Too often many people go off into the bush without carrying basic necessities such as food and water but even worse they fail to carry survival gear with them or even any way of signalling or calling for help! We all know that the Aussie bush is harsh and unforgiving and unfortunately many people get lost or even die due to dehydration, starvation or traumatic injuries of some sort as a result of heading off the beaten track for a bit of adventure. I’ve been searching for a brand that sells reliable outdoor emergency signalling tools such as torches and glowsticks and I think I’ve found it! A couple of weeks ago, I ran in to Life Gear (check them out at www.lifegear.com) and was very excited about the products that they have to offer as they make emergency gear specifically designed for hikers, campers, bushwalkers and joggers. Anyway, the kind folks there sent me several samples so that I could show you what they have to offer.

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If you haven’t heard about Life Gear before, they’re a North American company based in California that is “dedicated to working hands-on at every level to develop and promote innovative everyday products engineered with life saving capabilities.” At this stage they have several different lineups of torches (Americans call them flashlights) which are designed for everyday usage but have rescue and emergency features built into them which come in real handy.
It is estimated that 10.5 million people on 6 continents used Life Gear products in one year through the efforts of strategic partners such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
So let’s take a look at the product samples that we received. First we have these LED glow sticks which come in 4 different colours (red, green, blue and pink) and are fantastic in a survival situation because they have a strobe function that lasts a whopping 200 hrs which is plenty of time for rescuers to find you.
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They have a built in whistle function too for signalling help.
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Never go on a hike without one of these because you just never know if you end up getting lost! You can stick a couple of these in your bug out bag or daypack too – they don’t take up a lot of space but they’re worth the extra little bit of weight (not that they weigh much anyway!)
Next we’ve got these neat little aluminium keychain flashlights. Only 8 lumens yet they are more than adequate in lighting up the path to your vehicle at night. These don’t take up too much space on your keychain so it is well worth having one of them on there. One great bonus is that they’re waterproof too.
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We also have these carabiners. They have a built in whistle which is not that loud really but is ok. Its also got a small 8 lumen light built in.  The carabiner is great for clipping small items to the outside of your pack or bug out bag. I keep a Life Gear carabiner on the shoulder strap of my bag with another carabiner attached to it. I also have the added bonus of the whistle and the light being easily accessible.  The 8 lumen light is ok for lighting up a small path, reading a map or examining something, but not really that useful for serious work in the dark. My only beef about the light is that it uses some irregular batteries (IR48) that are not readily available (like AA and AAA). So its probably a good idea to get on a place like eBay and go hunting for a great deal on a pack of IR48 batteries.
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Now this is my favourite – a Searchlight, it is one of their latest products and has the following features:
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  • 500ft focus beam
  • 250 Lumens
  • Rescue beacon
  • Red Safety Flash Mode
  • Whistle in tail cap
  • CREE LED technology
  • Water & Impact Resistant
  • Carabiner attachment (Included)
  • 3 x AAA Battery (Included)

4 Light Modes:

  • High Beam Flashlight
  • Low Beam Flashlight
  • Red Safety Signal
  • RESCUE BEACON
I’ve brought this torch out at night bushwalking for one whole week to test it out and the area where I go is pitch black – no streetlights or some other form of artificial illumination at all. This torch was just as powerful as my trusty old baton style MagLite.
Using only 3 x AAA batteries, it can last 5 hours on low and 1 hr 15 mins on high mode. It is also water resistant (rated at IPX4) which is a huge bonus! I have tested this out in a light shower and it held up fine.
I like the fact that it also has a toothed bezel on the crown which is designed for striking and can be used as an improvised weapon in a pinch.
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And finally the glow headlamp. It features:
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  • See & Be Seen modes
  • 3 X AAA batteries included
  • Detachable & adjustable elastic band
  • Bright white LEDs
  • Red LEDs
  • 40 or 80 Lumens
  • 100hrs in flashing mode
  • Be seen for 1/4 mile
  • Compact design fits securely around head

It also has 6 different light modes:

