View Full Version : Night vision and light dicipline

2007-08-02, 00:51
Reading over some old posts about different philosophy and the diversity of users here using light sources while hiking and camping.
I use a very minimalist light source, and I have gleaned some good advice from the other side of the spectrum of high output 'serious' light source users.

I am wondering about a new approach. What are your thoughts on Night Vision devices? I have done a bit of prelim research and observed the massive price differences between Gen1 and Gen2-3 optics systems. I have a few questions.

I am looking at the Lomo Elf-1, Gen1 night vision monocular. Its a very basic model, often sold on E-bay for about 100 bucks. Very small, AAA batteries and only 10 ounces ... it seems like it has potential to play around with.

I am wondering, does anyone else here use anything like this?
What are your thoughts in general on using night vision as an alternative to a conventional light source?
As someone interested in stealth camping, it would seem like the Elf-1 is a pretty basic, low cost, lightweight option. With a 350ft range, would it be sufficient for basic camp chores after sun down and recreational wildlife observing?

Also since this place is packed with military persons, does anyone have any good links to 'light discipline' techniques. I am looking for practical information, though I realize the whole topic is largely centered around its combat applications. I am hoping to better my own strategies as applied to stealth camping.

2007-08-02, 02:19
Personally I'd skip the night vision.
It's neat, but a good set is going to set you back a grand or more and I wouldn't trust anything that was cheaper.
It's also like working while wearing blinders, and your field of view is restricted, so in some ways it hampers close in work.

If you worry about your night vision I'd use the pre night vision technology of a red lamp. It doesn't ruin your night vision or spotlight your location but gives you enough light to look at a map or tie on a dry fly.

For now I'd leave the night vision for the military, nighttime wildlife viewers, cat burglars, paint ballers, and peeping tom's.

- My night vision use was years ago when I was army and it was fairly new technology but I can't see where anything I've said above has changed.

2007-08-02, 03:46
Night vision sucks. It's going to break. It's going to get ruined when someone flashes the ol' flashlight into your face. Are you going to buy one for everyone? Let your kid play with it? Save it for spying on what your neighbors are doing for foreplay in their hottub, leave it home. On the other hand, I have used mine to clear my yard a few times when my motion sensor sounded, and I thought the neigbor kids were siphoning off my gas....sort of cool..

Come on Turk! You are our hero of the great north, you ain't supposed to be using technology gizmo's up there. You need an oil soaked rag wrapped around your club for light. Or a headlamp.

2007-08-02, 04:09
For my part, when solo camping in bear backcountry, I'm in the dark of night, I can't see shit, the headlamp only illuminates about 15' in front of me, and the dog is on red alert about something...

...It would be really really nice to have night vision right about that time.

On a lesser tense note, being able to observe wildlife at night would be cool too.

But I'm not ready/willing to spend major $$ on such technology yet.


Thinking further, the ONLY need I would have for night vision would fall into the above two categories - "WTF is that noise/dog barking at" and "recreational wildlife watching". Nighttime hiking and camp chores have been adequately met by my cheap LED headlamp.

2007-08-02, 08:18
Not exactly technology, but a tip for helping night vision...when I was at sea (lookout duties) I noticed that if I scanned the area with my eyes directed above the horizon and consciously used my peripheral vision to look below, I was much more efficient at spotting objects.
Years later I asked an optician why that was - he told me that the eye comprises of rods & cones. The cones work in bright light while the rods are much more efficient in dim light and are also used in peripheral vision. They're located around the perimeter of the retina.
So I guess I was using the 'rods' and peripheral vision to its advantage.
So in darkness, if you want to scan a particular area, don't look directly at it, use your peripheral vision to scan it and you'll have more success.

I don't know much about night vision goggles, but I've a feeling they provide a pretty narrow field of vision - don't think I'd like to wander too far in the bush with them, likely to see everything dead ahead except where you're walking and end up rapidly checking the deck out at ground level! ;)

2007-08-02, 09:15
I know this may seem radical, but I sleep at night.

2007-08-02, 17:30
.....I thought the neigbor kids were siphoning off my gas....sort of cool..

You don't have lockable gas caps??? First thing I bought on my new van, even before I drove it off the dealer's lot. And that was 10 year ago.

Granted all locks can be broken or worked around. But the neighbor's kids? Seems it would be better to get better neighbors .

2007-08-02, 23:52
Man, seriously, F*&k nightvision. Having a few interesting patches on my uniform when I went to the weekend warriors, they figured I was the guy to demonstrate everything. So, they got some nice new NVGs in, and next thing I hear was, "Spice, you guys used there in the real army, right?" So there I was running a white trash ob course in the dark wearing the NVGs our BRILLIANT first sergeant set up for us.

As near as we can tell, he cross threaded the battery compartment cap, and when I jumped up over a tree branch the battery went flying. Loss of power with NVGs means you have a really expensive piece of metal strapped acorss your eyes, and since you've been staring at the phosper glow, your REAL nightvision is toast anyways. Didn't matter. As soon as it went dark, I hit the next branch, came down and smashed the NVGs sideways into my face, getting one and a half black eyes in the process. Now, a night vision scope on an M-60? Jeah!

And they are cool for staring at a moonless sky. But for stealth camping, forget it, go get a tactika and use the blue or red lens cover. Nightvision is an expensive toy in most cases.

2007-08-03, 23:10
Some sort of night-vision monocular on a dummy cord around your neck could be a lifesaver if you were evading behind enemy lines. Apart from that, I couldn't envision a reason to spend that kind of money on it. All but the newest (read expensive) stuff will eat batteries. The newest thing in night vision is DIGITAL, it will bypass the expensive image intensifyer. When a weapon-mountable monocular for $500 comes out, that will hold up, I might bite.

2007-08-04, 00:10
You don't have lockable gas caps??? First thing I bought on my new van, even before I drove it off the dealer's lot. And that was 10 year ago.

Granted all locks can be broken or worked around. But the neighbor's kids? Seems it would be better to get better neighbors .
Might I sugest a paintball gun, great deterent!:tomato: :tomato: :tomato:

2007-08-04, 15:05
Might I sugest a paintball gun, great deterent!:tomato: :tomato: :tomato:

I bet you can find paintball guns at Wal-Mart. Just be sure to ask the guy in the blue vest... you know, the one with the crazy eyes. Knock a few things off the shelf while you're there, and maybe he'll even demonstrate the gun for ya!