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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Fenix MC11 LED Flashlight > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Fenix MC11 Angle Light
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:author
July 27, 2011

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 58
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 19 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Fenix Light Limited
Website http://www.fenixlight.com
Model MC11
Color 
Black
General Brightness Mode, Strobe Mode
81 Lumens, 3 Lumens, 36 Lumens; 135 Lumens, 36 Lumens
Manufacturer  Weight  1.89 oz (53.5 g)-excluding battery
Tested Weight  3.1 oz/88 g (with all accessories and battery), 2.7 oz (77 g) with belt clip and battery, 1.9 oz/54 g (no battery or accessories)
Model Year 2011
MSRP NA

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

Fenix MC11 with all accessories
The Fenix MC11 is a small but powerful angle light. The manufacturer also makes flashlights and headlamps. It arrived in great condition with a few accessories that are all removable. Included were a diffuser lens, a belt or hat clip, a triangular wire and a small lanyard. Also present were a leaflet of user instructions in both English and Chinese (the MC11 is made in China) and an extra O-ring.

When I first saw the angle light it brought back many memories of a similar looking military light that was always present in my childhood home. Of course the MC11 is a much smaller version of that light measuring 99 mm long and about 25 mm wide.

 

Design and Technical Features

According to the manufacturer the MC11 is considered a multi-functional light. It has an adjustable head that can be rotated into seven different illuminating angle positions. Each position is marked audibly by a loud click. The position is held firmly until I press on it further to move it to another position. What is neat about the angle light is that the bottom end of it is flat meaning that I can stand it upright on a flat surface and use it that way if desired.

Angled head in extreme positionWhile the adjustable head was easily figured out, it took a little longer for me to realize the sequence of the three general light modes (I should have read the operating instructions first). There is a single large rubber-type button on the top of the angle head. When I depress the button, as expected the light goes on (the brightest one at 81 lumens). In order to find the other settings however, I must hold the button down to find the next setting (low at 3 lumens). This has to be repeated for the third setting (mid at 36 lumens).

There are also two intensity settings which only work if I turn the light on and then double press the button quickly so that it produces a flashing strobe mode. This flashing mode operates at 135 lumens and the SOS mode operates at 36 lumens.

The MC11 uses a Cree XP-E LED that has a lifespan of 50,000 hours. The battery source is a 1.5V AA battery (either Ni-MH or Alkaline).  The output is digitally regulated to maintain a constant brightness.
The battery tube is opened by unscrewing the tail cap. The manufacturer suggests that unscrewing the tail cap for half a turn will avoid the light turning on accidentally. The MC11 is also waterproof (IPX-8, underwater 2 m/6.56 ft), and impact resistant (1.5 m/4.92 ft).


Accessories

As aforementioned a number of accessories were included. The clear diffuser lens clips on to head of the lamp by means of a C-shaped clip. The diffuser can be flipped up to not cover the lens if I want to cycle back and forth between use and non-usage. I look forward to using the diffuser for reading at camp.

There is also a small hand lanyard which can be threaded through a built-in loop on the unit. The lanyard could be used to dangle the light from my wrist or just for hanging the MC11 from a tent or tree branch. The removable metal clip on the angle light will be handy to attach the MC11 to my hat or pocket. There is also a removable triangle-shaped wire which can be used for hanging the light.

I look forward to using the Fenix MC11 Angle Light on many extended trips in the field.
 
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Field Report:

September 26, 2011

USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have used the Fenix MC11 during three backpacking trips totaling 22 days. Locations in Michigan and New Hampshire, USA ranged from and included hilly boreal and deciduous forest communities on islands aWhite Mountain National Forest, New Hampshires well as mountainous terrain. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to over 6000 ft (1830 m).


August Backpacking Trip

Location: White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, USA
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 32 mi (52 km)
Length of Trip: 6 days/5 nights
Pack Weight: 20 lb (9 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain, fog and sun
Precipitation: 0.55 in (1.40 cm) rain
Temperature Range: 45 F (7 C) to 84 F (29 C) 


Early September Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)
Length of Trip: 2.5 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 18 lb (8 kg) Little Todd Harbor, Isle Royale National Park, MI
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, cloudy, little rain
Precipitation: 0.10 in (0.25 cm)
Temperature Range: 60 F to 85 F (15 C to 29 C)


September Backpacking Trip

Location: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 112.5 mi (181 km)
Length of Trip: 13 days/13 nights 
Pack Weight: 34 lb (15 kg) with 2 qt/1.89 L water for first part of trip, approximately 36 lb (16 kg) with 2 qt/1.89 L water after I secured food drop for second part of trip
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sun, rain, fog and heavy frost 
Precipitation: 1.11 in (2.82 cm)
Temperature Range: 25 F to 86 F (-4 C to 30 C)





Performance in the Field

My first backpacking trip (six days) of the field test period was in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA. It was atypical in a sense because although I was backpacking I was staying in rustic mountainThe Fenix MC11 even balances on a log huts rather than outside. These huts have some green power but the limited lighting is turned off early each night. The Fenix MC11 allowed me to read, look at maps for the next day's route and find my way to the composting toilets at night. 

