Product Review: EDC Flashlights

productReview1Every Monday I plan on highlighting and writing reviews on items that I am currently using for my prepping needs. Today’s product review will be my EDC flashlight. As each item is particular I will try to break down each criteria and give them a ranking of 0 to 5 (5 being the best)

In one of my previous posts “Every Day Carry”, I mentioned I carry a flashlight with me at all times. Its primary reason is for my work (I work in information technology). There is many times that I need to in and around corners of servers and computers.

 

The flashlight I absolutely love and carry with me is the Streamlight 66118 Stylus Pro Black LED Pen Flashlight

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Some of the criteria with a flashlight selection are:

Usability

Portability

Durability

Cost to Operate

Prepping Value

 

Usability (rank: 4) – This flashlight packs a nice punch. It is rated at an output of 48 lumens. It runs off 2 “AAA” batteries. To operate the flashlight, you simply click the button at the back of the flashlight. It cannot get any simpler than that.

Portability (rank: 5) – This stylus flashlight is very compact and it packs a nice punch. It comes with a holster and clip which makes it easy for me to clip it on to my pocket and go. I usually carry this pen on my right pocket clipped and I hardly ever realize that I have it on my person. The holster can be added to a belt for easier access. Id imagine if you are in a field that requires it readily available this would be a good asset.

Durability (rank: 4) – The outside body is made out of aircraft grade aluminum. It is impact resistant and I have put it to the test. I have dropped mine on various occasions and have not had any issues (albeit a few scratches). The LCD is rated at 30,000 hours which means you could use this flashlight eight hours a day, every day for ten years and it would still have some life it in.

Cost to Operate (rank: 3) –  I have used this flashlight at least once to twice a week for about a year now and have yet to replace its batteries. I like to use Duracell Coppertop AAA Alkaline Batteries . No issues there. As of writing this post, the cost to operate this flashlight is about $1. It is rated to run roughly 4.5 hours on single batteries. My recommendation if you will be running alot of hours through this flashlight is to invest in Duracell Rechargeable Batteries Startup Kit . It is a little more costly but your cost to operate will break even after you reuse the batteries 20 times or so.

Prepping Value (Rank: 4) – Although a good flashlight, I would consider it an entry level and acceptable for every day carry. I would not recommend having this flashlight as your main source of illumination in your preps. For this a more powerful light or a headlamp would be more appropriate. I would not dismiss it though as it can be a valuable tool when SHTF. Its portability is what really wins me over.

Negatives – I will say that the flashlight in my opinion does get a little scratched pretty easy. This could also be due to my normal use and handling.

Overall Score:  4

The Streamlight 66118 Stylus Pro Black LED Pen Flashlight is a very good flashlight at a decent price. I recommend anyone prepping to pick one of these up and add it to your everyday carry regimen. Of course, I would not rely solely on this flashlight in a SHTF scenario.

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Every Day Carry

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What you carry on your person is what I like to think of your last line of defense. Now, we think of every day carry items, we don’t think of carrying food or water. We actually want to have the tools and knowledge on how to obtain both. I have devised an “Every Day Carry System” that in my opinion is a great mix of all items I could expect to use in an emergency situation.

My Every Day Carry System is comprised of two levels: on-person and always by my side. At a bare minimum my first level: on-person, will ensure that I have the proper tools and equipment to overcome any situation I may come across.

My second level: “always by my side” comprises of a bag with various items within it. This bag, I consider an extension to what I am already carrying. This bag I take to work, home, and anywhere I will be. Sometimes I cannot physically have it on me but it is within close vicinity.

Today’s post is going to talk about the items within my first level of every day carry.

Self Defense Weapon – Depending on where you work and go, certain items would not be allowed to be carried. A good example of this is weapons. As I live in a state that allows concealed carry, this is one item that I always have on me (unless law prevents me from doing so).

Fire – I always have on my person a way to start fire. Even though I live in a warm state, fire is very important. If needed, it can provide warmth, sterilize water, cook food, and a lot of times is a big morale booster.

Light – The need for flashlights is also a good reason to carry one daily. In my line of work, there is many times that I need to look in crevices and tight spots with little light. This comes in handy for my daily work as well in an emergency situation.

Communication – It is rare to find someone that doesn’t have a cellphone nowadays. This every day carry is obvious. But what I also do is add various apps and documents on my phone that can be used in emergency situations. I will write about what I have installed on another post.

