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Thread: best light for camping/emergencies?

  1. #1

    Default best light for camping/emergencies?

    Hi -
    I am looking to get two headlamps for myself.
    Primary usage will be camping and emergency bug-out.

    One lamp will be in my emergency bag in case I get stranded and need to hike out of the forest to get help.
    Second lamp will be for general camping, cooking, getting firewood, reading in tent, late night bathroom breaks, hiking back to camp.

    to answer the recommended list of things to consider:
    1. Beam type: Flood
    2. Battery type: AA lithium or CR123 primaries
    3. Battery placement: front or rear but prefer front
    4. Tint: Neutral to warm but High CRI is most important
    5. Lumens/Brightness: 3 mode: low low, mid, high
    6. Runtime: regulated, decent runtime
    7. Weatherproofing: IP68 - hiking and camping in rain/western washington
    8. adjustable angle: no pref, probably not a big deal
    9. UI: low -> high UI - don't want to kill nightvision
    10. Cost: $50 - $150


    Thanks very much!

  2. #2
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    I have one of these and it seems to fit your requirements


    The floody is perfect for reading

    http://www.zebralight.com/H51Fw-AA-F...hite_p_47.html

  3. #3

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Yeah, with the specs you want (about the same specs I wanted, and for similar purposes), the ZL H51Fw should work really well for you.
    Actually I recommend the H51Fc instead, it suits me really well anyways.
    H51Fw would give you a little bit more on the high end but less efficiency at the low end -H51Fc wins out there. If you look at the specs the High CRI (the c models) have the best lumens/run time/battery weight at low levels of all of the Zebra Lights.
    Last edited by eh4; 05-27-2012 at 05:27 PM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks very much! I'll check those models out.

  5. #5

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Woops, not sure about the weight of an 18650 battery, but the H600 models might well beat out the H51 models on low lumens/runtime/weight... But what I said about the high CRI model still stands with the AA models.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    wait for the zebralight H502, which is soon to be released before deciding.

    or get one of the H51 models now, see how u like it, then decide on the next one later after the verdict is out on the h502.

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Yeah, if one 18650 would be OK, you could get a 3100 mAh cell, and KILL on run time AND brightness compared to an enloop or primary, etc....and get a ZebraaLight SC600W for example, which would blow the doors off the other lights you're considering, on every spec.

    Its got a nice warn tint, and you can program over 6 levels of brightness, from less than a lumen lows to over 700 lumens on turbo, etc.


  8. #8

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    I love my H600w, and I recommend it for your "general camping, cooking, etc." role.

    But for a bug-out bag back-up, I personally have a strong preference for the AA format.

    18650s don't hold their charge forever, and as for finding a charged-up one when you need one, forget it.

    By contrast, you can put a lithium AA into your H51, and it will still give you light 10 years from now. And if you run out, you can always scavenge an AA from something, somewhere, or someone, the world over.

    I know this is a slightly separate topic, and I'm sure it's been talked to death on other threads, but to my mind, AA is hands-down the best format for emergency/bug-out purposes. Luckily, there are plenty of headlamps that take them!

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Quote Originally Posted by lampeDépêche View Post
    I love my H600w, and I recommend it for your "general camping, cooking, etc." role.

    But for a bug-out bag back-up, I personally have a strong preference for the AA format.

    18650s don't hold their charge forever, and as for finding a charged-up one when you need one, forget it.

    By contrast, you can put a lithium AA into your H51, and it will still give you light 10 years from now. And if you run out, you can always scavenge an AA from something, somewhere, or someone, the world over.

    I know this is a slightly separate topic, and I'm sure it's been talked to death on other threads, but to my mind, AA is hands-down the best format for emergency/bug-out purposes. Luckily, there are plenty of headlamps that take them!
    I tend to know when I'm going to go camping...and, tend to bring a solar charger anyway. I have 18650's I monitor, and the good ones will still be fully charged (~ 4.1v, etc) months after they were last charged. I can't talk for el cheapo cells...maybe they drain faster.

    I agree that lithium primaries are my choice if I will NOT be maintaining maintenance on a cell...my wife's glove box light is a surefire with CR123's in it for example, again, because I don't have to recharge it once in a while.

    One reason I like my Klarus XT11 so much is I can run it on RCR123's, CR123's, or 18650's...whatever I have around is going to work.

    The solar charger means I can keep going if the bug out period is longer than the primaries can endure...I can simply recharge them....even if there's no power, no where to GET more primaries, etc.

    During ACTUAL emergency situations, the AA and AAA, C and D cells are wiped out immediately..as that's what Joe Consumer uses....and 123's MIGHT be left as they are not as popular a format...and no one had a use for them when they raided the store for storm supplies, etc.

    A MAJOR mistake many made was that a super common format like AA would be easily available in an emergency situation...and those people were left in the dark when an ACTUAL emergency revealed that AA were gone from the shelves in one day...and the emergency ITSELF precluded getting more from somewhere else.

    So, AA is great for general purpose, as they ARE so popular all over...but, I do disaster response, and SEE over and over again that its TERRIBLE for actual emergency situations.