The next trip of this period was a 2.5-day backpacking trip to a nearby island in Lake Superior, Michigan (Grand Island). With the daylight hours getting shorter I could also read in my tent and use the light for outdoor excursions at night when necessary. I found that the light easily stands on end on any semi-flat surface even a log.

My final trip of the field test period was a thirteen-day backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. The Fenix MC11 was my only source of lighting during the trip. This island is very isolated so there is little to none reflective lighting from any generated source. Almost at the autumnal equinox, I used the light during early morning hours and after sunset. There were four evenings where natural light was limited very early in the evening due to a series of thundershowers.

During this trip I some time stayed in three-sided shelters but mostly in my tent. In the shelters I could just stand the light on a flat surface (floor or horizontal wood support beams) and it would provide great lighting for whatever I was trying to achieve.

Even though I attached the clip to the light for this trip I found the clip to be just extra weight for me as I just carry the light in my pants or jacket pocket at camp. When I tried to clip the light to my hat it simply fell right off. My hat for evening hours was a woolen beanie-type hat. I know that the clip would likely be more useful if I was wearing a hat with a sturdy brim.

The Fenix MC11 dangling from ceiling clip on tentI did use the wrist lanyard to hang the light from the ceiling of my tent which already has small clips on the ceiling. This worked fine for general lighting of the interior of the tent but of course with the light dangling, I couldn't direct or have it focus in any one area.

For reading I took the light off the ceiling and used a headband to secure the light to my head. This worked exceptionally well for using it in "headlamp" fashion. Since I always carry a headband or Buff this was ideal. I liked the fact that I could adjust the angle of the light to directly focus on a map or book.

I really like the diffuser on the light and use it often for a less harsh light. It is perfect for reading! I have found that I like the highest setting (81 lumens) on the light for reading but a lower intensity is suitable for most everything else.

I like the solid feel and the reliability of the light. It is a bit heavier than my usual light but it seems more useful. Although I have now used the light for many hours (certainly at least 30 hours) there is no sign that the battery is wearing down.
Although I did not immerse the MC11 directly in water, I used it in the rain with no problems. The Fenix MC11 is heavier than my regular lighting source but I feel that the extra weight is worth it.

In the long term period I will continue to use the light for more backcountry adventures. With shortened daylight hours it will certainly see much extended use.

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Long Term Report:

December 3, 2011


USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have used the Fenix MC11 during a backpacking trip of three days plus during three multi-hour power outages caused by fall and early winter storms.  Location of the backcountry trip was in Michigan and ranged from lakeshore to hilly deciduous forest to open pine communities. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).


November Backpacking Trip

Location: Beaver Basin Wilderness and the Fox River Pathway
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 28 mi (45 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: Approx. 30 lb (13.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sun, cloudy, rain, and snow 
Precipitation: 1.34 in (3.40 cm) rain/snow
Temperature Range: 27 F to 55 F (-3 C to 13 C) 


Performance in the Field

During the long term period I took a backpacking trip in the early part of November. With the recent time change (Daily Savings Time) darkness falls early. That means the majority of my evening was dark at camp. The MC11 saw steady action for evening activities including cooking, reading and navigating around the camp site. It also saw use early morning use as sunrise is late at this time of year.

During this trip I used the MC11 in many different ways. Sometimes I would just hold it in my hand using the wrist strap if I didn't need light continuously (excursions into the woods or finding something). Other times I would set it on a rock and direct it where I needed the light (cooking).
However when I read I secured it under my hat or buff so that I didn't have to fool with directing the light (I would make an angle adjustment to the light and I would be all set). 

My home has experienced lengthy power outages which is par for the course in this part of the country. Since I only live a block off a huge lake (Lake Superior) the winds can be severe during storms and the first thing that usually happens is that the transformers blow. During one of these storms my house was down to less than 50 F (10 C) so I crawled in to bed (delighting in the excuse to be there) and read for hours using the MC11 for the lighting source. I also used it to find my way around the house and basement to find stuff and make sure everything else was OK.

I haven't found much use for the flashing strobe light but it's nice to have that option in case of an emergency. I still do prefer the high setting for reading with the diffuser in place. I have kept the hinged diffuser attached at all times because I use it often and I hate having to force it on and off the unit. The latter comment refers to the fact that it has a snug fit so a good amount of pressure is needed to secure it to the head of the light.

I still prefer to keep the MC11 in my backpack while hiking or just placed in my jacket pocket while at camp rather than clipped to a pack or pocket. I know right where it is in case I needed it. I have also carried it as an emergency light in my outings with a daypack.


Durability/Care


The MC11 is a very tough unit. There are no signs of wear to the unit itself. The original battery lasted longer than I expected - approximately 40 plus hours. It was only when I was using it for extended periods of time (during the outages) that it finally expired. It was easy to change out the battery.


Summary 

In conclusion the Fenix MC11 is a  tough, solid, reliable and versatile lighting option for backcountry trips as well as at home. Overall it has been used for 25 days of backpacking plus at home usage. It has also been carried during countless day outings. Even though it is a bit heavier than some of my other lighting options, I plan to continue using it for some of my trips.
I

Pros 
  • Small
  • Adjustable (many positions and light settings)
  • Accessories are a great bonus and offer flexible usage for different scenarios
  • Quality product

Cons 
  • Heavier than my regular lighting source but it offers more perks

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Fenix light Limited and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the MC11. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series. 
 

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