eGear is a company that has been making lights for about fifteen years. Their Pico is a tiny keychain-sized light that they describe as a “zipper light”. The Pico has an attached miniature carabiner that can be snapped onto keys or a zipper.
I have several friends who are enthusiastic Pico owners, so I bought one from the local Military Clothing and Sales store for $6.95. The Pico uses four LR41 watch batteries mounted in a carrier. Clothing and Sales had packets of two replacement carriers for $3.95. The Pico has an aluminum body and is activated by twisting the bezel. eGear says it weighs 2/10 oz. My Escali scale says it weighs .4 oz, or 11 grams. The Pico has a claimed run time of 15 hours and brightness of 10 lumens.
I find the Pico to be a useful brightness for finding things in drawers when the lights are off, and letting you find your way around dark, unfamiliar rooms. It is a similar size (though different shape) to my favorite Photon II microlight, and isn’t too much heavier. The twist on/off bezel has the advantage of allowing a very compact light, and it also is almost impossible to accidentally activate. The downside to the twist-bezel activation is that it’s less convenient for quick or one-handed use. On a light as small as the Pico, it is possible to hold the carabiner with your fifth and fourth fingers, and turn the light on with your thumb and first finger.
While at L.L.Bean recently, I saw another eGear light, the Jolt. The Jolt’s interesting feature is recharging via a built-in USB port. I was especially interested in the 25 lumen brightness advertised on the package, and for $11.95, I figured it was worth a try.
The Jolt is much larger than the Pico, at close to the size of a C cell battery, but since it’s plastic instead of aluminum, it still only weighs 16 grams. The Jolt has a twist bezel like the Pico, but adds a flash setting. The Jolt’s tailcap wears a mini-carabiner identical to the Pico’s. Twisting the tailcap exposes the USB connector.
The red or green glow showing the Jolt’s charging state is a neat feature, but I was disappointed when I twisted the fully charged light on. eGear claims 25 lumens, but my ElZetta M60 appears to have a brighter light on its low setting, yet ElZetta only claims about 15 lumens. Mounting the lights next to each other made the the difference in lights obvious. The Pico has a very wide (“floody”) beam that doesn’t travel very far (“throw”). The Jolt has a somewhat floody beam with more throw. The M60, even at its low setting, has a lot of throw in its “hot spot” center, with some flood.
I don’t have the means to scientifically measure the output, but I am pretty certain that the Jolt is not putting out 25 lumens. I believe the lumens rating by eGear is inflated. Is the Jolt still a good light? So far, for certain tasks, it is. Both the Jolt and the Pico should serve well as backup or emergency lights, or just finding your way to your deer stand without completely killing your night vision, and the Jolt on flash setting works well for increasing your visibility to traffic if you’re out walking or running at night. If you carry a tactical flashlight, or work in an occupation where a very powerful light is a requirement, something like the ElZetta is a great idea. When I tested the ZFL-M60 in 2011, I found it to be an extremely rugged and well made light, and I give it my highest recommendation. Even the M60 may be too large for some environments, though. The Pico is small enough to be an “always” light, and there is no excuse to not carry it or some other small light at all times.