User Review: Fenix PD22 Flashlight
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50 plus shipping
Small and efficient, the PD22, like its predecessors from Fenix, provides maximum useable performance from the lightest weight package. Reliable, rugged, and practical, the PD22 is one of the most useful all around flashlights for backpackers. AAA lights might weigh slightly less, but they don't provide anywhere near the amount of light this will.
- Most efficient battery usage
- Bright enough for route finding
- Long burning for chores
- Easily rigged as a headlamp using a headband
- cr123a's may be difficut to resupply at remote locations
Small, light, rugged, efficient and useful lighting for weight conscious backpackers, the PD22 is the latest in a series of wonderful single cr123a flashlights from Fenix. Fenix makes clicky and twisty cr123a models — and for absolute reliability I'd opt for a twisty. However, the PD22 (clicky only) is easier to use one handed and provides slightly more light, so it's my go-to light. In extended use, it has never failed me. Paired with a headband, the PD22 can function as a headlamp.
A few years ago I compared the efficiency of single cr123a, AA, and AAA lights, and found that cr123a lights, and the Fenix models in particular, provided brighter, longer useable light per ounce of weight than any other competitor. It burns long hours on low (3 Lumens for 120 hours) to allow extensive reading and camp chores. Yet, for demanding tasks such as route finding after dark, the PD22 puts out 210 lumens (2 hours) for long distance route finding and 105 lumens (5 hours) allowing safe cross country travel. Even the 45 lumen setting (12.5 hours) is sufficient for trail hiking after dark.
While CR123a lithium batteries are more expensive than AA alkalines, they function much better than AA's especially in very cold weather. And if you purchase them online in packs of 12, the price comes down considerably. The only potential drawback that cr123a's can present is accessibility in remote resupply situations. However, more and more they are becoming quite common.
Spare batteries are small and and pack more light for their weight. Plus, they have a 10-year shelf life.
Considering weight, efficiency, reliability, and quality of beam, there is not another lightweight single battery flashlight (cr123a, aa, aaa) that can out perform the PD22.
For ultralight weight backpacking, the only light I might substitute for the PD22 is the photon freedom, however the comparable weight penalty of the PD22 is so negligible that unless I'm trying for a world record lightweight kit, I'm bringing the PD22 for its far greater versatility. Truth be told, I usually pack both the PD and the freedom — the PD for distance chores and reading, the freedom for camp chores, and as an emergency backup light.