Living out in the boonies, we often have the power go out, especially in the winter months, when trees fall over power lines. More often than not, when the power goes out, it is usually at night, and on a weekend, and it takes repair crews hours, and at times, even days, to get the power restored. When the lights go out in the country, its dark - real dark! I have flashlights in every room of our home, and I can usually just reach for a light when the power goes off, so I'm good to go, in order to find my kerosene lanterns or other lights. However, I remember when I was "young and dumb" and I fell into the trap of buying cheap flashlights - only to be let down by them when they were needed the most in an emergency. And, to be honest, the old flashlights didn't give very much light, nor did they give light for very long.
With modern technology today, flashlights have come a long way, and you can get a really bright flashlight, that runs on AA or AAA batteries, that throws a super-bright light a good long distance. And, living out in the country, this is a good thing to have, in case you need to check outside of your home for things that might go bump in the night. However, I don't always need "that" much bright light inside the house, just to light-up the living room or the bedroom, or out camping, to light-up a tent.
The PakLite, 9-Volt LED flashlight I'm proud to say, it is assembled here in my home state of Oregon. PakLite was born from necessity in 1999, and invented by then 15 year old, Ben Henry, when his brother, Barclay, decided to hike the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail and needed a light-weight flashlight that would last from Mexico to Canada! Armed with two unbreakable LEDs and a switch, it simply snapped to the top of a 9-volt battery and lit the entire trip for Barclay. It couldn't have been more efficient on power AND weight. With no extra bulbs or batteries to carry, it was loved by others along the trail as well.
Okay, I've gotta admit it, when I received the PakLite sample, I was more than a little skeptical about how well it would really work as a flashlight. I mean, come on, we're talking nothing more than two little LEDs in a plastic housing, with a switch that snaps on top of a 9-volt battery. Could the darn thing actually work as advertised, and would it provide enough light to see in the dark and light-up a dark room at night? Well, I'm happy to report, this neat little invention works and works extremely well.
What we have is a little flashlight that will run on "high" for 30- hours, and on the "low" setting for 600-hours. No, that's not a misprint, it will run for 600-hours on low - giving you enough light so you are left in a dark room when the power goes off - and we all know that, sooner or later, your power will go off - you'll have a lighted room. Now, if you purchase a Lithium 9-volt battery and they are a little more expensive than standard 9-volt batteries, the PakLite will run for 1,200-hours on "low" and 80-hours on the "high" setting! I can't think of any other flashlight that even comes close to this. I put the PakLite to the test, and if actually ran a bit longer than 30-hours on the high setting, and I replaced the battery, and tested it again on the low setting - and I completely lost track on how many hours it ran on the low setting - but it was on for more than 3-weeks, before I finally noticed it had went dead!
The sample PakLite I received has the glow-in-the-dark cap attachment, and it will glow for 12-hours after being exposed to a light source. So, should your power go off in the middle of the night, you will be able to easily find the your PakLite because it will be glowing green on your nightstand or dresser, or an end table. Kool! You can also get a little belt carrying case, and have the PakLite with you at all times - another clever idea. On top of this, you can get the PakLite in a number of different colors including Blue, that is extremely bright, green with is the brightest light, infrared for use with night vision equipment, oran is a soft light, red to preserve your vision at night, turquoise is also extremely bright, ultraviolet for forensic work, yellow that won't attract bugs and of course, the white light, which is best for all around use.
PakLite also has some other clever items that you might want to consider, they have a headband holder that is great for hands-free work and holds up to three PakLites. You could also mount a PakLite on your bicycle with rubber bands so other vehicles can see you at night. With Velcro, you could attach a PakLite to just about anything. Over 4,000 PakLites were in use by the US Air Force Special Operations Command in Iraq. The American Red Cross, US Navy and FEMA also uses the PakLite during emergencies. There is also a 25-year warranty on the PakLite and the LED bulbs will burn for 100,000 hours - so they should never need replacing.
The PakLite is easy to operate - it comes with a toggle switch - one setting is "low" one is "off" and one is "high" - what could easier? They also offer a PakLite version with a flashing mode - and that would be great for campers or hunters - if you got lost, it would flash for hundreds of hours, allowing a search and rescue unit to find you. This is another one of those "gee, why didn't I think of that" inventions, and it is simple and in my book, simple means it works longer and better. Retail on the PakLite is $24.99 and it is one great bargain if you ask me - if you've ever been in the dark for a couple days, due to a power outage, you'd give anything for a long-lasting source of light, wouldn't you? My oldest daughter confiscated my sample after I was done testing it, now I have to get another one for myself - I might even pick one up for the wife, and she can keep it in her purse. If you're serious about survival, or if you don't like being the dark when the power goes off, you need the PakLite. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio