Review: Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL Flashlight

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GEAR - A good flashlight can be the perfect accessory for a racer's nocturnal adventure. Headlamps are popular with good reason. Yet a handheld flashlight can replace or work together with your headlamp for great results.
 
You can use a bright flashlight to help you track down CPs and give you the freedom to maneuver the beam with your hands. On some nights the moon is out and you only need a quick flash of light on trail to see where to run. All in all it's never a bad idea to have an extra light source.
 
Bill Dean reviewed the Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL Flashlight on his blog, Wet Feet AR, to see if it makes the grade. We have reposted that here and you can follow more of Bill's racing adventures on his twitter @RunsInTheWoods.
 

 
Night racing is a lot of fun and adds a whole new layer of challege compared to a daylight adventure race. Fatigue and sleepiness aside, the darkness makes navigating a lot more challenging and finding CP's a lot more rewarding! If you are going to race at night, good lighting is a big help, so I want to do a quick review on a great little flashlight I discovered: the Streamlight 88040 Pro Tac HL.
 
I bought this light (online through Amazon.com) before the Sea to Sea 72-hour race in February and liked it so much during that race that I bought a second one for Amanda. She used it for the first time at the Luminescent and also gives it two thumbs up.
 
The Pros:
 
•Lots of lumens: We use the handhelds only when were are near a CP, or other landmark that we need to try to spot from a distance. The goal is to put a whole lot of light in a specific direction because we are trying to find something. Technically: it has a brightness of 600 lumens and can throw a beam over 200 meters with an intensity for 16,000 candela. Anecdotally: it is like having a little piece of The Sun in your hand. You can put a little spot of daylight wherever you want one.
 
•Relatively small size: It weighs 5.6 ounces and is just over 5 inches long. As you can see in the picture below, it fits very comfortably in one hand and is easy to handle and use.
 
Rugged: It's made of aircraft aluminum and sealed up with O-rings. It looks and feels like a very solidly build piece with few moving parts and a simple switch. The specs claim it is water proof up to 1m deep for up to an hour but I have not tested this.
 
•Handy holster included: The light comes with a holster with a velcro loop. You can see it attached to the should strap of my MS-1 in one of the photos below.
 
The Cons:
 
•Price: It is a very spendy for a flashlight, with a list price of $135 and currently selling on Amazon for $65.
 
•Exotic battery: It runs on two CR123A batteries and will eat then in an hour or so of continuous use on high. However, if you use it like we do, only to throw light for a minute (or less) at a time, you can make it through a night of racing without losing any intensity on the beam. You can buy a pack of 12 of these batteries for about $20 online.
 
•Limited attachment: Amanda's previous light has a hole through the base-end where she threaded an S-clip, the other end of which she clipped to her shoulder strap. With this arrangement, the light dangled free on the pack and she could reach up and grab it, thumb the switch, and use the light without ever detaching it from her pack. The Streamlight 88040 does not have any such mounting point, so you are stuck using the holster. Which means you have to spend the few seconds to open the velcro cover and pull it out and then replace it in the holder and close the cover. It has not happened yet, but it is only a matter of time before I forget to put the cover back on and drop it...
 
Overall:
 
I love the light and am very happy with it. It is hard to say any flashlight is worth $65, much less $135 but this one is darned good, so if you are in the market, I would put this one on your list to consider.
 
<span>In the included holster, attached to the shoulder strap of my pack.jpg</span><span>Light-weight and relatively short (5.2 inches) this small light packs a big punch</span>
 

 
Thank you Bill for shedding some light on this high-powered torch. Hopefully it helps you find you those elusive CPs when the sun goes down.
 
Remember to check out Bill's blog, Wet Feet AR, and his adventures on Twitter @RunsInTheWoods. If you have a blog, review, or even a story about a great adventure then let us know and we will happily repost it for the community to read.
 
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