Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Shiner86 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:49 pm

Glow sticks are great. First and foremost, they're just fun. I don't go camping without them. Glow sticks have another purpose too, though. They can be used to mark a camp or signal for help during a survival situation. When they're being used for something this important, people don't want to sound like fourteen year olds at a rave, and so refer to them as chem lights.

Every once in a great long while, I'll find that one of my glow sticks is a dud. If I'm camping, it's no big deal. If I were in a survival situation, however, problems might arise.

I was told to look into getting a Krill Light. A Krill Light is an electronic glow stick. It's water proof, shock proof, "virtually" bomb proof... all around very decent. At $20, it seems fairly priced. I don't have one myself, but I've used a friend's. As nice as they are, I just can't justify spending $20 on a glow stick when I need one for my EDC and 2 for my BOB. Someday I'd like to, but there are just too many preps that need to be taken care of between now and then.

http://www.modernoutpost.com/gear/details/kr_krill.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (Buy the Krill Light. Heck, buy me one too, please.)

A cheaper alternative I've found is the Garrity Fun-tastick Battery Operated Glow Stick. TheFreakinBear and I picked up a few of them on sale at Meijer's last week for $1.74 each. In store, they previously were $3. 49 but can be found online for less. They are disposable, but give 24 hours of light, and can be turned on and off. Also, at that price, I've got one in my EDC and 2 in my BOB, just like I wanted.

http://tinyurl.com/OmegaManGarrityFunTastick" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (Buy the Garrity Fun-tastick.)
More info here: http://www.garritylites.com/page77.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

These photos compare the Garrity to regular glow sticks. Er, I mean chem lights.

Image

Image

Image

Image

As you can see, they appear to be every bit as bright as a regular glow stick. They are water resistant, but not water proof. They come with a break away lanyard, but I'm probably going to replace mine with some paracord. Available colors are green, red, white and blue, though TFB and I found only green and white at Meijer's. The green seems to glow much brighter than the white.

I'd definitely recommend. :D

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by CommonHighrise » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:17 pm

Heh. Had those for raves. Exactly what kept me from buying one of those slick, more expensive glowsticks. They will break, but it takes a reasonable amount of impact to do so. Also, be wary of using them as a twirl signal, as the caps may snap off under the Gs.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Y.T. » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:25 pm

great post. :) you reminded me that I have some light sticks reviewed elsewhere. should I paste the info in here or start another thread? I don't know whether it'd be helpful or hijacking to add. (edit: added some info here, FWIW: http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 97#p721497" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; )


meanwhile, some brief experience with those:

I have both the Krill (used to flag me or my bag) and the Garrity sticks (used to mark tent lines at night).

Just to clarify, the Krill is made from EL Tape (electroluminescent wire in tape form). It's an ambient light like a glow stick, not a projected light like a bulb. While the Garrity is an LED bulb stuck in a tube. The light projected from the LED fills the tube giving that glowstick-like effect.

The problem I have with the Garrity is that the batteries can't be replaced -- they're sealed off and I haven't found a way to access them without breaking the unit -- so once they're dead they useless. But the Garrity are a nice alternative to glow sticks for the price and about the same size. They can be turned off when not needed, unlike a glow stick. The Garrity also comes in steady or blink varieties.

There's a similar light to the Garrity called the Happy Camper Light (also called Reusable LED lightstick or Military lightstick) that allows you to replace the batteries. However it does not have a ring or hole for hanging from a string, only a stupid pen-like clip. Also the damn thing is made so poorly that it broke with a single battery change.

Another option is the Streetlights light sticks, which run about $10-15 a piece. They have 3 modes (solid, flash, chase), an on/off switch and a hole for hanging from a cord. They're actually made as poi/rave lights so they're meant to withstand some impact. I haven't had the chance to vigorously test them (such as in the rain), but so far they've held up and the light doesn't fade too quickly. I left one one for 3 days before it died out. They also run on the watch-like batteries.

All of those inexpensive stick lights mentioned above typically require a tiny screwdriver, the removal of 1 or more teeny screws, and odd watch-style batteries -- not easy to find or change in difficult conditions.

I love the Krill (another thread with Krill comments here) thus far, but have been told by others that they're not the best for a PAW and Glo-toob (see here) are better. I haven't tried the Glo-toob, but I do like that the Krill takes AAA or AA batteries (depending on the model) and the batteries are super easy to change, even in the dark or while moving. The Glo-toob requires a special battery according to the website. The two lights are really apples and oranges though, since the Krill is ambient light and the Glo-toob is projected LED light.

