Before we left for the AT, I gave John a few pieces of gear to test for us, which were sent along for my inspection by the manufacturer. Here’s one that we used while backpacking in Florida but it didn’t make the cut for our AT hike – we stuck with headlamps instead. For our Valentine’s Day campout, we found it unusually useful. Here’s why.
Manufactured by TerraLUX, the LightStar80 LED Flashlight is constructed of aircraft -grade aluminum with a lumens rating of 80. A well-constructed light, it’s compact and lightweight for backpacking. But what makes this flashlight different is the use of “High CRI” (Color Rendering Index) for truer colors.
The LightStar80 is not too heavy, but tough enough after being dropped a couple of times and just thrown around in the pack. Even after such abuse on two backpacking trips, it still works perfectly. It uses AAA batteries, which are the same size my headlamp uses, meaning that I only have to pack a single spare sized battery.
With it’s eighty lumens of light it provides plenty of light for all our needs. I thought that high rating on “the color rendering index”might be wasted on our outdoor uses. The primary need for a flashlight with this rating would be for working with multi-colored wires in electrical systems.
However, on one of our backpacking trips, I discovered the value of a High CRI light. Arriving late to our campsite, we were setting up after sunset. Grilling steaks over an open fire in the fading dusk, I needed to use a flashlight to check the cooking progress. I clicked on my old trusty headlamp and realized that the LEDs gave off an unnatural light, which made it impossible to clearly check how the steak was cooking.
I pulled out the LightStar80, and was amazed by how much the CRI light improved my ability to gauge the cooking. I went back and fourth between the LightStar80 and my old lamp to see the big difference, and called Sandy over to see it too. The LightStar80 flashlight provided a more natural light, and I could easily tell how the steaks were cooking. I now realize that there is a place for high CRI while camping.
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