Posts Tagged ‘EDC’

DSC00175You have less than two weeks until Christmas… Of course you haven’t managed to get all (or any? it is called preparedness after all..) of your shopping done yet.  You need some ideas? The Preppermanniacs have been clamoring for more gift ideas.   Not to worry, Preppermann has got ya covered!  With 2 day shipping from Amazon Prime you’ve got all the time in the world.  Check out last years gift ideas for even more suggestions.

Training – Grab your loved one the ultimate gift of knowledge and skill!

  • Self defense course – maybe Krav Maga
  • Gun Training  –  Nothing beats hands on 1 on 1 instruction, but if you don’t have access to any local courses check out the DVD series by Magpul
  • CPR or First Aid
  • Wilderness Survival Course
  • Cooking Classes – don’t know how to cook, bake, boil water?  Maybe a class would help get you started.
  • Gardening – hook up with your local County Agricultural Extension, they usually have free classes.  Join a local community garden and get practical experience growing your own food.  Start a square food garden.

Knives – nothing says I love you like something sharp and shiney.  A guaranteed hit with any guy.

Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool – I really like, nay LOVE the Leatherman Wave, but the price you can get almost 3 Wingmans.  The Wingman is really a great multi tool for under $30 at the time of writing.

Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara2 – One of my all around favorite knives is the Spyderco Endura or slightly smaller Delica.  They both run around $60.  The Byrd Cara Cara2 is basically a Chinese made budget version of the Endura.  Still produced by Spyderco under the Byrd line but under $20.  It isn’t as nice (steel, material, fit, finish, etc) but for a 1/3rd the cost it shouldn’t be.  Don’t get me wrong this is a remarkably good knife for the money.  If $60 is a ludicrous amount of money for you to spend on a knife (don’t read the next paragraph) then this knife is for you.  A great stocking stuffer.  This is the kind of knife I like for a beater knife.  If I happen to lose or misplace it I won’t shed a tear.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2  This knife is just plain ridiculous.  It is made at Spyderco’s flagship, American facility in Golden Colorado.  The quality of this thing is off the hook.  The steel (S30V) is top notch.  The weight and balance are great.  The G10 laminate scale handles have the perfect Goldilocks amount of grip.  If you need a nice knife for someone this will do it.  I got it in the sweet digital camo coloration and love it.

Knife Sharpener

Spyderco Sharpmaker – if you are buying knives for someone it would be nice if they had a way to keep them sharp.  This is great sharpener that won’t break the bank.  Pair the sharpener with a nice knife and you have a nice themed Christmas gift.  It comes with an instructional DVD and pamphlet to help you get the hang of it.

  • If you look at this gift guide it reads like a total homer advertisement for Spyderco, Leatherman, and Olight.  This really wasn’t intentional.  These companies just make great stuff for the money.  I actually came up with all of these ideas independently of each other, they just happen to feature some of the same great companies.

Lights – Olight is just killing it lately.  They are making fantastic lights at great prices.

Olight S1 Baton – this is your new EDC flashlight.  Very small and light weight.  It dissappears in a pocket.  It takes a CR123 battery (I usually like AA or AAA better for convenience) and puts out a mind blowing 500 lumens.  Great clip too.

Olight Valkyrie – This is a weapon light.  Throw it on your Glock 19 or any handgun with a rail.  If you have a handgun for home defense you must have a flashlight with it.  Better yet, put a flashlight on it!  You must be able to see and positively identify friend or foe.  No friendly fire accidents here.  Enter the Olight Valkyrie.  It takes a CR123 as well (you should stock up on these).  It puts out 400 lumens and has a throw of over 100 meters.  The quality, fit and finish are top notch.  I love the feel and placement of the buttons.  This thing just blends perfectly into my Glock 17, its current home.  I suspect they designed it specifically to fit perfectly with Glock pistols.

Olight M20SX Javelot – Need a bigger light?  This is it.  This is more of your typical handheld flashlight.  It is handsized but still quite small and portable.  It puts out a retina scorching 820 lumens (seriously don’t look at it).  It has a much more tactical feel to it with strobe and tactical bezel for self defense in a pinch.  It takes two CR123 batteries or 1 large rechargeable Li-ion 18650.  I bought this to use as a weapon light on my AR 15, but like it so much I haven’t mounted it yet!  It will make a great weapon light with the accessory mount.