    So, sure, they can wait ~ 10 years for something to go wrong...work fine for the hour or so that they actually provide light...and then are useless garbage. This is fine in a glove box, as after the flat is fixed, you throw out the old primary, and put in a new one...easy. If its not a flat, its a hurricane with downed power....not so easy.



    Essentially, when the emergencies last a long time, like when the ice storms or hurricanes wiped out the power grid for WEEKS or MONTHS at a time in some areas, primaries are quickly depleted...and can't be replaced.

    Last edited by TEEJ; 05-28-2012 at 12:36 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    The AA availability issue largely depends upon your recharging infrastructure.
    I would much rather depend upon solar or generator charging of AA Eneloops than worrying about the volatilitiy of RCR123s, but LiFePO4 18650 or larger batteries would be better still for a long term shortage.

    I imagine that you could graph the relative shortages of AA vs CR123 over time with regular conditions= much greater abundance of AA over CR123, short term crisis= much greater abundance of CR123 over AA, followed by trickling supply of AA and virtually no resupply of CR123 in a long term crisis.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  11. #11

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    I have a bunch of old head lamps hanging on a nail in the garage. The one I use most frequently now is the Surefire. Adjustable light output, light weight, comfortable, nice even floody beam. Very helpful whether working overhead or hiking in snake country. I used mine last night to replace the LED in the car radio display.

  12. #12

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    +1 for the Zebralight H51Fw. I have one and like it a lot. I didn't expect to find its low mode as useful as it is.

    Al T.
    Last edited by Al Thumbs; 05-30-2012 at 05:16 AM.

  13. #13

    Default

    Yeah, I'd vote to stick with AAs and Eneloops too. While Li-ions are great, there's a lot more maintenance involved, specialized equipment, and they'll generally only be useful for flashlights.

    I camp and have a bit "prepper" in me and I have based almost all of my portable electronics around the AA/Eneloop format... radios, walkie talkies, flashlights, lanterns, UV water purifiers, GPS, cellphone chargers, etc.. It's so nice to able travel with one charger and one set of spares to cover all devices, or cannibalize between devices, or go buy some in any store. I also have a Powerfilm and Goal Zero AA solar chargers for emergencies.

    Sure AAs are likey to be the first to sell out in an emergency, but I think there must be at least 30 AAs or AAAs (which you can use with spacers like tinfoil and dollar bills) in my home in clocks, clock radios, remote controls, toys, smoke detectors, etc, etc.

    I like Zebralight H51s and 4Sevens Quarks for camping and emergency use... I think moonlight is a must for these purposes since you can get around ~300 hr per AA. There's plenty of time that moonlight is really all you'll need....so why burn up battery capacity if you don't have to, simply because your light doesn't a good low low mode?
    Last edited by reppans; 05-29-2012 at 06:43 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    I own a petzl and I love it. I have owned three of them over the course of 20 years.

  15. #15

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Just get the Surefire Minimus and stop messing around. Beats the pants off Zebra lights and Petzl for quality and reliability. You want a light that will be reliable for camping and emergencies then this it it.

  16. #16

    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Check out the Brunton RL 6

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* cland72's Avatar
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    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianna View Post
    Just get the Surefire Minimus and stop messing around. Beats the pants off Zebra lights and Petzl for quality and reliability. You want a light that will be reliable for camping and emergencies then this it it.
    I agree. I have used a Petzl Tactikka for about 3 years and love it, but I bought a Minimus Vision and it is rock solid. The only thing the Petzl has going for it is the ability to quickly deploy the red filter which is always attached to the headlamp.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
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    Default Re: best light for camping/emergencies?

    Quote Originally Posted by brianna View Post
    Just get the Surefire Minimus and stop messing around. Beats the pants off Zebra lights and Petzl for quality and reliability. You want a light that will be reliable for camping and emergencies then this it it.
    Based on the feedback here at CPF, and personal experience, I don't come to that conclusion. If you factor out that bad batch of H501s and H60s in early 2009, you're not seeing the claimed superiority for reliability of the Minimus compared to ZL or Petzl. There are plenty of complaints of SF Saint reliability here at CPF, although not significantly more than any other brand. I would say any of those three brands would be roughly equivalent in terms of reliability, and all of them very good, although the Petz goes with plastic not aluminum. Plus the SF would require you stock CR123s, unless you choose their AA version, which people generally don't like. I will admit the SF has a strong quality feel when you hold it in your hand, due to weight and knurling. But that's not equivalent to superior reliability.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the SF Minimus is a very good light. But I think the claim of relative superiority is dubious, and doesn't come close to "beats the pants off" differences. Chances are you'd never mistreat your lights like this guy.
    Last edited by Bolster; 06-21-2012 at 08:49 AM.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* BenChiew's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by brianna View Post
    Just get the Surefire Minimus and stop messing around. Beats the pants off Zebra lights and Petzl for quality and reliability. You want a light that will be reliable for camping and emergencies then this it it.
    +1

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