UCO MightyLite XL
Initial Report 2nd November 2008
By Mark McLauchlin
* Reviewer Information
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5’ 9”)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
* Backpacking Background
I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where
Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (29 lb),
which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts
that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.
* Product Information
Manufacturer: Industrial Revolution
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Listed Weight: 110g (3.8 oz)
Measured Weight: 110g (3.8 oz)
Listed Length Torch: 3.9 in (102 mm)
Measured Length Torch: 3.9 in (102 mm)
Listed Length Lantern: 5 in (130 mm)
Measured Length Lantern: 5 in (130 mm)
Listed Diameter: 1.2 in (30 mm)
Measured Diameter: 1.2 in (30 mm)
Battery Type: 3 x AAA
Burn Time: 22 Hours
MSRP: not listed.
* Product Description
The MightyLite XL is new to the
market and is described by the manufacturer as offering a lot of
light in a small package. This is a one-piece flashlight with an aluminum housing which converts into a lantern with a single pull. The
compact lantern and torch burns for 22 hours+ and is perfect for
outdoors and camping.
The UCO MightyLite XL Compact Lantern and Torch arrived in a plastic
hanging display case. Included with the torch were 3 x AAA batteries, a
lanyard and carabiner.
There are several colours available, each appears to have grey plastic
in common for the end cap and lens surround. The colour I received is a
highly reflective metallic green.
* Initial Impressions
Images below show size of the torch when next to my mobile phone which
is 10.5 cm (4 in) in length and 5 cm (2 in) wide. Gripping the
handlebars on a bike gives a good representation and feel for the actual
size of the torch. The size is ideal, it’s not too big that I would be
put off carrying it hiking. The main body of the torch is octagonal in
shape with each alternate edge having a textured finish which assists
with securing a firm grip. I will be looking to see if this attracts and
retains any dust and dirt and if it does how easy it is to clean out.
The contents of the packet and the torch expanded for lantern use are
also depicted below.
The first image below shows the UCO’s hanging hook in its extended open
position, which would be its in-use position. The hook is made in grey
plastic and is hinged on the grey cap end of the torch allowing it to
fold away so it doesn’t get caught on anything and reduces the risk for
it to break. It is an open style hook, rather than a loop, similar in
shape to a fishing hook, without the sharp point. I am a little curious
as to how the carabiner and lanyard will work with the torch, this is
something I will investigate further and report on in the field and long
The torch emits a white light due to the 0.5 watt Nichia LED. The same
LED is used for both the torch and the lantern however the two functions
run independent of each other. The manufacturer indicates that the LED
never needs to be replaced. This I like feature as it is one less
component to worry about having to carry a replacement for.
The lantern is operated by gripping the LED end of the housing on the
texture points, I use my thumb and pointer finger, and pulled or
stretched apart and the switch turned on. When fully extended
the lantern adds an inch or 2.5 cm to the length of the torch body. One
of the great features of this is that the amount of light emitted can be
changed by how far the housing is stretched which in turn relates to how
much of the lantern is exposed. The lantern casing that encloses the LED
is made from plastic that is slightly "foggy" and to touch this does
seem tough enough to last out on the trail. When the lantern is pushed
back together there is a small hole in the cap end of the housing to
allow air to escape. I will be monitoring this over the life of the test
to see if this affects the water resistance claim by UCO.
* Reading the Instructions
The instructions for the UCO are included on the reverse side of the
packaging. They are both simple to understand and easy to read.
Operating the MightyLite is explained as:
"Twist the triangular switch at the end cap for ON/OFF"
The image below shows the on/off switch which is very easy to use
and can be switched by using the same hand that the torch is being held
with. This is useful when both hands are not free. The switch is a very
simple design located on the cap end of the torch and slides to the on
and off position locking into place so that accidental turning on of the
torch does not occur. I will be monitoring this feature during the
report series to see if in fact the torch can remain in various
compartments of my pack without turning on and using up the battery,
this would be very inconvenient while out hiking. It also has a serrated
edge for better grip which assists with the ease of use.
Battery replacement on the torch is very simple. The manufacturers
instructions are a simple two step process as listed;
"1. Unscrew the end cap and remove it from the unit.
2. Remove the old batteries and insert 3 new AAA Alkaline batteries
according to the polarity labels, glide back the end cap into the unit
on its own track (Don't force), push in and screw the end cap back on."
