Each year, I test hundreds of new and different items that compete to find a place in my everyday carry kit (EDC). To be clear, my EDC is build for the urban environment and not wilderness survival.
4 years ago, I tested and fell in love with the Glo-toob lights and it has been part of my kit ever since. I just realized I have never written about it an wanted to share it with you.
Why not use a cheap glow stick?
Anyone that is building a serious EDC kit knows that you need redundancy. My main everyday carry (EDC) flashlight is the OLight S15R baton with a rechargeable battery. My secondary flashlight is the Ti3 by thrunite (which uses easy to find AAA batteries). there are times when you need a glow stick type of light and for those times, I rely on the Glo-Toob.
Why not use a cheap $5 glow stick? The typical (even high quality) glow stick or Chemical light stick is first and foremost not environmentally friendly (it is disposable and an environmental pollutant). Anyone that has carried them knows that they leak (which also means it won't work when you need it). Plus once you activate it, that's it.
Most of the time, I need it for 5 minutes, 60 minutes or even 180 minutes but that's it. With a chemical glow stick, once you activate it, it's end of life.
Why I chose the Glo-Toob
I knew I wanted something else as my everyday carry glow stick alternative, but it took several tries until I found the Glo-toob.
First thing you notice is the solid construction (it can withstand the rigors of constant travel and being bumped in a pocket, bag or briefcase). It's waterproof to 200 feet (60 meters). I have taken it night scuba diving to 135ft and have never had issues but it's most common use is in rain or snow and it has worked flawlessly.
It is a small rounded cylinder which means it is small enough for everyday carry. This is something you overlook until you start carrying it all the time. Small and light are critical and the Glo-toob is 10/10 on both points (weights 34g with the battery).
It can be powered with different types of batteries (depending on the model) but I chose the AAA powered one (Original GT-AAA). As I travel and carry this with me, I need to know that I can buy the required power source for my gadgets easily and AAA batteries are available in every street corner anywhere in the world.
The last point was that it had to provide a 360 degree stream of light (similar to a glow stick), which it does.
I own 2 GT-AAAs: one with a white LED and one red a one. It has 3 modes (you activate by twisting the cap on and off) high intensity (100%), low intensity (25%) and rapid strobe. Other models offer up to 11 modes and I saw a Chinese competitor with 21 modes but... and the but here is that simple is better. If I need to use this in an emergency, I don't want to fiddle with my EDC gear. By having only 3 modes, choosing the right one is simple.
In low power mode, it is a great long lasting marker light that you can strap on a dog collar or backpack. In high powered mode, it is a great emergency light (during a power outage) or a light you can give the kids without worrying about it breaking.
I have used it while camping to mark our campsite. I have used it when I had to stop on the side of a busy highway at night as a safety beacon. I have used it as a market when canoeing at night. I have used it during power outages and once when I was stuck in a stopped elevator.
I have used it in high powered mode for about 6-7 hours (with a single AAA battery).
When working on a review, I scour the internet looking for comments (positive or negative) from other users. In this case, I saw a handful of comments touching similar points and I wanted to address these ones:
- disappointed by the amount of light : this is not a flashlight replacement. If you buy it thinking it is you will obviously be disappointed. This is a replacement for a chemical glow stick.
- leaked during a dive : With over 85 dives under my belt, I can tell you that I have lived through all kinds of equipment failure at depth. That's one of the reasons everything is done in twos. You never dive alone, you have 2 regulators, etc. Anytime you are in a remote location (whether on land or in the water), you need backups for all your primary systems. Failures happen either because the gear is defective, improperly maintained or improperly used.
- worked only a couple of times : I have 2 of these lights and other friends have bought them after testing my units. My units have been in my EDC kit for 4 years now and even after diving, camping and being abused in torrential rain and deep snow, they perform flawlessly. Of the 10 or so units owned by friends and acquaintances, none have failed. It's important to realize that any electronic product can fail and buying it from a reputable reseller (like Amazon) means you have someone to contact if you do need a warranty replacement.
The Chinese knockoffs
Search AliExpress.com for Glo-toob, EDC warning light or a combination of these types of keywords and you will find hundreds of listings selling these types of tubular lights. I ordered 3 of them ranging from 8.99-14.99 and most ended up being branded EDCGear.
These are cheap knockoffs and you can feel it immediately. The plastic is light and flimsy. The units have cheap O-rings and none of them lasted more than a couple of uses. The light quality wasn't as good. Build and construction weren't as good and all 3 died immediately when I performed the sink dunking water test (even though they were marketed as waterproof).
Sometimes the Chinese versions as just as good but this is not one of them. Save yourself the frustration and buy the original from a retailer that will stand behind the warranty.
Priced at around 4-5 times the price of a high quality chemical glow stick, these Glo-toobs are a great investment and will quickly become part of your EDC, camping and survival gear. I love them and recommend them.