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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: L.L. Bean Crank Flashlight, Mini

To start off: I was given this light by my parents for my birthday. The logic behind it was that it needs no batteries, less to carry on a hike. In my uses, I've found it to be a very good light for the money and the fact it's hand-crank.

The design is quite simple, just a neon-yellow oval body with a black crank. One button to activate the light. Only an on-off switch, not variable or multi-mode. It has a lanyard hole, though it's not large enough for 550 cord (a short-coming in my mind). It uses three white-light LED's.

In terms of output, I can't give you an exact Lumen rating or even an estimate. I can say this: it fills my Hennessy Hammock (review on the way) and my friend Scott's tarp-tent with light no problem, and even in total darkness it throws a beam about seventy feet. Remember, this is a crank flashlight.

It weighs all of three ounces on my scale, just as the manufacturer said. This may seem like a lot to you. "After all, the 4sevens Preon 2 with batteries weighs 1.625 ounces with batteries. You could carry two Preon 2's for only an eighth of an ounce more than the L.L. Bean!"

This is true. However, if you were on a long trip (say, three weeks in the bush without contact with the civilized world?) you may burn three sets of batteries to offset the weight, and the extra-bright capabilities of the Preon may be unnecessary for you.

The L.L. Bean also beats the Preon by a large margin in the cost department. If you're going out on a budget, this may be a very good option at only $14.95 USD.

I can't speak for this light's longevity, but I can say it survived getting soaked straight through (and kept working the whole time) on an overnight into the White Mountains this spring. Fog turned into rain and then snow, and my entire bag actually froze, straight through. Weighed nearly 45 pounds from a 25 pound loadout I started with! This light kept going the whole time, though. Also, during the process of this review, I fumbled the thing and dropped it on the floor twice. Still runs fine after two four foot drops to hardwood.

All in all, this is a great buy for the money if you're in need of a backup light for a hike, something that doesn't need batteries for home emergencies/preparedness, a good light for camping, or you just can't afford anything more expensive.

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