GOSUN SOLAR ASSISTED FLASHLIGHT
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
August 24, 2021
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mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Los Angeles County, California, USA
5' 5" (1.65 m)
132 lb (60.00 kg)
I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2021
Manufacturer's Website: http://gosun.co
Listed Weight: 0.4 lb (181 g)
Measured Weight: 5.5 oz (156 g)
Listed Size: 6.68 x 1.38 x 0.98 in (16.97 x 3.51 x 2.49 cm)
Measured Size: 7 x 1.44 in head diameter and 1.06 in body diameter (17.8 x 3.7 cm and 2.7 cm)
|A Pen in size comparison to the Flashlight
The GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight arrived securely packaged inside a clear blister packaging. The pack held the flashlight, a USB cable and a one page manual. A promotional cardboard inside the packaging explained that the flashlight offers 280 lumens of on-demand light. GoSun highlights these prominent features:
chargeable with Solar + Electric
1000 ft (305 m) reach
200 lumen Lantern mode
The flashlight is black and has a cold to the touch metal body. The flashlight body fits well in my hand (handy to use). On the front side, the GoSun company logo is imprinted on the metal head. Below, on the body part of the flashlight, is the on/off button. A black plastic clip snaps onto the metal body and covers the on/off button. This prevents the flashlight from accidentally getting turned on while inside my backpack and depleting its charge by the time I arrive in camp. I am a bit concerned that such a removable small item might be the first part I misplace. I shall see with time.
Below the on/off button is a big section of clear plastic that shows three rows of LED lights plus the solar panels. The red arrow in below image points to an unusual dot in one solar panel. It looks unusual/ imperfect but I cannot judge if it might have any effect on the solar charging or is simply a minor cosmetic issue.
|The solar and LED light section
At the very bottom is a magnet that is strong enough to hold the flashlight horizontally against a metal surface. While I do not see any opportunity to use this magnet while backpacking, I can see uses for this magnetic feature around the house or car. Unfortunately the flashlight does not have any means for me to attach it to the tent ceiling. I see that as a big drawback because I typically attach my illumination source to a metal ring under my tent ceiling for area brightness.
On the flashlight backside opposite of the on/off button is a charging port for the flashlight and other devices. The port is protected by an attached rubber piece that easily comes off the port and dangles. While using the flashlight, I may tighten that little rubber piece in place by snapping the on/off button clip over it. I am curious if I could use this flashlight to charge my smart phone. It would mean though that I have to carry the smart phone charging cable when going backpacking ... and might result in having phone power but no more illumination? ... to be seen
|The two ports and the Rubber cover
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
GoSun explains that the flashlight recharges slowly (24 hours) if I use solar energy alone. A faster method is to recharge the flashlight with the included USB cord (4 hours) or quickly with a 10 watt solar phone charger.
This is a solar assisted flashlight. GoSun points out that the preferred and most efficient method to charge this flashlight is through the USB port. The solar charge works more like a slow trickle and is intended to help extend the battery life.
To clean the flashlight, I shall wipe it with a clean cotton cloth and a little bit of isopropyl alcohol. I shall not open the flashlight body to prevent electric shock or permanent damage.
TRYING IT OUT
On the back of the blister packaging is a sticker (see red arrow in below photo) that alerts to remove a cardboard filler from the bottom of the battery. I unscrewed the bottom of the flashlight and the thin white filler disc fell right out.
|The sticker advises to remove a filler before 1st use
The GoSun flashlight offers several modes of lighting: one press of the on/off button for a strong white beam from the flashlight head, another press on the button and the white LED light dims to 50%; another press and the white light flashes quickly. One more press and the flashlight is turned off. I tried to rotate the flashlight head in hopes of broadening or focusing the beam of light but that function is not available.
When I hold the on/off button for 2 seconds, the illumination switches from the head to the flashlight body side light: wow, it illuminates blindingly bright (while typing I still see light spots dancing in my vision from just a second of looking at the ten white LED lights). One more press on the button and the white lights dim to 50%. By holding down the button, ten red LED lights turn on in rapid strobe function; another press and the red lights switch to a slow strobe. This could really be helpful in case of emergency.
I like that a simple press on the on/off button switches to the next illumination mode. With my headlamp, the steps to switch illumination mode are more sensitive and I often press on the wrong side of a toggle section resulting in red light when I want white light and similar mix-ups. I need easy.
I had to fumble quite a bit to insert the charging cable into the tiny flashlight charging port. I almost thought the port was distorted until I figured out just the right angle to insert the cable end into the flashlight port. Then I inserted the USB cable end into my phone power connector and plugged that into an electrical outlet. The port area started showing a blinking green light. Just about 4 hours later, the blinking green light turned to solid green and I unplugged the flashlight. Ready for testing now!
The GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight is a device that can be used as a flashlight, power bank, working light, and warning light.
super bright white light
flashing red emergency strobe light function
intuitive clicking through the functions
Not so great:
no possibility to adjust the light focus
the small black rubber cover dangles once it comes loose
no means to attach flashlight to tent ceiling
TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Mt. Pinos to Sheep Camp, Southern California, USA
Backpack 2 days/ 1 night
Temperature: 51 F - 69 F (11 - 21 C)
10 mi (16 km)
Mt. Baldy from Manker Flats, Southern California, USA
Temperature: 75 F (24 C)
9.3 mi (15 km)
Kennedy Meadows, Tulare County, California, USA
Backpack 4 days/ 3 nights
Temperature: 58 - 82 F (14 - 28 C)
15 mi (24 km)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
For the Mt. Pinos backpack, I had fully charged the GoSun flashlight by hooking it up to electricity. Upon arrival in camp, I placed the flashlight with its solar panel facing up into the sun. Once it got dark, I used the flashlight to select well-suited pieces of firewood for our campfire and to search for an item we temporarily assumed we had dropped. The white light provided very good illumination at this close proximity.
I also shone the white light at a particular tree in the distance to test the focus and intensity of the beam. The flashlight cast a wide halo and a more narrow inner circle but I wished I could have turned the flashlight head to focus the white beam more specifically onto that one tree. Instead the flashlight cast a wide diameter of light. I could imagine that we might hear a sound or notice movement in the distance and would want to point a beam of white light at a particular spot in the distance. The GoSun light beam casts more wide than point-focused.
Before turning in for the night, I wanted to put my toothbrush kit into the bear canister. The GoSun flashlight was not really of help: I need both hands to open my bear canister. So I had to temporarily put the flashlight on the ground and make sure to position it such that it provided supporting illumination, yet at the same time I had to avoid getting blinded by the intense white light. For a chore where both hands are needed, I prefer a headlamp.
I sleep in a one-person tent which means rather tight quarters. Once inside my tent and getting ready for the night, I positioned the GoSun flashlight with the side panel illuminated in white on the tent floor but either the sleeping bag fell over the light or a piece of clothing covered the light. My typical source of tent illumination is a flashlight with an integrated hook that I attach to the ceiling fabric loop of my tent. The GoSUN flashlight does not have an integrated hook or means of attachment, so it was not of great help for tent illumination.
On the Mt. Baldy dayhike, I used the GoSun flashlight as one of my Ten Essentials, a collection of survival items for safe travel in the backcountry.
On the 3 night backpack out of Kennedy Meadows along the Pacific Crest Trail, I again relied on the GoSun flashlight for my tent illumination. I recently have been using a mesh bottle holder to carry my smart phone/ camera in during the day. At night, I attached this mesh bottle holder to a carabiner that I had inserted through the fabric loop under my tent ceiling. Next I inserted the GoSun flashlight and it shined its white light through the mesh. It was a make-do solution: in the tight quarters of my 1-person tent, the GoSun beam of light seemed too bright and I had to watch out to not look directly into the light.
I do not read in my tent at night, so the GoSun was not on for extended periods of time inside my tent. Every evening around camp, I used the flashlight to find my way to the bear canister, to our dinner spot, to a last bathroom break and finally to locate my tent. The full electrical charge that the flashlight had received before I left for the trip was plenty enough for the 3 nights. Additionally I positioned the GoSun with its solar panel facing into the sun whenever we were hanging out in our camp.
When out and about, I am always extra careful to not loose the small cap that protects the on/off button from accidentally being turned on. Since the floppy rubber USB port cover does not stay inside the USB port but tends to pop out and dangle, I typically pop the small cap over the rubber USB port cover.
|Kennedy Meadows backpacking trip
On several occasions, the GoSun has helped me at home locating items. One evening we had a power outage from a blown transformer somewhere in the neighborhood. I was happy to have the GoSun flashlight handy to get ready for the night since the building power was out for hours. The other day something dropped behind my stove and I used the bright white GoSun light beam to locate the item's position to retrieve it.
The GoSun Solar Assisted Flashlight is a device that can be used as a flashlight, power bank, working light, and warning light. I have used it as flashlight and working light.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.
great around the house
magnetic end attaches to metal objects
helpful around my car
no hook or other means of attachment to my tent ceiling
white light too bright inside my 1-person tent
not possible to turn the flashlight head to focus the front beam of light
Thank you to GoSun and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this innovative solar assisted flashlight.
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Read more gear reviews by Marina Batzke