The images below show the orientation of the batteries once inserted
into the torch body and the polarity labels inside. The battery
placement forms a triangular configuration with two of the batteries
positive terminal directed upwards and the third batteries directed
downward. They form a tight fit in the body which means they do not roll
or shake around which can cause bad contacts effecting the quality and
reliability of the both the torch and the light it emits. Once the
MightyLite is fitted with batteries it has a relatively robust feel
about it when you consider the actual size which gives me the impression
the torch is well made and durable.
Looking at the images below it can be seen that the end cap does not
have a complete 360 degree thread and only needs to be turned
approximately one eighth of a turn. The cap is turned Anti-clockwise to
open and clockwise to close and is locked firmly into place so that the
compartment is sealed. There are some markings on the side of the torch
and the end cap to indicate an alignment point to make it easier to join
the pieces together reducing the risk of an incorrect fit. The main body
of the torch also has an O-ring at the point where the end cap is
secured which helps to provide the water resistant feature which I will
be testing this later on in the report stage. It will also be of benefit
to note if the O-ring assists with preventing dirt and dust from
entering the torch thus rendering it inoperable.
There is a small diagram at the bottom of the instructions that shows a
few of the features of the torch such as the location of the batteries,
the switch and the hook. It also shows how the torch is stretched to
reveal the lantern.
* Testing Strategy
During the test period the UCO will accompany me on all my
day and overnight hikes in my home state of Western Australia and will
replace my headlamp as my primary light source.
As this is a torch and is designed for night use I will endeavour to be
more active at night whilst out hiking. This may include animal
spotting, geocaching, cooking my meals around the camp area and reading
at night whilst either in my tent or one of the huts I regularly stay
The torch looks like it will provide some great
illumination while sitting up drinking wine and talking to my regular
hiking buddy. One of the advantages I can see of the MightyLite over my
conventional tea-light candles is that this cannot blow out and the
intensity of the light will not be effected by the changes in
environmental conditions such as the wind which often proves to be
painful whilst being located in open areas of a campsite.
At this stage I am very pleased with the initial impressions
of the UCO MightyLite and look forward to putting it through its paces.
Here are my overall likes and dislikes.
Things I liked
LED never needs replacing.
Replacing batteries is very simple.
One hand operation of on/off switch.
Lantern and torch in one.
White light is bright in torch and lantern configuration.
Things I disliked
The hook at cap end remains open and cannot be closed.
This concludes my Initial Report. The Field report should
be completed by December. Please check back then for further information.
1st February 2009
Over the course of the testing period the MightyLite has accompanied me
on one day walk, two night walks, one of which included navigation
through an old train tunnel, and two overnight hikes. My first outing
was along the Heritage Trail in the John Forrest National Park which was
a round trip of 17 Km (10.5 miles). Elevation ranged from 50 m (164 ft)
to 260 m (853 ft). The photo above shows the MightyLite in use as I was
walking through the train tunnel, if you look closely you will see a
nice sized moth. The camera and torch, in this case was approximately 3
m (10 ft) from the wall. The torch did a great job walking through
here, it provided a good solid beam of white light.
The first overnight hike was along the Coastal Plains Trail in the
Yanchep National Park where I camped in one of the three sided huts. I
used mainly the lantern function while I was setting up for dinner and
lying in my sleeping bag. I was unable to hang the lantern in a position
where I was able to get enough light so the majority of the time it was
sitting on the floor next to me. One great advantage I found when using
it like this is that you can regulate the amount of light from the
lantern by adjusting how far extended the lantern cover is. I found that
with just enough light to see what I was doing the ideal position was
for the lantern cover to be extended about 1/3 its full length. This
also meant I was able to sit back and see the surrounding bush without
too much glare.
The next overnight hike was out to my favorite place, Helena Hut on the
Bibbulmun Track. This loop walk is 22 km (13.7 miles) and can be
completed either in one day or the night can be spent at the campsite
which consists of a shelter, toilet and fire ring. The shelter at this
location is also a three sided hut, so again I used the UCO in a similar
configuration to my previous outing. I was able to use the torch on this
trip while out searching for firewood and generally having a look around
and again found that it provided me with some good lighting.
I have noted some inconsistencies with the "burn time" of the batteries,
the one supplied with the torch and others that I have purchased. The
first set of batteries that came with the torch lasted approximately 8
hours, which was quite surprising as the manufacturer lists this as
being 22 hours. I thought that perhaps this might have been due to the
batteries being stored in their packaging for a length of time thus
losing their power. The second set of batteries I purchased were the
same brand as the original ones and this time without going into the
field I left the torch running to see how long I would get from them, 11
hours later they were also flat. Third time lucky, this time I purchased
another brand, cheaper also I might add, and to my excitement I was able
to get over 20 hours out of them. Currently I have approximately 6 hours
of use out of the fourth set and I will continue to log their time.
