How To Buy The Best Flashlight

Posted by MJ Smoot on Apr 24, 2020 10:12:26 AM

How to buy the best flashlight

Buying a flashlight can be tricky, and often people tend to settle for the least expensive light with the biggest numbers on the packaging only to be disappointed later when the light stops working after a small drop onto the floor. Fear not! I am here to help you sort through all the marketing jargon like “Turbo Mode” and to better understand what really matters; like, what’s a lumen? And, what type of flashlight should I buy for…(insert activity here)?

The first thing to know when shopping for a high-quality flashlight is that all reputable flashlight manufacturers test their flashlights according to the FL1 Standard, and clearly include these specifications on the product packaging. The FL1 Standard, sometimes called ANSI/NEMA FL1 or ANSI/PLATO FL1, specifies the testing criteria that manufacturers must follow when calculating light output (Lumens), beam distance, impact resistance, runtime, and water resistance.

How to buy the best flashlight

How to buy the best flashlightUltimately, the FL1 Standard allows consumers to directly compare flashlights. I won’t go into the details of each specification as there are plenty of good resources online that define each specification (like this one from LED-Resource.com), however, I do want to talk about lumens, as I haven’t found a resource that clearly breaks down what a lumen is in a way that's easy to digest.

 

So, What's a Lumen?

If you look up "lumen," you’ll quickly learn that a lumen is defined as a unit of luminous flux that equates to the perceived power of light. In basic terms, lumens equal brightness. The larger the number of lumens, the brighter the light. It seems simple, but how bright is 300 lumens? Or, how bright is the flashlight on my phone?

To help deconstruct lumens, we have created this handy-dandy chart with things that most people are familiar with and some of our best-selling flashlights and headlamps to help make buying your next flashlight a little easier. Knowing that the full moon on a clear night is 1 lumen, your phone’s flashlight is 50 lumens, or that a low beam car headlight is around 800 lumens makes it much easier to understand how bright a flashlight is.

Other than lumens, there are some other factors that should be considered when finding the high-performance flashlight that is right for you. Here you will find some decision-making criteria to consider along with my personal suggestions for flashlights that fit a variety of uses.

 
Best Flashlight for DIY + Mechanics
INOVA T4R Rechargeable Flashlight

Mechanics can be hard on their tools and a flashlight is no exception. Look for flashlights with impact resistance of at least 1 meter and solid aluminum construction to ensure that the light holds up to rigorous daily use (Pro Tip: make sure the manufacturer has a good warranty policy). Rechargeability is also a preference for many mechanics along with higher lumen outputs, as they are often using a flashlight during the daytime when there is more ambient light to compete with. Flashlights above the 700 lumen mark are great for this type of daily use, and my pick for best DIY + Mechanic flashlight is the INOVA T4R Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight.

 

 

Best Flashlight for Camping or Hunting

INOVA T7R Rechargeable Tactical FlashlightBrighter is not necessarily better when it comes to playing in the outdoors at night when your eyes have adjusted to the darker surroundings. Being able to cast soft lighting around your campsite or to illuminate that noise in the bushes with a spotlight are equally important at times. As is having a light that is more compact and that will not weigh you down if you are backpacking or hunting (Pro Tip: look for weather/water resistance in case you’re caught in a downpour). For campers and hunters, flashlights in the 250-700 lumen range are a great option and I like the INOVA T7R PowerSwitch Focusing Flashlight as my top pick. This compact flashlight offers a focusing beam that allows you to transition between a bright spotlight or broad flood beam. It’s like having two lights in one.

 

Best Flashlight for Emergencies

INOVA T8R Rechargeable Tactical FlashlightWhen it comes to emergencies, any light is better than no light. So rather than thinking about the lumens, I like to consider the power source of the flashlight. Rechargeable lights can be a great option during an emergency, especially when your power is out for an extended period. Then again, if you do not have a way to recharge the flashlight once it has drained the battery then you’ll be back in the dark in no time. My suggestion: seek out a dual power source light that can operate off of a rechargeable battery or disposable battery like the INOVA T8R PowerSwitch Flashlight, which uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery or two CR123 lithium batteries, allowing you to keep extra batteries at the ready in the event that you cannot recharge the flashlight. This brings me to my last point: Lithium batteries are superior to alkaline batteries when it comes to emergency situations. Lithium batteries have a longer shelf life, can stand up to more extreme temperatures, and are lighter than alkaline batteries. Oh, I forgot one important detail. The INOVA T8R also has an SOS mode!

 

Best Flashlight for Everyday Carry (EDC)

Radiant 100 Keychain FlashlightCompact, bright, and durable are the name of the game here. Whether you have a flashlight clipped to your key chain or in your pocket next to your pocket knife, you'll want a flashlight that is conveniently accessible at a moment’s notice that also packs a nice punch. For this, I like flashlights up to 200 lumens and my current favorite is the Radiant 100 Keychain Flashlight. Not much larger than a house key, the Radiant 100 packs 100 lumens – that's twice as bright as your phone's  flashlight, and unlike your phone, can easily be held with your mouth for those times you need hands-free lighting.

