Editor’s Pick for Best Overall Portable Lighting System
Field Notes: “Dominance” is the word that comes to mind. From the bright minds behind McNett wilderness repair products, the press release for this new camping light system claims the FLUX – and the less-power ARC model – “redefines hands-free lighting.” Active Junky testers who’ve employed this self-contained dynamo are in total agreement with the apparent hyperbole. For starters, the FLUX module is a solid brick with rounded corners, a form-factor ideal to store, carry and power up with little concern for durability.
The outer case effectively deflects impact while being capable of mounting in nearly every direction. Integral to the gritty case is a tilting metal stand with incremental angle adjustment. Testers never had the FLUX kickstand accidently fold or collapse, and the screw-in hook attached to the stand allows instant hanging from branch, cord or strap. Once in position, there’s little to stop the battery of 82 LED bulbs (no typo here) from blasting up to 640 lumens in beam pattern that exceeds 120 degrees.
Dedicated push-to-active soft switches control power on-off, dim and brighten levels with ten incremental brightness settings. Three color temperatures, controlled with a four press switch, allow FLUX to fit the full range of scenarios. With this unparalleled range of capabilities and lighting power, Active Junky turned this Gear Aid lantern from camp lighting hero into photo companion, using the light as full and fill-in lighting in both urban and outdoor environments throughout Vancouver Island, B.C. and back home in Colorado.
The optional Ram Claw Mount gets even more creative with an articulated claw mount ready to clamp to vehicles, structures and branches. While the LED camping lantern tips the scales at 24oz, inside is a 20,800 mAh lithium-ion battery prepared to go the distance up to 192 hours. In addition, (but not unimportantly), the USB-charged FLUX is a willing power donor. For example, a GoPros gets revived 14 times, an iPhone resuscitated up to 10 times. An IPX5 rating means FLUX handles spray but shies away from immersion.
Tester Comments: “This one has me looking like a genius on the trip. Everyone who sees me working around camp or taking it into the woods for photography can’t believe there’s a professional-grade tool like it for under $150. Buy it, or at least the 60-bulb ARC, to know what working under near-daylight is like. Oh, the storage bag makes a cozy lantern diffuser in mellow settings, too.”
Key Attribute: Innovation
- USB rechargeable LED light and portable power pack; quickly changes into an outdoor lantern with included diffuser bag and hanging hook
- 20,800 mAh Li-ion battery power recharges phones, tablets, and other devices with 1.5-amp USB port; charges most iPhones up to 10 times
- Fully adjustable light with 3 color temperatures and 10 brightness settings; runs 20 to 640 lumens for 13 to 192 hours of operation