What's in Your Pack? Flashlights

When I hit the trails, I set out to explore uncharted territory. Traipsing through wooded areas thrills me as much as scouring a new city in a far flung country on foot. I never know what awaits me around each corner or tree stump, and it's just the fuel I need to keep me exploring.

Though I may tear into things blindly, one thing I don't particularly enjoy is the dark. Sure I've been in situations where I've been forced to make camp in the African jungle late at night surrounded by the eerie cries of baboons swinging from the trees above my head, but as a general rule I like to see where I'm going.

The Mountaineers chose illumination as one of the top ten must-haves and I couldn't agree with them more. Let me shed some light on my top picks for flashlights.

  • Pak-Lite Flashlights - According to the story, a 15 year old invented this mini marvel for his older brother before he set out to trek 2600 miles (4184 km) from Mexico to Canada. The only instruction: make it as small as possible. The result, a 1.5 oz (42 g) LED flashlight that snaps on top of a 9volt battery. Small enough to fit anywhere and bright enough to be seen a mile up the road, this flashlight travels better that any I've ever had before. It's waterproof and there's no need to pack extra batteries because one regular alkaline battery lasts 5 years.  For more information visit Pak-Lite.
  • Toollogic SL1 Mini - I love my multitools and I love this one even more because it's small, cuts like a razor and doubles as a flashlight. Weighing in at only 2 oz (56g), the Mini also contains an emergency whistle. It's perfect for signaling distress in the woods and easily slips in my shirt pocket or hangs neatly from a carabineer hooked on my pack.  For more information visit Toollogic.
  • Energizer Trailfinder Krypton Light - There's no better way to kill a flashlight than drop it in a river. Luckily this powerful yet affordable camp light floats. The waterproof body means the bright beam won't stop shining even if it's floating downstream. I love the anti-roll design of its oversized head the most. Visit Energizer for more information.

What's in your pack?

Feel free to add to this list. Whether you're a dedicated boulderer, a crazed canoe-camper or an intrepid weekend warrior, the items in these basic categories will get you through the trail.

James W. Coates,
National Park Expert

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