 

 

 

 

Best Tactical Flashlight for Search and Rescue

INOVA T11R Rechargeable Tactical FlashlightUnbeatable performance, high impact resistance, far reaching beam distance, a long runtime and water resistance are the hallmarks of the best tactical flashlights for search and rescue teams around the world. To that extent, they come with a higher price tag and in this case, you get what you pay for. At minimum, search and rescue teams require a light that’s brighter than your standard car’s high beams at about 1200 lumens each (2400 lumens for both headlights). At 5800 lumens, with a runtime up to 110 hours and the ability to cast a spotlight over a quarter mile (400m), the INOVA T11R Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight + Power Bank is our top of the line flashlight. To put it lightly, the T11R is a beast! Trusted and tested by some of the hardest working frontline workers around the world.

When it comes to flashlights, there is no “one size fits all” solution and the suggestions above are recommendations based on my personal experiences. As you prepare to purchase your next hand torch, I encourage you to take a few minutes to think about the primary use for your new flashlight and the features that are the most important to you. By doing so, you’ll make a much more informed decision and not be blinded by big numbers or sneaky marketing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and please let me know what is most important to you when buying a light or why you agree/disagree with any of my points above in the comments below.

Topics: LED Flashlights, Flashflight

4 Fun Activities For Kids To Keep Them Entertained While Staying Home

Posted by Katie S on Apr 2, 2020 10:31:08 AM

Fun Activities For Kids to Keep Them Entertained While Staying Home

At this point, it’s probably not much use to tell you what you already know – we are living in unprecedented times. And what I hope you all know without it needing to be said – that we hope each of you in the Nite Ize community and beyond are safe and healthy, and reading this from the comfort of your homes. And, more pertinently, if you happen to share those homes with tiny humans who call you mom or dad, we hope you are not going absolutely insane yet. In case you are flirting with that brink however, we thought we’d share a few ideas on using your Nite Ize products to keep those kiddos entertained and cut you a break.

 

1. Build a Fort

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties

If you haven’t started fort building, this one is a life saver. You put in a little effort on the front end of putting it together, but then your kids have their own hideout - a new space in the house that is all theirs. Fill it with soft blankets, kid chairs, toys, whatever they are into right now. Then sit back and enjoy your space – the rest of the house – quietly. Genius. With Gear Ties and S-Biners, you can rig a quick lean-to style fort just about anywhere with just a couple blankets. My personal favorite style fort is a fan-powered dome one. This is a childhood-special – shout out to my big brother for the engineering expertise behind it.  Basically, you’ll need blankets and a box fan, then you need to create a semi-airtight boundary for your fort. Blankets secured over tables and chairs work great (if you get a leak, just use a Gear Tie to secure the blanket to table leg).

Next, throw a bed sheet over the top, seal the edges, and make sure it’s snug around your box fan (I also use a Gear Tie here to keep the sheet from blowing down). *Bonus if you can spot the kid in the photo below*

How to build a fort for kids using Gear Ties

Then turn on your fan, and boom, you’ve got an air-conditioned, fort-extraordinaire to keep those little muchkins busy for hours.

How to build a fort for kids using Gear Ties

 

2. Digitize That Fort

Steelie Bendable Arm + Ratcheting Clamp Kit

Okay, the fort itself should buy you at least an hour a day of entertainment, but once the novelty and old-fashioned fun has worn off, buy yourself some more time with our good friend, technology. I set up the Steelie Bendable Arm in our fort, stuck the iPad on it, and FaceTimed Grandma.

The kids loved it, Grandma loved it, and I loved sitting quietly in the next room, drinking an entire cup of coffee, in one sitting, while it was still hot.

And, if you make your fort big enough, you can make it feel like your own cozy indoor movie theater. Just use a dark sheet instead of a white one, use flashlights or a mini lantern to get everyone settled in, bring in a big bowl of popcorn, and you’ve got a cozy family movie date, day or night. 

 

3. Elf on the Shelf? How About BugLit on the Bookshelf?

BugLit Micro Flashlight

Ok, maybe it doesn’t have quite the same ring or pizazz as that lovable little Christmas helper, but BugLit is pretty darn cute, and his bendable, grippy arms and legs make it easy to hide him in fun places all over the house.

Pick a new spot every day and the kids will have a blast looking for him, and you get down time while they do. You could make it a countdown till Easter, or countdown to the end of social distancing, or pick a timeline that makes you happy. And if you get really bored, the Bug is a pretty good listener. Sometimes he and I enjoy a cold beer and smooth tunes at the piano after the kids go to bed. Hey, whatever gets you through…

BugLit Micro Flashlight

 

4. Get Outside, Even After Dark

SpokeLit Rechargeable LED Wheel Lights

Turns out, lots of people are getting outside to walk their neighborhoods and local parks during this time of isolation. That’s great! ...But, it is also making social distancing guidelines difficult to follow as trails are getting overly crowded. A great way to avoid the crowds but still shake out those stir-crazy legs is to head out for a family ride in the evening - and luckily, we are headed towards more and more warm nights. If you’re a Nite Ize junkie, chances are your family’s bikes are already loaded up with lights and you’re set to go. If not though, click for our recommendations on front, rear, and side/wheel lights.  Enjoy the fresh air together and sap the last of the kids energy before bedtime. Win win.

