The Ultralight Keychain Tools

LTMICRA

These are the most optimal ultralight tools I could find. They all fit on a keychain:

Also — a good pocket tools:

The Brightest LED Flashlights Of 2015

brightest-led-flashlight

In A Nutshell

  • The brightest flashlight is now the Acebeam X60M which shines at 7500 lumens and costs about $720 (it’s rated at 10,000 lumens but commentators here say this is not correct)
  • The brightest compact flashlight is the Thrunite TN36 which can output around 6510 lumens, and costs about $200.
  • The brightest flashlight that uses AA batteries is the Nitecore EAX, which shines at 2000 lumens. It takes eight AA batteries and costs about $135.
  • The brightest keyring-size LED flashlight: Fenix LD02 — 100 lumens on brightest setting — it costs around $34

The Details

Brightest Overall: The Acebeam X60M

brighest-led-flashlight-acebeam

This flashlight, the Acebeam X60M, is the brightest flashlight I’ve come across. It’s rated at 10,000 lumens by the manufacturer, but owners say the output is more like 7500 lumens, which is still extremely bright!

The flashlight run on six 18650 rechargeable batteries, and it has a beam range of 525 meters. It is waterproof and impact resistant for 1.2 meters.

Home page: Acebeam

Available on Amazon for about $720: Acebeam X60M

Brightest Compact Flashlight: Thrunite TN36

Thrunite TN36: Brightest Compact LED Flashlight

The Thrunite TN36 is a compact flashlight that outputs an amazing 6510 lumens. It runs on four 18650 rechargeable batteries. It’s waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (1.5meters) and impact resistant to 2 meters.

The Thrunite TN36 is available on Amazon for about $200

The Brightest LED Flashlight That Uses AA Batteries

The Brightest LED Flashlight That Uses AA Batteries

The brightest flashlight that uses AA batteries is the Nitecore EAX, which shines at 2000 lumens. It takes eight AA batteries and costs about $120.

It’s waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (1.5 meters) and impact resistant to 1.5 meters.

The Nitecore EAX is available on Amazon for about $135.

The Brightest Keychain-Sized Flashlight: Fenix LD02

The Brightest Keychain-Sized Flashlight

The Fenix LD02 flashlight runs on a single AAA battery, yet it can produce 100 lumens of light on its highest setting. It uses a Cree XP-E2 LED as its light source. The lens is made of toughened, anti-reflective glass. It is waterproof to 2 meters.

It has three output modes: 8 lumens, 25 lumens, and 72 lumens.

The Fenix LD02 is available from Amazon for $30.

The Best Portable Water Filters Of 2015

lifesaver-bottle-ultra-filtration-water-bottle-5

In A Nutshell

Portable water filters have improved in recent years — manufacturers are now producing units that filter contaminants the size of nanometers (a billionth of a meter).

The best portable water filters available today are:

I recommend using a Lifesaver Bottle  for overseas travel, where viruses may be present in the water. For U.S. wilderness water, I recommend the Sawyer Filtration System or the Katadyn Microfilter.

Another reliable method of killing all pathogens in water is using chlorine dioxide tablets, such as Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets.

The Details

Portable filters are designed primarily to remove pathogens from outdoor water. Some units also include carbon filters to reduce VOCs and toxic metals in the water.

These are the three type of pathogens you want to remove from wilderness water:

Protozoan Cysts (Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia)

Size: 1 – 20 microns

Type of filtration needed to remove: Microfiltration, ozonation or reverse osmosis, UV (ultraviolet light)

Bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia entercolitica, Leptospira interrogans, etc.)

Size: 0.1 – 10 microns

Type of filtration needed to remove: Microfiltration needed, ozonation or reverse osmosis, UV (ultraviolet light)

Virsuses (hepatitis A, rotavirus, enterovirus, norovirus, Norwalk virus)

Size: 0.025 – 0.1 microns (25 nanometers to 100 nanometers)

Type of filtration needed to remove: Ultrafiltration needed – ozonation or reverse osmosis, UV (ultraviolet light)

Notes On The Pathogens

Protozoan cysts and viruses are present in surface water that has become contaminated by animal or human waste, principally feces. Bacteria, including many beneficial bacteria, naturally occur in water.

Viruses are rarely encountered in North American wilderness waters. Pesticides, herbicides and other toxins and pollutants associated with agriculture and urban development do not normally impact water sources found deep in wilderness areas.

Lifesaver Bottle 6000

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The Lifesaver Bottle was introduced in 2004, and it was the first portable filter to have the capability of removing harmful viruses from water sources. It does this because it able to filter down to 0.015 microns, which is ultrafiltration levels. It also has a carbon filter, which reduces pesticides, endocrine disrupting compounds, medical residues, and heavy metals.

The bottle’s cartridge service rating is 6,000 liters (1,585 U.S. gallons). However, one drawback about this system is that there’s no indication as to when the filters need replacing.

Overall, this an excellent filter for overseas travel.It’s the only self-contained filter that eliminate all water-borne pathogens.

