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Not sure if this is the right place or not but recently I had a chance to go cave crawling. I have been on the hunt for a slim light and was initially checking out a surefire stiletto or Streamlight wedge but ended up with a Nightcore EDC27. The cave was pitch black and has you climbing over boulders from the ceiling except for a few skylights in one spot which I swear you don't see until you are right up on them.

Until this experience, I had always thought of lumens and candela but had put aside the consideration of runtime. I found myself wanting to use the 1000 lumen setting on the light but it told me I only had 1 hour 30ish minutes. I settled for the 200 lumen light which was good for GP but could bump if I wanted to as the climb itself was supposed to take about an hour and a half. The light told me I had 3 hours 30 at 200 lumens which was far more reassuring as it was pitch black otherwise.

Again I learned a lot about not just having a light that could burn someone down for an hour or 70 min but would have left me blind in the cave. Instead, the light I chose allowed me some options and let me navigate at a reasonable setting.

Just some musings but I hope it is helpful to someone, sometimes the dark outlasts a CR123. adjustable runtimes and a modern light that gives you an estimate of its leftover runtime is very useful. I also now understand why a headlamp would be useful. A rather classic example of everything looking like a hammer to a nail I previously considered lights in terms of gunfights but not in terms of their use as illumination tools. Learn something every day.
 
Posts: 2973 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
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One thing most people don't seem to consider is how easy is it to change batteries in a particular flashlight, in complete darkness. A cave is a good example. Most flashlights of conventional construction- that is, tubular in shape- are easy to switch batteries. But let's say you were using a headlamp. Some headlamps would be a real challenge to change batteries in pitch black conditions. You first have to get the battery compartment open, and on some headlamps, the compartment latch is small and recessed. (Or you have a conventional flashlight and you dropped the tailcap after you unscrewed it)

Then, when you get the compartment open, the way the batteries are arranged (their polarity) is sometimes less than intuitive. I've got a couple of Black Diamond headlamps which work fine, but have both of these characteristics.

This is why it's a good idea to carry a second light source. It doesn't have to be big or powerful or have an extended runtime. It just needs to have enough output to allow you to see how to change batteries in your primary light. Something like a Photon Microlight, or one of the Olight keychain flashlights.
 
Posts: 104469 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I never considered that scenario Para. Have you ever practiced doing it?
 
Posts: 607 | Registered: July 14, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Do No Harm,
Do Know Harm
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Ain’t no way I’d go into a cave without at least two real flashlights and at least one round of batteries for each.

I don’t even work night shift without that.




Knowing what one is talking about is widely admired but not strictly required here.

Although sometimes distracting, there is often a certain entertainment value to this easy standard.
-JALLEN

"All I need is a WAR ON DRUGS reference and I got myself a police thread BINGO." -jljones
 
Posts: 11387 | Location: NC | Registered: August 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diablo Blanco
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quote:
This is why it's a good idea to carry a second light source. It doesn't have to be big or powerful or have an extended runtime. It just needs to have enough output to allow you to see how to change batteries in your primary light. Something like a Photon Microlight, or one of the Olight keychain flashlights


Back about 15 years ago, my kids ran a spelunking trip to a cave system in middle Tennessee and I was voluntold to be a chaperone. It is a loop with some very tight spots and a few ladders to negotiate but pretty impossible to get lost. I packed my headlamp, a backup headlamp, and a mini mag light for changing batteries and such. One by one, some kid would come to me with a dead cheap flashlight and I was eventually down to just the backup mini mag. All was as good as can be expected and I had plenty of extra batteries. I was helping kids onto a ladder waiting for the next adult so I can cruise back up to my group who were trudging forward. As I started hauling ass to catch up my light dies. Pitch black in a cave is darker than anything I have ever encountered. I changed the batteries only to learn my lightbulb had burned out. I had to get the kids to come back to get me and never let one of those buggers get more than 3 feet from me. I learned the importance of having multiple lights, even a small keychain light could have helped me a bunch.


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Posts: 2625 | Location: Middle-TN | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think Dking nailed it with pitch black in a cave being darker than anything encountered. Great points Para, I could see a nonintuitive battery system being a pain without a form of secondary illumination. I do have one of those Olight keychain lights that's done pretty well, though that would only fill the role of secondary illum or emergency illum.
 
