One of the greatest advances in technology for the sportsman has to be in the area of lighting. Walk into any major sporting goods store and you will likely see an entire isle filled with options and choices to light your path into the darkness of the outdoor world.
I’m curious because back 20 years ago there was very little emphasis place on sportsman lighting. It seemed that any old garage double-D cell flashlight would do…but no more. Today, if you aren’t using some form of LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology you aren’t, well…very well prepared to head off into the woods, I guess.
I used to get a mail order catalog from Nite-lite that was sort of a southern-oriented company geared toward coonhunters. I remember as a youth looking at the various headlamps this company offered for coon hunting and wondering who would need THAT much light out in the woods. They used to have large battery packs you would belt on your waist with wires leading to a lamp that was mounted on the front of a construction style hard hat. On the other hand, back in those days this company also sold the old carbide lights with a reflector that miners used for years carrying out their deep, dark duties.
It seems like sportsmen then evolved into the corded and cordless spotlights that offered mega-million candlepower worth of sunshine that again, seemed like more light than could possibly be necessary. The down side on many of these units is the lamps get hot and can burn things such as hands, truck seats, etc. Not only that, but the cordless models consumed so much energy that they were lucky if their batteries lasted for 15 minutes worth of usable light.
Now as we enter the 21st Century sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts seem to be flocking toward a new light, albeit not necessarily a new technology. The LED light has found prominent use from atop police cars replacing rotary flashing lights to atop sportsmen’s heads shining a path to the deer stand.
There are several advantages to using an LED light that sportsmen have widely recognized. First, an LED light is durable and does not have a filament that could get damaged if dropped or banged around. And let’s face it…we don’t always treat our gear with the utmost of care, do we? Further, an LED light will last 100,000 hours of burn time no matter what the temperature. This means dependable light without the hassle of having to replace a bulb when perhaps you need it most. But most importantly, at least to those of us who are sportsmen in the cold-weather states…an LED will consume very little battery life and it will do that no matter if it is used in cold or warm weather.
The biggest downside to most LED’s is the amount of usable light they project to aid a human’s eyes in navigating in the darkness. Don’t get me wrong, they work wonderfully if you allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Nevertheless, they do not work as brilliantly as many of us are accustomed to with incandescent lighting. Some of these manufacturers have actually figured that out, so they’ve constructed models to allow the user to select which form of lighting they need or want to use in a given situation. A very handy option, I might add.
For a wide selection of LED lights click here.
Right now I probably have enough flashlights to fill an empty drawer at home, but that’s not stopping me from putting one of these babies on my Christmas list. Here’s hoping Santa knows which one to buy because the many choices out there for sportsmen are quite daunting, to say the very least.
© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.