 

If there’s ever a time to tighten the bonds of our online community, this is it! Please share your tips and tricks for keeping the kiddos entertained at home in our comments section below. Bonus if it includes Nite Ize gear, but we love to hear all your creative suggestions.

Topics: LED Flashlights, Gear Ties, Fun & Games, Bike, Home, LED Products, Steelie

Brand New Nite Ize Gear For All Of Life's Adventures

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Mar 2, 2020 3:34:09 PM

RunOff Waterproof Phone PouchNite Ize unveiled a variety of new innovative products during the Showstoppers media event at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and they are now available to the public! Scroll through to see what we're excited to debut.

 New Products from Nite Ize

 

Our Family of RunOff Waterproof Bags Just Got Bigger

RunOff® Waterproof Phone Pouch

RunOff Waterproof Phone Pouch

Keep your phone protected, secure, and accessible whether at the beach, on the boat, or at the waterpark with the RunOff Phone Pouch. The clear, touchscreen-friendly material lets you use your apps, plus your front/back cameras – even underwater!

 

RunOff® Waterproof Phone Case

RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

This unique soft case protects phones from water, dust, and sand with a slim design that can fit in your pocket, or be attached to the included lanyard. Like the Phone Pouch, the clear material is touchscreen-friendly and allows for the use of your phone's front and back camera.

 

RunOff® Waterproof Tablet Case

RunOff Waterproof Tablet Case

Now you can use your device while protecting it from water, dust, and sand with the RunOff Tablet Case. Read an e-book at the beach, take photos on the boat, or watch a movie by the pool without worry of water or sand damage.  Integrated anchor points and a removable, adjustable lanyard keep your tablet secure, convenient, and accessible.

 

RunOff® Waterproof Small Packing Cube

RunOff Waterproof Small Packing Cube

Meet our newest, smallest member of the RunOff Packing Cube family. This bag is perfect for protecting and organizing everything from small electronics to mess-prone items like cosmetics. Waterproof, dustproof, and compressible, this small packing cube is as convenient as it is compact.

 

Paw-some New Pet Gear

NiteDog™ Rechargeable LED Collar

NiteDog Rechargeable LED Collar

Take the guesswork out of trying to spot your dog in a pitch-dark yard. This durable, light-up collar is available in two colors and four adjustable sizes, and features optical fiber technology that transmits light throughout its entire length in either constant glow or flash mode. Keep you best friend visible and safe – day or night – with the NiteDog Rechargeable LED Collar.

 

NiteDog™ Rechargeable LED Leash

NiteDog Rechargeable LED Leash

Keep yourself and your dog visible from dusk 'til dawn with this rechargeable and highly visible light-up leash. Like the NiteDog Collar, optical fiber technology transmits light throughout the entire length of the leash without loss of light output, and offers both constant glow and flash modes. Featuring a comfortable, padded handle with a built-in anchor point for clipping necessities, this durable weather-resistant leash is made to last.

Fun fact: Our (very cute) dog models are all Nite Ize family members and friends! Modeling our new NiteDog collars and leashes are Roo, Britta, Moose, Chewie and Duchess.

 

When You Need a Little Light...

BugLit® Rechargeable Micro Flashlight

BugLit Rechargeable Micro Flashlight

Our classic BugLit Micro Flashlight is now rechargeable! The bendable Gear Tie legs make this compact light easy to attach and stand anywhere from your bedside table to your camping tent. The BugLit has been putting the fun in functional for many years, and we couldn't be more thrilled to introduce this rechargeable option.

 

Radiant® 100 Keychain Flashlight

Radiant 100 Keychain Flashlight

At 100 lumens, this small-but-mighty flashlight is compact enough to fit right on your keychain! The included S-Biner MicroLock makes this lightweight keychain accessory easy to attach and detach when needed.

 

Radiant® Rechargeable Microlight

Radiant Rechargeable Microlight

The compact Radiant Rechargeable Microlight features four modes, a durable impact-resistant body, and is easy to attach to keychains, zipper pulls, and more using the included S-Biner.

 

Radiant® Rechargeable LED Glow Stick with Disc-O Select™

Radiant Rechargeable LED Glow Stick

Say goodbye to disposable glow sticks with this high-quality rechargeable LED glow stick that can be used over and over (and over) again. With no chemicals to worry about or batteries to replace, this long-life glow stick blends the convenience of rechargeability in an adventure-proof body. Keep it in your emergency kit, clip it to your pack for nighttime safety, or hit the summer festival scene with this versatile, waterproof glow stick equipped with an S-Biner for easy attachment/detachment. Disc-O Select allows you to choose from three colors, or color-changing Disc-O mode.

 

When You Need More Light...

