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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Princeton Tec Impact II LED Flashlight

You know those horror movies where the soon-to-be werewolf dreams of running effortlessly through a dark forest, the world a black and white special-effects blur? Well, that's kind of what it's like trail running under a full moon on clear night. Running with a flashlight is a distant second in terms of enjoyment, but flashlights are easier to arrange than a Hunter's moon. (Yes, running in daylight is also good, and in some ways more convenient than running in the dark, but daylight in Texas in August comes with some downsides)

I've been running with my trusty Mag-Lite Mini for a while, but I recently succumbed to a fit of gear-envy and bought a fancy Princeton Tech Impact II LED flashlight.

It was a mistake.

More or less in order: The beam is too focused (I need to see 10 feet in front of me in a broad, evenly-lit swath, not 50 feet away in a tight circle), it's difficult to turn on and off (I prefer to use a light only on the darkest sections of trail), it's light is an intense blue-white (a dimmer reddish light might be better for preserving night vision) and it's a little too small to fit comfortably in my hand. The first three I should have known, the last one suprised me. I actually prefer holding the slightly larger Mini Mag, it's easier to keep a loose-but-secure grip.

On the up side, it's waterproof to some absurd depth (I really only need water-resistent), it doesn't weigh much (but I'm used to carrying a pint water bottle, so a couple of ounces here or there isn't a big deal) and has a 75 hour battery life (which is pretty darned cool, battery life is a big downside to the Mini Mag) The case is a high-tech looking transparent plastic (which makes a nice change from the beat-the-perp black aluminum of Mag-Lites) and it is very bright (which would normally be a desirable thing in a flashlight, but see above under "night vision")

The Princeton Tec Impact II is a good flashlight, it's just a poor choice for trail runnning. Even a small amount of thought would have told me that in advance, it's all there right on the box, but gear-envy knows no conscious and I bought it on impulse.

I haven't given up on LED flashlights, but next time I'll do a little research.

tags:princeton tec, impact, impact ii, 2005, blog, flashlight, trail, running, night, gear, review

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