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  1. #1
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    Best lighing for "Covert Operations"??

    I am hoping to get some good ideas from you guys out there.

    What I am looking for is a low output light that is just bright enough to see where I am going while climbing singletrack, preferebly something with a red or green filter that would make me less likely to be noticed from a distance.

    Some of the ideas I have been bouncing around are to rig up some sort of removable red filter cap to my Exposure Joystick, or possibly bar mountin a petzyl headlamp with a red filter.

    If anyone has any experiences or suggestions with this kind of thing I would love to hear them.

  2. #2
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    hmm, might want to do that, at hunting season,....
    seen some riders, having cow-bells on the bike,...
    did ask, ist that for the bears, or cougars ? no, for the anxious hunters,...
    and they had lights galore.
    for the real covert stuff, there is Infrared.
    for the low output, any exposed LED, is visible for miles.
    as such, no bare LED is good for that.
    you might want to , have the lights pointed down, to avoid, at up-hill or distance,
    to flash the lights.
    for wild-live,... with the rattling chain, they could hear you for miles,....
    never mind huffing and puffing.
    for the occasional thrill , wait for a full moon, and ride with low or no light.
    Do have somewhere in my pile, a little light for that, mostly developed, for indoor/outdoor security patrol, enough to see where you going, read maps,
    etc. and can walk right up to, without getting noticed.
    anyway, for most parts, out in the woods, you'd want to be seen,..

    maybe you can explain further.

    cheers, Rob
    mtbl.robs-x

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rschultz101
    hmm, might want to do that, at hunting season,....
    seen some riders, having cow-bells on the bike,...
    did ask, ist that for the bears, or cougars ? no, for the anxious hunters,...
    and they had lights galore.
    for the real covert stuff, there is Infrared.
    for the low output, any exposed LED, is visible for miles.
    as such, no bare LED is good for that.
    you might want to , have the lights pointed down, to avoid, at up-hill or distance,
    to flash the lights.
    for wild-live,... with the rattling chain, they could hear you for miles,....
    never mind huffing and puffing.
    for the occasional thrill , wait for a full moon, and ride with low or no light.
    Do have somewhere in my pile, a little light for that, mostly developed, for indoor/outdoor security patrol, enough to see where you going, read maps,
    etc. and can walk right up to, without getting noticed.
    anyway, for most parts, out in the woods, you'd want to be seen,..

    maybe you can explain further.

    cheers, Rob
    mtbl.robs-x
    The usual reason folks ask this is because they're riding less than fully legal trails. They don't want to be seen by other people, in particular by land managers, park officials, or law enforcement. A lot of trails that are legal by day, also forbid riding at night.

    Rob is right, even a dim LED is visible from long distances. I don't really know if other colors, such as red or green, are less visible or noticeable from a distance. Riding without lights when the moon is out is a good option. I've done that a fair amount. You have to keep in mind that it can take as much as 20 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to low light. Then the trick is to avoid coming across lights that'll reset your night vision.

  4. #4
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    I'm not really worried about being shot by hunters in my neck of the woods since there is no hunting anywhere I ride. I am also not foolish enough to think I can hide from mountain lions in their own habitat. If I'm dinner, so be it.

    My concern is while riding in areas i know I shouldn't be (please save the lecture), I don't want to draw any unwanted attention to myself while climbing.

    High power LED's are visible for miles and miles and make it pretty easy for you to be tracked from a distance. I am not as concerned on the DH since I'm moving fast and don't stop often. I usualy climb with no lights when possible or my helmet light on low when I need it.

  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
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    Shroud the light a little on the sides so it can only be seen straight on.
    I like turtles

  6. #6
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    grain of salt,...
    on colorado , I got turned around a couple of times,
    even after I ignored the signs, .... their reason, mountain lions and bears.
    other times , I've asked the friendly troopers, weather they can post, how many in what area, is trouble...
    the thing, is they just won't tell anyone, nor does, the local enforcement, have the numbers, even if they do, they are not allowed to post.
    so there is a number of reasons, to close a trail, hikers and trail erosion, is probably the smallest, and in large areas, it's a real pain for them, to recover parts or bodies .
    as usual , you don't want to ride alone,.... and if you ride with more then one,
    on any switchbacks, your nightvision, is going down the tubes, by your friends lights.
    no matter how low it's set.
    another thing, with those shinny, chrome spokes,.... even the black anodized ones,
    reflect light, especially when dinged.
    the best I'd think, you could do, is have the light on low, shine into a milky plastic bike bottle, with the back half , alu foil, and bottom. kinda like a lantern, horizontal.
    might not be ideal, once you have speed.
    oh, never mind, that some of the Forrest Rangers, do have Infrared sights, most of the times, they are happy once you are off the territory , even let you ride it, just observing.
    but other times, you will, get a ticket, a notice, maybe a warning.
    and usually it, starts , where you parked, you car,...
    and these days,... your cell-phone has gps ,... and they have nice handheld displays,...
    ... anyway, better safe then sorry, so do ride with enough lights,
    when something does happen, those guys get reamed , and next time they return the favor.
    oh, even if thing go well,... they are always tire tracks too,...
    cheers, Rob

  7. #7
    BBW
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    get any powerful brand (surefire) with a red filter.... 200+ lumens will give you enough light
    BBW. MS, RD

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danimal1
    I am hoping to get some good ideas from you guys out there.

    What I am looking for is a low output light that is just bright enough to see where I am going while climbing singletrack, preferebly something with a red or green filter that would make me less likely to be noticed from a distance.

    Some of the ideas I have been bouncing around are to rig up some sort of removable red filter cap to my Exposure Joystick, or possibly bar mountin a petzyl headlamp with a red filter.

    If anyone has any experiences or suggestions with this kind of thing I would love to hear them.
    I totally understand where you are coming from. Sometimes you need stealth. I used to ride a trail at night that came a couple hundred feet from a house with nothing in between. I know how to pedal quietly but you can't miss an led light even when on low, although low helps. Sometimes you just have to wing it in total darkness. It helps to use your lowest level of light before you know you will go total stealth. That way your eyes have time to adjust to lower light levels.

    Here are some ideas. Buy a cheap mini-led key chain light like these. Maybe use some spray paint to paint the body so it doesn't glow. Then try to make a shroud for the led to keep the light from going too wide. It helps if the inside of the shroud is black and non-reflective. Mount it as low on your bike as possible and aim the light as low as possible so people are less likely to see it.

    Right now I'm working on my own stealthy light. I have a nice little mini / low power/ single AA/ one mode led torch. I usually use it for emergency repairs, can't be more than 30lm. Still , that's too bright for stealth. The plan is to buy some thin green colored translucent plastic and make a dark green lens for the torch. The trick is going to be finding the right level of light. Enough for you to see maybe ten feet but remain mostly imperceptible to anyone else outside the 100ft range. If I get mine right maybe I'll post up with the results.

    Anyway, I saw this torch while doing a search. It might work well but it is long and skinny and uses 3 x AAAA-batteries, that's right , quad A's. It's the Streamlight Stylus. It comes with a removable shroud. It even has a video on YouTube. For the $10 it might be worth it.

  9. #9
    Its got what plants crave
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    I saw a breakdown of what Mark Weir carries in his typical riding pack when he rides most of the time. It included a red lense for his light. I understand this is pretty common in areas like Marin where you may cross land of questionable legality to access other areas. Red preserves your night vision and is less telling than a bright white light. You can get lense covers for cheap torches that would work nicely I think.
    Ocala Mountain Bike Association - www.omba.org

  10. #10
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    You could probably DIY some kind of a hood with a red filter inside pretty easily.

    If you do the hood right, it will also help reduce side spill, which would make it that much more "covert"
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  11. #11
    FKA Malibu412
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    Night vision...kinda pricey though.



    Everything else will make you visible, well, other than riding by moonlight.

    Make sure you don't wear any reflective strips/clothing.
    "I love the bike. It's my meditation. I think I'm bike-sexual." -Robin Williams

  12. #12
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    You might consider mounting a light (filtered or not) LOW on the bike - off the fork leg would probably work ok. The lower it is mounted, the more it might possibly be obscured by brush and the like. Long shadows though...

  13. #13
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    if you want to make your own colored filters I used to use Cellophane wrapping paper. You can get it in almost any color and if you want it darker you just double up on the sheets.


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    I was also thinking about mounting the light really low, that way even 20 lumens will get you up a fireroad climb, go red maybe.

    You need to do something to make its visibility angle less to, as straight on as possible while still lighting where you need it, struggling to work that out currently though.

  15. #15
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    night vision is the only solution.

  16. #16
    Rhino
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    Walmart

    Walmart man. They have everything from 29ers, Singlespeeds, to...night vision goggles.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/ATN-Viper-...ci_sku=7079455

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turveyd
    I was also thinking about mounting the light really low, that way even 20 lumens will get you up a fireroad climb, go red maybe.

    You need to do something to make its visibility angle less to, as straight on as possible while still lighting where you need it, struggling to work that out currently though.
    Yep, I've been playing around a couple days now and almost have it down. Brent878 had the right idea with the cellophane. Current I'm using something like that now and it works fine. I'm sure red is fine but I like a dark green, both will work in keeping your night vision as long as the light is not too intense.

    So far here's some things I figured out. The shroud ( if attached to a torch ) needs to extend at least 3-4" from the front of the torch. Right now I'm searching for a piece of soft plastic tubing that I can cut ( radius wise ) to make a half-tube. It has to be wide enough so even after cutting it will stop any light from coming out the sides. The outside of the half-tube I can use black tape to prevent any light from passing but the inside needs to be as non-reflective as possible. Even black tape has some gloss to it. I'm thinking some kind of black fabric ( velvet, felt, burlap, the rougher the better ) Anyway, I've got a proto-type going using cardboard as a shroud tube and it looks like it will work great. If I do this right the shroud will attach to the torch via Velcro. This will allow me to remove the shroud more easily.

    So far I've noticed when using the proto-type that it is real import to keep the light pointed down at about a 45 degree angle and keep the output level low. When I say low , I mean LOW...just a couple levels above moon light. Make it too bright and the light will reflect off the ground and illuminate you. When I'm ready I'll try to take some photos. Real important will be how visible you are from the head-on position. If aimed properly you should almost be invisible from 100ft. The down side is that usable range will only be about 10ft. That will mean you will only be able to use it if you ride r-e-a-l s-l-o-w.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878
    if you want to make your own colored filters I used to use Cellophane wrapping paper. You can get it in almost any color and if you want it darker you just double up on the sheets.

    brent, Can you recommend a store that sells the cellophane? I can get it off the internet but I'd rather not go that route if I can help it.

    Work on my light is going good. I only need a supply of cellophane so I can judge just how green I want the light. I'm still experimenting with the type of shroud but before I chose the final set-up I need a darker filter.

    For others thinking about making one of your own, rigging a shroud on one of those cheap 9-led lights might be a way to go.

    I really wanted to get some outdoor photos going this weekend but damn the rain doesn't look like it will stop. Maybe Sunday if I'm lucky.

  19. #19
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    Well I got a chance to test my proto-mod tonight. I'm gonna call it the "Ghost 1". The real trick was trying to find the best way to use it. Tonight I found out if you're going to bar mount you have to almost aim the light at the front tire to keep the light from being visible from the front which if I must say is not an easy task. It does light up the front wheel a bit but since it is a very, very low light level...you are nearly invisible.

    I think "Ghost 1" is a good choice of name. The light throws out a very faint and eerie green light. Aimed for maximum stealth it is practically invisible from the sides. Also practically invisible from the front as well. ( *Unless someone is approaching from a lower point of view, like the bottom of a hill ) The down side to all this stealth is that you have to ride real slow to use it safely. Usable range is only maybe 7 feet. I tried to take a photo from the front but the photo just comes out black. Even when I tried to enhance the photo using Photoshop I still couldn't get any image at all. My camera only has a standard night setting. A better camera with maybe a ten second exposure might have a better chance.

    My next goal will be to find a better torch with some modes that will allow for different levels of stealth. The search is on.

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