When you get deep enough into the flashlight abyss, far enough gone that no price for a flashlight seems like an absurd amount any longer – you’ll find yourself with two issues on your hands:
- Where do you store all this stuff at your house?
- How do you keep your extremely durable lights cozy and safe as you travel, since the idea of only taking one seems more crazy than ever?
I want to share some of my early explorations into storing flashlights with you, this is fun stuff.
Drawers w/ Foam
I have a couple of larger Pelican cases at home, which is the ubiquitous and accepted way to store lights, but I thought it sucked. It sucks because they closures are loud, and displaying a Pelican case somewhere convenient to stare at your flashlights so you can decide which you want for the day — is less than ideal for non-single-men.
Likewise, my beloved Drop EDC Valet simply doesn’t offer the room I need, and I find the add on drawer poorly executed overall. But I do have a set of these Bisley drawers — actually I stole them from my wife as they were hers, and they are excellent. From there I recommend two things:
- These pick-n-pull foam inserts which you will need to cut down to size.
- These drawer inserts from Bisley.
The 9 compartment drawer inserts work really well for storing batteries up to 18650 in size. They hold them well, and keep them in place with little fuss. I then use the foam inserts in two further drawers to create nested spots for my lights. The only caveat is that the drawers are deeper than you like, so I do cut a thin layer of the foam chunk I pull out (about 1/2” thick) and place it back in. That leaves a padded pocket for the lights to sit in.
Since you won’t be moving these drawers around, you don’t need the foam to hold the lights securely (like you would in a Pelican), so cut the openings larger and you still get no rattling from the lights, while being easy to retrieve them. I’ve cut only a few standard sizes into mine and that works well enough. If you did solid foam and custom cut, you could likely fit more per drawer.
I am extremely happy with this setup and it’s about what you might pay for a Pelican case with foam and all that.
Hard Sided Travel Cases
In my first attempt to create something for travel, I pulled out two older Pelican Micro Cases I have: a 1020 and a 1040. These cases don’t cost a ton and you can even buy foam for them for a low price from Pelican. (1020 foam, 1040 foam) I found that putting the foam into the case without removing the rubber insert gave the best fit overall, so that’s what I have done here.
Both cases seem to fit up to 18650 lights just fine and as you can see in the pictures, I can fit two lights in both cases. There’s two issues with this setup:
- For how few things they carry, they are very bulky.
- There’s a decent gap between the top of the foam and the top of the lid, but there’s no padding on the lid. So while this gives you a great view at the lights inside, there’s not a lot stopping a light from being jarred out of place and bouncing around in the case.
This isn’t a setup I am likely to use all that much, but if I wanted to protect a couple of lights when maybe going somewhere wet, this could be a solid option. Say kayaking, or boating — otherwise there are better options.
It sure as hell looks cool though.
This is where the actual useful gear is, right here, in the padded pouches department. Amazingly, no one has capitalized on the market of people who spend too much on flashlights, to create cases specifically for them — it will happen. For now, I’ve found a few good options.
Boker Plus Knife Vault Small
At just $25, this is an impressive pouch for what you get and I am glad this was recommended to me. This was designed for carrying knives, but easily carries many smaller lights. It has soft lining in each pocket and enough padding that your lights should hold up well. More than that it holds a bunch of stuff in a very compact and secure package.
All the openings are secured with velcro closures and wrapped in heavy nylon. This is a great buy, and where I recommend starting.
The Padded Organizer Pouches are fantastic little pouches for carrying a single light with perhaps an extra battery. What’s great about these is that they are really versatile, cheap, and easy to stash into gear. I didn’t know Tom Bihn made these, but they are fantastic.
Often I want to stash another light in a bag, say if we are going somewhere and I want to bring along a backup, but I don’t want to have to take up much space in the bag. This pouch works really well, and it also works really well for non-flashlight stuff too. These are aces, get a couple, toss in a light and an extra battery if you want — off you go. I’ll be traveling mostly with one of these for my lights.
These lights both fit if I angle them in, and they still don’t bump into each other.
I am looking at grabbing a larger one, and then stitching a vertical line down the center (as I did above) so that it get two compartments: then I can carry a light and batteries vertically on each side. I’ll report back when I do this.
Triple Aught Design S2
The Triple Aught Design S2 Pouch are designed for carrying lights and they work very well for it, but with caveats. The first being that these pouches are designed to be attached to something, that doesn’t mean you can’t store a light inside a bag in one, but you are better off with the Tom Bihn pouch if you don’t want to attach a light to something.
The good news is that these attach really well to MOLLE/PALS webbing and really any 1” webbing strap. So the internal MOLLE panel on the GR1 just became a prime space for storing lights in pouches. I find that most of my roughly 1” diameter lights fit in this pouch well. Unfortunately these have not been in stock for a while, so you’ll have to head to the used market, or find something similar on the bevy of tactical gear websites out there. If I am planning on being out with a bag hiking, these are my choice as they add to the utility of the gear, while still protecting the light.
What I have found that doesn’t work well: drawers without organizers, and large Pelican cases. What I would really like to find is something a little wider than the Bisley, but about on part with the rest of the dimensions for my house. And for travel: I’d love something like the Lochby Quattro, but for 1” lights — four lights seems ideal to me, overkill, but ideal.