Long-lasting mid-lumen walking light

liteningbug

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Jun 26, 2014
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Had an angry rottweiler get a little too close for comfort during my nightly walk last night, and it made me realize that if I don't have a light in hand, it's not getting used in that sort of situation--there was enough time to get my walking stick readied and that was about it. By the time I thought about pulling my cheap EDC there wasn't a need for it. (Fortunately in this case there was a hard-to-see leash that held.)

So I'd like something that will provide decent extra illumination for sidewalk walking from the early evening to proper night, and with enough efficiency/length runtime-wise that I can just leave it on the whole time I'm walking without feeling the itch to not waste batteries. I'm figuring somewhere between 25-50 lumens should be enough to get the job done, but I'd like it to last for at least 30 hours; this is the main mode it'll be used in. I'd also like it to be able to kick out at least 100 lumens on command if I do have a bit more time, but I'm not worried about its runtime then. The other mode important to me is something in the single to <15 lumen range so that it stays useful during any power outages (a nice long runtime here would be great too!).

AA is how I'd like to go but I'd be fine if there was a AAA option (I just don't foresee any meeting that). Likewise, I figure I need 2xAA--but if a 1xAA was able to do the job I'd go for it. I like the Jetfire BA20 or Fenix E11 style UI with the on/off switch and head-twist for mode changing... but neither have more than 2 modes. (If there was a 3rd, lower, mode on the BA20 I'd have bought more than one already!) I'll accept any UI so long as it isn't super complex, since the S.O. may use this as well.

(Research done prior to thread post, but the last truly useful threads for a long-lasting 2xAA that I could find were from 2009 and I figure there might be some better options by now!)

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

__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! :)
__X__Up to $35.

3) Format:
__X__I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).

4) Size:
__X__SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).

5) Emitter/Light source:
__X__LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)

6) Manufacturer:
_X___I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
_X___I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).

7) What power source do you want to use?

_X___I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AA sized cells common to most stores.
_X___I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AA sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).
_XX___I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores. (Primary choice, using 2000mah Eneloops).

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 an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
_XX___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).

_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.

_X___Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
_X___Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.


9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)

_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)
_X___30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)

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).

_X___3 hours + (I want this light to run 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.

_X___Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).

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

_X___Any size switch will do.
_X___I don't care.

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

_X___I want multiple light levels. (Ideally 3-5)

14)Material/Finish/Coating

__X__I don’t care.

15) Water resistance

_X___IPX4 (Splash resistant)

16) Storage conditions
_X___In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
 

liteningbug

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Jun 26, 2014
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Nitecore MT21A on sale for some reason at batteryjunction for 26.95 nice light

Thanks--it'll definitely be a candidate. If it was shifted a bit less toward lumens and a bit more toward duration it'd probably be getting a purchase order from me already. (Also, from what I was seeing online, people said the very similar Nitecore MT2A is a much better option for $5 more.)
 

newbie66

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I have the mt21a and it has an amazing throw for a 2xAA light. There is also the Fenix E25(2014 model). Eagletac d25A2 may interest you albeit being more expensive.
 
Joined
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I have both the MT21a and the MT2a. They are both great lights for different uses. The 21a is definitely a thrower, so much that it makes it fairly impractical for up close work I think. If you're looking for more of a general purpose/utility light (which it sounds like) I'd get the MT2a. Either way get some good rechargeable NIMH batteries and call it good, you'll be able to charge/swap them whenever you want. On the "high" modes they're both rated for 5 hours but I'm not sure you'd get that but I've never tried. Practically ALL of the brands will give you extended run times on lowers modes.

I've been very impressed and happy with the numerous Nitecore lights I have and I've given a number of them as gifts. Everyone loves them that I've given them to. For a 2xAA sized package they're extremely impressive, especially given their cost as compared to other brands with comparable stats.

