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Topic: Head Lamp Suggestions< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 7:57 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Currently using a cheap Energizer head lamp that is on it's last leg. I need something that shines bright enough to hike on pitch black evenings or setting up camp in the dark. Thinking of a Petzl. Any suggestions appreciated!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 8:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am sure you will get many opinions about this, but most folks can make do with less than bright.  I use a photon lite to set up in the dark, or start out before sunrise.  Still, I only use it for  an hour or so, before either having camp set up or the sun comes up when I start out early.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 8:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have the energizers as well as the Petzl Tikka XP2, which is more than bright enough, has the red light option built in no need to change lenses) and has a mechanical diffuser to spread the light over a wider area.

I looked at the BLACK DIAMOND STORM HEADLAMP when it was on sale for $24 at EMS.  It puts out 100 lumens, enough to blind everyone in camp, but seemed as heavy and balky as the energizer headlamps
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 9:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I only use my headlamp around camp and to read and don't need it to be that bright.  I'd rather have longer battery life over brightness.  I also want it to run on AAA batteries; a lot cheaper and stocked at home.

I like the Black Diamon Gizmo.  Nothing special but it's enough light for everything I use it for (35 lumens), it's one of the lighter headlamps (2 oz), it's cheap (on sale a few times a year for $15), and runs on 2 AA batteries that seem to last forever.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 10:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As with other electronic consumer products, each LED flashlight manufacturer is regularly coming out with new headlamp models filling the various use niches.  So unless a person just recently did their homework researching the web, and checked out products in stores they are not likely to have much useful to add relating what they bought two or three years ago.   Even then headlamps one sees in usual outdoor stores are only a fraction of what is actually worthwhile as many of the better models are not going to be availabe outside links you'll likely only find on enthusiast web sites.

Read stuff on this board and become a current expert:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?6-Headlamps

Look at all your backpacking gear battery needs and try and go either all AAA or AA so you can move batteries between critical and non-critical devices.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 10:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There's a Black Diamond model I'm looking at. The 'Spot' looks like a good, mid-price lamp with some neat features. And colors. I'm favoring the Ultra White...

Never understood an important piece of gear that may need to be found in the dark being black. Also never understood a camouflage flashlight, or folding knife.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 10:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As an avid off-trail hiker who hikes in all kinds of weather (snow, rain, fog) at night, I will state that most headlamps provide plenty enough light. I prefer a minimum of three batteries for battery efficiency and more even light (assuming no regulator) throughout the life of the batteries. I prefer shock resistant and waterproof for obvious reasons. Petzl, Black Diamond, and Princeton Tec are all brands I have used and appreciated.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 10:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like to have at least two sources of light. For lots of light for not much money:

--Coleman 75-lumen headlamp $30 (or less at Walmart) http://www.coleman.com/product....ry=1116

--Coleman LED flashlight 75 lumens $26 at Home Depot
http://www.homedepot.com/buy....18.html

I use both of these lights for hiking, biking, and kayaking. The flashlight has excellent throw (at least 300 feet) and a nice even spill without shadows.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 10:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TigerFan @ Jul. 19 2012, 9:12 pm)
QUOTE
I like the Black Diamon Gizmo.  Nothing special but it's enough light for everything I use it for (35 lumens), it's one of the lighter headlamps (2 oz), it's cheap (on sale a few times a year for $15), and runs on 2 AA batteries that seem to last forever.

OK, can't type today.  That's obviously "Black Diamond" and it takes 2 AAA batteries, not AA.

@Bigsilk, why not a folding knife?  Nice and compact, less risk.  I rarely use mine.


(TrailTramper @ Jul. 19 2012, 10:25 pm)
QUOTE
I like to have at least two sources of light. For lots of light for not much money:

--Coleman 75-lumen headlamp $30 (or less at Walmart)
--Coleman LED flashlight 75 lumens $26 at Home Depot

Yikes, only 11 and 9 hours of runtime for three AAA batteries each.  OK, on medium (43 lumens) it runs all of 20 hours...  In comparison, the Princeton Tec one (similar design and price), runs 150 hours on three AAA batteries!  Pretty expensive and heavy in the long run.

ETA: I was wrong, the Princeton Tec Fuel runs 160 hours (35 lumens on med) and is on sale on SierraTradingPost for $15 today...


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 20 2012, 7:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like the Petzl Tikka models fine, but have more recently started using an eGear Pico LED zipper pull light instead of using a headlamp.  It is 0.2 ounces and plenty bright for my purposes.  I wear it on a lanyard around my neck so it is always handy.  I typically don't use a light very much though, maybe 15 seconds at a time, so the 15 hours of battery life would last me for months of camping.

I went to the Pico after a few trips where I was to lazy to dig the Petzl out of the pack and just dealt with the dark.  I did that after almost electing to just skip taking a light, which for some reason I find aesthetically pleasing.  The Pico for me is a nice middle ground.

On battery life...  I use a light so little when camping that it just isn't much of an issue for me.  In the winter I do care about battery life for trail running after work.  The Tikka is fine for that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 20 2012, 8:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've got both the Petzl Tikka and the Black Diamond Storm headlamps. The Storm Is really nice if you want a really bright, It's really not that heavy. Although if you are a gram weenie then yes it weighs more then the Tikka. They are both great headlamps
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 20 2012, 10:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTromper @ Jul. 20 2012, 7:22 am)
QUOTE
On battery life...  I use a light so little when camping that it just isn't much of an issue for me. I almost never use any light on high.

