Imagine this scenario, it’s a dark night and the wind and rain is pounding away at your comfy little home while you’re watching TV. Just when you’re about to find out whom the real killer is on Law and Order, the power goes out and you’re sitting in the dark.
You have just enough daylight coming through the window so that you’re not in total pitch black, but you need a flashlight to get some candles going and assess the situation better. As you fumble around with the two flashlights you found, you realize that not only are their batteries dead, but you only have some random, loose batteries sitting around and nothing that will match your needs. At this point, I would be thinking how nice it would be to have a flashlight that will not just take a single battery instead of two or three, as well as having the option to use various sizes as well.
The great thing about this little fantasy is that there is a quality flashlight out that fills both needs and it will not hurt your pocketbook in the process. The Gerber Option 50 comes at you with a modest retail price of $41 dollars, but you can find it on the web with a little research for only about $32.50. I haven’t seen this light in any stores around my area, but that may be because it’s still somewhat new. The packaging that contains the flashlight is pretty standard Gerber stuff, and to me that’s a good thing. It’s always easy to spot the Gerber line at my local Dicks Sporting Goods store due to the orange background with gray trim. As with all Gerber products, the packaging clearly tells you what you are getting, how it can be used, and all of the features. Best of all, you see that the Option 50 comes with Gerber’s standard limited lifetime warranty.
The flashlight itself has a little heft to it, but it feels good in my hands and wouldn’t want to change its weight at all. With its Type II hard anodized aluminum body, you can instantly tell that this light can easily handle some tosses into the tool box and still come out shining bright. Like I said before, the 6 ounce heft may be a little more than some people really care for, such as the ultra-light folks, but I personally like the way this feels in my big hands and if ever necessary, I could give someone a serious headache with a swift knock on their noggin with this unit! Coming in at 6” long, it’s not too long or too short in regards to size. The on-off switch is located on the tail end of the flashlight and is also made of a heavy duty aluminum material. The button is easy to press and can be done with one hand with minimal effort. To top it off, it’s weather resistant as well.
While it’s not really a breathtaking brightness, I do find that the 30 to 50 Lumen output provides more than enough light for any task that I used the flashlight for. You get a clean, crisp bright white light that beams out from the supplied 7-watt L.E.D., which is well protected in a hard anodized housing. The beam distance is reported at 120ft (37m) with a fresh battery. This easily overpowers most other standard off-the-shelf L.E.D. powered flashlights. I went on a few nighttime walks with this flashlight at my side to do some testing and was very pleased with the output I got from a single AA battery.
Now speaking of batteries, this is really where the Option 50 wipes out its direct competitors. With its factory design, you can use a single AAA, a single AA or a CR123. I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of batteries sitting around my house and it’s very pleasing to know that I can just toss in a single battery and be ready for camping, an emergency or anything else for that matter. Imagine some of the possibilities of this flashlight. If you’re out on the trail and you forgot to change out your batteries from your last few adventures. Nighttime rolls in and you go for your Option 50, only to find that it’s almost completely dead. Thankfully you also have your digital camera, your GPS, and a few other battery powered goodies in your pack. So you simply take out the dead AA and toss in a single AAA from your digital camera and you’re back on the trail before you even have the chance to catch your breath. Pretty neat huh? What about that “junk drawer” you have at home? Think about all the different batteries you have sitting in there (and I assume you don’t keep dead batteries and recycle the dead ones ) The Option 50 loves your junk drawer and will use all of those loose batteries sitting around and put them to good use. This is easily the best feature of this flashlight and not something that you commonly see with other units.
I do have a few minor quibbles with the Gerber Option 50. First is the very smooth aluminum handle. While this is ok for a majority of your typical jobs, I can see this flashlight becoming slippery with heavy use or on a hot day. For things that I use in my hands (especially for extended periods at times) I like to have a little grip to aid in the function on the gear. For standard day-to-day use, this shouldn’t be a problem though. The second item is the weight. If you are into ultra-light backpacking, you may want to look at other Gerber lighting options and choose something else. For standard backpacking, household and heavy work, this light is just right and will provide a long service life.
Finally, you also get a nice nylon sheath to stow your flashlight when not in use and carry it on your belt for easy access. The sheath is just the right size so it won’t get in the way of your everyday activity. It comes with a very secure Velcro closure at the top so there is no way you can lose this flashlight when out in the field of through any other standard daily activities.
When all is said and done, I can certainly recommend this flashlight to anyone looking for a rugged and dependable flashlight. Of course the cherry on the top is the multi-battery option, something you just don’t see anywhere else. The Option 50 is water resistant and offers respectable battery life with the three different battery sizes that it can utilize. Also, for only $32 and change (Amazon), you won’t break the bank when purchasing this unit.
“Like” the Monkey on Facebook while you’re at it too!
Check out more discussions on the Woodsmonkey Forum: