What's everyone's thoughts on chem lights?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by zbeck008, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. zbeck008

    zbeck008 Monkey

    Hey everyone...I'm going back and forth on the usefulness of carrying a chem light instead of a flashlight in an edc/bug out situation...any knowledge out there on good ones, prices, where to buy, worth looking into it, etc...? Thanks!
  2. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    I like chem lights for when you need multiple hour low level illumination or location marking. So when I used to make night scuba dives tie one on a short string and they float above your head showing your location for other divers. I'd mark the dive boat or anchor line at night with them. I've used them for navigation points for night time land navigation courses. I've marked drives and trail heads and key evidence points during search and rescues. However, they are not great for illuminating a trail. You can't turn them off and on. They radiate in all directions so they are not very discrete. They don't store well for multiple years in your car in hot and cold conditions. I think the weight and space may be better expended on spare batteries for a high quality LED light or a second small LED torch. But that is me just thinkin...

    zbeck008 likes this.
  3. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Moatengator and zbeck008 like this.
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I use the break and shakes when marking a night deer blood trail. They are good markers, but not all that bright. And if need be, they are still there to be followed in the morning. I keep about a dozen in my hunting pack for the purpose. They are quite light in weight, for for the space, But I agree, rechargeable batteries, and a solar charger, would be a better choice for a flashlight.
    zbeck008 likes this.
  5. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Can't beat them as targets for NV.

    Predator hunting.. ;) :D
    zbeck008 and oldawg like this.
  6. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I like to cut them open and use them as face paint.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  7. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    I'd use them when i need light for a while, but not flood or point work. Safer than candles in the house.
    I have a dozen or so.
  8. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    Bought a few bulk bags off Amazon cheap. They cheer me up at times using for a Nightlight :D
  9. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Chem lights can be a useful source of light in situations where inflammable fuels and gases may be present. As a volunteer fire fighter, they were a standard bit of kit in the fire truck. Entering confined spaces or places of low visibility doing search and rescue...having an active chemlight may make your rescue easier if you are overcome by toxic fumes or become injured by falling debris. Although structural firefighters have intrinsically safe torches and alarms that go off if you are motionless for too long...a chem light is a useful backup if systems fail.

    Now....if these dudes had have been playing with chem lights instead of butane cigarette lighters.......

    Want to light a Cigarette at a Gas Station? - YouTube
    VisuTrac likes this.
  10. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Damn, he'll probably breed too. Summabiatch
  11. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    In a tactical environment I would not use them while in movement. They make for easy targets to opposing forces. In an EDC/bug out situation use a flashlight over a chem light any day. You can turn off the flashlight after using your map but a chem light will continue to mark you as a target!! Chem lights work well in a tent once you reach a good layover position. Just my opinion....
  12. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    They have uses, but they only have about 3 year shelf life. My money goes on led flashlights, wife has one that uses 4 AA batteries, and you can leave it on for a solid week and still have usable light!
    Yard Dart likes this.
  13. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    As they say....a Youtube video clip is worth a 1,000 words....

    I have no pecuniary interests in the manufacturers or sellers of Cyalume products....the video clip demonstrates well the SAR applications of chemlights though.
  14. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    To control light from a chemlight, I slice off one end of the wrapper, then use it as a sleeve with the chem light inside it (like a flashlight). This makes if very directional and hard to see from angles other than straight on. One can decrease the light emitted by folding the opening to a smaller size. To block it out altogether, just fold the cut end closed.

    More than in a BOB, a chemlight probably has better use for a lost person signalling a rescuer during SAR. I don't bother with them anymore.
  15. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Maybe a better way to look at the original question prompting this discussion would be to not consider the situation where you might like a chem light vs a flashlight, but rather consider the opposite. When would you not want a chem light and when would you not want a flashlight. I think that might provide some addition illumination to the question.

  16. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    Another good use for a Chemlight, Bait for the Badguys. Diversion so they move in on the light, you move in on them. Main best use for a Chemlight is in a sealed area such as a shelter, a lightproof tent, cave etc... Otherwise yer just giving away your location 360 degrees around you.
  17. Big Kahuna

    Big Kahuna Monkey++

    Chem lights are useful in night shooting because they don't knock out your night vision. An electronic alternative is the Krill Light.
    gunbunny likes this.
  18. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Or you can use an IR filter like I have for my Surefire weapon light.
  19. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    I have used a chemlight for an all-night highway drive when my old car's dashlights failed - used the foil wrap as a reflector to put the light on my speedo and away from my eyes. Worked well.
    Good for markingyour tent in a campground too, for when the 'call of nature' must be answered and the tree/bathroom is some distance away. Illumination inside tent or van too, of course. As mentioned, use the foil wrap to 'turn off' the light when NOT wanted.
    I favor the yellow and light green for illumination, and the red for tent markers.
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