Newbie - Advice Please - Best Value High Lumen Torches (Search and Rescue)

Sofirn C8F is pretty good with throw and flood balance. Its also having a bigger battery for longer run times all together in a small package.

Throw, Convoy L2, or light cannon, Convoy L6.

Both the above can take a pair of 26650s for max runtime. They’re more conventional, plunger-type lights.

Sofirn C8F-21700. Nice compromise of output with triple emitters, and a 21700 for good hand-feel and runtime.

BLF Q8. Big donk, hella bright, goes forever with 4 cells, great CT/tint, decent throw with lots of flood.

Sofirn SF36, triple emitter, triple cells, built-in charging.

Depends on what you’re looking for…

Thrunite Cat6. Firstly is a good mix of brightness, 750m throw, and 1750 lumens. It is also pocketable, comes with the battery, and holster, and has built in USB charging. It also doesn’t overheat like virtually any super high lumen light. It’s also from a quality brand. I have many lights, this is one I’d be taking out for S&R. If I were to take a second light I’d prob take the TN40, it’s kind of like 4 Cat6s. You can get it a battery pack, i believe, or with 4 18650s.

From my subjective experiences, tint depends upon the terrain. Yes, tree bark and bushes are easier to identify with neutral white (nw). And you see a little farther in fog, rain and especially snow because there is less reflection. For the same reason you see farther if something is behind a break in dense brush that would be bright with cool white. Generally neutral white around 5000K is my choice. But sometimes the cool white 6500K sees farther because it lights up objects at a greater distance like across a clearing. If the object is a bit too far for the neutral white, the cool white can make it visible. So sometimes I carry both.

this is a great reply. 6500K allows you to get more lumens out of the LED but it may sometimes be worst than having a 3000K light when it is raining/snowing/foggy. See the picture here :

If you were to aim at something far away from your shoulder, the blueish length of the beam would prevent you from seeing what you’re lighting up. This phenomenom is reduced the more you drop the color temperature.To me, 4000-5000K is about the perfect color temperature to see things up far.

This is why car headlights are now blueish but the fog headlights are still much whiter or even yellow.

Also, I don’t think you should be going for as many lumens as possible. if you get a thrower, the hotspot may be way too bright to be usable in close distances but the lower modes won’t have enough spill for you to see a large area.
I think that XHP50.2 / XHP70.2 are the perfect LEDs for the job. I would go with a FT03 with one of these LEDs if I were you. Maybe a Haikelite MT40 with SST-40 could do the job fine too

check this comparison :

Not so sure this is true.

For batteries for your trustfire …

Since it appears to use multiple 18650 in SERIES, you should get PROTECTED batteries

Make sure to only use the same set of MATCHED cells in the light, charge em up at the same time, mark em with permanent marker, and occasionally check em with a DMM to make sure the voltages are close

As to what other light you want …

The only i would say is that you want SOLID reliabilty in adverse conditions, if the light doesnt work then someone LIFE might be screwed

Also although light might look cheaper initially, the REAL warranty (not the useless ship to china paper warranty) matters

For example when fenix is bough from an authorized dealer (not amazon), it has a 5 year local warranty … you are guaranteed a working light for 5 years …

Remember that alot of folks here can tell you about output and features, but about use in demanding environments over YEARS … perhaps not so much

I would ask a few CAVERS (or other such folks) what they would us :wink:

I don’t think warranty is that important. It sometimes takes month for an RMA to be processed depending on where you bought it leaving you with nothing else for months.

As a volunteer first aid responder, I always prefer redundancy over anything else : I always have 2 lights on me and at least one more in my bag along with spare batteries. Warranty won’t help you the time your light randomly broke at the worst time. Sure a 5+ year warranty light may be tested in harsher conditions but it may fail at any time for no apparent reason.

Well if you have the famous astrolux dispute issues with a light for SAR, then you wont have any warranty after the first month or so …

Fenix in north america is fairly fast from authorized dealers, especially if you bought it from REI/MEC which have a walk in exchange

As i said ask around about reliability from constant users in demanding environments

Not lights that sit on the shelf till they get dusted off for walking the dog :wink:

You didn’t get what I meant. If you had to choose between an airplane with the most reliable mono-engine and another one with 4 decent engines, which one would you feel safer in ? You can have the best of the best in reliability but it can still fail. Having redundancy with sub-par reliability is way better as you will have time to replace the failing parts one by one while still having a functional product.

If price is an issue then yes, you should go with items where warranty is applicable but it is in no way a safe bet to consider something safe for as long as the warranty lasts.

