Revisiting a not so bright idea

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about lights.  What makes a good light? What makes a bad light? Why I don’t carry one everyday? What the light would have to be for me to carry it. You know the stuff us normal people think about (Yeah, I know I’m nuts.)

Anyway… I was thinking through this 2 weeks ago on a long drive and I tried to convince myself that since I was always surrounded by lights I didn’t need to have one on my person.

In fact from the driver’s seat of my Jeep I was able to put my hand on 4 lights from where I was sitting.


  1. My favorite small hand-held, a Modified Surefire E2D Defender that gets used constantly and therefore the battery was drained to the point the beam was dimmer than normal.
  2. A Surefire G2 that lives in the map pocket in the door of my Jeep
  3. A small rechargeable that “lived” in the power outlet in the dash
  4. A cheap Chinese light with a crenelated bezel, tail button, ultra bright LED and it does this…

I can’t figure out why that is a good thing… but it is sorta cool!

If you are curious about the magazine, it was in my center console, I didn’t know it was there, so I thought I would throw it into the photo.

While it was true that I was literally surrounded by lights and that I could get one from my seat regardless of what happened… of the 4 one was low on power from constant use and one actually broke as I was retrieving it (notice the head of the small rechargeable is not attached to the rest of it). And to make matters worse, I couldn’t have gotten to any of them from inside the Aurora theater. Hmmm!

Since I need to put some more thought into this, this post is starting a series on EDC flashlights and will start with why I don’t carry the high quality lights I keep in the Jeep, discuss some great options that I have in the store, and finish up with a look at some weapon light choices as well.

Post a comment below, Tweet me @BalloonGoesUp or message me on Facebook and let me know what light you carry and what you like and don’t like about it!


  1. motomed says

    Fenix PD22, small, 4 brightness settings, SOS, couple of strobe options, cheap enough I won’t be terribly upset if I lose it. carry it loose in a front pocket.

  2. Ben C says

    I carry the Streamlight 2AAA light I mentioned in my email the other day. Works plenty well for seeing in the dark. Won’t signal aircraft, but that isn’t what it is for. Primary use is a shop tool for looking into small dark cavities to find stuff that should not be there, or down inside equipment to find the broken part. Best part of this light, its small and handy enough to always have with me, smaller than a sharpie marker.

  3. says

    Streamlight PT-1L. Not overpriced, has a low mode to save batterries when serving in an administrative function. Small enough to drop in a pocket and not be a hassle to carry. Decent battery live, great output for a small light. Only complaint is there isn’t a low battery indicator.

  4. Archer says

    Simple 2AA Mag-Lite, modified with the Nite-Ize 3-LED “bulb” and push-button tail cap. I carry it in a belt case with a velcro closure (the Mag-Lite one it came with is open-topped, and the light kept falling out). Not high-end, not super-bright, not really a “defensive” light by most definitions, but it gets the job done for very little cash.

    Looking to upgrade to a “better” light, but being constantly short on funds makes it difficult and/or not a priority.

  5. KCsmith says

    I find my Streamlight Microstream LED single aaa battery pocket clip light to be the least obtrusive for all day every day carry. It’s smaller than a Bic lighter, and slightly longer but as thick as a chapstick. Battery life is acceptable and durability is good. The weak point is the rubber cover for the button, but they are now supplying a replacement cap with them, so it should be good for about 2 years of daily carry, for under $20. For those who don’t carry a light, try it for a week, and I bet you find use for it at least once or twice in that time.

      • KCsmith says

        The 28 lumens seems small, but it really is plenty for most tasks, without being blinded by the splash. It won’t blind an attacker either like some of the 100+ lumen lights but as long as we know the limitations of our gear, it serves its purpose well. The super bright lights are tough to use as a task light, and the ones with a hi/lo output seem to be too bright on high and not bright enough on low. This one falls right in the middle and is very useable.

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