Flashlights. Everybody needs at least one and–most often–more than one, each light suited to a particular task. In my case, that includes tying on a fly or lure after dark, finding my way through the alder tangles back to my truck, and illuminating the area around a camp stove so I can have dinner.
I recently had the chance to test five new-for-2012 flashlights, a couple of which are truly outstanding. Fortunately, my neighbors didn’t call the cops despite seeing all the odd-looking activity in my yard after dark. I am thus still free to report the following.
1. The PolyTac 90 LED is a small (4.1 ounces, 5.22 inches high) right-angled light that puts out a whopping 170 lumens at its highest setting with 3 hours and 45 minutes run time. On the lowest-output setting, the two 3-volt lithium batteries are said to last for 30 hours. An attached belt clip plus a hanging carabiner give various attachment options. At $85, it’s nice, but pricey. From streamlight.com.
2. The new Point Hat-Clip light from Princeton Tec is one of the best fly- or lure-changing lights I’ve ever used. At $15, the price isn’t bad either. The 4.5-inch-long unit weighs only 0.7-ounce and clips easily to a hat or fishing-vest pocket. The flexible neck adjusts easily to any angle. Two 2016 lithium coin-cell batteries power a 10-lumen LED, which is plenty for tying one on after dark.
3. I think this ICON Link LED light just might be the best of the bunch. The 4-inch-long, 3.1 ounce light is made of rugged aluminum with a built-in carabiner clip. The single AA battery powers out 50 lumens at the high setting; 6 lumens on low with a stated run time of 70 hours. At $27.99, it’s a very good deal for a quality product.
4. New from Kelty, the well-known backpacking and camping brand, this Flashback light telescopes for use as a flashlight or as an area lantern. Powered by four AAA-batteries, the light puts out 85 lumens at the highest setting.The price is $45. When telescoped as an area light, the unit is 5.5 inches tall, 2.25 inches in diameter, and weighs 8.9 ounces. Extremely useful around camp, it might be a little heavy for backpackers.
5. Do anglers need yet another headlamp model? Maybe if the price is right. At $20, the new Princeton Tec Byte headlamp fits that criterion exactly. At 2.25 ounces, the light is smaller than the company’s previous models yet still puts out 85 35 lumens on the high setting. Better yet, it’s powered by two AAA batteries, which are easy to find and carry just about anywhere.