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Thread: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

  1. #1

    Default Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Hello,

    I am new to the flashlight world and would like some help in finding the ideal flashlight.

    I am currently using a Grundig LedTech Aluminium 3 LED flashlight for outdooractivities such as camping, geocaching, night hiking, amateur spelunking, and also general home use. It's fine for general home use and it gets the job done in the other areas but I am looking for a "real" flashlight that can illuminate much more when I am doing those activities, as the geocaching aspect takes me to dark forests, caves, mines, tunnels and places like that.

    I am looking for a flashlight with this characteristics:

    • Is handheld;
    • Is not too big, maybe 8 inches maximum (about 20 centimeters);
    • With the best location for the switch, I have no opinion;
    • Uses LED technology;
    • Illuminates a relatively wide area more than being a focused beam of light (not sure if this means that I want "flood" more than "throw", it seems so);
    • Has good illuminating power, though I cannot correlate this to lumens. About the best at my budget range;
    • Has different light levels, it's not too important but I think it is a nice feature;
    • Has rechargable batteries but not proprietary ones, so I can easily buy aditional or replacement ones;
    • Its batteries provide a good runtime and are of recent technology, like lithium;
    • Is resistant and has a good build quality, preferably with a metal finish;
    • Is within my 65€ (about 80$) budget (for the flashlight only, shipping and other costs not included).


    I am thinking of purchasing the flashlight online.

    I have been looking trough some brand sites like Fenix, Inova, Maglite, Surefire, Streamlight and Pelican but they have so many products that a newbie like me can't handle all the information, plus I have no experience in what brands have the best value-for-money, so feel free to recomend products from other manufacturers.

    Thank you in advance for your time and help,

    mesquita.mas

    Edited: expanded the characteristics of the flashlight with the help with this thread http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...cklist-Updated!!
    Last edited by mesquita.mas; 08-01-2012 at 04:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    For what you describe (especially spelunking), I'd consider a Zebralight H51 headlamp. They are mildly above your budget, but do come with a headband and run on a single AA (preferably eneloop). Easy enough to always have at least one spare with the option of getting alkaline anywhere in the world as emergency power.
    Depending on how you want the beam, they also have a version with a frosted lens H51F, as well as warm or high CRI versions.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Woot!
    I love saying this...


    Buy a Fenix LD20 or LD22



    I'm bias toward them, but I can say that I honestly think they are some of the best flashlights on the market.

    ...been using my old LD20 with a Q5 for goin' on 3 years now.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Thank you for the posts so far .

    I am inclined to the Fenix flashlights, they have a better runtime and I prefer that format, even though the Zebralight headlamp suits spelunking better.

    Still, I will wait for more replies,

    Thank you in advance,

    mesquita.mas

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    A headlamp is a BIG plus in continuous-use, a hand lamp for point-and-peek. Imagine that you're in one of those caves, and instead of a little flashlight you magically get light (that reaches 30-40 feet) wherever you're looking. That's what Zebralight headlamps are like. A word of warning: On NiMH, their lights shut DOWN with low batteries (To a dim mode) very quickly... which is exciting if you're doing rope work in the dark. If you could always stop and use the dim mode to get your spare light and swap cells, then this won't be a safety issue. As with all things, using the lowest comfortable setting, having bigger batteries, or knowing about when they'll go flat will help manage low-battery problems.

    For geocacheing, you'll have to spot those pesky clues. I had to find several atop a series of ladder in a tunnel once, and I was only just able to spot them. I suggest a headlamp with an optional diffuser - check reviews to see if the diffuser causes more annoyance than it ought to; or a decent 'flood-to-throw' LED hand light. Both allow you to see far and near.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Zebralight headmalp might work well for hands free operation. You might want to go with the floody version (the ones with "F" in the name), they seem more suitible for headlamp use. The warmer white versions will also provide better color rendering, at the loss of a bit of output.

    The Fenix LD22 is also a nice light, also look at 4sevens' Quark series of lights along with Jetbeam. A good starter light might be the Fenix E11. 1AA, forward clickie, 2 modes.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Woah thanks so much for all the replies, they are really helping

    Time to start checking how easy it is to buy each one of the recomended ones here in Portugal.

    I am still open to advice though!

