Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight]


This review is for the XP-L version of the Lumintop SD4A flashilght.

There's been an explosion with this form factor since the early makers like Nitecore and Fenix started producing these types of models. This is a highly competitive segment of the flashlight industry because they provide good output while still using common off-the-shelf batteries, and it doesn't get more common than an AA battery.

Most of the time I carry much more powerful lithium-ion flashlights. But those types of cells can explode and/or melt you and your devices if you use them wrong, so I wouldn't recommend them to my aunt.

But having said that, I wouldn't have a flashlight collection without a 4xAA flashlight in it, and I ended up just keeping my trusty Sunwayman D40A on the shelf until this SD4A showed up in a box of review samples graciously provided by Lumintop for review. Lumintop has come a long way as a manufacturer. I'll be honest that they didn't really interest me until I bought my first Tool as a gift and ended up keeping it. I'm still infatuated with my PS03, so they are definitely a brand I pay attention to now.

Video Review

Here's the video review, which I'm still learning how to do.

Product Description

Price: About $50 online

The SD4A is a high output "soda can" style LED flashlight that uses 4 common AA batteries, including NiCd and NiMH rechargeable batteries. It utilizes a two mode electronic switch panel with lots of modes, and features the latest Cree XP-L emitter, though they make versions with an XM-L2. It's also got some cool touches like the back-lit power switch.

Official Specs (From Lumintop)

Cree XM-L2 U2 LED
Output / runtime
37 Lumens (51Hours)                         
350 Lumens (4 Hours)
560 Lumens (2Hours)
1000 Lumens (1.9 Hours)
Moonlight 1.5 Lumens (552 Hours)
Aviation Signal/SOS/Strobe:1000 Lumens
35 Lumens (51 Hours)                         
310 Lumens (4 Hours)
510 Lumens (2 Hours)
920Lumens (1.9 Hours)
Moonlight 3 Lumens (552 Hours)  
Aviation Signal/SOS/Strobe:920 Lumens
Max Beam Intensity
Max Beam Distance
285 Meters
400 Meters
8 Modes(Low-Mid-High-Turbo-Moonlight-Aviation Signal-SOS-Strobe)
Length: 4.41" (112mm)
Head Diameter: 1.61" (41mm)
Body Diameter: 1.61"(41mm)
Working Voltage
Battery Type
4 X AA or 1X D Cell
Water Resistant
IPX-8 (2 meters)
Impact Resistant
1.5 meters
O-ring, Lanyard

Initial Impressions

The first thing I notice is that it seems more compact than my trusty D40A, and just a little fatter. How did they do that? The reflector is almost twice as shallow. That's fine because most people use these types of 4xAA flashlights as a "wall of light."

Which leads me to the second surprise: this model has a very tight hot spot, giving this thing some serious throw! The difference is dramatic, and I knew from that moment that I would never part with this flashlight. But the D40A has some decent throw and it's a wall of light, so any user considering the SD4A should take that into account. For me, it's a simple choice: keep both.

I look at so many flashlights, for some reason I thought I got the version with the Cree XM-L2 emitter in it and didn't catch that they have versions with the XP-L in it, which is clearly what this one has, and explains the extreme throw because the XP-L is a smaller die (and more efficient) LED.

Unscrewing the head, I saw that it comes with 4 Alkaline batteries. You just pull the little paper tab from each battery to make it contact the battery carrier. Now, I pretty much despise "alkaleak" batteries and would never use them, as they tend to leak with extremes in temperature (like in a hot car) and pretty much dissolve your device. But they're fine to test the flashlight with, and hey, they're free. My advice is go out and get 4 Eneloops, which are rechargeable and superior in every way (except for not being free I guess.) I even notice the product photos on their web sites show Eneloops in it. Best batteries you can get.

Another thing I noticed right away is the rubberized switches which most manufacturers of this type of flashlight have started using--with good reason. Same metal plate and switch setup as the D40A and other makers use.

