination to handle close task work with dark-adapted eyes... 0.3 and 3 lms are my most favorite camping modes. Quark AAXs (various flavors/tints) are also my mainstay - with the ability to run 0.9-4.2v you can tune performance by the grade of fuel - from full (R)CR123 equivalency to household AAA & 9v scavenging options... and of course solar charging options for Li-ions and NiMh. Also highly prefer Quarks for its field-serviceable/by-passable mechanical clicky, and ability to Lego for redundant parts and other batt configs.

    I used to be a diehard headlamp guy but now have gone minimalist with DIY lantern and "neck lamp" wallet accessories for camping - they're about 75% as good as the purpose-built device for about 5% of the weight and bulk... And of course, on my person 24/7 - what's that worth?


    CLICKY

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    Flashaholic* hiuintahs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Post #2, Jetbeam PA40 and post #3, Fenix LD41...........are pretty much the same. I love my Jetbeam PA40.

    I think any light will work for SHTF scenario as long as it uses rechargeable batteries. And as long as the light you pick has a few modes so that you can turn it down and conserve battery power. For that reason AA lights and Eneloop rechargeables are proabably the simplest to deal with. You may also want a single AA light too (backup?) or easy pocket carry.

    The question then boils down to how to get the batteries recharged if the power stays out for a long time. Personally I have a LaCrosse BC-700 charger and an adapter that converts 12v down to the 3v that the charger uses. That way any solar or vehicle power will keep me going. There are also some USB type of chargers and you can always get a 12v to usb adapter.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Here's my setup which I'm going to use for camping, and all the same for a SHTF situation:

    Bored SureFire 6P with A19 extender >> Inside is an AA sleeve with two Enloops driving a Malkoff
    M61WLL 70 lumens. I can run AA's or break the 6P down to run 18650's. Although I doubt I would
    do this since finding AA's can drive this dropin MUCH longer than lithium. Ironic yes, but 18650's
    are terrible for low draw applications. But at least there's some redundancy.

    ZebraLight H51C >> Backup light, also runs on AA. Would run it on low as a trekking light attached
    to the front of my backpack shoulder strap.
    EagleTac TX25C2 >> Secondary light using 18650's which I would use only if breakthrough lighting
    or signaling is needed. 950+ OTF lumens.
    Two 9V Pak-Lite's >> Would essentially use them with a diffuser to light up my camp area. Last
    resort backup.
    Six panel PowerFilm 4X AA solar charger >> Keeps me running, folds up nice, weighs about the
    same as two Enloop XX's!
    Verbatim 4X AA battery bank with USB adapter. Attached is a CottonPickers 90/300/480/700mAh
    lithium USB charger.
    Griffin car power port USB adapter >> Can be used to drive the CottonPicker.
    Four spare Enloop XX's >> With four additional in the battery bank.
    Three spare Panasonic 3400mAh 18650's.
    Spare McClicky replacement.

    To lighten the load I could probably just go with one spare 18650 and one Pak-Lite. The AA setup is
    paramount so all the rest would stay. Really depends how long I anticipate being out, the situation,
    where I'm heading, and, sunlight viability.




    Bigger image: http://oi50.tinypic.com/vpyask.jpg








    Any questions, let me know!
    Last edited by ledmitter_nli; 04-12-2013 at 01:53 PM.

  9. #9

    Post Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    This is something special!

    Great idea and a nice package, I certainly would learn from this and build myself a set

    Thanks for sharing, ledmitter.


    Quote Originally Posted by ledmitter_nli View Post
    Here's my setup which I'm going to use for camping, and all the same for a SHTF situation:......

  10. #10

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by conman View Post
    What features make a good SHTF/survival light? And what flashlight do you think best fits this description? Optional: What batteries would you use in this flashlight?
    A SHTF or survival light must work every time, even if you drop it. Few Chinese lights can be trusted to do this. This site is full of posts by people who dropped their lgiht and now it won't turn on. Surefire, Streamlight, and Malkoff make excellent lights that stand up to incredible abuse. Specifically, I could recommend Surefire's LX2, E2L, P2X Fury, E1B, E1L, and EB1 for serious, life or death use.

