TerraLUX LightStar 80

For many years, I’ve packed the miniature version of a rough and tumble flashlight made popular by law enforcement officials as my backup light, so when I got the TerraLUX LightStar 80 I thought, “How are you ever going to outperform the flashlight taken most often into burning buildings?” The flashlight’s answer was threefold: the TerraLUX LightStar 80 is brighter, lighter, and tighter than any traditional flashlight I’ve ever used.

Brighter

The TerraLUX LightStar 80 ought to come packaged with a complimentary pair of sunglasses. I’ve never used a light this bright. It was so bright in fact, that my fiancee and I had to reflect its light off our torsos onto the ground to use it as we walked around our campsite at night. Often, after we’d had the light off for a while and our eyes had adjusted to the night, we had to keep the flashlight off as we walked around, because the light was so bright our eyes couldn’t adjust. This flashlight is so bright, its beam can literally be seen at mid-day when I aim it at shadows.

Lighter

Composed of what TerraLUX calls “aircraft grade” aluminum, the TerraLUX LightStar 80 weighs only 2.24 oz (with batteries), making it 1.91 oz less than its police officer utility-belted competition. I often hesitate to include my other flashlight when I backpack, because I don’t want the extra weight when I know I might just use my headlamp anyway. The TerraLUX LightStar 80 lessens that concern.

Tighter

The construction of this little flashlight is extremely tight. Every other flashlight or headlamp I’ve ever used made noise when I shook it, which to me indicates a lack of durability in the flashlight. The TerraLUX LightStar 80 doesn’t rattle. It’s an amazingly durable flashlight. To test its resilience, I turned it on and threw it about thirty feet up in the air and let it land on concrete a few times. It shone brightly the entire time, and while the outer casing did get a little scratched, it did not dent. This is a tough little lamp.

Damage after throwing the light onto cement ©Elijah Davidson

Brass Tacks

The TerraLUX LightStar 80 is so remarkably bright, I actually think it may be too bright for backcountry use where one’s eyes are allowed to adjust to the slowly encroaching darkness. I found it very useful for non-backpacking activities though, like car repair (for which the flashlight’s packaging recommends it) and visits to the attic where ambient light offsets its sun-like beam, but this is a backpacking publication, and I’m not sure its brightness is appropriate for the trail.

The TerraLUX LightStar 80 is also astoundingly durable, which is something I do appreciate in my backpacking gear. I wouldn’t hesitate to drop this flashlight down a rock wall to my climbing buddy below. I imagine it will survive all but the most extreme tumbles.

The packaging reports the battery life at five hours, and my testing proved this true. I actually used the flashlight intermittently for a month or so and then ran it continuously for about five straight hours one day before the batteries finally gave out.

The flashlight also boasts a bulb that reveals the “true colors” of the objects it shines upon. I suppose this is true, though at night in the wilderness the light was so bright I couldn’t see what it was pointing at.

©Elijah Davidson

Pros

Bright
Light
Durable

Cons

Too bright
Not really hands free

In conclusion, I often question why I would carry a handheld flashlight when I could use a headlamp instead. The only benefits I can think of to using a handheld flashlight are the ability to point a light where I am not looking and the option of not blinding one’s companions (though it’s not difficult to aim one’s headlamp beam at the ground to avoid shining it in others’ eyes). The LightStar 80 sports a rubber “bite grip” for hands-free use, but it’s really only useful for short periods of time, not prolonged trail use.

That headlamps seem more conducive to backpacking and the fact that the LightStar 80’s packaging recommends it for “professional” use by electricians, mechanics, and whatnot, makes this a hard product for me to recommend for backpacking. It is a great flashlight for non-backpacking endeavors, though.

Tech Specs

80 lumen output
High CRI (Color Rendering Index) LED brings colors to life like no other LED you’ve ever seen
5 hour runtime
Rubber BiteGrip for hands-free use
Comes with 2AAA alkaline batteries and high tension, reversible pocket clip
Momentary on, click for constant on/off
Operates on 2 AAA alkaline batteries (included)
Water resistant
Aircraft grade aluminum
Length: 5.5in./13.97cm.
Diameter: .625in./1.59cm.
Weight: 2.24oz./63.50g. with batteries
Limited lifetime warranty
SKU: TLF-802AAA-BK
MSRP: $29.99

Manufacturer’s Website: TerraLUX LightStar80

Image courtesy of TerraLUX

 

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