LTR: SureFire Stiletto Pro

A good EDC flashlight needs to be versatile, easy to use, and able to hold up to absolutely everything life exposes it to, day after day. Surefire is known for making some of the best illumination tools money can buy, and their Stiletto series of lights offers a unique feature set that makes them incredibly versatile and useful while hitting all of the standard Surefire checkboxes like quality, performance, and durability. For the last few months, I’ve been carrying Surefire’s Stiletto Pro as my daily driver, and in that time, I’ve come to really appreciate having this light in my possession.

Surefire makes two versions of the Stiletto; aptly named Stiletto and Stilletto Pro. Both lights share the same design language, but there are a few distinct differences between the two models. The Stiletto has a polymer body and weighs in at 2.8 ounces. It’s three levels of light output provide more than enough versatility for any lighting need, with output levels at 5, 250, and 600 lumens. The Stiletto retails for $129 USD. The Stiletto Pro features an aluminum body, which allows for extra heat dissipation and as such light output levels are increased across the board. Low is 25 lumens, great for digging in a bag or in small spaces. Medium is 300 lumens, which is quite a bit of light. Yet, when you need a piece of the sun in your pocket, High gives you 1000 lumens of light output from a light that weighs 4 ounces. Retail on the Stiletto Pro is $229 USD. Both lights feature programmable power switches where you can configure how the light cycles through its respective light outputs. There is a tactical switch at the end of both lights that can turn the light on to high power, or with three taps of the switch engage strobe mode.

Rounding out the feature set on the Stiletto series of lights is a reversible belt clip that lets you carry the light lens down or up. Some users may prefer to carry the light lens down, so that it’s easy to draw the light with their hand on the tactical switch. However, if you carry the light lens up, the Stiletto series lights can be clipped onto a hat brim to make a very powerful headlamp. It’s pretty darn convenient to be able to just clip the light to your hat / collar/ or other piece of gear as needed so you can work with both hands instead of having to go get a headlamp.

In hand, the Stiletto Pro feels great. The controls are easy to find and access, and no matter how you hold the light the controls are always accessible. The light’s unique shape creates a rock-solid grip with both gloved and bare hands. After working with the Stiletto Pro, switching back to a cylindrical shaped flashlight with only an end cap switch feels awkward. In other words, the Stiletto Pro spoils you with how easy it is to use.

Likewise, the Stiletto Pro’s unique shape makes the light a joy to carry in your pocket. It’s unique shape make the light less noticeable and therefore more comfortable when carrying the light, even when it’s in your back pocket and you’re sitting on it. Again, the Stiletto Pro is a joy to live with, and trading it out for a cylindrical flashlight will have you missing the Stiletto Pro.

Charging the Stiletto Pro is as easy as possible thanks to the light’s built in lithium battery and micro-USB port. All you need to do is plug the light in and wait for the fuel gauge LED to turn green and the light is charged. The end. Its so nice not to have to worry about packing enough 123s or other batteries or a dedicated charger. Yet the best part of USB charging is that it’s easy to always have a light that’s starting at full power. There’s no more trying to use up a disposable battery that’s currently in a light, and dealing with reduced output just to use up consumable batteries.

The Stilettos are fully programable, so you can control how the light works. I LOVE the fact that I can start with a mere 25 lumens of light output and cycle up to unleashing the sun on problem if needed. (If you want to reverse the power switch order, you can do that too.) There’s also the tactical switch on the end of the light which lets me go straight to full power. In this configuration, I can use primary switch to cycle up through the light outputs as needed, and I can go full power with just one press on the tactical switch if the situation calls for it. I’ve never blinded myself with the Stiletto Pro by accidentally turning the light on to high power, nor have I ever found myself wishing I could change how the light is controlled.

