Treat yourself to a flashlight that’s not your phone


TK Travis Rathbone

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1. For charging

The Coast Polysteel 600R has two possible power sources: four AA batteries or a 2,200-milliampere-hour rechargeable cell that can also power up other essential gadgets via its built-in USB port.

2. For huge spaces

A junk-drawer flashlight’s brightness measures in the hundreds of lumens. But the Fenix LR40R can produce a ridiculous 12,000 lumens, enough to highlight objects up to 2,500 feet away.

3. For long nights

The 14-inch Maglite ML300L 4D can cast beams for up to 18 straight days without overheating. An air-based temperature management system helps it stay cool, so it’ll keep going strong.

4. For everyday carry

A flashlight in your closet isn’t any good when you’re away from home. The 6.5-inch-long 5.11 Tactical Rapid PL device easily slips into a bag and has a range of 230 feet. It’s also fully waterproof.

5. For your health

The light at one end of the VSSL First Aid unit will burn for as long as 40 hours, but the real payoff is inside its aluminum tube: a rolled-up medical kit featuring key items like Advil, burn cream, and bandages.

6. For blackouts

Sometimes you need to find light fast. Fluorescein and luminous powder in the Pelican 3310PL’s shell make it glow an eerie green so you can quickly spot it in a backpack or darkened room.

7. For your pocket

At a scant 1.2 ounces, the SureFire Sidekick won’t overburden your keyring. Click the single button to cycle through its power levels, maxing out at five times brighter than a typical smartphone light.

This story appears in the Fall 2020, Mysteries issue of Popular Science.