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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Fenix MC11 LED Flashlight > Test Report by Derek Hansen

Fenix MC11 Light

Photo courtesy fenixlighting.com

Fenix — MC11 LED Flashlight

Test Series by Derek Hansen

TESTER INFORMATION

Me
NameDerek Hansen
Age35
GenderMale
Height5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg)
Email Address City
City, State, CountryFlagstaff, Arizona, USA

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical weekend pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), which includes food and water. Because I pack less than 20 lb (9 kg), I prefer lightweight trail-running shoes. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.


PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer Fenix Lighting LLC (Denver, CO, USA)
Year of Manufacture 2011, made in China
Manufacturer’s Website fenixlighting.com
MSRP N/A
Listed Features
  • Cree XP-E LED (R2) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
  • Uses one 1.5V AA (Ni-MH, Alkaline) battery
  • Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
  • Pushbutton switch
  • Made of high-class plastic and aluminum alloy
  • Aluminum alloy has the premium type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
Manufacturer Recommendations
  • Recommended with a high-performance Ni-MH rechargeable battery with high-current discharge ability
  • Remove battery if not in use for long periods of time
  • DO NOT use rechargeable Li-ion batteries (3.7v)
  • 1.5v Lithium and alkaline batteries are okay
  • Avoid shining light directly in the eyes
Measurements
Specifications What They Say What I Say
Weight 1.9 oz (53.5 g) Light with alkaline battery and all accessories: 3.2 oz (91 g)
Light with no batteries, all accessories: 2.4 oz (68 g)
Light with no battery or accessories: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Dimensions 3.9"(L) × .85"(D) × .99"(H) Same
Colors Black
Sizes One size
Warranty 15 day manufacturer defect replacement; 24-month free repair service.


INITIAL REPORT

19 Jul 2011

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Fenix MC11 LED Light

The Fenix MC11 is a multi-functional light with an adjustable head that clicks into seven (7) different angles. The light came with four "accessories": a wrist lanyard, a clip (to attach light to a hat, belt, etc), a diffuser lens, and a hang clip.

The light has three standard brightness modes: high (81 lumens), medium (36 lumens), and low (3 lumens). There are two flashing modes: strobe (135 lumens), and "SOS" (36 lumens).

The listed runtime on high is 1 hour 43 minutes; runtime in medium is 6 hours 14 minutes; and runtime on low is 53 hours.

Fenix MC11 LED Light

The light is listed with an IPX-8 waterproof resistance 2 m (6.5 ft), an impact resistance from a drop of 1.5 m (5 ft), and a light distance of 87 m (285 ft).

The instructions come listed in both English and Chinese.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Fenix MC11 is a great little light with a bright beam. More surprising was to find an even brighter setting with the strobe (135 lumens!). The adjustable head works well and has a stiff, "click" action that keeps the light in the position without wiggling or moving.

Fenix MC11 LED Light with diffuser attachment

The clip, hang clip, lanyard, and diffuser lens are all removable. With some simple testing, I liked the position of the hang clip, which is positioned at the pivot point of the adjustable head. This means that I can position the head at an angle and when I hang the light from the hang clip, the head stays in position.

Fenix MC11 LED Light with diffuser open

This light is akin to many military tactical lights, but with a much smaller footprint and a few extra features.

I really like the small size and adjustability. Everything about the light and the accessories are solid and give the light a real professional feel.

The only thing that wasn't as intuitive was how to adjust the light. Here's how I figured it out: Push the button once to turn the light on. When the light is on, press and hold to adjust the light to the next intensity setting (I have to depress and hold again to go to the next setting; it doesn't cycle automatically). The intensity settings cycle from high to medium to low. To switch to flashing mode, push the button once to turn it on. With the light on, press the light twice quickly to switch to flashing mode. In flashing mode, switching between strobe and "SOS" is achieved just like switching between intensities.

This light clips easily to my sternum strap, which seems like a natural place to keep this light while hiking.

INITIAL SUMMARY

PRO—Lightweight; waterproof; shock resistant; bright light; adjustable head; clip accessories; adjustable light intensity; feels durable.

CON—A little tricky to figure out how to change light modes and adjust the brightness.

FIELD REPORT

4 Oct 2011

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have used the Fenix light almost daily since receiving it back in July in day-to-day usage around the house. I've also used it on a few night rides on my bicycle, but also during the following outdoor trips.

Jul 25-29: Arizona Trail, south of Flagstaff, Arizona. I took a troop of Boy Scouts on a 50-mile trek over four days where we backpacked, canoed, and mountain biked the Arizona Trail. We hiked through a few thunder storms and braved an electrical storm. The mean elevation was around 7,000 ft (2,134 m).

