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Thread: Flashlight and battery travel tips

  1. #1

    Default Flashlight and battery travel tips

    Hey CPF members,

    I plan on traveling a lot this year and next year within the U.S. and I would like for my flashlight to accompany me due to it being my edc/tool. I checked online and the last post about this was back in 2006 and I am sure things have been updated since then. So, I would like to know if I can bring my surefire light along with some spare batteries with me on the plane or if they can only be in my check in baggage? And any certain procedures about storing the spare batteries? If it helps I will be doing most of my flying from Chicago, IL (O'Hare Airport) and I am not too sure how strict they are. Any information would help. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* 880arm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flashlight and battery travel tips

    Keep the batteries in your carry-on bag and make sure they are in a good carrier or battery tube(s).

    See here for some more info.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Flashlight and battery travel tips

    I just flew with a few lights. Had my tm26, srt7 and ec1 as well as my batteries with me on my carry on bag. My olight s10 in my pocket with no issues. You can't have lithium batteries in your check in luggage so don't even try. Just make sure they are secured in a case and not loose. I had to put my (empty) tn31 in my check in just because of the 7" tool rule and didn't wanna chance losing my light. Any lights less than 7" take with you on your carry on. Anything over 7" just put in your check in. I'm not sure on the latter, but I didn't chance it.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flashlight and battery travel tips

    There are multiple threads on the subject, you just missed the most recent one.

    I always travel with at least 2 flashlights and spare batteries in my carry-on and now with a 5" long electronic cigarette mod that runs on an 18650. No problem ever. Sometimes they just want to see what it is. I've been from Canada to a few states and back and never an issue. Same within Canada.

    A few people said they confiscated Lithium batteries in Mexico.

    Perhaps this should be merged with the latest existing thread:
    Flashlight+airport+TSA=

    Hard to believe the last post was almost a year ago...
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  5. #5
    Flashaholic Bruno28's Avatar
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    Default International travel - taking a flashlight

    Hello,

    I wanted to know if there is any problem taking a flashlight (in this case Niwalker MM15 4x18650) on international flight.
    It would be on my backpack with me, not luggage.
    I would be traveling from Australia to Brazil.

    Is there any problems? Specially for such a powerful light?


    Thanks in advance.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Roger Sully's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I would hesitate going to another country with something that may be looked at as a trophy! I can't say much about Brazil, having never been there but I have traveled to an island where my Surefire somehow became a suspicious item and almost got confiscated..... If not for the fact that I was on my way to a meeting with the Police Commissioner it certainly would have disappeared.
    I ended up gifting the officer and his colleagues a couple of EagleTac lights, which were being donated to the local constabulary anyway.

    I just recently travelled within the US carrying my MM14, TM26, TM11 and Olight SR Mini Intimidator in my backpack. There were also about 5 other 1x123 lights and 1X 18650 lights..... TSA didn't even bat an eye.
    Last edited by Roger Sully; 09-26-2014 at 04:54 AM.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic Bruno28's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Sully View Post
    I would hesitate going to another country with something that may be looked at as a trophy! I can't say much about Brazil, having never been there but I have traveled to an island where my Surefire somehow became a suspicious item and almost got confiscated..... If not for the fact that I was on my way to a meeting with the Police Commissioner it certainly would have disappeared.
    I ended up gifting the officer and his colleagues a couple of EagleTac lights, which were being donated to the local constabulary anyway.

    I just recently travelled within the US carrying my MM14, TM26, TM11 and Olight SR Mini Intimidator in my backpack. There were also about 5 other 1x123 lights and 1X 18650 lights..... TSA didn't even bat an eye.
    Ive taken to this very trip a XT10 and a olight s10 in the past, no problem. But the MM15 is a bigger light.
    I guess if i put in the luggage it would be ok?
    Last edited by Bruno28; 09-26-2014 at 05:21 AM.