Grain Mill – are you storing wheat in your food storage? (You should be…)  You need a way to grind that wheat.  Whole wheat berries are edible (with some work) but if you want bread you need to grind it.

Victorio Hand Grain Mill – this baby runs off good old fashioned muscle power.  You crank it by hand.  If the power grid goes down you will be glad you have this.  The amazing Wondermill below will function as a nice paperweight when electricity has gone the way of the dinosaur.  But you, in your infinite prepper wisdom will be cranking away making precious powder gold sans the juice.  And you will be cranking away, and cranking and cranking…  Better yet buy two of these.  And make sure you have 10 strapling children to run it.

Wondermill – grinding wheat by hand is A LOT of work.  It is labor intensive and time consuming.  It is almost comical how much you have to crank for a pitiful amount of of wheat flour.  If you have electricity you’ll want an electric mill.  Enter the Wondermill.  We have had one for years and it is amazing.  We use it all the time.  This is a universal prepper staple for a reason.  It is great quality and has a nice powerful 1250 watt motor.  This is a two-edged sword as 1250 watts is a pretty good amount of energy.  It is marketed as quiet which is quite funny because it sounds like a Harrier Jet in my opinion.

Bread Maker – If you are grinding wheat you will want some way to make bread.  The old fashion way (make dough, knead, let rise, put in pans, cook…) is great but labor intensive.  A bread maker is very quick, simple and most important… automated.  Takes a couple mins to add the ingredients and push start.  60 mins later… presto!  Hot bread.  You’ll need electricity of course.  Steven Harris has a nice podcast on using an inverter hooked to your car to run a bread machine.

Improve your families health now by grinding wheat and making home-made, nutritious whole wheat bread.  Much healthier than white bread (don’t eat this crap).  Far tastier than store bought wheat bread.

Oster 5838 Bread Machine – this is a relatively cheap little bread maker that works great.  I have it for emergencies.  We typically make bread the old-fashion way and bake it in the oven.  You can use a bread machine to make all kinds of other things like pizza dough.  You can even let it make the dough, let it rise and cook it in your own oven.

Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery  – if you are going to get into bread making prior to the apocalypse (a good idea for practice and health reasons) you might want to invest in something a little nicer like the Zojirushi.  It makes horizontal 2 pound loaves of bread.  Just look at the name, this is no mere bread machine it is a home bakery!

Water Filtration – For portable and simple filtration get a Sawyer or Lifestraw.  These are great stocking stuffers.  For filtering a lot of water for a family get Berkey.  These are highly regarded filters and a prepper staple.  Fill the top canister and let the dirty water filter via gravity into the bottom chamber.  The clean water is then drawn out by a standard spigot.  It takes some time but this is the best way to filter the large amounts of water that you are going to need.  Remember to buy extra filters.  A lot of people use these to filter their tap water for regular consumption.  They come in a range of sizes, I would get the Big Berkey or Royal Berkey for an average sized family.

Well there are just a few Christmas gift ideas for preppers, survivalists, emergency preparednessers, etc.  Let me know if you have any other ideas or recommendations.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Preppermann

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Gear Review: Al Mar Eagle HD

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Gear
Tags: ,

I confess… I have been feeling really guilty about neglecting this blog.  I haven’t written in forever and that inertia is so easy to maintain.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion; a lazy object at rest REALLY hates to move again, like ever…  Sorry for the laziness.  Here is a quick post just to get things moving again!

al mar eagle

I received (more like purchased for myself, and my wife gifted it to me) an Al Mar Eagle HD for Christmas.  This is the nicest, most expensive knife I have ever purchased.  Some of you will think I am crazy for spending almost $150 on a knife.  Others will think I am a complete knife rookie because I don’t own a $500 knife.  You can’t please everyone!  I would consider this a moderately expensive knife.  A cheap knife for me is $20.  And for a $20 recommendation I love the Kershaw OSO Sweet.  If you have to spend $500 on a knife to feel adequate then go buy a Chris Reeves Sebenza.  (Very nice knife, I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a knife… yet…)  So if you tuned out at the mention of a $150 knife go grab the Kershaw.  It’s a great overall knife and you can’t beat the value.  But I digress…

