Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Gear Closet: LED Lenser Flashlights and Headlamp

Flashlights and headlamps are one of those pieces of gear that you kind of take for granted. After all, they all generally provide illumination of some degree or another and they are all equally useful when the lights go out. But that said, not all flashlights are created equal and it isn't until you find one of exceptional quality that begin to see the difference. Take for example the fantastic line of lights from LED Lenser, a company that shares its heritage with Leatherman Multitools, and it shows. Where as the Leatherman line of products are well known for their ruggedness and high quality, that same level of engineering and build construction has been brought to this line of lights as well.

I recently had the opportunity to test multiple products from the LED Lenser line and came away very impressed with each of them. Not only do they provide plenty of illumination, but they were also built to withstand lots of punishment and have a number of clever features integrated into their design as well. The company even thought ahead enough to include a high quality case with each of the lights as well, which is a nice touch that you don't always find with the competitors. Each of the devices is water resistant, which comes in handy in inclement weather, and feature powerful, high quality LED bulbs too.

The first light that I tested was the H7 headlamp, which cranks out a stunning 155 lumens, to a range of 180 meters, on its brightest setting. On that level it'll only last for about 4.5 hours however, but if you dial it back to its lowest setting, a mere 2.7 lumens, the light is good for a solid 60+ hours. The H7 includes a comfortable headband and an easy to access battery pack, but what impressed me more was the integrated focus system that allows you quickly and easily adjust the light from a tight beam to a wide, dispersed pattern with ease.

I've used quite a few headlamps over the years and this one is among the brighter, more comfortable and easy to use lights that I've ever come across. It uses 3 AAA batteries, has a built in adjustable bezel for adjusting the angle of the light and weighs in at just 4 ounces, which makes it a great travel accessory for just about any excursion to any part of the planet. The H7 headlamp comes with an MSRP of $60, which makes it a bit more expensive than similar products from other companies, but the level of quality and features makes it well worth it.

The second LED Lenser I tested was the P7 flashlight which ups the specs to 175 lumens and 210 meters of range. This light has a solid, durable metal case that makes it feel heavier than its actual 6.7 ounce weight would imply and its handy belt case helps to keep the flashlight close at hand at all times. Like the H7 headlamp, the P7 has an easy to use focusing system allowing you to adjust between high and low beams while easily narrowing or expanding the beam as necessary.

The P7 is great light for use around camp or to keep in your vehicle for emergency purposes. It uses 4 AAA batteries although you may want to keep an extra set on hand. On the highest settings this flashlight can go through those batteries very quickly with a burn time of only about an hour. Dropping the brightness extends the life of course, but this isn't a light I'd want to take far from civilization without an extra set of batteries or two. MSRP on the P7 is $70.

Finally, I also had the distinction pleasure of testing the LED Lenser's P5R, a rechargeable flashlight that is incredibly bright. On its highest setting, this light cranks up to 200 lumens at a range of 190 meters with a burn time of between three and seven hours depending on settings. Like the P7, this flashlight has a rugged metal case and a sliding focus system that adjusts the range of the beam. The P5R is considerably smaller however, weighing in at under 3 ounces.

The rechargeable battery system provides enough light for up to seven hours of use and an extremely well designed magnetic charging system makes it a breeze to snap the flashlight into the provided charger, which can be used in conjunction with the included wall adapter or plugged into any USB port like that found on your computer, many battery packs or portable solar chargers. Recharge time is approximately 3.5 hours and the battery is good for 1000 charges.

LED Lenser included a hard plastic case that provides plenty of room for the flashlight itself of course, but also all of its charging cables and adapters. It is an exceptionally nice package, although it makes it a bit less portable for when you're heading into the field. Additionally the P5R doesn't come with a nice belt case like the P7, but it does have a high quality snap-on clip that still comes in handy when needed. If you can find a way to recharge while in the field for longer trips, the P5R is an excellent addition to your pack for sure. MSRP is $100.

Before testing out these products I wasn't all that familiar with LED Lenser, although I have been a fan of Leatherman gear for quite some time. Everything I liked about those multi-tools applies here as well however, as these lights are high quality products that will impress you with their durability and versatility. If you're in the market for a new headlamp or flashlight for your outdoor adventures than add these items to your shopping cart. You definitely won't be disappointed.


3 comments:

David Jonathan said...

Your blog is awesome. The Promotional Flashlights products which I have buyed from one of the dealer was fine & good

John Skelton said...
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saimpitter said...
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