What is it?

The Quad Power Light 3 Rugged is a portable light solution designed with the outdoorsy-type in mind as indicated by its rubberized grippy shell and impact resistant rating. The “quad” section of its name is derived from the fact that it is designed to operate on any one of four power sources: battery, car, AC outlet power, and internal backup. The “3” refers to the fact that it offers three illumination functions: Flashlight, lantern, and flasher mode. Cycling between the modes is as simple as clicking the power switch.

How bright is it?

The unit is rated at 40 Lumens, which in the case of this blue LED (light emitting diode) this equates to roughly 100 feet of visibility and the ability to be seen from some 1.5 miles!

What’s Up With the Quad Power Feature?

Rest assured, this is no gimmick. Life Gear realizes the obvious truth that a flashlight with dead batteries is essentially useless. As such, they’ve packed incredible versatility in the Light 3 Rugged. The light has the ability to run off 3 AAA batteries (not included), or could be internally charged via either an optional (DC) car adapter or an AC adapter that works off a standard wall outlet. While neither of these adapters is included in the package, Life Gear offers them free with the purchase by simply visiting their web site (listed below) and paying the shipping & handling charges. Additionally, a charged unit can actually be used to charge your cell phone with the free adapter. As cool as that is, it gets even better. Should you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no electrical sources whatsoever, the Light 3 Rugged has a charging crank built into the back of it. Give the easy-to-turn handle 60 seconds worth of rotation and the light is charged! Of all the lighting products we’ve sampled throughout the years, this is perhaps the most innovative and useful power source we’ve encountered, period. Best of all, cranking it up can be used to charge a dead cell phone in addition to providing light. We’ve tried it, it worked perfectly, we love it.

Is it Waterproof?

Unfortunately, no. Despite a rugged and rubberized exterior, Life Gear disclaims clearly on the package that it is not intended to be submerged in water. However, we can report that it does appear fully water resistant as it has been in our rain soaked packs and gotten rained on directly no worse for wear.

Any Complaints?

Some but they’re pretty minor. We would personally rather pay a little more up front to receive the 3 free adapters in the package. They are simply so useful and intuitive that every consumer deserves the opportunity to experience them (especially the cell phone charger jack).

Secondly, it’s a bit large for some Camelbacks. While no bigger than a standard “C-battery” type flashlight of yore, weight weenies and pack rats may have a little difficulty fitting the Light 3 Rugged into their paraphernalia. We found it worked best if carried in a backpack and trailer-tugging tourers would be crazy to set forth without one. It’s really that good.

The Verdict?

Our jaded test crew thought there was little about a flashlight that could possibly excite them, yet early spring camping trips with the Life Gear Light 3 Rugged proved them hopelessly wrong. The unit’s crank-power feature is a lifesaver for those of us who have a habit of draining their batteries in their MP3 players. Better still the Light 3 can even recharge those we discovered with the phone jack! Cyclists are big fans of turning crank rotation into usable power and never has this feature been so brilliantly displayed (pun if you insist). Best of all the shock-resistant shell alleviates concern of smashing your light should you experience the inevitable tumble with it in your pack.

For $19.99, this is a must-have item for the weekend cyclist, tourer, and anyone who has even a passing thought of camping. For more information or to order directly, visit Life Gear’s site at: www.LifeGearCompany.com

Anything Else?

Based on the proven durability, reliability, LED brightness, and the sheer usefulness of the crank-charge feature, we implore Life Gear to consider manufacturing cycling-specific lighting (handlebar or helmet mount). We would sign up in a heartbeat and suspect many riders out there would be equally enthusiastic.