Having a bright flashlight with you on a paddling trip, especially when night paddling, can make a difference between being able to navigate and being able to be seen while on the water and not. In the U.S. if you paddle at night, the U.S. Coast Guard requires that you carry a bright, white light to point at other boats as needed. The ideal flashlight will be bright, light and watertight. To that end, I was recently able to checkout a new flashlight by Fenix. This is my Fenix PD36R Flashlight Review.
The Fenix PD36R is an USB-C rechargeable flashlight with a maximum brightness of 1600 lumens out to the distance of about three football fields. It includes a 21700-style li-ion replaceable and rechargeable battery with a capacity up to 5000mAh and 500 charging cycles. It battery charges through a built-in USB-C port. It’s IP68 rated for dustproofness and waterproofness, which means it’ll last 30 minutes in 1.5 meters of water. The aluminum body is drop tested to 1.5 meters on six sides. It also has a built-in battery life indicator. The claimed weight for the flashlight and battery are 3 ounces and 2.6 ounces, respectively. My scale puts it at 5.7 ounces with the belt clip attached.
The battery itself has high-tech features. It includes a circuit that prevents short circuits, over charge/discharge and overheating. It also has a pressure relief vent to prevent potential explosions should it short circuit. It can charge from 1A to 5A sources with 1A recommended. With a 10 minute charge, you can get five hours of light on the lowest setting. With a 5V/3A charger expect charging times of four hours until fully charged.
Here are the stats:
- Maximum Brightness: 1600 lumens
- Peak Beam Distance: 309 yards
- IP Rating: IP68 – 2m submersible
- Impact Resistance: 1 m
- Brightness & Runtimes:
- Turbo: 1600 lumens / 2 hr 50 min
- High: 800 lumens / 5 hr 49 min
- Med: 350 lumens / 8 hr 24 min
- Low: 150 lumens / 26 hr
- Eco: 30 lumens / 115 hr
- Strobe: 1600 lumens / —
- Dimensions: 5.4- by 1-inch
- Weight: 3oz
- MSRP: $132
Fenix PD36R Flashlight Review
I was excited to get this flashlight, because a pocketable 1600-lumen flashlight would not only be handy for paddling but also for my work as a nightscape photographer and photo workshop instructor. It’s always nice to have an extremely bright flashlight along for framing photos and finding your way around at night. While Fenix bills the PD36R flashlight as a tactical light, I found that the size and brightness make for a nice light for camping and paddling as well.
After breaking open the packaging and finding a fabric holster, a couple of replacement parts, a USB cable and a belt clip included with the flashlight, I started charging it. I used the charger for my phone and by the time evening rolled around it was fully charged. When you turn the light on, an LED on the side switch lets you know what charge you have left in the battery:
- Solid Green = 100% to 85% charged, saturated
- Flashing Green = 85% to 50% charged, sufficient
- Solid Red = 50% to 25% charged, poor
- Flashing Red = 25% to 1% charged, critical
There are two switches on the PD36R flashlight. On the rear is a tactical tail switch that when half-pressed turns the light on for as long as you hold it down. When pushed completely it turns the light on and off. The side switch controls the lighting modes. There are six lighting modes ranging from the 1600 lumens Turbo mode down to an Eco mode of 30 lumens. There’s even a strobe mode that you access by holding down the side switch. While I can’t knock the flashlight for not having an mode, I wish future flashlights would include a SOS strobe mode to meet USCG nighttime signaling requirements.
The first test out with the flashlight made me giddy. I channeled my inner Harry Caray by exclaiming, “Holy Cow! Fenix wins!” This flashlight is extremely bright in Turbo mode and throws a wide beam to light up a big area. I found this extremely helpful for night photography but also for camp. On the water, this thing brightens up the shoreline without an issue and when shown at other boats, it lets them know exactly where you are (paddlecraft aren’t required to have running lights). Over the testing period, I found myself more than satisfied with this light. I even managed to drop it on the ground a few times with no harm.
There are a few accessories that you can buy to make this light even handier. If you want to use it as a headlamp, a Nite Ize Headband will allow you to wear it on your head. For riding a bike, you can add the TwoFish Lockblocks Flashlight Holder to your handlebars or the more elaborate Fenix ALB-10 bike mount. Fenix also makes diffusers and filters for its flashlights. In the future, I’d love to see a snoot attachment that allowed for a tighter beam.
I enjoyed doing the Fenix PD36R Flashlight review. I really like this flashlight. It’s bright, light and watertight, and it seems to be durable. For me, it’s the perfect flashlight to carry around in my pocket. If you are looking for a bright flashlight that you can use while paddling, camping or biking (with the right mount), then this flashlight is for you. This is a killer light and well-worth the cash.
BUY: Fenix PD36R [Direct]
Disclosure of Material Connection: Fenix-Store supplied a review flashlight in exchange for an honest review.