Flashlight (or some call it torchlight) is an essential equipment that you should have for your climbing trip up Mount Kinabalu. Flashlight will be use during your second phase of the climb, from Laban Rata (or Pendant Hut if you are staying with Mountaintorq) to the peak in the dark. The journey will start around 2 am, in which it will be pitch dark if it is not full moon.
Ordinary flashlight or headlight?
I received a question from one of fellow climber who asked whether he should have an ordinary flashlight or headlight (or headlamp) for him. From my personal experiences, having a headlamp while climbing Kinabalu will give you more advantage than ordinary flashlight.
During the second phase of your climb, you will be going through the dark with only a white rope to guide you for nearly 2km. Almost all the time you have to use both your hands to hold the rope to prevent yourself from falling, and at some places, you may have to scramble with both your hands and legs.
Having a headlamp (or headlight) will free one of your hands from holding a flashlight. It will then gives you more stability with your both hands free while going through that 2km stretch with rope on uneven surfaces. I used an ordinary flashlight in my first few climbs, in which I have to hang it on my neck when I got to scramble and hold the rope up the trail.
Ordinary incandescent (filament) bulb or LED?
Flashlight with ordinary light bulb (with bulb and tungsten filament to omit light) are actually history. However, do not be surprised when you find a lot of those while shopping for flashlight in Kundasang town or even Ranau. (Yeah, my father in law still use it at night in Tinangol). Nowadays, the trend shifts from light bulb to LED (light emitting diode) because of several advantages of LED:
- It’s high shock and vibration resistant
- Low power wattage draw, puts less load on the battery
- Long life
- Fast turn on/off time (in nanoseconds)
However, I have to tell you that LED bulbs advantage is not in brightness. They are commonly lower in brightness than standard incandescent bulbs. They also emits less heat. In my past experiences, it is true. The only disadvantages of LED flashlight is most probably a bit pricey than ordinary incandescent flashlight.
You can check out these flashlight from Amazon.com: