Modern Light Tech

For an old-timer like me, the improvement in flashlight performance is simply amazing. I can recall when a flashlight from the local hardware store was made of ribbed aluminum with two D cells. It put out a dim, yellowish light with a dark spot in the middle. Half the time when you needed it the batteries were dead, the bulb was out, or the switch broken.

There are several reputable brand name lights I use and respect, including SureFire, Streamlight and Brite Strike. Another superstar light, and my current favorite, is the ASP XT DF. The DF stands for “dual fuel” as you can use the light with a rechargeable 18650 3.7-volt lithium-ion battery, or if you forget to recharge, it will accept the popular and widely available CR-123A replaceable batteries.

The XT is packed with features yet is easy enough to set and use even for the technology-challenged like me. At full power it puts out an impressive 600 lumens, enough to identify wildlife at a couple of hundred yards or disorient an assailant at close range. It can be programmed for a second level of 15, 60, or 150 lumens, or for a strobe effect. You can sit outside your tent late at night reading the fishing regulations with the light at 15 lumens, then if there’s a rustling in the bushes, quickly switch to full power and check if it’s a squirrel or a bear.

The rotating tail piece has three positions. The center position is locked so you won’t take the light out of your pack one day and find the battery dead. Rotate right for constant on, or to the left for intermittent on only when the center button is pressed. Rotating the light bezel moves it forward to reveal the programming button and a port for a charging cord.