survival lighting
Make sure you're prepared for a survival situation by having more than one form of emergency lighting.. Tim MacWelch

Many people are familiar with the old shooting adage “One is none.” This concept of “safety in redundancy” holds true for many more topics than just weapons. For example, I carry several lighters in my outdoor gear, just in case one gets damaged or lost. I carry multiple cutting edges too, to provide back-ups in the event of loss, loan, or breakage. I’m a big believer in multiple flashlights, and I like to have a light within arm’s reach at all times. These are the five types of lighting that everyone should have.

Pen Light

Pen lights have come a long way over the years. Bright beams, long battery life, and rugged construction can be found in many different models across many different brands. This light is a good option for your pockets, purses, survival kits, and anyplace else that a compact light would be welcome. I find lights with the ability to clip onto a hat brim or pocket extra handy.

Keychain Light

Small and inexpensive, a keychain light might be your best friend, helping you illuminate space in and around your car—and acting as a back-up for all of your other light sources. Its power will never match larger lights, but you don’t always need a beam that would melt the fur off a bear. A minuscule squeeze light could be all you need, and it’s just right for checking pupil dilation (an important first aid diagnostic).


My favorite for most situations, the headlamp gives us hands-free lighting, very often with a long battery life. Headlamps sit in the top of my medical bag and in the top of my vehicle toolkit, ready to stream illumination exactly where I’m looking while keeping both hands free to work.

Tactical Light

Remember the melting bear fur previously mentioned? Nothing helps you out in those “bump in the night” situations like a high lumen, ultra-bright tactical light. These lights can reach out into the darkness and give you the visibility you want and need. Look for lights that also have multiple features like battery-thrifty, low-intensity settings and an attacker-disorienting strobe light option.

Heavy Lights

There’s still a place for those large, long and clunky “D” cell battery flashlights. We keep one on each bedside table in our house. This provides both light and a backup weapon in the form of a baton.

What kind of lights do you carry (and why)? Tell us in the comments below.