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While it goes without saying that the best gifts require thought but not a purchase, there are exceptions. It’s not the cost of those gifts that makes them so, but the value, particularly when it comes to gear for outdoorspeople.

I still have a folding knife my parents gave me in the early 1980s, for instance, as well as the fly rod I received a few years later. The backpack my wife gave me fits the mold, too. Each item is finely made, but more to the point they each enabled many of the outings and adventures I’ve been on since, and figure to be in my pocket, hand or on my back for years to come.

The Olympia RG850 I’ve been testing is a close cousin to my favorite outdoors gear, an item I’d feel comfortable relying on for its utility, build, durability and feel.

Like a hunting knife, a flashlight ought to fit perfectly into one’s hand. At 5.7 inches long and 1.3 inches in diameter, the RG850 does just that. It throws a powerful beam for its size — or any size unit, for that matter — at 850 lumens on high output. Mid (360) and low (20) output modes also are available, along with a strobe and SOS setting. The last light setting used is stored for the next use.

At low power, the battery will run for 65 hours, according to Olympia. At high power, which offers a beam range of 389 meters, battery life is 1.1 hours. The LED bulb has a lifespan of 50,000 hours.

Moving between modes is as simple as depressing the power switch, or twisting the rear housing. Partially depress the switch to get momentary light.

The only drawback is the absence of an adjustable focus.

The body, weighing 4.2 ounces without batteries, is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and finished in an anti-abrasive surface. Olympia says it’s waterproof to 2 meters and has an impact resistance of 1.5 meters.

The RG850 is powered by a 1×18650 rechargeable NiMH battery. The micro USB charger works on any computer and through a wall adapter, and can charge the light even when it’s in use.

                                             RG850 charging via computer

The unit is protected by a 2-year warranty and comes with the micro USB cable and charger; battery; nylon holster; a lanyard; an extra rubber tail switch cover; 2 extra O-rings, and the user guide.

Olympia’s suggested retail price is $89.99, and online pricing starts at $80.09 on some sites. That’s not a minor price point, but neither is the RG850 a minor tool. I’ve gone through dozens of flashlights in my life; this is one that would be at home next to the last folding knife, fly rod and backpack I mean to own.

— Matt Martin

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