What is good lumen rating for hiking and camping?

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Mystery
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What is good lumen rating for hiking and camping?

For hiking in the mountains, how much continuous lumen is good?
200? 500?
Is 1000 too bright to the eyes when used for long walk?
Some early morning hikes can use flashlight for more than few hours on rocky terrain.
What about camping?
Last time I went camping, it was scary to walk to the toilet in bear country.

rafalklis
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500 lumen for hiking is a lot. 200 lumen usualy is enough.
For camping 10-100 and under 10 lumens for night sitting.

Unheard
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If it’s about animals, you should think about how much throw you need, rather than lumens. So, what’s the desired range?

Edit: For a measure of a usable range, take 1/3 of the beam distance the manufacturer states.

Smile, you cannot kill them all.

Oli
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The real question you’re asking is how many flashlights do I need while camping. The answer is 5. Wi 5? 5 is a manageable number that can be counted on one hand. You can also take along the aa and smaller stuff for inside the tent use only. You can’t count them as part of the 5. You have to count them on a separate hand. I hope that answers your questions.

pennzy
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I recently was thinking about this question when walking in bear territory. Do I want flood or throw? I settled on a combination of both, SD05. Also a SP36.

Mystery
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When camping, carrying multiple flashlights is no problem but it’s different thing when hiking.
It’s already a challenge to hike on high elevation mountains.
Many go over 14000 feet so the less weight the better.

JaredM
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I personally find about 200-400 lumens works well for me during general, sustained tasks.
But it really isn’t as simple as lumens.. and for camping, a level of redundancy is important for safety, especially in bear or cat country.

I’d really recommend a floody, efficient headlamp (w/ a low moonlight!) + spare cells +a throwy pocket/holster light + a low lumen red/amber light as minimum gear.

The thrower, as others have mentioned, should be capable of an ANSI throw rating of at least twice the range you want to see. I recommend a simple C8 to a lot of people, but a simple UI, dare I say tactical, is best here. Single mode if need be. Dual switch might be best (forward click tail with side mode changing) and ideally 120kcd or more. A C8 with an XHP35 HI yields a broad, bright spot around this number. Think of it as your ‘oh sh**’ light.

Carry spare cells in a proper case, never loose.

If you can swing it, a multi cell light with a good diffuser (aka lantern style) is a good idea.

P60s are great for camping IMO when you want specialty light sources that’ll rarely be used (ie red/green/etc) and you want to pack lightly.

Something like a C01R is a perfect camping/hiking companion imo.

AAA/AA back up lights should match or exceed the number of people in your group.

Mystery
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JaredM wrote:
I personally find about 200-400 lumens works well for me during general, sustained tasks.
But it really isn’t as simple as lumens.. and for camping, a level of redundancy is important for safety, especially in bear or cat country.

I’d really recommend a floody, efficient headlamp (w/ a low moonlight!) + spare cells +a throwy pocket/holster light + a low lumen red/amber light as minimum gear.


Thanks. We do have mountain lions as well.
What’s the use of red light?
I have couple of 200 lumens headlamps with dual red LEDs. Red LEDs are much lower than the main one.

What is the use of red LEDs?

JaredM
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Preserving night adapted vision when using low output, and also most animals can’t see red light, so it’s a small way to shift ‘power’ into your favor. I.e. you see them, but they may not see you. This is honestly more a camping than hiking thing though imo as you’ll be using white light while on the move.

As much as I love justifying the need for my many flashlights, while outdoors in these situations I actually prefer to use as little light as possible.

JaredM
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A trip to the toilet in the night would be a situation where I’d use a red headlamp and brought the thrower with me just in case. Getting settled into the tent and as a nightlight very low red/amber light doesn’t disturb your eyesight nor your sleep hormones.

Agro
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I tend to take a small primary flooder and a compact thrower as a backup / auxiliary light.
Flooder can have as little as 100 lm, AAA zoomie with high CRI LED would be fine (you want high cri on the trail as low cri sometimes make distinguishing things under your feet much harder) though I like somewhat larger aspheric flooders for that. If you’re frugal 10 lm is easily enough to see under your feet though nowadays I use much more just because I can.
Thrower is typically larger, I loved my BLF GT Mini with a shorty tube in this task but now Noctigon K1vn SBT90.2 will take its place.

BurningPlayd0h
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Quote:
Is 1000 too bright to the eyes when used for long walk?

Yes, but just because you have access to 1000lm doesn’t mean you need to use it all the time, basically any quality modern light that isn’t intended for mounting on a firearm will have multiple modes.

I’d be perfectly comfortable going hiking/camping with a light that maxes out at around 200-300lm though, as long as the beam has some punch/focus and isn’t super floody.

ReManG
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JaredM wrote:
A trip to the toilet in the night would be a situation where I’d use a red headlamp and brought the thrower with me just in case. Getting settled into the tent and as a nightlight very low red/amber light doesn’t disturb your eyesight nor your sleep hormones.

All of what he said, plus it attracts less bugs.

