Are you seriously leaving your house without a flashlight?
The company known as 5-11 is best known for its tactically-minded clothing, footwear, and baggage, but most forget about the plethora of everyday carry items that it has to offer, such as the EDC-K USB and the EDC PL 2AAA Flashlight. My ultimate intention is to create a series of evaluations of those lesser-considered items that you should have on you every day.
Having a flashlight at your disposal is arguably as important as having a gun or a knife on you. However, most of us skip carrying this handy tool because of its added bulk and weight. This is why these two items made the cut for this round. The EDC-K is the epitome of simplistic carry, as it is small enough to keep on a keychain. Wait, keychain? Yes, keychain.
Keychain lights get a rap for being cheap, low-power illuminators, and this item successfully separates from that stereotype. For starters, it emits a 150-lumen beam of light that is head and shoulders above what you get from the dollar store variety of lights this size. Furthermore, it is rated to survive at least a 1-meter fall, thanks to its aluminum construction. The simple one-button, one-mode control is located exactly where you would expect, making it easy to find in the dark, even if you don’t have any experience with this particular model. Lastly, it charges off of a USB, allowing you to charge it up at night or even in the car on your commute to work. A single charge lasts over 150 hours and a handy indicator is built in to give you a heads-up when you are running low on juice.
The second flashlight that I checked out from 5-11, the EDC PL 2AAA, is slightly hardier. Rated to survive a two-meter drop, again due to its rugged aluminum construction, this flashlight runs off of two AAA batteries and can achieve a runtime in excess of four hours with quality alkaline or lithium jobbies. A handy clip allows it to be carried in a shirt or arm pocket just like a pen, and its streamlined construction yields just about the same dimensions albeit a touch more weight, mostly due to the batteries. The people at 5-11 advertise a 26-meter illumination range, and I was able to confirm even more than that during a late-night test in the backyard. I observed a surprisingly wide beam that came in a touch dimmer than the EDC-K at 106 lumens. A single push-button switch is all that was required to turn the light on or off and the textured rubber overlay made it effortless to activate in pitch-black conditions.
For those of you who leave home without illumination, 5-11 just took away many of your excuses. The EDC-K can be attached to your keys and never be thought about again; sticking an EDC PL into a coat pocket is equally easy. My favorite feature that these both shared was the ease of power resupply. Nearly everything has a USB port on it these days, and if you can’t find AAA batteries you might want to check to see which planet you are on, although you’d likely need AAA batteries to leave earth, so this might be a moot point. Flashlights that run 123A batteries are cool but good luck finding one in a gas station at 2 a.m. Aside from their practicality, I really appreciated the metallic construction of both models, as the abuse that a flashlight takes is often underestimated. Lastly, neither option broke the $30 mark at 511tactical.com and can likely be found for even less from a distributor. So it looks like not only did you lose your excuse not to own one but you just might have lost your excuse not to own two as well!
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