submitted by Mikey Bautista
Today is National Flashlight Day, and we love our lights here at Everyday Carry. For many of us who started the site, flashlights were the gateway gear that piqued our interest in the wider world of well-built, highly-functional tools. From a small market starting with a few enthusiast manufacturers like Sunwayman and Foursevens to a handful of OG custom makers like McGizmo and Mac’s Customs, the past decade has been an exciting time, with the market growing exponentially like the lumen output of modern lights.
So today, we celebrate this extra-bright holiday by talking about three of our flashlight grails. If you’re new to EDC, you may not have heard about some of these brands and lights, but they’re some of the absolute best lights you can get in terms of quality, manufacturing, materials, and the sheer pleasure of owning a unique light. Unfortunately, these endgame lights tend to be highly difficult (but not impossible) to acquire and come with a price tag to match their status. But like any grail, the aspiration and the hunt are part of the fun.
If you’re lucky enough to own one of these lights already, consider us extremely jealous. Here are three flashlights that have earned a permanent spot on our wishlists.
Jason Hui over at Prometheus/Foursevens is one of the reasons I personally got into the deep end of flashlights—admiring the awesome custom Alpha from afar, getting to review the Beta, all the way to his modern Foursevens creations like the Maelstroms. The Delta is the perfect balance of his creations, taking heavy inspiration from the big brother Alpha and sized down to a more pocketable EDC before heading into the territory of the smaller form factors like the Preons, Minis, and the Betas.
Acquiring the Delta means joining the Prometheus Blue Label waitlist, where you get notified when batches of the light get made, from ready-made lights with fixed specs to releases in popular materials like brass and titanium, all the way to Special Editions that push the limits of material manufacturing. If you’re one of the lucky few, you get the chance to own and 18350-powered triple LED platform with everything you can expect from a custom enthusiast light: high CRI LED tint options, custom electronics, swappable optics, and every dollar’s worth of the highest tier of fit and finish.
Delve deep enough into the flashlights, and you’ll start noticing a brand often regarded in the highest echelons of the hobby. Okluma—and owner Jeff Sapp—has earned themselves an incredible reputation building three sizes of a flashlight that, on the surface, seem simple but tell a much bigger story in the details. Each light in Okluma’s stable are built around three of the most popular EDC battery platforms: the DC2 runs with an 18650, the DC1 is more compact with an 18350, and our grail, the DC0, runs on a 14500 (the li-ion equivalent of an AA), one of the most convenient and compact battery platforms for everyday carry.
Quite simply, each of these Okluma lights is as close to flashlight perfection as you can get. There is nothing negative to say, as they’re all built around premium materials like titanium and the rare use of 7075 aluminum, use popular high CRI emitters like the Nichia 219C, and are not only built to extremely high tolerances, but also come with a lifetime warranty that follows the light and not the owner. And from all the discussions we’ve seen around customer service, Jeff and Okluma are some of the best people to be customers of.
It may be a bit harder to grab one of these in any size due to limited drops, but a good first place to start and get to know the community is Okluma’s own Okluma Kin Facebook group where the lights are featured and traded.
Reaver Arms Citadel
My story with Reaver Arms actually starts with a video game called Strife made by a company named S2 Games, of which a man named Jesse Hayes was a co-founder. The game, short-lived as it was, ended up being one of my favorites in the MOBA genre, but the real story here is I ran into Jesse on a Discord server of all places, where he was introduced as founding a new company building high-end flashlights.
The Citadel is the product of that new company, Reaver Arms, and one I’ve since referred to as “Sauron’s finger” due to its gothic design inspirations. And, well—just look at it. This is one of the deepest levels of ultra-premium custom flashlights you can dive into, as each Citadel is custom-made and serialized and are in incredibly high demand in spite of the eye-watering asking prices. But you will see where every dollar went as this is manufacturing mastery at its finest, with Reaver bending exotic materials like mokume, zirconium, and timascus to their will and offering only the best in terms of emitters, electronics, and custom finishing. This is truly a great example of a functional piece of art you can actually use in your EDC.
These lights aren’t for the faint of heart and light of purse, but a Citadel—any Citadel—is worth dreaming over. If you’re in the fortunate position to be able to pick one up, sign up to Reaver’s mailing list to catch their drops, and take a look at the Citadel archive to see the works of art that have come before.