How to Brighten Up the Holidays For an Octogenarian

by Barrett

All flashlights are not created equal. Especially, if you want to feel cool using one of them. And particularly if you’re my father. Move over MagLite, I’ve got some holiday shopping to do…

All flashlights are not created equal. Especially, if you want to feel cool using one of them. And particularly if you’re my father. Move over MagLite, I’ve got some holiday shopping to do…

For years, my father owned a cool flashlight like the ones you see on any number of detective shows on TV. You know… the compact, but amazingly powerful torch you grip over your left shoulder while you extend your weapon in your right hand as you inch towards the hidden bad guy.

He had this CSI-like black flashlight (smaller) and loved walking around at home assuming the ‘shoulder pose’ with his police-grade tool.

It was harmless fun, except for what I thought were sky-high maintenance costs. It needed an expensive battery (CR123a) that is stumpier than a standard AA. And two of these little power cells can cost more than many flashlights out there.

Plus, the whole unit only operated at full blast for about an hour.
No wonder it’s so hard fighting crime in the dark these days…
All a thug needs to do to slip away is wait for a few flashlight batteries to drain down.
(I expect real law enforcement uses higher-end gear.)

Every time my father used his impressive but short-lived beacon, I felt a sense of ‘tech queasiness,’ because even though he was proud of his cool tech, I knew there had to be any number of more efficient choices out there.

But he was happy. So I didn’t say anything.

The Light that Failed
And then one day about a year ago, his flashlight wouldn’t power up.
And the problem wasn’t the battery or the bulb.
(No tech lasts forever.)

I wasn’t there when it happened, but I’m sure there was a significant disturbance in the Force my father follows.
(It didn’t hit me.)

But I noticed it when I came by for dinner one Thursday night and I saw another flashlight sitting on the kitchen counter.
It was nothing special, but it was perfectly fine. Except that I knew it wasn’t.

“What’s this?” I asked with a concern that surprised me.
He pretended to be unaffected by the loss and his entirely unimpressive replacement.

But I knew a cool flashlight held the same significance for him as one of my own geeky tech gadgets… my Logitech UE Mobile Boombox or
my Renny Bluetooth Home Ringer.

Time for Action
I’ve been thinking about this story for months.
I’m not really sure why.
Maybe it’s because my father is 81 years old…

He’s doing okay… but still.
The light is fading a bit.

My father sometimes talks about getting older, and how it’s the little things in life that make more of a difference to him.

So I decided it was time to brighten up his holidays.

Exploring a New World of Flashlights
I took a look online to see what modern technology has done to today’s flashlights.

First off, LED tech dominates. And then I realized there’s an entire line of ‘high performance’ or ‘tactical’ flashlights that people who are really serious about their light buy. And the price tags are serious too. I’m talking over $100.
Sometimes way into the hundreds.

I’m serious, but not that serious.
(My father doesn’t need to light up an entire cornfield during a new moon.)

I just want something better than a $6 Eveready Economy flashlight from Staples and a little slicker than the standard mini MagLite.

Remember, half of the equation here is finding a piece of gear that is somewhat over the top but not ludicrous.

How Many ‘Lumens’ Do You Need?
One big question is how much light does the flashlight need to throw if the flashlight isn’t normally leaving the house. One variable in the equation is the number of lumens it generates. Some ‘experts’ say under 100 lumens is fine. Others say you need two-three hundred lumens or more.

REI has a good write up on other issues to consider when choosing a flashlight.

And yes, if you’re wondering, there are seemingly hundreds of choices out there…

The Research Begins
I centered my attention on a few manufacturers and decided to focus my spend to around fifty bucks.

Here’s what I found:

  • Olympia AD220
    $46.94 on Amazon
    220 Lumens
    (Two CR123a rechargeable batteries)
    210 Lumens
    (One CR123a battery)
  • Fenix LD22
    $55.95 on Amazon
    215 Lumens
    (Two AA batteries)
  • Fenix E25
    $50.95 on Amazon
    260 Lumens
    (Two AA batteries)
  • Klarus RS16 Rechargeable LED Flashlight
    $65.95 on Amazon
    380 Lumens
    (16340 Rechargeable battery and onboard magnetic charging port!)

These flashlights all have multiple brightness settings, which allow you to regulate your lighting needs, but the Klarus RD16 really tickled my fancy, because it’s so easy to recharge.


Yes I broke through my price point a bit with the Klarus, but hey… this completely solves the problem of having to fiddle with batteries!

Klarus Makes the Holidays Look Bright
I don’t know if there’s another Octogenarian out there who would care to get a silly flashlight for the holidays, but I know my Dad is going to love this one.

I think we can all agree… the Klarus will be an illuminating gift!