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Headlights (Read 17970 times)
05/04/12 at 21:29:11

chem9960   Offline
Future Participant
OFallon MO

Posts: 52
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Since people have been talking nav lights and all, I need a little advice on bowlights.  I was thinking about something like the magicshine mj-816.  Any other advice for a couple of poor suckers in a tandem stock class canoe would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Rob
« Last Edit: 05/04/12 at 23:12:02 by chem9960 »  
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Reply #1 - 05/04/12 at 22:40:40

JoshS   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
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2X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot
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Kawnivore Veteran

Posts: 606
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i used this one for 340, kawnivore, etc, very bright and uses double A batteries, ie not expensive lithium ion. 

One thing to keep in mind when looking at lumen output specs on these LED products unless it has a regulated power supply the lumens will diminish as battery drains.  Regulated ones stay a constant brightness and then basically die suddenly. 

Be sure to practice how you will use it, I can double blade with one and not blind myself but single blading I do.


http://www.egear.com/egear_site/Root/focus_control_200_headlamp.html

http://www.amazon.com/eGear-Focus-Control-200-Headlamp/dp/B003IDN9R2/ref=pd_sxp_...
 
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Reply #2 - 05/04/12 at 22:54:14

FlyinLow   Offline
3X MR340 Veteran
Kawlloween Veteran
"Life is Entered Upon
with Courage"- A de T

Posts: 232
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I was about to comment how I like my Petzl Tactikka, but after looking at the Amazon link from Josh, I may have to upgrade.  I think you'd want something with a red lense to help conserve night vision.  I'm a big fan of using less light...it's really amazing what you can see with ambiant light at night when your eyes adapt (usually takes 40 minutes after exposure to light) and you use off-center viewing techniques.  I think the Magic Shine would be too bright for a light on your head...maybe on the bow of the canoe though.
 

"Don't think you're on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path."  ~Author Unknown
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Reply #3 - 05/04/12 at 23:26:24

awaller   Offline
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Posts: 269
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Some of the super bright headlamps work well, but I found that when lighting something across the river, the night air is usually so moist that it causes the beam to light up the air as it passes through it.  So when worn on the head, you can't actually see much because the beam gets in the way.  I had to hold the light off to my side in order to see anything.

If you were referring to rigging big bright lights to the front of the boat however, I think most people find them to be a hindrance. First off, there is usually great visibility even with no lights on at all, but if you run with lights on permanently, you pretty much can only see what is right in front of you.  It really limits what you can see right and left.  Not to mention the fact that if you want to spot the bank (or anything else) you have to turn the boat to Aim it.

Oh, and the bugs really like 'em too.  Cheesy

You do NEED a good light with you, but for most part, a good strong focused LED handheld or headlamp is all that is needed.  It's really tempting to spotlight every noise you hear, or constantly search the bank for crossing markers, but honestly, if you just stay close to the middle and head downstream you'll be golden.

Just pull hard and enjoy the ride.

-Aaron
 
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Reply #4 - 05/04/12 at 23:42:01

Paddle-Up   Offline
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Dedicated to those who,
"Serve & Protect."!
Riverside, MO

Posts: 221
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Please keep in mind, that if you have a very bright light that "might" help you see, it is just as likely to blind a fellow canoer, kayaker from them seeing.  It is unlikely that you will need your light on "all" the time.  Use it sparingly and be courteous to your fellow paddlers.  Don't look directly at the object you are trying to see.  Look off to the side just a little and use your periferal vision at night.  You know how it is when a car comes at you during the night with their bright lights on.  It is no different when doing other things during the night.  Look off to the side and never look directly into any other lights.  Other techniques are even to close one eye or wear a patch if neccessary on one eye.  Thanks
 

Terry:  "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky.  Wink
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Reply #5 - 05/05/12 at 08:50:45

agottman   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Springfield, MO

Posts: 337
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You don't want bright lighhts at night.  Allow your eyes to adjust to the night and use your ears to listen to the river.  Youll see far better by allowing your eyes to adjust to the night then you will using a bright light.

At the most, have on board a high-powered search light to scan the river for wing dikes and channel markers.  But, use this occasionally.  Some search lights can scan a mile or so down river.  After a good scan of the river, turn it off, pop some Excedrin Migraine (stuff will wake you up, take away all pain, and turn you into an endurance champion), have good conversation with your canoe partner, and most of all enjoy the night!