I got the Al Mar Eagle HD for Christmas and have been carrying it ever since (6 months now).  I love this knife.  It is fantastic.  In my mind this is a tactical knife and has defensive implications.  It has a longer 4 inch blade.  Total length is 9 inches.  A lot of folding knives are in the 2.75-3.75 inch range.  A true 4 inch blade is rather rare.  Longer is better for reach and penetration.  This knife is very thin (blade is 0.10 inches) and therefore great for carrying.  It is also light (just over 3 ounces!).

The handle is black G10 (fiberglass impregnated resin) and has a nice Goldilocks texture (not too hard or soft).  It is your standard lock back design.  It has a nice pocket clip and is reversible, it comes tip up (I like it this way).  It has stainless steel liners (increased rigidity) that are skeletonized (decreases weight).  This is a nice touch that a lot of people may miss.  It takes a little extra effort by the knife manufacturer to remove some of the liner to drop weight.  This is a sign of quality to me.  You’ll see this or NOT see this in other knives, so look for it.

This is AUS-8 steel, which is a good medium grade Japanese steel.  For $150 dollars I really wish they had gone with a nicer grade steel, even VG-10 would have been great.  AUS 8 steel is good, but not great steel.  This is really my only gripe about the knife.  By no means a deal breaker, but I’d knock off a half point for it.

Overall I would give the Al Mar Eagle HD a 9.5/10.  I love it.  I carry it all the time.  If it was a higher grade steel I would have to give it a perfect score.  That or they could drop the price down a bit (closer to $100?).  It is HD (heavy-duty not Hi-Def) because it is beefier than its sibling the Al Mar Eagle which lacks the steel liner, and has thinner full flat ground blade.  The HD is a little heavier for more durability.

One other note… To me this is not a beater knife, it’s too expensive.  I always carry another smaller blade for opening boxes or other routine tasks.  Sog Flash 1 or Swiss Army Cadet are my usual companions.  Due to its blade length this knife is bigger and more intimidating, you may not want to whip this out at book club or your next tea party.

Gear Review: 5.11 Stryke Pants

Posted: May 12, 2015 in Gear
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74369_092_01As you know from previous posts I am a huge fan of the 5.11 TacLite Pro Pant.  If I am not at work I am wearing them.  I have about a half a dozen pairs of them.  They are great overall pants and I have been wearing them for years.  Recently 5.11 introduced a new variant called the 5.11 Stryke Pants.  I have been wearing these for a few months and have completely fallen in love with them.  I wanted to introduce them to you guys as a slightly better (hard for me to even say because I love the Taclite Pros so much) pair of pants for most uses.  I don’t have the long term experience with them yet that I have with the Taclite Pros, but I am assuming they will hold up well.

There are a few, rather subtle, changes that really make these pants shine.  The first is that the pants have a slightly softer feel (hand if it was a suit).  They are a little bit stretchy.  This combination makes them extremely comfortable to wear.  Like gloriously comfortable!  That little bit of stretch makes a world of difference.  The Taclite Pros were comfortable, these are like wearing soft little fluffy cloud pants.

One other change they’ve made that I really like is the side cargo pockets.  They have raised them up a little bit compared to the Taclite Pros.  The cargo pocket now rests higher on the thigh and less on the knee.  They are easier to get into (less reach) and a more natural placement.  This also makes any gear carried in them easier to deal with (higher and tighter).  The pockers also have a bit of a slant to them that aids access.

One change I am undecided on is the left front mag pocket that used to be on the Taclite Pros.  They have replaced this with the same knife pocket that is found on the right.  I kind of liked the mag pocket but overall this is a wash to me.

One change that I don’t like is that they removed the small brass D-ring on the right front belt loop.  I used to clip my keys with a carabiner to this.  I occasionally go groping for this and it isn’t there on the Stryker pants.  Not a deal breaker and most people won’t miss it at all.

