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Pelican L1 Red LED Micro-Flashlight

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In the old days, I would just wrap the business end of a two D-cell flashlight with red cellophane. Growing older and savvier, I put the cellophane inside the lens of a mini maglite (as well as in one of my car’s dome lights). Today, I carry a Pelican L1 micro flashlight.

Out here under the dark Big Sky of Montana, it’s common to appear to be a collector of flashlights and headlamps. And I’m no different. I have enough flashlights to choke a horse including plenty of new LED ones of various power, some micros not much bigger than the quarter-sized battery powering them, several halogen lights including Streamlight and the bizarrely expensive SureFire. But what’s in my pocket or around my neck when observing? The Pelican L1.

Simply put, this little polycarbonate jewel blasts the darkness with an intense but well distributed red beam with just minor hints of a brighter center area. The tail switch easily works for pulses or clicks to stay on. None of that blinking nonsense found on other tiny tactical or micro flashlights.

Using four of the tiny LR44 batteries (watch type) you would not want to be hunting for batteries at night at the local quickie-mart, but frankly, I have not hit the end of the ones that came with the light when new after several years. Now I have a problem when the cost of new batteries approaches that of the entire flashlight, but if there is one thing the SureFire light taught me (or maybe it was the expensive lithium cells it takes) and that is that quality and quality light matters. The Pelican L1 is no different.

With a lanyard strap and a pocket clip, the versatile design makes wearing it or clipping it to a map or book page a cinch. Further, the plastic body is easier on the teeth when one has to hold with their mouth. There are two small "wings" that make gripping it easier, especially with gloves, but from the engineering that appears to have gone into the design, I wonder if there is another purpose for the wings that eludes me.

Now this small flashlight is not for hiking out of a snowy canyon or for signaling an airplane, but it does work great for close quarters, reading star charts, working around the scope, and even for slow walking over uneven ground.

With a street price of only $10-$12, this stocking stuffer punches more long wavelengths into your task than you’d expect from a flashlight not much larger than an AA battery. If I have to make one complaint, it that I bought the black body version, not the lime green one that is now available- or better yet, a reflective silver one that is yet to exist. Flashlights are made to be used in the dark. So looking for a black object in the dark, to me, makes as much sense as Olbers' Paradox.


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