The Mini Maglite is perhaps one of the world’s most recognisable pocket torches.
This much envied and copied torch has provided many walkers with valuable light in even the most challenging of conditions.
I bought myself a Mini Maglite around 15 years ago for use on a camping trip through the mountains. LED powered torches were still in their infancy and as such, powerful and reliable torches were expensive. Enter the Mini Maglite an affordable but powerful torch which really stood up to punishment but is it still a good buy today?
Mini Maglite AA
The Mini Maglite is manufactured from a very hardwearing aluminium. The main body of the torch is machined with a diamond knurl pattern to give the user a good grip of the torch. The aluminium is fully anodised (in this case blue) inside and out to prevent corrosion.
The construction has been designed to be water resistance with chunky o-seals in place both around the rotating light bezel and the battery compartment. Many people have asked what the IPX rating is for the Mini Maglite but really this isn’t important as when these torches were originally designed the rating was only applied to electronic devices and not to hardware like torches.
To settle your mind, the Mini Maglite can survive submersed in freezing water for quite a while and mine has survived even the wettest weather the Scottish Highlands could throw at it.
As the name suggests, the Mini Maglite is powered by 2 AA batteries which power a 14 lumen Xenon bulb for approximately 5-6 hours. A spare bulb is stored in the battery compartment cap underneath the spring connector. This is really handy as the Mini Maglite isn’t too keen on being dropped from a height more than 1m and the result of such a drop is often a blown bulb so having a replacement close at hand is good.
The light may seem a little underpowered when compared to modern LED torches but it still punches through the dark more than adequately especially when used around camp or when illuminating the trail ahead.
The torch is turned on and off by twisting the light bezel. This also controls the spread of the light allowing you adjust the beam from wide to narrow really easily even when wearing heavy winter gloves.
The end cap has a lanyard hole allowing you to attach the torch to yourself or your equipment to prevent lose when exploring the wilds of Scotland.
There are many aftermarket parts for the Mini Maglite AA available through the likes of eBay and Amazon. The one that many owners opt for it the LED conversion kit. This kit converts the torch from old-school Incandescent bulb to modern LED.
I have not tried this kit on my own torch but I know many others who have and they are happy with the results in the increase of lumens projected and that it reduces the “drop” problem significantly. Surprisingly this adaptation does not affect the battery life with the converted torch still providing the 5-6 hours of operation.
The Mini Maglite AA has proven itself time and time again over many adventures across the world. It has outlasted many of the LED alternatives I have bought myself over the years. If you are looking for a torch that is hardwearing and effective and don’t mind using old-school technology then the Mini Maglite AA is one I recommend you consider.
Review by Brian Grey