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First Look: Electric Multitool

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The GoalZero Switch 8 Recharger mates simply with the company’s Bolt Flashlight Tip, a to-be-released product that converts it into a small torch. The flashlight screws onto one end of the battery pack. It will be sold starting in November, and Goal Zero says other add-on tips are in the works to diversify the use of the device even more. —Sean McCoy

The Gear: Goal Zero Switch 8 Recharger ($39.99, available now) and Bolt Flashlight Tip ($24.99, available Nov. 1) or as Switch Light Kit (Switch 8 + Bolt Flashlight Tip + Light Band + USB cables, $99, available Nov. 1)

Where To Use It: Recharge your cell phone in the backcountry, then light up the night with an interchangeable flashlight tip.

Who’s It For: Campers and technophiles who don’t leave their gadgets at home and those who appreciate the efficiency of multi-use, rechargeable lights and gizmos.

Specs: The Goal Zero Switch 8 Recharger is a 3.2-ounce power source the size and shape of a roll of quarters. It powers or charges any USB device with its 8-watt-hour battery. (In our tests it recharged a dead smart phone once.)

Purchased separately, the Bolt Flashlight Tip simply screws onto the switch after the recharging port is removed. The flashlight kicks out 160 lumens of glow in an adjustable beam for three hours on high output (seven hours on low) from a full charge.

Bolt Flashlight Tip and included diffusers, pictured with the Switch 8

Boring But Important: Sold separately, the tip system also travels separately. Four diffusers — green, white, blue and red — are included with the tip.

Made In: China.

First Impressions: Very light and yet tough feeling, the Switch 8 Recharger and Bolt combination makes for a nice, rugged flashlight with the added bonus of acting as a phone charger.

Killer! The flashlight flips between high and low output instantly with the tap of a button.

Flaw: Lots of pieces. Plan to carry the tip in a ditty bag or other small sack to keep track of the included diffusers, flashlight tip or USB recharging port when it’s removed from the Switch 8 Recharger. It would be nice if these were integrated some day.

Our Take: At a total cost of $65, the two products become a pretty pricy flashlight or recharger, but taken together it’s a great deal. With hundreds of recharges per battery, the long-term investment is good and ecologically responsible.

Who Should Buy It: Owners of portable solar panels who can use this to store energy during the daytime or those who would like extended phone battery in the backcountry with the bonus of a flashlight.

More Beta/Buy Now: Goal Zero

—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC.

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