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Thread: Looking for a flashlight for boating/fishing

  1. #1
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Default Looking for a flashlight for boating/fishing

    Newbie here. l am looking for a flashlight to take out boating/fishing on the Delaware River. I am thinking of going with the Sofirn SP36 BLF edition, since the throw will be sufficient (the Delaware River is only about 300 m wide where we fish), and there is enough spill to make sure we see any rocks/boats/obstacles in our way.


    It also looks like it's rated at IPX-7 for water resistance, which should be sufficient.


    I also like the idea that it is small enough to also use as a general purpose flashlight (i.e. walks, car, blackouts, etc).


    Is there anything I'm missing that would make the Sofirn SP36 BLF not a good choice? Are there better options out there?


    I've filled out the checklist below:


    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 ______________.
    ____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.
    ____Up to $100.
    _X__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).
    _X__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)
    ____I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
    _X__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).
    ____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).


    ____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.
    _X__Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
    ____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)
    ____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)
    _X__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).
    ____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)
    _X__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.)
    ____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
    _X__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
    ____None needed
    ____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
    _X__IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
    ____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)
    _X__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
    ____Holster
    ____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    ____Crenulated bezel
    ____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments


    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Looking for a flashlight for boating/fishing

    Welcome to CPF!

    Usually I would not recommend this for a new user, not because it is complicated, but because they may not appreciate what an excellent product it is. But because you want something for out on the water, and you want Li-ion 18650 (thus I make the assumption you are experienced, if not, learn about the chemistry please), I will recommend Zebralight SC600Fc Mk IV Plus 18650. For water at night you want both extremes, and runtime, and you'll need brightness, and for fishing, you also want excellent color rendition for identifying your catch, and low modes to not tip off the fish. This is well within your budget and fits the bill. Product page says they're on backorder, but do not be discouraged; simply expect two weeks from order to delivery.

    But wait for more suggestions, as you may prefer something smaller and just as bright.
    Last edited by night.hoodie; 09-19-2020 at 04:27 PM.

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