  8. #8
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I traveled in South America (including Brazil) about eighteen months ago, the only light that was a problem was a Peak brass El Capitan, I was stopped at every airport and had the light inspected, including here in Australia, aluminium lights weren't a problem.

    My wife was cursing that light, evidently it looked strange on the X-ray machine, far too solid to be just a torch.

    Not too sure about such a large light, I only had AA lights with me, I'd try and settle on a smaller light unless you really need that much light

    Norm
    Last edited by Norm; 09-26-2014 at 05:33 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I don't know reasons why you need that big light in Brazil. When I travel, I always have my HDS 120 Hi CRI in my pans pocket, a Surefire E2D with Malkoff M361N head and a Malkoff MDC AA in my backpack.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    At the end of August, I flew from NY to Geneva with a Saabluster/OneStopThrowShop Rev Captor. 3x 18650 and 3 XM-L2 - a pretty big light. TSA did stop me and they checked the light - swab and machine test. They didn't turn the light on and it took 5 minutes. (Edit: Yes, the wife and kids were eye-balling me.)

    I've been stopped because of a SS Peak 10180. Perhaps, like Norm said, it was because it looks too solid to be a just a light.

    I haven't had problems with other lights. And remember that li-ions need to be in your carry on bag and not checked luggage. Safe travels!

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Bruno28's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhat703 View Post
    I don't know reasons why you need that big light in Brazil. When I travel, I always have my HDS 120 Hi CRI in my pans pocket, a Surefire E2D with Malkoff M361N head and a Malkoff MDC AA in my backpack.
    It was mostly to show my grandfather and uncle. They like the new lights I always bring to show them. And this is my most powerful one yet.

  12. #12

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I would think checking the light would be OK in any country.

    Checking the batteries below the plane is probably not allowed by anybody. It should be easy enough to check Australia and Brazil rules on carry on 18650s which should be OK if they are in a case to prevent the terminals from shorting out.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    My only international experience is Canada / U.S. and not problem so far, even with a Surefire sized electronic cigarette (they do like to take it out of the bag and ask what it is, even within Canada, but it doesn't quite look like a flashlight, though. Only pleasant experiences and it was swabbed only once out of at about 8 times through checkpoints).

    I did read a few stories of batteries (mostly lithium based, but also some about AA's and AAA's) being confiscated when leaving Mexico. Sounded like they wanted a little monetary compensation to me - JMO.
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    Default

    what kind of country (airport security person) might consider a flashlight a part to be even near to be confiscated?
    North Corea?

    Maybe if it were a porcupine an this put in hand luggage?
    Then I could understand ...

    ... but even then: there always must be some kind of supervisor, shouldnt he/she?
    before I have my light been taken from me - again: for what reason, it is a flashlight - I would ask for another opinion than the 1st clerk wanting to take it
    when in doubt: buy both

  15. #15
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Travelled the world, including South America, for 9 months. Had a Thrunite Catapult v1 with no issues. However, it was kept in my carry-on luggage. It was subsequently stolen, along with other gear, on my flight home (Philippines, Singapore to Australia).

    The only time I was ever questioned was an internal flight in the Philippines and I was carrying my SC51w. The edges of the head felt a bit sharp to the Custom's agent, but he still let me go with it.

  16. #16
    yoyoman's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    The rules say li-ions should be in carry on bags in containers (to prevent shorting) and should not be in checked in bags. I once put li-ions in my checked in bag and it went through OK, but that was luck. We were traveling from NY to Switzerland and had 4 bags. 2 were opened and searched. Luckily mine, with the li-ions, wasn't searched.

