This Champ Survival Sidekick is marketed as a survival multi-tool, in particular, for your vehicle because of the tools included. According to the Amazon description:
- “Includes flashlight, glass breaker, seatbelt cutter, distress light, magnetic base, USB connection, hand crank charging and compass included.
- USB to micro cable.
- Comes with convenient user guide.
- Can charge most mobile devices. Phone and charging cables not included.
- Compatible with iPhone iPod and works with Android Phones.”
The Champ Survival Sidekick: Flashlight and Distress Light
First and foremost this is a flashlight. It features 3 LED bulbs and for a flashlight that doesn’t run on alkaline batteries (there’s an internal battery that you recharge) it’s decent. Granted, it’s not going to outshine a Maglite but it does the job nonetheless. That said, the Satechi LightMate I reviewed the other week does shine quite a bit brighter.
There’s also a red distress light that you can choose to use instead. It blinks on and off rather rapidly on the butt-end of the flashlight. I assume the purpose it to attach the flashlight to your vehicle using the included magnetic mounts so that passing motorists will notice. Honestly, I don’t see how this is going to be any better than your vehicle’s hazards and really is just an annoyance to me. I’d have preferred a bigger battery, smaller flashlight, ability to use alkaline batteries… anything really.
The Champ Survival Sidekick: Glass Breaker and Seat Belt Cutter
Like the Satechi from the other week, this Survival Sidekick also includes a glass breaker. Rather than being included at the butt-end of the flashlight like the Satechi, the glass breaker is on the side of the Sidekick so you swing it like a hammer. I don’t see anything wrong with that design but the glass breaker on the Satechi is larger and heftier maybe making it easier to use… I don’t honestly know. As for the seat belt cutter, I didn’t attempt to test that but I do like it being included.
The Champ Survival Sidekick: Emergency Phone Charger
It seems that more and more survival tools are incorporating the ability to charge phones and I feel that’s a good thing. This particular tool says it can charge your phone from between 5-15% depending on phone model and this tool’s state of charge. While better than nothing there are better options for portable emergency phone charging. Of course, when desperate you can use the hand crank to first charge the internal battery and then charge your phone. In this case, don’t be that desperate. 😉 Speaking of which…
The Champ Survival Sidekick: Hand Crank Charging
Normally I don’t like hand-crank anything and I can say the same for flashlights. After using the crank for a few minutes and then later reading the directions it seems I would have to crank the flashlight for about a minute (at a good rate) to use the flashlight for three minutes. I can only imagine how much cranking I would have to do to charge my phone to any useful amount. That said, the hand crank is a last ditch option that’s nice to have if I ran out of every other option.
There’s also a button compass included on the butt-end of the Sidekick. I guess that’s useful if you’re thinking of hoofing it but probably not really necessary on a flashlight like this. Also, as I mentioned previously, there are magnetic mounts that allow the flashlight to stand up when attached to your vehicle’s hood or rooftop thereby allowing the red distress beacon to be seen. The magnets are strong enough to hold to the side of my car too.
I should also mention that the size of the flashlight is about the size of a 2 D-cell Maglite but significantly lighter. For the size I feel they could have done more.
Overall, the Champ Survival Sidekick isn’t a bad deal, it’s just not something I would recommend when there are better options. If you want a quality flashlight for your vehicle that incorporates a glass breaker and can charge your phone then buy the Satechi LightMate. For about the same price you’ll have a better flashlight for sure.