Looking for a Bug Out (BOB) Survival Light

Wow... been picking up a lot of info. You can really spend hours on this board. I did do a search but found very little in the way of a survival flash light.

Before joining BLF, I was set on purchasing either a Fenix LD20 or PD31. Although there are a lot of great lights out there for a lot cheaper, I was hoping I could get suggestions on other lights that some of you plan on using in case of emergencies. Since joining, I've ordered a SolarForce L2R to evaluate as my wife's EDC or nightstand light.

My requirements are/were:

  • rugged
  • multi-mode (hi, med, lowlow, strobe)
  • low, low, light < 2 lumen (preferred)
  • for use in an urban/suburban environment
  • doubles as nightstand and bug out light
  • Budget = $70 USD
  • runs on alkaline or lithium batteries *

* Battery Choice

The battery type is something I'm reconsidering only because it clearly reduces the field of lights dramatically. My concern was in an event of a natural disaster alks and liths would be hard enough to find once I've gone through my stock. But if it came down to me finding 18650, CR123 and 14500's in the same situation, it would seem nearly impossible.

I'm open to being "schooled" in battery practicality and would certainly weigh function, performance against a change in my battery paradigm.

I'd appreciate any help you have to offer!


Flash-a-holic Trainee

What budget range are you looking at? The 4Sevens Quarks are great due to their current regulation and legoability. They aren't budget by any means, but they fit your description.

How about a 501A from Manafont with a low voltage Solarforce drop in.


The low voltage XPG drop in that will run CR123 until they are empty or you can squeeze AAs in there if you loosen both ends.


  • Module consists of a Cree LED and an aluminum reflector
  • Three Mode Output
  • 3 modes = 100% - 40% - 10% - Repeat (with memory function)
  • Input voltage: 0.8V-4.2V
  • Fits P-60 lights

A 50 box of CR123s and you can have light for a long time in a small package or make AAs fit if you need to.

Seeing that I was willing to shell out for the Fenix Lights, my budget would still be about $70 USD. I suspect that I'll get more light for the dollar with the variety of lights discussed here at BLF.

Thanks for the heads up on the 4Sevens. Checking it out now.

If infrequent use is to be considered, you may want to start with the cell and work backwards.

Alkalines should probably not be used, as they leak.

Li-ion is good, but fairly spendy and needs recharging.

Ni-MH is also decent, but unless LSD cells are used, you may end up with a dead light at the worst time.

This leaves Lithium Primary batteries as the cell of choice for a glove box or BOB. They have the widest range of temperature tolerance among consumer cells, as well as excellent storage characteristics for the infrequent-use light.

So, take your pick from the many offerings available in AA, AAA, or CR123 format, and stash away a few extras. The Quarks are a great choice, as others have mentioned, since they have a great Low-Low mode and good runtime on the others.

The only AAAs I would consider are the Maratac AAA, the iTP A3, the Olight i3, or the DGQ AAA lights.

I would forfeit the strobe mode and get an S-Mini from Shining beam. It can run on 18650 or on 2xCR123 batteries. Low mode only pulls .03A so should have a long runtime, but it is more than 2 lumens, probably more like 10. It's not a thrower, for that you would need a p60 sized drop-in or similar, with a larger head. But the S-mini is waterproof, small, and will do what you need except strobe for $40 or so. And it is a neutral white tint, more of a natural lumination thanT6 XM-L's.

BTW, I haven't seen an Alkaline leak in the last 20 years unless you let it go WAY past the expiration date on the battery, which usually is about 7 years away. I would not let worries about leaking Alkalines affect your decision. That being said, I only use quality alkalines; Energizers or Duracells.

In a smaller package, the Olights are good keychain-sized lights in the AAA and AA series. But low on them is still relatively high.

Sometimes it's a case of having worked on a project for so long that you just assume that everyone else knows what your requirements are and I apologize for that .

This flashlight isn't meant to be a buy a forget light, it'll be on my nightstand for emergencies, as well as checking out those noises that go bump in the night or even to grab a bite to eat in the middle of the night. So long term non-use storage is less of an issue say like an MRE.

In the worst case scenario if we have to leave in the middle of the night, we grab our lights along with our BOB on the way out... or so is the plan.

Thanks for the clarification.

I still like the Quarks, as they can use 2 x RCR123s (rechargeable) and the primaries when needed. You can throw a few lithium cells in your BOB as backup.

The angled Zebralights are a nice light to DO stuff with, as the design allows for hands-free use with the natural clipped orientation. There are a variety of offerings that use AA/14500 or RCR/CR123s. Good level spacing and runtimes to boot.

There's a new compact 4AA "Q50" light that is right around the corner. It is supposed to put out 600+ lumen on Eneloops while being pocket-sized.

Trooplewis: you have had far better luck than I with the alkalines. I just disposed of a mattress pump with corroded Energizer "D" cells from this Spring. I think the failure is in higher-draw devices, in my case.