Immediately I set out to compare the two flashlights, since the D40A is the only 4xAA flashlight that I've kept in my collection, and have used it consistently for a couple years.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Product Link

Comparison To Sunwayman D40A

There's lots of 4xAA flashlights out there, but I think that the Sunwayman D40A was the first one with a big following. A few commenters have been vocal here against it, but I never saw too many complaints about it from users on BLF, and it's personally been one of my favorite flashlights.
  • The SD4A is a bit shorter and fatter.
  • The D40A has a much better battery carrier.
  • The SD4A has much better switches--the only thing I really didn't like on the D40A.
  • The SD4A has a much more shallow reflector.
  • The SD4A has a very tight hotspot--surprising given the shorter reflector!
  • The D40A puts out more of a "wall of light" by comparison.
Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - With Sunwayman D40A

Build Quality

Overall good. It compares well to the D40A in terms of quality except for the battery carrier, which looks a little cheap by comparison. It's not terrible, but I'd probably be a little gentle with it putting new batteries in.

Aside from the minor gripe, it seems to be good quality overall and worthy of its price tag. The machining and anodizing are both decent. The switch panel first rate and the cooling fins are beefier than they need to be. Reflector, lens, LED--all good. I think they did a good job building the SD4A. It even has constant-current circuitry, which I'm a stickler for.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Battery Cage 1Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Battery Cage 2Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Battery Cage 3

Fit & Finish

Overall, good. The anodizing has a few nicks that I'm pretty sure I didn't put there myself. The anodizing is well done overall but could probably be a little thicker. The screws on the switch plate look a little cheap, which is pretty common for my collection.

Aside for a couple minor gripes, overall this unit has a really good fit and finish. The lens has an anti-reflective coating just like it should, the smooth reflector doesn't have any flaws or aberrations I could see, and the LED is machine-centered. 

Cross-hatch knurling is precise and well done. Crisp logo, check. Well fitting steel bezel, check. The feel of the switches is superb. It probably has the best feel of any electronic switch on any flashlight I own, and I own a lot of flashlights.

Everything else is spot on: O-ring is lubed and the triangular threads are nothing special but still well done.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Closeup of Threads

LED Emitter

The emitter, sometimes just called the "LED" or the "diode" is the light bulb that gives light to an LED flashlight. This unit features the newer Cree XP-L emitter in it, which has a smaller die size than most of their high output models. Just like computer chips, LEDs get more compact and more efficient over time.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - LED Closeup

As mentioned above, at first I missed that this was the XP-L model until I started playing with it. I have a few smaller lights with this LED--even a 1xAAA flashlight, but I've always thought this LED would be better suited to larger lights. Looks like I got my wish.

Run Times

It's my understanding that the XP-L is a little more efficient than the XM-L2. It's certainly a smaller die size. So it's a little bizarre that the official run times are the same for both versions. They look believable for both versions, but I'd expect the XP-L to have slightly better run times.


One of my pet peeves is low-frequency PWM, which can give people headaches and even be dangerous for example working on a running car. So I'm happy to report that I can find no PWM on any modes using my cell phone camera. This camera trick works because the camera refresh rate and the rate PWM "blinks" the LED are always different, so you get lines on any photo taken with PWM.

Constant current circuitry is also ideal for survival applications because it gives flashlights much better efficiency, which translates into longer run time. In a cave or alone in the woods are bad times to have your flashlight run out of juice, and this type of circuitry combined with low and moonlight modes give you all the run time you need in an emergency. I only recommend constant current lights for survival kits like bugout bags.

User Interface

This thing has a lot of modes! For basic operation, click the power button to turn the flashlight on and off, and press the mode button to cycle between modes.

Turbo: This one gives me a little grief, but with the light off, double click the power switch. It seems like you have to turn the light off on high before activating this mode, and the backlit power button blinks green.

Moonlight: With the light off, press and hold the power button.
Strobe: With the light off, press and hold the mode button.
SOS: With the light on, press and hold the power button.
Beacon: With the light on, press and hold the mode button.

Lockout Mode: Press both buttons, and the light will blink a few times to let you know you're in lockout mode. To return to normal operation, press and hold both buttons again.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Switch Panel

Moonlight Mode

Access this special mode by holding down the power button until it comes on, which is easy to miss and leave the light on. This is also the same way to access moonlight mode on the D40A--why change a good interface?

Those who know me, know that I love me some moonlight modes. These very-low-output modes are just bright enough to see with dark-adjusted eyes, and are ideal if you want to find your way to the bathroom at a campground or check on your kids without waking them up. It's also ideal for survival applications, where a light like this can literally go weeks. Most people tend to focus on raw output ("How many lumens is it?") but those high output modes are still there--everybody wins.

