Do you carry a flashlight with you at all times? I bet if you asked most older folks if they have a flashlight on them at all times, they are going to tell you no. But if you asked that same question to the younger generation, most of them would say yes.
Do you know why?
It’s similar to that old saying we used to hear from our math teachers growing up when we used to ask them why we couldn’t use a calculator for a test. Their answer would always be “You’ll never be carrying around a calculator in your pocket all the time.”
Well look how things have changed. Almost every single person in the developed world over the age of like 12 has both a calculator and a flashlight in their pocket at all times. It’s amazing how fast technology has evolved over the years and how the way we consume knowledge has changed. You literally have the answer to almost every question you could ever ask, in the palm of your hands at all times with a cell phone. It’s amazing. But we still believe that your everyday carry pack should include an actual flashlight, and here’s why.
Should Your EDC Pack Include a Flashlight?
Yes, your cell phone does have a flashlight on it, which is great for most of the things you’ll need it for. Looking under the couch, checking between the seats for your car for the wallet you just dropped, a quick walk to the garbage can at night, and even to read menus in a dark restaurant (ugh, we’re getting old).
But you know what the flashlight on your phone is not good for? Pretty much everything else.
Have you ever tried to use your phone’s flashlight to illuminate something more than 2 feet away from you? It’s not going to do a very good job. One tiny LED light, designed to help with a bit of fill light for a phone camera, is not going to help you on a night hike, it’s not going to help you change a tire, it’s not going to help you in a dark cave, it’s really not going to do much for any outdoor nighttime activities.
An actual flashlight can help in a number of situations where a cell phone flashlight just won’t suffice.
Your cell phone flashlight can do well enough for some emergencies, but if something major happens, you may need your phone for other purposes and don’t want to drain the battery quickly by using the flashlight. The flashlight on the phone also isn’t very powerful, so it probably won’t help in most cases.
Power outages, natural disasters, flat tires or accidents at night. All of these incidents can be handled and navigated much better with an actual flashlight rather than a cell phone light. You’ll typically get better battery life, you’ll have a much brighter light that will illuminate more of the area you’re trying to work in or move around in.
In emergency situations like this, your cell phone battery should be a priority, so having access to an actual flashlight could save your life.
If you’re out jogging at night, get lost in the woods, or have any situation in the dark that might hinder your ability to see properly, you’ll want a flashlight to help navigate those areas.
A proper flashlight will also help other people to notice you if you’re lost or hurt. Most EDC flashlights have multiple settings like strobe, color changing, super brightness, etc. that can help rescuers or other people find you in the event your safety is at risk.
A flashlight will also help you to see any obstacles you may encounter further down your path that your cell phone flashlight may not be able to see due to the distance.
Could you imagine running outside at night with just the light on your phone? You would absolutely fall or hit a hole in the sidewalk and hurt your ankle, not to mention possibly be sprayed by a skunk (trust me, it’s no fun).
3. Outdoor Activities
Whether you find yourself in an emergency situation or not, having a flashlight for any outdoor activity is an absolute must.
Hiking, camping, or any other outdoor activity where you have to navigate in the dark, is best done via the light of an actual flashlight, not a cell phone flashlight.
The power and battery life you’ll experience from an actual flash light is going to be far superior than any other type of flashlight you may have. A headlamp flashlight may even be a better choice depending on what sort of outdoor activities you have planned, but an actual flashlight is absolutely essential for any camping trip or outdoor activity.
Most flashlights these days have various different features including super bright settings, strobe effects, and sometimes more. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself, a metal flashlight is going to make a much better weapon than your cell phone.
Whether you’re being threatened by a human being or an animal in the woods, something made of hard metal that you can swing around is going to fare better than other options. Obviously, a firearm or a knife would be a better option, but depending on the size and weight of the flashlight, you can do some serious damage.
Not to mention you can use the light itself to blind an attacker (animal or human) in order to make a getaway, especially at night.
Have you ever tried to stare directly into a super bright flashlight? It’s almost impossible to see anything else when it’s blasting you in the face.
5. Everyday Tasks
This one may not convince most people, since your cell phone flashlight is probably sufficient for most everyday tasks, but having a flashlight with you will provide better light coverage without having to waste your cell phone battery and provide much better light.
If you’ve ever tried to use your cell phone flashlight for everyday tasks, you know that it can be quite awkward to hold and shine in the direction you need. Having an actual flashlight is the best way to ensure you have ample light when you need it and are prepared for any dark situation you may encounter.
Yes, the flashlight on your phone will handle most small tasks that you run into on a daily basis, but there’s nothing quite like the feel of an actual flashlight.
We have written about a number of flashlights that are amazing and affordable. Whether you’re looking for a full size flashlight or a mini light to just have in your bag, there are plenty of great options out there.
We highly recommend having a flashlight as part of your everyday carry pack, even if it is just a small mini one for emergencies. You’ll thank us when you actually need it.
Zach Belmont has been working in the outdoor apparel industry in one form or another for over 20 years. During his career, he has worked at some of the most well-known adventure brands including Patagonia and The North Face in marketing, operations and product development. Zach currently lives in Wyoming with his wife and 2 kids.