As usual for 5.11 they are soil, stain, and fade resistant.  They come out of the wash in perfect shape and are ready to wear with no fuss or ironing (I refuse to iron my tactical pants!).

My totally unfounded guess is that the fabric would be slightly less durable on the Stryke pant compared to the Taclite pro but I have nothing to back this up.  Only time will tell.  I have been wearing them constantly for months with no signs of wear at all.

These are great pants!  They are running somewhere around $50-60 at this time.  Lately, I have been getting my Taclite Pros for about $45.  For the last several months I reach for these pants every time I can.  If they are dirty and I “have” to wear my Taclite Pros I have a brief moment of dissappointment.  The Stryke pants are just so darn comfortable!  Do yourself a favor and get a pair!  5.11 continues to set the standard for tactical/all-purpose pants.

Don’t forget a good belt to pair with them.  5.11 TDU Belt is a great option.  I have the both the 1.5 inch and 1.75 inch and prefer the fatter one.  I also have a TRU-Spec Belt that I really like.  They are both nice for airport security as you don’t need to take them off.

Reader Q&A

Posted: January 26, 2015 in Food Storage, Philosophy
Tags: , , , ,

Since starting this blog I have received lots of questions via text, email, and the blog.  I figured if one person has a question other people may as well; so I will share them.  Keep sending questions and I’ll keep compiling them.

Question #1:  Can I use a regular garden hose to fill my water containers?  

No, you need to use food grade hoses for this task.  They are typically white and often found with RV supplies.  They specifically say they are safe for drinking water.  Regular old garden hoses are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which uses lead as a stabilizer.  The lead can leak out of the hose and into the water.  According to consumer reports the lead concentrations can be 10-100 times higher than safe levels.  Lead is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women.  California actually requires that the hoses be labeled as potentially causing birth defects and reproductive harm.  By extension this means that you should also avoid drinking from your garden hose while working in the yard.  I shudder to think how much water I have inbibed this way over a lifetime!

Question #2:  I have heard that it is unsafe to use 2L bottles to store water, is this true?

I can’t find any reliable resource that supports this.  To the contray I can find many resources that support my original claim that 2L bottles are great for water storage.  The LDS Church, a world-wide leader in food storage, recommends using PETE or PET plastic bottles (which 2L soda bottles are).  This PETE or PET mark is stamped on the bottle for recycling purposes.  Here are the LDS water guidelines.  They recommend rinsing the bottles with 1 tsp of bleach (unscented) in 1 liter of water first.  My guess is this question stems from putting water in gallon milk jugs.  This practice should be avoided.  Milk jugs have several disadvantages.  One is that they are designed to breakdown in landfills and will breakdown and leak in your storage; making a mess and allowing contamination.  They also don’t seal very well with the normal lids they come with.  They are also a more porous plastic and you can never get the milk particles out of the plastic which is a contamination hazard.  Bacteria like milk and may grow in your water.  You cannot clean/sterilzed them effectively like 2L soda bottles.

Question #3: What kind of sleeping bag would you recommend for a bug out bag?

Sleeping bags are a huge topic, but here are some basic recommendations.  Better sleeping bags are warmer for less weight.  Spend what you can afford.  A good sleeping bag can run you $300 easy.  $150 would be fairly “cheap”.  For women the Kelty Cosmic 20 runs about $150 for reference.  A good sleeping bag may be important in keeping you alive.  It will at least be important in keeping you warm and comfortable.  They basically come in down and synthetic fills.  Down is warmer for its weight.  Down is almost useless if wet.  Synthetic is better if wet but still limited.  I like down, but it is pricey.  For most people a good synthtic fill bag will work fine and “may” be more versatile.  Get a mummy bag because it is much more efficient in the warmth/weight ratio.  Mummy bags also have a hood that allows you to get your head inside and cinch a drawsting around your face = better heat retention.  Get a bag rated 10 degrees colder than your anticipated coldest temperatures.  A 20 degree bag is a good bet for most of North America.  If you live in a tropical climate that is warm most of the time you can go warmer, maybe 40 degrees.  The ratings tend to overrate the bags effectiveness.  You will most likely not be warm or comfortable at 20 degrees in a 20 degree bag but you will survive.  Make sure to buy the right size bag.  Women should get women’s bags because they are shorter (starting at 5’6” usually) and this saves weight.  You also have to consider some sort of sleeping pad.  A sleeping bag on the ground will not be very warm, the temp ratings factor in a sleeping pad.  Marmot, Mountain Hardware, Northface, Kelty, Sierra Designs, Feathered Friends, are just a few examples of good companies.

