iTP and its sister company Olight both release a holiday set each year with some of their popular lights at a decent price. We looked at one of the Olight ones recently, but the iTP version, the Solar Traveler Set, is maybe my favorite. The set includes an R01 and titanium A3, both with the latest and greatest CREE XP-G S2 LED. Like the name suggests, the set also includes a solar charger, along with the requisite adapters and cables to charge not only the R01, but also any other device that can be charged off of a USB cable.
The solar charger is a nice little unit, with enough capacity to charge during the day and recharge your gadgets at night. It even has a little LED light built in, making it three flashlights in the kit (OK, maybe 2.5). A lot of companies will put together kits during the holidays with extras of questionable value, so it is nice to see a company adding in some stuff that is truly useful.
Olight makes a special holiday set each year packed full of stuff at a very nice price. This year, they were generous enough to make two sets, one of which was the Transformers kit. It has the parts to make two different flashlights out of titanium, one single CR123 unit and another AA unit. There are caps to cap off the body that is not in use, so you could use it to house a battery while waiting to swap out the bodies.
Both lights have the same modes, with higher output when using the CR123 body and battery. The modes are two outputs and strobe, keeping the light simple without a ton of extra modes to muddle up the interface.
You already know what’s next. Here is a video showing the light inside and outside, in my backyard:
The Fenix TK15 has been a best seller since it was released late last year. The light has two switches, a traditional one on the rear of the light that gives you momentary and constant on, plus one up by the head that will switch modes. The secondary light is the only way to switch modes or activate the flashing modes, so the rear switch can give you 100% reliable activation if you want to stick to one mode or at least always get back to the mode you last used.
The TD15 is one of the higher output lights that are currently available in that size, so it has plenty of lumens for finding your dog when he refuses to come in at night super tactical stuff.
The Lumintop TD15 is a thrower, meant to light up stuff hundreds of yards away. The drawback of awesome throw is a very small and concentrated hotspot (bright part at the center of the beam). If you want something that will light up more at once, the Lumintop TD12 is a better option.
The TD12 has the same CREE XP-G R5 LED as the TK15, but a smaller head and reflector. It has the standard modes: three outputs and strobe for when you want to send your friends into seizures in the middle of the night.
The Lumintop TD15 Terminator was one of Lumintop’s first models, and it is an impressive start for the company. The light is relatively compact, coming in about the same size as other current tactical lights, but the throw on it is insane. You can easily light up objects a few hundred yards away, with spill that illuminates everything in front of you for 50 feet or so. The big trade off is that the beam is very focused, so you will not have the bright part on a large area at once.
An interesting feature of the TD15 is the ability to add multiple extenders to the light, allowing you to extend the battery life to hours on high. The light has the typical modes: three outputs and strobe. It can be weapon mounted if you need to ward off rabid squirrels in the wee hours of the night.
Lumintop entered the flashlight market recently and became known for their compact light with crazy throw, the TD15, but they also make lights a little more appropriate for pocket carry. They have four models, the L1A (AA), L2A (2 x AA), and L1C (CR123). All three have the same interface where you loosen and tighten the head to switch modes between three outputs and strobe. The heads are a little bit on the large side, meaning the reflectors are a bit on the large side, giving you solid throw for such compact lights. The L1C and L2A give you the highest output, where the L1A is on the low side.
One nice feature of these lights is that they all use the same head, so bodies are available if you want to have the option to use the different battery types.
Nitecore started off their really popular SmartPD series with the D10 and EX10. They had pistons to control the light instead of regular switches and infinite brightness. Next up were the SP versions, which got rid of the infinite brightness, but added strobe and SOS. The newest versions, the D11 and EX11, combine the best features of both, giving you access to both infinite brightness and the flashing modes.
The lights have some slightly redesigned bodies, but they are still nice and compact and have the same grippy feel with knurling covering most of the body. If you have never seen the SmartPD lights, then they are something worth checking out. They have a piston going the length of the body that contacts the head when pressed, giving you reliable operation and a cool feel that is very different from a traditional switch.
I’ve professed my love for the Zebralight products many times before, so when the company announced the SC60 a while back, I was pumped. The SC60 is a bit larger than the other lights in the product line, but still way on the compact side compared to almost everything else on the market, especially other lights that take 18650 batteries. Speaking of the 18650, the SC60 is made to take only an 18650. Usually lights in this size range will take either an 18650 or two CR123s, but Zebralight loves to make their lights as high performing and efficient as possible, so they had to restrict the battery options. Luckily, 18650 batteries give you awesome battery life and about 300 lumens on high, so the battery is not really a drawback unless you just really hate charging stuff.
Words are hard, so here is less reading, more watching:
The Zebralight SC51 is a crazy little light. Those of you that know me or have ever heard me talk about my favorite lights know that I always have a Zebralight SC30 sitting in my pocket. The SC30 uses a single CR123 light for around 200 lumens out the front of the light. It has the best interface I have ever found in a general use light, giving you instant access to all three modes without having to cycle through any others to get to them. The switch is on the side of the light, which cuts down the size of the light by quite a bit and at the same time puts the switch in a spot that is great for a non-tactical hold on it.
Why am I babbling about the SC30 when this post is about the SC51? Well, the SC51 has the same interface, same features, and even the same output as the SC30, but uses a AA battery instead of a CR123. Usually, you have to use a lithium ion 14500 to approach the output of a CR123, but Zebralight has designed a ridiculously efficient and powerful circuit for the SC51 that gives you 200 lumens using a regular alkaline or NiMh battery. In fact, they made the performance with a 14500 worse that what you get with the other battery options.
I’ll put away my Zebralight crush now. Here’s a video:
The JETBeam Jet III M R5 has been one of my favorite tactical lights throughout its various incarnations. It is comfortable in the hand, has great design touches (two way clip, stainless steel bezel), and gives you the option of setting up the light how you want. When the head is tightened, you will always have max output. When the head is loosened, you can set the secondary mode to whatever you want. Usually this means a couple of outputs and maybe strobe. With the Jet III M, you have any output from min to max, strobe from 1-20 Hz, SOS, and a bunch of other flashing modes. The options are kind of ridiculous, so if you want a no frills, super simple light, this is not it. I personally like options and changing the secondary mode is simple enough that you can quickly do it once you get the hang of it.
For you zombie hunters, mounts and pressure switches are available. Here is a video that will give you a better idea of how the light works and performs: