In December of 2018, on a Nashville Grotto trip to SCCi’s Tumbling Rock Cave Preserve, I had the opportunity to test out the Orcatorch D550 light. My thoughts:
Now that I’ve been caving for a few years, I’ve seen how punishing the damp, muddy environment can be on lights whether they be headlamps or handheld flashlights. Running across the Orcatorch that specializes in dive lights made me realize that it may be the best way to go for caving since they are waterproof (obviously) and generally of a very sturdy build quality. This proved true with the Orcatorch D550.
On arrival, it came in a sturdy plastic carrying case with all of it’s components which include the 18650 battery needed and a charger which is great. There were spare O-rings and a wrist strap which I was particularly interested in trying.
The light itself has 2 brightness levels, the high mode at 1000 lumens and low-mode at 367 lumens… expected battery life is comparable to other 18650 powered lights being 2 hrs 5min on high-mode and 5 hrs 45 min on low per their website. Since I use these lights to take a large number of photographs, I found the high-mode time to be accurate. The light was decent for photos being at nearly 1000 lumens. The beam itself is extremely intense and focused making it excellent for seeing far off places, but as you can see in the photo below, not the best floodlight to illuminate a wide space that is near.
In practice, I really liked the wrist strap which helped free up my hands and prevented me from having to constantly reach into a pocket to use the light. A word of advice, is to use the included lanyard when wearing the wrist strap to prevent the light from falling off of the wrist strap.
Orcatorch has done a fantastic job in the construction of the D550 and I would recommend it as a great backup light for caving. Being a dive light, it ensures that you have a functional light, even when fully submerged that is strong enough to get banged around.