Many a seasoned foxer will tell you how easy we have it these days…
In times past, lugging a leaky, heavy car battery along with a Lucas spotlight “borrowed” from the front of the car was not uncommon – and replacing acid eaten jackets and trousers was almost as common as recharging the batteries!
Thankfully, advancing technology has put an end to that misery – and even as recently as the last 5 years, we’ve seen massive leaps forward in lamping technology.
Sealed batteries started the revolution years ago – and then over the past 10 years, the development of Lithium Ion units meant that we could carry smaller, lighter and longer lasting batteries for our hand held Lightforce lamps.
Then there were the problems with wiring… I would bet my house that 90% of all Lightforce hand held lamps have at some stage had the wring replaced / repaired. Brilliant lamps – but poor wiring.
Inevitably then along came the cheap import copies of the Lightforce lamps – which at face value, appeared to be identical. With regards to the wiring, they pretty much were identical; just as unreliable as the originals. Where they really stood apart was the quality of the reflectors. Poor quality manufacturing led to poor reflectors, which resulted in uneven, patchy beams – it’s hard enough foxing without dark spots in your beam! We also found that the cheaper imports often had a lot “spill” which meant that while you were shining your lamp down the field, you were also lighting up your feet!
Today, the Lightforce and Deben Tracer range stand head and shoulders above the cheap Far East competitors.
But all that has changed again with the new kid on the block. The introduction and exponential rise in popularity of LED Torches has seen huge numbers of “lampers” moving over to torches. Requiring very small amounts of power means these LEDs can be housed in small torches and through the use of an aspheric lens rather than a traditional reflector can emit and focus a staggering amount of light. LED torches also benefit from coloured LEDs to achieve a coloured light rather than filtering white light – resulting in red and green beams but with far more energy.
The arrival of the Night Master a few years ago transformed the market – and the way in which many of us lamp…
So what is now the “best” lamp out there…?
There are several schools of thought – some prefer the traditional lamp and battery while others swear by a torch.
We think there’s a time and a place for both.
If you’re on foot, the less you have to carry the better – so we tend to opt for a Night Master NM800 with Green LED – focused to a wide beam on a low setting. This is perfect for spotting eyes well out to 300+ metres… For shooting while on foot we opt for a NM XSearcher with Green Envy or White HD – focused on a tight beam these both give you plenty of light to identify – and shoot out to 250+ Yards.
When we’re shooting from a vehicle, we usually opt for a Lightforce – or Deben 170 with dimmer. This gives us everything we need from a dim glow for spotting – right up to a bright spot for ID and shooting.
Choosing the best lamp is all about what works for you – really it’s about personal preference and given we all have different eyesight, what works for one won’t work for someone else.
Our tops tips for choosing a lamp…
- Make sure the beam is clean, focused and with no “spill” – many people don’t realise this but you can hide behind your lamp!
- Experiment if you can with different beams and different colours – I personally cannot shoot to any distance on a red lamp as I find it very hard to ID my quarry – but we’re all different.
- Finally – buy quality… Don’t be fooled that just because it looks the same that it is the same!
Enjoy the long nights!