I think the Garrity and similar lights are not meant to withstand a lot of use or wear and tear. They're nice alternatives to disposable glowsticks, being somewhat disposable themselves. While the Krill and Glo-Toobs are sturdier long-use lights that withstand more abuse.
Last edited by Y.T. on Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:38 pm

I dislike chemical glow sticks. You never know if they are accidentally discharged and taking them out of the package is a no go for longer term storage. Obsolete with newer LED stuff available. I like my Glo-toob but they can be a bit expensive. I do see some lithium button cells inside that Garrity glow stick. Should work well in the cold and have a crazy shelf life. But sometimes button cells build up heat and resistance during extended operation and the light level gets reduced. Still I don’t think the LED is being driven that hard so maybe this will not be an issue.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by TCBA_Joe » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:11 am

I have one of these:
http://www.lazerbrite.com/
It's the LB2. I bought one at Ft. Lewis and its great.
They're bombproof and have replaceable batteries. It can be used as a candle, flashlight, and lightstick. You'd have to watch the video to see how versatile these lights are. The only thing I'm not sure about it how waterproof these lights are. Other than that I make this my lightstick replacement.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by dblagent » Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:49 pm

I looked up some information on the glo-toob after seeing it mentioned in this thread and I think a really like those quite a bit. The original models do use a special battery, which I don't care for. But it will also run for about 30 hours on one battery and the light can be found for as low as $15 to $18. There is a newer version that runs off of the CR123 batteries which I already stock, but the best price I've found for it was about $35. I may end up with one of the 123 versions, and for $15 I might even get an original to play with too.

Now if they would just come out with a AA version then I'd be thrilled! They appear to be VERY well built and get great reviews, I think I would prefer one over a chem light for EDC as with all the handling of an EDC bag I would worry about breaking a light and not knowing about it until I needed it one day.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Molon Labe » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:24 pm

dblagent wrote:I looked up some information on the glo-toob after seeing it mentioned in this thread and I think a really like those quite a bit. The original models do use a special battery, which I don't care for. But it will also run for about 30 hours on one battery and the light can be found for as low as $15 to $18. There is a newer version that runs off of the CR123 batteries which I already stock, but the best price I've found for it was about $35. I may end up with one of the 123 versions, and for $15 I might even get an original to play with too.

Now if they would just come out with a AA version then I'd be thrilled! They appear to be VERY well built and get great reviews, I think I would prefer one over a chem light for EDC as with all the handling of an EDC bag I would worry about breaking a light and not knowing about it until I needed it one day.
I'd still recommend carrying atleast 3 Calyume sticks though, since they're disposable and all.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by dblagent » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:29 pm

Yeah, not like they cost a lot. And after a year or two my daughter will have fun with them as I cycle unused ones out! She loves those things.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Y.T. » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:50 pm

Molon Labe wrote:I'd still recommend carrying atleast 3 Calyume sticks though, since they're disposable and all.
agreed. :) those Glo-Toobs look awesome and I want me one. but disposable glow sticks are great options for different purposes.

Sometimes you want to leave a marker around (not on your person) and a $1 glow stick is a better choice than your $30+ Krill/Glo-Toob.

Another nice thing about glow sticks is that for less than $1 you can easily give them away. Which makes you look helpful and helps spread some goodwill at a minimal loss to you. Those kinds of little things can make someone feel less aggressive toward you or even indebted to you because hey, you helped them out. And can make them feel like they already got their share so they don't need to resent or hassle you for something else.

Plus, kids love them so they're cheap entertainment to keep young 'uns busy.

the cheap battery operated alternatives can sometimes perform the same functions.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Polar_Bear » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:16 pm

You can get glow in the dark powder, mix it with epoxy then fill plastic tubes to make reuseable glow sticks aswell.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by 11mongo11 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:57 am

Must agree w/ Y.T. again. About a dollar for the Glow Sticks ( Dick's Sports Store - $.90 ? )
I keep a couple in the GHB, glovebox, apartment. I do sometimes find a dud. But those were knock offs. They could be part of a BOB / GHB for the only reason of either waiting to be a signal, or if Murphy is with you and your flashlight somehow decides to bone you.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by NORTHERN RAIDER » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:23 am