The Surefire Stiletto Pro has proven to be an outstanding flashlight. It’s has gone everywhere with me over the last few months, and in that time it’s become my favorite / go to flashlight. It’s a joy to carry, awesome to use, easy as possible to charge, and the controls will spoil you from using any other flashlight. So what’s the downside? The price. The Stiletto Pro isn’t cheap, especially when there are a kabillion options for cheap lights out there. Yet, lighting continues to prove that it’s something where you get what you pay for, and there is certainly something to be said for paying more for a product that isn’t going to let you down when it counts.

Point in case – at last light on the last day of his first Bull Elk hunt, my buddy shot his first Bull. From my vantage point on the hill behind him, I was able to watch the whole thing go down through my binoculars. I saw the muzzle flash, watched the bull drop like a sack of potatoes, and then seconds later heard the sound of the rifle shot. I had a 15 minute hike to get to where this all went down in a meadow surrounded by Pinion / Juniper trees. In that time, my buddy’s chineseium USB chargeable million-lumen light had completely stopped working, and he was trying to locate a Bull in tall grass that was 200 yards away with the light on his phone. Thanks to the Stiletto Pro’s 1000 lumen output (and having a birds eye view at one point), I was able to locate the Bull a couple of minutes after linking up with my buddy. When it was time to break down the bull, I set the Stiletto Pro to low power and clipped it onto my hat. My headlamp was dead weight in my pack on that hunt, because the Stilleto Pro once again proved it’s versatility.

The Surefire Stiletto Pro is a great flashlight that has become my go-to flashlight in the time I’ve been evaluating it. It’s versatile enough to provide a touch of light to look in a pack at night, and powerful enough to make short work of finding a Bull Elk that blends in with tall grass. Nothing and I mean nothing has phased this light. Cold, hot, sand, snow – it doesn’t matter. The Stiletto Pro works exactly as advertised every time I’ve reached for it. When I’m not using it, it’s takes 10 seconds to set it up for a charge, and having a light that is always starting at 100% state of charge is so much better than having to consume other batteries, because I’m not cool enough to go through 123s like M&Ms. The light clip makes it easy to go hands free, and the light’s unique shape make for a great fit in hand or in your pocket.


There is no shortage of options out there when it comes to flashlights, but for a top shelf, Made in the USA light that does absolutely everything well, the Surefire Stiletto Pro has proven to be a great lighting tool that’s worth every penny.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The product featured here was provided at no cost to the author for the purpose of this independent product review.

LTR: Wagan Tech Lithium Cube 1200

As time goes on, we humans tend to possess an ever-increasing number of powered devices. These devices do so many great things for us, which is why we want to bring them with us wherever we go. Yet thankfully the world isn’t covered in a grid of easy to access power outlets, so we have portable power supplies to keep our gear powered up when we’re off grid. A good power supply can provide any type of power needed to run all sorts of devices, from phones and fridges to power tools. Likewise, the power supply also needs to have a significant power reserve – enough to get through days of adventure, or to keep the essentials powered up during hours of a grid power outage at home. All of this functionality needs to fit into a portable, durable package that can hold up to extensive off-road use and perform in both the heat and the cold.  For the last year, I’ve been putting the Wagan Tech Lithium Cube 1200 to the test to see if it can keep everything powered up, no matter what I’m getting into.

The Wagan Tech Lithium Cube 1200 is the largest in a series of three power supplies that all run off of Lithium-Ion batteries.  The 1200 features a 1166 Watt-hour battery that’s coupled to a host of input and output ports.  Looking at the front of the device and working left to right, you’ll see the Anderson Power Pole (APP) for solar input which feeds a MPPT controller and a barrel connector for the included AC or DC charging cable. Below that you’ll find a 12V car style outlet and two barrel connectors for 12V DC output at 5A each. Centered in the middle of the unit is the full color display, and below that is a gaggle of USB ports.  Here you’ll find a 100W USB PD port that can supply power and charge the unit (no more packing a special charger!) a 27W USB PD, two Quick Charge 3.0 ports, and two USB 5V, 2.4A ports. On the right side of the until you’ll find the three AC ports, which supply 120V pure sine wave ac power. The inverter is rated at 1350W surge and 1000W continuous output.

