What is the ideal flashlight for geocaching?
(Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to seek containers hidden by other participants. e.g. Hiking in the woods and finding small well hidden containers)
What is the ideal headlamp for geocaching?
My current EDC is a Fenix LD01. I have an Fenix PD32 UE in my bag.
I currently have ordered a Malkoff MDC and a Malkoff Devices "Hound Dog" XM-L.
1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?
____I will be mail-ordering or buying online, so this doesn't matter.
2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :-)
____I have no limit.
____I’m flexible, tell me what you got.
I am interested in the solution that offers the best set of trade-offs.
____I want a flashlight.
____I want a headlamp.
Ultimately looking for two different devices.
4) Flashlight-specific format/size:
____Every day carry medium (4-7 inches).
This light will be in my geocaching bag. Smaller/lighter is good, but this is not my EDC light. I plan to use this to supplement my EDC.
5) Emitter/Light source:
____I don't know.
____I would consider getting a light that is pieced together (for example a “host” or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a “drop-in” emitter from another source). Under the right circumstances, this path can provide more options to the consumer to meet specific needs, and can often be easily upgradeable as technology improves.
7) What battery type do you want to use?
____I intend to use lithium primary batteries (CR123, CR2, Energizer Advanced/Ultimate Lithium AA/AAA)
____I intend to use rechargeable lithium (li-ion) chemistry. Feel free to specify a size if you know which size you want (14500, RCR123/16340, 17500, 17670, 18650, etc.)
18650. (I also have RCR123, CR123 and eneloop AA)
8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
____I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (0-10 lumens).
____I want to walk around an unlit rural area (50-150 lumens).
____I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
____I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
____I want ridiculous amounts of lumens (800+ lumens).
Part of my challenge is I can imagine scenarios when geocaching when all of the above would be useful.
9) Throw vs. Flood: At what distance will you be most likely to use this light? Select all that apply.
____Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
____5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
____50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
____150+ yards (I want maximum throw possible)
Part of the challenge is I can imagine scenarios when geocaching when all of the above would be useful.
10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum output).
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
____Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
I am willing to pay more for reliability. I plan to use this light it needs to be durable.
12) Switch Type and location (choose all that apply):
____I don’t know.
I don't yet know enough to have a preference
13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.
____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
____I don’t know.
I expect that multiple light levels would be necessary given the activities.
____Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today’s flashlights).
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
15) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any below.
What other requirements would you specify for a great geocaching light set?
I'm an avid cacher myself... I don't have a specific light for Geocaching. I do find a headlamp more useable and if it is one of those caches that has reflectors as trail markers, then a small flashlight is also handy. Just get yourself any good flashlight or headlamp.
The short answer is that there is no single light that is good for all purposes. For caching at a minimum I'd suggest two lights, a headlamp and a regular handheld flashlight. When I first started caching I had a an inexpensive headlamp and an only slightly less inexpensive flashlight. Both used AAA batteries which I found incredibly annoying as it forced me to keep two sets of batteries. Since then I've upgraded a number of times. Each time I upgraded for durability first and performance second. A light isn't good to you if it fails.
These days I carry three lights: a single AA Link flashlight with built in carabiner. This is my EDC light. I also carry a 2XAA RogueII. This is my light when I need more throw. For a headlamp I've upgraded to the H51 Zebra light. I uses a single AA. You'll notice a theme here in that all my lights use AA batteries. This allows me to standarize on one size of battery. I carry lots of batteries with me as none of these lights will do you any good if the batteries are deal.
I wrote a longer blog about geocaching flashlights that you can google by typing best geocaching flashlight.
I have the 3AA Petzl Myo XP that I custom strapped to my backpack shoulder strap for another hands free lighting option.
I use the Night-Ops Gladius holster with a Surefire G2x Pro-D-Tan also mounted to the shoulder strap
I carry the Nao in my pack for when I am in a true handsfree situation, like climbing or balancing on a log over a stream, etc.
And a Princeton tec Strobe on top of the pack for visibility.
Aside from that I like to take different lights to test out in the wilderness to see how they hold up. I'll throw them down in the water, snow, dirt etc.
I'm planning a snow hike this weekend since its forecasted to snow here Thur-Friday. I'm taking up the Fenix PD32 UE to abuse the heck out of it to see if. Can get it to fail.
For me, having 2 handsfree options are a MUST have since I frequently climb boulders, rocks, navigate over or through streams, etc. I can't just have a handheld light option. That being said, I do take a few handheld lights with me. I usually take one with good output and one with good runtime (5 hour+ minimum). I'm interested to see how the Fenix PD32UE will fit in since it's 740 Lumens all the way down to 9 Lumens.
What I usually do is make a list of must have features like say 5 hour runtime, 100 lumens+, etc. Then I'll go to an REI or Bass Pro Shops and check out all the options there. And research YouTube reviews, internet reviews, etc. to come up with lights that fit my wants and needs.
I think what it comes down to is just doing massive research and picking lights that you like. There is no definitive answer to what flashlights are good for Geocaching or hiking, etc. What one person likes, another may not and vice versa.
Last edited by HistoryChannel; 03-04-2013 at 08:03 PM.
Thank you for the detailed replies. I like the options presented and have to do more research.
Does high cri makes a difference?
I purchased a malkoff hounddog, wildcat and a malkoff nichia 219 md2. I am exploring the trade offs and trying to experience the differences. The weather hasn't cooperated so haven't yet seriously field tested them.
Keep in mind that tint ≠ CRI. High CRI lights can be had in neutral white if you prefer a neutral white tint. Likewise, a warm tint does not imply high CRI. CRI and tint are chosen independently when selecting your ideal light.
no, it doesnt. In the light of the light, it is 99 % internet hype.
A neural white (5000 K) is in no way "worse" but feels 50 % brighter to the eye
(means You can go less power and add runtime)
You should get yourself a high-CRI flashlight, and see the difference (not a Zebralight! I'm looking forward to an updated c model, but fully expect it to only be, "high-CRI," by their marketing definition). An L3 L10 would be a nice cheap way to check them out.
You could get 3000K emitters with 70 CRI, if you really wanted to. But, they can't yet make a 90+ (typical) CRI LED that is >=5000K.