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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Gerber Omnivore Multi-Battery > Test Report by Mike Wilkie

GERBER OMNIVORE FLASHLIGHT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE WILKIE
LONG-TERM REPORT
February 21, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Wilkie
EMAIL: foreverwild1885 at yahoo dot com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Davenport, New York (USA)
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 148 lb (67.10 kg)

Hiking for me started at an early age, as I was always an avid camper and as a young Scout my backpacking obsession began. Living in the Catskill Region backpacking has become serious for me over the years. I hike, snowshoe, canoe, snowboard or multi-day backpack through the Catskills or Adirondacks almost every weekend. I am learning and practicing safe lightweight techniques and have greatly reduced my pack weight, adding comfort and miles to my adventures. Being an aspirant of the Catskill-3500 Club and Adirondack-46ers, peak-bagging is my main outdoor activity. My long-term goals are to complete long distance thru-hikes.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

October 09, 2008

Manufacturer: Gerber Legendary Blades
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gerbergear.com
MSRP: US$43.95

Manufacturers Details
Listed Weight: 4 oz (113 g)
Length: 4.5 in (11.43 cm)

Tester Details
Measured Weight (without battery): 3.3 oz (94 g)
Measured Weight with AAA: 3.6 oz (102 g)
Measured Weight with AA: 3.9 oz (111 g)
Measured Length: 4.5 in (11.43 cm)



IMAGE 1
Image courtesy of gerbergear.com


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Gerber Omnivore arrived in its molded plastic display packaging. Included with the flashlight was one AA battery. Also inside the packaging is a cardboard insert that states the limited lifetime warranty as well as a power and performance chart of the flashlight with use of the different battery types.

With an AAA battery Gerber states a 4 hour burn time, 150 ft (46 m) light range, 10 lumens and 140 lux. Use with an AA will give 5.5 hours burn time, 150 ft (46 m) light range, 12 lumens and a 140 lux. And with a CR123 burn time will be 5 hours, a light beam of 190 ft (60 m) will be reached with 18 lumens and a lux of 210.

This lightweight torch contains a 7 watt Nichia LED that produces an impressive amount of light. The construction of anodized aluminum helps create an ultra light and durable shell. Just under where the head unscrews to access the inner chamber, a rubber o'ring seals around the neck just under the threads helping to keep the Omnivore water resistant. However I feel this o'ring offers only enough protection from small amounts of water such as rain or snow. I will do my best not to submerge the flashlight or drop it during stream crossings.

On the butt end (tailcap) of the torch is an on/off button encased in a rubber outer. Just next to the tailcap on the side is a small slot for installing a lanyard, string or small key ring which should be handy for hanging the flashlight.

Looking inside the battery chamber there is one large opening that has three designated areas for each battery type. Each battery type fits snugly into its slot eliminating any rattling of the battery inside the chamber.

TRYING IT OUT

I used the Omnivore a few times thus far out on my goat farm and in the dense woods behind my home. This torch throws a surprisingly bright beam that made for easy navigating and spotting in the pitch dark. The sleek and lightweight design was comfortable to hold and carry in my hand. When not in use the light slipped comfortably in my front pants pocket.

TESTING STRATEGY

The next few months are big backpacking months for me as they offer me much time to spend in the wilderness. I have many backpacking trips planned for the next two months affording me much time testing the Gerber Omnivore Flashlight. Long overnighters and canoe camping trips through the Catskills during this next testing period should allow me to thoroughly evaluate the torch.

SUMMARY

The innovative design and function of the Gerber Omnivore should allow a power source to be easily found. My GPS unit, camera and Spot PLB all offer a battery type acceptable for use in the Omnivore Flashlight. A battery source should always be and easy find.

The aircraft-grade aluminum housing makes for a lightweight torch and throughout the test series I will assess the durability it provides. During field testing I will evaluate the Omnivore for its overall performance, function, usefulness and durability.

Pros
Compatibility with three battery types
Lightweight
Small and sleek design

Cons
None at this time

This concludes my Initial Review. The Field Report will be completed in two months. Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Gerber Omnivore Flashlight was used in various locations under various weather conditions and terrain. It has been used on a daily basis due to the convenient small and lightweight size.

