If you frequently camp or hike or are often away from cell service, most of these products won’t help you in an emergency. This is where the satellite messenger comes in.
We have a guide with several options for different situations, but the Garmin inReach Mini is one of our favorites. It’s lightweight and takes up little space in your bag, and uses the ultra-fast Iridium satellite network to bring your SOS signal to the rescue.
Over the years, I have spoken to several self-defense teachers who have always recommended flashlights as a means of personal safety—yes, more so than a mace or penknife. A flashlight obviously lights up your path when you’re walking in the dark, which can help you see someone who would otherwise be hidden by the darkness, but there are two more reasons why this works. Holding a flashlight to someone’s eyes will disorientate them, hopefully long enough to let you get away. I was almost blinded by the iPhone camera flash, so imagine thousands of lumens right in your eyes. If it was a really kind stranger asking for directions and not a threat, you haven’t really harmed him and you’ll be far away before you know anything else. (Sorry, stranger.)
If that fails, you can use it to frankly hit them. A piece of metal in your face will hurt worse than your fist and won’t hurt you in the process. Turn around well and run. Of course, however, like any weapon, it can be taken from you and used against you, so keep that in mind.
Infinity X1 Hybrid Flashlight ($79) has 4000 lumens (the brand has other options available too much). When I turned it on in my apartment, it lit up the room brighter than my real lamps. It comes with two cores, one contains batteries and the other is rechargeable. There are cheaper flashlights, but I love that the rechargeable core can also charge your phone, so it’s a good idea to have on hand for emergencies anyway. It’s heavy and long, which is fine if you need to rock it, but it won’t be easy to tuck into your purse.
★ Cheaper options: Any flashlight with a light weight will do, and there are a few others that we really like. WIRED author Matt Jenser recommends 350-lumen Phoenix E20 V2 ($45) in their Guide to Building a Home Emergency Kit. It’s compact, so it shouldn’t be too annoying to toss in a bag, but it’s still made of solid metal. For even less money, writer Lauryn Strump recommends a 900 lumen bulb. Rechargeable Bold Anker ($30)which even has a strobe function. It is much smaller, but will still hit harder than a lone fist.
The Infinity X1 Hybrid Power Flashlight is $79. Infinity X1.