The animals see you at night just fine, they are well adapted, that’s their environment after all…

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Mystery wrote:
For hiking in the mountains, how much continuous lumen is good?

less weight the better.


Let me just recommend the two lights I like to take hiking Smile

AAA lights are my lowest weight option.
I like Lumintop Tool. It can meet my needs at camp.

Maximum lumens is 80, but I generally avoid using maximum on any light. The 20 lumen medium is fine to see the trail, and the 3 lumen low is fine to see the toilet paper.

—-

When I need to step out in the dark for a toilet run, I like to use a CR123 size light.
I like Jetbeam RRT-01. It can show me the bear, before he eats me.

Maximum lumens is 350, and again I dont use it, I seldom need more than 150 lumens, and this light can go down dimmer than I can see, so it does every situation, from inside the tent, to checking the perimeter, and anything inbetween.

—-

red light can be used for hiking, I dont like it
if I dont use white light, I especially prefer Green light.

Think about what your goals are, it will help you decide what light to buy.

or

Think about buying the two lights Im recommending, and learn how they work, when and where. So you have a better idea what to buy after that.

bet you cant buy just one Smile

—-

example
two knives, two fire sources, two lights, two spare batteries.. 400 grams.

This was the
“just in case I get stuck out there overnight kit”

I took it day hiking up to the ski area recently.

I did not hike in the dark, but would have been comfortable with my lighting choices, had I needed or wanted to hike in the dark, or camp overnight.

Both for spotting large predators or prey, or just to see the trail or camp.

Lightbringer
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Mystery wrote:
Thanks. We do have mountain lions as well.

What’s the use of red light?

Tells the mountain lions to stop.

 

“Two is one, one is none.” Go for redundancy.

Around the campsite or even walking, a headlamp is kind of a must. Invest in a warmer high-CRI light for best all-around light. Warm so you can still sleep later, and high-CRI for better recognition of snakes, branches, and such.

Floody light for area-lighting.

Throwy light to see the mountain lions lying in wait up ahead.

“Balanced beam”, “Throwy, but usable spill”, etc., is garbage. Compromise beams that do neither very well. When you need throwy they don’t have enough reach, and when you need floody the hotspot washes out everything else.

You’ll probably want at least an AAA light on a clip or around your neck in case of getting stranded on a trail but needing some light vs walking off a cliff.

Minimum setup? Floody headlamp, throwy handheld, AAA light (plus packed extra cells) on a necklace.

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JaredM
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ReManG wrote:

The animals see you at night just fine, they are well adapted, that’s their environment after all…

I mean more from an attention /non spooking perspective.. you are maybe less interesting with an invisible wavelength flashlight

PBWilson
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On many hikes and backpacking trips I’ve carried my two Zebralights (H600Fd III headlamp and a SC600w HI). A buddy and I have often left work on Friday afternoon, driven to the heart of the mountains and hiked for a few hours after dark to wake up in deep in the woods. Lots of fun with these two lights.

The headlamp is rated at up to 870 lumens which doesn’t sound like much these days, but it’s been plenty for my trips through New York’s Adirondack Mountains. These trails are very wooded so it might not work as well with more exposed mountains like out West in mountain lion country. Like it was mentioned before, keeping a lower level and having a very low level are most comfortable in camp. If I need to see exactly what’s making noise in the distance, the SC600w HI is a great way to punch through the darkness and see what’s up on the outskirts of the campsite.

No need to go as expensive as these. A Convoy or Sofirn or most any other 18650 light with a HI led will serve the same function. There are also a good number of good choices among headlamps too these days.

Have fun and stay safe!

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I think versatility is key, I prefer a lot of lumens on a moonless night because there are no shadows. On a moon lit night a good throw is enough just to light up something dark or far away. In the tent or just doing business, I prefer somthing sub lumen,

I was told that the thing with mountain lions, cougars or other cats is they like to sneak up on you and to have someone watch your back and sides. Someone recommended one of those cheap headbands that take a tube light and just wear it in addition to your headlamp so it looks like there are a bunch of lights walking with you and you are not alone.

I don’t actually know if they are scared of a tube light, I have never encountered a mountain lion,

Lightbringer
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Or get a Hurkins Orbit headlamp for a whole ring of light around you!

Ol’ Snagglepuss won’t know what to think.

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lumenzilla
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Lightbringer wrote:
Minimum setup? Floody headlamp, throwy handheld, AAA light (plus packed extra cells) on a necklace.

Well said Thumbs Up

Mystery
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Thanks for replies.
I haven’t been camping for last few years.
That was before I had decent (new LED) flashlights.
Since 2019, I bought quite a few flashlights and headlamps, although all budget ones but way brighter than my old D cell and 9 LED AAA ones.

I have two AAA flashlights.
One is Ultratac A7 and another is Enjoydeal.
The A7 is warmer (high CRI?) light with high, low and strobe mode with brighter center and lots of spill.
The $2 Enjoydeal is bluish light with just on and off mode and more throw than spill. Throws farther than A7.

As for AA, I have two Ultrafire Q5 SK68 clones. I like the size but I don’t have 14500 batteries to see how brighter these can get.
With AA, the AAA ones I mentioned above are brighter so I won’t be carrying these.

Then bunch of single 18650 and two dual 18650 flashlights, all are zoomies except one.
Then I have one cr123 weapon light that can be used as flashlight as I bought bunch of cr123 batteries and don’t use it much.

Those plus few 500 and 200 lumens headlamps so I think I’m covered for now.
We’ll try when I go out in the dark next time and I may hand few unwanted zoomies out to my friends.

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^
My flashlight journey was started when I lost path in the wood with a group of people, without proper illumination devices.
All incand flashlights runs their batteries out and we managed to go back to basecamp with just one $5 AAA LED flashlight bought from dx.com some months earlier.

The flashlight was actually just a keychain that I put on my vehicle key and it helped us in the 5 hours walk down to the basecamp.

Lightbringer
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Yeh, like I said, even a backup AAA can keep you from walking off a cliff.

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A good headlamp and a thrower like the GT Micro for weight savings while hiking. The Micro for longer distant sighting plus the ramping UI is great and I use my Armytek Wizard Pro because I really like the UI. Its main mode 2 at 200lms will go for 8 hours while main mode 1 at 70lms for 18 hours. It throws plenty of light with its defused lens at 70lms for me but these are my preferences and everyone’s will be different. A good hands free light is a must IMO. There are many great headlamps available from almost all flashlight manufactures nowadays. Good luck in your search for the perfect lighting Big Smile

Doug S.

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I think I will take back my suggestions,
This guy knows best about montain lions.

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Well, I used to mountain bike single track with a fenix L1Tv2 on my helmet so you really don’t need as much light as one would think. Remember the eyes adjust to lower light environments.

If I was going to night hike I’d use a floodier headlamp along with a handheld to reach out if needed. Probably would go with something like my armytek wizard pro and either a ZL sc63w, Sofirn c8f LH351d or my malkoff m361w/219. Along with a single AAA pocket/keychain back up. Nothing too bulky or huge but enough to light up a moderate meadow or field. Actually with a head strap you could shave weight and use the ZL as both a handheld and your headlamp. This would work very well…

Generally for back country I’d try to match battery types on my main two lights for interchangeability if needed. The keychain light I would keep AA or AAA for easy sourcing if recharging becomes an issue somehow.

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If my life depended on it, I would only trust the Surefire Titan for AAA.
Also anything that RovyVon sells. They’re just costly, not expensive.
Having a Nichia 219C-700 lumens in my necklace, feels very safe.
I have a few of them. Good stuff. Now they have new models.
They got me again. Dayum!!! no willpower.

Cheers.

Lighting up the world one flashlight at a time.

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If a person just needed a light in the tent and around the campfire, 10 or 20 lumens might be enough. Walking down a dark path with night-adjusted eyes, even 2-3 lumens might do. Seeing a critter or something farther away, might need 200 or 500 lumens, maybe more if the light has no throw. Signaling for help, a throwy 1000 lumens could be handy. It really depends on a lot of things.

LOG20
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I think because most of us are connoisseurs we sometimes overlook the bigger picture. For thousands of years people have navigated rural terrain and camped with just a bare flame.

Up until fairly recently in human history, most handheld lights produced 50 to 100 lumens. This was more than sufficient back then. I don’t mean to be a party pooper but the reality is unless you’re involved in SAR, 2 lights are sufficient for navigation, a headlamp and handheld, especially if weight is an issue. Flood – throw it really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things, although i would lean towards throw if i had to choose as the beam has hybrid uses. Then again, I’ve found when i’m really out in the wilderness, even my thrunite TN42 didn’t throw far enough and that is rated for over a mile!

I would recommend a light headlamp like the thrunite TH20 and a handheld like the Lumintop X9L or M2R Pro. All options have enough light for all uses. Just my two cents.

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A few years ago on solo 10 day winter trips carrying all food, tent etc in Scottish Highlands and Iceland, I took a Zebralight H502 with a few spare AA batteries. It’s max output is about 270lms.

As others have said, don’t need a lot of light.

Nowadays I would take either my Zebralight H600c or Armytek Wizard Pro. And if I wanted to indulge a bit perhaps a small thrower like FW1A Osram with 18500 or 18350 tube. Or maybe GTMicro Osram. Family commitments have changed things about since then Facepalm

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Have enjoyed reading this. Many good recommendations. It occurs to me that I would be just fine with my normal walking the dogs in the city setup. Perhaps not as good as many of the suggestions, but certainly more than adequate for the task. I have an SP40 on my head. Always have a Ti3 V2 in my pocket. That alone would likely be good enough. However, my current EDC (besides the Ti3) is the SC31 Pro. While I agree that in the mountains it would be very nice to have a thrower, the SC31 throws amazingly well for what it is. I really doubt any animal would try, or at least be successful, in attacking the tactical strobe;-)