Currency – Another vital item to carry on you is money. I have a rule of thumb to always carry at least $20 dollars (multiple denominations). In emergency situations ATMs may not work and cash may be hard to obtain.

Knowledge – I also keep with my wallet informational cards. Some cards have vital information about people and places (addresses, names, numbers, blood type, important phone numbers, etc.).  I also keep survival cards and other portent information readily available.

Tools – I carry a multi-tool, a folding knife, and a can opener. Each tool allows me to perform specific functions (as opening a can of food) or it has a broad set of tools (multi-tool).  When faced in a survival situation, you will never know what you might come across and/or need. Its best to be prepared as much as possible.

In a future post I will provide more insight to the exact items I use, and expand more on my second level of every day carry. Again, I would like to stress that most of my items I have bought over time and you should consider having a plan of action so that prepping does not overwhelm  you.

Are there more items that you carry that would be good idea to include? I would love to hear about them and the rest of your comments. Please feel free to comment below!

 

Thanks!

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Where to start in prepping

Silhouette-question-markMy last few posts have been centered around three issues that I faced when I started prepping: no buy-in from family, didn’t know where to start, and of course the cost. Today, we are going to discuss where I began and on how you must make your determination.

Prepping to me is a lifestyle. It is not a quick and easy buy this and that and I am covered. As such, what I decided to do is to play the following scenario in my head:

“This second, the nation power grid has failed. There is no running water, and no communication.”

When I thought about this scenario, I thought about my family. What struggles would the need to overcome to last through the scenario. It was at this point I made a list of things (in order of my importance) that I should have had:

  • Water – I live in Florida and during the summer temperatures can reach in the mid to high 90s. Every summer there are numerous accounts of people that are rushed to the hospital with heat stroke. In this scenario, the need for water is of the upmost importance. Especially when there are no government services available or communication to get help. Also, seeing as there is a system wide shutdown of electricity, roads will be nearly impossible to drive on as traffic control devices that are not on battery back-up are off. This means, my family or I might need to walk to locations for other resources.

 

  • Food – I have three kids. Two of which are under the age of 4. Young kids and the elderly are the most fragile and also in times of chaos have the least ability to “do without”.  My kids in this scenario wont comprehend that there is no electricity, no Wal-Mart, no food coming in. All they can comprehend is that they are hungry and scared. This is why I ranked food my #2 priority. Having food available for my family will make them more at ease and more able to cope with the scenario at hand. I decided because of this, having meals that are easy to prepare and they are comfortable eating is key. If you have 100 cans of SPAM, but your family has never ate it, it will be very demoralizing for them when the time comes to do so.

 

  • Sanitation – Again, I have three kids. Kids already are known to be carriers of diseases more readily than an adult. If you look back in the history books, a lot of the civil war deaths were not from gun-shot wounds, but rather the disease the followed. Also, in medieval periods a lot of deaths were to lack of simple sanitation. One of my kids is currently still in diapers and as such this if left unchecked can pose a huge problem to your families wellbeing.

 

  • Communication – Depending on exactly how the grid was taken down, this might be huge priority issue. Having the ability to communicate between your family and other like-minded individuals will increase your chances of overcoming the situation immensely. Also, if I decide to search the neighborhood for information or worse supplies, having communication back to my house would be almost necessary.
  • Security – Why did I leave this for last? A lot of other prepping sites usually rank this at the very top. I take another approach to security in this context. When you are first starting out to prepping, in my opinion it does not make sense to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars protecting stuff you are planning to have. This is not to say to be completely disarmed and be ready for the taking. This means, obtain a weapon or two to provide basic security. Then, refocus on the higher needs of water, food, sanitation, and communication. If you are able to provide at least the basic level of security, in my opinion you should focus on what truly can save your life. Remember, you can’t eat a gun nor drink it.

 

  • First-Aid – This one goes hand in hand with Sanitation. Simple cuts and scrapes can turn into a life or death emergency. With roads blocked and communication disrupted, the need for at least basic medical care is ever so important. I recommend at least starting with a basic first aid kit and some extras as hand sanitizer and OTC medication.

 

  • Shelter – This would be my last priority for this scenario. Reason being is most of us have a home and we can use that as shelter. I would prep for staying in place during this scenario. As such, you might need to fortify or provide other comforts of shelter. Make plans accordingly.

 

So there you have it. This is my list of what I would recommend anyone starting in prepping should follow. It gives you the opportunity to overcome our scenario and survive.

Do you have comments or suggestions? I am always interested in hearing what other people have to say! Leave your comments, and I will be sure to read them!

