Bug out Bag(BOB) flashlight recommendation

EastCoast

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Hey guys,

I'm not somebody that needs a flashlight for everyday use, but I would like to keep a dependable flashlight in my bug out bag. A bug out bag is designed to get you away from your house to a secure location in the event of an emergency. A flashlight that lasts a long time on a charge that can help me set up camp in the middle of the night or let me see where I'm going in an emergency is critical.
Thanks,
EastCoast
Also I dont know much about flashlights, so I may not understand alot of acronyms

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

____I would like to purchase the light in person from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
__X_This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).


2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)

____I don't know yet
____Up to $25.
__x_Up to $50.
____Up to $100.
____Up to $200.
____Up to $300.
____Essentially unlimited.


3) Format:

____I am not sure, please help me decide.
__x_I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).
____I want a self-contained headlamp.
____I want a headlamp with an external pack/power source.
____I want a mounted light (typically for a bicycle or vehicle)
____I want a lantern/area light.
____I want a portable spotlight (it may have an external power source).
____Other ____________________________________________


4) Size:

____MICRO - Keychain size.
____TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
____SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
____MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
__x_I don't know/I don't care.


5) Emitter/Light source:

__x_LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
____I don't know.


6) Manufacturer:

__x_I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
____I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
____I am interested in assembling my own components. (for example a "host" or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a "drop-in" emitter from another source).


7) What power source do you want to use?

____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D and CR123 sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.
__x_I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

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 not a happy experience).

__x_I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
__x_I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
__x_I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
__x_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 search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

____SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.


9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.

__x_All Flood: I am doing "arms length" tasks like reading and campsite cooking.
____Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
____Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
__x_Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.
____Narrow Throw: I want a beam with a very tight "hot center" and minimal "side-spill". Good for distance viewing, fog, and looking through dense undergrowth.
____Turbohead: I want a far-distance projector with a sharply focused spot of light and minimal or zero side-spill. Good for extreme distance and impressing your friends.

9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
__x_Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
__x_Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
__x_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 am searching from a helicopter)

10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).

____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
____30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
__x_3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).




11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very accurate for flashlights.

____Not Important (A "night-stand" light).
____Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
____Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
__x_Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
____I don't know.


12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):

__x_Any size switch will do.
____I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
____I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
____I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
____I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today's high end lights).
____I want a remote switch (usually found on high-end bicycle headlights)
____I don't care.
____I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________________.


13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

____A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
__x_I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
____I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ---...--- emergency pattern)
____I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
____I don't care.
____I don't know.


14)Material/Finish/Coating

____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
____Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today's higher end flashlights).
____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
__x_I don't care.
____I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance some would be nice
__x_None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
____IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
____In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
__x_Emergency kit (long standby periods)
____Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)
____Other_________________________________________ ____


17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.

____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
____"Hybrid" light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
____Pocket/belt clip would be nice
____Holster
____Wrist/Neck Lanyard would be nice
____Crenulated bezel
____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
 
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reppans

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I always suggest AA moonlight mode lights for this as they will most likely be compatible with your other electronic devices, you can always scavenge any household AA, AAA, 9v cells for use, and a "bright" moonlight will last ~200 hrs per AA with enough illumination to comfortably read and perform most close task work. I would suggest a Malkoff MDC AA for extreme durability, or a Foursevens Quark QP2-X with an option 1xAA battery tube for extreme versatility.
 

880arm

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Malkoff lights are an excellent choice. With the sale Gene has running right now you can pick up an MD2 with High/Low bezel for $101. It's rugged, solid, dependable and gives you a few options for battery types. CR123 cells are a good choice for long-term storage due to their long shelf life and will provide nearly an hour and a half of full output followed by hours of tapering output as they are depleted. If you keep a couple of 18650 cells in your bag, runtime is even better but I would still keep the CR123 around as well.
 

Poppy

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Malkoff lights are an excellent choice. With the sale Gene has running right now you can pick up an MD2 with High/Low bezel for $101. It's rugged, solid, dependable and gives you a few options for battery types. CR123 cells are a good choice for long-term storage due to their long shelf life and will provide nearly an hour and a half of full output followed by hours of tapering output as they are depleted. If you keep a couple of 18650 cells in your bag, runtime is even better but I would still keep the CR123 around as well.

I often see this comment:
CR123 cells are a good choice for long-term storage due to their long shelf life
I wonder, did this become common knowledge before primary lithium AAs became available? (Energizer L91 )

They have comparable capacities.
CR123 3.0 volts 1500 mah
AA L91 1.5 volts 3000 mah

Is there an upside to CR123s? Or are the L91s as good (but of course in different lights)?
 

reppans

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Different chemistries (Li Manganese vs Li Iron), Energizer claims 20 yrs for the L91 while CR123 are ~10-15? Total energy is about the same but the higher voltage of the CR123 will have greater output and be little more efficient (less reliance on a boost driver in single cell form). In multi-cell form, the CR123s may explode/flame-vent in a reverse charge situation - haven't heard L91s do this. I like using AA Li Manganese cells (CRAA/14505 - same as as CR123s), since I can still use any AA chem, and the CRAA will fit and power all my other 2AA devices in pinch. CR123s are generally cheaper and have competing brands while the L91 and CRAAs are a virtual monopoly.

