Following a couple of upgrades, the third generation of RovyVon Aurora A5R glow-in-the-dark (GITD) keychain flashlight is now (probably) the best ‘keychain’ hand-held light available to backpackers. It has also replaced my Nitecore NU25 headlamp on trail
Three Points of the Compass looked at the RovyVon Aurora A5x Red in October 2020 and suggested then that this was very close to being the best ‘keychain’ hand-held light available. I proposed a couple of possible improvements and these and other welcome upgrades have now been incorporated into the Aurora A5 USB-C glow-in-the-dark (GITD) third generation. Making this 2022 version easily one of the handiest and best-appointed flashlights (or torch to the home-grown crowd) for both Every Day Carry and the lightweight backpacker.
The RovyVon brand is owned by Runfree, a company making outdoor gear and equipment, based in Shenzhen, China. They have a huge range of lights for sale, many with very similar names and you have to be very careful with the specifications when purchasing. The first GITD RovyVon was released in 2018. I purchased the second generation of that light and have been using it ever since on backpacking trips. I have been hoping that RovyVon would upgrade their handy little Aurora flashlight and as soon as a reader informed me they had (thanks Mark), I purchased one. I like that RovyVon have not got carried away with the upgrades. They have simply addressed a couple of features that could be sensibly improved and retained what is already good.
As usual, there are a range of specifications that can be selected when purchasing this little light. Either 6500 kelvin SST-20 or 5000 kelvin Nichia 219C front LED can be chosen. These have slightly different outputs that can be seen in the spec table below and I feel the spacing of the different lumen levels has been improved with this third generation. The light also comes with LEDs in the side, either white and UV (model A5U) can be chosen, or white and red (model A5R). Finally, either a blue or green ‘glow-in-the-dark’- body can be chosen. I purchased the SST-20 front LED, A5R white and red side LEDs with green GITD body.
It has a 330mAh lithium polymer rechargeable battery fitted and this is charged via a USB-C port. It will fully charge in an hour This is one of the changes that I proposed with the previous model and beside the advantages of USB-C it is part of my attempt to standardise all my charging ports across my electronics on trail. Unlike with the previous model, no charge cable is included with the third-generation light, which is no loss as we all have those anyway. The polycarbonate ‘glow-in-the-dark’ luminous body is an appreciated aspect of these little lights. I hang mine from the pack during the day where it is charged by natural light. I then move it to the zipper pull in my shelter at night. From there I can see it to remove it and use, or leave hanging and switch on a side LED, or simply easily locate the zipper in the dark should I need to exit during the night. A faint green glow will persist for many hours and usually does me for the night. If I want to, I can just switch on a side white LED for a few seconds to recharge the GITD body.
Two split rings are supplied- a 12.5mm internal diameter 0.5g stainless steel ring, and a larger 15mm internal diameter 2.2g stainless steel keyring. Either of these are a better option than the oversized 25mm diameter ring supplied before. The light itself, with no accessories fitted weighs 17.4g, against the 17.1g of the previous version. RovyVon state that it weighs 14.8g, it doesn’t. Dimensions remain unchanged- 60.5mm in length, 15.5mm diameter. If I have the magnetic tail base fitted, the non-magnetic side clip and the smallest of the split rings, it weighs 20.9g, so 21g.
You can see from the above specs that the two upper lumen outputs step down in intensity after one minute. This is a safety feature to prevent damage to the LED via heat build-up. Then we come to another of the really useful features on this light, the inclusion of a ‘warmer’ white light in the side of the body. This is more restful to the eyes and brain, particularly in the tent in the evening when preparing to sleep.
|Output: SST-20 LED||0.5 lumen||25 lumen||200 lumen||650 lumen|
|Output: Nichia 219C LED||0.5 lumen||20 lumen||150 lumen||420 lumen|
|Runtime: (the same for both LED options)||72 hours||8 hours||1 minute, then steps down to 80 lumen for 2 hours||1 minute, then steps down to 80 lumen for 90 minutes|
|Beam distance: SST-20 LED||–||22 metres||63 metres||110 metres|
|Beam distance: Nichia 219C LED||–||10 metres||18 metres||70 metres|
There is also a red LED in the side of the light. This will preserve night vision or can be switched to a flashing mode. I will hang this from the pack or the loop of one of my hiking poles if road walking in inclement conditions to increase the likelihood of motorised road users actually seeing me. All the various modes can be selected via the single rubber button on the side and the user interface is pretty straightforward and easily learned. There is also a lock-out feature to stop it being turned on accidentally (five rapid clicks).
The magnet found on both side clip and end cap will not attach to my Black Diamond hiking poles, but I don’t require that anyway. What it will do is attach to the side of a car for night-time repair work, a kitchen unit during a power outage or any one of a number of EDC tasks. The magnet is a permanent feature of the 4.4g detachable pocket/hat clip.
I am minded to swap it with the 36mm 2g clip from my other RovyVon that has no magnet. Both magnetic clip and the plain steel clip can be purchased as accessory parts from RovyVon. Besides being used as a reversible pocket clip, these will also clip to a hat for use when night hiking, but it is better held lower down in the hand to give depth to the view in front. It could be clipped to a watch strap, but I don’t wear one. The tiny magnetic tail base can also be purchased as a stand-alone item however there has been a slight design change to the keychain hanger on the third generation and the magnetic end cap will not fit to earlier generations. At just 1g I shall be leaving this permanently attached to my light. The earlier incarnation had the words EDC FLASHLIGHT on the end of the hanger, because these words are now covered by the magnet, they have been moved to the side of the body on the third generation.
It has a stainless steel protective bezel, will withstand a drop of 1.5 metres on to concrete and has an IPX6 rating for water resistance. This means it should be able to resist high pressure, heavy sprays of water from any angle. This is due to the sealed body of the light and the flippable rubber covering to the USB-C charge port. A spare rubber charge port cover is included on purchase.
|Side LEDs||White Low||White High||Red||Red Flash|
|Output||10 lumen||50 lumen||25 lumen||–|
|Runtime||6.5 hours||100 minutes||100 minutes||–|
I have been using the excellent Nitecore NU25 headlight with a lightweight modified headband on backpacking trips for some years now. I have also been carrying the second generation RovyVon Aurora A5 as back up for this. However, I found that I have been using the little RovyVon exclusively and the headlamp has simply remained sitting in my pack’s hip pocket. So, that is now being excluded from my pack list and left at home, and I had no hesitation in replacing my previous second-generation RovyVon with this third-generation flashlight. My previous RovyVon light has performed faultlessly since I purchased it and if I do ever get problems with this replacement, it comes with a two-year warranty.
In winter, with longer hours of darkness and the need for a little redundancy, I shall either add my NU25 back in or continue to include my little ‘winter use’ Olight H1R Nova. The 80g H1R Nova (replaced by Olight with the Perun Mini) remains an excellent choice of light despite having a heavy optional headband and requiring an additional 14g proprietary charge lead.