Field Notes: Streamlight ProTac 2L

Flashlights, I think, are an important tool. As such, I carry a Streamlight ProTac 2L in my pocket every single day and use it lightly on a daily basis.

I haven’t spent much time talking about flashlights. That’s probably because I don’t really give them much thought. I definitely give them less thought and I should as they are an important tool. In fact, this particular flashlight, the Streamlight ProTac 2L, has been part of my EDC gear for several years and it gets almost daily use.

The flash light has three settings activated by a push button situated on the back of the light. The first setting (1 button press) is the high output, the second setting (2 button presses) is a strobe, and the third setting (3 button presses) is the low output. The specifications are as follows:

  • High: 350 lumens, 6,300 candela, 159 meter beam, and 3.25 hour runtime
  • Low: 20 lumens, 600 candela, 49 meter beam, and 35 hour runtime
  • Strobe: 6 hour runtime (I assume lumens, candela, and beam are the same as the high output setting but I couldn’t find the actual specification)

The specifications may mean something to you, but they mean very little to me. I understand what they mean, but flashlight specifications are something I don’t really geek out on. Perhaps I should and maybe someday I will, but for the time being I’m just a layman when it comes to flashlights.

I received this flashlight as a gift from my wife and kids. I don’t recall if we were celebrating a holiday or my birthday, but I do recall I had expressed interest to my wife about finding a good flashlight to carry in my pocket. She took it upon herself to speak with folks at one of our local shops and selected it on their recommendation. I was pleasantly surprised by its performance and size initially. Today, I’m still very happy with it and continue to be impressed with its durability and runtime.

Speaking of its performance, I can say the high setting is very bright. The high setting is awesome for outdoor use as it lights everything up. The long beam reaches clear across our front and back yard at home. That long throw is also great when we happen to be enjoying the great outdoors and need to light up a good distance on dark nights or before sun up. On the other hand, I’ve temporarily blinded myself with the high setting indoors when the light reflects off a light colored surface like a tile floor or wall.

I don’t get much use out of the strobe, but do use the low setting a lot. It’s just the right amount of like to look for whatever the kids happened to loose under the couch or getting more light in spaces where natural or available artificial light is insufficient. This is great for indoor use or inside of a tent.

The size (and weight) of this light is small enough to comfortably carry it in a pocket yet big enough to grip with a closed fist. It’s just easy to work with and keep on my person.

As I mentioned, I’ve been impressed with its durability. This flashlight has been dropped several times. It’s been exposed to (what I consider to be) extreme cold environments(-12ºF) and hot environments (110ºF) in humid, rainy, and dry conditions and it keeps on working. The pocket clip which is used everyday is still intact and hasn’t lost any retention. I keep waiting for the flashlight or pocket clip to fail, but they haven’t.

The flashlight runs off of two CR123A batteries. While I pretty much always keep a spare set of batteries in a nearby pack, I only change them during my scheduled annual “replace all the batteries in everything day”. My everyday use consists of a couple uses of either the high or low setting lasting several seconds to a few minutes. I estimate that on average the usage is the equivalent of about 20-30 seconds of the high setting per day for a rough total of about 120-180 minutes per year. I suspect many people consider this light use and I would agree with them.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with this light and have no problems suggesting it to anyone who is looking for a small dependable flashlight to carry in their pocket on a daily basis.


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