The Lifesaver Bottle 6000 is available from Amazon for about $215.

Sawyer Products Complete 4-Liter Filtration System

The Sawyer Filtration System is an excellent kit, that filters down to 0.02 microns, using a hollow fiber membrane. That’s almost on par with the Lifesaver, with it’s 0.015 micron filtration. Thus, the Sawyer can filter out most pathogen, including viruses.

What’s great about this system is that it almost never needs a replacement filter. The manufacturer has a guarantee that it will filter 1 million gallons before replacement. However, long-time users report the water reservoir bags need replacing after a couple of years.

The Sawyer System is gravity-fed, and allows you to purify 4 liters of water in about 10 minutes.

The Sawyer Products Complete 4-Liter Filtration System is available from Amazon for about $180.

Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter

The Katadyn was the go-to filter for backpackers before the Lifesaver and the Sawyer systems came along. With a filtration member rated at 0.2 microns, it is still a dependable choice.  The silver-impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa, and it will filter 50,000 liters (13,000 gallons) before a replacement is needed.

The Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter is available from Amazon for about $340.

Chlorine Dioxide Tablets

Chlroine dioxide tablets are a good choice for water purification. They will destroy all pathogen in water. Also, they leave no taste in the water (unlike iodine tablets). Like all water treatment tablets, these take 15 minutes to destroy viruses and bacteria, 30 minutes to destroy Giardia, and 4 hours to destroy Cryptosporidium.

I recommend the Katadyn Micropur MP1 Purification Tablets. This is only tablets registered with the EPA.

Boiling Water

You can boil water for one minute to destroy all pathogens. It is a foolproof treatment method. Only one minute of boiling is required. The most heat-resistant pathogen out there is the virus hepatitis A. Even it is believed to expire in less than 1 minute in water heated to 98°C/208°F. It is because of hepatitis A (or maybe just tradition) that some health organizations and wilderness rangers persist in recommending at least 1 minute of boiling time to purify water, and 3 minutes at higher elevations.

The Best LED Worklight Of 2015

RechargeableFloodlights

In A Nutshell

My recommendation for the best portable LED worklight is the Maxxeon Workstar. I just used this light to change a car tire in the dark, and the solid floodlight beam really helped. I don’t think there’s a portable floodlight that can rival the brightness and beam quality of this light. It shines with 270 lumens on its high setting, and 90 lumens on its low setting. It has a fresnel-like lens that creates a floodlight beam with no shadows or rings.  As for runtimes, the light lasts two hours on high, and eight hours on low. The neck of the light rotates 360-degrees and the head also tilts 180 degrees. I wish it didn’t have a tacky, faux carbon fiber finish — a quality light shouldn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

The body of the Maxxeon Workstar is very durable, and it has two embedded neodymium rare-earth magnets, so you can stick the light to metallic objects. It also has a standard camera tripod socket in the base — very hardy.

The Maxxeon Workstar is available on Amazon for about $80.

Here’s the manufacturer’s home page for this light.

Other Alternatives:

Festool Work Light

44633-01-1000

The Festool LED Work Lamp is made in Germany by Festool, and as you might expect, this company with a good reputation for built quality. The Festool Work Lamp is designed to illuminate a 170-degree work area with even light. This expensive ($175) light has a ruggedized body, and an array of six 3 watt LEDs which produce a clear, white light. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery, and shines for 90 minutes on high, and 4 hours on low. Unfortunately, I could not find a lumen rating for this light published anywhere. However, owners rave around its brightness and its ruggedness, so if you can afford this light it might be worth it.

The Festool LED Work Lamp is available on Amazon for around $175.

Milwaukee LED Work Light

milwalkee-worklight-led

The closest alternative to this light is the Milwaukee LED Work Light. At $59, this light is less expensive than the Maxxeon Workstar, but it is also not as bright, shining at 160 lumens (using a Cree XRE LED). The built quality doesn’t feel as durable, and according to reviews on Amazon the light will fade in time.

The Brightest Flashlight Powered By AA Batteries

The Brightest LED Flashlight That Uses AA Batteries

The brightest flashlight that uses AA batteries is the Nitecore EAX, which shines at 2000 lumens. It takes eight AA batteries and costs about $120.

It’s waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (1.5 meters) and impact resistant to 1.5 meters.

The Nitecore EAX is available on Amazon for about $135.

4Sevens Quark “X” AA² Tactical  Flashlight

QuarkAA2 Flashlight by 4Sevens

Another bright flashlight is the 4Sevens Quark “X” AA² Tactical  Flashlight which produces a 280 lumens on it’s max setting, and it measures just 5.8 inches in length.

The exact runtime specifications: 24 lumens for 20 hours, 115 lumens for 2.5 hours, and 280 lumens for 1.6 hours.

4Seven flashlights are constructed very well, and they come with a 10 year warranty.

I recommend powering this flashlight with low-discharge rechargeable AA batteries.