Radiant® 170 Rechargeable Clip Light

Radiant 170 Rechargeable Clip Light

Turn your hat into a headlamp in seconds! The Radiant 170 Rechargeable Clip Light offers the convenience of rechargeability in a compact design that clips securely onto hats or straps. With 170 lumens of flood lighting that's perfect for tasks from backyard grilling to changing a tire. This dual-color light offers four modes, adjustable tilt, and a detachable body that can also be used as a handheld light, making it a great addition to your car kit.

 

Radiant® 170 Rechargeable Headlamp

NPL-Blog-Radiant170HL

Much like the Clip Light, the Radiant 170 Rechargeable Headlamp offers a high feature-to-value ratio with four modes, red and white LEDs, a compact design and the convenience of rechargeability. This headlamp is perfect for campouts, night walks, working around the house, or to keep in your emergency kit. This 170-lumen hands-free lighting solution is impact and water resistant, and features a body that can be tilted 180° so you can shine your light exactly where you need it. The detachable body can also be removed and converted into a handheld light!

 

INOVA® T7R™ PowerSwitch™ Rechargeable Focusing Flashlight

INOVA® T7R™ PowerSwitch Rechargeable Focusing Flashlight

The T7R lets you easily transition between a powerful 713-lumen spot beam to a wide flood beam with a simple twist. Featuring PowerSwitch technology, the T7R is rechargeable while offering the versatility of being able to run on two non-rechargeable CR123 batteries when needed.

 

When You Need a Crazy Bright Light...

INOVA® T11R™ Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight + Power Bank

INOVA T11R Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

At 5800 lumens (yes, you read that right), and the ability to project a beam over a quarter mile, the T11R is our premier tactical lighting solution. Shockproof and fully waterproof, this rechargeable flashlight features a built-in power bank capable of charging other electronic devices.

 

New Colors + Styles

S-Biner SlideLock Stainless Steel

Our S-Biner® SlideLock® Stainless Steel and S-Biner® MicroLock® Stainless Steel are now available in an eye-catching "Spectrum" finish!

 

BugLit Micro Flashlight

The iconic BugLit® Micro Flashlight now comes in four fresh new colors: lime, bright blue, coyote, and if you really want to get crazy, red/teal/yellow!

 

SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

You can now sport our popular SlapLit™ LED Drink Wrap in a USA flag pattern! Show off your patriotism as you sip that cold one.

 

Which new products are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments and be sure to tag your photos featuring a Nite Ize product on Instagram with #LifesAdventureKit to be entered into our monthly photo contest to win a Nite Ize Adventure Kit!

Topics: LED Flashlights, CES, Consumer Electronics, New Products, LED Pet Products, LED Dog Products, Home, Company News, Pets, LED Products

Favorite Vanlife Products From a Full-Time Vanlifer

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jan 22, 2020 9:27:04 AM

By Guest Blogger Colin Boyd of Afuera Vida

Favorite VanLife Products From a Full-Time VanLifer

While every van dwellers’ home is unique, we all suffer the same challenges found in a nomadic lifestyle. A few that come to mind are - illumination, keeping our home strapped/tied down for bumpy drives, and keeping our kit organized. When planning to write a guest blog for Nite Ize I simply began looking around our 1978 Mercedes 508D converted fire truck for inspiration and realized that Nite Ize was quietly sitting in the background, providing us with greater ease with smart and effective solutions for the van dweller. So for those of you looking to increase your satisfaction with van life or wondering what application one of these nifty products may be used for, here is a list of our top six products in no specific order.

 

1. RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash

RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash

This smart and user-friendly collar constantly saves our butts. When we pull over in any new spot, we are comfortable letting our dog Lola hop out and do her business knowing if there’s leash laws or other dogs passing by, we’ve got her covered. I can’t tell you the number of times we couldn’t find a leash, but the collar was already on - letting us go ahead without searching every corner for it. Hands down, if you own a dog that behaves just as well on or off leash, you need this product.

 

2. RadDog Collapsible Bowl

RadDog Collapsible Bowl

Over the past year we’ve covered over 18,000 miles in every corner of the states and we  love to take our young family out on adventures when and wherever we can. With two toddlers - both of which who typically need a lift on any walk over an hour - we have little space for extras and Lola (our dog) is usually left to finding her own water or slurping out of a water bottle and my hand with most landing on the ground. The packable dog bowl is lighter than a toothbrush and literally takes up less space than one. It has kept Lola charging longer and makes it way easier to keep her happy on the trail.

 

3. Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern

Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern

When your family of four lives in less than 120 square feet, any light can affect bedtime routines and early mornings. With three dim settings, a handy clip, and a USB charge port out, the lantern is a swiss army knife for the van and mobile charging. I’ve found myself packing this during the day if we need extra cell phone juice and also having enough light to read bedtime stories at night. Since it’s lightweight and super durable, we often use it out of the van to light up our camp for the night and give it to the kids to play with.

 

4. Gear Ties

AfueraVida-4

The Nite Ize Gear Tie is quite possibly the most useful item in our gear kit. I have this holding bananas and books in place, my shower nozzle on, organizing my electric cords, and strapping our backpack guitar to the ceiling. In some of these instances rope may work, but with the simple twist and the guaranteed hold up over time, I’d find myself reaching for a Gear Tie over rope in many low consequence circumstances.