The moonlight mode on this model seems a little lower than the D40A, which is perfect for me.

Beacon Mode

Access the beacon mode by holding down the mode button when the flashlight is on.

This is another special mode that's worthy of its own mention because I like it so much for survival applications. Many makers give you a strobe mode and call it a survival mode. My thoughts on strobe modes are that they're pretty much only for showing off to your friends, and most law enforcement / military types consider them completely worthless. For being lost in the woods, you want a beacon mode.

Beacon modes are ideal for being lost in the woods because it pulses the LED at full power over longer intervals, giving you more run time on beacon mode than just pointing your flashlight at the sky until you run out of juice. This one pulses at one second intervals, which is fine, but I think it should be a little longer. 

I really like beacons modes with high power, constant-current flashlights. Add in the moonlight mode, and I think this flashlight is ideal for survival applications, though maybe on the heavy side for a bugout bag or backpacking. This one is better suited for a glovebox or car camping. My favorite beacon mode flashlight for bugout bags is still the EagleTac D25LC2 Mini, but I appreciate Lumintop putting a beacon mode on this model!


This XP-L model has some serious throw. I own a couple decent small-die throwers but I've never really craved the serious throwers because they are so large. It's physics. The size of the hot spot is a function of the LED die size and the reflector size, and most throwers have a huge reflector, and I like to travel light. Somehow this unit has a tighter hot spot than the few throwers I have.

Again, throwers aren't my expertise, but the throw on this seems pretty incredible given the shallow reflector, which is roughly half as deep as my Sunwayman D40A. Notice on the specs above that the throw is roughly double for the XP-L version, and you can see the secret: The XP-L is almost as powerful as its XM-L2 cousin with a smaller die size.

Playing with it outside, it's got a beautiful, tight beam. This isn't a model to look under the cupboards with or to light up your backyard, unless you have a big backyard. Throwers are at their best shining at long distances: looking down the trail, shining across a large property, search & rescue, etc. 

So I guess what I'm saying is it's a pretty awesome thrower for how compact it is, and using common AA batteries. This is a thrower I'd tell my mom to buy. It really depends on the application. Many times I use my multi-emitter PS03 when I want a UFO-encounter-level wall of light, but there's also definite times I want a decent thrower, like recently when the neighbor knocked on my door and said "Mark, you're the flashlight guy, can you look down the creek and see where my dog ran to."

The funny thing about the Cree's XP-L emitter is that flashlight makers tend to put them more in EDC type flashlights, which is awesome, but it seems like Cree designed it for larger flashlights like this. My Thrunite Ti XP-L Christmas Edition is great for a 1xAAA flashlight, but only drives the LED at 1/4 the voltage of the SD4A.

I'd expect the XM-L2 version to have much more flood, only throwing by just brute force, just like its cousin the D40A. If it's your only flashlight, this might be a better choice. But I have bags and boxes of flashlights of flashlights better for working on my truck or looking under the fridge with. This version is much better suited for looking for Xena late at night when she escapes her pen and runs a mile down the local creek. This is now my go-to flashlight for seeing far distances.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - In Hand 1

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - In Hand 2

Weights & Measures

The weight is acceptable for this type of light. As I've said above, it's a little shorter and fatter than the D40A, and I like the shape of the Lumintop a little better.

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - On Scale

Lumintop SD4A [4xAA LED Flashlight] - Next To Ruler


I've been giving away my flashlight collection to family and friends since I downsized from a big house. My plan was to decide which 4xAA flashlight I liked the most and give the other one away. But the SD4A has so much throw that it's not really a replacement for my D40A. But I don't have many throwers, and I kind of have a crush on the SD4A, so I'm keeping both.

A light this "throwy" is ideal for seeing long distances, like looking for a lost dog, law enforcement--there's many reasons people like throwers. It probably has enough spill-over from the hot spot for looking under a sink or car hood, but I think the reason to buy this model for most people would come down to two reasons: taking common AA batteries you can buy anywhere, and seeing long distances outside. 

If you want a better balance between flood and throw, you'd probably be better off with the XM-L2 version of the SD4A. Personally I love me some XP-L and wish more flashlight makers would use this emitter. 