Posts: 2973 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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No way would I go into a cave without at least two solid lights. At work I carry 2 handhelds on my person plus my WML, and have spares in the car...and I'm a dayshifter now. We actually just put on some county-wide training yesterday that was clearly advertised as being low-light, and we still had guys showing up without flashlights Roll Eyes.

Off-duty (just running around town, not going into caves!) I typically have a Streamlight Macrostream usb, and if that goes out there's the flashlight on my phone, which isn't ideal but it's better than nothing in a pinch. I like the Macrostream because it can serve as a handheld or I can clip it to my hat brim to serve as a headlamp.
 
Posts: 7422 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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While I would never advocate it as I think it would be clunky as hell, I do regret not trying my phone light just as I think it is most peoples basic concept of a flashlight. I can definitely shoot down the lighter for a light thing as it was definitely windy in spots.
 
Posts: 2973 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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Originally posted by Anubismp:
While I would never advocate it as I think it would be clunky as hell, I do regret not trying my phone light just as I think it is most peoples basic concept of a flashlight. I can definitely shoot down the lighter for a light thing as it was definitely windy in spots.


It's not ideal, but as an admin light or emergency light source it can get you out of a pinch. I wouldn't want to rely on it as a primary, as:

1. It kinda sucks compared to pretty much any other type of light
2. It drains your battery pretty quick, and I don't want to jeapordize my phone's primary function as a communications tool by relying on it for illumination.

That said, working nights we had a few wrecker drivers who regularly used their phones as flashlights for hooking up vehicles. Why they did that rather than buy a decent handheld I'll never know, but they did it for years.
 
Posts: 7422 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Our wrecker drivers almost exclusively use headlights(like on the head not the vehicle) and vehicle-based rear lights. Which sucks when you are parked behind the wreck.
 
Posts: 2973 | Location: Pnw | Registered: March 21, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 92fstech:
No way would I go into a cave without at least two solid lights.

After watching Thirteen Lives, I wouldn't explore a cave w/o at least five solid lights.
 
Posts: 3065 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Chem lights are also your friend in caves/confined spaces. You can get hours of usable illumination, plus use them for marking or throw them if you need (to check for drops).

In the environment you are describing I'd go with a pair of inexpensive Princeton tech headlamps (1 primary/1 alternate), a couple chem lights (you can get different sizes) and your hand light. You don't necessarily need extremally high outputs to navigate in a cave and/or campsite. Plus if the battery fails, you can swap them out for a fresh new functional pair.

I've taken Princeton tech headlights on rotation and to NTC and never broke one.
 
Posts: 4469 | Location: Where ever Uncle Sam Sends Me | Registered: March 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nitecore. Get two of their TIP SE 700 lumen keychain lights. The light has a clip that you can slip on the bill of a cap so you have both hands to change out your primary light's battery.
 
Posts: 4414 | Registered: January 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Serenity now!
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quote:
Originally posted by chongosuerte:
Ain’t no way I’d go into a cave without at least two real flashlights and at least one round of batteries for each.

I don’t even work night shift without that.


It’s like you read my mind with this reply. Day work here too.


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9/11/01 Never Forget

"In valor there is hope" - Tacitus
 
Posts: 2574 | Location: VA | Registered: April 15, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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After trying a few lights, I have settled on a Surefire EDCL1-T. It has a low and high mode, and when the battery is low the low-light will still work for a long while. Kind of a neat feature.
 
Posts: 9816 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I carry three as a general rule, just because they’re on different stuff. I have a Surefire Titan on my keys and use it all the time. I have an older light that has been replaced by the EDCL2-T and use it occasionally. One that punches way over its weight for price/performance is the Streamlight Microstream USB.

Paired with an inexpensive slip from Hide and Drink (this one https://www.amazon.com/Hide-Dr...gid=pla-894355908634) and a Victorinox Hiker (with a Firefly ferro replacing the toothpick), it is far and away the best value for good gear. That combination goes with me all the time and does way more work than it should. Highly recommend.


Please help me get loaner rifles for Appleseed shoots! More details at: https://fundrazr.com/42EY9b?ref=ab_8BFKzc
 
Posts: 1943 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: April 24, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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