The perfect Christmas gift would be the kind of thing that anyone would like, whether they were into the types of things you read about on JTT or not. It would inexpensive enough to buy for someone you don’t know (like the mailman) and cool enough to give to family or a good friend. It would small enough to ship inexpensively or fit in a stocking. Most importantly, it would be available via Amazon Prime so you could shop last minute…
I found it.
Olight’s I1R Eos has always been a very cool flashlight. It’s ultra-tiny, USB rechargeable, well-built, incredibly bright for its size, affordable, and it has two useful modes that are easy to access in spite of the small size. This light is about as handy as a flashlight can be. It recently became an even better light. Olight updated it with a new version, the I1R 2 Eos, that has all the same great features of the original but with increased output – a surprising 150 lumens!
I’ve been using one of these lights on my keychain and it is easily the best keychain light I have owned. It is small enough to work in this role, bright enough to do real work, and the fact that is USB rechargeable means that buying odd batteries to keep your keychain light fed is a thing of the past. I especially like it as a sort of task light that prevents me from having to use my main EDC light. I love this light.
The Olight I1R 2 Eos ticks all the boxes mentioned about for a perfect gift. I’ve already ordered several for gifts this year and I may need to order a few more. It’s like gift giving cheat mode. Shoot, it’s cheap enough to treat yourself to one too.
Olight has launched their newest light, the Seeker 2 Pro. I own a predessor to this light, the Olight R50 Seeker Pro LE. It is one of my most used lights thanks to its broad, bright beam and ready availability from the charger. It sits charging on my kitchen counter where it is always ready. The new Seeker Pro 2 looks to be even better in terms of size, weight, available output modes, and more.
Powered by a single 21700 (5000 mAh) customized lithium rechargeable battery, the Seeker 2 delivers a maximum output of 3,000 lumens. Using three highly efficient OSRAM LEDs paired with a TIR optic lens help to provide a perfect medium and close-range illumination experience. The Seeker 2 features a large side switch, located near the head of the light, for comfortable thumb operation. The indicator built into the center of the switch clearly displays the remaining battery power with a green, orange or red color. The contoured grooves on the surface of the aluminum alloy body is designed to provide a comfortable non-slip grip. Compatible with most USB power sources, the magnetic charging cable is convenient to use, making the Seeker 2 a perfect illumination tool to be used at home, outdoors, or on duty.
Paired with three highly efficient cool white LEDs, delivering a maximum output of 3,000 lumens and a beam distance of 220 meters.
The contoured grooves on the surface of the aluminum alloy body is designed to provide a comfortable non-slip grip.
Visual display indicator located on the center of the switch clearly displays the battery level in real time.
Includes a high efficient portable magnetic charger with a faster 1A current charging speed.
The provided 1.5mm lanyard is not only convenient and comfortable for use, but can last for a very long time.
These lights are on sale at introductory prices for as much as 40% off right now. The base model comes with a small magnetic charger but I highly recommend upgrading to one of the packages that come with a mountable “L” bracket charger. The ability to mount this light where it will be readily accessible really maximizes its usefulness.
You can check out the sale, technical specs, and all the available options at:
Electronics have become an important part of many people’s backcountry experience and safety. In this series, On Foot, Off Grid, we cover the electronic gear that power your backcountry adventures along with some strategies for their use. The series will cover plenty of gear options and explore ideas for dealing with cold weather, streamlining your power needs, and more.
We covered the use of a power bank as a central, or even THE central component, of a portable backcountry power setup in the first installment of On Foot, Off Grid (read it HERE). Now we are going to take a look at an item that lets us access the electricity stored in the power bank to charge other loose batteries – the Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger.
One of the main reasons I purchased an Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger is the form factor. It looks more like earbuds than a battery charger. It is extremely compact and extremely lightweight yet it is a surprisingly full-featured charger.
There are other chargers with a similar form factor on the market which brings me to the other reason I chose the Olight version. It is the only one I found that was smart enough to charge both lithium-ion batteries like 18650s or 16340s AND NiMH cells like the Eneloop AA and AAA batteries that I prefer.
Using the Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger is extremely easy. You simply plug it into your USB power source and then attach the magnetic leads to each end of the battery you want to recharge. Polarity doesn’t matter because the charger is smart enough to detect it automatically. An indicator light at the base of the wire will let you know what is happening – blinking red means standby or a charging error, solid red means charging, and green means that your cell is done charging.
It is very well designed and well made. The cord is the flat type that will not tangle. All of the components are encased in anodized aluminum. The magnets in the leads are appropriately strong and the leads are shaped well for use with both flat and button top cells.
I strongly suggest you try this at home before you bring it into the field. One, it is nice to get a sense of the speed that it will charge your batteries. It isn’t the fastest but I have found it to be completely acceptable for recharging AA and AAA batteries in the field. Two, you want to be sure it works with your intended power source. I have used it with Anker Powercore power banks and a Nitecore F1 Charger (more on this in later installment).
Here is the bottom line: The Olight UC Magnetic USB Charger is easy to use. It packs as small as a set of earbuds and weighs just .72 oz. It charges both 3.7V lithium ion batteries and 1.2V NiMH batteries. While it only charges one cell at a time, this hasn’t been an issue for me as I have taken steps to streamline my electronics to include items that only require a single cell. This is an incredibly lightweight, compact item that can be an important part of any backcountry power setup.
Kit Badger recently reviewed the Olight PL-MINI, a compact weapon light that features a magnetic charger. The PL-MINI seems to have some promise as an EDC weapon light and its charger makes it easy to keep the light topped off. However, like any new lights, holster options can be limited. To further complicate things, the PL-MINI’s magnetic charge capability just begs for a holster that allows charging without removing the handgun…
Last Line of Defense is now offering their Associate V2 for the PL-MINI and the design includes access for the magnetic charger. The charger may be attached and detached without taking the gun out of the holster. Even if this type of appendix holster with attach magazine carrier is not your cup of tea, it is nice to see that, once again, kydex benders are coming up with clever ways to support new tech.
One of the major barriers to considering a new handgun mounted light is the availability of holsters for that light. The flashlight manufacturers with the largest market awareness aren’t always the ones pushing the limits of lighting technology. There are innovations coming from light manufacturers many “tactical” consumers may not have even heard of or would consider buying. Holster makers have little incentive to tool up for a light that few people will buy and buyers won’t buy a light for which they can’t get a holster. This feedback loop has the potential to scuttle the success of otherwise good weapon lights.
The Olight PL-2 Valkyrie weapon light has received some solid reviews and boasts a whopping 1200 lumen output. However, until recently, it had little holster support. There are some holster makers who can accommodate the PL-2 but you’ll have to dig a bit to find them. That changed when BlackPoint Tactical introduced the PL-2 as an option for many of their holsters. They are likely the highest profile holster maker to date to add the PL-2 to the line up.
I don’t know that this is the first step toward broader acceptance of the PL-2. I haven’t even tried one of them. However, as a consumer, I appreciate when a company is willing to try to fill a potential market gap even if it is small. As holster makers continue to streamline and modernize their processes, I hope to see more of this.