Nitecore MH12 Flashlight

The Nitecore MH12 is an ultra-compact, high strength USB rechargeable flashlight offering reliability and performance that defies its size and weight. Whether you’re hiking after dark or before dawn, and your headlamp simply isn’t enough, the MH12 just might be your solution. Maybe you’re hiking in a pitch black cave or cloud-covered night. Whatever the darkness, the MH12 puts out plenty of light to handle any situation with its 1,000 lumens CREE LED. It’s also great for safety with its strobe, SOS and beacon modes.

Disclosure: BestLight Marketing contacted me to try the Nitecore MH12 Flashlight at no cost to me. My only responsibility was an agreement to complete this review after trying the item. I was not pressured in any way to make a positive endorsement.

The Nitecore MH12 uses a lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable via included USB. Connect it to your computer at home, the charging port in your car, or to a portable battery pack on the trail, and you will have hours and hours of powerful light.

The CREE XM-L2 LED generates up to 1,000 lumens of almost blinding light. With four distinct settings, and three distress signals, this flashlight is multi-purpose. The lowest setting of 1 lumen is perfect for searching for something lost in the bottom of your pack, and you will get 520 hours of operation on a full battery charge with this setting. Next is the 70 lumens setting, ideal for dusk or dawn hiking and 28 hours of continuous operation.

The two brightest settings put the MH12 right up there with the big boy flashlights that are 10 times the size and 40 times the weight. At 240 lumems, you can use the flashlight for six hours. I found the amount of light cast to be plenty for most any requirement. But if you need a super-bright, lengthy light then turn the MH12 to the 1,000 lumens setting. It will throw a light more than the length of two football fields, and do so for 75 minutes. Just a word of warning, though. When operating at this intensity, don’t point the MH12 directly at your eyes… but you already knew that, right?

The MH12 also has three distress modes that can be used if you are lost or injured in the wilderness. The strobe is a high-intensity, quickly flashing light that could be used to dissuade predatory wildlife. The SOS signal is an internationally recognized call for help, and the beacon is an ultra-efficient mode that signals your location to rescuers.

Nitecore MH12 Specifications

Nitecore MH12 Specifications

Testing the Nitecore MH12 in the Field

The Nitecore MH12 is used by tactical police forces so you know it has been put through rigorous field testing. I’m just a simple hiker, so I’m sure I didn’t try everything that the developers do, but I tested some of their claims. The manufacturer claims that this flashlight is quite durable, able to withstand being dropped from heights of 1.5 meters without breaking. That would be about chest height on the average person. I dropped mine on the sidewalk from about waist height without an signs of damage. No broken glass, no dented canister, and it still operated without a hitch.

The manufacturer also claims the MH12 is waterproof, and completely submersible up to two meters depth. Well, I didn’t throw mine in an alpine lake, but I did put it in about four inches of water in a cascading Pisgah National Forest stream. Once again, no apparent damage to the flashlight. A week later, it still continues to operate just fine.

The first time I tried the MH12 in the dark I was astounded at the fire power of this flashlight. I cycled through each of the four settings, going OK fine, that’s pretty good, this is definitely usable, to WOW! – this thing puts out a cannon of light. If you need more brightness than the capability of this flashlight, then you’re doing things on the hiking trail that I have never even pondered.

Perhaps the best thing about this remarkable flashlight is it’s size and weight. At only 5.5 inches in length and 7/8 inch diameter, the MH12 easily fits in the palm of your hand, and won’t take up valuable space in your pack. Even better, it only weighs 3.1 ounces. That’s just 88 grams for those of you quickly doing the metric conversion in your heads. In this day of packing ultralight for long distance endurance hiking, the MH12 won’t add much burden to your load.

The Nitecore MH12 comes with a number of accessories including the 3200mAh lithium-ion battery. It comes with a USB charging cable, and holster and clip for wearing it on your belt or shirt pocket, and a lanyard if you want to wear it around your wrist. Also included are spare parts just in case of loss or accident: switchcover, o-ring, and USB port cover.

How to Get One

BestLight Logo

Manufactured by Nitecore, the MH12 Flashlight retails for US$79.95 and can be purchased from BestLight or from Amazon. BestLight is offering you, the Meanderthals readers, a 5% discount by entering the code “MeanderthalsReaders” at checkout. While the MH12 flashlight may seem a little pricey, it comes with a complete 5 year warranty, and may be the last flashlight you will ever need to buy.

In addition to the included accessories, there are a number of other optional accessories available for purchase. These include red, green, and blue light filters; replacement batteries; and AC wall outlet chargers for quicker recharging of the lithium-ion battery.

Nitecore flashlights offer the widest range of product choice. Military / tactical, law enforcement, outdoor / camping, hunting or search and rescue are just some of the applications. My Nitecore MH12 is now a regular utility item found in my backpack. After using it, I have concluded that this is a remarkable device, and recommend it to you as well.

Disclosure: BestLight Marketing contacted me to try the Nitecore MH12 Flashlight at no cost to me. My only responsibility was an agreement to complete this review after trying the item. I was not pressured in any way to make a positive endorsement.


This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.


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