 

5. Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp

AfueraVida-5

Light is so critical and I never know when I will need it most. It could be a break down at night, taking our oldest out for a pee in the middle of the night or heading out on a backpacking or biking adventure. In any case, a Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp is always close by and since I have USB ports all over the van, recharging is easy ensuring I’m all set for the next night.

 

6. INOVA T8R PowerSwitch Rechargeable Flashlight

AfueraVida-6

I retired my Maglite after firing up the INOVA T8R PowerSwitch Rechargeable Flashlight. Bringing 762 lumens to the dark sky in a pocket sized light, this beast is my new best friend. Just the other night, we found ourselves (typically) arriving at our planned destination well after dark. The dirt road deteriorated quickly and we were entering what appeared like rock crawling terrain in the desert. With the high beams on, there still wasn’t enough light to assess if we’d be able to get out if we drop any further along the single lane track. With the INOVA T8R  in hand, I tripled my vision out the window and on further inspection by foot scouted the rest of the track and the campsite from over 300 yards away. In the past, I would have likely opted for the safe route and just shut it down before getting myself too deep up the creek without a paddle. With the INOVA T8R I feel so much more confident showing up to difficult boondocking sites at night. 

AfueraVida-7

As a practicing minimalist, I am very picky about what makes it into my space, and all of these truly have saved me time and energy over the course of the past few months. Literally from the moment I received a grip of Gear Ties, they went to use and the Steelie is literally my steadfast driving companion in any driving situation. If you are a van lifer or are looking to buy something for one close to you, consider any of our top choices as none will sit idly in a cabinet as the utility for the van life application is the perfect fit.

Topics: LED Flashlights, Gear Ties, Pets, dogs, camping, headlamp, vanlife

National Preparedness Month:  Building Your Emergency Car Kit

Posted by Katie S on Sep 18, 2019 9:30:59 AM

A few years back I wrote a post here about preparing your car kit for winter. As National Preparedness Month is in full swing, I find myself looking back at what I wrote and recognizing the need for an update. As one of my good friends in Indiana brought up, not everyone is preparing for winter driving through snowy mountains into spotty-reception areas, and my original kit might be a little overkill when that’s the case. I assured her that it is beneficial for everyone to have at least a small emergency car kit, and that is the inspiration for this new post where I’ll provide suggested items for your kit – both “full throttle” and “light” versions.

So here you go, first up, your full throttle car emergency kit for those who frequently drive in remote places, inclement weather, and through spotty cell reception.

CarKit-Full

The Full Throttle Car Emergency Kit - What to pack:

1. A Sturdy Container

Emergency Car Kit

Once you have all your items, you’ll have a better idea of what size this should be, but make sure it’s something you can close like a rubber bin or sturdy nylon bag that zips shut. You can also use a good backpack in case you need to carry it, however it’s important to note that if you are stranded on the side of the road, it is NOT recommended that you leave your car. Your car is the best protection from the elements and where rescuers are most likely to find you - so, hunker down for the long haul. If you are in an accident on an icy road, you also should NOT leave your car, if an icy patch made your car spin out, it’s very likely that other cars will do the same. If possible, move your car out of that trajectory.

2. Lights – Headlamp, Flashlight + Lantern

Most references tell you a flashlight - I may go a little overkill, but I have three lights – each of which is rechargeable through my car’s USB port. A headlamp in case I need to be hands-free for looking under the hood or under the car. An INOVA T8R handheld light which has an SOS mode with 782 Lumens behind it, and lastly a rechargeable lantern which conveniently clips under the hood of my car.

Radiant314-Car

3. Visibility Vest

In the case that I do need to get out of my car on a roadway, you better believe other motorists are going to see me.

4. Chargers

If you have cell reception, your phone will be your lifeline, but it won’t do you any good if it has a dead battery. There are classic chargers to plug into your car or innovative external batteries, and battery-integrated phone cases that can be life-savers in a pinch. I also keep this eton weather radio which is solar powered (and has a hand crank option) and from which you can also charge your phone and your flashlights.

5. Shovel and/or Kitty Litter

If you are stuck somewhere safely away from traffic, a shovel to dig yourself out and kitty litter or sand for traction can help you get moving again. If you don’t have either of these things, you can try wedging your floor mats under your tires to help them gain traction.

6. Blankets or Bivvies 

Wool blankets are a classic staple for a reason: they are really warm. I keep a heavy wool blankets in my car – it’s never been used in an emergency but has come in handy for many a road-trip naps and as extra layers on camping trips. The one downfall of wool is that if it gets wet, it’s miserable. That’s why I also keep two Escape emergency bivvies in my kit as well (so my husband and I don’t have to have that awkward conversation about who gets the bivvy to survive the night). These bivvies reflect 75% of body heat back to you, but are also breathable so you don’t get sweaty which is a pitfall of traditional mylar. In general, I recommend staying away from mylar blankets and bivvies as they shred very easily and are flammable - it’s worth spending a couple bucks more to get a durable upgrade. Along the lines of warmth, I always make sure that I have a hat, gloves, hand warmers, and extra socks in my kit - even in the summer months here in Colorado it can drop below freezing up high at night, these don’t take up much space and are probably at the top of the list for most used items in my kit.

