Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Packlight

I am a firm believer in the Kickstarter program which enables people with great ideas but no capital to ask for backers to see them to their seed money. One such project was by the folks at Big I Design who had the idea to pack 45 high performance LED's into a flexible silicone body, make it USB rechargeable. I knew I needed to be a part of this, so I backed them. The reward bundle that I chose was pretty awesome, in that I got two Packlights (one red, one black) with USB charging cords for each, two packets of  Reflective tape and as an extra bonus two Solar Recharging Units, complete with plugs and fittings to recharge mini-USB, phones and iThingies. Pretty awesome bundle. 
I like the idea of a water resistant light source, that I can strap or affix to things and leave there to illuminate. Torches are great, but are not always the best tool for the job. The flexible body of the Packlight means that I can bend it across the back of a pack, the trunk of a tree or onto a wall. Each light has two hanging holes, which will fit a good sized carabiner or loops of paracord lanyards. The ends also house neodymium magnets, the "thin" end makes sufficient contact to support the whole unit from the side of a fridge under its own power. 

One of the most exciting things about the Packlight are its variety of lighting options. A tap of the power button gives a low output illumination of 1, 2 or 3 of the columns of LED's, as a battery life indicator. Holding the power button brings up the lights to full with the following options: Full Power, Outer 2 Columns, Middle Column, All lights flashing in a 1.5 sec interval, all lights flashing in a strobe pattern, rotating column (1, 2, 3) lights, SOS of all lights.
They are -bright- with a listed output of 260 Lumen, I see stars after looking at it.The lights come in at 330g which i think is pretty good considering the size and functionality that comes with the package. 

Aesthetically the only downside is the battery-pack/circuity node, but all that power and programming has to go somewhere, and when strapped to a backpack, I'm sure I wont care. We'll have to see how the USB plug pans out, I have a feeling I will want to tape it over if I know I'm going to be rained on a lot, but otherwise, an awesome addition to my adventure kit!

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