How to Carry a Flashlight – Never Be Left in the Black

Whether you’re a dedicated backpacker or a studious bookworm, the fact is that the sun sets every night and darkness is imminent (unless you live within the polar circles), so having your own source of light is a must. A flashlight can be a small investment that can save many future headaches of straggling about in the dark.

Maybe you’re just trying to get across your dark bedroom or perhaps you’ve stumbled into a dark alleyway. It really depends on your circumstances, but a source of light can range from being helpful to being a lifesaver. In this article, I’ll be demonstrating how to carry a flashlight in a way that best suits your needs.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Why Carry a Flashlight?

A flashlight is one of those things that’s hard to go and get when you need it. For example, if you’re trying to find your way from your car to your house, you could just run in and grab the flashlight in your kitchen, but then you’d already be inside. However, if you carry a flashlight around wherever you go, you can make sure you’ll never find yourself in one of those sticky situations.

As for needing a flashlight in general, you might argue that you never really find yourself in dark situations and have gotten along just fine without extra light. But I say if you’ve ever dropped something behind the couch or needed something at the back of the cabinet, it’s worth it to have a source of light at the ready.


Why Not Just Use a Phone?

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

This may seem like an obvious deal-breaker when it comes to carrying a flashlight. After all, almost everyone carries a phone and nearly every phone has a flashlight, so why bother hauling around a whole other device? Although it has some merit, there are a few problems with this philosophy:

Problem #1: The light on most phones isn’t very focused. It’s a flood light, which is great for taking pictures, but not so much for seeing something on the other side of the room.

Problem #2: Your phone wasn’t designed to be a flashlight. Using the built-in light is going to drain the battery in your phone—and that’s assuming your phone isn’t dead by the end of the day.

Problem #3: Butterfingers are a lot more likely to occur when you’re holding a big, flat phone than when you’re using a device that was made for pointing at things. And dropping a flashlight is probably better than dropping a phone.

The flashlight on a phone can sometimes get the job done, but having a device exclusively for lighting up the dark is a more reliable solution. That said, let’s get into how exactly one can bring a flashlight about their daily lives.


How to Carry a Flashlight

There are quite a few factors that go into deciding how you carry a flashlight including what type of flashlight you have. It also depends on your attire, like whether you have pockets, a belt, or a jacket. Below, you’ll find some different methods of adding a flashlight to your everyday carry.

In Your Pants Pocket

This is the most obvious answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best one. When you carry a flashlight in your pocket, you may prefer to clip it to the edge of the pocket so it stays in place, or you could just leave it loose at the bottom if it’s a smaller model.

If your flashlight is rear-switch activated, clipping it to the edge of your pocket could result in accidental power-ons, so that’s something to take into consideration.

All-in-all, your pockets are a good spot to put a flashlight when you don’t know where else to put them.

Flashlight Length: ~4 inches

Type of Flashlight: anything with a clip

In Your Pants Pockets


-many flashlight options



-harder to access while sitting

-likely to be uncomfortable

A Flashlight to Consider: Hatori LED Flashlight


In Your Shirt Pocket

If you happen to have a pocket on your shirt and don’t have anything in it, a flashlight would make great use of the space. You could use any flashlight with a clip, but a penlight would be the best option as they aren’t usually that heavy.

One problem with this method is that the flashlight is a lot more likely to fall out, so try not to do backflips off your kitchen table.

Assuming you’re not some sort of ninja, your shirt pocket would be a good spot for a flashlight if you want to go for style points (or just feel extra nerdy).

Flashlight Length: ~5 inches

Type of Flashlight: penlight


-easy to access while sitting

-can be stylish


-more likely to fall out

-flashlight needs to be lightweight

A Flashlight to Consider: NEBO Rechargeable LED Penlight


In a Belt Holster

If you want to carry around a bigger, heavier flashlight, then putting it on your belt is a good way to haul it around because it won’t bulge in your pockets. The holster is also easy to customize as it’s not a part of your pants.

Unless your flashlight is relatively small, this method will add a lot a bulk to your belt and could make it awkward to sit down or run around, so keep that in mind.