Except for the 18650 cell, which is a big benefit of the CR123 format, there's a lot more options with the AA chemistries.
 

Tmack

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I started a thread a while back. (what light are in your bug out bag)
Tons of useful comments their.
Sorry I can't link on tapatalk.

But I like the sunwayman d40a. Runs on 4xaa and has 900lm, moonlight, lock out, ipx8 water resistant. Throws very well for target identification at a distance, but has nice spill for up close lighting.


Check out Cottonpickers in the marketplace.
I picked up one of his quad panel solar charging kits, so batteries are no longer an issue in my b. O. B. It is strong enough to charge your vehicle battery as well.
Very very useful in an emergency bag. Has 4 panels and an individual wire for each, or has the ability to combine all four to charge with some umph.
 

cland72

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Nov 23, 2009
Messages
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Surefire G2X Pro
Malkoff Devices MD2 with high/low ring and a M61 drop in
 

Dave D

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Turnkey Malkoff MD2 with High/Low, it comes with the M61 lamp module but if you contact Gene he will likely charge you an extra $5 to swap it for the M361N-LMH, Neutral Low - Medium - High, which will give you 6 different light output levels of approximately 375, 75, 15 ,8,1.5, 0.4 Lumens.

If you don't want the low 8, 1.5, 0.4 lumens options you can buy the MD2 without the High/Low switch.

If you don't like the Neutral version then the standard M361 puts out 400, 80 and 15 lumens.

It will work with a single 18650 or 2 x CR123's or 2 x RCR123's..

Customer service from Malkoff is legendary and the MD2 is very well made.
 

EastCoast

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Hey guys,

Thanks so much for all the input, you guys are really helping me out! I thought I'd make a list of the recommendations to help me narrow down my options. I'd love to know the maximum run time on the Malkoff md2.

These all seem like great flashlights, could you guys help me decide?
Thanks again,
EastCoast

Malkoff MD2 High/Low http://www.malkoffdevices.com/malko...flashlights/turn-key-md2-with-high-low-switch
Price: $101.15
Max run time: Couldn't find, does anyone know?
Min run time: 1.5 hours
Batteries: 2 CR123A
Lumens: 325
Looks very rugged, wish I knew maximum run time, not waterproof(not a big deal)

Malkoff MDC HA 1AA http://www.malkoffdevices.com/malko...f-mdc-flashlights-parts/mdc-ha-1aa-flashlight
Price $84.15
Max run time: 200+ hours
Min run time: 1 hour
Batteries: 1AA
Lumens: 115
Again, looks very rugged, great maximum time, like that it's AA which seems more common that CR123A

Quark Pro QP2A-X http://www.foursevens.com/products/QP2A-X-AE
Price: $78.00
Max run time: 360 hours
Min run time: 1 hour
Batteries: 2AA
Lumens: 336
Waterproof, great max run time

Sunwayman D40A http://www.sunwayman.com/html/products/201305/127.html
Price:~$70
Max run time: 31 hours
Min run time: 1.7 hours
Batteries: 4AA
Lumens: 980(turbo at 3 minutes), 550 high
Waterproof
 

dss_777

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Messages
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Per the website, the MD2 runtime at full output for the M61 module is that 1.5 hr figure for 2xCR123 you cited.

The lower output dropins run significantly longer, like the 5 hrs for the 175lm M61L, something to consider for a BOB.

My car lights are lower output, longer runtime modules by choice. As example, my preference is for the M61LL with 10 hrs of very useable light (100 lm full output), instead of the 1.5 hr. 350lm output of the M61.

YMMV
 
Last edited:

Grizzman

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An MD2 with High/Low ring outfitted with an M61LL would make an awesome BOB light.

I haven't had the patience to perform a run time test of a Malkoff MD2 on low yet. I'd start one now, but at 10 lumens from an 18650, I'm quite sure it'll still be running long after you've made up your mind on what to buy.

While the MD2 isn't specified as being IPX-8 rated on the website, I regularly wash mine under the sink and have performed a few water bottle torture tests on them with outstanding results.....I even ran a Hound Dog through my last top loading washer once (without leakage).
 

EastCoast

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An MD2 with High/Low ring outfitted with an M61LL would make an awesome BOB light.

I haven't had the patience to perform a run time test of a Malkoff MD2 on low yet. I'd start one now, but at 10 lumens from an 18650, I'm quite sure it'll still be running long after you've made up your mind on what to buy.

While the MD2 isn't specified as being IPX-8 rated on the website, I regularly wash mine under the sink and have performed a few water bottle torture tests on them with outstanding results.....I even ran a Hound Dog through my last top loading washer once (without leakage).

Thanks for the advice,
What is an M61LL and an 18650?

What benefits does the MD2 have over the quark which is 30 dollars cheaper and uses AA and is waterproof?

