Surefire G3D Flashlight
Cheap flashlights are fine for kids’ toys or an occasional trip to the outhouse after dark. But in situations when you really need light, such as changing a flat tire at night, making emergency repairs to a tent or navigating back to camp under the stars after missing a trail junction on a hike, it’s reassuring to know you’re clutching a flashlight that will stay lit and provide the amount of illumination needed for the job.
Surefire, a company best known for its tactical flashlights favored by law enforcement, fire, rescue and military personnel, manufactures several models that are ideal for consumer use, especially for outdoor folks. New for 2010 is the Surefire G3D flashlight, a model designed primarily for firefighters, but is also ideal for campers.
The G3D utilizes LEDs for illumination. LEDs are known for superior efficiency and longevity in comparison to incandescent bulbs. With three power settings, the G3D offers excellent flexibility in runtime and illumination. By clicking a button on the end cap, the light switches between low, medium and high output.
Low is perfect for navigation in the dark, providing enough light to see without impairing night vision. On the low setting, the G3D runs 34 hours on a set of batteries. The medium setting is ideal for general-purpose work, while the high setting provides about six times the light of the average two-D-cell flashlight. Runtime is 10 hours on medium and three hours on high.
A diffuser kit that narrows or widens the beam offers even more flexibility to adjust the light pattern to a specific task. For example, with the wide diffuser in place, the flashlight throws a broad enough beam for area illumination much like a lantern.
Beyond its lighting capabilities, the Surefire G3D flashlight sports a rugged, bright yellow, polymer body that handles abuse, is weatherproof and highly visible so it’s not easy to lose in the weeds. An adjustable lanyard makes it possible to hang the light from your neck or snug it around your wrist in situations where there’s a risk of dropping it. A deep grid pattern on the body makes it easy to hold, even with wet or cold hands.
Though more expensive than the average consumer flashlight, the Surefire G3D offers excellent durability and value for the money, which includes a lifetime, no-hassle warranty for the original purchaser. The only potential downside is its power source. The light is powered by three lithium 123A batteries; not so easily obtained in rural locations as the common AA varieties. $135. Surefire: 800/828-8809; surefire.com.