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Solar Powered Flashlights? They're an essential piece of gear for our military right now.

Updated on January 2, 2012

They have come a long way in just a few years.

I used to think that it didn't make sense to have the two words Solar and Flashlight in the same sentence. It flowed off the tongue like Screen Door and Submarine.

That is until I started seeing them in use by my brothers in arms. In the Navy, I was stationed aboard an amphibious assault ship and I had the opportunity to work with the Marines and Navy SEALS. As they were preparing their equipment for various missions, I would observe them putting their flashlights onto the sunniest parts of the weather decks.

One day I took the time to ask an operator why they used these solar flashlights. He told me that they reduced the weight they had to carry because these lights didn't use any heavy batteries and he felt they produced a much brighter light that those $300 Sure-Fire lights.

"Yeah right", I said. "I've seen your battery powered lights and they are wicked bright". "In fact, don't you attach those lights on your weapons to blind your enemy?" "Come with me" he said. I followed him into an interior space just off the flight deck. He shut off the light and turned the flashlight on.

I was very impressed. While not as blinding as a $400 300 lumin nuclear powered weapon light, it was impressive nonetheless.

I started seeing what he was talking about. He said that while deployed, his unit would end up spending hundreds of dollars on batteries and even the rechargeable flashlights wouldn't be a good alternative because they would need to bring a generator and fuel in order to produce the electricity and where they were headed, up into the mountains of Afghanistan, they were going to be living very primitively.

So that got me to thinking. If these solar flashlights worked successfully for the military, I'm sure they would be available for everybody else. They were......and more.

I looked into some of the companies producing these flashlights and I came away impressed. There are many applications these types of lights can fulllfill from emergency preparedness, camping, auto, backpacking, and many more.

One company that makes these lights, SunNight Solar, has a program whereby you purchase a flashlight and they will donate the light to charity. I'll put some links below the article if you'd like more info.

So now when looking to purchase a flashlight, the words Solar Powered no longer conjures up images of gimmicky cheapness. I'll include these types of flashlights every time I'm in the market to pick one up.


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    • John J Gulley profile image

      John J Gulley 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      Yeah, the guy that showed the light to me brought me into a very dark space from outside. I was bright that day so my eyes didn't adjust. That may have been what happened.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      I have a sunlight Solar light (aka BOGO light.) The amount of light that thing puts out is comparable to a common task flashlight you would buy at a Pharmacy or something. You honestly can't even compare it to a Surefire light. It's night and day. To be fair it was designed that way though. I would love to see what the military has.