The display on the Lithium Cube shows all of the relevant information – state of charge, busses turned on, current power consumption, and time til empty.  There is no way to manually cycle through the information display.

Charging the Lithium Cube can be done in several ways. The included AC and DC cables allow you to charge the unit from an AC power source, or a 12V car-style power outlet respectively. I do appreciate that the DC cable is just a cable, where as other lithium power supplies I’ve used in the past have a big awkward charge controller box (think of the brick in a laptop power supply) that you have to contend with. As previously mentioned, you can also charge the unit using the USB PD 100W port, which is great for when you want to keep your accessory cable count as low as possible.

Charging with solar power is plug and play easy thanks to the very common Anderson Power Pole connector and integrated MPPT controller.  The lithium cube can handle a maximum of 100W at 12V and 200W at 24V of solar input, and Wagan Tech has two different solar panel bundles available the Lithium Cube 1200 that feature either a 60W foldable panel or a 100W folds-in-half panel.

I’ve been using the 60W panel with the Lithium Cube, and it’s proven to be a very efficient panel. Thanks to the APP connectors, I was able to quickly make an extension cable for the panel so that no matter where my Cube was, I was able to get my panel into full sun. By simply adjusting the panel several times throughout the day to keep it normal to the sun, I’ve been very impressed by the amount of energy I can harvest. When not in use, the panel folds up on it’s self several times over to create an object the size of a family size box of cereal. The downside to the panel is that there is no means to stow the cable when not in use, so it’s just left dangling or clumsily wrapped around the panel. This also means the cable is vulnerable to getting pulled or smashed. Thankfully, the APP connector can be field replaced with the right tools, so it’s not game over if you do manage to damage the cable.

Using the Lithium cube is about as easy as it gets. Just set the unit where it’s needed, plug in the devices that you need to power, turn on their respective busses, and you’re all set. The Lithium cube can be charged while it’s in use, making this a great solution for vehicle-based use where it’s charging off of your vehicle while its running, and can be charged off of solar when you are parked.

Over the last year, the Lithium Cube has travelled from the sand dunes on the US / Mexico border to the Idaho / Montana border supporting vehicle-based adventure.  It hasn’t cared about being in triple digit heat, and it’s tolerated cold quite well. Remember all batteries suffer from diminished performance when cold. No matter where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing, using the Lithium Cube has worked without fault, which is more than I can say for two other brands of portable lithium batteries, both of which were purchased new and suffered a failure in the time that I’ve been using the Lithium Cube 1200.

The only drawback to the Lithium Cube is it’s auto-off feature, where the unit will turn off a buss after it detects that it’s not providing power. While this doesn’t seem to be an issue when running something like a fridge, if you’re planning on charging your phone overnight with the lithium cube, know that once your phone is full the cube will switch off. Assuming that you’re sleeping for eight hours, that’s seven or so hours your phone is back on it’s internal battery, meaning you will not have a full phone when you wake up in the morning. I appreciate the intention here, but I really wish Wagan would place the responsibility for turning off busses when they are not needed on the user.

All said and done, the Wagan Tech Lithium Cube 1200 has proven to be a solid choice for a large portable power supply. The unit has plenty of options for power output packed into a small and light form factor, meaning that taking a serious amount of power to anywhere you need it isn’t a huge undertaking. The Lithium Cube has held up to thousands of miles of travel, extensive use doing everything from powering a fridge and phone to more extensive loads like powering a grinder and other high-watt loads just to put unit thought its paces. There may have also been a brisket smoking that was saved when the power went out thanks to the Lithium Cube being able to power a Traegar. Its easy to charge the Lithium Cube too, whether from the sun, the included AC or DC charge cables, or my favorite –  USB PD, because I’m all for having to pack one fewer accessory. If you’re in the market for a Lithium power supply, the Wagan Tech Lithium Cube 1200 should definitely be on your list.