This is even worst in flashlights as the battery you have no control over may fail and destroy your light along the way.

Exactly how much WEIGHT are you going to carry on the hike in???

Remember that one of these lights might be more than the weight of a blizzard bag (if u are a first responder u know what those are)

Lets say you have a backup and someone else on the team has it, they might not be overly close when you need it

Or even worse its in the truck (or whatever vehicle), hike back to get the backup?

If its somewhere flat it might not be as big a deal, if its in forests or somewhere hilly … well have fun hiking with backups or to get the backups

Especially with the extra 40 lb or so of other gear u carry :wink:

Yellow has been historically favored as “improving contrast” but I’m not sure how well that is backed by science. As for blue headlights, that is due to a couple factors:

  • HIDs were cheaper in the blue range for a long time (though I got nice Philips bulbs around 4200K)
  • Now, it’s the same for LEDs. The manufacturers are doing large orders and they need a minimum lumen and/or lux value. When every penny matters, it’s both cheaper and easier to meet the order with 6500K LEDs.

I would recommend a tried and tested 18650 Convoy C8 type of light and a 18650 Convoy H1 type of headlamp.
Convoy lights have a history here with us and are reliable budget lights. ThoreFire/Sofirn are as well.

Tried and tested bests new and best when you need dependability.

That’s why i try to avoid Astrolux, nice lights, but kinda cheap, less reliable. (putting it mildly)
I want my lights to be solid and they should work when i need them.

That’s actually one of the best answers i read so far.

A’ight… everyone’s going on and on about “reliability”, so here’s an alternative viewpoint. Get a couple of C8-class lights, gut the innards, stick in your own stoooopit driver with only 1 “mode”, ie, on, and forget about all other crap that can go mental when you least expect it.

I’ve had lights go mental and either get stuck in certain modes, or change modes at random, etc., whereas a simple on/off light will be the most reliable.

18650-based C8s are fairly light and throw pretty well, so you can stick a couple in your jacket-pockets and be done.

I carried a 1-mode ’502 with a simple stoopit 1.4A(ish) driver, just a few 7135s and a blocking diode. Can’t get simpler’n that. And it did like 95% of what I needed it for. Never failed. Still works, even though I’m EDCing other lights.

Now, I’m carrying a MH20, have a SP32Av2 on my bag, usually an E03 (Xeno, as there are like 3-4 other “E03”s out there) somewhere on me or in my bag, and who knows what else. So I’m not terribly concerned about “reliability”. If I had to pick 1 light only… I might go back to my ’502, as I know that’ll work.

Forget lumens and look at candela/beam distance along with beam pattern and tint. Of course you will need something that you can rely on that comes from a reputable manufactures that dosn’t make up phony specs. In the USA Steamlight is probably the most widely used brand by professionals. I am not sure what brands are most used in the UK. I would ask the people in the group you are joining for recommendations.

i would say this:

you have a big, good light

before getting something else, including recommendations, you need to use that one for a while and think what you like about it, and what could be better for your use case.

surely that one has enough ‘lumens’.

the pattern is a major factor.

you might think a zoom, which can go from wide to narrow, is good
frequently they lose MANY lumens, for various reasons, which can be improved on, but it costs money and weight

i’d say get a single 18650 convoy for about $30, see how much more convenient it is, and think it worth carrying that big heavy one for the 2% of cases where a small light is enough,…


Some great responses, thanks all, I appreciate it.

In the UK, to be honest, Searches are rarely more than 4 hours in length before returning for breaks but can be 8 hours. My search and rescue covers non mountain areas (Lowland Rescue) so vehicles tend not to be too far away so no Blizzard bags required thankfully. It’s just essential I have light, but if I can light up a forest / field it makes life a lot easier.

I do indeed plan on carrying 2 High capacity / range torches for redundancy. I have smaller pen size torches (head and jacket mounted) for ultimate backup and will suffice as well as for close up work or medical interventions etc. BEcause oif the redundancy and the possiblity of losing or breaking them, I am not concerned about warranty, just wish them to be budget priced in the first place.

So I am interested in the BLF Q8 at the moment which I think will provide a good resilliance or indeed a main torch. Also, some idiot will always arrive a with a gas station wind up torch because they forgot their torch or batteries and will need somehting more heavy duty.

If I go with the Q8, does anyone know of any belt holsters which may cater for its size and shape please? I have a tactical torch holster that my other one fits. The wider Q8 would need something a bit more specific.

Not sure about current availability, but Sofirn previously offered a Q8 holster. Their version of the Q8 is also reported to be throwier. I only have the BLF version though.