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#267236 - 02/09/14 08:20 AM Flashlight for SAR
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1450
I'm going to take a course and do SARTECH II, and I got a list of the required gear. Since I already have five or six headlamps and flashlights, of course I started thinking about getting more. smile None of the lamps/lights I have are strong, nor do they project very far. I picked them for longevity -- except for the lights I use for shooting. As I began looking at high lumen headlamps (I am guessing headlamps are probably best), I realize amidst the myriad choices, I'm not sure what features I should look for. Please advise, oh sages of ETS!

PS. We're advised to have backup lights, backup batteries, bulbs, etc. So I'm thinking of things like deciding what kind of battery to use for all lights (CR123 or AA), whether to have all headlamps or a mix, etc.


Edited by Bingley (02/09/14 08:34 AM)

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#267242 - 02/09/14 01:57 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Bingley]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3436
Loc: USA
Bingley,

There are a lot of good lights out there. When the CERT I belong to is activated, a Nitecore SRT7 goes on my belt next to my multitool. While it's very versatile and there are a lot of things to like about it, there are better throwers in that form factor (1x 18650 or 2x CR123A with a big head).

For me, the performance gains from using 18650 rechargeables means that all of my larger high-end lights take them. But there are still a lot of options. What form factor are you looking for? Are you looking for big throw, a wall of light, or something in between?

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#267243 - 02/09/14 02:10 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Bingley]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Loc: SOCAL
Is a headlamp the right format or is this just personal preference?
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#267244 - 02/09/14 02:23 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7367
Loc: southern Cal
You definitely want a headlamp as your primary light. While it is easy to hold a headlamp in hand when desirable, it doesn't work so well the other way around.

Battery compatibility is highly desirable, not only within your light array, but also within the team.

If I were going out the door right now, I would definitely carry my Zebralight 502 - light and bright. I would augment with a thrower - powered by AA batteries, in my case. In reserve I would have my EDC, small and handy, and just right for changing batteries, etc. (probably a Gerber Ultra Infinity)

Your light array will be an essential part of your gear. There seems to be some regulation or other that requires all SAR ops to occur in the dark. There weren't very many of the 450 or so in my experience that occurred exclusively in the daylight.

Considering how small LED light are these days, there is no good reason you could not carry more than three, but definitely carry the types I have indicated. You will use them a lot.
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#267248 - 02/09/14 03:13 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Bingley]
LesSnyder Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1639
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
in attempting to standardize to AAs I chose a Black Diamond Icon with the battery pack in the rear and top strap... mine is the older version (got it on closeout) and does not have the red LED of the newer version... for a companion hand held a Fenix E21 ( only 120 lumens but very solid)... both powered by Sanyo AA Eneloops... for your needs, lithium

foreground of pic... Gerber Infinity on right


Edited by LesSnyder (02/09/14 03:15 PM)

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#267250 - 02/09/14 03:36 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Loc: SOCAL
Thanks, but could you define "primary light" and "thrower". Thanks.

I like low-medium powered headlamp for close work where I need two hands and so I don't trip over things, but not a high powered headlight that would have the throw needed for SAR.

I totally agree on standardizing with AA batteries -- lots of lithium AA's.

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#267252 - 02/09/14 04:09 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Russ]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3436
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Russ
Thanks, but could you define "primary light" and "thrower". Thanks.


Primary light == The light you use the most.

Thrower == A light that illuminates objects that are far away. Opposite of a floody light.

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#267253 - 02/09/14 04:29 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Russ]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1413
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Although my flashlights are standardized on AA batteries, my headlamps are AAA batteries.

The great battery life on these is such that carrying a few extra AAA batteries makes up for slightly less weight and bulk of a 4xAA headlamp. To explain further. Most of the newer AA model headlamps, the battery pack typically sits on the back of the lamp head strap whereas the 3 AAA models, the batteries are enclosed within the light assembly itself.

There are also many headlamps that have Li-polymer or Lithium-ion however many of these have USB or proprietary chargers which presents compatibility problems when the batteries or chargers go south.

Whichever headlamp you purchase, make sure it has a pivoting light head which is very useful as compared to fixed mounted lights.
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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

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#267254 - 02/09/14 06:02 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Bingley]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Waterproof headlamp, double AA with lithium backups.

Also a strong double AA handheld for holding at knee height when searching for tracks.

Glow stick an back of pack.

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#267255 - 02/09/14 06:15 PM Re: Flashlight for SAR [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7367
Loc: southern Cal
One thing about your headlamp. It will need to be attachable to your helmet, an item you will be wearing (or should be wearing) a lot...

There is a common assumption that you need lots of lumens for SAR. Well, yes and no. There are time when you want to light up the far canyon wall, so a focusable, variable output light with a turbo setting will be very nice, but more often you will use the lower settings. Helicopter pilots get grumpy when you blind them as they are settling into a hover overhead. Long run time and constant output are highly desirable. One of the days (nights, actually) you will be hiking until "rosy fingered dawn" arrives.

Actually, I remain a closet fan of the carbide lamp. Back in the 1970's, even with all their peccadilloes, they were far more reliable than any available electric headlamp. They kept your hands nice and warm when hiking along a trail, and fire starting will be trivial. I have retired mine (reluctantly) because dealing with calcium carbide has just become too much of a hassle.

One final thought. Be sure that you can switch your headlight readily from head to hand and back again. You will do this lots on a typical operation.
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