by Leon Pantenburg
DISCLAIMER: Fenix sent me this product to review. I was not paid to write the review, and nobody had any input. The following is my opinion, and all I ever promise is fair and unbiased reporting.
We were alligator hunting and trolling through the backwaters of the Pearl River in Central Mississippi. Dusk had fallen, and we were shining lights, looking for the red dots that were alligator eyes.
We didn’t catch at gator that night. We planned on a manly, macho adventure that would be told and re-told around campfires. Instead, the trip turned out to be a pleasant boat ride through some magnificent swamps and wetlands.
But it also sorta answers the question of “Do you really need a tactical light that is also a spotlight?”
In this case, yes. Once an alligator is hooked, it becomes a hand-to-hand battle – in the dark – to hook, lasso, subdue and then kill the reptile. Your light can’t fail.
Outdoors people can find other uses for a compact spotlight, such as finding the boat landing in the dark, looking for a river crossing, trailing a wounded animal, checking the trail in the dark etc.
In the city, you might need a powerful light to check out something that went bump in the night. And there is always the possibility that the electricity will go out and leave you in the dark.
The bottom line is that everyone can be in a situation where the light cannot fail, or you may end up in a world of hurt.
I’ve used Fenix lights extensively, and was really interested in the Fenix PD36R. What really peaked my interest was the turbo setting, with a light distance of 928 feet and a brightness of 1600 lumens. This is a powerful spotlight that could prove to be very important.
Here is the PD36R product info from the Fenix® website.
Here is how it worked out
Weight: At 3.0 ounces, excluding battery, this is a lightweight. That means it will be easy to take along, and so it will be. Your survival gear does you no good if it isn’t with you. I always carry a headlight to keep my hands free, so I will be looking for some sort of headband to use with this light.
Size: At 5.5 inches, the light is compact. See ^^^^
Multiple settings: My most-used setting is generally the lowest (30 lumens). It is more than adequate for finding your way around camp and reading in the tent. If the ECO setting is all you use, the battery will power the light for 115 hours! My second-most used setting is the Turbo – sometimes you need a spotlight.
Switching settings is simple – just push the button on the side and cycle through until you get the one you want. The on-off button on the tail remembers which setting was being used.
Waterproof: It is waterproof to two meters underwater. So if I drop it while setting out duck decoys, it will still work. (Reaching down to pick up the light can be a chilling experience.) In this case, attaching the light to a lanyard makes good sense!
Recharging time: Fenix claims the PD36R can be completely charged in four hours with a 5V/3A USB Type-C charging port. I haven’t run the battery completely out, so I’ll go with the factory claims.
I have gone to rechargeables whenever possible. Packing extra batteries for electronic tools is just common sense. But the dead batteries also have to be packed out. Paired with a solar charger, the Fenix can be completely charged every day to be used at night. This is invaluable on multi-day excursions.
Battery: I haven’t used a 21700/500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery (included) before, so the jury is out on how it will perform. So far, it is performing as advertised.
The PD36R is is the first Fenix product with a 21700 Li-ion battery, and the company claims this extends battery runtimes to twice that of the standard Li-ion battery. The high-capacity 5000 mAh battery can be charged through the USB-C port on the flashlight. The battery’s charge status can be seen at a glance with the external battery level indicator.
Impact resistant to one meter. I presume this means on concrete. One meter is probably the average of how far most lights get dropped.
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Guarantee from Fenix Lighting USA.
Not so hot on: Fenix Light Limited, the manufacturer, is based out of China. The light is made in China. I wish this light was made in the USA.
In my limited experience with this light so far, I have been pleased. I am particularly happy with the spotlight applications. I will be out on the Mississippi River again soon, and the light will be wrung out under field conditions.
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