I have used quite a lot of lighting options over the years. From night fishing, camping, hunting and the standard winter evening dog walks I have always had a need for decent illumination. In mid 2017 I picked up some new products from Nextorch which I liked and planned to review and they have since become part of my everyday carry.
TA30 – 1100lm Flashlight
UL10 – Clip light/head torch
GL20 – Keyring light/laser pointer
The TA30 looks like many other EDC flashlights however it has some useful features and impressive specs. The main body is made from 6061-T6 Aluminium which is both rugged and light. Nextorch quote impact resistant to 2m drops which is impressive. The torch weighs in at only 90g without battery which considering the 1100lm max output is pretty light. It is certainly light and slim enough to carry in a bag or clipped in a pocket without being cumbersome or annoying. I have a few flashlights putting out over 1000 lumens and they tend to be a little bulky for pocket EDC. The pocket clip is removable but feels really solid.
The TA30 is waterproof to the IPX8 standard. IP standards denote Ingress Protection. The X would usually be a number giving a dust protection rating. The number 8 denotes a high level of liquid protection – the equipment can be submerged in up to 2m of water.
As with most “tactical” lights the TA30 has several functions. Thankfully these are simple and intuitive unlike some which require zen like button clicking to reach your desired light output. The tail cap has the familiar clicky rubber button. A half press produces a solid 1100lm beam and a full press gives strobe function. Normally this would mildly frustrate me as I rarely use strobe but the tail cap button functions more as a secondary emergency feature. The easiest way to select function is via a rotating bezel at the base. The bezel clicks solidly and has four options labelled 1, 2, 3 and strobe. 1 gives 15 lumens for 22hrs, 2 gives 160 lumens for 5 hours and 3 gives you the full 1100 lumens for 105 minutes. Depressing the tail cap button half way during modes 1 and 2 gives you 1100 lumens and a full press gives you strobe.
The flashlight comes with a rechargeable 18650 battery. The battery itself has a Mirco USB socket which is simply plugged into the included USB cable for charging. The good news is that it will also accept standard 18650 batteries and a pair of CR123a in conjunction with a supplied sleeve.
The LED is a CREE XP-L V6 which provides a strong, clear beam which Nextorch rate to 240m. This sits behind a robust front lens which is protected by a tough steel bezel. The bezel has three ceramic impact points jutting out to the front. These have a rounded feel which will not catch or rip clothing or pouches but are tough enough to use for glass breaking.
This little clip light is simple, effective and rugged. It runs on 2 AAA batteries which come supplied. The unit has 3 LEDs which will operate via clicking a central grey button in three different modes. A single click gives 65 lumens for 3.5hrs. Click again and the power drops to 7 lumens and a 40hr runtime. If you hold the button down it will flash S.O.S. in Morse code.
The clip can be attached to webbing, clothing or environment and gives a firm hold. I tend to use it as a head torch by clipping it to the front peak of my cap. The clip swivels 180 degrees with clickable intervals allowing your beam to be held at your desired position.
The entire unit weighs in at only 49.5g due to its Nylon and Fibreglass construction. Despite the lack of metal the UL10 feels rugged and Nextorch back that up with a 1m impact resistance rating. They also give an IPX4 rating which means the unit can withstand water splashed from any angle (rainfall for example).
The little GL20 is a keyring sized device which comes on an S type karabiner clip. The unit is very light at only 16.3 grams which is amazing when you consider it has an inbuilt rechargeable battery and a Micro USB port for charging. Nextorch offer the same levels of impact and ingress protection as they do for the UL10 – 1M impact and IPX4 ingress. I would guess the little unit far exceeds those ratings as I have dropped my keys a variety of teams with the GL20 hanging from them and it doesn’t have a scratch on it. The casing is made with ABS which has rubberized accents on the edges for added grip. The rear section is made from metal which is neat as it prevents the Karabiner from wearing the ABS plastic over time.
The illumination options are a little different here. The GL20 features a red dot laser in the centre flanked by two LEDs. Pressing the central rubberized button and holding it activates the laser. I guess most would use this feature when giving presentations. It is plenty powerful enough for such use (0.9mW).
If you click the central button you will activate the LEDs. One click offers a very useful 4 lumens with 10hr runtime. Click again for 60 lumens and a 1hr runtime. The third click will cause the LEDs to flash.
As I mentioned previously I tend to use a lot of illumination products. I live in a very rural area so I carry multiple lighting options every evening. I have the TA30 in my gear bag (also contains my wallet, phone, a few tools ect..) as well as the UL10 which I normally clip to one of the outer webbing sections. On my keys I have an Inova penlight and the Nextorch GL20. I have other lighting options for specific activities but that about covers my standard requirements.
The UL10 usually comes out when I am either fishing or working in a dark or confined area. It comes in really useful if I am stripping an engine or working on a rifle as you can illuminate exactly what you are looking at by clipping it to your cap or clothes. It also works nicely as a warning light that you can clip to your front or rear when walking or cycling on a road after dark. If one of your bike lights broke down it would certainly provide a reliable back up option.
The TA30 is used when I am out after dark in the woods or fields. It gives a really powerful beam which I have used to lamp rabbits and fox. You could easily mount it to scope or rifle with an aftermarket mount if that took your fancy. I love the ease of use and ability to go from low lumens to high very quickly and intuitively. I have had zero issues with the TA30 despite using it in snow, ice, driving rain and gale force winds. Charging is simple and is something I do about once a week as I never use it for extended periods in full power mode. One thing I would note is that this powerful flashlight seems to heatsink very effectively. Some lights get crazy hot after only a couple of minutes. I have not had any issues with the front face heating to a point it will burn you when using the TA30. Obviously if you leave any high powered flashlight on long enough it will get hot so do not just leave yours on in your pocket!
Finally the GL20. I must admit I have great fun getting my dogs to chase the laser when I sit in the kitchen. My little Bulldog goes crazy for it! The LED functions are really handy when your scrabbling in the dark with keys or belongings. It has saved me fumbling around at doors like a drunk more times than I could list….
Pricing and Links
Nextorch – www.nextorch.com
The Prices are a guide and based on the current price via Amazon when this article was written.
TA30 – $79.99
GL20 – $24
UL10 – $11.95