submitted by Mikey Bautista
It’s a big EDC market out there, and tons of awesome gear is released all the time. We made The Drop to help you discover the latest and greatest essentials worth a spot in your EDC.
Most EDCers will be familiar with the LEDs on the business end of their flashlights. When switched on, a flow of electricity is passed from a light’s battery to its LED, and depending on the battery’s voltage and the light’s electronics, different brightness levels can be achieved. What may be less familiar to those not fully in the deep end of flashlights is a type of light called a LEP, or Laser Excited Phosphor.
Without going too much into the nerdy details, the simplest explanation is that a blue laser is passed through a focusing lens onto a phosphor element backed by a metal substrate, which in turn produces a broad spectrum white light, which is further focused through other lenses and filters. The result is a focused beam that resembles a pointing laser more than a traditional flashlight—an intense hotspot with minimal spill, unlike a traditional spotlight-type LED flashlight, and often able to throw significantly further distances thanks to off-the-charts levels of candela.
This brings us to one of the coolest LEPs to hit the market today, LOOP GEAR’s SK01s. Nicknamed “Skywalker,” it’s one of the most compact LEPs you can buy, being on the 18350 battery platform, and it’s also a zoomie, able to adjust its max 910 lumens at 640,000(!) candela beam profile between 2.8° and 18°, all while throwing up to 1.6 kilometers. This overcomes a LEP’s usual one-trick utility of having only a tight hotspot and being able to expand it to cover a broader area, much like the spill on a regular light.
That’s a brand-new feature that we haven’t seen before, and that’s also on top of some insane specs like full titanium construction with a futuristic design worthy of its namesake, ceramic balls for emergencies in the bezel and tactical ring, a party of light effects in the tail switch, and even a bolt mechanism that acts as a physical lockout so you don’t accidentally power up a laser in your pocket. Both the lower ring in the head and the tactical ring are even free spinners, adding a fidget factor to the light. Every inch, every edge of the SK01s seems to have one interesting or useful feature or another, and it’s definitely one of the most exciting lights we’ve seen in a while.
What we like: A zoomie LEP already hasn’t been done before (that we know of), and this has no business adding so many more interesting features and utility on top.
What to watch out for: While it has the zoom function, a LEP still may not be the tool you need for everyday illumination, but it’s one heck of a light to add to the rotation. The titanium models also command a steep asking price, but more affordable aluminum options are available.
Final verdict: LOOP GEAR comes out strong with a truly unique light that brings a ton of new and exotic features to the table, and is seriously one to watch, if not picked up already.