April 11, 2017

I had the opportunity of being one of the first people in the world to do a field test with the Kogalla Ra. I took it with me on a recent trip to Iceland.

We flew into Reykjavik at about 5am and traveled by car to Reykjanesviti lighthouse on the Reykjanes peninsula about 20-30 min from the Keflavik airport, where it lit up the trail for us while we walked a trail waiting for the sunrise. We hiked along the shores of the black sand beaches of Vík, which extended beyond sundown and went spelunking in the ice caves Jökulsárlón glacier.

 

I rigged a single Ra to the strap of my backpack for the trip using the provided D-Ring strap.  The D-ring strap that comes as an accessory didn’t match my molle webbed backpack’s shoulder strap too well, but I managed to secure it by placing it behind the molle Webbing and only using a few of the Velcro straps to hold the Ra in place.

I connected Ra to a standard power bank as the Kogalla BatPak was not yet available. The power bank I used worked fine with Ra at the brightest settings, and I know that the BatBak is supposed to stay on at the lower lighting settings instead of going into a power saving shut off like the standard power bank I had did, so I can’t fault the Ra for that, if anything it means a lot that the Ra drew less than my IPhone from the power bank I had since the bank would stay on for my phone but not for the Ra at lower brightness settings. I started with a full charge on the power bank and after about 3 hours of extended use the Ra was still going strong and the power bank was only at half-power after our first hike. The Ra wasn’t overly hot, granted Iceland was rather cold but I’m not expecting much of a change in summer-like weather.

 

The Ra performed as well as I expected. It produced a very good amount of light, not enough for my GoPro to take perfect night video shots with extreme detail, but to be honest that's not its main purpose, it’s meant to light the trail up enough for you to see where you need to go and do what you need to do in the dark. It definitely put out more than enough light for me and my 3 travel partners to see where we were walking without an issue. We even had a car flash their high-beams at us due to the brightness when we got back out to the parking lot, so I'd say it does a very good job.

Aside from putting out much more light than a headlamp or flashlight, it had a wide and even light pattern with a soft cut-off at the beam’s far edge, which does get sharper at closer range.

There was no hot spot and/or halo as you might get with a standard headlamp/flashlight.  And it was a warm, natural light rather than something more in the colder blue [or “hyper-white”] spectrum.

Inside the ice cave it lit up the area as there were lots of surfaces to reflect the light, which allowed us to see some of the darker areas in more detail. On the outside, it lit up a wide area in front of us giving us much better peripheral vision, and allowed us to catch a few things that we might have missed otherwise, some info panels and trail signs to be specific.

 

It was a great trip and extremely fun to try out Ra.  It definitely gave us a unique view of Iceland outdoors at night and inside the ice caves. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone exploring outdoors at night, or anywhere more light is needed and you need to retain the use of your hands.

- Justin - New Jersey


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