I have been reading a lot lately about glow sticks and whether or not they are useful in an emergency situation or kit. The bottom line is yes, they can be extremely useful in an emergency kit and in an emergency situation. There are 5 positive aspects of an emergency kit:
- Weatherproof- Glow sticks are weather proof, meaning they can be put in water, wind, and any temperature outside. They can be even thrown in a lake or river, depending on what you need them for.
- Lasts longer than some flashlights- Some tactical flashlights only last 4 hours, while many glow sticks lasts 4-12 hours. With a 12 hour duration, they can be used on an entire hiking trip at night, or during an overnight camping trip.
- Doesn’t need batteries- Glow sticks don’t need batteries, they will glow by only cracking them.
- Will work during an EMP- Several recent articles have been about EMPs, which would most likely render any flashlight useless. Since a glow stick is a combination of chemicals, they will work in an EMP situation and would most likely be the only source of bright light in an emergency situation.
- Compact and easily used- Most glow sticks are slim and only 4-6 inches long. This makes it easy to throw in a car or kit, and when needed, a simply crack and 5 second shake will give instant shine.
These are not the the only positives, but they hit some of the major points. Along with an positive lists, there are always negatives. Here are 2 negative aspects:
- Temperature along with color could make it less bright- Cool temperatures, especially under 30 make it glow less bright. If left outside, the contents inside would freeze, making it useless because the chemicals would be unable to mix. Once this happens, you would have to wait until it unthaws to use. Some colors aren’t bright at all, like blue along with certain colors such as red or yellow. Green is by far the brightest glow stick color, and the one that I recommend to use.
- Harmful if broken open- If the chemicals get out they could cause eye damage or be poison if swallowed. Many say non-toxic, however it would be still a major eye irritant and harmful to get on the skin.
Lastly, there is some discussion on whether or not to buy military grade or basic quality. Although the difference is only a couple of dollars, the military grade glow sticks are better for an emergency kit, due to brightness and a different chemical composition. You won’t be able to see a huge difference in brightness (depending on kind), but the glow sticks themselves are built stronger and less likely to break. Also, there are high intensity glow sticks which only glow for 5-30 minutes, but are extremely bright. A good thing to consider if you need bright light for a limited time.
With all that being said, the positives outweigh the negatives. Throwing a couple in a kit, car, or at work, would be a guaranteed way of having light in any emergency situation. For 2-3 dollars, you could have a light in dark emergency situation.