Letter Re: Suggestions on LED Flashlights

Mr. Rawles,
Just a suggestion about something you and your readers might be interested in. I’m not affiliated with the vendor in any way, just a very satisfied customer.

4Sevens‘ 2-AA Quark light is good for 30 days continuous on low, and a couple of hours at 200 lumens. These are by far the best LED lights on the market at this time. I hang around the flashlight-nerd subculture, and have 4Sevens lights in all my survival packs. Obviously, you can recharge LSD AA lights with solar chargers, and they’ll run off of regular AA and lithium AA batteries too.

This light, on high, is probably brighter than any light a normal family owns, many times brighter than a Mag-Lite, and much smaller. Pocket sized. Personally, I suggest their sporadically available warm white LEDs. You can’t tell when meat is cooked with a blue-white LED, which is the norm at the moment from other vendors. You can tell rare from well done with the warm white LEDs. When I say “blue” LEDs, I refer to what passes for “white” LEDs these days. They are basically blue-white in spectral output, and have poor color rendition. None of the mass-marketed LED lights currently is warm white, but that is what you want, if you want to be able to make out colors at night. (You do.) 4Sevens sells some “warm” lights, as does Fenix.

The second best thing out there is Fenix. Their TK-20 is warm white, uses AAs, and will throw a spot at 100 yards. (No, I’m not exaggerating, I used Fenix lights on safari while night hunting. They work. My professional hunter kept mine as part of my tip, and he’s thrilled with it.) You can also run one over with a truck, and it will still work fine. I know! (Oops!)

Anyway, 4Sevens and Fenix are 2-5 years ahead of Home Depot and Wal-Mart as far as LED lights go, and forever away as far as quality is concerned. Surefire makes great lights, but they are also way behind in efficiency, though they are very well made. My Surefire 6P, heavily modified with parts from Candlepower Forums, is 1,000 lumens, but only for 3 minutes. Still, for current urban uses, it is the bomb. Way better than Surefire’s 120 lumen best effort. Mine is blinding in daylight, and obviously, it owns the night, if briefly.

But I digress. 4Sevens has some incredible lights. They are Surefire-priced ($60-ish), but use AAs and LEDs, have sapphire coated scratch proof lenses, have anti-reflection coated lenses, to get the light out, are waterproof, are small, and use the latest generation LEDs.

I cannot imagine a better solution for illumination, if one can recharge LSD AAs. Anyway, check them out. The 2-AA is the best. The single-AA versions burn up too much power in the voltage converter. The 2-AA is the way to go.

One other note. Tritium vials. Tritium vials are not commonly available here in the “land of the free”, but are still easily obtainable [if you look at secondary market sources such as eBay]. The 1.5x5mm glass vials are easily inset into survival equipment (green is by far the brightest), and they last 30 years or so. Useful to be added to any equipment one must find in the dark, in a hurry. Use clear nail polish to set the vials; epoxy turns translucent in short order. Also [large military surplus ] tritium map reading lights [commonly called “Betalights”] can be found without too much trouble. – Nemo