  • High Beam
  • Low Beam
  • Red + White LED Glow
  • Red LED Night Vision
  • Red Emergency Flasher mode
  • S.O.S. Flashing mode (2 X White LED modes high mode for wide illumination)
This headlamp is very good and very durable but obviously not the best in terms of candle power. If you asked me what headlamp I’d recommend, it would be a Black Diamond Extreme. Having said that, the Life Gear Glow Headlamp does a great job at lighting up a large area on a pitch black night and really is a great product for the money – there’s no arguing about that. I like the fact that it takes 3 x AAA batteries which is a fairly common battery size and is readily available.
UPDATED : 7/8/15
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Life Gear sent me three more products recently: The AR-TECH 2N1 Multi- Function spotlight (both the 40 lumen and 80 lumen versions) and the AR-TECH 2N1 Multi- Function flashlight.
All three models utilise Life Gear’s new and innovative ARTech Advanced Reflective technology. They float and are water resistant making them ideal for use in marine environments and particularly as part of marine vessel survival kits.
This ARTech Advanced Reflective technology transforms the directional nature of light emanating from LED bulbs into a multi-directional light source more suitable for area lightning. This technology is both amazing and very effective.
I tested these torch extensively for the past whole month in various conditions such as in the bush doing survival training and during moderate showers.

Here are the specifications for the AR-TECH 2N1 Spot:

  • LED technology
  • LED spot light & lantern
  • Advanced Reflective Technology
  • 360º Lighting
  • 4 x AA Batteries included
  • Water-resistant
  • Super bright
  • 13 LED flashlight
  • Auto-off in 1 hour
  • Flashing mode turns on automatically when placed in water
  • 80 Lumen light or 40 lumen
  • 300 or 100 Hours on flasher mode
  • 80 Lumen LED lantern mode

 

It has 6 Light Modes:

  • LED Flashlight
  • LED Flashlight & Red Glow
  • Red glow
  • Emergency Red Flasher
  • 1 x AR-TECH Tube
  • 2 x AR-TECH Tube
ar-tech-2n1-flashlightAnd these are the specifications for the AR-TECH 2N1 flashlight:
  • LED flashlight & personal lantern
  • Advanced Reflective Technology
  • 360º Lighting
  • 3 x AA batteries included
  • Water-resistant
  • Auto-off in 1 hour
  • Flashing mode turns on automatically when placed in water
  • 50 Lumens
  • 400 Hours on flasher mode
  • 50 Lumens LED tube lighting

pdq_fl_rr_pdqThe AR-TECH 2N1 flashlight has 5 Light Modes:

  • LED Flashlight
  • LED Flashlight & Red Glow
  • Red Glow
  • Emergency Red Flasher
  • LED AR-TECH Tube

As with all the other Life Gear product lines, these three torches have some remarkable emergency having the capability for signalling for help is one huge plus. The amount of lumens these torches put out is quite reasonable too and with the AR Technology it helps to “amplify” the light even further making it more effective and efficient battery-wise.

Again, I also like the fact that most of Life Gear’s products utilise AAA or AA batteries which are fairly affordable and extremely easy to acquire as opposed to some torch manufacturers that use non-standard batteries which aren’t always readily available and you really have to do some internet hunting just to find the right ones.

I believe these torches are perfect for keeping in your vehicle as part of an emergency kit or on your  marine vessel as part of  your on-board emergency stowage. The ARTech 2N1 flashlight is possibly a good entry-level option for volunteer search and rescue teams that need a reliable source of lighting yet don’t want to break the bank.
So what do we think about LifeGear?
Well … I must say that we really cannot find any major faults with any of Life Gear’s products. No we aren’t being paid to do this review and no we don’t have any hesitation in showing a product for what it really is.  So… if you were to ask us what we’d rate Life Gear’s products at, it would be 4.5 out of 5 stars for their innovative design, quality, craftsmanship and durability.
All Life Gear products come with a lifetime warranty excluding batteries and bulbs so if for whatever reason you’re Life Gear torch stops working, you can send it in and they’ll fix it free of charge – sound good?
Probably the only downside about Life Gear’s products is that they’re made in China, nevertheless the quality is definitely there.
We’ve only taken a look at a small sampling of what Life Gear has to offer, so if you’re interested in checking out Life Gear’s other awesome products, then visit their website www.lifegear.com. You can also buy Life Gear products in Australia from certain camping and outdoor stores such as Rays Outdoors and BCF (check for your local store on their website).
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