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OK.....so if the bagel shape of the SL1 isn't what you want in a crank flashlight, let's take a look at the LightStorm CL1.
The CL1 as a few less LEDs in it and so plays more the roll of
just a flashlight (and that is not really such a bad thing). The lower
pair of StarCore LEDs provide a very well dispersed flood light. The same
power switch also controls a very bright spotlight which uses the same type Quasar 1/2 watt
LED as in the SL1. The well designed parabolic reflector really does
a great job of focusing every bit of light coming from the Quasar LED.
Don't make the mistake of looking into it after charging it.....you won't
have your night vision back for 30 minutes.
The crank handle on the CL1 also folds neatly into the recessed
area on the back of the flashlight. I found the CL1 easier to crank due to
the longer handle. A green charging LED (with the yellow circle around it) is located near the charging
handle and is easy to see when charging the flashlight. A wrist strap
comes attached to the flashlight.
Like the SL1, a charging jack is included in the LightStorm CL1. Both flashlights come with a 2 foot long charging cable that has an interchangeable power adapter. Extra adapters are sold separately (for a very reasonable price, in my opinion).
Does the SL1 and CL1 work for charging your cell phone? I can answer that with a resounding YES! That is my Motorola cell phone connected to the USB power adapter which just happens to be supplied with both flashlights. The AIT web site has a handfull of other power adapters for various cell phones. It was pretty cool.....plug in the cable and start cranking. When I did, the LCD panel on my phone lit up and indicated it was in charging mode.
Now you may ask what good is there in really being able to charge your cell phone in this fashion? Well, a couple of years ago a camper/hiker got lost here in Arizona. While trying to find a reliable cell phone signal so she could call for help, she ran her cell phone battery down to nothing. Later that day, she decided to build a signal fire to summon help and in doing so, started a blaze that ultimately resulted in burning several hundred thousand acres of forest land. Need another reason?
Both the SL1 and CL1 flashlights are water resistant (always a good thing for camping or emergency situations) and are diesel fuel and motor oil resistant too. Along with the Swiss Army Knife pile of features, it is obvious that the LightStorm SL1 would be very much at home in your vehicle's emergency road kit. You do have an emergency road kit in your car or truck, right?
Both flashlights are designed to operate over a much wider temperature range that what I would ever want to experience, that being -50F up to +140F. If you are counting your pounds and ounces for camping or hiking, don't worry. You'll be happy to know that the CL1 weighs a bit over 7 ounces while the SL1 weighs less than 9 ounces. Getting rid of those batteries (and spare batteries) does make a notable difference when you are watching the weight of your backpack.
As I was writing the last couple of paragraphs, I started thinking about which flashlight I would want if I could pick only one. I'll tell you what.....it isn't any easy choice. I'm including in this decision the time proven NightStar flashlights as well. The NightStars are prime candidates for selection since they as so simple in their design. The less parts, the less possibility of failure. On the other hand, the ease of use of the crank types make either of them a very good candidate. While I didn't have a good way to measure the crank flashlights light output, my uncalibrated eyeball indicates they cast a brighter light. In an emergency, more light is always better. Excuse while I kick this decision around a bit.......
So, after having just raided the kitchen (a fresh batch of holiday cookies has appeared there since yesterday), I've come to the conclusion that I can't manage with just one flashlight. The versatility of the SL1 can't be beat....3 different light modes plus the ability to charge my cell phone (or even my MP3 player). Having one is a no brainer, in my opinion. And I have to toss in one of the previously reviewed NightStars because they simply last.....no moving parts to wear out.....they hold the line as far as ultimate dependability is concerned.
As some of you know, I also enjoy the shooting sports (hence the firearms
section on the web site). We have a saying in the firearms training
arena.....two is one and one is none. This concept holds true in so many
things where you find yourself depending on something. Simply put, if you
have just one, and it fails, you have none. Having a backup is a
no-brainer practice. When it comes to saving a life or surviving an
emergency, how could you justify anything less?