    Thank you in advance,

    mesquita.mas

  8. #8
    Flashaholic TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    The point AnAppleSnail raised on lights shutting down on low power is a great argument for carrying two lights. Sometimes a light in hand is more practical than a headlamp, and sometimes you just want to use both at the same time.
    As an addition to my earlier ZebraLight suggestion; if the situation is critical, always have a secondary light. I'd rather have one Zebralight H51Fw (warm frosted) combined with something like a Fenix E11, LD12 or eagletac D25A clicky XP-G than one do-it-all 18650 or 2xAA light.

    Besides, that way you can get a second light with more throw and have the best of both worlds.

    PS. Notice how you join this forum and are already being talked into two lights and tempted into "enlightenment" (aka the dark side).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by TweakMDS View Post
    Besides, that way you can get a second light with more throw and have the best of both worlds.

    PS. Notice how you join this forum and are already being talked into two lights and tempted into "enlightenment" (aka the dark side).
    LOL, that was a good one. Unfortunately my budget limits that option.

    I am inclined to the Fenix LD22 or the Zebralight Zebralight H51, still deciding what type of hold to chose. When browsing a manufacturer's site, how can I know if a series (like fenix TK, LD, E, etc.) are more "throw" or more "flood"? Unfortunately Fenix does not describe the general purpose of each of their series.

    Thank you in advance,

    mesquita.mas

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by TweakMDS View Post
    The point AnAppleSnail raised on lights shutting down on low power is a great argument for carrying two lights.
    Having two lights is a great argument for carrying two lights.

    1. All lights can break. Even your pile of tritium globs.
    2. All batteries are suspect. They'll fail, goof off, or otherwise be missing (I left it WHERE!?)
    3. All things done in the dark, are better done with a buddy...who may wish to borrow a light.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Thank you very much for all the replies so far.

    I have one question though: how can I know if a specific series from a manufacturer is more "throw" or "flood" (like Fenix "TA", "TK", "PD")? In other words, how can I know for what activity is each series made for? From Fenix or other manufacturer (like foursevens "Prion", "Quark Pro", "Quark Tactical", and s on...).

    Thank you in advance,

    mesquita.mas

  12. #12
    Flashaholic TweakMDS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by mesquita.mas View Post
    Thank you very much for all the replies so far.

    I have one question though: how can I know if a specific series from a manufacturer is more "throw" or "flood" (like Fenix "TA", "TK", "PD")? In other words, how can I know for what activity is each series made for? From Fenix or other manufacturer (like foursevens "Prion", "Quark Pro", "Quark Tactical", and s on...).

    Thank you in advance,

    mesquita.mas
    It's tricky to judge that easily because some series aren't that consistent in the beam types, but there are a few things to give you an indication of how a light's beam will be:

    - Type of LED: in short, an XP-G is smaller and will give more throw in the same reflector than the larger XM-L led. (Cree's XP-G and XM-L are the two most used types now, but there are others)
    - Size of the reflector: bigger reflector will give more throw, smaller more flood.
    - Texture inside the reflector: smooth is usually more throw, orange peel will diffuse the beam a bit. These are often classified as Lightly Orange-Peeled (LOP), Orange-Peeled (OP) and Heavily Orange Peeled (HOP).

    Finally, and most importantly, look at the LUX values in reviews. CPF member selfbuilt has many, many reviews with detailed info and usually lists some comparisons.
    For example, if you see two lights with both 200 lumens, but one has 5000cd and the other has 2000cd in the LUX column, they have the same output but the first is more throwy and the last more floody.

    The youtube channel "goingprepared" (from the store GoingGear) is also a great place to check out beams and find out tons of info on how a light looks.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* cland72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Surefire 6PX Pro. It's around $80, and has a high/low setting, and should fit AW 17670 cells. Bulletproof and on high is pretty bright.
    Chris

  14. #14

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by TweakMDS View Post
    It's tricky to judge that easily because some series aren't that consistent in the beam types, but there are a few things to give you an indication of how a light's beam will be:

    - Type of LED: in short, an XP-G is smaller and will give more throw in the same reflector than the larger XM-L led. (Cree's XP-G and XM-L are the two most used types now, but there are others)
    - Size of the reflector: bigger reflector will give more throw, smaller more flood.
    - Texture inside the reflector: smooth is usually more throw, orange peel will diffuse the beam a bit. These are often classified as Lightly Orange-Peeled (LOP), Orange-Peeled (OP) and Heavily Orange Peeled (HOP).