At the least, use red light so that your eyes remain adjusted to the plentiful light that naturally exists at night.

Night time one the river is special!  It's a reward for slogging thru the heat and overwhelming sun of the day time.  Enjoy it.

Alex
 
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Reply #6 - 05/05/12 at 09:28:28

Paddle-Up   Offline
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Riverside, MO

Posts: 221
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Great points Alex,  I will be looking for a good head "RED" light.  Thanks
 

Terry:  "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky.  Wink
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Reply #7 - 05/05/12 at 10:02:52

agottman   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Springfield, MO

Posts: 337
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I bought a cheap hat that had built in red lights.  Whenever I needed to look for something in the kayak, the red lights worked amazingly well.  Bright white light can nearly blind you at night.  The moment you turn off white light, it'll be extremely dark because your eyes won't be adjusted to the natural night light.

Distant cities, moon light, and star light is more than enough light to illuminate most everything on the river.  If I'm not mistaken, the race is planned around the full moon.  Food for thought.   Smiley
 
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Reply #8 - 05/07/12 at 12:19:20

Seko   Offline
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Posts: 84
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If you like bats, get the brightest light you can find.  They will love you and the bugs it draws.  Speaking from experience.  There are some might big bats on the MO.
 
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Reply #9 - 05/07/12 at 13:54:39

agottman   Offline
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Springfield, MO

Posts: 337
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...and if you like bright light and bats, make certain to get a rabies vacination before the race. 

We don't want the human version of Cujo on the river during the race.
 
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Reply #10 - 05/10/12 at 14:47:47

Joewildlife   Offline
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Jackson MO

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to see shore markers and buoys, attach a two cell LED maglight to the side of the boat.  turn it on for a few seconds to scan the shore or water and turn it off.  That is all the "headlights" you need.  Don't think you need a set of headlights to drive down the river like you use headlights on a car to drive down I-70.  It doesn't work that way.

A headlamp is good for in-boat use, not too bright!  Everyready now makes a clip on job that uses 1 AA battery.  Perfect.
Joe
 

And I ain't too old to hurry
Cause I ain't too old to die
But I sure am hard to beat
Ride on
AC/DC, Ride On
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Reply #11 - 05/11/12 at 13:54:50

Los Humungos   Offline
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Sometimes wears a Wally
Werderich costume

Posts: 1365
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Here is what I have used in many overnight races with great results.

Light (I buy two - one as a just in case spare that the ground crew keeps):
http://www.amazon.com/Rayovac-SE4W3C-Sportsman-Xtreme-Flashlight/dp/B00112HSE2/r...

The light is very bright and normal alkaline bateries will most likely last through the night and most likely last you for the whole race.

With a standard canoe, mount the light to the bow with this:
http://www.amazon.com/ASXCAT6-Universal-Mounting-Brackets-Flashlight/dp/B000056B...

You can quickly and securely put on and take off the flashlight with thesse clips.

Lastly (here is the high tech stuff)  duct tape a marble to the top of the on off button.  With the flashlight clipped in and the marble taped on, you simply hit the marble with your paddle to turn the light on and off.  You will not even miss a stroke.

I have attached a picture from a race so you can see it in use and can better visualize what I am talking about.

Hut,
Mastodontico
Los Humungos Paddleos
« Last Edit: 05/11/12 at 15:32:17 by Los Humungos »  

DSC_0334a_001.JPG (110 KB | )
DSC_0334a_001.JPG

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #12 - 05/12/12 at 04:40:35

Dark Horse Paddler   Offline
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Lee's Summit Missouri

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Everyone has their own opinion and feelings about lights.  Mine may not be the best for all, but it is the best for me, and here it is:

I have done the MR340 for 5 years in a row, and I have paddled overnight in all of them (I slept a little the first year).  Point is, I am on the river all night long.

I run with no lights other than the mandetory nav. lights.

The moon provides a ton of light, and you can see everything because of the reflections.  Even when the moon goes down, the stars provide lot of light, and by then, your eyes are very sensative.

I keep a small glow stick around my neck at night so I can see whats in my lap, but it doesn't mess up my night-adjusted eyes.