Aug 13-16: Wasatch Mountains near Heber, Utah. I participated with my family in a multi-day family reunion in the mountains. We base camped and I went on hikes or spent time in my hammock.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Fenix has worked wonderfully in the field. During the 50-mile trip, I used the light every night for reading books in my hammock, journal writing, checking my map and preparing the next day's trip plan. I mostly used the low setting to read and study as I found the brighter modes too glaring to read. I loved the higher beams to check our campsite for animals or as I walked between areas. The high beam is so bright! I've never had a light so bright. Even though I didn't find the need to use the brightest setting very often, I really liked having it.

The diffuse lens is great. I used it most often when I was reading or when I wanted a broader beam. Without the lens, the bright light pierces through the darkness with fierce clarity. I tried to take a picture of the different light modes. In the field, the three settings are distinct, but in the photo, the two brighter settings look similar. Believe me when I say they are not.

Comparing brightness modes

Each night, I used the triangle clip to attach the Fenix to my hammock ridgeline. This was a great way to get a broad light cast across my field of vision and worked great when I was working. I also used the metal clip to attach the light to my hat. The clip works well, and thanks to the pivoting head, I can direct the light upward, but not completely forward. This "hands free" option works great for close in work, but it doesn't allow the Fenix to shine directly ahead very well without adjusting my hat up or looking up more.

hanging the fenix from my hammock

On my bicycle rides at night, I loved having the Fenix clipped to my messenger bag. The light held firm and on the high setting, gave me a great field of vision -- better than any bicycle light I've ever used. I also preferred having the light clipped to my chest because it provided a more stable light to look at than the light on my handlebar deck or my helmet.

I've only changed the battery once since getting the light. Amazingly, I've used the same battery throughout the 50-mile trek until now (it's still going strong). I'm using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

FIELD USE SUMMARY

It took me a little while to understand how the single button worked to switch between the different modes. Now, it's very natural. I like the different brightness modes and love having the 81 lumens. I haven't used the strobe or SOS feature in practice, but it is nice to have them in case of an emergency. I think the light lives up to its claims of brightness and illumination.

Battery life seems to be excellent.

The only negative is that I can't get the light to point directly forward when clipped to the brim of my hat. This is more of a mild complaint because I can adjust my hat or position to get a broader field of vision.


LONG TERM REPORT

6 Dec 2011

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've taken the Fenix light with me on three overnight backpacking trips and I've used the light on a few nighttime bicycle rides and a night hike with the Boy Scouts. Here are some highlights:

Oct 7-8: Foothills near Mount Elden, Flagstaff, Arizona. I took my daughter on a short backpacking trip in the national forest in Flagstaff. We found an ideal spot on the north slope of a small cinder mountain, just below 7,000 ft (2,134 m). The weather was cool, around 35°F (2°C) and dry.

Nov 4: Old Caves Crater, Flagstaff, Arizona. A backpacking trip cut short due to an unexpected rain storm with intense lightning and wind. The temperature was just above freezing and I had to abandon my overnight plans. Thankfully I was only a few miles from the trailhead.

Nov 10-12: Upper Pumphouse Wash, near Sedona, Arizona. I took a three-day trip into the Upper Pumphouse Wash in Northern Arizona where temperatures got down to 15°F (-10°C) with scattered snow conditions.

Nov 30: Campbell Mesa Trail System, Flagstaff Arizona. I took our troop of Boy Scouts on a night hike, following "cat eyes" to a secluded geo cache in the woods. We hiked at night for about a mile (2 km) following reflective dots placed high in the trees. The temperature was a cool 18°F (-8°C) with a slight breeze.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD AND FINAL SUMMARY

I love the Fenix MC11 light. This is the brightest light I've ever used backpacking and I'm wishing I had it sooner! For most camp chores, I used the dimmest setting, and preferred this setting when reading in my hammock at night. This low setting provided the right amount of illumination without burning my eyes and requiring time to readjust between close, bright light and the darkness beyond.

I often use the brightest settings to get a scan of the area before I go to bed. While I love the outdoors, sometimes the darkness can be intimidating, especially when I'm on a solo trip. During my trips to Old Caves and the Pumphouse Wash, I was alone for a few nights and it was reassuring to quickly scan the area to calm my Id.

During a night hike with the Boy Scouts, we were following "cat eyes" -- small reflective pieces of tape attached high in the trees. While everyone had lights, the Fenix drowned out the competition with its bright, focused beam. I had to stop using it early on because the scouts had no chance in exploring themselves.

When I hike at night, I clip the Fenix to my sternum strap and walk hands-free. While I like head lamps, sometimes it can be dizzying for me to have the light, and subsequently my focus, draw around. Having the Fenix in a stable location shining forward was stabilizing.

I've dropped the light a few times accidentally, but nothing has broken or bent. In fact, after all the use over the entire test period, the light looks like new. I like the ruggedness, small size, and simple controls.


I would like to thank Fenix Limited and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.



Read more reviews of Fenix gear
Read more gear reviews by Derek Hansen

Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Fenix MC11 LED Flashlight > Test Report by Derek Hansen



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