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Product Reviews

 

Editor Review – 6” Cyalume Snaplight® Lightstick 8hr and 12hr

As an Ex Army Warrant Officer, I was more familiar with the military version Snaplight® Lightstick, the ChemLight, which I used regularly during exercises and deployments throughout the world. The Chemlights or generic army term ‘Cyalumes’ have an excellent performance and versatility record with soldiers. Although hard to come by, as the QM store always horded them. When you did get them, they ALWAYS performed and were very useful for night patrol, marking loads, and general safety. They were especially useful during Arctic Warfare Training for marking kit, illuminating the bottom of snow trenches and marking snow holes etc. A piece of kit that you always endeavored to carry in your Bergen, just in case.

I initially expected the ‘civilian’ Snaplight® version to be an inferior ‘military’ copy, which is what happens to most ‘civilianised’ military products. Much like the US Army Camp Cot, which has no comparable civilian replicas that match the military version. However, the statements from Cyalume Technologies indicated that the SnapLight® would meet military specification and perform just as well as the issued version ChemLight.

On inspection the SnapLight® outer foil is exactly the same standard as the military version. Ensuring that the chemicals inside the stick do not deteriorate due to exposure to normal light. On opening the foil the only noticeable difference from the military version is the hook. The military version has a non return catch, much like a karabiner, whereas the SnapLight® has a normal formed hook. There appeared to be no noticeable difference between the SnapLight® and the ChemLight in the manufacturing quality of the rest of the stick.

The old ‘ Does what it says on the tin’ quotation, definitely seems to apply to the function and performance of the SnapLight® Lightstick. An easy bend, snap and shake activates the stick and depending on the version (8hr or 12hr and the colour) the performance of the SnapLight® was exactly the same as the military versions. It should be noted that certain colours are more light effective than others. For instance orange and yellow are better light performing than Blue and red. However, the mix of chemicals in the stick itself ensures that they emit for the stated duration or longer. In one case I had a 12hr yellow stick still glowing after 24hrs. Extremes of cold and heat will affect the performance somewhat, but they need to be really extreme to be noticeable in the sticks duration.

All the SnapLight® LightSticks are environmentally safe, REACH compliant containing no phthalate. There is no spark, flame or heat. Totally waterproof and able to be used in a gas/fuel environment they are an ideal and safer solution compared to conventional light sources such as torches. Life expectancy is up to 5 years and they can be stored with little or no maintenance required.

The market for these items is aimed at commercial safety, survival, first aid, evacuation, signalling danger, contingency lighting and emergency situations. Being versatile and easy to use they are ideal for expeditions, survival training, camping, hill walking etc. For personal use they are ideal to keep in the home for emergencies and great to keep in the car for any unexpected breakdown at night.

The SnapLight® LightSticks should not be confused with these other cheaper and less well made items that seem to be more and more available in local stores and supermarkets. These other imported products could contain illegal substances, be inferior in their capabilities and build, and fail to work when needed. Although Cyalume SnapLight® Lightsticks are slightly more expensive you can be guaranteed that the product will work when you need it and that it meets and exceeds military specification. The conclusion is that if you want to trust your safety on a novelty glow toy, you had best get down to the local supermarket. Personally, I’ll be keeping Cyalume in the car….just in case?