Lumintop did a good job with this model, especially given the $50 price tag. When they first started making flashlights, I read all the reviews and wasn't too impressed with their lineup to be honest. They were targeting enthusiasts but not listening to them. But now their lineup has exploded, and they're definitely listening to the community. Every time I ask my brother-in-law about the Prince I gave him, he says "dude, it's awesome!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light

Olight has been around a long time making flashlights. They started with tactical flashlights, and the last few years they've been branching out with smaller EDC type flashlights. They bought one of my favorite flashlight companies iTP a while back, and released the iconic Olight I3S which I carried for a long time and gave away as gifts. I also still carry my S2 Baton. I had some problems with the switch out of the box, but it worked itself out and it's been a fine light. The Valkyrie is also a brand new model, and I'm one of the first to get my hands on it.

I think that Olight does better with their higher end tactical products, so I was excited to get one of these PL-1 II Valkyrie weapon lights in my hands. Most people who know me know that I'm a hippie pacifist, but I have lots of experience handling firearms, and it wasn't hard to find a friend with a shiny new Glock G19 to try this out on!

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product Link

Video Review

I've been doing more video, and slowly getting better at it ... slowly.

Product Description

Price: About $100 online

The Valkyrie is a two-mode "weapon light" intended to be mounted on a handgun with MIL-STD-1913 rail systems, like the Glock 19 I used for this review. It features dual rubberized electronic switches and takes a CR123A battery or a 16340 lithium-ion rechargeable cell.

Official Specs (From Olight)

  • Applicable on MIL-STD-1913 and Glock sized rails
  • Uses a single CR123A battery delivering an output of 450 lumens and a beam distance of 106 meters
  • Switch on/off silently. Push forward directly or hit the side of the switch to activate
  • Heavy duty stainless steel lever making it easy and fast to attach and release
  • Hardened glass coated with an anti-reflective coating on both sides allowing for 99% light transmission rate for maximum clarity
  • IPX6 Waterproof
  • Weapon Light x 1
  • 1600mAh CR123A Battery x 1
  • 1913 Rail Mount (for 1913 Rail) x 1 
  • T6/T8 Socket Head Wrench x 1
  • Instruction Manual

Initial Impressions

Very favorable. I've always liked Olight's tactical flashlights, and this one gives me the impression that it's very rugged. I popped in the included Olight branded CR123A and it slid right onto the Glock and locked up tight, and had a good feel with the locking lever. Then I took it off the Glock and handed it to my brother, who immediately blinded everyone in the room. 450 lumens is a lot for a handgun light.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 1

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 2

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 3

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Box 5

Build Quality

Very good overall. The rail locking lever has a great feel, but it's coated with a little bit of rubber and looks a little cheap. The rail mount screws also look a little cheap, but that's pretty much everything I review that has screws.

Other than a couple minor gripes, the Valkyrie looks to be very well built. The machining and anodizing are superb, as is the knurling on the head. The textured, rubberized switches are well done and look very rugged. Reflector, anti-reflective lens, LED--all good.

With a tactical flashlight, my first question about the build quality is: Would I recommend this to a friend in law enforcement or the military? Yes, I would.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 1

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 2

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 3

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Product View 5

Fit & Finish

Overall, superb. My minor gripes with the screws and the lock lever don't really come into play here, since you can't see the screws when it's mounted, and the rubber coating on the lever looks much better when it's locked and mounted as well.

Extra points for the knurling on the heads--they are as precise and well cut as I've seen on a flashlight. For flashlights in general, I look for rough machining, nicks, tool marks, off-center LEDs, aberrations in the reflector, cheap lenses--it's all perfect!

The texturing on the rubberized switches is also as good as I've seen. In fact, when I see a review sample this good, I'm almost suspicious about manufacturers cherry picking samples for review. But in my experience, the big manufacturers don't do that. If the production lights have a fit and finish this good, then this is going to be a hot model.

You can see in the photo below that it comes with plenty of lube on the threads and o-ring.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - LED ViewOlight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Pill View

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Opened

Electronic Switches

This model features dual electronic switches mounted on either side of the unit. I'm a big fan of this type of switch because it has a much longer lifetime than a mechanical switch. Adding to the durability, the switches are rubberized with a thick type of rubber, and well textured.

My only gripe with these switches is that you have to hit them dead center of the switch to get the light to turn on. With gloves on, this shouldn't be an issue. People with small hands should practice with this light to make sure they can hit the switch right when the time comes for self-defense. If you have big hands, the light can be activated by your trigger finger. For people with smaller hands (like me) you probably want to use the thumb of your off-hand.

