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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Mini Maglite LED 3 AA Cell Flashlight > Owner Review by Chad G Poindexter

MINI MAGLITE LED 3 AA CELL FLASHLIGHT
BY CHAD POINDEXTER
OWNER REVIEW

January 17, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chad Poindexter
EMAIL: cg-77 (AT) hotmail (DOT) com
AGE: 32
LOCATION: Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I am a fairly new hiker and have hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia and at a few state parks in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. As a fairly new backpacker I have obtained mostly heavy gear, but dream of going light. I sleep in a tent and like a warm drink in the morning, as well as a warm meal at night. Since I'm still new my distance is around 10 mi (16 km) or less per day, depending on terrain. I usually hike with my fiancée or my son but wouldn't mind a solo hike.

PRODUCT SPECS

IMAGE 3
The Maglite packaged

Manufacturer: Mag Instruments
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.maglite.com
MSRP: N / A
Listed Weight: 2.88 oz (81.64 g)
Measured Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g)
Listed Overall Length: 8.596 in (218.3 mm) Verified Accurate
Lamp: 3 Watt MAG-LED
Color Reviewed: Black (Also available in Red, Silver, Blue, and Gray)
Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty in the Western Hemisphere and Japan;
ten year limited warranty elsewhere.
All Maglite flashlights are made in the USA, but may contain some
imported components.

The Mini Maglite was introduced in 1987, and in 2006 the Mini Maglite MAG-LED. According to Anthony Maglica, the MAG-LED Technology is said to "incorporate longer battery life" and "have the kind of durability, reliability, and performance that Maglite flashlights are known for."

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The 3 AA cell Mini Maglite LED flashlight (hereafter referred to as the "light" or the "flashlight") is sold as an all-purpose flashlight. The flashlight comes packaged with one Mini Maglite LED 3 AA cell flashlight, one black polypropylene belt holster, and 3 AA Cell DURACELL Copper Top batteries, as well as instructions for use, inspection and maintenance, troubleshooting, warnings, and of course the warranty information.
IMAGE 2
The casing of the flashlight is comprised of a rugged, machined, lightweight / compact aluminum and features a diamond knurl design around the center of the handle which provides maximum griping capabilities. For added strength, durability, and improved corrosion resistance, the inside and outside of the aluminum casing has been anodized, which also makes it shock resistant. High grade seals and O-rings are placed around all the openings, making the light water resistant.

The powerful projecting light beam is made using "balanced optics" which combines a highly refined reflector with a quality 3-watt LED, and is focused simply by turning the head of the light. With just a small 1/2 turn clockwise, the light can go from a high-intensity spot light, to a wide flood light. The light is turned off simply by turning the head of the light counterclockwise until it stops. The MAG-LED Technology also promises an "Intelligent Energy Source Management" which is a balance of a very bright light and energy efficiency. Perhaps the coolest feature of the Mini LED Maglite (in my opinion) is the candle mode (see picture to the left). The head of the light is able to completely unscrew and is then set upside down on a flat surface and the base of the flashlight fits inside the head, giving it the appearance and function of a very bright candle (except the wind won't blow this candle out)! It is recommended that only alkaline batteries from a reputable manufacturer be used in this flashlight. It is specifically stated in the paperwork that was packaged with the light not to use rechargeable, or reusable alkaline batteries in this flashlight.

FIELD USE

I have used this flashlight for 23 nights while backpacking / camping, as well as in lots of other different settings (around home, car, etc.). However, for this review, I'll discuss the uses ranging from car camping to multi-night backpacking trips. I have used the light at various local state parks, venturing out into woods surrounding my parents home on overnight trips, and of course on multi-night trips on the Appalachian Trail. I have used it in temperatures as low as 23 F (-5 C) at Sipsey Wilderness located in Alabama, and as high as 80 F (27 C) at a local campground. I have used it at elevations ranging from 480 ft (146 m) at Chickasaw State Park in southwestern Tennessee, to 4,450 ft (1,356 m) atop Blood Mountain in north Georgia on the Appalachian Trail. I have used it while in wet conditions, however I have thus far made successful efforts to keep it dry.

SUMMARY

I bought this flashlight first off because I own other Maglite flashlights and have been very happy with their performance and durability. So when I went shopping for a backpacking flashlight, I was looking for one of these Mini Maglite flashlights in particular, and more precisely, I had my heart set on a 2 AA cell Mini Maglite. When I found them, the prices changed my mind. I found both the 2 AA cell and the 3 AA cell flashlights with the MAG-LED Technology, however the 3 AA cell flashlight happened to be on sale for (US) $10 cheaper than the 2 AA cell light. So naturally, I went with the cheaper one.