EmergencyPrep-AMK-SOL

7. Other Warming Items

I keep fire starting supplies in my kit (fire cubes and a sparker in case I need to start a fire outside the vehicle). One family in Nevada survived two days in sub-zero temperatures, building a fire inside their spare tire to help keep warm. Some people suggest using emergency candles as well for warmth and light inside the vehicle, though I’m noticing them mentioned less and less on recommended lists, probably due to safety concerns. If using one, you should crack your window to avoid possible asphyxiation, and ideally burn the candle inside a coffee can or something similar because many parts of your car (and your kit) are flammable.

8. First Aid Kit

This is essential, don’t bother with kits that are just chock-full of Band Aids, take your time researching kits and find one that meets your needs – and be sure to customize it further if you or any of your family members have special medications or needs. As someone who does a lot of camping and fishing in the backwoods, I carry an Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Kit which has comprehensive medical supplies in case of an emergency including QuikClot, and most importantly, the kit includes a book on how to use all the supplies in it.

9. Water

For drinking, for wound cleaning, for staying alive - I keep a gallon of human-water in an unopened jug. If you have a dog who’s usually your copilot, be sure to keep an extra jug for them too. I keep a RadDog Bowl clipped to my kit which is great pop-up bowl for the pup.

10. Food

Food isn’t essential for short term survival (you can theoretically go for three weeks without it), however, eating does allow your body to produce more heat, and it can make a huge difference in your mood and attitude which will often determine how well you handle an emergency situation. I go for the classics like jerky, energy bars, and dried fruit, and then swap them out annually (or if you just plain get hungry and eat them then replace as needed). A good rule of thumb is to go for items with a long shelf-life that are high in protein, and that you actually like. If you have an ever-hungry dog like mine, make sure your food bag is securely enclosed in your kit, or they might just rip open your kit and gleefully eat all your jerky when you’re not looking.

11. Car Essentials 

Jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, ice scraper, a siphon (hopefully you’ll find a friendly motorist who doesn’t mind sharing fuel), flares and/or glowsticks, a tire iron, and jack are some basics that I keep because honestly, those are probably the only tools I would know how to use in a break-down situation.

EmergencyPrep-Car

12. A Knife and Cash

You won’t find this on most lists, but my grandfather taught me that the most useful item you can have on you at any time is a knife, and throughout the years it’s a piece of advice that has served me well. And so, I am passing it on to you. Cash, well cash is just handy depending on the type of emergency too, whether you need to pay for gas or a hotel room.

13. Add-Ons

A few other items have accumulated in my kit over the years: Duct Tape (need I say more?), a hatchet which most often doubles as a hammer, a poncho, CamJam Tie Down Straps and Bungees, Gear Ties because they are just too useful not to have a handful, and lastly, a quality whistle for signaling in an emergency.

Pre-made kits and other helpful tips for safety on the roads:

There are pre-made kit options on the market as well, some are decent some are very cheap and not worth the money. Do your homework, and if you do go with a pre-made kit, remember that you will still need to personalize it to you - if you are frequently on the road with your spouse, kids, and a dog, you need to remember to add supplies for them. If anyone in your family has a serious medical issue, always pack extra medication and supplies - you never know when a quick trip can turn into an overnight on the side of the road. Know the risks in your area, if you live near frozen lakes, keeping a window breaker easily reachable in your console is advisable.

Alright, so if that seems overkill for your lifestyle, here is my recommendation for a condensed version:

CarKit-Light

The “Light” Car Emergency Kit - What to pack:

  1. A backup phone battery or solar-powered charger
  2. A blanket or bivvy
  3. A small survival kit like this one
  4. A headlamp or flashlight
  5. Glowsticks
  6. Small first aid kit
  7. Duct tape, Gear Ties, and Bungees
  8. A Multitool/Knife
  9. Jumper cables

Other helpful resources:

American Red Cross, What do You Need In a Survival Kit?

The CDC, Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

Chicago Tribune, Tips to Keep You Going When Your Car Stops

 

That’s all I’ve got! I hope you found this useful, I hope you won’t need it, but I know you will be glad to have it if you do. Let me know the most useful items you’ve found for you kit in the comments section below.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, LED Flashlights, Visibility and Safety, Gear Ties

National Preparedness Month: How To Build An Emergency Go Bag

Posted by Katie S on Sep 11, 2019 1:53:48 PM

Building Your Emergency Go Bag

A Go-Bag (also commonly referred to as a Bug-Out Bag) is a pre-packed bag that will be your lifeline in case of an emergency evacuation situation.  Unfortunately, I found out the hard way exactly why a Go-Bag is an essential item to have packed and ready in your home. It was the middle of December about ten years ago when I found myself standing outside our Bay Area apartment building with 60 other families watching flames chew through the wooden siding and smoke billowing in every direction. With all of our cars trapped in the building’s basement garage below, we had nothing to do but watch. I was wearing hot pink fleece pajama pants, rain boots with no socks, and a too-light jacket for the unseasonable cold winter we were having. Heat from the flames notwithstanding, it was a chilling moment in every sense of the word. Somehow, despite living in earthquake country and working for a company that specialized in medical and survival gear at the time, I had just never gotten around to building a Go-Bag – it was somewhere near the bottom of my to-do list. You can bet, it immediately moved to the top.