I also keep a LED maglight for emergency use (never use). 
The first year I had a big set of homemade headlights on the front of my kayak (think car headlights).  They looked reall cool, but they were worthless.  I could only see in front of me, and they only pointed straight.

Once I had one of those mega 2000 lumens lights as a back up.  those are fine too, but I don't own one, and I know the river so well, I don't use it.  The main purpose for those bright ones is to read the mileage on the river markers.  But I rarely do that anymore because I know the river so well.  Plus everytime I would shine the light, it would take away paddling time and cause my eyes to lose a bit of light sensativity.

I'm not saying take no lights.  And you should always take whatever you feel provides safety and security.  But my point to the readers of this is that if you are on the fence about which light to take, and you are worried that taking a smaller one won't be enough, I'd lean to the small side as opposed to a larger, more expensive, heavier thing.

One year, 2008 I think it was, a very accomplished paddler from MO was racing in the MR340, and he had one of those large rechargable mega-lights.  I saw him near Hermann I think, and I asked, "Where is your light?".  He shook his head in resignation and said, "That damn thing, I threw it over board.  It was too damn heavy, and taking up too much space.  I never even used it."

OK, so maybe he was going a little crazy, but you get my point...and it was a good story.
 

-Joe Mann, Dark Horse Paddler
www.MidwestPaddleRacing.com
Your #1 Site for Canoe and Kayak Racing In the Midwest!!
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Reply #13 - 05/12/12 at 11:42:39

Kirk Freels   Offline
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Oak Grove

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I've used a Princeton -Tec Shokwave LED mounted in a ball head swivel, plenty powerful 400 lumens on high 16 hours of run time, 26hours on low. Waterproof in case of rain, uses
c cell batteries, and just as Joe says - hardly ever use it. It is great to signal with or shoot to the other bank to find a crossing marker. But as I said it is very powerful, when mounted on the boat and then turned on high beam it will push the boat back up stream.
 

You've got what it takes, but it will take everything you got
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Reply #14 - 05/14/12 at 09:48:33

ORF   Offline
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I've got a magicshine 800 lumen light that I use for adventure racing but for paddling I rarely use a light at night.  It is so bright that aircraft might try to land on me, mistaking it for a runway.  I've got an 800 lumen flashlight that I will stow in the boat for infrequent use for spotting.
 

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing."  Henry David Thoreau
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Reply #15 - 05/16/12 at 15:54:24

Manitou Paddler   Offline
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I am a flashlight geek.......and I have paddled on the river at night for years....way before the first 340.  I can offer some insights perhaps.

Head lamps.....get a tiney little ones that is uses watch type batteries and weigh nothing...it is only to find that power bar you dropped in the bottom of the boat and you have to wrestle back from the rats cause it is your last one.  If you have a high angle stroke.....a stong headlamp will reflect off your hands with each paddle stroke and over time drive you more insane that any chinese water torture.

Get a nice 300+ lumen small form (4-6 inch0 hand flashlight that can be focussed to a small beam....these can be found on ebay cheap.  Attach to a carabiner and short lanyard.  Clip to life jacket or even to shirt.......this sits in your lap and you grab it for a quick check of a wierd noise, location of navigation can or to see the reflection off that shore based crossing beacon that is a 1/4 mile away.  You will only flair this light on now and then...so avoid a unit with 4 different light settings you have to toggle thru to turn it off.  Best is a stream light or tactical flashlight that turns on via a pressure switch on end.  You push thumb on it...hold up, get your reference and drop the light back in your lap...turns off as soon as your not pressing on switch.

We have never had a 340 that has occured after a sudden 3 foot rise in river  the day before....why does that matter in terms of lights?....cause it will fill the river full of debris...we are talking leg sized logs that you cant pick out well via moonlight, and you do not want to hit when paddling.  Unless you are floating at same speed as current....youwill hit one of these at 4-5 mph, and could punch the boat.....to that end, it is good to have a plan for a bow light.  I have rigged powerful bike type lights on bow...and a long extension switch that lets me turn it on and off from cockpit.  If you hit a section where a tributary is kicking in a bunck of junk...you do not want to be trying to spot that with a hand held (cause you stop paddling) and a head lamp sucks IMHO.

