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

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.

Yeah, that’s why I prefer the original Q8, as it’s got a better CT/tint and is floodier.

If you want throwier and cooler anyway, then at least look at the Airpro DC7, as it’s got built-in charging, so no need to buy a 4-bay charger. (Forget about charging? You ain’t gonna want to recharge your Q8 one cell at a time…)

And it comes with a screw-in D-ring and lanyard, but you can just get a camera-strap and use it as a sling (as you could with a Q8 as well).

The DC7 doesn’t have full Narsim as a UI, but a lobotomised version that still does ramping, stepping, shortcuts to moonlight/turbo, etc., all the good stuff, so you won’t miss much.

Astrolux ft03 xhp50.2 version. This has a combo ot throw and flood. 4300 lumens, usbc rechargeable. Can often be found for around $35.00

Another option is the newly released ft03 SBT-90.2 on a groupbuy beginning today. This beam will have lots of throw with a large hotspot. Find the groupbuy in the threads.

Read this persons experience on astrolux “warranty”


Or do a search on astrolux issues on BLF

If the light doesnt work do you actually save money? :wink:

One person’s experience does not sway my opinion. Even multiple negative experiences. Things happen when thousands of an item are produced. Example: Just look at anything you buy on Amazon. almost everything has at least a few 1 star reviews. I own several lights from Astrolux and have had zero problems.

You got lucky, Astrolux quality isn’t the same as other brands, they’re cheap, but hey, this is budgetlightforum, so they’re on the right place here

Hello fellow Londoner. Welcome to the forum.

Do you use yr astrolux for SAR, purposes?

Well how about caving?

Or how about for something less demanding like hunting?

Does it sit in a pack that gets thrown around all the time? Or mostly on the desk/shelf?

Another one from recently on BLF … tons more with a search


This is why you always use Paypal when importing stuff

Yeah but how about if it dies a year down the road

Astrolux literally has no warranty …