So, here are my recommendations for your Emergency Go-Bag. Mine is built for four people (two adults and two kids) for 24 hours. Given the type of disasters that are most likely to occur where we live (grass fires or floods), we should be able to reach a friend’s home or red cross shelter in 24 hours on foot. If you live in earthquake or hurricane territories, I recommend having enough supplies for all family members for 72 hours as those disasters can take out a much larger area of infrastructure at once. A coat closet near the front door or other place that you would pass on your fastest way out of the house is the ideal spot to keep your bag.

Without further ado, here is the list:

1. Water

I like this style of water pouch as it is packaged for a long shelf life and makes it easy to determine and regulate how much each person should get – two 4.4 oz packs a day. I have water carry bags as well as water purification tablets in case we need more than the pouches I’ve packed.

2. Food

RunOff Waterproof Pocket snack bag

If you are only packing a 24-hour kit, food is not technically essential, however eating can help you stay warm and keep you mentally and emotionally stronger. Plus, if you have kids, you know that snacks actually are essential for everyone’s sanity. I like the classics like energy bars and dried fruit, they have to be replaced more regularly than emergency ration bricks, but they are significantly more palatable.

3. Emergency Radio and Charger

I like this little one that Eton makes for the American Red Cross because it doesn’t take up much space in your pack and it has radio functionality plus you can charge your phone or rechargeable headlamp from it, just make sure you have the correct charging cords packed.

4. Lights

Nite Ize Headlamps

At the very least, pack a rechargeable headlamp like the Radiant 300 which can be recharged as you go using the Emergency Radio from item #3 above. I also have the Radiant 2-in-1 Lantern which pulls double duty as a flashlight and lantern, and the 3-in-1 Mini Flashlight so the kids can feel in control with their own light as well.

5. First Aid

First aid kit

I keep the UltraLight Watertight .9 Kit in my bag because it doesn’t add much weight, but it’s packed with high quality, well thought out medical tools, and has enough room for me to throw in a couple items to customize it for our family. I also keep N95 respirator masks in my kit. In the case of major fires or earthquakes, air quality often deteriorates to harmful levels. If your biggest concern is the next Superbug, these can also help you rest easier.

6. Survival Essentials

Again, weight is a consideration so items that are multifunctional in small packages are key. You have to be able to carry all of this on your back. I keep the Pocket Survival Pak Plus which kills a lot of birds with one stone. It has fire starting tools, a whistle and signal mirror, knife, water-purification tablets, duct tape (for gear repair, clothes repair, really anything repair), and much more.    

7. Emergency Blankets + Bivvies 

I have two emergency blankets and two emergency bivvies so everyone can wrap up warmly if we are sleeping out for a night.

8. Emergency Shelter

Prep2-shelter

I recommend a lightweight, heat reflective tarp that can act as an extra blanket or as a shelter. Make sure to get one with grommets (like this) and pack nylon cording so you can easily rig it up.

9. Extra Layers

RunOff Waterproof Bags

Your emergency blankets can be wrapped to keep everyone warm on the go, but I recommend packing up an extra set of clothes for everyone. I use a Large RunOff Waterproof bag that acts as a compression sack and keeps all of our extra layers dry in the pack.

10. Cash

Emergency cash

There’s no guarantee that you’ll have the ability or wherewithal to grab your wallet on the way out the door, keep cash in your go bag so you can purchase essentials or pay for a night in a hotel/motel if you can.

11. Emotional Support Items

Emotional support items

When thinking about survival, your mind probably goes to the food, water, shelter basics, but the truth is your mental state is equally important. Something as simple as a deck of cards can be a great way to calm your mind and bring levity if you’re holed up in a red cross shelter for the night. Disasters can be particularly difficult on children as they have a harder time processing the rapid change and understanding why this is happening. Our kids are still little and they each have cherished “loveys”. We have extras of these for traveling, laundry time, etc, but we also have an extra for each of them packed away in our go-bag along with one of their favorite books. I have no doubt that these items would bring immense comfort to them in an emergency.

12. Hygiene Items  

Bath wipes, a roll of TP, and dog poop bags…not just for the dog. Let’s just leave it at that, and you’ll be covered until you can get settled into a shelter or friend’s home.

13. Rain Protection

In a worse-case scenario, everything you own is now being carried on your back. Don’t let it get soaked in a rainstorm to boot. Throw in ponchos and make sure at least one is big enough to cover you and the pack. I also keep certain items in waterproof RunOff bags inside the pack for extra protection like my cash, batteries, food and clothes.

