Travel Health

The FlareSafe Device – Torch, Smoke Detector and You Can Hit People With It

Imagine my surprise to wake up one morning to find a DHL package addressed “Attention: Road Junky” sitting at my doorstep next to the daily newspaper.

Uh oh. They’ve found me, I thought. I overcame my first instinct – to immediately flee the country, and after some time (30 seconds) curiosity got the better of me and I brought the package inside. Fearing retaliation from any number of irate Panamanians unhappy with this website, I nonchalantly gave the package to my girlfriend to open while I stepped out for a refreshing morning walk. No sense in both of us dying in case of a mail bomb.

I didn’t hear any explosions so after ten minutes outside I came back to find an oblong gadget about six inches long made from a military gray hard plastic sitting on the table along with a letter which went on to introduce me to the FlareSafe and request a review.

Well, if the world wants to send us free stuff we’re ready to do reviews.

First off, the FlareSafe is a 3-in-1 LED flashlight, personal attack alarm and smoke detector. It runs off of a couple of AA’s (easy to find on the road) and a photocell (maybe not so easy to find, but it’s supposedly only a backup). It is made from a hard plastic and claims to be waterproof. The FlareSafe is pretty light, too, weighing about as much as a banana and an apple (230 grams).

I was examining the flashlight that day, it works wow, when my brother came in the door. I handed him the device which he managed to set off in personal attack mode by fumbling with it for 2 seconds. The screeching was indeed debilitating. I expected swarms of locusts to promptly appear in the sky summoned by the maddening buzz. We had to take the batteries out to disable it.

I naturally wanted to give the FlareSafe a fair shake so I decided to get some opinions from travelers currently on the road. So later on I headed downtown to the beachside hostel and looked for some Italians to give their opinion on my safety device’s style.

I couldn’t find any so I headed to the bar instead and got reactions like:

“Whoa! What is that thing? A flashlight? Who brings a flashlight to a bar?”

“No it’s more than that. It’s a smoke detector and a personal safety device too.”

“Why do you need that? Are you going to Los Angeles? Does a switchblade come out of the top?”

In the end most people liked the idea, but thought it was too big to be easily portable for a safety device against muggers. The smoke detector (for hostel fires) seems like a good idea if you’re haunted by nightmares and maybe the alarm would be better for campers. Shelf price is 50 quid (UK) which is $500 US last time I checked the conversion rates. Wait – my girlfriend tells me 50 pounds are only $100 US. Either way, the FlareSafe is a little too expensive. I’d recommend it to backpackers on Australia’s east coast, but it’s also too bulky for the hard core types who might shave their toothbrushes in half to reduce pack weight.

I’m still waiting for a company to introduce the all-in-one hoverboard/internet kiosk/shaving kit to take on the road. Please send one of those for review.

Jim Klee

Jim Klee – sports a mangled passport and a well-worn rucksack. He believes travel to be a form of therapy against modern civilization’s madness. In 2002 Jim embarked on a journey starting with a one-way ticket no return to Mexico City. Some months later he discovered Tom Thumb sleeping in the shade besides his tent on a beach in Costa Rica. After surviving rip currents in Mexico, nearly freezing to death trekking solo in Patagonia, and getting knocked unconscious by submerged rocks while surfing in Australia, Jim decided to clear his head by beelining his way (mostly overland) to the Himalaya. There a regimen of Sufi poetry, yoga up in the mountains, and cheap gel pens resulted in a stack of notebooks containing an unpublishable travel novel. He re-emerged in New York City in late 2004 and Road Junky was born soon after.