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Scoutson becomes of that age. We take him out to puchase camp gear, tell him he has met the Troop, gone Cub camping, gone camping with church group. Gone camping with mom and dad. He knows what he wants/needs. We tell him we will HELP him buy anything he wants, within reason. He picks out a 5 D cell Maglite. I talk him down to a 3 D cell Maglite. He takes it on the AT with the Troop ONCE. Next trip out, he borrows one of dad's 2 AA cell mini lights. Next trip, he borrows one of dad's headlamps (three AAAcells). likes that best.
Now the Maglite is dad's when he drives charter bus.
Ever notice when you are walking somewhere in the dark..say council camp...and you are doing well withouit a flashlight and you end up approching someboy with a flashlight - the very first thing they do is shine it in your face?
I always tell our scouts that bunless it is a pitch black cloudy/ no moon night, you can usually see better and farther without a flashlight.
Of course, I recognize my scouts in the dark by their voice, and they only reccognize me by shining a light in my face.
But during the day, they could pick my voice out of a recording with 40 voives all talking at the same time.
So now, they just INSTANTLY carry on with their "limited ablility" flashlight while I have to wait for my eyes to adjust again.
When I do use a light ,I prefer a mini mag light with two "AA" batteries or one of those cheap 7 light LED flashlights that our COR picks up at Harbor Frieght or wherever he gets them. Cheap, bright and nothing to cry about if it gets lost/damaged!
I seldom use a flashlight unless I am looking for something specific in my tent, and then only if I can't identify it by touch.
One summer I did the CampMaster thingy and didn't use a lantern or flashlight all week. However, one night it was a bit rainy and so I had on a long black drover's coat to keep dry and my expedition hat. I could see a group of scouts coming my way with flashlights and so I stepped off the trail so as to keep them from shining me in the face with their lights. Just as a precaution I also tilted the brim of my hat down over my face. When they got up to where I was, one of the kids flashed his light in my direction and they all thought it was cool that someone left a coat and hat to scare the new guys. Well by then everyone's flashlights were pointed towards me, my vision was effected so it was no longer necessary to hold my head down so I lifted it and said something about it not being polite to shine a flashlight in someone's face. I think they all misunderstood and thought I said, everyone run off in different directions screaming like a girl. In either case, I didn't have any more lights in my eyes.
Way back in the dark ages, our SM used to take us on nighthikes. We had two rules: no talking, and no flashlights. Well, we were allowed to whisper if there was a rock in the way, or something like that, but it was liberating to not have a flashlight. I still do the same thing now. I do carry a small (!) penlight in my pocket, and I only use it when I can't see anything at all.
My newest pet peeve, though, are headlamps. Everyone I've run into that wears one of those things seems to have a difficult time figuring out that you really shouldn't have them pointing directly into someones elses eyes. If I buy one, though, I'll probably look for the red "nightvision" LED version.
I like the el cheapo harbor freight leds. They include batteries, and are indestructible and it's usually either $3 or $4 for two (sometimes get a coupon for one free with a certain purchase). My oldest left one in his shorts pocket when he put in washer. I noticed it in the dryer, when about every cycle a bright light would flash. Flashlight is still fine. Can't say that about the cell phone he did the same with.
Also like the LED headlamps with the red option.
That said, I try to walk around without a light at night when possible. It's easy at many of our usual camping spots, because the trails are usually white sand, and easy to pick out.
For those of you who are flashlight extremists.... I have an "upgrade" for you.
I'm sure some of you are familiar with the 3-D Cell Mag-lite LED flashlight ... quite powerful at 130 lumens. A nice focused beam for about 300m. (My daughter uses one when she is working as a night security guard.)
There are some "scientists" out there that have modification kits for the the Mag-lite, where you beef up the current carrying capacity, switch to high capacity L-ion or NiMH, and replace the LED with modified heat sink and voltage regulator.
The result is a 1000 lumen flashlight ... 7.6 times brighter.