Ever stop to count the number of flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, mini-LEDs, etc. that you have strewn about your garage, den, closets and deck? For many outdoor lovers, the number probably extends deep into the double digits. If you’re going to add a new light to that surplus, it had better do something special. Better yet, it had better do several special somethings.

The Voltaic USB Touchlight is designed to slim down your lighting collection by providing a versatile template that can be used in a number of ways. The LED light can be powered by any USB source, including one of Voltaic’s battery packs. It’s designed to be hung up by the included long extension cable or stood up like a desk lamp with the stiff flex cable. Both of those configurations could be useful in a tent or around the campsite.

While the Touchlight’s wide-angle light might make it better for ambient uses like lighting up a tent or room, it looks like it could also serve as a makeshift flashlight. Slide the battery in a pocket and hold the light to brighten your path and surroundings. With a little bit of hacking skill, the 4-ounce Touchlight could probably be turned into a headlamp.

The Touchlight gets its name because of its simple operation. A slight play on the ever-popular touchscreen, the light shifts between three brightness levels from – 50 to 175 lumens – with a tap of the lens. Battery life ranges between 4.5 and 20 hours.

The Touchlight is waterproof, making it ideal for rugged, outdoor usage. There’s no need to worry about rain or river crossings drowning out your light.

Voltaic sold out its first Touchlight production run, but it plans to have more available in March. The light costs $35, which seems like a bargain for a versatile gadget with solid beam power. We could see it working well as a hanging lantern or standing reading light in a tent or camper.

In addition to the Touchlight, Voltaic offers a variety of products that could be useful to outdoor enthusiasts. It has a full line of portable solar panels, backpacks and carry cases, and a number of portable lights. You can see their full line at voltaicsystems.com.

 

 

 

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Chris Weiss has been snowboarding, mountain biking and otherwise tempting death for nearly 20 years. After a few stints in go-nowhere mountain bum jobs, he asked himself, "Why not eek out a living doing something I love?" Since sports sponsors tend to ignore applications from late-20s dudes with mediocre skills and beer flab, Weiss jumped on the other side of the media fence to cover industry happenings. He now writes about sports innovations, technology, travel and automobiles for a number of leading Web properties.

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