Rechargeable lighting finally is gaining traction outdoors against its disposable-battery brethren.
The growing availability of lightweight and rugged portable power options with USB compatibility is letting consumers leave the double and triple A’s at home. And in some cases, the latest lights at Summer Market have become portable power options themselves.
There also have been positive developments in the area of lighting solutions for runners and watersports enthusiasts, and of course, all the usual standards keep getting brighter and brighter.
BioLite introduces its first lighting product, the NanoGrid (MSRP $119), a four-in-one system comprised of LightNStore, a power-storing torch/lantern, and DuaLite, a pair of directional, dimmable lights. This system allows users to combine their light and power source in one place, and it’s rechargeable via USB or the BioLite stove. Along similar lines, the Black Diamond Ember (MSRP $50) is a handheld light featuring 150 lumens of power and serves as a charger for portable electronics. The UCO Tetra (MSRP $50) is a rechargeable lantern, flashlight and USB charger, offering up to 120 hours of run time, and brightness up to 170 lumens.
The running category is lighting up thanks to everything from a rise in overnight races to more wintertime runners facing shorter days. GoMotion brings a redesign of its Reactor LightVest for 2015, including improved adjustability that allows for a more secure and comfortable fit, along with a more powerful 150 lumen LED on the sternum. Runners looking for a similar option who don’t want the full vest can check out the belt version (MSRP $60), featuring a 150 lumen LED on front and a flashing red rear LED. Likewise, Black Diamond updates the Sprinter (MSRP $80)with a whole new light that should appeal to trail runners and other high output sports enthusiasts, with three straps for a secure fit no matter how bumpy the ride gets. Those who want something small should go see BD’s Gizmo (MSRP $20), which packs 60 lumens into a size usually reserved for emergency lights.
With an eye towards watersports enthusiasts in need of nighttime illumination, Princeton Tec has two new offerings. The Meridian (MSRP $30) is an emergency strobe and locator beacon that’s smaller than a deck of cards and is visible for more than a mile. It attaches easily to a variety of surfaces with its large velcro strap, and it’s waterproof up to 100 meters. Those who need a powerful spotlight will find the 100 percent waterproof Sector 5 (MSRP $110) more than up to the task. Whether on land or underwater, it offers 550 lumens for up to 24 hours with four C batteries.
SnowPeak and others have proven that fun, lifestyle lighting has a market and traditional outdoor lighting brands are taking notice. The Moji (MSRP $20) from Black Diamond is a small lantern with a sleek design that easily illuminates the inside of a tent. And recognizing that more and more kids are spending time in the outdoors with their parents, the Black Diamond Wiz (MSRP $20) is a 30 lumen light that’s made for hanging out around camp after the sun has gone down.
Another LED flashlight new this show is the Inova Radiant AA (MSRP $25) from Nite Ize. With a rubber-coated handle and octagonal body to prevent rolling, the water- and impact-resistant materials make for a tough, bright (150 lumens) handheld lighting solution that easily fits in your pocket.