We took the Mule Light V2 on an overnighter in the woods to put its illumination to the test

Like many backpackers, and those who constantly spend time in the wilderness, I’ve developed an obsession with flashlights. Even after finding what I think will be the last light, I see another that’s brighter, or lighter, or more energy efficient than the last.

Recently I came across the Mule Light V2 by UV Paqlite, a unique flashlight that touts a complete package of features and energy efficiency and uses nontoxic strontium aluminate crystals encased in a molded resin to extend illumination time.

Unlike traditional glow-in-the-dark stuff — which comes in a powder whose particles are so small the amount of light they hold and emit is minimal — the UV Paqlite’s crystals absorb more light and emit it longer. The crystals are protected from oxidization by the resin and avoid degradation via light absorption or brightness unlike other glow-in-the-dark products.

So the company claims, anyway. We hit a few trailheads overnight to find out first hand.

Trek Into darkness (under stars)

At night in the woods, it can get pretty dark. Trees overhead block out the moonlight, and as you’re hunting for a good spot to set up a tent — and poring over a map praying for your eyes to adjust — the right flashlight is key.

I began hiking a section of the Arizona Trail leading out of Pine, AZ east to the Mogollon Rim. This rim forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where views of pine forests and desert canyons provide dramatic scenery. At nearly 5,500 feet in elevation it winds through the Coconino National Forest, the largest Pondarosa Pine forest in the world. A combination of the elevation, towering vegetation and time of year, contributed to a short amount of actual daylight.

The overall design, being light weight and energy efficient, made me believe that the company really had the wilderness adventure in mind.

I found the level of illumination from the rechargeable Mule Light V2 to be impressive. During my review, I was easily able to read my trail guide book by the light from the crystals. It also maintained a consistent glow, one comparable to that of traditional glow sticks but without the inconvenience of carrying multiple sticks — saving pack space, reducing weight, and eliminating extra trash.

Built into the side of the flashlight’s non-conducting, shock-resistant casing is a two function 12 Cree LED utility light. The first, a UV black light, is useful for anyone that frequents the desert to check their boots, packs, and sleeping bags for scorpions or other potential stowaways. The second function, a 100 lumen work light, can be used to illuminate the inside of a tent, and can also be set to a delayed pulse mode which is used to recharge the detachable and reusable strontium aluminate crystals glow stick.

The Mule Light V2 has a three setting (high, low, and strobe) 300 lumen spotlight and attachable red lens filter. This bright, focused beam was strong enough to pierce the darkness of the trail on a moonless night.

Power Source Flexibility

The functionality of this light is completed by the multi-option power source choices. The light comes with two different battery packs, a 3 AAA battery adaptor and 1 USB rechargeable lithium ion battery. Either battery pack can be used to power the light, allowing for flexibility between the availability of a recharging source and the convenience of using traditional lithium batteries when your setting is more off-the-grid.

UV Paqlite Mule Light V2
Wesley Parrell/Digital Trends
Wesley Parrell/Digital Trends

When either battery pack is used in conjunction with the flashlight’s hybrid energy saving mode, UV Paqlite boasts a combine use time of over 600 hours with these power sources. The light can also be used with alkaline batteries for 240 hours of operating time in the hybrid energy saving mode.

Warranty

UV Paqlite has a lifetime warranty covering materials and workmanship and will repair or replace it—hassle free. All other components are covered by a 90-day warranty. UV Paqlite advertises the overall case construction as a highly durable copolymer non-conducting shock resistant case which seemed durable during our testing and the resin coated strontium aluminate crystal glow stick was solid. With proper care and nonintentional abuse, this light should last for years to come.

I was impressed in how this light broke the industrial, bulky stigma of multifunction lights.

There are other light manufactures out there and definitely better specific use lights such as headlamps, tactical light, and spotlights, but I could not find one that combines all of the functions that this light possesses in one unit. The combined energy efficiency and power source options really made this light stand out especially in the multi-function light market.

There were some misses in this light’s design. The clip used to attach the light to a pack trap seemed flimsy and untrusting without also using the provided lanyard as a backup to keep the light attached to the pack. Although we liked having a red lens option, the small detachable lens would be easy to lose or misplace. A red led light option would be better.

Overall I was impressed in how this light broke the industrial, bulky stigma of multifunction lights. The design, being light weight and energy efficient, made me believe that the company really had the wilderness adventure in mind. You should buy this light if you’re looking for a way to cover multiple lighting needs and want to cut pack weight. Don’t buy this light to replace the hands free function of a headlamp for hiking.

Highs

  • Energy efficient
  • Multi-option power source
  • Rechargeable glow stick
  • Compact multifunction capability

Lows

  • Flimsy attachment clip
  • Small red lens could be easily lost
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