Monday, January 02, 2006

Preparedness finds

Hitting the local Wall-to-Wal-mart, I found two interesting finds in the flashlight section.

The first is the Nite Ize LED Upgrade for the AA Mini Maglite. It has 3 white LEDs and retails for $4.92 locally. It installs pretty much per the package instructions. You'll have to screw the focusing unit of the Maglite out a long way to get the new reflector to seat properly, but once you do that it goes together well.

The package notes that you may have to remove and rotate the LED unit if it doesn't come on the first time. Remember this tip.

You can buy decent 2 AA LED flashlights for less than this unit plus the AA Maglite, but if you already have a bunch of Maglites around, it's an easy and cheap way to have some of both. I suggest saving the original bulb and reflector, so you can convert back if necessary.

As with nearly all LED lights, you're exchanging range and brightness for battery life and long "bulb" life. Now if you need range and brightness, you might want to investigate my second find, the Brinkman Maxfire LX flashlight.

Powered by two 123A lithium batteries, the package notes it has a xenon bulb ("12 times brighter than a 2AA flashlight"), is made from a "nylon polymer" and is "shock & water resistant".

Not a SureFire or a Streamlight, but not bad for $19.97. It's cheap enough to buy several to stash in appropriate places, and with lithium batteries, you don't have to worry about finding a dead flashlight for some number of years.

I just wish I had seen these before Christmas. They'd have made great presents. Of course, there's always birthdays, graduation, anniversaries and next Christmas.

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