Question #4: Where do you buy your MREs?

I have purchased many different kinds from many different places.  I have purchased them from amazon.  They tended to be a bit pricey on amazon.  My last order was with MRE Star.  They have a good reputation and are made in America.  I was very happy with the price and quality. With the heaters they are $7.33 if you buy a box of 12.

Question #5: This stuff is very pricey, I can’t afford this!

I guess this is a statement and not a question.  I would argue that you cannot afford not to get prepared!  Some of this stuff is pricey.  I am a big value guy.  I don’t mind spending money for quality.  I try to find the sweet spot where you get the most bang for you buck.  That being said, a lot of this stuff is expensive.  Quality tends to be expensive.  I have learned from experience (sometimes painful) that it is cheaper to buy the right thing the first time.  Spend a bit more to buy once instead of buying cheap and then having to replace it or buy the right thing later.  That being said, I would encourage you to make your money stretch as far as possible so you can get more preps.  Be frugal, shop around, buy used, repurpose, etc.  The prepper community is full of people doing this on tight budgets, look around!  Be smart about how you prep.  Things like flour, salt, water, rice, beans, etc are very cheap.  Things like fancy knives and guns are expensive.  Are you spending money in the right places?  We all tend to get distracted by gadgets, gizmos, whiz-bangs, and shiney things.  Don’t get too distracted.

Question #6: I am new to guns, how do I get started?  How do I introduce my significant other to shooting?

If you are new to guns and shooting I would first find a mentor.  Safety first!  Learn about gun safety and safe shooting.  I realize this is not exactly what people mean by the above question, but I need to make that plug anyways.  The 22 long rifle cartrige is a great place to start.  It is very easy shooting and has almost no recoil.  This removes a lot of the “scariness” out of shooting a gun.  I was out drilling with my AR-15 the other day and pulled out my Ruger 10/22 for fun.  It brought a huge smile to my face to shoot this gun.  I felt like a kid again.  I had forgotten how much fun a 22 is to shoot.

I would consider myself fairly experienced shooter and I still have mentors that I look to for help.  I would highly recommend getting professional training.  Take a basic handgun or rifle course to build your skills.  Most of all… go shooting!  A lot of people recommend trying to get out once a month or so to brush of the rust.

Question #7: What is your current EDC?

Great question!  This changes a bit depending on what exactly I am doing but 90% of the time it is as follows.

EDC:

  • Ruger LCP in modified Uncle Mikes size pocket holster.  I modified it to allow me to insert an extra magazine.
  • Spyderco Delica
  • Foursevens Preon 1
  • Swiss Army Cadet
  • Keys on carabiner, clipped to D-ring on pants
  • 5.11 tac lite pro pants see above
  • Wallet – cash, credit cards, ID, concealed carry permit, etc
  • Chapstick
  • Cell phone – charged!
  • Alternatively, I carry a Keltec PF9 in a N82 Tactical IWB Professional holster.  Fantastic holster BTW.  Extra mag in another pocket.
  • For both guns I currently carry Hornady Critical Defense ammo

I love Glocks, love, love, love them!  But they are bricks!  They just are not well suited for concealed carry.  I anxiously await the day they come out with a single stack 9mm (like the Keltec PF9 above).  I will carry that Glock.  I really feel the Ruger LCP in .380 auto is underpowered, but it is better than nothing.  This gun is so easy to carry that I almost always have it.  It is a compromise… life is compromises.

Keep sending me your questions!