The switches themselves have a really good feel for electronic switches, which gives me a warm fuzzy for their durability over time.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Switch Closeup


The Valkyrie has two modes: constant output and strobe mode, and the user interface is simple. Pressing either switch activates the weapon light. Pressing both switches at once activates the tactical strobe.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of strobe modes. Mostly they are to impress your friends, and I know very few law enforcement types who claim they actually do anything. So, most people would just press either switch to activate the light. It's probably hard to accidentally press both switches at once, but it's something to think about.


Using a weapon light should be simple and quick. You don't have time to mess with modes or figure out a complicated user interface when the time comes to defend yourself.

So, this model can be quickly activated with a quick press from the thumb your off hand, or your trigger finger if you have large fingers. This Glock has the extra large tail on it, which might make the difference. Again, not a big fan of strobe modes, but either mode is enough to temporarily blind your opponent, as well as see him.

I have not fired the G19 with the light mounted, but the mount feels secure and doesn't look like it would cause any issues. I was hoping to get a chance to do that for this review, but I have too much stuff to review. Maybe some readers can report back on how well the Valkyrie works attached to a Glock and firing it at night?

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Mounted To Glock 19

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - In Hand

Here's an animated GIF I did which shows the action of the lever.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Animated Rail Lever

Output / Tint

The manufacturer claims 450 lumens for this model, and I believe them. I don't use a light sphere for measurements, but I own a lot of flashlights, so the output seems right on the money.

In fact, the output is quite good for a CR123/16340 type flashlight and about as much as you need. With a weapon light, you want to make sure you don't accidentally blind someone friendly, but the output is there if you need it.

The tint on this model leans towards neutral white. They're not calling it a NW model, but it's nice to see flashlights of this type not have an icky green or blue tinge to them. That being said, I hope they come out with a special NW or WW version of this model, maybe with a Nichia emitter in it.

Weights & Measures

It's 3 inches long and a little heavy. But that's the price of quality (lots of metal) and the G19 is a little on the heavy side for me anyways.

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - On Scale
3.8 ounces with included CR123A cell

Olight PL-1 II Valkyrie Weapon Light - Next To Ruler
Add caption


A well built product that's rugged and easy to use is what I look for with tactical flashlights. I wish they offered a single output mode version without the strobe, but it's a minor concern, and I like everything else about this light. $100 is a little steep for a flashlight, but if that's what quality costs, then I'm OK with it. I also wish they offered a neutral white version, but I'm a "tint snob."

It's easy to mount/unmount, easy to use and high output. I think they did a good job with the Valkyrie and would recommend it to the LEO / military types who would use this every day, as well as homeowner types. This one is a gift (since I don't own a gun) and I wouldn't give someone a weapon light that I didn't like, and I like this one!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lots More Flashlights In For Review

Lately I've been doing photography and video every day to keep up with all the stuff coming in for review. It's been fun learning to do video and I'm getting better at it!

Olight has sent me a couple lights for review--interesting ones. I got an H1 Headlamp and a PL1-II weapon light, which I'll be installing on my brother's Glock tomorrow since I don't own a gun.

Olight H1 Headlamp and PL1-II Weaponlight

Things have been getting surreal with my reporting on Shadowhawk. I've never put "review samples provided by attorney for manufacturer" so this should be interesting and I'll give them the same fair review I give everyone. They sent me 6 boxes of flashlights, so I'll probably get one or two out to other well known reviewers.

Boxes Of Shadowhawk Flashlights

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Review: TrueUtility EDC Bag, Snaptrap Micro, And Locklip Swivel

I reviewed one of TrueUtility's Fixr Multi-Tool a while back. It went to my brother-in-law and he likes it. They contacted me again and asked me if I'd like to pick out of a few of their EDC gadgets to review from their catalog, and I chose a few that really stood out to me, the EDC Bag, Snaptrap Micro and Locklip Swivel.

TrueUtility SnapTrap Micro and Locklip Swivel

Video Review

I've been working on doing more video reviews and I'm still learning, so please bear with me!
Update: I re-rendered the video and uploaded in full 1280x720 resolution, and it looks much better.

