Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Next Item

There's been some great comments coming in about contents for the Bug In Bag first aid kit...look for some more soon.

The next piece of kit you'll need is light. I keep four sources in my bag. The first is a headlamp that's hand free. You've probably seen them, they come with a band that fits over your head like the old miner's lamps and the beauty of them is they free up both hands to work with.

The second one I carry is a small Mag lite about six inches long. A great trick with this one taught to me by the legendary Marcus Wynne is to use some duct tape and secure some spare batteries to it. This keeps the spares right where they're needed and provides you with a length of the very useful tape. These tend to be much brighter and more intensely focused than the head lamps are and, if you're concerned about shooting at night, they're much better than the head lamp for obvious reasons. LOL The company that makes them has now come out with a kit so that you can replace the twist on/off end with a push button which is much better for combat hand gunning.

Next, I keep some Cyalume lights sticks handy. They're the ones you snap in half to activate the chemicals inside and they're cheap and light so there's no problem carrying a few of them. They can be used for roadside emergency flares, lighting where you can't run the risk of a spark, underwater, to illuminate a pathway or light up a fire escape or as a signalling device to name but a few possible applications. (Keep in mind these are a lot safer during a power outage or blackout than candles tend to be)

Finally I keep a small candle. You'll find the right type in a camping store again and they tend to be slow burning and unscented. Unlike the other light sources they provide a surprising amount of heat. During commando training with the Legion we did the survival snow cave trick and got to experience first hand how much heat they can give off in a confined space.

As usual, if I've forgotten something feel free to send a reply and I'll see it gets posted.


suo said...

I would replace mini-Maglite with similar size ledlight. Brighter, lower power consumption --->longer battery life. Maglite does have led-version of 2AA model.

Marc said...

The best suggestion i can make is to use LED's. I carry a headlamp and a surefire in my kit (which is more compact than the one being described as it has to fit into a compartment on my messenger bag along with all my texts for class and so-forth). The headlamp is a petzel tactikka, which runs around $30-40. The advantages over incandescent light are staggering. They put out similar amounts of light with a smooth wide flood and give off usable light for 150 hours on the lowest setting (which is enough usable light 95% of the time) versus a mere 4-8 hours for an incandescent light. Surefire also sells their affordable G2 in LED now as well, and it is brighter than the incansescent version with a significantly longer runtime. Even maglight makes an LED now, although it's not particularly bright compared to the more advanced surefire (but you can swing it at people).

As for cyalumes, i prefer the 30 minute high intensity types. They still glow for 8 hours or so, but the first half hour puts out a lot more light than the standard 12hr versions

John Klumpp said...

Just a minor note on headlamps, since outdoor gear is my specialty. For a headlamp in an emergency kit I would highly recommend the Petzl e+lite. It is intended as a backup headlamp for climbers, and as such it is durable, waterproof, and also extremely light (weighs less than an ounce) and compact. It also has a strobe mode and a red light mode, which doesn't mess up your night vision. Also, the batteries go for about a day and a half on high mode.

Anonymous said...

Just my two cents on a great BIB flashlight. I recently upgraded from a mini Maglite to a Fenix LD20. It's slightly larger than a mini Mag, and a more expensive at $55, but I think it's well worth it.

Here's a quick summary, but check out the reviews online for more details.

It's Cree LED bulb lasts 50,000 hours. It has 6 different lighting modes that span from 9 - 180 lumens, including an SOS mode. Note, the higher the lumens, the quicker the battery drains. Nine lumens is great for reading and 180 lumens could be used for search and rescue. It uses 2 AA batteries instead of the harder to find 123 batteries that many of the higher end flashlights now require. It's also pretty durable to the elements and has a nice warranty.

I seriously love this light, although I hope I never need to use it for bugging!