Preppermann

Last Minute Christmas Ideas from Sog

Posted: December 19, 2014 in Gear
Tags: , , ,

sogI’ve highlighted multiple Sog knives that I really like in prior posts.  As I was purchasing one as a Christmas gift I noticed that Amazon has selected Sog knives on sale for 15% off.  Amazon’s prices are usually the best I can find anyways (especially considering shipping) so an extra 15% is a good deal.  If you have Amazon prime you can get any of these shipped free with 2-day delivery.  Amazon prime is really helpful for all my prepper needs.  If you’ve waited till the last-minute and need gift ideas consider these favorites.  If you or someone you know needs to adopt the philosophy of every day carry and having a knife, these are a great way to get started.

Sog Flash 1 – small, elegant, light weight.  This is my EDC knife if I need to go very small and minimal.  Otherwise it is my back up knife.  10/10 form, fit, function.

Sog Flash 2 – big brother to the Sog Flash 1 above.  It is a full-sized folding knife.  This gets a lot of time as my main EDC knife (with the Spyderco Delica).  Good sized blade.  Great assisted opening action = fun and tacticool!  Really nice value with the 15% off.

Sog Seal Pup great fixed blade knife ready for any tactical, survival or camping situation.  Comfortable grip and good overall size, length, and weight.

Sog Aegis – I don’t own this one yet but have handled (maybe fondled it is a better description) it quite a bit in the store.  Really nice knife.  Good steel (Aus 8) with a very nice TiNi (black) finish that makes it even more durable and rust resistant.  Assited opening.  One of my other favs is the Sog Flashback but that one isn’t on sale.  This one is currently a better value with the discount.  The Aegis has a better overall size and shape (thinner) than the Flashback so it is easier to carry.  Standard (Awesome!) Sog clip allows for deep pocket carry.  Sog does pocket clips right.

Sog Fasthawk Tomahawk – Need to dispatch a band of zombies while chopping some wood?  Well this is your tool my friend.  This thing is just fun.  I haven’t done any hard chopping with this (I have an axe after all) so I can’t vouch for that application.  It should do fine with some light duty chopping work.

Sog Flash 2 Tanto – This is the same as the above Flash 2, but in a tanto blade (triangle tip) that is better for tactical applications.  It will hold up better to piercing and thrusting than the Flash 2.  It also has the TiNi finish which is more durable and better for a tactical application (black vs shiny metal).  This also illustrates that most of these knives are available in different configurations.

Sog Trident – Another all around great knife from Sog.  I love the jimping on the spine of this knife.  It runs from the handle onto the blade.  It gives your thumb good grippy purchase on the blade which helps with control and decreases slippage (slippage = bad laceration.)  It is also serrated.  I don’t usually like my smaller knives to be serrated but there are applications where this is a must.  If you need to quickly cut through a seatbelt for example you want a serrated knife.  I like this type of knife for first responder type applications were you need to cut clothes, seatbelts, cordage, etc.

The discount ends Dec 22nd.  These knives are a great value at anytime (I have paid full price for all of them and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again) but the extra 15% off makes them special buys.

There are few things in this world as important as light.  “Let there be light” is the third verse of the Bible!  Accordingly, this is an essential component of your EDC.  Everyone should carry a knife and a flashlight, period.  Here are some great options for light.  Don’t be caught without light, and with these great options there really is no excuse!  Do you have any idea how many patients I have treated for injuries where they were walking around in the dark?  Too many to tell.  A $30 flashlight would have saved them thousands of dollars (needs to be on your person).

foursevens_logoIntro to flashlights:

Lumens – a measure of intensity of the light, aka brightness

Bulb – produces the light, these are all LED.  Superior brightness, life and battery usage efficiency.  No need to get anything else.

Bezel – the face of the light where the light comes out.  Some lights have tactical bezels which are scalloped and slightly sharp for striking in a defensive role.  This adds utility and let’s be honest is just plain cool.  Tacticool!

In general I like to go with AA or AAA flashlights as these are the most common and cheapest batteries.  Your rechargeable batteries will also work.  You are most likely to find these batteries at a store.  Good to go with common.

Put good alkaline batteries in your emergency lights, Energizer or Duracell.  Better yet put Energizer Lithium batteries in your emergency lights.  They are the most powerful with the longest life.