I too like to turn most lights off at night, except for a red and green on rear deck (out of my vision) and then use a hand held high output light to let a catchfisherman in a power boat know I am there or too check something out......prefer to run via moonlight to read river.......but I have rigged a bow light every race and want it as an option.  If you intend to paddle the race hard, non stop...you do not want to be slowed to a crawl by trouble avoiding debris.

I have come full circle on bow lights...used to rig it mega bright light, more texas water safari style (in that race they have to avoid all kinds of stuff and river is very narrow compared to Missouri River)...now believe a fairly bright light on bow will let you see that "oh crap" log and turn and not put you in tunnel light mode...where you are only staring at the path of the light like a zombie.

Food for thought Smiley

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #16 - 05/17/12 at 13:18:05

agottman   Offline
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Springfield, MO

Posts: 337
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I think I've already mentioned this but I can't emphasize it enough...nighttime on the river is a very unique time!  Enjoy it.  Enjoy your break from the heat and burning sun.  Your eyes will adjust to natural light in the sky, full moon or not.

The first night on your first MR 340 race is incredible.  You'll see navigation lights spread out on the river both in front and behind you, sort of like a string of Christmas lights.  If you're lucky to have a full moon, the moon's light will reflect off the river like a disco ball.  Maybe a night haze will creep over the river adding a ghostly ambiance to your nighttime experience.  Perhaps you'll round a river bend and see a distant fire on an island.

The night is quiet.  You can truly hear the river.  Take the time to soak up the experience.

Nighttime is your reward for slogging thru a hellish day.
 
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Reply #17 - 05/17/12 at 13:53:24

Joewildlife   Offline
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Jackson MO

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Yeah, I agree.  And at about four am, when you are the tiredest you will ever get and are totally delerious, pull up to shore and curl up in the fetal position in the mud, waiting for the dawn to come, you hit your low for the race.  Wake up, get the blood flowing and get on down the river to the finish!

Oh, maybe that was just me the second morning in 2011.

Joe
 

And I ain't too old to hurry
Cause I ain't too old to die
But I sure am hard to beat
Ride on
AC/DC, Ride On
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Reply #18 - 05/17/12 at 16:36:41

Scott Mansker   Offline
Race Staff
12X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

Posts: 8007
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We are again planning on a nice fire going on the beach at Hills Island.  (Driftwood permitting)  We will definitely have at least one safety boat there all night, starting around 7pm.  Far better to make Hills Island (mile 281) rather than stopping at Waverly (mile 293) for getting some rest.  Waverly is a great checkpoint with flushing toilets, running water and food for sale... but with the train tracks going right through the park, it's a tough place to sleep. 

Set a goal for Hills Island at minimum.  Others will pass on by the beach and rest in Miami in the wee hours of the morning. 

We've been lucky the last two years to have no "sleepers' in Waverly.  Experience has shown that if you spend the night in Waverly, you've got a real uphill battle for finishing the race in 88 hours.  Even making it to Miami before the cutoff will require being up and on the water at sunrise and moving quickly.
 
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Reply #19 - 05/18/12 at 00:18:50

Really Tired   Offline
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Ground Crew Veteran

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Travelling at night does bring up the question of what kind of lights to have, other than navigation lights, and how to use them.  The rules require that you carry a flashlight or a spotlight, and that certainly seems reasonable.  It is a safety issue, if nothing else.  A light can be used for signaling other boats, spotting on and around the river, and shining your way while walking.  In my boat I carry a big handheld three-cell Maglite that can be focused and defocused for long and medium distances, a small two-cell Mini Maglite as a backup, and a tiny one-cell Maglite Solitaire for looking into the boat and bags.  These lights are all waterproof.  During the MR340 I used the tiny Maglite Solitaire most often.  My Mini Maglite backup, which I always carried on my person, I used ashore.  And I very rarely used the big Maglite while afloat. 

The race is held at or close to the time of the full moon specifically for the abundant light at night.  The large moon provides plenty of light for safe navigation, even when the sky is overcast.  But more than that, it is the moonlight that makes paddling at night so bewitching and even, at times, wonderfully bewildering.  You will want to travel at night, not only because you can make good time, but also because you will have a good time.  To take full advantage of the night’s light you need your night vision, and bright lights destroy night vision.  The best way to preserve your ability to see at night is to use your big light only when you really need to, and that should be infrequently. 

Enjoy the river to the maximum at night by using to the minimum your big bright light.
 
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