If you don’t mind the extra volume, a belt holster is an ideal flashlight location, especially if you want to carry the biggest, baddest, and brightest flashlight around with you (within reason, of course).

Flashlight Length: ~4 inches

Type of Flashlight: tactical


-more space to work with



-potentially awkward

-more obvious

A Flashlight to Consider: Streamlight 88061 Tactical LED Flashlight


On a Jacket Zipper

This may seem like a recipe for disaster, but if you have a really small light, it could be a very convenient option. Since the flashlight will be hooked onto the zipper, it’ll be almost impossible to lose without losing the jacket itself.

The only problem with this method is that you have to be wearing your jacket to be able to use the flashlight (unless you just carry the jacket around).

If you’re good at misplacing things (or just losing things), then try sticking a flashlight on your zipper.

Flashlight Length: ~1 inch

Type of Flashlight: keychain


-very easy to access

-near impossible to lose


-useless without jacket

-flashlight needs to be small

A Flashlight to Consider: KeySmart Nano Torch


On Your Wrist

This is a great way to carry a flashlight if you don’t want to worry about what you’re wearing. You can stick a flashlight on anything that goes on your wrist, but I’d recommend a watch so that you can make the most of the space. The flashlight also has to be pretty small and light and be able to attach to a wristband with a clip or by some other means. If you do attach a flashlight to a something on your wrist, make sure to fasten it by sewing it on or gluing it on.

Although this is probably the most convenient and accessible way to carry a flashlight, it’s really hard to point the flashlight since it’s attached to your wrist (unless you take it off) and there’s a small chance it’ll get caught on something and fall off.

If you want to master the flashlight quick draw and summon light faster than you can say “electroencephalography,” then putting a flashlight on a your wrist will definitely serve you well.

Flashlight Length: ~2 inches

Type of Flashlight: keychain


-super convenient and accessible

-independent of your clothes


-hard to point at things

-can get caught on objects

A Flashlight to Consider: Aurora A3 Rechargeable LED Keychain Flashlight


Some Useful Pointers

Now that you know some techniques for carrying a flashlight, I’d like to share some general tips that wouldn’t quite fit anywhere else.

Brightness Isn’t Everything

It might be tempting to get a flashlight that clocks more lumens than the year A.D., but I’m here to tell you that you’ll rarely need more than half a thousand lumens for anything besides signaling life on Mars. A light that can emit 100 lumens is about all you’ll really need and is even enough to temporarily blind someone (or at least disorient them).

It never hurts to get a light that’s capable of a crazy bright beam, but be sure to gauge other factors such as size and runtime, especially when you’re going to be carrying the thing around all the time.

Carry Multiple Flashlights

If you’re not sure the best way to carry a flashlight, try carrying more than one. It wouldn’t do to use a little keychain flashlight during a long walk because the battery would probably die, and if you had a flashlight at the bottom of your pocket, it would be a hassle to have to get it out every time you walk through a dark room.

To circumvent this, you could clip a small flashlight to your jacket zipper for a quick beam of light and stick a bigger one in a holster for more prolonged usage (of course, that’s just one option of many).

Duct Tape It Up

A nifty little trick to make the most of your space is the wrap duct tape around the body of your flashlight. You can put as much or as little as you need and it’s easy to put more on when you run out.

Not every flashlight will be compatible with this technique because they all differ in size and specs. For example, if your flashlight has a power switch on the side of the body, the duct tape would likely cover it up and render the flashlight unusable. But if you have a flashlight that can take a little bit of tape, it wouldn’t hurt to stick some on. After all, you never know what you could need duct tape for.

Don’t Take My Word for It

None of the flashlight-carrying methods I’ve listed here are set in stone and they certainly aren’t the only methods out there. It would be a good idea to take a few creative liberties when you need to.

For example, you could take the jacket zipper idea and stick a flashlight on a necklace, or maybe even attach it to your shoe (just don’t put it on the bottom of your shoe because then you’d step on it, and that’s no good). It’s not like there’s a right way to carry a flashlight, it just depends on, well, what you need.