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Getting Family to “Buy In” to prepping

buyinIn my last post, I mentioned 3 issues that stood in my way from prepping: no buy-in from family, didn’t know where to start, and of course the cost. Today I am going to discuss on how I was able to get acceptance of the prepping lifestyle and get buy-in from my family.

For years I would buy a flashlight here, buy a can of food here, and store some water for hurricanes. This was a major pinch point for my family. There was no organization and what they saw was me just wasting money. They had every right to feel this way. I could not give them a good reason for what I was doing.

The biggest fear my family had was that it was a waste of time and effort to prepare for the unknown. My wife would tell me that she could not see a need for having extra items in the house that would take up space. She would go on to say that the “Government would take care of us”.

So when I became serious about prepping, I had to deal with both issues independently.

The first problem, disorganization/wasting money was entirely my fault. Families (better yet people) thrive on organization, direction and completion of goals. It makes us feel like we are accomplishing things. Once I realized this was blocking my family from buying into prepping, my entire scope changed. I sat down one night and I prioritized what my family needed. I also made a list of all the scenarios I thought that could pose a threat to my family.

With these two lists, I was able to create a hierarchy of exactly was needed first, second, third and so-on. In later posts, I will discuss my hierarchy in more detail.

After this, I sat my family down and described what prepping was, why we needed to, and the path we needed to take. It was at this time that I was able to tackle the second problem: preparing for the unknown / government will take care of us.

I provided facts that the government, under extraordinary circumstances cannot possible take care of all of us. I pointed the fact that FEMA strongly recommends people to have enough supplies for 3 days. I pointed Katrina. These points were valid and well made. Even with these, my wife still was afraid of the unknown and “did not want to think about it”. This is where I reiterated prepping. That at its core is why we prep. We prepare for unknown, we prepare for what might happen.

One thing I kept in my families mind is that when SHTF, all bets are off. We don’t know what can happen or how extensive it can be. Prepping just gives us the leg up from 99% of the other people in our community, county, state and the Country. It is the people that prepare that will have at least a standing chance to overcome and survive.

The Buy-in was not overnight. It took a lot of time and effort to get to the point I am today. I am grateful that my entire family embraces the idea and we now prepare as a family.

If you are encountering the same issues I went through, I would follow the same steps I did. Anytime you see any news that someone could have been prepared for, casually mention it. Make their minds work over the idea.

There were many times that I would hear of a natural disaster or a shooting. As tragic as these horrific events are, I would mentioned that someone that was prepared for them has a significantly better chance of surviving the scenario.  It’s these small nudges that eventually won my family over.

Give it a shot and let me know if it works. If anyone has any other suggestions on what they did, please comment I would be very happy to hear them!

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Prepping on a Budget

budgetToday’s post is going to deal with being able to continue to prepare with a tight budget. When I first started prepping, I faced various issues: no buy-in from family, didn’t know where to start, and of course the cost.

Out of the three issues I faced, the cost was the most direct and upfront issue for me. I found myself wanting to get to the same point some other preppers were but being blocked as they had invested thousands of dollars to get to their level.

Looking back, my first piece of advice to anyone starting is an old phrase you have heard before:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”

That phrase is so powerful when you talk about prepping. It takes lots of time and money to get to a place you can say “Ah I am OK”. Even when you look at others, they will even tell you that they are not where you they would ideally like to be. There is always the newest tool or the newest scenario they did not think of.

Once I realized that prepping is a lifestyle and conscious choice, I came up with my own “Budget” for prepping. I decided that out of my bi-weekly grocery monies, I would part $10 to $30 solely for prepping.

It doesn’t seem like much right? Well here is a breakdown of items that $15 can buy:

4 Cans of SPAM ($2.50)

6 Cans of Tuna ($8.00)

2 Boxes of Pasta ($1.50)

2 Cans of Soup ($3.00)

Now how does $15 of preps look? To me, better than the week before…. I now have 14 cans of food that I can STORE and SURVIVE another day when SHTF.

If you cut out a few coffees, soda, cigarettes, beers, or other vises you can put another brick on your Rome.

Do you have other tips on prepping for a budget? Leave a comment, I am always wanting to hear of new ideas!

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Welcome to PreppingTips.com

openHi there!

Welcome to preppingtips.com. I am very excited that you have taken time out of your day to visit my site. Currently we are working through design process and we hope to have very good content for you soon.

Please come back and check on us!

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