OK, this site reviews flashlights and headlamps and compares them to each other with big charts. You need to go to the Features menu then select the "throw and output" chart to compare output. For lumens you need to do some math, but they explain that as well. Lots of familiar brand name headlamps are on the list, which is good for hikers. Just came across it while checking that light Bill wrote about in the General Forum, but this guy was serious about flashlights.
NOTE: HE CLOSED THE SITE IN 2007, A LONG TIME AGO, BUT THE BASIC INFO HE HAS ABOUT FLASHLIGHTS IS STILL VALID. SOME OF THE MODELS IN HIS CHARTS MAY STILL BE AVAILABLE.
This one doesn't seem as review oriented, but more up to date with forums- Candlepower
Edited by TomD (05/28/1403:03 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Loc: CT River Valley
I came back from a 4 night winter trek (heated tent) in the Adirondacks, where I finally met a guy who was more into flashlights than I am... Good stuff is surprisingly easy and cheap to buy. We used LED USB lights and battery packs at night and recharged one day w a folding solar panel..good stuff. The high end illumination gear is mostly to feed your ego at this point, IMHO. (unless you have a critical application)
The excitement of 10+ years ago has faded but the advancement of LED and battery technology means everything today but utter junk is probably "good enough." Spare bulbs and big battery packs and thirty-minute run times are hazy memories, like the Boy Scout hatchet.
I got a good demonstration of how cheap an LED flashlight can be when I saw a ten-flashlight collection at Home Depot--several styles gathered in a clamshell pack. Total price, with batteries: ten bucks.
Now I look for clever control schemes that allow me to vary the output and the switch sequence (best is to turn on at lowest setting to preserve night vision). A red option and a beam spreader are also big plusses. My biggest breakthrough is having a headlamp I can recharge on the trail, giving me unlimited run time with no spares. That's one small area I don't need to improve.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Indeed. I bought a tiny imported four mode flashlight (3xAAA cell or single 18650 cell) for my son that's advertised at 1600 lumen for less than ten dollars - BATTERIES INCLUDED! Realistically, the brightness is probably way overstated, but even if it's only half that bright, it's still retina burningly bright.
For the last numerous years I've made do with a couple of Energizer branded* el-cheapo headlamps ($18ish) and so far I've done a whopping 3 battery replacements in them. THey seem to last forever but don't cast a lot of light.
I'm thinking of upgrading to the Fenix HP15 which has a remote battery pack but a heck of a lot more power and flexibility than what I have now. Mine are just getting old enough that the rubber switch cover is starting to wear thin, the angle adjuster isn't quite holding anymore, etc. 6+ years of frequent use (home, working on the car, camping, etc) for around $18? I think I got my 3 bucks a year out of them. I thought they were decent until I camped with some guys that had more recent ones. Granted, I don't need $150 headlamps like they have but a nice upgrade would not go astray.
The Fenix I'm looking at has a street price around $65 which isn't bad for the next many years.