Chemical lights with no chemical
I’ve been investigating emergency lighting options for some time, and recently I found a really good one in my mailbox. The geniuses at UVPaqlite sent me two glow-in-the-dark items — a pad and a tube. These amazing emergency lights use no batteries, glow all night, and are reusable for a lifetime. Try that with candles, oil lamps, or flashlights. In this video we review the 6 x 8 Paqlite and the 6-inch Tooblite, but there are many other models available. These are definitely a new addition to my everyday carry bag and my bugout bag.
These lights fall in the category of glow light products, but unlike chemical glow sticks like Cyalume, which glow a few hours and then are discarded, these glow lights are reusable indefinitely. Now, the chemlights glow brighter and have their uses — I have two in my EDC bag. But the reusable glow lights are an essential backup.
Because of the interest created by the first video below, we are now selling the Paqlite as the GlowPak in the new online SNO Gear Shop. The first video demonstrates the GlowPak and the Tooblite. The second video gives details about the introductory sale. Note: The manufacturer is no longer offering the 2-for-1 medium GlowPak, but I negotiated a special limited-time deal so you can get a free Tooblite Mini with every medium GlowPak you buy.
Traditional emergency lighting options
If the power goes off, or if you need to light your tent, you’ve had a number of options, but they all had some sort of expiration date. Now, I’m not knocking these — they all have a use, and I use them all.
- Candles — a single candle will light a large room well enough to avoid collisions, and at close range will provide enough light to read by. Of course, they burn up, and then they’re gone.
- Lamps — whether it’s a commercial lamp using petroleum-based oil or a homemade lamp using vegetable oil, they will provide about the same light as a candle, but they both consume fuel and eventually run out.
- Flashlights — I’ve been researching low-output LED lights for some time. You’ve seen the little key-chain lights. Some are bright, like the Pulsar II from Princeton Tec, and last only 12 hours. Some are much dimmer but last longer. I bought a 10-pack of these Mini Micro LEDs from Amazon for under $6, and tested one for an incredible 5 days of continuous operation before it was too dim to read by. If you’re camping, you might use it about 30 minutes a day, which is 240 days of use before you have to change the battery. (Get a pack!) But still, I’ve been looking for one that’s ultra-low-output and hoping it would run for as long as 30 days, which would be about 3 years of daily use for 30 minutes a day. So far, no luck. If you know of one, please let me know. All flashlights require new batteries at some point, so if you run out of batteries, you’re in the dark. Update: There’s a flashlight available at Sears online that is rated for 170 hours of use. This rating is for Alkaline AAA batteries. You’ll need a small Phillips screwdriver to replace the batteries. Thanks to Denny from USA for this tip.
- Chemical lights — the higher quality chemical glow-sticks like the Cyalume burn a lot brighter than the Tooblite, but only for a few hours, and then it’s done forever.
The new GlowPak and Tooblite glow in the dark lights
These amazing devices use the same kind of glow-in-the-dark technology that light your watch dials. They reactivate with any light, so you can hang it outside your tent during the day, or just shine a flashlight on it for a few seconds, and it returns hours of light. Now, granted, it’s fairly dim, but for a couple of hours after dark, it’s bright enough to light up the entire tent with a glow that distinctly illuminates any potential hazards like shoes, empty dishes, or sleeping spouses. You don’t want to step on those.
The light keeps on coming all night. Right before dawn you’ll find it’s still bright enough to help you find the tent-flap zipper, your house slippers, or your glasses on the nightstand.
GlowPak and Tooblite advantages
- No bulbs
- No batteries
- Reusable forever
- Works under water
- No chemical activation
- Easily stowed
- Dozens of uses (lighting, signaling, trail marking….)
You get two 6 x 8 GlowPaks for $16.50, and the 6-inch Tooblite retails for $6.50. If you compare that to the cost of a flashlight and the batteries it will use over its lifetime, that’s some really cheap lighting.