LD30 Flashlight and HM61R Headlamp: Research in Tunnels and Rock Crevices

Ambassador Sean S.

To frontload this story with the information you want to know: (1) the LD30 flashlight is an impressively strong, lightweight flashlight and (2) the HM61R is, like other Fenix headlamps I own, very powerful. The HM61R is however easily removed from the headstrap, and this is integral to our work. Other than liters of water, these two lights are the most important things we carry.

I am conducting research for my PhD dissertation. Another graduate student and I are studying tortoises in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, near the international border. These animals are most active when it is not yet too hot, and are already returning to their shelters by late morning or early afternoon. This means we are up and hiking by 4am, and peering into rock crevices, burrows, tunnels for hours at a time. How does a good flashlight tie into this? Looking for tortoises without a good flashlight in this place is dangerous and exhausting. Trying to get a good look in a hole or under a boulder in broad daylight requires you to get your face too close to a place where more than tortoises may be lurking. These lights help us work safely and efficiently.

The LD30 flashlight: It is built to last and, like most of my Fenix products, to provide some serious light. I’ve dropped it from several meters on to lava rock and granite. It barely has a scratch. It has 5 brightness settings and can be clicked on, or the on button can be lightly depressed to flash it on. This is particularly useful because, once the sun is up, I am constantly turning it on and off. This is not a fancy, unnecessary feature. It is a practical one that I love.

The HM61R: What can I say? It’s another powerful Fenix headlamp and a great product. Being able to detach it easily from the headstrap is very useful for this work, where often you need light in places you can not and should not put your head. It is easy to use, batteries are easily swapped in and out, and being able to magnetically charge it is great. We are frequently doing so in the car or in the field with a power bank. This is the third Fenix headlamp I own. The size of it and these features make it the best for the work. If you need to justify getting a new headlamp, cite this story. Take-home message: there is no one-light-fits-all. There’s the right tool for the job.