14. A Sturdy Pack…or Two 

Prep2-backpack

Once you have all your items laid out, you’ll have a better idea of the pack size you’ll need. Ideally you have an old one in the basement that would love to be given a new life as your Go-Bag. Because ours is packed for four people and pretty heavy, I keep a second smaller bag rolled up and clipped to the side of the pack. This way, assuming my husband and I are together, we can get clear of the emergency and then split up gear into the two packs or cut leg holes in the smaller pack to use as a kid carrier. I also have a bunch of S-Biners, Carabiners, and Gear Ties clipped and strapped to the pack so if we have time to grab extra items, I can quickly clip or strap them to the bag on the way out the door.

If you have suggestions of what to pack in a Go-Bag based on your experiences, please leave them in the comment suggestion below.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, LED Flashlights, Home

How To Choose a Flashlight

Posted by Dave Taylor on Oct 10, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Exploring all the flashlight options from Nite Ize? If so, it’s possible that you’ve become confused by all the specs and stats. What’s a lumen? How bright of a flashlight should you choose? How long will the flashlight last on fresh batteries or a full charge? What’s an ANSI or IP rating?

It’s okay. I get it. I love flashlights and believe it’s not only important to have reliable flashlights throughout your house, but to also have the right flashlight for the job in each case. But that’s also where us consumers can get a bit befuddled because bigger isn’t always better, brighter isn’t always the best for the job and not every flashlight is ready to take on the rugged outdoors.

Radiant 3-In-1 LED Mini Flashlight

To shed some light on the situation, let’s have a closer look at these important questions relating to the purchase of a flashlight using the popular Radiant® 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight as our example device. Check the specs and you’ll see that it’s rated at 80 lumens, has seven different modes, including both a high and low mode, and works off one AA battery.

But what does it all mean?

Lumens vs. Brightness?

Light output is measured in a unit called lumens, whether it’s your car headlights, a searchlight or the small LED on the back of your iPhone.

A lumen is “the amount of light emitted in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform source of one candela.” Sounds complicated, but it just means that lumens measure the total amount of light output. People often assume that lumens measure brightness, however brightness is impacted significantly by beam width -- meaning that a light source will be brighter with a narrow beam and dimmer with a wider beam (or 360-degree illumination). That’s why pinpoint light is brighter than a wide angle beam from the very same flashlight.

Don’t just jump to the brightest possible device, however, because in the case of flashlights, bigger is not always better. One big reason is the trade-off of light output vs battery life: higher lumens require more power!

Brightness vs. Battery Life

The Radiant 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight has two brightness modes. In high mode, it puts out 80 lumens, while low mode is a more modest 15 lumens. That brightness has a definite consequence with battery life: the Radiant battery will give you almost 9.5 hours of low power light, but switch to the brighter mode and run time drops to 2 hours.

For some uses, high brightness and low run time is perfectly acceptable, of course. If you have a convenient power source to recharge a flashlight in your home, on the road, or in the wild, maximum lumens might be just what you need to scare off wild creatures or find your dog on a stormy night. In other scenarios, having a flashlight stop working prematurely can be downright dangerous, so a dimmer light that lasts a lot longer is a smart trade-off.

This is why just about every Nite Ize light offers both high and low modes, so you can decide in the moment whether run time or brightness is more important. And don't forget, a narrow beam at a given lumen level will always appear brighter than a wide beam.

Battery powered vs. Rechargeable

The Radiant 3-in-1 utilizes one AA battery as its power source. This means you can have extra batteries in your hunting bag, backpack or glove box and switch them out at any time. Easy enough, though you’ll still want to pack out the expired battery so you can recycle them.

A rechargeable flashlight offers a different cost/benefit experience. When the battery runs low, all you have to do is plug it in and wait until it's ready to go - no trips to the store necessary. However, rechargeable flashlights do require access to a power source and don't offer the immediate use you get when you pop in a new set of batteries.

The ANSI & IP rating systems?

Flashlights get a lot of abuse in woods, mountains and basements. That’s why there’s a standard measure of flashlight toughness known as ANSI / NEMA FL1. It also encapsulates light output, run time and other specifications in a single place, making it easy to comparison shop. By way of example, here are the ANSI specs for the Radiant 3-in-1 LED:

3-in-1_Mini-ANSI_Chart

The four boxes on the left side indicate that the flashlight has two brightness levels: 80 lumens on high and 15 lumens on low. On full brightness and with fresh batteries, the flashlight will remain brightly illuminated for 2 hours. On the lower brightness, since less power is required, those same batteries will last 9 hours, 25 minutes.

The next set of icons indicate that the flashlight is weather proof, shock resistant to a 1-meter drop, and can illuminate objects up to 50 meters away.

There’s also an IP rating system that can be helpful too, specifying dust and water resistance detailing whether a product is water resistant or waterproof, and to what depth of water. The Radiant 3-in-1 Mini is weather resistant as indicated by the rain cloud.

Now You Know All About Flashlights

Truth is, there’s a lot involved in choosing the best flashlight for a specific application or task. It’s not just about how many batteries are required and the desired brightness level! That’s why it makes sense to do a bit of homework to ensure that the next flashlight you buy is going to be a perfect fit for your needs, whether you’re poised to ascend Kilimanjaro, take on organizing your attic, RV through Mexico or just look for lost earrings in the backyard.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, LED Flashlights

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