I have noticed that after less than 1 hour of run time the torch does
get quite hot and after several hours the temperature does seem
excessive and causes me a little concern. During the tests above I did
turn it off long enough to cool down then powered it back up again and
continued to record the time.
The switch on the torch has started to become loose and is now very easy
to turn on and off, so much so that if it is bumped the switch easily
turns the torch off. It is a little tighter in turning to the on
position which does mean less risk of it turning on when inside my pack and
wasting the batteries. This is something that I am not really happy with
and if it continues to degrade in this way I will more than likely cease
using it. The short-term durability is of concern.
During each of my trips with the UCO I have carried the carabiner that
was included and have yet to find a use for this. It just doesn't make
sence to me as to why the hook on the body of the lantern is an open one
yet a carabiner is included. It still seems more practical to close the
hook and make it a loop which would be more functional. The carabiner
could then be used to hang the torch from it and also as a safety measure to
The weight of the torch has not been an issue for me and seems to be a
good trade off for the robustness of the main body. I have dropped it,
accidentally, onto a paved surface and other than a small scratch there
are no issues. This drop was after the switch started to become loose so
is not directly related to that.
I have yet to test the water resistance of the MightyLite. I will put
some thoughts into how this can be done effectively. We are now
entering into the Summer months here in Australia and I will not be
expecting precipitation in the short-term.
I am really enjoying using the UCO MightyLite and all going
well I will continue to use it on my overnight hikes and potentially
some car camping.
The same as my Initial Report.
The on/off switch has become loose.
Inability to accurately predict battery life.
Becomes quite hot.
7th March 2009
Since I last reported in on the UCO MightlyLite it has only managed to
survive one more outing. This was a day walk in the Walyunga National
Park located approximately 40 Km (25 miles) North East of Perth. The
temperature was really quite warm at 32 C (90 F). The trail was
relatively flat, with no significant rises in the landscape. As per most
of the trails around the Perth area the ground was hard and covered with
lots of fallen debris. According to the maps I have on the area the
total distance, in a loop, should have been just over 10 Km (6 Miles),
however with my GPS it came in at 15 Km (9 Miles).
One of the long-term uses I had planned for the torch was to add it to
my emergency gear list. This is basically a small stuff bag that I carry
with me on all my outings, regardless if they are a short day walk or a
multi-day hike. The bag consists of a small first aid supply, spare shoe
laces and a few water purification tables. On my last hike the torch was
added to this gear list and sadly must have been subject to excessive
forces as the switch is no longer serviceable.
I did note in my field report some concerns over the switch and how it
had become loose. The current state of the switch means that I am unable
to pack it for fear of it turning on and flattening the batteries. I
have tested covering the switch with some strong sticky tape to prevent
movement, and this does work, however not ideal. It no longer stays in
either the on or off positions but rather moves between the two quite
Over the course of the test period I did find the MightyLite to be a
great little device. I was and still am excited about the ability the
have an effective torch and a very useful lantern in the same piece of
Apart from the switch I have not seen any other signs of wear that would
impact the durability or functionality of the torch. There are several
scratches on the casing but I consider that to be normal.
The LED light shows no signs of reduced efficiency which is a good thing
as there is only one present, failure of one would mean total failure of
both lantern and torch.
I found an internet reference to the use of LED which I feel truly sums
up the UCO MightyLite. The Quote below is taken from Wikipedia.
"LED's present many advantages over traditional light sources including
lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smaller
size and faster switching".
Comparing the features of the UCO to the above statement it is obvious
to see why it is to effective. Lower energy consumption means the
battery life is improved, in this case over 20 hours. Longer lifetime,
well so far the LED has continued to light-up and I see no way to
replace it which to me means the manufacturer is confident in it.
Improved robustness of the LED can only be compared to the days of the
older traditional globes whereby movement had the potential to break the
battery contacts and cause the globe to flicker or even break.
Smaller size and faster switching are also strong selling points for LED
torches, they are indeed small and there is virtually no warm-up time
for the LED.
I really like the UCO MightyLite and had the switch not failed this would
have been something that I would have continued to take out hiking.
The multi-use functions of torch and lantern, both within a robust case
make it a great addition to anyone's hiking gear.
This concludes my report series on the UCO MightyLite
Thank you to Industrial Revolution and BackpackGearTest.org for the
privilege of testing the MightyLite XL.
Read more reviews of Industrial Revolution gear
Read more gear reviews by Mark McLauchlin