Durable led flashlight for long term storage in vehicle

Looking for suggestions on an emergency flashlights to store in a vehicle for long amounts of time in case of emergencies.


Good for years.
Work fine below freezing temperature when other cells get very very weak.
Don’t leak like alkalines

Could also use lithium primary cr123a cells… Similar shelf life to those energizer lithium.

Just about any quality light should be durable enough for storage in a vehicle. I personally have several lights in both my cars… I have multiple 1xAA powered lights in the console & doors, plus a 2x18650 thrower in my car kit. A 4xAA starry night BLF edition is in the other car’s kit.

In each of my vehicles I have a cheap Energizer headlamp, a 2*AA light: either Defiant “Unbreakable” or Rayovac “Indestructable” (the Defiants are built better, but the Rayovac has a better UI) and a larger light like a Maglite or larger Defiant. In the smaller lights I keep Energizer lithium AA’s (and some extra sets) and just “Heavy Duty” D-cells in the bigger lights.

I leave the smaller lights for just emergency’s because the batteries are pricey. If I know I’ll need to use a flashlight I’ll bring along a rechargeable one, or use the bigger one in the car.

I keep an Olight S15-XML2 Baton with a tube extension (2-AA) plus the white and orange traffic wand attachments in my car and truck glove boxes. There’s also a Nebo Big Larry (3 AA) in there. Both have a magnet attachment option which is handy in a vehicle.
Not uncommon for winter temps to get well below 0F here so Energizer Ultimate Lithiums in all of them. They’re pricey batteries but pretty much emergency only. Usually have an 18650 powered light in the cars as well.
Best price I’ve seen on the Energizer Ultimates has been at Sam’s club. I buy them during their periodic sales.
Adding a headlamp is a good suggestion, will have to do that.

First of all, I’d recommend some sort headlamp to free up the use of your hands. In my case, I’ve got a baseball cap with a AAA flashlight reverse clipped onto the bill. I find the cap helps fend off the weather a little and the small AAA provides more than enough light for things like fixing a flat tire.

I’d suggest carrying a flashlight with diffuser to use as a backup flashlight and as a traffic baton. Also, pick up some glo-sticks or flares for emergency markers. However, personally, I am guilty of procrastination and have not gotten around to picking these items up. :ghost:

As far as batteries are concerned, if the temperature drops below 20F degrees, then your only good choice are lithium primary batteries. Otherwise, above 20F, li-ion rechargeables are okay. Above freezing, NiMH batteries work well. And alkalines are best used above 40F. So, for most folks, the choice would be between lithium primary batteries and li-ion rechargeables.

  • If you just want an emergency flashlight to store away and forget about it until needed, then lithium primaries are your best option.
  • If you regularly use the flashlight as the “car flashlight”, then you’re really not going to be able to reliably tell what the charge state of the battery is unless you regularly maintain it (replace or recharge). In that case, li-ion rechargeables might be the better option.

Regarding the concern about batteries baking in the car under the hot summer sun, opinions are mixed [link].

Your decision on which flashlight to store in your vehicle will depend on your climate, your choice of batteries, and your budget.

My emergency light in the car is an old Surefire G2 with an LED dropin, kept with a set of primary cells in a waterproof box. It's a last resort light, as I've normally got something in my pocket when out, current favourite is my tiny little olight S15R.

I have very good results with lithium primary, they stood for years in my car and maintain charge. And here the car temp go to 70C regularly.

So I guess at least you should have one backup light with this battery (I put mine in an SK68).

The HL23 headlamp runs on a single AA, runs at 3 Fenix lumens for 100 hours, for sitting in the car overnight, almost 6 hours of 50 lumens for working on the car or digging snow, and just over an hour of 150 lumens to use as a flashlight with throw.

In Minnesota you need at least one of your lights to be of very good quality, and the headlamp to be able to use in a snow storm through doing all the things that you might need to do with getting your car unstuck, Eneloops are good to –4 below zero, and you can always warm them up in your pocket.

As long as you keep extra batteries you should be covered for anything, your glove compartment flashlight can be another quality light, or something cheaper, like a SK68, you can also look for a AA transistor radio to use in a breakdown, to save your car battery.

edit-It occurred me that I might be one of a few that still uses a transistor radio to listen to for radio shows and music, most people probably have a more modern device that they use for music.

Your summers edit-(in Minnesota, not where I live) won’t hurt your Eneloops at all, as long as you keep them in an old camera pouch and under the seat, or best of all, the trunk.

My truck lights tend to change but the mainstay is a 5C Defiant loaded up with lithium AA’s under the seat. Hope I never have to use it for anything besides a flashlight but I’m sure it could do some damage.

A headlamp has been mentioned a few times. There’s a group buy going on right now for some of the Skilhunt headlamps, Group Buy Active >> Skilhunt H15 and more >> Review Inside and you can request a coupon code sent via a PM. I got an H15 model that I liked enough to order more. Seems to be a quality unit and it works with a AA Primary Lithium Battery such as the Energizer Ultimate or the 14500 AA sized Lithium Ion.

Each category will have different requirements. True ‘emergency’ stuff never sees use until it is a must. Kind of like inflatable life vests or sterile-packed bandages. Meant to be used only once and only when absolutely needed. Lithium primary cells are the best for lights here; alternately you can use other primary cells if you inspect and change them on a frequent schedule but the risk there is forgetting to do that. Since you’re not going to use them Li primaries are cheap when thought of as a 5+ year cell.

Seldom used I would choose the Li primaries, but if they were used for more than a few minutes they’d get replaced just to be sure the cells are always new with a full charge. Because you’re using them, an alternate primary with maintenance (check and change) might work better here. Same risk of forgetting.

Often used, I’d go with LiIon rechargables if the storage situation is such that you feel safe with the highest heat they will see and you’re not going below their lowest useful temps either. Maintenance again which could be forgotten, but that’s less likely since you’re LiIon aware (we hope!)

In all cases, only high quality everything will do- lights, cells, storage boxes, whatever- as this may be the difference between life and death or great discomfort. Failure is not an option here. If you can’t afford high quality right away, buy a cheapo for now and start saving the rest of your money to get the right kind of stuff as soon as you can. Anything is better than nothing but you can do well and you should.

I follow my own advice with this or am upgrading ASAP. And for things that really count, always have a back-up.