Panasonic Eneloop batteries are great for frequently used lights.  These are the best rechargeables out there.  They don’t self discharge very much at all.  Self discharge means that most rechargeable batteries lose their charge very quickly and are dead within a few days (They eat themselves, ewww!).  They drain themselves over time.  Regular alkalines don’t do this very much at all and are very shelf stable.

See the gear list for links to Eneloops and a great charger for them.  You really want a good charger so spend the money up front.  The charger that comes with the Eneloops is junk and “dumb”.  It will ruin the batteries much quicker.

All-Star Flashlights: 

These are all amazing lights at least 9/10 on my scale.  Most are 10/10

  1. Foursevens Preon 1 – this one just might be my absolute favorite flashlight.  It is just amazing.  It is just slightly (and I mean JUST slightly) larger than a AAA battery.  It puts out a whopping 84 lumens on high.  This thing disappears in a pocket.  If you are new to carrying a flashlight get this, it will make the transition easier.
  2. Fenix E12 –  Single AA light with 130 lumens.  Not nearly as size efficient as the Preon 1 (but nothing is).  Meaning, that the flashlight is a bit bigger than just the AA battery (not much though).  Nice grippy surface (knurling).
  3. Foursevens Preon 2 – this is more like a penlight.  It uses 2 AAA batteries.  Think of a longer version of the Preon 1 flashlight. If the added length and weight is tolerable to you (it should be, it is still very small) you get much more light.  It puts out 192 lumens.
  4. Streamlight TLR-3 – this is a weapon light.  This sits on the rail of my Glock handgun.  It will mount on really any gun with a rail.  I have more expensive weapon lights but this one is probably my favorite.  Factoring value and function this light is awesome.  Simple, bright, rugged, durable, you can’t go wrong.  If you own a handgun you need a good weapon light.  Target acquisition and confirmation are essential for defense and safety.  You have to see what you are shooting at.
  5. Foursevens MMR-X – This is more of a full-szed tactical flashlight.  That being said it isn’t terribly big.  It puts out a whopping 800 lumens.  Still light-weight at 5.2 ounces.  It has a lithium-ion battery which gives you great output and it is rechargeable.  It comes with a little USB adapter to charge it.  Tactical bezel for striking and defense in a pinch.  You can wear this on a belt.  It would fit in a pocket but is a bit big for me to use it that way.  I typically throw this in a gear bag.  It can also be mounted on a weapon with an adapter.  Great all around light with multiple uses.
  6. Streamlight Protac – This is a good value flashlight.  Rugged, tactical, bright.  Decent size and weight.  You can get it in AA or AAA.  Both are great.
  7. Blackdiamond Spot – this is my current go to headlight.  This is my main backpacking light.  Headlights cannot be beat in terms of utility and flexibility.  It makes your life so much easier to have your hands free.  Backpacking, I take this and my Foursevens Preon 1 as backup.  Last trip my buddy whipped out his light, while we were pitching our tents in the dark, only to find his batteries dead (seriously man, c’mon!).  Luckily for him (and me) I had my backup and loaned it to him.  I was seriously tempted to tell him tough crap to teach him a lesson (I didn’t!).  BUT the lesson here is often you need to be prepared for other people.  Most people aren’t going to be as well prepared as you.  Sometimes spares and backups are for others!

Wrap up:

There are a lot of great flashlights out there.  The above are some of my favorites.  I have carried all of these lights in different capacities and have put them through their paces.  You may have noticed that I recommended a lot of Streamlight, Foursevens and Fenix.  This is because I think they are right in the sweet spot of quality and value.  I like to buy good quality stuff at the best prices.  Most of us aren’t Navy Seals where a light failure means death.  These guys carry things like Surefire flashlights which tend to push $200-$300.  They are great lights but a bit pricey for most folks.  Some of you may look at the above recommended lights and think “holy cow, even these are expensive!”  (Just remember I didn’t recommend the $300 Surefire!)  Again, you get what you pay for.  I tried to provide you with the best value.  Quality isn’t cheap.  Spend a little more to get a good quality light.  You’ll thank me later!  May your path be iluminated!