Fenix L1D Flashlight Review

Fenix logoWhen it comes to flashlights, Fenix is a company that doesn’t mess around. They offer high quality, durable lighting equipment for any adventure. In this edition of Trail Trials, we take a look at the Fenix L1D single AA flashlight. We also note some facts about the L1D’s successor, the LD10. As usual, there’s a video review followed by written highlights.

Whats in the box?

  • Flashlight itself
  • Ballistic carrying case
  • Lanyard
  • Spare parts of 2 O-rings to keep it water tight and a replacement on/off/settings button

Build
Fenix L1DThe build of the L1D (right) is really solid. It is all aluminum and feels sturdy in your hand. There is not any noticeable clicking or movement from loose parts or the battery moving inside which you tend to find on some cheaper flashlights out there. It’s a tight little package for sure.

The light separates into 3 pieces; the head which houses the LED lights, the main body where the AA battery is inserted, and the tail of the light that houses the on/off button. These three sections all screw together. There is a significant amount of thread used to connect both the head and the tail of the light to the body. This is important because not only does this make the construction when assembled more secure but with the added rubber O-rings installed at the bottom most threads on both the head and tail, it helps keep the moisture out. Fenix describes the L1D as waterproof, but does not give any ratings concerning depth. After some investigation it seems as if diving with the light is not recommended, but dropping it in the creek is not going to kill it.

Usage

Fenix L1D Victorinox

Size comparison of the Fenix L1D and a Swiss army knife.

With the flashlight off, click the button on the tail of the light to turn it on. You will hear an audible “click”. This will have you in the brightest setting throwing out 120 lumens of bright goodness. A half click or, as it is sometimes called, a soft click (no clicking sound) will put the light in strobe mode. To cycle though the other settings of the unit, simply perform a half turn of the head of the light then click the button with a full press to turn it on, then soft press it to cycle though the additional brightness settings. Those settings are low, medium, medium-high, and max.

Battery Life
On the brightest setting of 120 lumens expect to get a very short battery life of about and hour and a half. This is to be expected given that the FEnix L1D is pumping out a lot of light with only a single AA battery to fuel it. The medium-high setting is around 100 lumens and taps out around 2.5 hours. Medium outputs 50 lumens and could get you though the night with up to 8 hours of burn time. Finally, the lowest output of 9 lumens will run you though a couple of nights with about 30 hours of battery on a single AA. These burn times assume using a slightly more expensive Lithium AA battery.

Impressions
Overall this is a great little light to have on hand… pun intended. The L1D’s minimal size and weight make it easy to pocket or place in a pack where it will hardly be noticed at all. Its construction is very solid and inspires confidence when you pick it up. You feel like you are holding a fine instrument versus a flashlight and that’s a great thing. The light output is really high, but the single battery burns fast. Luckily, you can scale back the brightness to increase the juice and since it takes a single AA battery you are likely to have those on hand to replace if it does run out. Used by itself, as a companion to your headlamp, or to have as a “just in case” back-up, the Fenix L1D is a great option.

L1D Updated to the LD10
The L1D used in the review has been replaced by the new model, the LD10 (right). The L1D and LD10 are very close in design and features given their size and single AA power source. The LD10 does have a few other tricks up its sleeve that it wants to show you. First, it pushes slightly higher output. The LD10 bumps up an additional 12 lumens at maximum brightness to get you to 132. The body of the flashlight has a knuckled or bolt-like ring around it to keep it from rolling away on flat surfaces and could add to some extra security when carried. Lastly, along with the carrying case you also get a stainless steel clip that attaches to the light. The clip lets you hook the LD10 on your waistband or belt without having to use that carrying case.

Call for Comments
What’s your favorite running flashlight? If you’ve used the Fenix L1D or LD10, let us know what you think? If you’ve got any questions, shoot.

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing “Trail Trials with Travis Liles” video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 7 comments

  1. Steve Pero

    Travis…

    The Fenix has been my light now for a couple of years. At the lowest setting I have plenty of light and it will last me 2 nights at Hardrock and I can see the reflectors quite a distance off, which is important there. I have an older model, so don't remember the model name but it is similar to the Ld20 with 2 lithium AA's.

    Steve

  2. mike

    Hey Travis,

    I use a similar Fenix light with elastic loops from an old Maglite 'headband' secured to my modified Pearl Izumi visor with velcro to give me an awesome running headlamp that I used all last winter.

    On routes/days when I don't need as much light I use a 2 AA Maglite with the LED modification as the battery life is better.

    Cheers

    Mike

  3. Kevin

    I've heard great things about fenix lights from some mountain biker friends. They suggested getting a set of rechargable batteries to go with it and you've got yourself a solid light (they have a bike mount to) for a fraction of the cost of most of the serious mountain bike light sets out there. Plus its so much lighter!

    I've yet to get my hands on one but I plan on trying one out at some point.

  4. Henry Bickerstaff

    I have never drop my Fenix in a creek but I did leave it in the back pocket of my running shorts and it went through the wash cycle. Pulled it out at the end of the spin cycle and click it was on. One tough flash light.

  5. George

    I've had a L1D for a couple of years, and I abso-frickin'-lutely love it. Everything about it is excellent–construction, beam quality, light levels, battery life, and durability. It has a nice heft in the hand, and is a pleasure to operate. I'm renovating a farmhouse and use it constantly. I've crawled through the foundation with it in my mouth, gone on hundreds of jogs, dropped it, had it rained on, etc. I use NiMh rechargeables in it, no problem.

    Be advised that it's electronic brain gets confused when the battery is really low, and then it responds erratically to the switch. That happened to me few times on a full charge when my battery contacts were oxidized (after a couple of hundred recharges). I put two and two together, took the battery out, rubbed its ends on my shirt, and all was good. Not really the light's fault, but a heads-up just in case.

    Anyway, it's a perfect light for me, and my only regret is that I can't buy 50 more and be 50X as happy.

  6. Dale

    I used mine snorkeling in “cenotes”, water-filled caves in the Cancun area in Mexico, illuminating dark areas as I swam underwater. I can verify it is water-proof!

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