Survival Gear: Use Light Sticks as a Flashlight Backup

Need help after dark? Light sticks can be a nice back up for your regular flashlights, head lamps and other lighting options. There are also many different light stick choices on the market to fill the different requirements that we may have as we prepare for outdoor emergencies.

The most common light stick choices are 30 minute high-intensity, eight hour regular duty and 12 hour long life. The standard eight hour green chem light is a good general choice for most purposes, and it is commonly available. You can also get white, red, orange, yellow and blue light sticks, along with a variety of other colors from specialty providers.

The white color will give you the closest match to the illumination of a flashlight. The red light color will preserve much of your night vision. The blue light is favored for heavy duty first aid kits, as the blue light can help you differentiate between arterial and venal bleeding.

In short, there's a light stick for almost any occasion.

Need to make a signal for help? Tie the end of the light stick to five feet of cord and swing it around quickly. This will create the visual effect of a 10 foot diameter glowing ring of light. Swing it overhead to catch the eye of pilots. Swing it vertically to catch the attention of searchers on the ground.

If the light is being used in cold weather, it will not glow as brightly, but it will last longer. If you need a brighter light than your light stick is producing, you can drop the stick in boiling water for a minute or two which will make it glow more brightly. Just be aware that you sped up the chemical reaction, and the light stick lost about half of its life span.

Do you owe your safe return to a light stick? Please tell us your story in the comments.