Help me pick a light please


Newly Enlightened
Dec 10, 2012
Been reading the forms until my head is spinning.

Want a light to use when I am out fishing (freshwater mostly), night fishing, and around the house/yard (1 acre).

The Fenix PD 35 (2014), UC 40 Ultimate, and PD 32 Ultra Edition all look interesting.

I don't have large hands so want something close to 5" long and for EDC.

The stobe/sos/beacon modes are interesting and might be valuable if out night fishing and run into trouble but not totally necessary.

Also the USB rechargeable lights look interesting but I'm more interested in reliability.

Here are my responses:

==================Flashlight Recommendation Checklist================

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.
____Up to $50.
_X__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).
_X__SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
____MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
____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.
_X__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.
____I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
____I want a light that plugs directly into the wall (literally with prongs built into the light)
____I want a light that has a recharging adapter (your typical "wall wart")
____I want a light that snaps into a cradle (usually mounted on a wall)
_X__I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
____I don't care

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).

____I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
____I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
____I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
____I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
_X__I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
_X__I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

_X__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.

____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.
_X__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)
____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)
_X__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)
_X__30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
____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).
_X__Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
____Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
____I don’t know.

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

____Any size switch will do.
____I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
_X__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).
_X__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.
____I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
_X__I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
_X__I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
_X__I want SOS mode. (blinks in ---...--- emergency pattern)
_X__I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
____I don’t care.
____I don’t know.


____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
_X_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).
____I don’t care.
____I don’t know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance
____None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
__X_IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
__X_IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
_X__In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
____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.

_X__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)
_X__Pocket/belt clip
____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
____Crenulated bezel
____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Bob Damon

Apr 20, 2014
The Thrunite is a great choice, as is the PD35. With any light, check the mode spacing, some of the Ultimate editions have a wide gap between their 900+ high and their next lower range. The next setting should be in the 500-600 range, a range the light can operate for sustained use. Check the Malkoff Hound Dog for a durable light. You probably need a headlamp for fishing.


Feb 14, 2012
Your Fenix selections are good 18650 EDC choices but I suspect you'll be disappointed with their mostly floody beams not reaching as far as you'd like for your outdoor pursuits. IMO I'd look more into a tactical type light...something with a 30 to 35mm head and deeper reflector. There are many good turnkey choices that are ready to go out of the box from, Thrunite, Fenix, Klarus, Sunwayman, etc. but for my money, it's hard to beat a Solarforce P60 host for approx, $20/25 and a P60 drop-in module from CustomLites (nailbender on CPF) for around $35/40 in...the emitter, reflector, tint, and mode selection of your choice!

For around $60 to $75 you can have a rugged, well made, all-around outdoor/medium large EDC type light...that while not a dedicated thrower, is still capable of 900/1200 lumen bursts with much better throw than the 22 - 24mm head lights and that is upgradeable, (and repairable, switch replacement, etc.) as new emitters are released w/o buying an entirely new light. I always have several of these in my possession simply because of their configurability, value, and they do so much so well.


Flashlight Enthusiast
Oct 27, 2009
North Wales UK
For fishing any hand held light is as much use as a cup of cold tea,headlamp only is needed as fishing is very much a two handed past time.

Look into the offerings from Petzl superb quality.


Newly Enlightened
Aug 19, 2014
Might be worth checking the Fenix HP40F. It's a headlamp designed specially for night fishing that has separate white and blue Less.


Newly Enlightened
Nov 1, 2014
Northern Michigan
Might be worth checking the Fenix HP40F. It's a headlamp designed specially for night fishing that has separate white and blue Less.

The blue lens is supposed to great for night fishing especially if they don't attract bugs.

RobertTX, Do a little more homework and look at headlamps. They can be taken off the headband and used as handheld. I have a Zebralight H600 and it works great either way. A little out of your price range but twice as versatile for my needs which includes fishing and working underneath a car or other dark place.


Newly Enlightened
Dec 10, 2012
Thank everyone for all the replies and advice.
I definitely need to do more homework.

I don't actually fish that often at night (maybe 3 times a year). Didn't mean to mislead everyone.

So I am actually looking for an EDC with a "moonlight" or very low power setting.

I will continue reading and listening to all the great advice.