Glow Sticks, Are They Useful?

During any crisis situations, whether you are out in the wild or at your own home, having a reliable source of lighting is important. For the last three decades, people have effectively used glow sticks in almost every situations.

Advantage: No power source needed
Unlike a flashlight, a glow stick does not need a battery to operate. As soon as the glow stick is activated, it will provide lighting for up 12 hours or more. They are also water proof and can be used in wet environments.

Advantage: Safe
Glow sticks are a very safe lighting source. You do not have to worry about accidently starting a fire. There is also no risk of being electrocuted. Even children are able to safely use glow sticks.

Advantage: Lightweight
Glow sticks are very lightweight, which means that several of them can be easily transported in a backpack. Glow sticks also take up very little space.

Advantage: Inexpensive
Even military-grade glow sticks are very inexpensive. Although glow sticks can be purchased individually, the best approach is to buy in bulk. They can be stored in a variety of places including the trunk of a car and a home closet.

Disadvantage: Low light
Although glow sticks are able to illuminate the surrounding area, they do not deliver a bright light. A rescue plane or boat may not be able to see the light of a glow stick from a long distance away. They generally do not give enough light to read with.

Disadvantage: Fragile
Although some glow sticks are engineered to be relatively robust, their durability fails in comparison to a candle or flashlight. The vial can easily become damaged when handled aggressively, this commonly happens if they are in your hiking bag that gets thrown around a lot.

Disadvantage: Expire
To the surprise of many, glow sticks expire. Most glow sticks are good for about 5 years. They must be replaced on a schedule if you want to depend on them.

So are glow sticks useful? It’s up for you to decide. They have uses, but with the limitation they are not always the best choice. I do love glow sticks, I think they are fun. I have them in my house, car, ditch bags, and my hiking bag. I personally use the Cyalume 6” Green. A single one will illuminate my entire living room enough to move around or illuminate the ground directly below your fee if you are walking outside.

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