Thanks again,
EastCoast
 

Grizzman

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The M61LL is one of the LED assemblies that Malkoff MD2 lights use. The standard M61 is cool white (6200 K color temperature) and puts out 325 lumens. Versions with outputs lower than 325 have L and LL attached to the name to denote them as low output or lowest output. High output versions have HO (discontinued) and SHO attached. There are also low voltage M31 series and high voltage M91 series assemblies.

Have you been to malkoffdevices.com?

The 18650 I mentioned is a Li-Ion rechargeable battery that is compatible with Malkoff MD2 lights, and many others as well. It is approximately 18mm in diameter by 65mm long, which is 2mm fatter than a CR123 and roughly the same length.

I've never used a Quark, so I can't comment directly as to their quality, durability, or UI. IMHO, looking for a non-custom light more durable or manufactured to a higher standard than an MD2 for less than $100 would be an exercise in futility.

I'm not going to discuss the AA vs CR123 vs 18650 topic in this thread. There are plenty of other threads on the subject. I personally do not consider a light that uses AA cells to have a distinct advantage over ones that use other cells.
 
Last edited:

880arm

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I often see this comment:
CR123 cells are a good choice for long-term storage due to their long shelf life
I wonder, did this become common knowledge before primary lithium AAs became available? (Energizer L91 )

They have comparable capacities.
CR123 3.0 volts 1500 mah
AA L91 1.5 volts 3000 mah

Is there an upside to CR123s? Or are the L91s as good (but of course in different lights)?

I have no beef against the L91s and believe they are fine batteries. If I were recommending a AA powered light I would have mentioned them instead of the CR123s.

Hey guys,

Thanks so much for all the input, you guys are really helping me out! I thought I'd make a list of the recommendations to help me narrow down my options. I'd love to know the maximum run time on the Malkoff md2 . . .

I don't know how long it would run in its lowest output moe, but as Grizz said in his post, it would run for a VERY long time in its lowest output mode. As far as full output runtime is concerned I observed the following in my review.

Malkoff-MD2-with-M61-XPG2.jpg

When powered by the 18650, it ran for over 6 hours before I got tired of watching it and decided to end the test.

Thanks for the advice,
What is an M61LL and an 18650?

What benefits does the MD2 have over the quark which is 30 dollars cheaper and uses AA and is waterproof?

Thanks again,
EastCoast

The M61LL is a "Low-Low" output version of the M61. It is rated at 100 lumens and gives something like 10 hours of regulated runtime.

An 18650 is a generic term for a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that has a nominal diameter of 18 mm and nominal length of 65 mm. They are available from several different vendors/manufacturers. You can read a lot about them in the "Flashlight Electronics - Batteries Included" sub-forum.
 

reppans

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Sunwayman D40A http://www.sunwayman.com/html/products/201305/127.html
Price:~$70
Max run time: 31 hours

For the record, the D40A has a 500 hr / 1 lumen moonlight mode... and perhaps mine is sample variation but I tested its low at 15 lms / 60 hrs instead of 30 lms / 31 hrs.

As a stealth camper, my issue with lights was always that their lows were too bright killing my night vision, giving away my position, and burning batts unnecessarily - I imagine I would have similar priorities for a BOB in a SHTF event. I sort of collect AA/sub-lumen lights and own the latter three lights which are in my top five favorites with "brighter" moonlight modes as opposed to the really dim sub-0.10 lm "firefly/starlight" modes of TN and ZL.
 

EastCoast

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Thanks for the suggestions, the D40a and the Malkoff seem like amazing flashlights.

Are there any flashlights in the 50 dollar range that are good?
I'm going to need to buy around 3 of them for my family.

Thanks again,
EastCoast
 

cland72

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Joined
Nov 23, 2009
Messages
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Thanks for the suggestions, the D40a and the Malkoff seem like amazing flashlights.

Are there any flashlights in the 50 dollar range that are good?
I'm going to need to buy around 3 of them for my family.

Thanks again,
EastCoast

Surefire G2X Pro can be found for $50 delivered at B&H Photo Video.
 

EastCoast

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Surefire G2X Pro can be found for $50 delivered at B&H Photo Video.
Thanks for the suggestion,
I may end up going with the surefire, but the low seems to high, if only it had a moonlight mode it would be perfect.

Anything in the price range of the surefire with a moonlight?

Thanks again,
EastCoast
 

cland72

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Joined
Nov 23, 2009
Messages
3,276
Thanks for the suggestion,
I may end up going with the surefire, but the low seems to high, if only it had a moonlight mode it would be perfect.

Anything in the price range of the surefire with a moonlight?

Thanks again,
EastCoast

You could take a look at FourSevens. They are having a 30% off sale (with coupon code) now through Sunday.
 

EastCoast

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Jul 1, 2014
Messages
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You could take a look at FourSevens. They are having a 30% off sale (with coupon code) now through Sunday.

Wow this would put the 70 dollar foursevens in my price range!

What's the coupon code, I cant find it on their website?
 

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