Daily the Omnivore was used out on my goat farm when conducting barn chores. During these tasks the light has endured much use and abuse. Weather conditions ranged from mild temperatures with heavy rain to very cold temperatures with snow. The farm elevation is at 1375 ft (419 m). On the farm, the Omnivore was used for about 60 days totaling 30 hours of burn time.

Besides using the flashlight for walks around the farm perimeter, checking fence or chasing off hungry coyotes it was also used on evening treks in the forest behind my home. This trek with the dog is a short 0.5 mile (0.81 km) on a mostly uphill/downhill terrain. Total burn time during this hike, which I completed eight times during the test period, is 20 minutes totaling 2.40 hours of burn time.

On a week trip to the West-Central Region of the Adirondacks, the Omnivore was used on a 30 minute dog walk on six different nights. This totaled three hours of burn time. Elevations averaged 1850 ft (564 m) during this walk. Also on this trip, the Gerber Flashlight was used when there was a power outage when in our cabin. This power outage lasted for four hours totaling the burn time 7 hours for the entire trip. Weather conditions for the week ranged from below freezing with snow to mild temperatures with freezing rain.

The Gerber Flashlight always occupied space in my pack for all day hikes and snowshoe treks during this leg of the test series. However, I am only logging the trips and occasions where the torch had any significant burn time.

Above I have recorded a total of 75 days where the Omnivore has had a significant use, for a total of 39.4 hours of burn time.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Because of the Omnivore's convenient small and lightweight size, I found myself using and carrying the torch more than expected. The flashlight consistently produced high illumination on a daily basis.

I carried the torch comfortably in my front pants pocket or in a random jacket pocket. The small size always made for an easy stash. The light weight of the flashlight was always a pleasure to carry or hold even when it occupied space in my pocket or pack. This little torch is comfortable to hold as it fits just right in the palm of my hand and because of the light weight, it never grew bothersome to hold for any length of time.

The beam of light that the Omnivore produces is always impressive, especially with the use of a CR123 lithium battery. With a CR123 battery, the light beam reached to about 200 ft (61 m). I consistently received plenty of light during all tasks such as nightly walks and various barn duties. During a power outage, the flashlight illuminated a 10x10 ft (3x3 m) room with plenty of light when hung overhead via lanyard.

Since receiving the Gerber Omnivore, I have drained one AA and one AAA battery. However, the total burn time received from both battery types has greatly exceeded Gerber's advertised times. Currently I am using a CR123 lithium battery, which produces the most amount of light of all three of the battery types. This battery type has too exceeded Gerber's advertised burn time and still is running strong.

During wet conditions, the Omnivore has proven to be water-resistant with its sealed cap and oaring. The light was used in various conditions of freezing rain, snow and heavy downpours with no effect of light production. On the farm, I once dropped the torch in a puddle that was at least 5 in (12.70 cm) deep where the light continued to operate without falter.

In cold or below freezing temperatures, the Omnivore never faltered with less light production than what is supplied in warm indoor temperatures. The durability has proven strong, as the flashlight still appears to be new in condition. It has been dropped, kicked and rolled many time throughout the testing period. On one occasion, the anodized aluminum shell stood up to the trampling of hungry goats fighting for who would be first at the feed bin.

SUMMARY

Thus far, the Gerber Omnivore Flashlight has proven to be a durable, lightweight torch with phenomenal illumination. It has endured consistent use and abuse through the test period with no sign of wear. The torch has never failed under any condition proving to be a reliable light source.

However, the most impressive feature of the Gerber flashlight is the ability to accept the three battery types. This feature helps to locate a power source conveniently or timely when needed. Personally, I prefer the use of a CR123 lithium battery for a brighter light production and lighter weight.

Pros
Lightweight
High light production
Small size
Three battery types accepted

IMAGE 1


This concludes my Field Report on the Gerber Omnivore Flashlight. The Long Term Report will be added here in approximately two months.




LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The Gerber Omnivore Flashlight was used and tested in the following locations and conditions.

Again, the Omnivore was used daily while working on my goat farm after dark. The torch endured much use and abuse during barn chores and walking the pasture perimeter checking fence. On occasion, I used the flashlight in the wee hours to chase off coyotes that circle the property. Conditions varied some when working on the farm. Mostly cold temperatures with snowy conditions, but on occasion some mild temperatures thawed the frozen ground. Temperatures were mostly below 20 F (6.5 C) with a wind chill at times that felt like -20 F (-29 C). The farm elevation is at 1375 ft (419 m). On the farm, the Omnivore was used for about 60 days totaling 30 hours of burn time.

