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Review: Flashlights

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Headlamps have become de rigueur in the outdoors world for light at night. But the handheld flashlight still has a place for camping and other activities. This spring I put three flashlight models head to head, including a penlight, a super-bright model, and one made with an “aerospace-aluminum” body.

It is not a cheap source for illumination. But the blindingly-bright (literally) Pelican Products 7060 LED is one fun torch. At $199.95, this beefy light was developed in collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department. It has an “engineering-grade resin” body, which Pelican touts as virtually indestructible.

Pelican Products 7060 LED

For outdoors types, the durability is nice. Even better is its bright beam. This nine-inch-long flashlight can ignite a black night like it is day again.

I used the Pelican Products flashlight camping in May. On a night hike down a dark trail, the flashlight’s beam cut into the air and created a tunnel of white. I swooped the forest and caught iridescent glimpses of animal eyes looking out of the dark.

Pelican Products (www.pelican.com) touts a white beam of 175 lumens for a full 90 minutes without the loss of intensity. This is possible because of a large and efficient lithium-ion rechargeable battery and a strong LED lamp technology.

Pelican 7060 has on/off buttons on side and on end

It weighs about 10 ounces and feels substantial in the hand. Pelican includes a plug-in stand where you dock the light to recharge at home.

In use at night, the Pelican 7060 LED is among the most powerful beams I have ever wielded. It can blaze a trail for at least 300 feet. You can shoot a beam into the sky and it looks like a little spotlight on a foggy night.

Energizer Pen Light

At the opposite end of the light spectrum, I tested Energizer’s High Tech LED Pen Light. This pen-size light is surprisingly bright. It fits in a shirt pocket but has enough LED power to light up a trail on a hike.

The pen light costs only $14.99 and weighs mere ounces. Energizer (www.energizer.com) cites 10 lumens of brightness. It runs for about 23 hours between new batteries, the company specs.

Though it is made mainly for the industrial market, I liked this tiny light as a backup source and a convenient small wand that cast a white bubble of light in the dark.

Finally, the space-age ICON flashlights are made of an anodized “aerospace-aluminum.” The company (www.myiconlight.com) touts that the lights can be “dropped, thrown and rattled around without any damage.” They are waterproof, too.

ICON flashlights

I tested the Rogue 2 model, which costs $47.99. It comes in three colors and has a unique metal shell design that dissipates heat and provides grip.

The company promises “stratospheric light output” from the Rogue. At about 100 lumens, it is bright. Its beam stretched past 100 feet down a dark trail, a solid guide one evening as I hiked into the night.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.

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