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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Tektite Trek LED Flashlight > Owner Review by Chuck Kime

Tektite Trek Lithium LED Flashlight
August, 2007

Photo courtesy www.tek-tite.com
Tektite Trek Lithium

Contents
Reviewer Information[return to top]
Name: Chuck Kime
Nickname: Fuzzy
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Weight: 243 lb (110 kg)
Email address: chuck_kime AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Upper Darby (Philadelphia suburb), Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background[return to top]
My family started car/trailer camping when I was about 5. I spent 17 years in the Army Reserve fine-tuning my packing methodology – when I got out, I was down to a fairly respectable 75-80 lb (34-36 kg) load in my ALICE pack. Advancing age, arthritic knees and a car accident have led me to seriously rethink my gear choices, experiment with tarps and hammocks, make some of my own gear, and take a closer look at my ‘toys’ with an eye for multi-use and light weight. I now have a sub-30 lb (14 kg) 3-season load, and should be able to reduce it to 20 lb (9 kg) – before food, fuel and water – without much more effort.

Additional Background applicable to this review
I carry a 2-AA incandescent light daily. I have a convenient belt carrier for it and my folding pocket tool – I am all about convenience.

Product Information[return to top]
Manufacturer: Tektite
Model: TREK LITHIUM (formerly MICRA LITHIUM)
Year of Manufacture: 2003
URL: http://www.tek-tite.com
Listed weight: n/a
Measured weight, scale accurate to 0.1 oz:
- with Bungee Lanyard and Lens Shield: 2.1 oz (60 g)
- with Bungee Lanyard: 1.8 oz (51 g)
- with Bungee Lanyard lifted (to be weightless – can’t be removed): 1.6 oz (45 g)
Dimensions, listed and measured: 3.5 in L x 1.2 in W (89 mm L x 30.5 mm W)
Body color: Black
Other body colors available: Blue, Orange, Pink, Yellow
LED color: White
Other LED colors available: Blue, Green
MSRP: $29.95 US

Features/claims (from web site)[return to top]
  • Waterproof
  • Twist-on
  • Custom magnifying lens
  • 3.6v special lithium battery (included)
  • Lens shield
  • Bungee lanyard

Owner Review - August, 2007
I tested this light for BackpackGearTest.org over a 6 month period in 2003, and continued to use it since then. I have reposted and updated my findings here for new readers to make use of the information.
Description [return to top]
Front to back, the first thing encountered is the lens shield. This is a textured, flexible black rubber sleeve designed to fit over, and work with, the magnifying lens that also serves as the rotating on-off switch. Inside the shield are four evenly spaced ribs that match the longitudinal ribs on the lens, effectively locking the two together, at least for the purpose of rotation. The shield slips off with a gentle tug when desired. The shield measures 1 3/8 in (35 mm) in diameter, and just over 1 1/8 in (30 mm) long, and is not included in the listed measurements.
Next is the magnifying lens, which serves as the rotating on-off switch, and makes up the entire head of the light. It is a single, molded piece of clear plastic that is ribbed around its outer surface and has a slightly recessed lens in its forward surface that measures approximately ½ in (14 mm) in diameter. The inner wall is threaded to mate with the body of the Trek, and rotating it all the way onto the body (righty tighty, lefty loosey) will turn on the light. Replacement lenses are available in clear, IR, and red.
Rotating the lens all the way off (per the battery replacement instructions) exposes the bulb holder assembly. This assembly, which measures approximately ¾ in (18 mm) in diameter and ½ in (13 mm) high, incorporates the LED and reflector with a printed-circuit material base with the battery/switch contacts.
The bulb holder lifts out to reveal the battery, a AA-size, 3.6v Lithium model.
The body of the Trek is molded from a rigid black plastic, and incorporates a threaded section at the head end, a lanyard hole at the tail end, a flat section with the TEKTITE logo along one side, and rectangular loops on two (opposite) sides that will accommodate 1 in (25 mm) wide straps. At the base of the threaded section is an O-ring that seals against the inside of the lens piece, and another at the very bottom of the lens section that seals against the end of the lens piece when the lens piece is fully seated. These O-rings are lightly greased, most likely with a silicone-based grease, as directed by the instruction sheet enclosed with the package. Replacement O-rings are available.
The lanyard, which was already attached when I received the Trek, is made from 1/8 in (3 mm) diameter bungee material and capped at the end to produce a loop approximately 5 in (13 cm) long.
First Impressions [return to top]
Boy, this thing is light!
The head of the Trek rotates with a firm but light twist, with the light coming on when the head is fully seated on the body of the light. As I am used to a rotate-on/off light, I found it simple to do this one-handed, both with and without the lens shield in place. Rotating the head does not result in any focusing of the beam, as it does in some other lights, since a) the light is only on when the head is fully seated, and b) the reflector and LED are part of a single unit. The light from the Trek is a very bluish white, far different from incandescent lights I am used to, and has a small focal (illuminated) area.
The strap loops on either side of the body make it possible to pass a strap through. If done with a simple headband the light would point either up or down, but it could be configured with a wrist strap to get a “light where I point” setup. The Trek could also be used this way with a trekking pole or staff if the need arose.
The bungee lanyard makes it possible to attach the light to many things in many different ways. I can envision it looped over a branch (or a ridge in a tent), clipped on a pack with a small 'biner, or hanging from a hook almost anywhere. I think it may swing an awful lot clipped onto a pack this way – as opposed to a key ring, for example – but the added utility might make up for this issue.
Field Testing [return to top]
I have used the light to find my way to my campsite, and hanging inside my tent or lean-to while preparing for the next day. I have also held the Trek in my teeth, by the tab at the back, when using the latrine at camp (hey, gotta see where I’m “going”). I have not yet used the light for the 200 hours of full brightness that the web site claims, and likely won’t for several more years – at least without intentionally trying to wear it out. At $15 locally ($6 + shipping from Tektite) for a replacement battery, I think I’m going to be thrifty and use this light more sparingly. I have hung the Trek by its lanyard from the gear ‘shelf’ in the tent my wife and I use when we camp together a few times a year. Its small size and rigid shell mean I don’t need to take it down when packing the tent, and the lithium battery means it will likely be working whenever we need it in the foreseeable future.
The light cast by the Trek is a very bluish white that took me some time to get used to, as this was my first LED light. I find this color of light to be perfectly acceptable in my tent, or other stationary location, but find it somewhat lacking when using the Trek while walking. The bluish beam from the single LED, which can not be focused, doesn’t give me the contrast or depth-of-field that incandescent (or multi-LED) lights do, making it harder – for me – to determine where a trail edge is or whether the spot just ahead is some leaves or a large rock (yes, this is a specific example – no, I didn’t trip over it, but it was close). To compare the Trek to an incandescent light, I carried one in each hand on a 10-minute walk around a Scout camp, alternating between them. I found the Trek sufficient to light my path, and to see major obstacles (trees, boulders, latrines that have been painted black, etc.) along the way, but not to give me confidence that I could see the contours of the trail ahead of me the way that an incandescent (or multi-LED) light does.
I have found the Trek very easy to operate one-handed, particularly with the lens shield in place, even with cold hands. Since I prefer the lens shield in place for its intended purpose (preventing side light emissions) anyway, this is the way I will continue to use the light.
To date, the weather conditions I have used the Trek in have ranged from lows between around 10 F (-12 C) to highs around 95 F (35 C), from rainy and humid to dry and arid, and with elevations ranging from sea level to 14,110’ (4,301 m).

