After five long months, the crisp temperatures of North America’s coldest sea cliffs are beginning to melt. Though a rainy season has replaced the snow, dry days will interrupt many climbers’ weekend plans as they strive to get outdoors. While the warmer conditions make climbing more enjoyable, boulder seekers in crisp conditions will shed a tear as they see their projects grow more difficult with each grade. To prolong the winter conditions a little longer, many will try night climbing in search of sticky rock. You will need a light.
Finding the right light for your nighttime projects is no easy task. It needs to be durable and bright, durable, ideally waterproof and rechargeable. Overall, this is asking a lot of a power tool. There are plenty of inexpensive options on Amazon for those looking to save money, but if you want a tool that will last, it’s probably worth going for something more substantial.
Today we’re going to look at three lights from the leading manufacturers of portable bouldering fans. This means your batteries are interchangeable between tools, potentially saving you a little money.
Makita 18V LXT cordless work light with lithium-ion battery
This monstrous light costs a whopping $169.00 USD (211.57 CAD) and the battery is not included. The 6.0Ah 18V LXT battery is a workhorse, though, giving the climber 13 hours of continuous illumination on the 750 lumen low setting, or three hours on the 3000 lumen high setting. In comparison, the Tikka Petzl headlamp has 300 lumens. An iPhone 12 flashlight has around 100 lumens. The medium setting is around 1500 lumens, but no minimum continuous runtime is offered at this setting.
This light is waterproof and dustproof, and the batteries are interchangeable with your portable fan. In addition, you can connect this light to a wall to illuminate your home gym. It also comes with a three-year warranty. It can be mounted on a tripod and weighs 10.6 pounds.
Ryobi ONE+ 18V Hybrid 20-Watt LED work light
We love Ryobi. This cheaper manufacturer comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and costs just $79.00 (C$98.90). The battery is of course not included in the scope of delivery, but it is interchangeable with the ONE+ fan, which is listed in our Bouldering fans article. The light rotates a full 360 degrees and pumps out light at 2400 lumens. It also has a high and low setting, but you’ll never get the 13-hour battery life of the Makita.
It advertises that it’s easy to store, but none of these lights are really going to disappear into your crash pad. They are each about the size of the Ryobi fan. This has a wired option like the Makita and runs for around two hours on the highest setting. It’s a solid choice, but difficult to use if you have a longer session. It’s also less durable.
Milwaukee M18 ROVER dual power floodlight
Finally, the M18 Rover from Milwaukee costs a whopping $168.92 CAD$211.57. The three setting light comes in at 3000 lumens on high, 1500 on medium, 650 on low. The run times for each setting are two hours, four hours, and nine hours, respectively. With that in mind, Milwaukee says you can get 12 hours out of it, and some are even suggesting longer run times. Although this outrageously expensive tool performs better than the Ryobi, it performs worse than the Makita. With that in mind, the five-year limited lifetime warranty is substantial.
Its roll cage design makes it durable and can be powered by an extension cord. Is this the solution to your bouldering problem? Maybe. If you already have your truly incredible fan, then yes. Otherwise, for the money, the Makita is a better choice. As mentioned earlier, there are cheaper options, but their durability and runtime is questionable. Some lights advertise with numbers like 5000 or 8000 lumens, but do not meet this value in practice. Read reviews if you choose a cheap option.