It’s hard to imagine a simpler flashlight than the Pak-Lite. It’s a plastic cap equipped with two LED bulbs and a toggle switch that snaps to a standard 9-volt battery, which serves as the handle. The whole thing is small enough to fit in the coin pocket of my pants, which is where I’ve packed one for the past seven years. It doesn’t roll when I lay it down, and it can stand upright. I can even grip it with my mouth to free up both hands. I’ve dropped it on concrete and run it through a washing machine with no harm done.

My Pak-Lite Super has white LED bulbs rated to burn for 100,000 hours, a low/off/high switch designed to toggle 100,000 times, and a glow-in-the-dark cap. According to the Oregon-based manufacturer, the standard alkaline battery will power the low beam for 600+ hours and the high beam for 30+ hours. I haven’t counted hours, but my alkalines have...

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