Streamlight had a big year in 2021. SHOT Show might not have happened, but Streamlight pelted us with new releases at the beginning of the year. We saw the TLR 7 SUB, the Wedge, new models of the RM series, the TLR-10, and more. One that might have slipped through the cracks was the release of the Pocket Mate. Stuff like the Wedge and weapon lights often steal the show, but the Pocket Mate captured my attention.
The Pocket Mate is essentially a large keychain light. Streamlight has done the Nano, the KeyMate, and the little LED Keychain flashlight. All tiny lights designed more for novelty than actual use. The Pocket Mate changes that. It’s quite powerful at the cost of being a little less compact. The Pocket Mate gives useful light for EDC-like tasks.
Breaking Down The Pocket Mate
The Pocket Mate is tiny and keychain-appropriate. It’s much smaller than something like your average Keyfob, but it’s bigger than the average keychain light and infinitely more useful. The Pocket Mate is 2 inches long, 1.08 inches wide, half an inch thick, and it weighs only half an ounce.
The Pocket Mate pumps out a mighty 325 lumens. Okay, I get compared to a modlite that’s not much, but for a keychain light, it’s rather impressive. The 325 lumens are backed by 1,450 candela that casts the beam a decent distance in the perspective of a keychain light. That’s the high mode, and the low mode grants you 45 lumens of light backed by 200 candela. The lower level is well suited for social settings.
It’s a small package that packs a big surprise. Battery life varies depending on the mode chosen. On the high mode, it will last 20 minutes, and on low, it will last an hour. Once the battery dies, you plug it in and recharge it.
The Pocket Mate utilizes a USB charger and takes 4 hours to fully recharge. Plugin before bed and call it a day. A light under the go button gives you an idea of its status. Green for good, red for charging, and that’s it.
Durability also proves to be rather high. The Pocket Mate is IPX4 rated, meaning it can be splashed and rained on but not submerged or hit with jets of water. It’s also 1-meter drop resistant. It can take some casual abuse, which is nice because my clumsy ass will drop my keys at least twice today. At least once, I’ll just consider leaving them on the floor and starting a new life without them.
But It’s So Small
That’s true, it won’t replace a dedicated EDC light like the Wedge, but it can supplement it. It will also provide you a backup if your main light dies or is damaged. Or, in my case, sometimes forgotten at home. The Pocket Mate’s 325 lumens provide an impressive amount of light for such a small tool.
Lumens aside, the throw allows it to work across a small room on high, and the cool blue light illuminates dark corners with ease. A quick click of the button turns it on, swaps modes, and turns it off. The Pocket Mate is very simple, but simple isn’t a bad thing with a light like this.
Outside of a keychain light, it comes with a quasi-clip-like device. You could stash it in your pocket, or even better, attach the light to the visor of a hat for a hands-free option and a quickly improvised headlamp. Perfect for doing close-range work, I tossed some external breakers in the middle of the night and fixed a water pump with this setup. Plenty of light to accomplish either task.
That clip is removable if you don’t care for it, but I’m going to stick with it personally. I like it and think it’s relatively useful for improvised hands-free use.
Beyond the Keychain
The same clip that attaches the Pocket Mate to a key ring can attach it to a zipper, a pull tag, or whatever else you want to tack it to. Make it part of a Greg’ Gorillafritz’ Ellifritz style emergency escape kit paired with an LDK and handcuff key to escape bad situations in bad places. You can easily use its size and relatively low price point to utilize multiple lights for a variety of uses.
Heck, they even come in a wide variety of different colors that allow you to match them to your wardrobe if you so choose. If you need a micro-sized light, the Pocket Mate offers the most light out there. It’s smaller, less than half the weight, brighter, and packs a good bit more candela than the Sidekick. However, the Sidekick has better battery life.
The Streamlight Pocket Mate retails for right around 20 bucks at most retailers. It’s quite affordable and provides a lot of power for its size. It’s amazing to see how far lights have come and how fast technology is advancing to make them better. The Pocket Mate provides a good enough amount of oomph to provide an alternative light source when a normal EDC light isn’t available. Streamlight’s are killing it this year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of their new stuff.