Equipped To Survive Equipped To Survive® Presents
The Survival Forum
Where do you want to go on ETS?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#200978 - 04/26/10 12:02 AM What I want in a flashlight.
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Thinking about flashlight got me thinking about what I want in a flashlight. About the various flashlight I own and have used. About what features and designs I like and which ones I don't. About what I really want.

Form-factor: I want a flashlight that rides like a thick pen. Thin enough to slip into a pocket unobtrusively. If I have it in my pocket and fall on it it should be flat and rounded enough so it doesn't leave a painful bruise. On the other hand I don't want it so thin that I'm afraid of it folding if I fall on it and not so long that it won't ride in a shirt pocket. Four to five inches long and not more than 5/8" diameter, if round in cross section, is about right. It can be an oval or a well rounded rectangle in cross-section. But widest cross-section shouldn't be more than about 1-1/4".

Weight: The unit should be as light as possible with just enough weight to lend confidence. It should be light enough not to sag or pound when jogging. Less than, but certainly not much more than, a quarter pound (about 114g) with standard Alkaline batteries would be ideal. Standard AA alkaline batteries run about 23g each, lithium about 15g each.

Alternate holding: The materials and dimensions should allow use while held in the mouth without risk of freezing your lips to the metal, chipping teeth, lousy plastic taste, or fatiguing the jaws. The design should allow easy mounting on a headband. The clip might pivot ninety degrees to accommodate this. The flashlight should have provision so it does not roll off an incline.

Retention: I want a sturdy clip so it will ride in a shirt pocket, pants pocket or on the belt. The clip should be located well above the center of mass so that the light doesn't tip-out' when riding in a shirt pocket or tend to shake or vibrate out of a pocket. Only enough of the unit need be exposed when clipped onto pocket to allow an easy grip for pulling out. The clip should grip quite firmly and might incorporate an exposed tab that has to be depressed to release it so the unit can be slipped out easily.

A clip that can be removed, bent back into shape or adjusted and reattached would be good. One of the flex metals, possibly one that will reform itself if heated, would be great. If a screw is used it should be retained if the clip is removed so there is not danger of it being lost. Head design should allow use of a coin or knife blade to tighten in addition to a normal tool.

Light quality: Good quality light that shows colors accurately. Such that reading faded wire color codes and detecting skin flushing or a red tone is easy. Daylight white is best for color rendering.

Controls: All controls should be operable while wearing heavy mittens. Ideally with one hand. The surfaces of the unit's body and controls should be textured, or faceted such that gripping is easy and controls are readily operable even when both hands and the unit are wet and greasy.

Settings should be limited to (OFF-ON) on one control and (High-Low) on a separate control. Controls should have a positive mechanisms such that they will not be effected by anything but the purposeful actions of the operator. The OFF setting should be particularly resistant to being changed inadvertently but should remain easily operable.

Light output: On low output should be high enough to perform simple mechanical tasks within arms reach, read a standard trade paperback without excessive eyestrain, orient oneself within a space, and easily recognize a face at 20'. That doesn't take a whole lot of light.

On high it should provide enough light to find a dropped button compass in leaves, examine a wound closely, and enough reach, about 40' is fine, to read a street sign from a car with the car stopped and window rolled down. A wide enough beam to maintain situational awareness and avoid walking into a brier patch or off a cliff. A strong and concentrated enough beam to tell at 40' what a person has in their hands. Handy to have but not a requirement: Being able to differentiate between gun, wallet, knife, and cell phone at 40' would be ideal as long as it doesn't require violation of other specifications.

Batteries: Uses standard AA alkaline or lithium batteries.

Battery life: Eight hours on high and twenty-four hours on low using a single set of standard alkaline batteries would be a good minimum to shoot for. Twelve hours on high and forty-eight on low would be ideal. Anything beyond that is gravy. You can't have to much battery life as long as other requirements are met.

Water resistance: Proof against rain, mud and ice. Submersible to a depth of at least 50' or better. It needn't be a diver flashlight but that would be a good thing.

Flammable atmospheres: Should be certified, or at least be designed to be certifiable, for division I and II, and MSHA.

Resistance to impact: withstands without permanent damage or impairment of function from a 25' drop onto concrete.

Exterior materials: Majority non-conductive, highly resistant to corrosion, and all common chemicals. Can be sterilized by chemical means or flash autoclaved without damage or loss of function.

Interior materials: Case interior and all electrical components can sustain repeated and prolonged exposure to leaking alkaline batteries, alkali, and common chemicals without significant damage. Returning the unit to functionality after a set of batteries leaks should require no more than removal of the old batteries, washing the interior with a mild detergent, and installing new batteries. Washing, even if the interior retains significant amounts of water and detergent, should cause no significant damage.

Cost: Ideally the unit would retail for less than $25. If all other specifications can be met I think I would pay up to $60. Perhaps a bit more. After all, it would be the worlds best flashlight.

Now if I can just blackmail a team of German scientists and designers to come up with my perfect flashlight. I'm sure with a well rounded team and an investment of two or three million dollars I can get my light. On the other hand, perhaps, a team of engineers will read this and take it as a challenge... right. Like that is going to happen. A guy can dream.

What do you think?
What did I get right/wrong?
What changes in the specifications would you make to get your perfect flashlight?
Is this flashlight even possible given current technology?

