Certain items are at the top of every camper’s packing list, such as a flashlight and a compass. The bushcraft-DIY alternatives — a flaming torch and a charged floating needle — have their place on survival TV shows, but you wouldn’t want to count on ’em. But wouldn’t it be nice if the flashlight was more than a flashlight?
That’s the Fogo, and it’s more than just a smart flashlight, a GPS, and a charger. In fact, you have to see it to believe it.
The features list on this thing is long and well thought-out, but the main feature is the 1,000-lumen LED flashlight. It has four main modes (high, medium, low, and strobe) as well as an adaptive lighting setting to focus and adjust the beam for speed and distance, which works well with the bicycle computer functions – more on that later. You can also set it to blink when moved, making to easier to find in the dark. There are even two interchangeable reflectors that screw off the flashlight head; one for a narrow beam and one for wide.
It runs on two 3,500mAh batteries, and comes with a power management setting that lets the Fogo stretch the battery the length of your trip. Tell it how long you think you’ll be out on your adventure and the Fogo will adjust the brightness and electronics settings to make sure you have enough juice to last. The batteries are replaceable and rechargeable, so you can swap them if you carry some along with you on your trip.
Of course, if you decide you’d like to minimize your carry weight – that’s the point of a combo device like the Fogo, isn’t it? – you can plug it into something else (like a camp stove that turns firewood into electricity) and charge it up. Or, if you know you’re not going to need the flashlight itself much, use it to charge your other electric camping gear, like Steri-pens or your GPS.
That said, why bother bringing another GPS when the Fogo has one already built in? Via the small black and white LCD screen, you can download and save your own waypoints, creating and saving your own digital maps. And if you wander off a selected route the flashlight will blink to warn you you’re losing the path – yet another use of the light itself.
There are a slew of other features: Bluetooth lets you connect peripherals like headphones or fitness monitors; it has a clock with timer and an alarm; there’s a pedometer, of course; and these are just the features that work without the “SmartCap” add-ons. The end of the Fogo is a screw-off USB/5V/UART port where you can add on different peripherals, like a laser rangefinder, an avalanche beacon, or even a walkie-takie – a microphone and speaker that work with the messenger chip, another add-on.
It looks like a lightsaber and kicks ass like one.
Its other unexpected function is as a basic bike computer. Since it has a built in accelerometer and GPS, this flashlight can track your speed, distance, elevation, and altitude changes. You can download your activity to your phone after you’re done. And again, there’s the automatic brightness adjustment, which works well for cruising through the night. There is a bike mount available, so you can put it on your handlebars with a simple quarter twist. There’s also a Go-Pro mount adapter, so you can mount it where you might otherwise have your Go-Pro, saving you some bucks if you already have the equipment.
The only downside at the moment is that the walkie-talkie only works with other Fogos. The whole thing is waterproof up to about six feet and impact resistant. If the Fogo isn’t the world’s first modular flashlight, it’s certainly the best. It looks like a lightsaber and kicks ass like one. It’s a Kickstarter Staff pick and already fully funded with a little less than a month to go.
A fully-loaded Fogo (with walkie-talkie SmartCap and messenger chip) will run you about $300 after the campaign so get yours now while the getting is good.