    Finally, and most importantly, look at the LUX values in reviews. CPF member selfbuilt has many, many reviews with detailed info and usually lists some comparisons.
    For example, if you see two lights with both 200 lumens, but one has 5000cd and the other has 2000cd in the LUX column, they have the same output but the first is more throwy and the last more floody.

    The youtube channel "goingprepared" (from the store GoingGear) is also a great place to check out beams and find out tons of info on how a light looks.
    That was very helpful, thank you very much indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by cland72 View Post
    Surefire 6PX Pro. It's around $80, and has a high/low setting, and should fit AW 17670 cells. Bulletproof and on high is pretty bright.
    Thank you, I will check it out.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    A big thank you to all who helped me, I have made my decision. I will aquire the Fenix LD22. I figured that a headlamp is not always the best option, especially when I will use it for so many different applications. Maybe I will aquire one in the future.

    I compared the recomended flashlights in this thread plus lots of others, features and price, and Fenix impressed me very much. They really seem to have a massive value-for-money and through the internet everyone has something nice to say about them.

    My first experience here in Candlepowerforums was great, thank you all once again,

    Best regards,

    mesquita.mas

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Enjoy your new light!

    The LD22 is a good choice with many modes, and the beam should be good for waht you want, but could be a bit too focused for close up lighting.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by mesquita.mas View Post
    Thank you very much for all the replies so far.

    I have one question though: how can I know if a specific series from a manufacturer is more "throw" or "flood" (like Fenix "TA", "TK", "PD")? In other words, how can I know for what activity is each series made for? From Fenix or other manufacturer (like foursevens "Prion", "Quark Pro", "Quark Tactical", and s on...).

    Thank you in advance,

    mesquita.mas
    First off... Grats on the LD22



    Lets see.. for fenix the series are, and don't hold me to this it's just what I heard.. ages ago... for all I know they are all made up...
    and gawd only knows why I remember them...

    LD - Lighting Digitally
    TK - TanK (as in, build like a tank)
    TA - Technologically Advanced
    PD - Police Department
    E - Economy

    Like I said I heard these ages ago and they hardly have meaning today, if they ever did...


    LD and PD mirror each other, and are general use lights. They just use different batteries.
    TK lights can take some serious abuse, and are more for outdoorsy stuff
    TA.. do they even sell TA's anymore? I dunno... but, they have ring selectors
    E series is for economy minded people.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner12 View Post
    Enjoy your new light!

    The LD22 is a good choice with many modes, and the beam should be good for waht you want, but could be a bit too focused for close up lighting.
    Thank you. I have decided for the flashlight already, but would you recomend one with more flood?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ezeriel View Post
    First off... Grats on the LD22



    Lets see.. for fenix the series are, and don't hold me to this it's just what I heard.. ages ago... for all I know they are all made up...
    and gawd only knows why I remember them...

    LD - Lighting Digitally
    TK - TanK (as in, build like a tank)
    TA - Technologically Advanced
    PD - Police Department
    E - Economy

    Like I said I heard these ages ago and they hardly have meaning today, if they ever did...


    LD and PD mirror each other, and are general use lights. They just use different batteries.
    TK lights can take some serious abuse, and are more for outdoorsy stuff
    TA.. do they even sell TA's anymore? I dunno... but, they have ring selectors
    E series is for economy minded people.
    Thank you very much.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    You could look at diffuser lenses for the LD22. Fenix makes one for it's own lights and it should create a wider beam more suitable for close up work.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Perfect, thank you very much.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Need help choosing a camping/geocaching/outdoors handheld flashlight

    Hello once again,

    I just wanted to say that I ordered the Fenix LD41 and received it today, and I must say I am impressed. It isn't the most portable flashlight but the double button mechanism (on/off + mode swtich) makes it very easy to use. The beam itself it very well defined, the center hotspot is great but it also has a very good flood. The construction quality seems very good, both outside and in the batteries contacts. I am really thinking about purchasing a LD22 in the future for a more portable light, Fenix really impressed me.

    Best regards,

    mesquita.mas

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