Student Safety: LED Flashlights and Other Items to Keep In Your Backpack

The subway map I kept in my pocketCollege enrollment in the United States is at an all-time high. More students than ever before are choosing to go to a two-year or four-year college rather than enter the job market. Of course, many of these students are working part-time to fund their education. This means evening classes and late nights on campus.

Not surprisingly, with the increase in enrollment, there has also been an increase in crime on college campuses. Walking to and from your car or the bus stop on a poorly lit street can be dangerous if you don’t have an LED flashlight with you. Likewise, you could be stranded late at night if your bike breaks down and you don’t have the proper multi-tool or repair kit on hand. This is especially true on larger urban campuses located in major cities.

A brief walk to the library to return a book is usually a safe journey, but you never want to underestimate the same trip at night. With poor lighting and bad weather, students are often not paying attention as they rush across campus. However, there are things you can do to remain extra-safe during your travels. For instance, bring key items in your backpack that will help you in case of trouble.

Listed below are five things you should keep in your backpack at all times for safety reasons:

1. Maps.

Knowing where to go on campus and where to go in the city is important. If you get lost, you can easily end up somewhere that’s not as safe as the main areas of campus. If you are new to the area, study the city and campus maps, and plan out your possible routes to and from class and home. You will need an LED flashlight or a multi-tool with an LED flashlight built in in order to read your maps in the dark.

2. LED flashlight.

Being able to see in unlit areas is essential to nighttime safety, both on and off campus. Having an LED flashlight will come in handy more often than you would think. Not only does having the extra light help you stay on course, but it will also help you spot bumps in the sidewalk, patches of ice, and other hard-to-see objects. Make sure to get a quality LED flashlight that has a substantial battery life so you don’t have to worry about low power.

3. Multi-tool.

Carrying a good multi-tool in your backpack will prove invaluable if you need to repair your bike or unlock your car. Indeed, there are many situations in which a small set of tools can come in handy. Even minor computer repairs can be made with the right multi-tool. Also, you can get a multi-tool with a built-in LED flashlight for added assistance.

4. Batteries.

It never hurts to have extra batteries on hand – just for your LED flashlight, but for your cell phone, as well. Today’s smart phones with all their bells and whistles drain a battery quickly; keep an extra fully charged battery for your phone in your backpack and when the time comes, swap it out for extended phone use. This is important because, among other things, you might need to make an emergency phone call.

5. Self-defense items.

As a last resort, you can always turn to self-defense items, such as mace or a folding knife. To be sure, you don’t want to spray anyone or wield a folding knife at anyone unless you absolutely have no other option. Even then, you must use your judgment and act wisely, considering all your options. Remember, a folding knife is a tool for outdoor use and general cutting; it is only a self-defense weapon in emergency situations.

Thus, if you will be walking around campus late at night, plan accordingly. For ease of access, keep your folding knife, flashlight, batteries and other emergency tools all in the same pocket. Know your terrain; bring proper lighting and the necessary tools and emergency equipment. However, don’t overload or burden yourself with too much in your backpack. You want to keep it practical but useful. Luckily, all of the items mentioned above are fairly small and easy to pack in even the smallest backpacks and purses.

[ Photo by: karindalziel, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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