    As for batteries, realistically..... CR123a batteries now last dozens of hours in reliable, multiple mode lights. My Surefire dual mode Fury gets like 50 hours of low mode, which is used 99% of the time, with the option to blast my yard with 'spotlight mode' when I need it for seconds at a time. My single battery E1B gets 30+ hours on low mode from a single battery.

    If something terrible happens, and all I have is the E1B in my pocket and the LX2 in my Get Home Bag, along with 4 spare batteries, I have over 200 hours of light available. If I use 2 hours each night for getting around and doing my business, that is 100 nights of usable light.

    I went a little crazy buying up 3 cell Surefires, because I could use them with a pair of AA batteries, or 3 or less CR123 if I chose. Then I looked at what I was spending on 'collectable' lights, P60 dropins, etc. and realized I could spend all that money on a bucket full of disposable CR123 with a 10 year shelf life and have a much better setup. It's fun to get complicated with solar chargers, P60 dropins and what not, but for the weight and cost you could just carry more disposables.

    A good quality, dual mode, reliable CR123 light, and a spare light for just in case, and a box of batteries should get you through any survivable emergency.
    Last edited by MatthewSB; 04-10-2013 at 04:28 AM.
    P3X, EB2T, EB1T, E1B, E1L
    In my pocket: EB1T, Streamlight MicroStream

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    Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    When I see questions pertaining to when the SHTF survival, I wonder... what kind of scenario are people considering? Surviving in the comforts of home without electricity for a few days, backpacking along the interstates for 50 miles- to civilization that still has power, or moving off into the woods to live off squirrels.

    How long will survival by flashlight be a necessity? Seems to me, that question will determine to a great extent what equipment will be packed, needed, and carried.

    Potable drinking water is pretty important, and can be sterilized with UV light, and despite the fact that flashlight and battery redundancy seems to be considered by all, I don't recall seeing a UV drop-in, or a UV SteriPen on anyone's list of "survival" lights.

    Question... is there a p60 dropin eqivalent to the SteriPen?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    When I see questions pertaining to when the SHTF survival, I wonder... what kind of scenario are people considering? Surviving in the comforts of home without electricity for a few days, backpacking along the interstates for 50 miles- to civilization that still has power, or moving off into the woods to live off squirrels.

    How long will survival by flashlight be a necessity? Seems to me, that question will determine to a great extent what equipment will be packed, needed, and carried.
    This is what I don't get. Most people who "prepare" lack a realistic idea of what they are preparing for. Look at people in other countries dealing with real SHTF type events - most have very very little in the form of "gear" but survive somehow.

    Flashlights are great, like knives and canteens, but you have to know how to function without one. Anyone who can't figure out how to make a fire without matches or a lighter, or build a shelter to stay warm without a tent is pretty screwed if they are ever seperated from their equipment through loss, confiscation, theft, or a simple accident. There are Primitive Skills clubs all over, whose members are extremely helpful to people wanting to learn.
    Last edited by MatthewSB; 04-10-2013 at 05:06 AM.
    P3X, EB2T, EB1T, E1B, E1L
    In my pocket: EB1T, Streamlight MicroStream

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    Flashaholic* aginthelaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    after seeing ledmitter's pics i changed my mind about putting in my 2 cents! just the same since during hurricane sandy, i carried my mag-lite ml125 almost exclusively tucked in my belt across my belly. it has a tail cap with a window punch. can be used for defense (although my neighbor and i racked a round in a remington 870 when we caught some urchins trying to steal an elderly neighbor's generator: yelling at them and shining a light on them wasn't deterring them), and in my fanny pack i carried c-cells as a back up. i found a brand new military green targus backpack at a flea market sunday, and after i put my laptop down, i'm going to start redoing my go bag thanks to you. the kiddies had inova 1aa lights in their fanny packs when we walked around the neighborhood, along with juice boxes and granola bars, bandaids and whistles. they even took the rechargeable batteries out of their wii remotes and carried them as backups without me having to tell them

  14. #14

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    If I may, I would said that Knowledge is "equally" important as equipment,

    But sometimes all you need was knowing the right way to get things done.