Just my .02
 
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newbie66

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Poppy

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You are looking for ...
25-50 lumens should be enough to get the job done, but I'd like it to last for at least 30 hours;
There is a limitation to battery capacity. I don't think you can get that from a pair of AA batteries. You'll probably need 4*AAs, or a 18650 Li-Ion.

The sunwayman D40A lists
Low: 30 Lumens (31hrs)
$60-$80 depends.


You should really get a 4 pack of eneloops or duraloops and a charger, then swap in a new pair as often as needed. Then the run-time won't be so critical... really how long are your walks?
 

Poppy

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Here is an example of what you might expect from a cigar shaped 18650 light

Convoy S2 Cree XM-L U2-1B 1400ma 2-Group 3/5-Mode EDC LED Flashlight Cool white tint
Convoy S2 Cree XM-L T5-5C 2-Group 3/5-Mode EDC LED Flashlight For a more warm/neutral tint

From a 3400 mAh battery one might expect:

low: 30-35 lumen: 40 hours.
mid: 150-200 lumen: 6 hours.
max: 400-450 lumen: 2.5 hours
 

liteningbug

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Yes they do list the Jetbeam BA20 as having 35 hours at 30 lumens.
Following that up, I took a look at Selfbuilt's test of them and he listed the BA20 as just shy of 28 hours on low mode, which is actually more like 20 lumens than 30. (Which according to his 2011 review was still quite excellent.)

There is a limitation to battery capacity. I don't think you can get that from a pair of AA batteries. You'll probably need 4*AAs, or a 18650 Li-Ion.
I'm not looking to get into 18650s or CR123s, but the 3*AA or 4*AA isn't a horrible idea in my book.

You should really get a 4 pack of eneloops or duraloops and a charger, then swap in a new pair as often as needed. Then the run-time won't be so critical... really how long are your walks?
Well, I do enjoy rucking, so they can be 10-20 miles... though the nightly ones are about an hour more leisurely. It's partly that I know I won't leave the light on while walking if I don't have an ample supply of extra power to spare, and partly that I'd like it to be a nice efficient light for use in case of power outage. Might also toss it in my bag or car as a get-home light option.
 
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Well, I do enjoy rucking, so they can be 10-20 miles... though the nightly ones are about an hour more leisurely. It's partly that I know I won't leave the light on while walking if I don't have an ample supply of extra power to spare, and partly that I'd like it to be a nice efficient light for use in case of power outage. Might also toss it in my bag or car as a get-home light option.

If you're into night time walking/hiking I would suggest a headlight for your main (there are a lot of 2, 3, or 4AA headlamps. I just picked up a Bushnell TRKR 225-Lumen Multi-Color Headlamp and have been surprisingly impressed with it so far for $22) and a 2AA light as a backup that you can run intermittently on full power to light things up. There are plenty of cheap yet reliable options in the AA marketplace. Also if you CCW a good basic light such as a TLR-1 can be found for fairly cheap.
 
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Poppy

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Well, I do enjoy rucking, so they can be 10-20 miles... though the nightly ones are about an hour more leisurely. It's partly that I know I won't leave the light on while walking if I don't have an ample supply of extra power to spare, and partly that I'd like it to be a nice efficient light for use in case of power outage. Might also toss it in my bag or car as a get-home light option.

10-20 miles in the dark?

Nightly one hour walks... If you can get 10 hours run time, you can change the batteries once a week, and charge them up.

Regarding power outages you might find this power outage thread an interesting read.
Many have found that 100 lumens and rechargeable batteries keeps everyone happy. Be sure to get a charger that you can plug into your car.
 

KITROBASKIN

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A single 18650 probably weighs less than multiple alkalines or NiMH and avoids the very possible failure of individual cells, which happened to me. Contrast that with zero failure rate with Lithium that I have had. It is surprising that no one has mentioned ZebraLight although I have had good luck with Nitecore as well.

At least 14500 battery powered flashlights should be considered, I would think.


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