Things I was looking for: [return to top]
  • Brightness/coverage. Will the light allow me to see everything I need as clearly as I need to see it?
  • Ease of operation. The Trek is twist-on. I was interested in seeing how well this light works one-handed, as I usually use poles when walking around, and how well I can use it with cold/gloved hands.
  • Hands-free use. For use during nighttime first aid, for example. Is the light easy to hold, attach, and direct where it is wanted/needed?
  • Duration of full-brightness –the Trek lists “Over 200 hours” at full power on the web site.
  • Ease of maintenance. How easy is it to get a replacement battery? The Trek uses a special 3.6v lithium battery (included, yee hah!) that needs no tools to change.
  • Water resistance. How well the light works under water, or in rain.
My findings: [return to top]
  • Brightness/coverage. The light was bright enough, but the single LED did not provide *me* with sufficient depth perception.
  • Ease of operation. One handed use is no problem for me.
  • Hands-free use. I have had it hanging in our tent for over 3 years as a very handy light.
  • Duration of full-brightness. I have yet to see the light level degrade.
  • Ease of maintenance. Changing the battery is easy – I just don’t want to spend the money right now.
  • Water resistance. No water or condensation has ever gotten into the light.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Twist-on.
  2. Bright.
  3. Lightweight.
  4. Long lanyard provides many hanging opportunities.
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. Black color may be hard to find if dropped, especially in the dark. The Trek is also available in Neon Yellow, Neon Orange, blue and Pink. If I were purchasing this light for survival or emergency use I would choose either the Neon Orange or Neon Yellow, to prevent possible loss. However, for a daily-use light, black would still be my choice, since it gives the Trek a more subdued appearance.
  2. Lack of depth perception. This is likely my issue, not the Trek's, but multi-LED lights work better for me while hiking.
Summary [return to top]
Tektite has produced a fine light, with many useful features. The Trek does not, however, fit with my daily-usage lighting needs. I will continue using the Trek as a tent/pack light, and will always have it around for emergencies, but I find that its shape is not conducive to the way I carry a day-to-day light (in a sleeve on my belt), and it’s just a bit too bulky to carry in my pocket. I would definitely recommend the Trek to anyone looking for a lightweight, long-lasting, quality emergency light (choose a bright color), or who stores their light in a pack pocket – as I do in the field.
Thank you for your time.

Chuck Kime
a.k.a. Fuzzy


Read more reviews of Tektite gear
Read more gear reviews by Chuck Kime

Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Tektite Trek LED Flashlight > Owner Review by Chuck Kime



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