During my nightly dog walks, the Omnivore provided more than adequate light. This trek with the dog is a short 0.5 mile (0.81 km) on a mostly uphill/downhill terrain. Total burn time during this hike, which I completed 16 times during this test period, is 20 minutes totaling 5 hours 33 minutes of burn time.

The Gerber Flashlight always occupied space in my pack for all day hikes and snowshoe treks during this leg of the test series. Below are the treks listed of which the Omnivore Flashlight occupied pack space.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 1): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 2): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 20 F (-6.6 C) heavy snow at times with fresh snow accumulations of 12 in (30.48 cm)
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 3): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 15 F (-9.43 C) with wind chills below 0 F (18 C). Light snow
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

Robert V. Riddell State Park (Day hike 4): Susquehanna River Valley - Oneonta, NY (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains)
Route: Parks main loop trail
Weather: 34 F (1 C) sleet, rain and ice mix
Distance: 4 mile (6.5 km) loop
Difficulty: easy with mostly level terrain. This trail is a great snowshoe/ski trail. Snowshoes were worn for this trek.

The Gerber flashlight was also carried on several snowshoe hikes in the forest behind my home. This is a 2 mile (3.22 km) bushwhack, mostly on an uphill/downhill, rocky terrain and is a moderate ascend to an elevation of 2000 ft (610 m). I have logged 7 days for this trek. Snowshoes were worn for all of these hikes.

Above I have recorded a total of 76 days where the Omnivore has had a significant use, for a total of 350 minutes of burn time. The flashlight was also carried on 11 snowshoe treks where the torch did not accumulate a burn time.

During a testing scenario, I tested the Omnivore's total burn time with the use of the entire life span of an AA battery. Total burn time for this test was ten hours and ten minutes.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During this final leg of this test series, the Gerber Omnivore Flashlight provided more than adequate lighting for all uses, tasks and activities. The torch has proven to be a bright, lightweight and durable flashlight. Except for the few surface scratches on the outer shell the flashlight is in excellent condition.

The Omnivore was always a pleasure to carry as the lightweight compact design fit comfortably in my hand. With the help of a lanyard tasks where easily accomplished with hands free and the lighting hung above.

In the Field Report section, I expressed how impressive the amount of light produce by this little torch is. This has not changed for this leg of the test series. With the use of a CR123 lithium battery the Omnivore produced the most amount of brightness compared to the other two battery types. I have not determined the total burn of a CR123 battery as it is still burning strong.

For the good of testing this product, I completely drained a full AA Alkaline battery by leaving the Omnivore on continuously. I have concluded that with the use of a full, unused AA battery the Omnivore logged 10 hours and 10 minutes of continuous burn time. This totals 4 hours and 40 minutes over the advertised 5.5 hour burn time for this battery type. My logged time ended when the light began to dim to a just bearable brightness in a large 20x20 ft (6x6 m) unlit room. The flashlight continued to burn for hours after this logged time providing a dim but bearable amount of light.

I am now using a CR123 lithium battery and the amount of light provided is far superior to the other two battery types. For this reason and for the lightweight of the lithium battery I will try to continue using this battery type for all future use. However, if needed, I will use any type available in a pinch. That is after all what makes the Omnivore unique.

SUMMARY

Having the option of using three battery types for a power source in my opinion makes the Omnivore unique and versatile; more so than other flashlights in its class. This innovative design helps to find a power source easily and is a valuable feature when power is needed in a pinch.

The lightweight, compact and sleek design makes for a comfortable hand placement and can be carried with little fatiguing of the hand and wrist. The compactness helps to stash the torch in any pocket for an easy retrieval.

With all of the use and abuse that the Omnivore has received, the anodized aluminum shell has proven durable. The torch consistently provided more than adequate lighting during all activities and for all tasks. Overall, I have no complaints with the use of the Gerber Omnivore Flashlight.

Pros
Lightweight, compact and sleek design
Amount of light and brightness provided
Compatibility of three battery types for power source

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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