I mainly use this flashlight for hanging inside my tent as a tent light, but have also used it for around camp, walking trails at night, and even as a lantern or candle while outside the tent. To enable me to use it in the tent, I have made a slight alteration to the light, however it is not a permanent modification. I have simply cut a short piece of string and used a small piece of 3M Vinyl Duct Tape to secure it to the base of the flashlight, making a loop in which to hang from a small carabiner hanging from a loop on the ceiling of my tent. It would be nice if it came with some sort of a built in hang loop, but this works too. Just for clarification, here is a picture (however, it can also be seen in the above picture showing the flashlight in candle mode).

IMAGE 1


As for the light, I love it. There were a few concerns I had when I first purchased the light, the biggest two of course being weight, and brightness (not necessarily in that order). Since I stated weight first, I will say that I am very impressed with the weight of the flashlight, especially since the light requires 3 AA cell batteries! Weighing in at 2.9 oz (82 g) empty, and only 4.5 oz (128 g) with my batteries, I am very happy with it. I know that there are lighter options out there, (even the 2 AA cell Mini Maglite), but after owning this flashlight for the last 8 months, I am very happy I purchased it. At this point it would take a lot for me to change to another light, even if it does weigh less!

On the other hand, it is rather large. Even with the very lightweight build, the shaft requiring 3 AA cell batteries is long. The flashlight is easy enough for me to store it away in the pockets on my pack, but it would be nice if it was shorter (which is part of the reason I wanted the 2 AA cell flashlight). Although, from reading the material on the Maglite website, the extra battery power from the 3rd battery enables this flashlight to shine brighter than the smaller 2 AA cell light.

As for the brightness, wow, I am very impressed. When I hang it from the inside of my tent, it lights up everything! If I am not using the fly on my tent the light shines through the mesh / fabric wall of my tent, illuminating the area around the outside of my tent well enough for me to navigate around the outside of my tent easily. Even with the fly on I am still able to navigate around the outside of my tent, however I have to stay pretty close to the tent. (See picture below). While using it walking trails at night it is plenty bright enough for me to walk at a normal pace as if it were day light. And the candle mode works pretty good, even in a small crowd, however my only complaint about this is that it doesn't illuminate the ground so well unless it is actually sitting on the ground. I have come to prefer hanging the light upside down (with the head / lid off) instead of setting the flashlight upright inside the lid, as this provides more usable, effective lighting in my findings. (I also agree with the instructions stating not to stare into the light while on, it is very bright and naturally causes momentarily light blindness!)

IMAGE 4
Night time on Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail


I haven't submerged the light in water to test out the water resistance, but it has been used while hiking in a slight mist, and it caused no complications whatsoever. Of course I dried it off as soon as I was done and I always take great care to store the flashlight in optimal condition. I can attest to the durability as well. I have dropped the flashlight head first on a concrete floor and at first was frightened I broke it, but alas, it continued to function as normal, without even a flicker or even a cracked lens! I have put it through some rough times while using it on the trail as well, stuffing it in my backpack and then throwing my backpack around, not to mention stepping on it while trying to get everything together to pack it all back up.

On a side note, I have went against the instructions stating to use only alkaline batteries in this light. I bought a set of the Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries to use in the flashlight, and so far have been very happy with the combination. I have used this combination for 23 nights total on the trail, and then some at or around my home and still have not had to change out the batteries or had any problems with the light itself. I cannot even notice a difference in the lighting, it still seems as bright as the day that I first put them in, in fact they are the same batteries that I put in the light 8 months ago when I purchased the light. Also, with these batteries in the flashlight, the total weight of the flashlight comes to 4.5 oz (128 g) which is pretty impressive in my opinion.

I do not use the black polypropylene belt holster, and never have. I have never been a fan of using holsters such as these for anything. However, the belt holster seems to be well-constructed, with sturdy seams, but I cannot attest to the durability from actual use.

In my overall opinion, I am very happy with the Mini MagLite LED flashlight. It has served me well so far, and based on the performance of other lights I have by this company, I have no doubt that this light will be around for a very long time.

WHAT SHINES....

The light is very bright.
It is lightweight.
It is very tough, it can take a beating.
It can be used in many different settings.

LEFT IN THE DARK.....

It needs a hang loop.
The candle mode doesn't light what's below it very well.
It's long.

SIGNATURE

IMAGE 5
Chad Poindexter
"Stick"

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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