    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewSB View Post
    This is what I don't get. Most people who "prepare" lack a realistic idea of what they are preparing for. Look at people in other countries dealing with real SHTF type events - most have very very little in the form of "gear" but survive somehow.
    ....

  15. #15

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewSB View Post
    This is what I don't get. Most people who "prepare" lack a realistic idea of what they are preparing for. Look at people in other countries dealing with real SHTF type events - most have very very little in the form of "gear" but survive somehow.

    Flashlights are great, like knives and canteens, but you have to know how to function without one. Anyone who can't figure out how to make a fire without matches or a lighter, or build a shelter to stay warm without a tent is pretty screwed if they are ever seperated from their equipment through loss, confiscation, theft, or a simple accident. There are Primitive Skills clubs all over, whose members are extremely helpful to people wanting to learn.
    Don't underestimate people and their capabilities Most people who "prepare" are actually way ahead of the pack anyway. They've probably thought about backup plans to their plans in case of "what if" scenarios.

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    Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by ledmitter_nli View Post
    Don't underestimate people and their capabilities Most people who "prepare" are actually way ahead of the pack anyway. They've probably thought about backup plans to their plans in case of "what if" scenarios.
    I agree... those who prepare are ahead of the curve. Often when we hear of disaster scenarios, the first thing that goes to pot is sanitation and clean water. That is then followed by sickness and disease.

    When I think SHTF survival lighting, I think ZIPPO lighter. It gives light, builds FIRE which gives warmth, sterilizes water, and kills parasites when you use it to cook food.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Vary much agree with the single light plus backup and a bunch of batteries approach. Preparedness is mostly mindset, IMO. Beware the gear junkies, especially if they're out of shape and rarely go outside.

    Just for fun, I like to count the number of knives/edged tools included in peoples "bug out bag" gear lists. I've come to believe the degree of actual preparedness is inversely correlated with the number of pointy/sharpy/cutty things on the list. That is, after the first two.

    Common: folding knife, fixed blade (small AND large), multi-tool, machete/golok, folding shovel, folding saw, scissors, and utility knife.

    Same with number of different means people carry to start a fire.

    I totally get redundancy, but 4 or 5 blades? Really?

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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    If I could only have one SHTF survival flashlight it would be a PakLite with cyan LEDs and one extra battery. See avitar. That would give me not only two thousand hours of useful runtime that will fit in the tightest Levi pocket but it would also be a light that would be invisible to rogue cops with night vision devices. Same goes for MIL night vision devices. Been there, done that, got the smelly tee shirt. I can hide better than anyone can shoot.

    "The better part of valor is discretion" -- John Fallstaff.

    Also, if you don't have enough water and food to carry you through the runtime of your emergency lights, stacks of batteries are worthless.

    FWIW I have over three years worth of food, an endless supply of water and five ways to cook when the grid is down. Lots more lights and cells, too.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 04-10-2013 at 02:45 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Oh, and not to take away from the exhaustive and comprehensive setup shown by ledmitter_nli!

    That's just cool.

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    Flashaholic whiteoakjoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    When I see questions pertaining to when the SHTF survival, I wonder... what kind of scenario are people considering? Surviving in the comforts of home without electricity for a few days, backpacking along the interstates for 50 miles- to civilization that still has power, or moving off into the woods to live off squirrels.

    How long will survival by flashlight be a necessity? Seems to me, that question will determine to a great extent what equipment will be packed, needed, and carried.

