I tested the Tooblite and the UVpaqlite, portable lighting products that have a little more efficiency and utility than what most people expect from glow-in-the-dark products.
UVpaqlite products use light absorbing crystals that take on a glow in a matter of seconds and release it over time. The UVpaqlite is a flat sheet of crystals, similar to a very durable sandwich bag, vacuum packed and sealed. In the Tooblite, the crystals seem to be suspended in a clear epoxy-like medium.
The UVpaqlite can be rolled up, stepped on, submerged just about forever and stuffed into the corner of a backpack until needed. The medium sized version I tested weighs 49g with the short length of chain for hanging it. To put this in perspective, my car key weighs more.
They aren’t blinding bright, but the usable light is just enough for many applications. For example, the medium sized UVpaqlite is just right for finding things in a two-person tent.
The small Tooblite goes on a keychain. Users prone to losing their keys can return to look for them after dark.
The Tooblite is the same size and shape as traditional chemical lights. They do not require shaking, activation or any special type of storage. There is no shelf life, half-life or diminished performance over time.
Any light source will charge them. I found that a few seconds with my LED flashlight is enough for a few minutes of a bright glow and several hours of a soft glow.
The best use for these products is for marking equipment. I found that when I hung a Tooblite on a branch to mark a trail or my campsite, I could navigate to it while preserving my night vision.
I put the flat UVpaqlite under my gun next to my bed. Not only could I navigate to it, I could orient it quickly. An intruder whose eyes were not adjusted to the ambient darkness would be at a tactical disadvantage.
The more refined version for gun access it the Matlite. It is flatter and has a smoother outside surface. Personally, the UVpaqlite was just fine for finding something in the dark.
I remember some times when using the perishable issued chemical lights, our troops found them to be initially too bright, only to have them useless at BMNT. The UVpaqlite keeps a steady glow and I found about the same intensity seven to eight hours later. What was amazing was the fact that 30 seconds or so under my flashlight brought it back for several hours.
No one should expect that any of these products would help a person read text in the dark, unless the source is right on top of it, which is impractical. The greatest utility is the ability to maintain light discipline while marking hatches, hazards and handles.
I would use these products for antenna support wires, crew served weapon ammunition cans and similar items. One wouldn’t read by a UVpaqlite, but one can certainly eat using this ambient glow. Since the products are completely waterproof, they may not be bad for submerging a cache or identifying a hazard.
One thing I can tell you: I can always find my gun with one.
About the author
Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.