Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies. Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won’t or can’t turn back.
The ACR Firefly 3 is the most recent iteration of this line. SOLAS compliant and powered by AA size batteries, it is a far cry from its Vietnam war era forerunners.
Do you carry one of these? Well you should because in my opinion it is one of the most important pieces of equipment you could have in a backcountry emergency.
Wilderness search and rescue cases usually fall into one of two categories. Somebody gets hurt or somebody gets lost. In either case by the time the good guys receive the call for help and get headed in the right direction it is either late in the day or already dark. Although it seems counterintuitive, that is a good thing because as long as they have a good light source, victims are easier to find at night.
The first public safety asset to respond is usually a helicopter. The crew will fly the search area and look for lights. Flashlights and fires are common in popular wilderness areas. Everybody out there is using one or the other to run/bike the trail or sit next to in camp. From the air these points of light are indistinguishable so they all have to be checked out until they find what they are looking for.
Big point to remember here, the consistent pulsating flash of a white strobe light is unique. It stands out like a sore thumb and nobody uses one to light up a campsite or take a walk. Strobe lights are designed to grab attention and that is exactly what you want when you need help.
I have participated in over 350 missions as a SAR Tech-EMT and the single most important piece of emergency equipment I recommend that people keep with them out there is a strobe light. Not just any strobe light. The ACR Firefly 3. The blinking light feature found on high quality headlamps like the Petzl TacTikka Plus are good for backup but they cannot compare to the purpose built capabilities of ACR strobe lights. The sharp, quick burst of light emitted by a Firefly is very different then the soft hues put out by LEDs or incandescent bulbs. The Firefly 3 generates a full spectrum flash that pierces the darkness and punches through trees.
Unlike a fire, all you have to do it slide the switch to the ON position and set it out in the open. It will run all night, can be seen for miles and won’t get out of control and burn down half the forest. The ACR Firefly 3 weighs only 3.8 ounces with two AA size lithium batteries, is waterproof and built to military specs. In fact, ACR strobe lights have been standard issue for military pilots since the Vietnam War.
This is the same unit I include in the Wilderness Emergency Kits (WEK) that I make up for my friends and family. It is what I carry in the field. It is essential equipment so get one and strap it to your PFD, mount it on your pack or keep it with your survival gear.
Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies.
Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won’t or can’t turn back.