November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Rechargeable Li-Ion 18650 batteries in cold weather
Display Avatars Sort By:
Wolf's Rain
(WolfsRain) - MLife
Rechargeable Li-Ion 18650 batteries in cold weather on 11/12/2013 19:41:34 MST Print View

Anyone have experience using these batteries in cold weather? I'm about to purchase a Zebralight and just trying to decide between models. Since winter is the current hiking season, that is my main focus. I've heard primary cells do a bit better in the cold, but am curious what the real world performance of the rechargeable 18650's is. I'm not talking arctic -40f cold, but at least 0f and probably a bit below at night would be the lower end of things.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rechargeable Li-Ion 18650 batteries in cold weather on 11/12/2013 19:50:02 MST Print View

As a general rule, you will get the very best cold weather performance from AA lithium primary batteries. They are not cheap, and they are one-shot.


Wolf's Rain
(WolfsRain) - MLife
Lithium primary on 11/12/2013 19:57:10 MST Print View

Yeah that is what I've heard and have had good experience while running with my hand held flashlight (prefer those when running). I was curious how the 18650s fared since I've had absolutely no experience with them. I may just go with the h51w instead of the h600w mkII.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Rechargeable Li-Ion 18650 batteries in cold weather on 11/13/2013 01:14:49 MST Print View

If you go with the newer H52 (AA) series you can use Lithium AA (disposable), Eneloops, or the 14500 Li-ion rechargeable batteries. It's really nice to have that option.

Edited by skopeo on 11/13/2013 01:17:09 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Core on 11/13/2013 01:28:55 MST Print View

The documentation for the petzl li-on core indicates that the battery does not work as well under 0C and it should also be charged above that temp

The temp range is given down to -30C with the above caveats

As to whether this is applicable to yr particular li-on who knows

You can probably find the info here


Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
Good at -10C on 11/13/2013 03:56:00 MST Print View

I have used them while ski touring in the Zebralight H600 with good results. At -10C the light was still super bright however unfortunately I cannot comment on longevity as after a couple of mulled wines we did some ambitious moonlight tobogganing and the light ended up buried somewhere in a deep snow pack. I am still using its rubbish $5 replacement light over a year later!

Benjamin Meadors

Locale: Central Arkansas
18650s performance in cold weather on 11/20/2013 08:34:46 MST Print View

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I thought I'd chime in, since I'm a flashaholic... I have never personally had an issue with 18650s performing poorly in below freezing temps. However, some people on the candlepower forums seem to suggest that it can damage the cell in such a way that reduces the number of recharge cycles you will have for the life of the cell. I'm not sure how much this differs with the different lithium chemistries.

There are some ways I can think of that you can mitigate the effects of this with your Zebralight. It's made an aluminum body that conducts heat well, so warm it up by holding it in your hands for a while before usage.
While not in use, keep it in a pocket of your baselayer, shell, puffy or the closest to skin layer to keep it at a higher temperature than it would be in your pack.
When the light is on at a high enough level, the LED itself should provide some warm conducting from the heatsink through the aluminum tube to keep the cell at least slightly warmer than ambient temp at least. LEDs get quite hot typically when driven towards their limits. When backpacking though, I typically use medium or low modes almost exclusively.

On the other hand, it's been said that CR123s perform quite well in very cold temps. Unfortunately all of the CR123s I've seen are only 1600mAh, while most current 18650s are 2600mAh or above, and of course expensive and non-rechargeable. :-/