I do a lot of overnight camping and night trekking. I was using a 4xAAA flashlight, it works, BUT the light output was crappy and AAA cells are not really economic and they drain pretty fast. After a few frustrated hikes in the dark with a crap flashlight, i finally decided to get a new one.
I began my research on various flashlight forums, budgetlightforum and candlepowerforums. The amount of community contributed information at those forums are astounding, so many reviews and gossip about all different types of flashlight. After a few hours of reading the forums, i felt like an expert, LOL, just kidding, but i did learnt a lot of things, like led emitter types, lumens, lithium ion batteries type, brands, etc..
Ok, so what was my research's conclusion? I decided to go for a flashlight that uses AA cells, because they are easily sourced and are pretty cheap, plus i have a ton of AA batteries lying around at home. The flashlight also needs to be robust and water resistant/proof, it will be used for hiking, thus it needs to be able to survive the rain, river crossing and accidental drops.
There were many choices, from no brands, generic Chinese brands to branded types. So long story short, i bought the NITECORE MT21A. From my research, NITECORE is supposedly one of the good brands.
The NITECORE MT21A uses XP-E2 R2 led emitter, this is one of the good led emitters with a lifespan of 50,000 hours or so. For batteries, it uses 2xAA. It comes with a nice adjustable lanyard, two extra waterproofing O rings and one extra rubber switch.
Size comparison with a lighter:
Well lubed and clean threading from factory:
As expected from a name brand, nicely well-centered led emitter:
Reverse polarity protection for incorrectly inserted batteries.
Long body for nice grips:
It has six modes, turbo, high, medium, low, SOS and strobe.
Manufacturer claims a 200 meters throw distance and up to 55 hours run time on low mode.
Indoor beam shot on turbo mode:
It claims that it is IPX8 Waterproof and 1.5 meters impact resistant.
I won't be testing its impact resistant :P, but i'll let you all know if it survives any drastic drops next time.
However, lets subject it to the waterproof test:
Aside from hiking and camping purposes, maybe you have heard of the term "EDC/Everyday Carry", it refers to small tools and gadgets that can be carried daily to assist you in mundane or disastrous situations (Wiki).
The MT21A can be an EDC item in your pocket or bag, however some people might think otherwise because of its length.
I think its fine, it fits my work pants' pocket nicely, although its revealing a little bit of its butt:
To conclude, i'm quite happy with my purchase, the only downside i can think of is that the MT21A cannot tail stand and does not come with a clip or holster. I also think that the length of the flashlight might bother some people, but it is fine with me. I have not put this flashlight through much abuse or field testing yet, so i cannot speak for its durability over a long term.
If you are considering to use this flashlight for night hiking, i suggest that you get a backup flashlight to go with this, a backup flashlight can be useful if your primary flashlight becomes defective or if you need to change the batteries halfway through the hike.
More to come:
*Outdoor beam shots.