I was updating my bug out bag this weekend.
I like to do this in winter every year since there are times we can be iced in.
I had the toughest time picking which flashlight I wanted to put into my bug out bag this year though!
There are so many great flashlights to pick from and as I was thinking about it I realized that it’d be a good idea to write about what to look for in a bugout flashlight.
So, let’s start with the basics. For those who may not know, a bug out bag is usually a portable emergency kit filled with items that help you survive for 48 – 72 hours.
Of course, everyone’s bug out bag (BOB) is different and tailored to their wants and needs, but there are some essentials that should absolutely be packed such as first aid materials, a water filter, a multi-tool, and a flashlight, to name a few.
The same idea goes for picking out a flashlight for your BOB, it depends on preference but there are some essential features you want to keep in mind and that’s what I’ll be focusing on.
Best Lightweight Flashlight
A common problem with BOB is the weight of the pack. If you over-stuff it you risk it ripping or being too heavy to carry throughout the day. To help with this issue, you want to find an easy-to-carry lightweight flashlight. One that isn’t so big that it takes up a significant amount of your bag.
Multiple Brightness Modes
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have an LED flashlight with multiple brightness modes, especially with a survival flashlight. Even in an extreme survival setting, you wouldn’t want to use the highest modes constantly and drain the battery. Battery conservation is key to survival so you want a flashlight that has a variety of brightness modes that you can easily cycle through for different situations. I would also suggest packing a flashlight that has a focused beam and decent spill. The focused beam allows you to see far ahead of you and plan an appropriate path.
You want the flashlight to be ready for all kinds of conditions so it’s important to get a high quality, durable flashlight. I suggest packing a flashlight that’s made of aluminum with an anodized finish. With this material the flashlight will work in all kinds of temperatures and can take a beating. You want to make sure that the flashlight you get is impact and water resistant, but preferably waterproof.
Here are the two flashlights that I’m currently choosing between for my BOB:
It may seem like a bulky choice, but I love how tactical the XT11S is. Not to mention that this flashlight is actually quite lightweight for its size. So what makes this flashlight so great for a BOB? First, it has an amazing beam throw in any of the four brightness modes as well as a good spill so you can see around you very well. The run times are really good with this light and will last you a long time especially if you only use the medium and low mode. It also has a battery capacity indicator which I find incredibly helpful. With the indicator I can check to see how much charge the battery has left and plan my usage accordingly.
I also really like the tactical features of this flashlight. The strike bezel may look small, but it can really pack a punch and I like the idea of using the flashlight as a self-defense tool. It has instant turbo and instant strobe which is important in any tactical flashlight. The XT11S has three programmable modes so you can set it to whichever you feel is best for your BOB. Personally, I like the default Tactical Setting so I can get to instant strobe and turbo. However, I think the Outdoor setting is also great with instant turbo, instant low and access to SOS. You can check out my review of the XT11S here.
The LD41 is a little more straightforward than the XT11S in terms of the user interface. The XT11S has longer runtimes which is definitely something to keep in mind. The LD41 also features a momentary-on function, has four brightness levels, and access to strobe and SOS. The medium and low brightness levels can last for a really long time on this flashlight and with the memory function you can conserve the battery and have the flashlight automatically turn on in the low brightness mode. The beam throw on this flashlight is also really great and it has a good spill so I know I’ll be able to see far in front of me as well as all around me.
The LD41 runs on four AA batteries as opposed to a lithium-ion battery. I love rechargeable batteries, but I think that flashlights that run on AA batteries might make better emergency flashlights. Of course, you could use a power bank to charge the lithium-ion battery, but AA batteries are significantly easier to come by. The LD41 also features a low battery indicator so you know when it’s about time to change the batteries out. You can see my review of the LD41 here.