By Ross Werland, Tribune Newspapers
8:36 PM EDT, July 24, 2012
Name: Coghlan's Dynamo Flashlight
What it is: A miniature LED flashlight, smaller than a tea bag in area, that is charged by turning a small crank.
The good: I'll confess a long-term appreciation for Coghlan's products. I'm a backpacker, and the cost of some camping equipment can take your breath away faster than an uphill hike at 10,000 feet, but in general Coghlan's offers reliable utilitarian equipment at reasonable prices. New this year is this mini-light. Here's the entire set of instructions: "Wind the handle for one minute to get up to 30 minutes of light." Any time I don't have to buy and pack a battery, it's a good thing, and though the company claims the minute-long wind will give you 30 minutes of bright light, I think it gives you more. To test the longevity of the internal battery, I wound the crank for a couple minutes; eight hours later the two bulbs still burned, though dimly by then. On a fresh charge, the light will illuminate a tent enough to play games, read, etc. Simplicity is a good thing, especially for backpackers. And for gadget lovers, this is a winner.
The bad: Something this well-made, efficient and cheap can't be bad.
Cost: $4 to $6 depending on where you look.
Available from: You can find it at many online retailers, including amazon.com, and in numerous stores with camping equipment.
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