#200981 - 04/26/10 12:50 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: Art_in_FL]
Russ Online   content

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
Fenix L2T v2.0

If you accept AAA batteries, check the Preon 2, Titanium The all AL alloy versions are sold out; the "Black Edition" has a titanium head and clicky tailcap. I picked up the all Ti version when they first came out smile The high setting is way brighter than I ever need.

#200985 - 04/26/10 01:55 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: ]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1386
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
What I want is....

For all these companies to either use Watts or Lumens. Not both. On those Inovas I saw at Target yesterday half said Lumens, the other half said Watts. I'd like to just have a damned standard and have them stick to it.

I agree. I don't know why (other then, perhaps marketing hype) there has to be 2 very different standards.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#200986 - 04/26/10 02:11 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: Teslinhiker]
speedemon Offline

Registered: 04/13/10
Posts: 98
Watts has nothing to do with light output, only energy consumption (and as a result battery life). Lumens is the measure of a flashlight's total light output.

If you want to compare flashlights, lumens is the only value you can really use.

#200990 - 04/26/10 06:19 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: Art_in_FL]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
It may be here sooner than you think. You know, the 4Sevens Preon 2AAA and the Quark AA come kinda close to meeting your requirements. Especially the new XP-G warm white offerings.

#200992 - 04/26/10 08:22 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: LED]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Your biggest limiting factors are the dive and explosive ratings. Realistically, no way you'll get both of those in a good $25 light. I was going to say Preon too, but it's not rated. In fact, I think most lights don't need to pass more than a "dunk" test officially.

If you're looking dive, think Pelican brand. If you want explosive, try Streamlight. Other brands have few and far between for those environements.

#200993 - 04/26/10 10:05 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: Art_in_FL]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
What do you think?

Hmm, the platinum contacts and heat resistant non conductive ceramic coatings on the precision Titanium body will certainly cost more than $25 retail.

Why not just get a $15 flashlight. If you loose it then just get another one.


#200994 - 04/26/10 10:05 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: speedemon]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1174
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
Originally Posted By: speedemon
Watts has nothing to do with light output, only energy consumption (and as a result battery life). Lumens is the measure of a flashlight's total light output.

If you want to compare flashlights, lumens is the only value you can really use.

I agree. Topline LED lights made in the last year or two are far more efficient, rendering wattage irrelevant as a comparison. I would add 'runtime' to lumens as a practical measure. Another factor is that lumen output rating is affected by the color of the light.

My suspicion is that a flashlight still marketed with a 'wattage' rating may be an older and less efficient model.
The man got the powr but the byrd got the wyng

#200995 - 04/26/10 10:28 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: LED]
Russ Online   content

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5074
My go-to light around the house is now is a Quark AA2. At work when it's dark I put a Fenix L1T on my belt. Like Art, for a work light I want simple and I have no use for the Quark's moonlight mode at work.

#200996 - 04/26/10 10:41 AM Re: What I want in a flashlight. [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6815
Loc: southern Cal
My principal requirements are that it turn on and off reliably (no turning on when inside the pack), have a lanyard attachment, accept standard (AA or AAA) lithium, alkaline, or rechargeable batteries, enough run time to get me through a night of hiking (say ten hours), be reasonably water resistant, and fit on my head or helmet.

A headlamp is critical in any situation where you need use of your hands (caving, nocturnal rock climbing, heavy duty first aid) and can easily be carried in other situations.

A former requirement was that it house a spare bulb right with the light, but that is no longer pertinent in the LED era. The only incans I have are museum pieces, holdovers from the 20th century.

I have one other museum piece(s), a carbide lamp - fits all of the above criteria (except water resistance) and was a surefire fire starter and hand warmer to boot! Carbide is just too hard to obtain these days, the technology is obsolete, and the lamps do not do well around automobile and plane wrecks.

Currently I usually EDC two lights, a Gerber Ultra Infinity, and a Fenix LD 01 on my keyring. A Princeton EOS (headlamp) is never far away. I also EDC spare lithium batteries for the first two.
Geezer in Chief

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Alan_Romania, Blast, cliff, Hikin_Jim 
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Who's Online
2 registered (GoatRider, hikermor), 232 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Mollerstrom, Louis, tomuchgear, salomoncrosk, Claire
5283 Registered Users
Newest Posts
The Best Thing Since Doug Ritter's PSP?
by Jeanette_Isabelle
01:09 AM
Cell phones & Other Electronics
by Russ
06/14/19 06:59 PM
Easy way to start a fire
by hikermor
06/13/19 02:54 AM
Thanks and Congrats, Doug!
by hikermor
06/12/19 05:10 PM
Go or Stay ? An interesting informal discussion
by Jeanette_Isabelle
06/12/19 04:30 PM
Earthh Shaking News
by Janysboy
06/12/19 02:29 AM
Basic Survival Skills that shouldn’t be complicate
by Phaedrus
06/10/19 06:14 AM
Death Cap Mushrooms
by WesleyH
06/09/19 01:17 PM
Newest Images
Tiny knife / wrench
Handmade knives
2"x2" Glass Signal Mirror, Retroreflective Mesh
Trade School Tool Kit
My Pocket Kit

WARNING & DISCLAIMER: SELECT AND USE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Information posted on this forum is not reviewed for accuracy and may not be reliable, use at your own risk. Please review the full WARNING & DISCLAIMER about information on this site.