LED Search Light

TD-Horne

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Is there such a thing as an LED Search Light in a hand carried form factor. We want to be able to light a large area while searching for missing campers. We don't have to do that often; maybe once every other year; but when we do need to do that we want lights that will light a wide swath of woods. I specifically write woods because that may help folks to realize that a beam thrower is not of much use in such a situation. I'm hoping that the use of the name search light will convey the need for a wide beam that is as equally bright as possible across a wider area than most flashlights are meant to cover. The emphasis would be on evenness rather than on the width of the beam. For this use weight is not much of a concern. The use of readily replaceable primary batteries might be important but there is no way to know in advance.

I really appreciate all the help that folks here have given me with these practical application issues.

Tom Horne
 

aznsx

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I don't know specifically because I've never had such requirements (yet), but I'd be very surprised if Streamlight didn't have something in their catalog practically designed for such applications. Then again, I get surprised by something every day these days:)
 

BVH

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The MS18 outputs 100,000 Lumens for a brief while dropping down but even the drop downs are in the 35,000 Lumens IIRC. I have one and it's pretty amazing. I think you can run 15,000 lumens till the batts are discharged with no step down. The light has a built-into-the-head cooling fans system. A bit pricy but if for human search and rescue, a small price to pay. I think there may still be a competitor at 60,000 Lumens with cooling fan built into a handle. I had that but prefer the self-contained cooling system in the head plus the additional Lumens.

 
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OK, before we get too deep into the woods on this (pun intended), what is the average distance between the person holding the flashlight and the trees? I ask because there are many, many handheld floodlight-type lights available, some offering stupefying output levels. The distance between source and target is important because too much light can be blinding, especially if the object being illuminated reflects too much light back to the viewer. The distance between the source and object is also important because if the distance isn't too great, a few handheld 18650 or 21700 floody lights might be more useful than one gigantic light capable of illuminating a football field. (Several searchers can simultaneously be deployed, each with his/her own floody pocket light.)

We await your further input...
 

bykfixer

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I like the Streamlight ProTac HL4 or HL5x for this one. The frosted optic greatly reduces that blinding flashback.

I aimed my HL4 at a shiney white truck on high one night and it caused me to squint but I was not blinded. Then I aimed it down my street and it lit an area the size of a football field well enough to read something at the opposite end (if I could read something from that far away).

Runs off CR123's or 18650's.
 

TD-Horne

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Please keep in mind in the suggestions you make that the need is for a light to be used in searching after dark for a camper gone missing in dense woods.

Long throw is of NO use. Range to closest trees is likely to be 25 feet or less. I'm talking trails trough wooded areas after deciduous green up while looking close on each side for sign of the child's presence or their having passed that way. We've never had a camper hide from the staff. Not once! A moments drop in vigilance or counselors failure to spot a footwear or chafing problem and the camper gets separated from their group. The trail could be on a cow herding path that is 20 foot wide but the tree line is then no more than 25 feet away from the light's user. We need a wider beam that projects an even light. I know this is not what most people would want in a portable light but it is what will fill this need. Each trip would carry 2 of that light for the 2 counselors who would initiate the search. In camp staff would bring ~4 more such lights to the scene.

Tom Horne
 

alpg88

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I use noktigon d18 while camping, definitely would fit your needs. not too expensive either, around 100 bucks,
 

Skylumen

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Sounds like you need a simple operation floody long runtime high output light that is ready when you need it. There are tons of options out there but the biggest question is what is your budget.
 
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TD-Horne

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Sounds like you need a simple operation floody long runtime high output light that is ready when you need it. There are tons of options out there but the biggest question is what is your budget.
The operation is a church operated youth summer camp program of 3 camps and a mobile teen adventure program. If I were to overspend on equipment; which the camping program committee and the program coordinator would never let me do; It could keep a poor child out of camp. If you've ever heard the word "Parsimonious," meaning frugal as the Parson in a poor parish which cannot pay them very well, then you have the idea.

I have to take every suggestion you folks give me and weigh the costs and benefits. Most things north of $100 would be a "seek donation item." That means I would have to find someone who could donate the funds outside the budget. As an example when some of the canoes that the camps use wore out; after 30 years of hard service and much patching; individual donors bought new canoes and got to decide which historic figure the canoe would be named for. My spouse and I named ours "Lucretia Mott. [I was working full time back then and overtime to pay for such things was readily available.]

As an example of a non budgeted donation, since I've been retired I have saved enough every month to buy a backpack pump tank. Those are used to suppress ground cover fires. To do that I hunted high and low on eBay, salvage outlet sites... I brought them all in at $130 maximum apiece and was able to make some multiple unit purchases at much less than that. These sell for ~$160 minimum apiece when new. When I get the last set of 2 delivered we will have one backpack pump for each group of buildings so that there will be one within 75 feet of each regularly occupied place. I can then move on to the next need which I think will be these portable light issues. The counselors bring their own favorite lights and the campers are provided with one by their parents, or by the program for the campers from impoverished families. [Remember the suggestions that many of you made that led me to a very cost effective choice for camper headlamps]

The generosity of some of the participants here has allowed me to fill the need for lights for Night Counselors which make them feel more secure in making their rounds and I thank you all for that.