Photo by Martin Sattler on Unsplash

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. . .

With this knowledge at your disposal, you will surely never be in want of a light source again. No matter how dark and stormy it is or how many times the power goes out, you’ll always have your trusty flashlight at the ready. A flashlight is also good for self defense, in case you need to disorient somebody that tries to steal your lunch (especially if you’re having peanut butter and jelly).

Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you have any creative ideas on carrying a flashlight or want to share where you keep your own trusty torch, then be sure to leave a comment below.

10 thoughts on “How to Carry a Flashlight – Never Be Left in the Black

  1. Hi, Great tips on how to carry a flash light. I am a hunter and mechanic guy and use flash so regularly. I really like to always find new and innovative ways to hold my torch. It seem as you have really thought outside the box here and provided some great ideas.

    I checked a couple of you recommendation and found a perfect pouch so many thanks.

    All the best Ropata

    1. Hi Ropata,

      I’m glad you found the information useful. I can see how being a hunter and mechanic would require the use of some extra light. Maybe you’ll come up with your own genius way to carry a flashlight!

  2. My son is a mechanic and last Christmas he requested a pocket flashlight for his shirt pocket. He explained that sometimes he needs to look up into the bottom of a car and a wide light is too much. He knew exactly what he wanted. He requested a rechargeable penlight because it would last a long time.  And he still uses it every day. I’m just mentioning this for your readers in case they need a gift for a mechanic.

    I like the idea of a zipper light for myself for when I’m out and about at night. 

    1. Penlights are great for intricate work because they’re light and easy to hold. You can also clip them to edges when you need both hands free (or you could hold it between your teeth). Anyways, I’m glad you got some use out of this article. I’m sure a little light on your zipper would serve you well.

  3. This post is too cute, I love it, all about flashlights, who knew it would be interesting, but it actually was. I love that there are several types to choose from and many places to put them. I had no idea that there were that many mini flashlights out there that actually served a purpose. Thank you for the post.

    1. There exist lots of tiny keychain flashlights that don’t serve much purpose other than a useless souvenir, but some of them are very potent. These types of flashlights are great to just stick in your pocket or purse or wherever and forget about them. And when you need some light, you’ll be ready.

  4. Thank you for your post. It is useful information. This summer we have several power outrages, which cause power lose from several hours to few days. We found that it was really uncomfortable in dark situations. We just have one flashlight for a family of four. I always want to prepare for more flashlights, but never take time to do it.

    Here comes your article, which gives a thorough description of flashlight on all aspects. I agree with you that phone flashlight is not reliable at all. If you use it too long, the phone battery is used up very quickly. 

    It is kind of you sharing this useful information with us. You are absolutely right that we shall always have trusty flashlight at the ready.

    1. Power outages can really hit you hard if you don’t have extra flashlights. Plus, you never know when they’re going to happen. I’m glad you found my article helpful.

  5. Hi, Isaac and thanks for putting in words what I have thought in my own mind for years.  Flashlights are a great tool and are smaller and more powerful than ever with the advances in LED technology.  They’re just so handy.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have used a phone to find my way but only until I can get my hands on a flashlight. I’ve used flashlights for setting my hot water tank, working under my trailer (a headlamp is great for this) and even finding a contact lens that has fallen on the floor.

    You mentioned being a hiker.  That is something I really enjoy doing and a flashlight is an absolute necessity in anyone’s pack.  You may never use it If you’re out on a day hike but, things happen and one could find themselves needing a little light just get back those last couple of kilometres.  I always carry one in my pack along with an extra set of batteries.

    As far as someplace to carry one, I think I would like the belt option or one that had a carabineer option.  

    I have a few small ones already but I think I might like to have a couple of more and these are relatively inexpensive options to consider.


    1. You’re right that you just never know when you’ll need a flashlight. A day trip could end up taking longer than expected and go into the night, in which case, a flashlight could be crucial. Also, a carabiner is a great way to attach something to your belt because it makes it easy to take things off and on.

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