    Potable drinking water is pretty important, and can be sterilized with UV light, and despite the fact that flashlight and battery redundancy seems to be considered by all, I don't recall seeing a UV drop-in, or a UV SteriPen on anyone's list of "survival" lights.

    Question... is there a p60 dropin eqivalent to the SteriPen?
    I would not trust a p60 drop in to do what a StriPen will if they could perform that task manufacturers would tout it in advertising. But I do not trust a SteriPen to do what a good micro-filter and boil will do, and batteries are not required.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by dss_777 View Post
    Oh, and not to take away from the exhaustive and comprehensive setup shown by ledmitter_nli!

    That's just cool.
    I just try my best. Thanks!

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    Flashaholic ToyTank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    IMO a small close quarter light with low setting and long runtimes is essential kit you can not do without. I have a zebralight SC51 on me and H51c in my bag. I like to stick with AA eneloops and one full set of energizer lithium. My CB and other kit use AAs.

    If you have the extra space and weight capacity I think a really thrower like a short XML2 mag mod is best. P60 style lights get a get bit more throw but they will still be floody because of small reflector

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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    I also wonder what OP means by SHTF. Because If faced with SHTF in an EXTREME sense your flashlight situation would have many viable options and be an inexpensive piece of the puzzle. Long storage food packets (expensive) and heat are HUGE obstacles! I consider the flashlight situation in SHTF almost as easy as your clothes situation (EASY). Almost unworthy of being in the SHTF conversation it's so easy. Food, far from easy

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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Agree. Id rather have a fishing rod or my speargun than a flashlight in a shtf situation. Mankind have survived for ages with no flashlight. Not so long with no food :-)

  25. #25

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    My SHTF light is a 6P with A19 extender, housing a Malkoff M61. I keep the extender attached, with a dummy cell, running 2x123's. This gives me full output of 235 lumens. However, I can do two other things: run 2xAA for decent, long running output, or remove the A19 and run 1x123 with the dummy cell, with reduced output and extending the useful life of my batteries.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeastFlashlight View Post
    I also wonder what OP means by SHTF. Because If faced with SHTF in an EXTREME sense your flashlight situation would have many viable options and be an inexpensive piece of the puzzle. Long storage food packets (expensive) and heat are HUGE obstacles! I consider the flashlight situation in SHTF almost as easy as your clothes situation (EASY). Almost unworthy of being in the SHTF conversation it's so easy. Food, far from easy
    OP asked specifically about a SHTF flashlight, not about the basic necessities for survival. I find it appropriate conversation given this is a flashlight forum.

    I'm sure there's a watch forum somewhere, where people are discussing the ultimate SHTF watch.
    Last edited by cland72; 04-12-2013 at 07:03 AM.

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    Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by BeastFlashlight View Post
    I also wonder what OP means by SHTF. Because If faced with SHTF in an EXTREME sense your flashlight situation would have many viable options and be an inexpensive piece of the puzzle. Long storage food packets (expensive) and heat are HUGE obstacles! I consider the flashlight situation in SHTF almost as easy as your clothes situation (EASY). Almost unworthy of being in the SHTF conversation it's so easy. Food, far from easy
    Quote Originally Posted by jorn View Post
    Agree. Id rather have a fishing rod or my speargun than a flashlight in a shtf situation. Mankind have survived for ages with no flashlight. Not so long with no food :-)
    Considering that Biologically clean water is more important than food and boiling water is a universally accepted method of killing bacteria and virii, I decided to try to start a fire with a flashlight reflector. The sky was slightly overcast but the sun was relatively strong, it was about 10:30 in the morning so the sun was still a little low in the sky. I tried two different reflectors, one 2 inches wide and shallow, and the other a 3 D mag which is almost 2 inches wide and a bit deeper.

    I've seen youtube videos using a maglight reflector, so I know that it is possible. With the shallow reflector, it was going to be a cold day. With the maglight reflector, I got smoke but no fire. I don't have one of those zooms with an aspherical lens... I wonder how they would do?

