Written on: 03/08/2007 by tim X zim (2 reviews written)
I had seen the Mini Maglite for sale for some time but was never sold on the idea of any penlight powered torch being worth considering. Durability, brightness and battery life were traditionally poor in the area of penlight torches, something more associated with Christmas stockings than a serious tool.
Some ten years back my wife gave me one for my birthday in a smart black box with a small Victorinox pocket-knife. Back then, in Zimbabwe certainly, it represented a huge step forward and was then a winner. That particular one has been long stolen and I have replaced it with a black one for everyday carry and I have one in each car, matching colours for ease.
Both of my son's have a Mini-Mag as torches have a tendency to gravitate to baths despite a parent's best efforts and the supermarket specials are prone to immediate warranty nullification. After going through a few supermarket D-Cell specials the maths soon weighed in favour of Mini-Mags.
The Mini-Mag's performance has been long passed by other tactical lithium powered torches in the race to reach ever-increasing lumen output. I have a few of these powerful compact torches and they are extremely bright and tough. Most are not suitable for children, and batteries difficult to source. I do carry one performance torch in my kit bag at all times.
Maglite is the only brand that has readily available spares where I travel to in Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and where I live, Botswana. So many things run on AA batteries that they can be scavenged from other kit or bought in virtually any location in Africa. With a spare bulb in the tail cap I have yet to be anything more than momentarily inconvenienced. A small spare bulb resides in a side pocket of my Filofax. The Mini-Mag is a great asset in the constant cycle of blackouts in much of Africa.
They do need to be checked every few months, especially if you have children. O-rings need to be lubed (as with all twist function torches) when batteries are replaced, Vaseline does the job. Habit dictates that I replace the lamp at Christmas time as they do darken with use, they are inexpensive and using them in candle mode can bend the pins.
Alkaline provide an excellent balance of performance and price. The performance M3Duracell and Ti-Energisers are pricey for a torch but give excellent performance and duration. I avoid acid batteries like the plague as they don't match my requirements of durability. Alkaline Grand Cell has an excellent niche when you have children.
The biggest liability owning the Mini-Mag is casual theft. It is a most useful everyday tool.