Review: the UV PaqLite Orb

Raven Concealment Systems 2

We like lights almost as much as we like belts. Almost. Read up on this multipurpose option written by our resident larrikin, Apocalypse Josh. Mad Duo

(Grunts: larrikin)

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I do so love my glowing lights. There is something very satisfying about a renewable, sun-charged light source that can illuminate dark corners of a room, locate a bag or device in the dark or even ID friends vs foes. I’ve gathered quite a collection of glow-in-the-dark items over the years, starting with those little stars you put on the ceiling to make constellations when I was a kid. My girls have them too, now.

Orb with its keychain, and built-in mode button

 

And this brings us to the UVPaqLite Orb with its keychain and built-in mode button.

I’ve been a big fan of the products UVPaqLite products for some time. I keep them in my packs, hand them to my kids when we go out at night and generally have them on hand for those “where did everybody go” moments, when I might need more than just one of my multitude of flashlights.

One is none, two is one, and batteries run low. The family team of Steve Nagel and Alexis Nagel, and their gun-toting outdoors-man Uncle Vernon, who was their inspiration, felt the same way. So they created UVPaqLite. Their basic product is based around the fact that if you embed raw strontium aluminate crystals in a solid resin you get a longlasting light source in a solid, stable and resilient unit.

The problem with all glow-in-the dark products is that they need to be charged to work. If your emergency happens when you’re already in the dark, or if your glow-in-the-dark light is at the bottom of your bag, it won’t do you much good. So the folks from UVPaqlite came up with another option. They embedded a LED in the middle of two halves, with USB rechargable lithium ion rechargeable batteries, light-detection sensors and some clever circuitry to give you a hybrid light that gives you an infinitely renewable GITD shell and long lasting electronics that can hold 100hours of illumination on a single charge.

Orb's USB port dust-cover and light sensor
Orb’s USB port dust-cover and light sensor

Not only that, but the UVPaqLite people came up with a hybrid mode too.

To operate the flashlight mode, you press the button built into the middle band. This illuminates one side of the orb through the embedded crystals and casts a very satisfying light while charging up the GITD crystals. Holding the button until the light flashes sets a timer mode, which will set the LED’s on either side of the orb to flash every two minutes recharging the crystals to peak performance. The batteries will keep the light flashing for around 100 hours.

An even smarter feature utilizes a small photoreceptor built into the side of the Orb, just beside the USB charge port.

The Orb, its capsule and USB cable
The Orb, its capsule and USB cable

Hold the on-off button for a double-flash of the light, which lets you know you’ve activated the light sensor. Now the Orb will function only in hybrid mode when it’s dark. This means you can set it up wherever you want it and forget about it. Clip it to the side of your pack with the built in split ring and snap-clip, hang it from the top of your tent, or drop it in your bag.

It will self-charge the crystals as you go about your life. This is really good for the forgetful or the over-packed. But beware: if you’re operating under any sort of light-discipline, that intermittent flash is very bright and will give you away. It’s great if you want someone to come find you though.

The Orb in its flashlight mode, hanging from my camping hammock
The Orb in its flashlight mode, hanging from my camping hammock

The USB charging cable UVPaqLite supplies is just long enough to do the job and not long enough to get in the way. The 45g (1.5 oz) Orb is  37mm (1.4″) x 25mm (1″), a little big for a key-fob but perfect for pockets. I’ve had it on the side of my Hazard4 Escape RG harness for a while and it didn’t get in my way at all.

The light is weather resistant in its native state, meaning it can take some rain and exposure, but don’t soak it. But if you’re expecting a big wet, they’ve thought of that too. The dive capsule is rated to 100m (300′) which is more than three times the depth I’ve ever been rated to SCUBA dive. But I suppose some day I might want to tag some salvage and come back to it with a ROV.

The Orb in its diving-capsule
The Orb in its diving-capsule

I’m a lot more likely to be yomping through a storm though, so the extra weather protection and night-swimming illumination is what appeals to me. You can’t access the button from inside the capsule, so whatever setting you select before you hit the water is what you’re stuck with unless you’re brave enough to pop it open underwater. In the capsule the Orb is positively buoyant and floats around happily on an even keel. It’s a well designed accessory, with a smooth threading action, and a sturdy o-ring and flat-folding attachment ring.

The Orb floating on the surface on flashlight mode
The Orb floating on the surface on flashlight mode

ADM 1

I was really impressed with both the GITD illumination the Orb offered and its flashlight mode. It certainly has a lot of potential to give on-demand, medium term, renewable and reusable illumination. It’s really the best of both worlds. Since getting my hands on the UVPaqlite range I haven’t used a cyalume stick, though I’ve kept some around just in case I’m caught without an immediate light source. Now that I have the Orb, I might just pass them off to the kids for one last hurrah.

The Orb at the bottom of its water-barrel test.
The Orb at the bottom of its water-barrel test.

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Apocalypse Josh 1 Breach Bang ClearAbout the Author: Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He’s lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places around the world and has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of ‘civilized Western life’ can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn’t by any means to say our eccentric friend truly experiences genuine vorfreude about dystopian life, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.

Grunts: vorfreude.

Breach Bang Clear Apocalypse Josh

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We’re not saying Josh flies a PL-12 Airtruk. We’re just saying this guy and Josh have never been seen in the same room together at the same time.

 

Apocalypse Josh

Apocalypse Josh

Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He's lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places around the world and has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of 'civilized Western life' can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn't by any means to say our eccentric friend actually longs for life in dystopia, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.


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