Lemon alert: Naturalight Smart Lamp D20 (and some shoddy customer service to boot)

I really didn’t want to write this piece, but as you’ll soon see, The Daylight Company, maker of the Naturalight Smart Lamp D20, left me no choice. (Regal Engineering, the seller, also shares some of the responsibility. We’ll get to that in a bit.)

Several years ago I saw other fly tyers using the Smart Lamp D20 at the shows. I liked the way it looked, so in January 2016 I bought one through Regal Engineering. For two years it worked fine. Sometime in 2018 it began a pattern of sketchy behavior; some of the light colors (warm, cool, and daylight) would suddenly switch intensities, even though I had not touched a switch. By early 2019 the functionality was down to a single color and intensity, and in December 2019 it stopped working entirely. As in dead. No light. Nothing.

Call me old-fashioned, but I expected a heck of a lot more for a $100 lamp. What a lemon!

Lemon

So early this year I went to the Regal site, the place where I’d bought the lamp,  and filled out their customer service form, explaining the problem. I was thanked by the robot and was told that someone would get back to me soon.

Or not. No response. Nothing. So I contacted the manufacturer. I spoke with a very polite customer service agent who told me that since there was a two-year warranty, there was nothing she could do. She offered me the chance to speak to her supervisor. Yes, please, I said.

What ensued was a highly frustrating exercise in futility. I explained the situation, and stated my position: if you make a good product, you should stand by that product. $100 is a lot of money for a lamp, and it should work properly for more than two years, don’t you think?

(Lacking a recording, I will paraphrase the responses.) Well, if you had come to us earlier, we might have been able to do something, but now it’s four years later and the warranty is only for two years…

Wait a minute…it didn’t start to malfunction until after the warranty expired…so what does it matter that I’m coming to you now?

If you had come to us earlier, we might have been able to do something, but the two year warranty has expired…

Whoa. I just said that it didn’t start to crap out until the third year. You’re telling me two things that are contradictory.

You bought the lamp from Regal so you should have gone to them when the problem started…

So basically it’s my fault? You’ve made a substandard product and now you won’t stand behind it. You don’t know me, and that’s OK, I don’t expect you to, but you should know I have a website and Instagram and well over 1,000 readers. So I’m going to write a story about this, and you can choose one of two narratives: One, you made a crappy lamp, but you value your customers and want to do right by them, because customer satisfaction is your ultimate goal, so you fixed the problem. Or two, you made a crappy lamp, and the warranty has expired, and that’s tough noogies for the chump who bought it. I mean, I can’t believe you’re not even offering to replace it or look at it or give me another at a reduced rate…

The D20 is no longer made, so we can’t replace it…

~

There was more, but suffice to say you’ve got the gist. And so, with Option B being chosen, here we are.

I did a little research, and according to Amazon reviews, I’m not the only one with a bad D20 experience. If you take my review out the equation, half of the reviews are negative. I’d end it here, but Regal needs to take a little hit. Frustrated with the lack of action from the Daylight Company, I reached out again to Regal. Again, no response. Very disappointing.

So: don’t buy this lamp. Don’t buy anything from Naturalight or Daylight Company. Save your money for products made and sold by people who stand behind their work and value their customers’ satisfaction.

And now, I need a good, strong, portable, DURABLE fly tying lamp. Suggestions?

 

 

Orvis PRO Wading Boot Review: Finally, a wading shoe that doesn’t suck!

Orvis PRO Wading Boots, where have you been? I’ve worn many different brands of wading boots over the years and disliked most of them. (Some I even hated — we’ll get to that shortly.) Even my all-time favorite boot, made by LLBean — I forget the model name and they are long since discontinued — had a tragic flaw: the rubber sole of the boot would come unglued after a season or two. I eventually got tired of returning them.

I only ask three things of boots: support, grip, and don’t be too heavy on my feet. My last two sets of boots have been the Simms G3 Guide Boots with Vibram Soles. Don’t ask me why I suffered through two pairs of those horrid creations. Yep, I hated them. They were very supportive, albeit a little heavy. But the traction — what a catastrophe. Without studs and star cleats, they were treacherous. With the added steel, they were only moderately dangerous. Good riddance, because my new Orvis PRO Wading Boots are everything the Simms are not.

Wow…slip the Orvis PRO Wading Boots on and walk around and they’re not only supportive, but light on the feet. So far, so good. But the real test is, if you’ll pardon the expression, where the rubber meets the road. Orvis claims their Michelin Outdoor extreme outsole offers “a resounding 43% improvement in wet rubber traction over the competition.” Still, I’m a skeptic, and I love me some carbide steel bite, so I ordered the Orvis Posigrip Studs along with the boots.

I’ve put these boots through some mission-critical paces: small streams, which involve wading and hiking on dry land; ocean wading, jetty rock-hopping, and saltwater marsh slogging; and, what I consider the ultimate test, wading in the Housatonic and the Farmington Rivers, both of which have their own unique (and potentially dastardly) rocky bottom structure.

The verdict? Sold! Traction, support, comfort. Highly recommended.

In the interest of fairness, I am not affiliated with Orvis, and I paid for the Orvis PRO Wading Boots with my own coin. Well done, Orvis.

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Stuff I use: Under Armour Cold Gear Base Extreme Leggings

If there’s anything worse in fishing than being cold and miserable (OK, throw in not catching, too) I’ve yet to experience it. That’s why Under Armour’s Cold Gear Base Extreme Leggings are hands down the best lower body bottom layer I’ve ever owned. I bought mine in 2018; this year’s model is called the ColdGear Base 4.0 Legging.

Ya done good, UnderArmour!

ColdGearBase

There’s a lot to love, starting with the fact that these things actually work. I’m the kind of guy who runs cold 24/7, so already I’m at a disadvantage before I step into the water. I wore these last year in all kinds of miserable conditions with a fleece pants overlay and stayed mighty comfortable in my 3mm neoprene waders.

Features you may be interested in: UA Scent Control Technology (and let’s be frank: that’s something we all could use in our nether regions); soft, brushed grid interior (very comfortable); fast-drying wicking material; working fly (yup, nature is going to call at some point). Be advised that the “Find Your True Fit Size” app on the UA site is fallible; it told me I was an XL and they hung on me like a cheap suit. I swapped ’em out for an L and we were warm and happy.

Price: $80

Rating: *****

Water’s cold, steelhead bite’s hot, legs are just right with the Under Armour ColdGear Base 4.0 Legging (hiding somewhere beneath it all). If you fish in cold water/cold weather conditions, you need these leggings.

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