It gets dark out there in the bush. Every Cree knows this simple fact, but dealing with it can still be a struggle in a place where you can’t just run over to the dépanneur for extra batteries. Especially after Christmas, when daylight is at its most meagre, lighting one’s way off the beaten path is an essential task.
To that end, your faithful servants here at the Nation undertook to test several innovative battery-powered flashlights and lamps provided by Genesis Enterprise (, of Ste-Anne-de-Prescott, Ontario, to see if they could help make your nights in the bush a little lighter and safer. Genesis is a new company specializing in LED technology that is specially adapted for hunting, hiking or camping.
Granted, we did this testing when the nights were warm and the mosquitoes were friendly. But we put their products through rugged tests that only several hundred kilometres of paddling down and camping along the Rupert River can provide. Herewith are our observations and comments on the products we used.
Among them:
The PathFinder 19 LED Flashlight
At a suggested retail price of $21.95, we found the PathFinder to be a solid, if unremarkable, small flashlight. Five inches long, in an attractive blue metal water-resistant casing, it provided a wide, reliable beam, though it didn’t carry very far. Comes with a handy nylon case and takes three AAA batteries.
The Delta 210L Flashlight
We loved the Delta 210L. Despite its tiny size, we were hugely impressed by how well one could adjust that beam from wide, lamp-like coverage to a focused beam that penetrated the thickest bush. One weakness, however, is the power source. Where the heck does one find those stubby lithium 3-volt CR123A batteries up north? (It takes two of them.) But we loved the pocket-friendly four-and-quarter-inch length and remarkable one-inch diameter, though the small size made it easy to misplace. One other potential problem is heat: if left on for several minutes, the Delta 210L gets hot to the touch – not surprising given the power of the light this little miracle emits!
The Mika 125L Headlamp
Conceived for hunting, this miner-style headlamp tries to do everything but skin and clean your kill. With a LED light source that can be gradually diminished from 100% to 10% power, it can be adjusted for a wide variety of situations. But get this: it has a variety of other lights. The red light is designed for night vision to protect the pupil from dilating so you can still see into the dark around you. The green light helps you read maps and, so the product literature says, “send signals.” The coolest function is the blue light, which contrasts blood so that traces will be differentiated against foliage or other backgrounds so as to help you track down wounded prey in low light or even complete darkness. It runs off three AAA batteries. A cool product, but we found it a little bulky on the forehead. Worse, it is time-consuming and frustrating to run through all the varied settings until we found the light setting we needed.
Nite Eyes 30L Headlamp
This handy and lightweight (only 25 grams) torch clips to the brim of your cap to give you a focused beam in any direction you look. We give this little long-lasting dynamo (25 hours on two 3-volt CR2032 batteries) an enthusiastic two thumbs up. Like the Mika 125L, it gives you different colours (white, blue and green), but it is far less cumbersome and much easier to use. A crucial yet simple innovation is that the casing can pivot in a variety of angles from the brim, allowing you to shed light where it’s needed without giving the user neck cramps.
Orbit 7L Lantern
This lantern is a fraction the size of the regular battery-powered camping lanterns one commonly finds in stores, but throws off at least as much light as its heavier and bulkier cousins. Five inches long and two inches in diameter, it will fit in any packsack while giving the user peace of mind that it won’t wind up broken or water-damaged. A cool feature is that the conical cap can be removed to cast a downward floodlight – handy for finding that last wooden match lost in the clutter.
AREV 185L Lantern
The big daddy of the Genesis products we tried out, this sucker is still only six inches long and two inches in diameter, but boy does it pack a powerful punch. As the company boasts, its light within a certain perimeter resembles sunlight in its warmth and strength. Powered by four AA batteries and with an O-ring seal to ensure it survives in all kinds of weather, this lantern is all you need for general lighting in the bush. However, the conical top can also be twisted for directed lighting. Finally, a small blinking green light ensures it can always be found in the darkness when it’s turned off.