Gear Review: Solite 150

The Solite 150 multi-purpose light is an outdoor enthusiast’s multi-tasking dream.

The Solite is a headlamp, miner’s light, helmet-light and a bicycle headlight all rolled together in one tiny and extremely impressive package.

I’ve been testing the light now for about two months under various conditions and it has continued to bedazzle me.

Let me explain, by the way, that I’m a true flashlight/utility light aficionado. As a child and youth, my fascination with portable lights was a running joke in my family. It was highly unusual for me to carry only one light, too. If I was outdoors at night, I always had at least two with me.

It wasn’t fear of the dark that made so fixated on lights. Instead, I loved being outside at night to explore, since things just look so different at night. However, I was never blessed with cat-like night vision and even then I loved to compare and experiment with new lights looking for the ultimate one. I never found it, although this new Solite comes very close indeed.

The first time I used the Solite, which is produced by Light & Motion, I was deeply impressed and excited. I have a cat that likes nothing better than to dart out after dark and play, and she doesn’t like coming back in. So I strapped the light on and headed off into my 2.5 acre backyard. That was the first evening after the light arrived in the mail.

At full power, the Solite lit up the yard like a car’s headlights and made it very easy to track down the cat, which looked very much as dazed as a deer in the headlights. There was absolutely no comparison between the Solite and any other flashlight or headlamp I have, and I still possess a fine collection. I would have had to pull out my portable quartz-halogen work light to find something similar, and it’s not cordless.

Since then, I’ve tried the Solite in all of its configurations. I’ve used it most often as a headlamp, and with it I have no reluctance to tackle any trail in my area.

Used as a miner’s handheld light, it’s brilliant, convenient and totally utilitarian.

I had a little more difficulty using it as a helmet light. The spare assembly parts for that purpose didn’t quite fit my helmet properly, but the headlamp strap is big enough to slide over the helmet, so that worked fine.

The handlebar mount is easy and nearly idiot-proof, requiring less than a minute to install.

My experimentation with night-riding left me wondering to myself why I didn’t indulge in something quite that decadent equipment-wise a few years earlier. I vividly remembered one mountain-biking trip on a trail that wasn’t too demanding that I rode with my nephew that we took too close to dusk.

Between the fading light and the heavy forest, darkness fell far faster than I had anticipated, and we wound up walking the bikes about a kilometre out trying to avoid rocks and logs. It was one of the exceedingly rare times I didn’t have a light with me. Fortunately, my border collie was also along, and he guided exactly to my van, herding us all the way. With the Solite, that would never have happened.

On high, the light is too bright to look into and will last for around three hours. Even on low, it eclipses any of the other headlamps I have, and will run for up to 40 hours.

Recently, I also used it to as a work-light to as I attended to a minor plumbing problem in the far corner of my utility room at home with excellent results.

The light converts into all these functions in second, once you catch on to the system, and it’s charged via a computer USB connection or by any cellular charger with the proper USB end.

I can hardly wait to see what the Solite does when there’s snow on the ground. I just might not come in again anytime soon.

For more information on the Solite 150, visit http://www.lightandmotion.com/sport/solite150.html.

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Timothy Giilck

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