Author Topic: Flashlights etc. Comparison  (Read 13843 times)

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Starkiller

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Flashlights etc. Comparison
« on: November 22, 2011, 10:16:40 »
The dark season is upon us... and if you have a day job and want to cache at any time of the evening, you may notice a general lack of natural light.

I'm thinking of getting a new flashlight... and I figured a few people around here might have some opinions/recommendations on what to get, where to get it, and how much to pay for it.

So what do you recommend for a flashlight? Where would you get it from, an outdoors store? Price range?
Recommendations for headlamps?

I'd prefer the model I get to take AA batteries, since I seem to already be well stocked on them, and also seem to always have a charged pair in my pocket...

Please share opinions!

cacheatnight

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 10:50:05 »
You are absolutely correct that AA batteries are the way to go.  If you are using a handheld GPSr you'll need them anyway. 

When it comes to geocaching flashlights I find that no one flashlight will fit all your needs.   I recommend at least two lights: a headlamp and a handheld.    It is usually pretty easy to find a handheld flashlight that uses AA batteries but headlamps can be a little harder to source.

LED lights are the way to go.  They have long life and have good battery consumption.  Sometimes it's enticing to buy a powerful light with the feeling that more lumens are better.  That is not the case if you are searching for firetacks.   Bright lights reduce the contrast between the firetack and the surroundings making it harder to see the firetacks.  Something in the 25-50 lumen range is good for looking for firetacks.   Most headlamps worth owning are in this range.   A handheld in the range of 50-100 lumen offers the best price/performance ratio.

High power lights typically require CR123 (or equivalent) batteries.  I like AA because I carry them anyway and in a pinch I can find them in just about any store.  That cannot be said for CR123.   Any light you get should have more than one power setting.   You want to be able to conserve battery power by going in to a lower light level setting.  The Rogue 2 for instance will run for 72 hours on the low power setting.  That's a nice option to have when you are stuck in the field longer than you planned.

My favourite light is my Link.  It uses 1 AA battery and will last for 3 hours of 50 lumen output or 70 hours on low.  I love this light because it has a built in carabiner.  I keep it attached to my geocaching bag day or night.  During the day it's great for looking in stumps, etc and at night it's a great adjunct to my headlamp when I'm searching. 

I also downloaded an app on my Blackberry that allows me to turn on the photo "flash" and use that as a light.   That has come in handy for those spur of the moment cache dashes.

I wrote an article about choosing a geocaching flashlight.  You can find it here:
http://www.cacheatnight.com/geocaching-flashlight/1112/
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 11:00:37 by cacheatnight »

portera

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 10:57:09 »
My brother gave me a Pelican SabreLite 2000 Submersible flashlight. It is great. Though it is plastic, it is very strong, and the beam it shines is impressive. It has a decent belt clip, and is quite bright yellow. Apparently they use them at the nuclear plant because there is no switch that can spark when turning them on or off, as you turn them on by twisting the lens end. That feature isn't so useful for caching though...


Pokaroo

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2011, 12:12:11 »
COSTCO now has on sale three TechLite Lumen Master (150 Lumen) Lamps with batteries for $19.50. They have high and low settings and strobe as well. These are very powerful but only about 4 inches long. They use 3 AAA batteries. Peerfect for night caching. I use one of these along with my headlamp when I really want to light up the area looking for a cache container. Also, it spots reflectors a long ways away.

Here is a link to YouTube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bpv2fQwAcjg&feature=related
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 12:49:56 by Pokaroo »

cacheatnight

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 12:39:41 »
Those costco lights look interesting but they use 3 AAA batteries and only last 1 hour on high or 4 hours on low.   They appear to be entry level lights but you can't beat the price.  Are they waterproof?

Pokaroo

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 12:48:10 »
Those costco lights look interesting but they use 3 AAA batteries and only last 1 hour on high or 4 hours on low.   They appear to be entry level lights but you can't beat the price.  Are they waterproof?

Yeah sorry meant AAA's (corrected original post). They seems to be waterproof with Nice Water Seals (don't have the original packaging). I'm impressed enough that I am going to buy another set. Surprisingly there is not all that much difference between Low and High settings. I always use mine on the low. I have rechargables so it is not a big problem.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 12:50:52 by Pokaroo »

CocaColaCacher

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 13:21:16 »
I got these head lights at Canadian Tire, split the pack with a friend.  Great light and a great price for two.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/5/SportsRec/Camping/Flashlights/PRDOVR~0650050P/Energizer+2+Pack+LED+Headlight.jsp?locale=en

GreyingJay

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2011, 13:50:18 »
Thanks for the tips, guys.

I have a collection of those small 3-AAA battery LED flashlights.  Home Depot often has really good deals on multipacks (typically 6 in a package, with batteries).  They may not be the greatest of quality or brightness but they are certainly bright enough for many purposes and what they lack in brightness they make up for in ubiquity -- when you buy them 6 at a time, you can keep them all over the place -- I have one in my car, one in my geocaching bag, one in my bedroom, bathroom, etc.

I do like the idea of the Icon Link light and I like the idea of using AA's.  I should grab one of those and keep it clipped to my caching/camping backpack.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 13:51:49 by GreyingJay »

bluelamb03

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2011, 14:54:01 »
The trouble with "those small 3-AAA battery LED flashlights" is they aren't very dependable. They are almost disposable lights, the batteries often outlast the mechanics of the light itself. I've had too many of those fail in the field to depend on them anymore.

I bought a LED Maglite, 2 x AA, and a smaller 1 x AA pocket light. I have a headlamp too. I prefer the AA lights because the same batteries now power all the devices, I don't have to stock different batteries and any convenience store will have replacements if all my rechargeable AA's fail.

Always carry more than one light, always carry extra batteries, always cache with friends.....

Blue -
Without shared stories we are strangers.
- Sheila Mendonça


GreyingJay

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2011, 15:24:06 »
The trouble with "those small 3-AAA battery LED flashlights" is they aren't very dependable. They are almost disposable lights, the batteries often outlast the mechanics of the light itself. I've had too many of those fail in the field to depend on them anymore.

Indeed. The beauty of that is that when one fails you've got 5 more...  You're right, they're nearly disposable. That can be a good or bad thing dependin on perspective.  Keep in mind that one of my major uses for flashlights is at summer camp, where I've learned that I need more than one of things in case something isn't where I left it (items frequently get "borrowed") and that the stuff I do have should be inexpensive so I don't fret too much when (not if) they get broken.  The "cheap, and many of them" rule suits me well in that environment.

bluelamb03

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2011, 16:03:44 »
I agree with GreyingJay that there's no point in having a $100 dollar flashlight, you're going to lose it sooner or later, but I don't want to depend on a gimcrack dollar store light when I'm in the middle of nowhere in the dark!

Blue -
Without shared stories we are strangers.
- Sheila Mendonça


Pokaroo

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 18:37:24 »
I agree with GreyingJay that there's no point in having a $100 dollar flashlight, you're going to lose it sooner or later, but I don't want to depend on a gimcrack dollar store light when I'm in the middle of nowhere in the dark!

Blue -

It is only a vary brave or very foolish soul who only takes one lamp and one set of batteries into the darkness of the unknown no matter how expensive it is  :). I have actually found my inexpensive lights from COSTCO to be very dependable and I use it a lot.

RDLtrekker

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 19:30:27 »
I really like my MagLite (2 x AA batteries) flashlight. It has high, low, strob and even SOS settings (Hope I never need the last setting) and it is waterproof. I purchased mine at MEC (forget how much I paid - it's been a while). My 2 back ups are 1 hand crank light (never needs batteries but will only last 10 minutes of light for one minute of crank - this is an emergency light) and a mini "disposible" type attached to my geobag at all times (the kind you would find at dollar store... it's served it's purpose more times than it should have  ;)).
Just one more... :) !


model12

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2011, 23:26:28 »
Just an aside here; those cheap dollar store LED flashlights that use 3-AAA batteries will fail after a bit of use, usually the switch is the part that fails. Then you are left with a spare battery holder for your other similar lights, and a new GEOCACHE container; extruded aluminum, threaded cap, O-ring; all you need is a logbook and a GZ...!

Steve

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SigsPig

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Re: Flashlights etc. Comparison
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 10:54:45 »
Hopefully Kirok pipes in; he had some kick ass lights with him on GAG16. Both headlamp & handheld. Don't remember the models  :-[
I haven't had any of the $1 store 3AAA lights fail on me yet but I don't normally go night caching. Never thought of using them for a cache container when they fail; thanks for the idea  ;)
Your reminder to cache with a friend & tell people where your going should be in bold letters; something everyone could use reminding of because we all know things happen  ::)