I wonder if you folks in the US are allowed tritium powered lights like we use so much in europe, I have a couple permenantly fastened to my BOB and vest, they provide a yellow green light constantly for at least 10 years. No on off switch or batteries to worry about.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by bonanacrom » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:39 am

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by bltjr1951 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:14 pm

Woods Walker wrote:I dislike chemical glow sticks. You never know if they are accidentally discharged and taking them out of the package is a no go for longer term storage.
Guy on another site says he puts his in cheap round style toothbrush holder from wally world.
Keeps them from being snapped.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by mrkash » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:03 pm

Shiner, thanks for the post. I guess I didn't realize all of the alternatives out there. I do like the light sticks, because the kids enjoy playing with them and haning one in their tent.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by ironraven » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:38 pm

Thanks Shiner. Excellent review on the Garrity cheapies.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Nexy » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:05 pm

I've got a Krill (green extreme 360) and I'm looking to buy a CR123 Glo-toob. I do like my Krill and while I should have got the extreme 180 (more practical, I'm unlikely to need to illuminate myself as well as something opposite me), I've no ground to complain about mine per se.

However Molon Labe has found a reproducible failure where the thing breaks (presumably beyond easy field repair) if you drop it at an angle while switched on. It was mentioned in a Krill tread. For this reason, I'll swap it out when I can. There's no real urgency, torches and batteries are something I'm probably overstocked on, but I don't like the idea of something that breaks in such an easily reproducible accidental way. I'm tempted to make a rubber fixture to go on the bottom to absorb some impact to try and lesson any potential impact to my Krill... :(

Edit: But Shiner's motivated me to get some chemical lightsticks to throw in my bob, not just the glowsticks I've got in my car for when going to gigs! :D
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by cougar » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:49 am

The batteries can be replaced in the garrity lite stick. The top (where the switch is) is glued but add a little heat from a lighter (only a second or two) and a gentle but firm touch with the leatherman , and viola. Top unscrews. The batteries can be found at CVS or wherever in the hearing aid section. Just becareful taking it apart and use a light touch. To reseal, a dab of automotive silicone or an equal will do just fine.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Necrodamus » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:49 pm

What about these?

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by BobtheBreaker » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:10 am

could be awesome, but those inova micros are on the pricey side.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by cougar » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:49 pm

I kinda forgot about it, but I picked p one of these a while back at walmart
http://www.quality-items-flashlights.co ... 14bb45f036" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Works great! I hung it in a tree on the strobe setting while nite fishing so I could find my way to shore without crashing my boat.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:23 pm

cougar wrote:The batteries can be replaced in the garrity lite stick. The top (where the switch is) is glued but add a little heat from a lighter (only a second or two) and a gentle but firm touch with the leatherman , and viola. Top unscrews. The batteries can be found at CVS or wherever in the hearing aid section. Just becareful taking it apart and use a light touch. To reseal, a dab of automotive silicone or an equal will do just fine.
I was gonna post about that, since I'm an electronics weenie and the thought of throwing away perfectly good LED circuits kind of hurts. lol

But http://insulatorz.home.att.net/garrity1.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; explains how to get the lights open, about halfway down the page, after the image of the green light:

Take a look at the light stick right below the small clip (on the tube). On the blue & green ones, it's easy to tell by looking at the tube that it is made of one kind of plastic and the housing that holds the batteries is another.

Take some pliers and gently squeeze right at the base of the tube next to the small clip. You will hear some cracking. Don't worry, this is only the glue bonds breaking. Rotate the tube and squeeze again. Repeat until you don't hear any more cracking. Then, using your hands, gently apply "bending" pressure at the joint between the tube and the battery housing and the tube will separate. Then, just pull the tube off.

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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by JT_of_JFF » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:19 pm

BobtheBreaker wrote:could be awesome, but those inova micros are on the pricey side.
Checked Ebay and they're $13 each AND include the inove light. One shipping charge for as many as you want.
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Re: Alternatives to Glow Sticks

Post by Woods Walker » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:48 pm

Necrodamus wrote:What about these?
I have 2 of the niteize. Keep one in my 72-hour BOB and the other is used with the Glo-toob for my Kayak night trips. They are ok and can work as a flashlight as you get a micro light too. Light comes out of the front of the wand for more of a flashlight effect
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