Gear talk: silicone light diffusers
Three Points of the Compass takes a glance at cheap silicone diffusers that are used to provide a 360° pool of light, potentially useful in the home or tent.
Three Points of the Compass has previously looked at the Nitecore 21700 Intelligent Battery System that combined a 21700 i series battery with either a magnetic powerbank (MPB21) or a magnetic silicone light diffuser (ML21). That set up wasn’t quite right for my personal use when backpacking though may suit others. But it did get me wondering about using a rigid plastic diffuser of some type over an existing light. The intention being to provide a more general 360 degree spread of diffused light, rather than the directed focused light normally emitted. I hoped that I might find something cheap, lightweight, easy to use, that might suit household or backpacking use. Typically, there were options available to buy online and just a few quid obtained me the widest range I could easily find.
Made in China and purchased off AliExpress, these are semi rigid translucent silicone light diffusers.
Different sizes are available. I bought five though I note there other sizes available. None are particularly small however. The cheapest was £1.03, the most expensive £1.36. They will each fit a limited diameter range and simply stretch slightly to slip over the end of a torch/flashlight. I could find no way of happily combining one of these with my Olight H1R Nova head torch as this has a right angle head.
- S size: L 48mm. 20.5mm – 24mm. 6g
- M size: L 45mm. 26mm – 30mm. 7g
- M2 size: L 45mm. 32.5mm – 37mm. 8g
- L size: L 46mm. 38mm – 44mm. 10g
- L2 size: L 50mm. 44mm – 48mm. 12g
I am not sure how far I will attempt to integrate one of these little silicone diffusers into my backpacking regime going forward. It was interesting to look at options and there will certainly be some people for which such a little accessory would be useful. However I don’t tend to carry the type of light that these diffusers suit. Even my RovyVon A5 (shown below) has additional LEDs in the side of it’s body that are usually more than sufficient for the interior of a tent. But for an upright end-standing light in the home, in the event of a power outage, I can see a place for one or more of these diffusers.
These diffusers are made from silicone so will withstand some heat. I am unsure how they might handle particularly high lumen lights and suspect they might get extremely hot and potentially deform or worse under extreme circumstances. Most of the LED lights I tried have quite modest output and I experienced no issues. Trial and error is everything methinks and best to experiment at home before venturing out on trail and laying one of these on an expensive tent footprint and finding a hole has burned through!
None of the silicone diffusers I purchased were small enough to fit anything with a diameter less than 20.5mm, which includes many smaller handheld lights. I was able to use a small 3g soft silicone finger cot from the home First Aid Kit with the excellent RovyVon A5. It isn’t ideal as it has a flattened profile, but these could prove to be a potential double-duty item.
This has been part of a series of blogs looking at small lanterns suited for lightweight backpacking, or for use in the home and elsewhere: