Headlight Recommendation for Search & Rescue

Hello BudgetLightForum Folks,

I am tasked with purchasing new headlights for our Search & Rescue team. Our previous purchase of headlights were ArmyTek Pro’s. We were pleased with their performance but several of them are no longer working and we need replacements for the team. I thought I would inquire of this group what your suggestions might be for the currently available best all around headlight.

18650 battery
Water resistance
Ease of use (including with gloves on)
Good throw distance
Good flood for night time trails
Good battery life
Good CRI
Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
+Not likely to accidentally get turned on in a back pack+

Also, can you please state if the 18650 battery required for your suggestion is flat top or button.

I’ll answer in advance that no one on our team has ever used the SOS feature in a flashlight. A good thrower can catch the attention of a helicopter crew in the dark. Red lights can be useful in base camp or for map reading. A blue light could potentially be useful but quite frankly, our team has never followed a blood trail, so perhaps we could just have one of those lights available.

Thank you in advance for sharing your headlight expertise :slight_smile:

Armyteks theoretically have a 10 year warranty

You should be able to replace the dead ones

You should check also YLP lamps

Zebralight H600w mk4
Much better throw than Armyteks.

Thrunite th20 v2 has the best throw for an l-shaped headlamp. Also has a very low moonlight mode, 2000 lumen turbo and is usb rechargeable. I use mine on my helmet together with a floody handlebar mounted light when biking at night. This is probably the headlamp I’d pick from my collection if ever I’d need to do search and rescue. Nitecore HC30 or hc33 also has decent throw and they’re now selling removable diffusers for it if you need flood beam. Fireflies PL47 V2 in theory seems to be perfect for your needs (balanced flood/spot, super bright beam, good throw, high cri) but I’m not sure I’d recommend it because of reliablility issues of the first version and Anduril is quite tricky for non enthusiasts.

When you’re moving on foot on varying/rough terrain you don’t want a single headlight with a lot of focused throw. It makes it harder to discern between a rock,root, leaf or hole on the trail. If it’s a nice groomed path then you can be looking way out in front of you at the spot light and not worry about foot placement. Warm light is best for foot placement. I would probably stick with the armytek wizard pro magnetic.

I don’t have any recommendations, but thanks for doing what you do.

I use my AT Wizard Pro for everything since I’ve got it. Including cutting the grass. Fantastic form and function. I would consider replacing with a Zebralight if I lost faith in it.

How long did your Armytek lights last and did they fail after anything notable? I like the similar (though different) UI that AT and ZL offer.

Is there anything that offers price, quality and performance similar to Armytek or Zebralight but with a remote battery pack? 1x18650 is a goo setup, but for night hiking or SAR I gotta think longer runtime at high output would be better. Maybe a 3 or 4x18650 belt pack… Or even just a 2x18650 which rides on the back of the head instead of a 1-piece design.

As a Ground & Sea SAR member for 10+ years, many i know of there used various models, but seem to like the ones with built in charging and ran from a single 18650. some reliable ones i seen used, ( and used myself) as above is the Zebralight H600w, Nitecore HC50 & HC60, and similar models. There are a few good AA & AAA powered models out there if you prefer standard battery power sources, as in various Petzl models including the Tactikka RGB variant. Though in my case most all my headlamps i modified with better tints and options as i do with most of my lights. :smiley:

Thank you kindly for your suggestions.

There is a local business (our SAR team found their missing family member) that makes a generous annual donation to our SAR team for equipment for our members who are grateful for the donation because search and rescue volunteers purchase most of their own equipment.

25 ArmyTek Wizard Pro’s were purchased 5 or 6 years ago. There are 6 headlights that no longer work due to the switch and/or circuit failure (the settings could no longer be changed or turned off). The headlights that failed were admittedly used much more frequently than on search missions. Even with the failure rate, the ArmyTeks are favored by several team members. The person who placed the previous order has moved and receipt cannot be found.

The consensus is to stay with one 18650 battery in the headlight and carry a charged spare battery. Most of the team members also carry a backup headlight (such as a Zipka).

Most of our searches are what is called a ‘hasty search’ and is done with minimum equipment as most people are found within a few hours of being reported missing.

There is flashlight envy of whoever has the best thrower or flood but there are always complaints about ruined night vision due to the bright lights. However, when looking over a steep embankment or an open area, the brightest lights are always preferred.

Thank you so much for your suggestions to consider!

Contact armytek anyways, mention you are a SAR group

See if they can help you, after all that specific model is probably less than 10 uears old