That is why I suggested the 501A, they are very cheap under 6 dollars. $15 for the low voltage drop in you can use cr123, 16340, 18350 or AA, the most battery choice of any light i can think of. Any P-60 drop in will fit it.

Small enough to fit in your pocket. Cheap enough so you can buy a couple and leave one in the Bug out Bag, one on the night stand, one mounted to a gun and one with a cr123 battery that won't blow up at 120f in your glove box in your car.

They also have remote switches and firearm mounts readily available.

I own about 6 of them with various setups for different applications including an 800 lumen XML drop in with an IMR battery to EDC. One on the nightstand one mounted to a Glock, one mounted to a shotgun, one in my glove box and one in my coat pocket.

I really like my AA based Quarks and Q-Mini’s. 14500’s work in them and they are adequate on Eneloops or even primaries. I would steer away from the high voltage head unless you have a good source for primaries. Just my opinion.

Get Zebra SC51 with Eneloops or GP Recykos - one of the brightest 1xAA light.

I would’t as suggested buy a cheap light to rely on, or for that matter multiple cheap lights as suggested, Buy quality Fenix or Quark, this a light you are going to depend on to work.

I'll go back to my younger days, and my "survivalist" attitude. I decided to be the best armed person in the area. I had a 12 ga. pump, AR15, semi-auto .22 rifle and pistol, and 2 GLOCK sidearms, and over 3000 rnds. of ammunition. You can't carry it, and you can't guarantee you can stay in your safe place.

In a life changing event, I truly hope that whether I have lights of ANY kind or not is important.

I only have 2, P60 based lights and 4 18650 batteries right now, still a NOOBIE, (I do plan to buy more, just because I like lights).

I kinda lean away from stockpiling resources, I think that injects the need to monitor and maintain things on some regular basis. 8-(

Our plans revolve around a flexible, and mobile strategy that can be implemented most anywhere, on the move if necessary.

For the base of operations / home, I'd like to add a couple of 8.4v drop-ins as backups to my favorite Solarforce 3-mode, low voltage 0.8v-4.2v drop-ins, and a few more 18650 lithium's to boot. Both of our cars have small power inverters, allowing us to have cell-phones, GPS, portable radios, walkie talkies, heck ona' good day my nose trimmer, etc.

I'm hoping you have the important things already in place, water, storage stable food, a way to cook/prepare, waste management, seasonal weather considerations, security/weapons, first-aid/medical/prescription drugs.

I'm still pretty happy in the dark, just not ALL the time.

I think it's important to remember, the better prepared/stocked/entrenched, the harder it is to move, the more you start looking like a resupply depot.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

SC51 or H51.

Second this BUT for BOB use, get lithium primaries. More shelf time, good capacity, light weight, withstands cold temps.

If on budget, do an eBay search for Energizer OEM lithium (but wait, how much were these in US again...).

Zebra is good for doing things. It is small, under 70$, I would say it is very good quality. Small and light, yet you can get very nice amount of light from it and it STILL HAS a quite low mode ( 0,2 lumen) which will run some 2 weeks continuously.

For a trip, I would take some 18650 / 16340 light from my shelf. On emergency I would take Zebra for these reasons.

Solarforce L2i

Mine is set up with a 3 mode low voltage drop in ...

So will run , AAA - AA - 14500 - CR123 primaries - 16340 - 17600 - 18650

AAA = I can run 3xAAA or single AAA

With the CR123 - 16340 I use an adapter ...

I have 2 myself ...

E1320 ,

You're about to make me buy a 501a . Your arguments for the versatility , lego-ability and coolness of these lights are all too convincing .

Please do not post any glamour shots of any of your pocket rockets .

Take a look at the Spark SL5 series. You can get two LEDs in two color temperatures. Five modes (including a 2 lumen low low), current controlled and will happily accept 14500s. Pocket clip and two digital switches are also awesome.

With quick release offset Glock/Shotgun/Rifle mount

Unmounted with the EDC KIT

So , the 18350 is the best batt for these creatures ?

And do you use LMR 18350s ?

parkerdude asked, "Are you preparing for TEOTWAWKI level event?"

No, just the inevitable earthquake in San Francisco. I was motivated to really commit to putting together a REASONABLE emergency BOB and BIB plan (that doesn't include Zombies, Giant Monsters, Nuclear Holocaust, Gamma Ray Bursts or Red Dawn) after the Japanese Earthquake in March. So to your question, yes, my plan includes all of those things that you mentioned within reason. Lighting just happens to be one component of several of our systems. But you certainly bring up a good point with many "survivalists". I don't consider myself a survivalist I just happen to be an armed prepper.

@ E1320: Yes, the 501A platforms was one of the lights that I considered for some of my smaller bags like my wife's and our flex get home bag (GHB), my daughter's EDC and car glove box. The hope there was to provide a reliable light at lower cost and use the savings to invest in a robust, multi-mode, reliable light for my nightstand/BOB.