Gear Review

Fenix LD09 flashlight review

Fenix LD09 flashlight review
Fenix LD09 flashlight review © Bharat Singh Bhadwal. All Rights Reserved.

As an outdoors person, I’ve always been fascinated by knives and flashlights. I have owned numerous Maglite in the Pre-LED era. But after the arrival of mainstream LEDs, my brand of choice has been Nightcore’s Tiny Monster or TM series.

This year, I was looking for a torch to use as my daily driver. Since I live in rural Himalaya, I use a torch every night. Therefore, I had strict selection criteria for an Every-Day-Carry (EDC) flashlight

Table Of Contents

Every Day Carry Torch Criteria

  • AA/AAA battery compatibility - AA / AAA batteries are interchangeable across devices and can be found virtually anywhere. I already own a set of rechargeable AA and AAA Panasonic Eneloop batteries. Good quality rechargeable batteries have a far lower ecological footprint than non-reusable batteries. Plus having common size like AA (also called pencil cell in India) means
    • I can reuse it across multiple devices.
    • I don’t have to throw out the product when the battery gives in.
  • Small and lightweight - I own a big daddy 3 D battery Maglite, that doubles as a baton and weighs 734 grammes. But for an EDC flashlight I want something unobtrusive and pocket-friendly.
  • A 100-metre white beam - The torch must be able to illuminate 100 metres and be bright and white enough to dazzle dogs and foxes that I often encounter on my daily walks.
  • A 24-hour low power mode - Useful when car camping or if there is a multi-day power outage.
  • Robust and water-resistant - I do not mollycoddle my gear. I buy quality gear and I expect it to perform in adverse situations, especially during a rainstorm or in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Reliability - So I don’t need to carry another torch as a backup to my EDC. Kind of beats the purpose of having an EDC flashlight in the first place.

Fenix LD09 flashlight review

Purchase

Looking at various options I happened to come across Fenix LD09 which was available at Lightorati Clearance Sale for Rs 2000 (including shipping). The LD09 retails on Amazon.com for $36.50 and Indian websites normally charge a 35 – 300% markup on foreign goods. Since Rs. 2000 was about the same price as its US cousin, it was a sweet deal.

Fenix has a good fan following on CandlePowerForums (yes there is a forum dedicated to torches & flashlights) and the Fenix LD09 had favourable reviews on Amazon and CandlePowerForums. True that it was a pre-2015 model, but it ticked all the right boxes for my selection criteria. The LD09 was with me within 3 days of placing the order.

Specifications

Fenix describes the LD09 as

The LD09 is an incredible every day carry flashlight built to be tough, powerful, and elegant. Its high-quality materials, advanced technology, and simple design make it a favourite among hikers, campers, tactical users, and those who know the importance of being prepared at all times. At only 3.7 inches in length, this light comfortably fits in your pocket all day long.

Features

  • Cree XP-E2 LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
  • Uses one AA (Ni-MH, Alkaline) battery
  • Three output modes:
    • High: 130 Lumen (1 hour 30 minutes with Ni-MH battery; 56 minutes with Alkaline battery)
    • Mid: 55 Lumen (5 hours with Ni-MH battery; 3 hours with Alkaline battery)
    • Low: 8 Lumen (40 hours with Ni-MH battery; 50 hours with Alkaline battery)
    • SOS Mode: 55 Lumen
  • Digitally regulated output – maintains constant brightness
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
  • Waterproof to IPX–8 rating, under water to 6.5 feet/2 meters for 30 minutes
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
  • Dimensions: 92mm (Length) x19mm (Diameter)
  • Weight: 33 grammes (Excluding battery)

Usage and Field Test

In the past six months, I have used the LD09 daily. In fact, I was so enamoured by it that I decided to carry it on my triple trek from Utrala to Hadsar over Jalsu Pass, Kalah Pass and through Mani-Mahesh. This was the first time I was carrying a flashlight in addition to my usual Black Diamond headlamp. So what motivated me to do this?

  1. There is the weight. The Fenix LD09 weighs 35 grammes with the belt clip (without the battery) which is extremely lightweight. To give you an indication how lightweight that is, a rechargeable AA battery weighs 30 grammes. Therefore, it is not a major drag even for someone as ‘weight paranoid’ as I am.

Fenix LD09 comes in at 34 grammes![Image description](https://inditramp.com/media/posts/59/29-11-16-P1030816.jpg =1125x1500)
Fenix LD09 comes in at 34 grammes

  1. The LD09 is not a competitor to the headlamp but complements it. A trekking headlamp like the Black Diamond Storm that I own has a broader spread of light which is great for general illumination and walking. However, the LD09 has a more focused central beam that a) carries further and b) dazzles animals. I tested this on two foxes trying to get in the door-less hall at Shankhpal last month. Instinctively I grabbed my flashlight and truned it on. This dazzled them and they stood still, which gave me enough time to reach my trekking pole and shoo them away.

Coupled with a rechargeable Eneloop battery at 30 grammes
Coupled with a rechargeable Eneloop battery at 30 grammes

With shorter days in winters, this two light strategy with a combination of wider and narrower spread gives me the ability to walk after dark. Plus, it gives me redundancy of illumination which I prefer to have on overnight winter treks.

  1. There’s the build quality and accessories. The flashlight is made of aircraft grade aluminium. It comes with a knurled grip and an anti-roll design. The glass is toughened and recessed. In addition, it sports an IPX8 rating, which means it can be submerged in 2 metres of water for about 30 minutes. Out of the box, the LD09 comes with a nylon sheath, a belt clip, spare ‘O’ ring and a lanyard. All of these accessories are useful and thoughtful.

  2. battery life. If you have to buy rechargeable batteries look no further than Panasonic Eneloop Pros. It is an investment that pays itself many times over. On this flashlight, I clocked 42 hours and 23 minutes of continuous runtime at the lowest power setting. This is mind boggling, considering it is powered by a single AA rechargeable battery. In fact, on my normal trek usage, a single Eneloop Pro AA battery lasts me a week.

Finally, it doubles as an emergency beacon with its built-in SOS mode. Since I am an Indian national the chances of getting rescued in the Himalayas are quite remote. Yet, the ability to be able to signal after dark or provide a beacon for the rescue team to reach me is a nice touch.

Fenix LD09 specs on the box
Fenix LD09 specs on the box

Summary

A lot of people may baulk at the thought of a Rs. 2000 flashlight. They may feel that a simple flashlight available at most shops serves the purpose. Yet, a well-built instrument is functional and it is also a pleasure to hold and deploy. This is especially true about the Fenix LD09. It is neither the cheapest or the most expensive EDC flashlight out there. Nevertheless, it punches above its weight in terms of build quality, battery life and perceived value for money. An excellent value for the discerning trekker.

Pros

  • Lightweight at 35 grammes.
  • Excellent build – IPX8.
  • Comes with thoughtful accessories.
  • Long battery life.

Cons

  • Can’t reliably stand on its tail. Thus, candlelight operation is limited.
  • No memory. Restarts every time in mid output mode.
  • Lumen is never enough! I wish the LD09 was brighter.

Note

The LD09 model updated in 2015. The 2015 edition is brighter at 220 lumen and supports Fenix’s 14500 rechargeable Li-ion battery. However, it is also more expensive - Rs. 3000 (as on 1 December 2016). Therefore, grab your clearance stock from Lightorati while it lasts.