    We complain about the TSA (there are a few threads, lol), but traveling to third world countries can be a different experience. I once had a new pack of Mach 3 shaving blades confiscated. When I started to complain, he called his friend over - you know the one with the big gun. After that learning experience, I stopped bringing extra shaving blades.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Two points. First, customs in 3rd world countries can be very challenging when it comes to out of the ordinary items. That's simply a fact of life.

    with regard to the MM15, my advice is to leave it at home. The problem isn't that it is a big flashlight, the problem is that it is big, fairly heavy piece of metal that could easily be used as club. The potential ability to use it as a weapon is the problem. That is in fact the whole point of the bezel on some lights.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I've been to Buenos Aires and wandered around Peru and never had a problem. I had either a E2e or a 2nd gen E2L. Going forward I will take with me my trusty E2O with a TNT 3 mode module, twisty tailcap, and a SC3 with MN02 LA. I like the idea that I can change out the emitter in the unlikely event the module dies on the trip. I would also recommend a headlamp that takes AAA cells like a Petzl.

    Have fun in South America!

    kelmo

  19. #19

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    AA is the most common cell size in the world. On a trip a few years ago, I was in a small store in the neighborhood of Lapa, in Rio, and they only had AA cells, and no AAA cells. I never saw any CR123a cells. I took a 1xAA Jetbeam Jet-I Pro I.B.S. (left the newer version at home) for pocket use, and a Fenix L2D (left another one at home). I also had an Arc AAA on my keychain. I usually try to only take duplicates, or lights I can live without, on trips out of the country, in case they get lost, stolen, or confiscated by corrupt officials, and they tend to be fairly compact (less weight and less attention). Enjoy your trip to Brasil!

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Over the years I have been in many countries, some considered not safe, and none gave me no real problems, however, it was hard on the nerves. Customs officers with decorated uniforms, and those high brimmed Nazi looking hats can be scary.

    On more than one occasion I was escorted by officers both with Uzi sub machine guns to a room where a well dressed and. Impeccably groomed, very well mannered and cultured, gentleman came in, speaking the Queen's English would politely ask some questions, and apologized for the in convince, shook my hand welcomed me to the country, then walked me out.

    That same sequence, for me, has been somewhat universal.

    Bottom line, there is no way to predict future trips. Any thing can happen, I feel lucky so far. Travel is a total nightmare sometimes.

    As far as the TSA (Whom I am not a fan of), I have not had a problem with them so far. I fly quite often from PSP airport, and the TSA agents know me well. They often say to me, we don't need to look in your briefcase (Aluminum Haliburton), but we would love to look in it to see your cool equipment, and of course I open it for them and demo lights and things.

    Really when you leave the US, be prepared and ready for anything. In the US, Canada, Europe, the UK, Japan, and Hong Kong and a few other locations you should be fine. Mexico is very questionable, and dangerous these days. My hot wife is from Mexico, and she will not go there, at least for the present.

    What I do when going to a questionable country, is take what you can replace. Like a say a Surefire, and knife wise a Spyderco, or other easily replaceable production knives and flashlights.

    Be careful and alert, moreover, do not talk back to any foreign authorities, ever, just do not do it. Here in the USA, we can mouth off a bit to people in charge and nothing should happen, within reason. This is very important to remember: OUT OF THE UNITED STATES,
    YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS!!! You fall under the laws and whatever rights that country has, and some play fast and loose with basic rights, laws and enforcement, prosecutors, lawyers and judges. Not to mention human rights.

    There's an old Chinese saying--"Always avoid the authorities at all costs." This dates back centuries, however, it excellent advice to day as post 911, had changed law enforcement and the court judicial system in America. Avoid our authorities as much as possible.

    Ok, I will stop. After traveling since 1963, I felt I should pass on my experience.

    Have a safe trip, and return safe. One other thing...I have always carried a US gold bullion coin in my wallet when out of the country, as this may get you out of a jail cell or beating.

    With all best wishes on your endeavors,

    RL
    Last edited by RedLed; 10-01-2014 at 10:02 PM.
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  21. #21
    Flashaholic Bruno28's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I guess ill have to take the Olight Baton S10. Ive had that one around and never a problem.