Product Descriptions

This review is for three items:

1. The OD Green/Orange EDC bag looks to be modeled off other similar bags like the Maxpedition that I carry. This one has a large number of elastic loops, pockets and Velcro mesh compartment with a headphones icon. It comes with a matching strap and has two D rings to carry it.

2. The Snaptrap Micro is a small version of their EDC style gate clip. It's designed for keyrings and clipping stuff to bags and other stuff. It's made of 420 stainless steel and boasts a capacity to hold about 150 pounds which is a really high rating for this type of clip.

3. The Lockclip Swivel is another gadget that's probably better off for keyrings, but the possibilities are endless, just like the Snaptrap. It's made of aluminum and features a sliding lock, accessible by pressing the little ball bearings on it.

Official Specs (From TrueUtility)


Material: Polyester 
Length: 215mm
Width: 150mm
Height: 50mm
Weight: 182g

SnapTrap Micro

Material: 420 Stainless Steel
Length: 37mm
Width: 13mm
Height: 7mm
Weight: 7.5g

Locklip Swivel

Material: Machined aircraft grade anodised aluminium
Length: 51mm
Width: 10mm
Height: 10mm
Weight: 7g


The Green/Orange color combination looked pretty cool on their web site, so I went with that instead of the normal black I like for small bags. Unboxing it, I was surprised how many pockets and compartments it has!

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange 1

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange 2

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange Strap

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange Closeup

I kind of pictured something similar to my Maxpedition EDC bag, but this one is a completely different animal. It still can do everything my other bag can do, but it seems designed for a mix of EDC gadgets and electronics. 

This bag doesn't seem to be as rugged or designed for heavy duty tactical gear like many use the Maxpedition for, but that's OK. Not that it's not rugged, it's more like everything is a little thinner to give the bag more space for pockets. One of the big complaints against the Maxpedition is that it's too bulky. 
TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange 4

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange 5

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange 7

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange 8

So, while I wouldn't recommend it to a Navy SEAL, I think it has a ton of features and probably a wider audience. It seems ideal for an electronics bag and doesn't waste any space. All the features you'd expect are there: the double elastic loops hold pocket knives, screwdrivers and other "clippy" gadgets, leaving plenty of space for notepads, cables, phone--whatever.

TrueUtilityEDC Bag In Olive Green / Orange With Gadgets
Some of the gadgets from my other EDC Bag

Snaptrap Micro

I have a bunch of Nite-Ize "S-biner" clips that I hate. I love the idea but hate the actual clip because it doesn't have enough spring pressure on the clip, and items seem to fall off, never to be seen again.

TrueUtility SnapTrap Micro 2TrueUtility SnapTrap Micro 1

TrueUtility SnapTrap Micro With Locklip Swivel

So, I definitely pay attention when I see these type of clips. The Snaptrap is a simple clip with just a gate clip on one side, with a solid ring on the other. It boasts a carrying capacity of 150 pounds, and I really wanted to put it on a luggage scale with some free-weights, but then it dawned on me: the clip attaches with a split ring, and I don't have any that strong! So it looks like I'll take their word for it. The clip seems well made and plenty solid to carry anything small enough to fit on the clip.

My only issue with the clip was that it stuck open while filming the video. It hasn't done it again though, and could just need to be broken in. This one is going to my sister, who was telling me over dinner that she lost her keys and wish she had a way to clip her keys to her purse or belt loop. 

Locklip Swivel

This is an interesting little clip. It's rated slightly lower at 140 pounds, but that's probably overkill like the other clip. It has a cool swivel feature so gadgets connected to your keychain won't get tangled up with each other. 

TrueUtility Locklip Swivel 2TrueUtility Locklip Swivel 1

TrueUtility Keychain Gadgets

The clip is operated by sliding the gate open and closed. You press the little ball bearings on either side and the clip slides back and forth, locking in place. 


So far I like the products I've reviewed from TrueUtility. It's not really high end gear, but it's well made and a decent value in my opinion. Both the clips are going to my sister who I know is going to love them. I'm still deciding what to do with the bag. The Maxpedition is better suited to some of the heavier steel I carry, and it's just small enough not to hold all the electronics and cables that I carry in my much larger Amazon bag. But for most people, the bag is more than enough space for all the gadgets and cables people carry. I may use it as an overflow electronics bag, or a "lite" version for shorter trips.