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    A simple magnifying glass works a lot better than a light's reflector if using the sun to start a fire...ask any number of historically popped ants, etc.

    Of course, the way my luck goes typically, I'd need the fire when all the wood is wet due to the rain that hasn't stopped for the past week, etc....so, nothing dry to burn, and no sunlight to magnify, etc.

    That's when whittling out some kindling/fatwood from a dead stump, etc...comes in handy, and caveman survival skills become very valuable. The Zippo mentioned earlier of course is a nice crutch I would not be above using in that sort of environment.

    Boiling water kills stuff, but you do need something to boil it IN, like a pot, or, a skunk cabbage leaf...etc. Making a condensation still will help a lot, and if it IS raining, at least there's ways to get cleaner water.

    I like my folding Cottonpicker solar charger, it can charge so much at a time its unreal.

    Depending upon the LENGTH of the SHTF scenario, batteries, even if rechargeable, start to lose function over time. Most humans are not nocturnal, and, if you are being productive all day, you sleep at night, not hang out with flashlights, etc. Frankly, as much as I love my lights, a campfire is quite pleasant for that purpose anyway.

    Enough food to carry through the INITIAL S hitting the fan is good...if you will be running for your life, etc.

    If the scenario has you surviving where you started, at home for example, a very long term solution can be functional.


    So, as pointed out, its a good idea to decide WHAT scenario(s) you are prepping for...and think about factors such as how portable and durable your stuff needs to be, and if a radiation or toxin issue might be involved (No steripen/boiling solution there), so that a still would be needed for clean/less deadly water, and so forth. Are you expecting ZOMBIES? Please don't, its fun, but unlikely enough that I think we can slip that one...and it can skew your prep in non-productive ways.


  28. #28

    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Less hair splitting, more photos please
    GOOD TINT!

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    A simple magnifying glass works a lot better than a light's reflector if using the sun to start a fire...ask any number of historically popped ants, etc.

    So, as pointed out, its a good idea to decide WHAT scenario(s) you are prepping for...and think about factors such as how portable and durable your stuff needs to be, and if a radiation or toxin issue might be involved (No steripen/boiling solution there), so that a still would be needed for clean/less deadly water, and so forth. Are you expecting ZOMBIES? Please don't, its fun, but unlikely enough that I think we can slip that one...and it can skew your prep in non-productive ways.

    I agree... types of scenarios can vary greatly, and determine what kind of equipment would best serve the need/s.

    For example a sun blocking event caused by volcanic eruptions, forest fires, asteroid impact, or nuclear winter, would reduce the effectivness of solar charging systems. I did a google search on... [thermoelectric usb charger] and found that there are a number of pots that can charge batteries while heating/boiling water, cooking food etc. serving two purposes at the same.

    Oh boy TEEJ, you're right there are scenarios where a still is the only way to insure safe water. That would be an entirely different discussion... heating the water to less than boiling to eliminate the more volitile nasties, and then covering and recovering steam idk enough about that to make any recommendations.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Best SHTF/survival flashlight? And setup

    Quote Originally Posted by cland72 View Post
    My SHTF light is a 6P with A19 extender, housing a Malkoff M61. I keep the extender attached, with a dummy cell, running 2x123's. This gives me full output of 235 lumens. However, I can do two other things: run 2xAA for decent, long running output, or remove the A19 and run 1x123 with the dummy cell, with reduced output and extending the useful life of my batteries.



    OP asked specifically about a SHTF flashlight, not about the basic necessities for survival. I find it appropriate conversation given this is a flashlight forum.

    I'm sure there's a watch forum somewhere, where people are discussing the ultimate SHTF watch.
    Than for SHTF all I would care about is the best runtime. But still for SHTF i'm way more concerned about my battery situation. In SHTF i'm totally unprepaired and screwed! Flashlight is about #150 on my SHTF check list, i'll be dead in a SHTF week haha

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