    I definitely dont want to loose any of my lights. Specially not the MM15, its the pride of the collection :P

  22. #22

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Took my LED Lenser x21r.2 through the airport and they asked what it was, I said it was a torch. They let me through. Should be fine bro. And I think these 2 torches are about same size.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic Bruno28's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by BananaBryan View Post
    Took my LED Lenser x21r.2 through the airport and they asked what it was, I said it was a torch. They let me through. Should be fine bro. And I think these 2 torches are about same size.
    The Led Lenser x21r.2 is way bigger! haha. You can kill someone with that size!

  24. #24

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    I recommend against traveling with one's best gear. (Or even 2nd best.)

    When I travel, I always take gear with me that is either very inexpensive, or that I don't give a damn if it gets confiscated because I either don't care about it or can easily replace it once I get back home. Last trip I took included a Pelican M6 3330 LED model (polymer light), and my Fenix E01. I found that Pelican model to be garbage due to its piss poor design. Someone wants to "confiscate" that one? Good! I'll get my revenge on the miserable thief in uniform the very first time he tries to swap out the dead batteries for new ones. (The polymer body on the inside of the light was warped for no reason at all.) The Fenix is a good light and can easily be replaced.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    I recommend against traveling with one's best gear. (Or even 2nd best.)
    +1, Monocrom.

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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Monocrom's advise is very good. But I confess that I don't always follow this best practice. I am more true to the bit about "easily replace." I guess it is a little bit like people using alkaleaks - you do it until a leaking cell ruins a light. I've had lights examined and tested, but I've never had one confiscated.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    I recommend against traveling with one's best gear. (Or even 2nd best.)

    When I travel, I always take gear with me that is either very inexpensive, or that I don't give a damn if it gets confiscated because I either don't care about it or can easily replace it once I get back home. Last trip I took included a Pelican M6 3330 LED model (polymer light), and my Fenix E01. I found that Pelican model to be garbage due to its piss poor design. Someone wants to "confiscate" that one? Good! I'll get my revenge on the miserable thief in uniform the very first time he tries to swap out the dead batteries for new ones. (The polymer body on the inside of the light was warped for no reason at all.) The Fenix is a good light and can easily be replaced.
    I agree with you entirely, however it does seem a real pity to have to think this way. Often, when you are away, this is exactly when you might well need or want the best you have.

    My approach is not to exclude the best I have, but to consider that it is very much at risk. Will I be unable to replace it, or completely gutted if I lose it?; for any items where the answer is 'yes', then it stays at home.

    As an example I do take my best camera with me, as I want to be able to capture any memories as best as I can. If my camera if lost, then I can replace it with a newer and probably better model. If any item is at higher risk (such as tactical lights) I will take ones I'm not too precious about, or just cheaper ones. They don't need to be the worst I have, but something that I could walk away from if needed.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    My approach is not to exclude the best I have, but to consider that it is very much at risk. Will I be unable to replace it, or completely gutted if I lose it?; for any items where the answer is 'yes', then it stays at home.
    I think you're right on point. It's like when I go to the casino once a year with my wife - we only take what we are willing to lose. I won't take a discontinued light - I'll take one that is easily (and hopefully inexpensively) replaceable.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoman View Post
    Monocrom's advise is very good. But I confess that I don't always follow this best practice. I am more true to the bit about "easily replace." ...
    I agree. I want something reliable with me. That is why I have 6 or 7 E2e's!

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* RedLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: International travel - taking a flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    I recommend against traveling with one's best gear. (Or even 2nd best.)

    When I travel, I always take gear with me that is either very inexpensive, or that I don't give a damn if it gets confiscated because I either don't care about it or can easily replace it once I get back home. Last trip I took included a Pelican M6 3330 LED model (polymer light), and my Fenix E01. I found that Pelican model to be garbage due to its piss poor design. Someone wants to "confiscate" that one? Good! I'll get my revenge on the miserable thief in uniform the very first time he tries to swap out the dead batteries for new ones. (The polymer body on the inside of the light was warped for no reason at all.) The Fenix is a good light and can easily be replaced.
    There was a time, not too long ago that I used to say: always go with your best things...not now. You can locally, but not traveling out of town by air.
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