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Published on March 28th, 2011 | by Greg


JOBY Gorillatorch Switchback: Transforming Headlamp

As Spring ap­proach­es, it’s time to start think­ing about head­ing back out­doors. Here in the Bay Area, it wasn’t so much the cold that kept us in­doors as the rain this sea­son. With any luck, it’ll soon be dry, and warm enough for us to get out the camp­ing and hik­ing gear and hit the trails and parks that line the love­ly North­ern Cal­i­for­nia coast. When we do, we’ll be adding one more piece of the gear to the must-take list… or rather, cross­ing off two and re­plac­ing them with to­day’s item, the crossover com­bo of a camp­ing lantern and a head­lamp- the JO­BY Go­ril­la­torch Switch­back.

We know JO­BY best for their line of Go­ril­lapods- those fun, twisty, bendy tripods that come in a va­ri­ety of sizes and now even have at­tach­ments like mag­net­ic feet. But they al­so make a few oth­er items, in­clud­ing the Go­ril­la­torch line of light­ing gear, the first of which was a fair­ly sim­ple LED lamp added to a Go­ril­la­pod. There were plen­ty of us­es- emer­gen­cy light­ing for ex­am­ple- but the up­date com­plete­ly changes the for­mu­la. The Switch­back in­stead is a set of two things- a fair­ly light, small, portable camp­ing lantern and a head­lamp. Ba­si­cal­ly, in­stead of hav­ing two sep­a­rate light­ing sources that are rarely used at the same time, and that uti­lize the same bulb, bat­ter­ies, and make­up, JO­BY com­bined them. You sim­ply slide the head­lamp in­to the base and trans­form it in­to a lantern.

As of­ten hap­pens when you take two sin­gle-pur­pose func­tions and com­bine them, there are some com­pro­mis­es. Bright­ness isn’t one of them though- 5 LEDs put out 130 lu­mens of pow­er, though two of those are red for use to pre­serve night vi­sion, and it puts out plen­ty of light for read­ing when in the lantern or to cut through the haze while in head­lamp mode. Bat­tery life is up to 72 hours us­ing reg­u­lar AAs. And a cute Go­ril­la­pod is in­clud­ed al­low­ing you to mount the lamp in a va­ri­ety of places. But we found it more than a bit awk­ward to get the lamp sit­u­at­ed prop­er­ly in­to the lantern while the head­band was at­tached- and it’s a bit an­noy­ing to re­move the band. Al­so, the lack of a case, pouch, or easy way to car­ry it all meant that we lost the Go­ril­la­pod at one point. We loved how light the unit was, and the vari­able styles and types of light­ing, but it did feel a bit flim­sy as a camp­ing lantern and heavy for a head­lamp.

Over­all, if you al­ready have a lamp or lantern you like, you might not need this. But if space is at a pre­mi­um, or you just want a de­cent lantern/lamp com­bi­na­tion that isn’t quite per­fect, then the Go­ril­la­torch Switch­back is pret­ty nifty. $45 or so, avail­able wide­ly on­line.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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