I now hope to be able to concentrate on those hand lights which will meet a special need, such as a missing camper search. That is why I'm seeking advice here so as to be ready to support the camp program committee in choosing what priority is next.

Our counselors and in camp staff put their whole hearts into creating the experience that the campers have. They accomplish so much with so little. Many of them incur education debt rather than spend the summer working to pay next semester's tuition. The least I can do is support their work in every way I practically can.

Tom Horne
 
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Hooked on Fenix

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Acebeam E70-AL ($65+ cost of battery), Nitecore E4K ($90), or Klarus G15 v.2 ($80). Those are the best bang for the buck bright lights I think would be in your budget. All three of these lights are 4000+ lumens on turbo but only for about 20 seconds at a time. If you need brighter or longer sustained time on turbo, you need a larger light with more heatsinking and maybe cooling fans. That's where I would start with the Imalent flashlights. The Imalent MS03 is $130 but 13,000 lumens on turbo and can sustain 3000 lumens regulated until the battery runs down. The Imalent MS18 is the world's brightest production flashlight at 100,000 lumens and $670. Honestly, few people can afford it and fewer people need that much light. You can get by with one or multiple sub $100 1 21700 powered lights for a search party. Larger lights will slow you down when searching.
 

3_gun

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Sofirn SP36 BLF may be a budget friendly light [<$60 w/batteries] worth a look. Good CRI, 5K/L peak, long run times from the 3 3000mah 18650 batteries & it will run plugged in to a battery pack if you need really long run times. Reaches out to 25yds at levels well below turbo. Add a diffuser & it works great as a camp light. I like mine so much I bought a 2nd
 

TD-Horne

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Keep in mind that such searches are Very Low Incidence with Very High Consequences events. A counselors load out cannot be heavily oriented to such events. Weight and size are issues. As an example one counselor might carry a collapsible back pack pump tank fire extinguisher, with a soft bag tank, foam nozzle, and a 5 oz. bottle of foam concentrate, but only during "Very High" or "Extreme" fire weather conditions but they would not carry it full of 5 gallons of water @ 8.3 pounds per gallon unless the weather service issued a Red Flag warning for fast fire spread and easy ignition conditions. Under red flag conditions the counselors would have to reapportion their loads so that one of them could bare up under the 45 pound weight for the filled fire pump alone. Red Flag conditions existing prior to trip departure would cause additional staff and logistic support dedicated to fire prevention and incipient fire suppression or the cancellation of the trip altogether depending on the availability of the additional staff.

The flood or zoom focus light would have to run for ~8 hours to cover the night portion of the first operational period before the search was supported by public safety personnel and search & rescue volunteers and logistics support for things like replacement batteries.

Remember that what we need is a somewhat wide beam of even light. Something along the light distribution of a fire service portable flood light portable flood light large.jpgPortable flood light small.jpg

in a far smaller battery powered light. The rangers don't hesitate to use 12 volt flood lights
e-flood-litebox.jpg
carried on a strap over their shoulder because they only have to carry it during a search. Something with much less weight and size, that a counselor could carry on an entire 5 day trip without hating life, with ≥8 hours duration and is what I'm hoping to find. [He doesn't want much does he?]

This is were the expertise of forum's members comes in to suggest a lighter and smaller light that could last as long as the Streamlite Litebox while producing a wide pattern, with an even light distribution to support the needs of searchers working in greened up deciduous woodland.

Tom Horne
 
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alpg88

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you want the light to be running off primary cells, like D or AA, and you want it to last 10+ hours giving wide bright beam???? wont happen.
 

LaGgY_42o

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Do you have a website to receive donations and showcase your program? As a kid I loved going to Highland Retreat in VA. Loved that place lol.
 

TD-Horne

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you want the light to be running off primary cells, like D or AA, and you want it to last 10+ hours giving wide bright beam???? wont happen.
"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need." Keith Richards, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.
Something with much less weight and size, that a counselor could carry on an entire 5 day trip without hating life, with ≥8 hours duration and is what I'm hoping to find. [He doesn't want much does he?]
So what comes closest with the emphasis on ≥8 hours run time and a wide even near field light. If we cannot keep the weight and size down to something a counselor could carry for 5 days then it could become the camp response team lights. If it cannot run on multiple AA batteries running in parallel in D cell holders or some similar way to get it to last 8 hours the same thing might apply. The camp response team would bring them instead of the counselors on the trip having them immediately. An ≥8 hour zoom with lower light intensity is much better for this purpose than a high intensity light that will not run for that long. An evenly distributed wide angle pattern is essential. Anything other than an even near field pattern would not meet the need for a search in dense deciduous woodland! Long range IS NOT the objective! Super bright IS NOT the objective! An even, floody, near field light is what is needed for this very specific purpose.

Tom Horne
 
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