For the last couple of years I have been on the lookout for the ideal flashlight and lantern for my camping and survival kit. Based on the last two months spent using River Rock’s Nightfire Lantern and Perfect Circle Flashlight, I think I have come pretty close to that ideal. These two lights impressed me enough that I put all my other flashlights and lanterns in a drawer and I seriously hope to add a couple more lights from their product line.
Over the years I have used just about every brand of flashlight and lantern and never been truly satisfied with their functionality. I was not familiar with River Rock before this review and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to test out their products.
The Nightfire 3AA Lantern is a small, sturdy LED light that throws out an impressive 136 lumens of white light contained within its seven ounce aluminum package. It is the brightest lantern I have handled and significantly brighter than any other light I own and use regularly. It is powered by three AA batteries that on it high setting that will last twenty five hours. On its low and flashing setting the batteries will last fifty hours. The Nightfire also includes a small carabiner and clip that locks into the top cap of the lantern. This cap also unscrews from the top of the lantern which converts the Nightfire into a spotlight. What makes the Nightfire so bright in lantern form is the “Convex Reflector” that disperses the light evenly. I have to say it is blindingly bright and I recommend not staring into the lantern light when it is on high or flashing mode. Just below the on/off button is a small green LED indicator that flashes every five seconds. Changing the batteries can be a bit difficult and requires a pair of pliers from a multi-tool to loosen the screw cap on the bottom of the lantern.
The 1AA Perfect Circle LED Flashlight is palm sized mini light that measures 4.4 inches long and weighs 4.5 ounces with the battery. It is manufactured from dark green anodized aircraft aluminum and includes a generous wrist lanyard. The flashlight has a rubberized switch that has two modes of “on” and “flashing” which can be used for signaling. At 3.5 lumens the flashlight’s white LED bulb is extremely bright. According to River Rock its lens is “precision formed” to create “precise focused hard edge yet soft full moon shaped light beam.” After testing this flashlight for the last couple of months their description is accurate. Whether I was looking for tools in my basement in the dark or walking down the darkened alley behind my house the Perfect Circle Flashlight worked admirably. One AA battery will provide 30 hours of constant illumination or 60 hours of flashing. Despite almost daily use and testing I have not replaced the battery.
I haven’t had the opportunity to do much hiking this winter but found a number of uses around my house to test the flashlight and lantern. Every morning when I get ready for work I normally use a lantern to provide a bit of illumination to get dressed. Occasionally, I use a flashlight to find a shirt or pair of socks in a drawer. For the last two months I have used both the lantern and flashlight in the morning to get dressed. The lantern throws out an incredible amount of light that I was able to iron a dress shirt and pants for work.
Shortly after I received these lights for review the battery on my car needed replaced. It happened to be dark by the time I got a new battery and I decided it was time to see how they both worked for car repairs. The lantern provided an exceptional amount of illumination in the engine compartment to change out the battery. While changing unscrewing the bolts that hold the battery in placed the ratchet bit fell through my engine onto the ground. I used the flashlight to locate the fallen ratchet bit and finished replacing the battery.
On my property is an old detached garage that I use for storage. Currently there is no electricity in the garage. I thought a proper test for both lights would be to search for a couple of hand tools late one evening. I was able to locate the tools I was looking for in a cluttered box with ease using both the lantern and the flashlight.
The last test for both lights was a trip to my basement. It is used exclusively for laundry and storage only. I started down the steps using the lantern and it illuminated my descent without issue. Once in the basement I sat the lantern on top of the dryer and pulled the flash light out and turned it on. I then used the flashlight to search through a couple of storage bins along the back wall of the house. The precise lens of the flashlight makes looking for items quick and easy.
After using both lights for the last two months I am seriously impressed with River Rock’s products. They do not take up a lot space, are both lightweight and have a ton of functionality. Both lights are water resistant and are sealed by o-rings to keep moisture out. I ran water over both lights will turned on and they both continued to function. I have used numerous flashlights and lanterns over the last couple of years and I like these two the most. I can definitely see the lantern finding its way into my hiking kit and I would like to purchase another one for a car survival kit. Most other lanterns I have take D batteries that are expensive, heavy and not nearly as bright as the Nightfire lantern. The Perfect Circle flashlight will also find its way into my camping gear and fits easily into the storage spaces in my vehicle.
Throughout my testing the only issue I encountered is that the Green LED locator bulb on the side of the lantern didn’t work. I think this is a really useful feature that I haven’t seen before and I am a bit bummed that it isn’t functional. Despite the green locator bulb not working I really like the lantern brightness and functionality. This slight issue would not prevent me from purchasing another one.
All in all I am very impressed with the lantern and flashlight. Both lights are very small and lightweight making them easy choices for hiking, camping and car kits. There are several salient features that stand out to me for these lights. Size, brightness, burn time and battery choice make both the lantern and flashlight a must. According to River Rock’s web page they are asking $29.95 for the lantern and $14.95 for the flashlight. I think the price point of both lights is reasonable and I would not hesitate to order directly from them. If you are in the market for reasonably priced LED lights then I strongly recommend checking out River Rock.
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