Same for me, plus I use rechargeables. I change the batteries a couple of times a year. The Coleman headlamp runs 55 hours on low. I probably use it 1 hour or less per night, including half an hour of reading. Even on low it illuminates everything I need to see within 20 feet of my tent.

Yeah, the Coleman flashlight might be heavy for backpacking, but it puts out an amazing amount of light. I like lights that can be used across sports. The Coleman is surprisingly effective on a bike or kayak. (Two of them on a bike would be safe for biking at about 12 mph.) For backpacking its main use is investigating animal sounds in the night. So not essential. I would more often choose a headlamp and a lantern as my two lights.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 20 2012, 11:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I got a sale email from mountain gear this morning - they are having a sale on some headlamps - the Petzl Tikka XP fro $43 http://www.mountaingear.com/webstor....402.htm
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 20 2012, 3:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I recently ordered a BD Storm.  It's not even here yet.  Somehow I missed BD's helpful chart.  In hindsight, maybe I should have bought something more like the Cosmo, Moxie, or Sprinter.  The Zebralights were also tempting, but for now I picked BD due to lower cost.

Helpful BD image here.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 20 2012, 4:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pretty much what others have already said. I have some of the old Energizer headlamps, bought 3 BD Moonlights back when they were being "clearanced" on Amazon, years ago, for $10 apiece, so I still have at least one of those in plastic, if I didn't give it to a running friend. Bought BD Ions (3) for running in the early morning, but found the battery life to be horrible. Bought a BD Spot, but the wife took it for walking after dark, so I upgraded to the Storm, which has the additional advantage of being "waterproof".

I think there are Petzl devotees around here, and then there are those, like myself, who started out with BD, more or less by accident - or whatever, and stuck with them because they seem to work. Lots of choices, but I suspect you won't go completely wrong with any of them, if you choose one that uses easily obtainable battery sizes and has reasonable battery usage. BD Spot and Storm have a lock to help keep the device from coming on in your pack, and the same LED used for locking is an indicator of battery state, but you have to keep a watchful eye out for it when turning the headlamp on. (The wife doesn't, so is sometimes surprised when batteries die - she likes a LOT of light while walking at night, 'cause she tends to trip on uneven walkways... :) )
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2012, 12:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

ZebraLight H51. I absolutely love mine for everything from hiking in the dark, to doing chores, to using it in crowds...

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2012, 4:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

BD Storm.  

-100 lumens
-Regulated voltage
-Dimmer
-BRIGHT spot light
-Nice, even flood light
-Red light
-Runs on 4 AAAs
-Waterproof
-Only a few bucks more than a Tikka

Some folks might claim it's too heavy, but that's really nitpicking, if you ask me.  The weight is ultimately negligible.  My only complaint is the button:  I wish it were easier to feel.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2012, 7:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a bunch of crazy expensive flashlights, but my go-to light is my petzl Tikka. 23 lumens and 19.95 at Dicks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 21 2012, 7:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a bunch of crazy expensive flashlights, but my go-to light is my petzl Tikka. 23 lumens and 19.95 at Dicks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 23 2012, 4:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Petzl Tactikka Plus - three brightness settings, a strobe, and a red shade lens for the times that preserving night vision are important, or when you want light and don't want to blind everyone around you.  I do astronomy and the red lens is critical, but then just flip it down for white light when its time to clean up and break camp.  Why settle for one brightness when you can have three - dim when you need it and bright for the same.  And, 2.7 oz with batteries.

But don't believe me, read the reviews:

http://www.rei.com/product/709063/petzl-tactikka-plus-led-headlamp

I have two that are five years old, used a lot for camping, astronomy, around the house and they still run like new.  I have run many lamps through their courses, and their are a lot of good ones out there - Princeton, Petzl, BD - I just found this one to my liking the most.  The switch for the brightness setting is high quality and still works like new after many uses.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 23 2012, 8:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've pretty much switched to the Photon Freedom Microlight that comes with a swivel clip for general camp use. It's amazingly bright for something so tiny, and so light I carry two of them.
This is the kind that has a click-on-off switch so you don't have to hold it down to use it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 27 2012, 10:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use the Coleman max 108 lumen headlamp. I found it at Walmart for 26$. 3-AAA. It has 5 light settings. 3 levels for the XP-C LED and a red and blue setting. Honestly,  I seldom use the main LED and use the blue setting if I need it in the tent. But the main lamp comes in handy for watching wild life at night or night travel which I really dont like to do. I think the highest setting last 7 hours. Thats with alkaline cells. Im pretty sure its extended further with the  lithium cells I use. But with mostly using the blue light its far beyond 50 hours. It has a battery meter also. The strap is durable and easy to adjust. The knob to change settings is large and easy to grasp. It has good vertical locking adjustments. Its been through probably in its life  12 hours of rain and still works great. Plus my backup 1 lumen maglight uses 1 AAA.  I like anything electronic to run on  AAA. Just saves so much space. Idk Im sure there are better options but its worked great for me so far for only 26 dollars.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 27 2012, 11:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(3pinner @ Jul. 23 2012, 5:43 pm)
QUOTE
I've pretty much switched to the Photon Freedom Microlight that comes with a swivel clip for general camp use.

Clip that light to a piece of string or a lanyard around your neck, and you can have hands free light while you work at most any surface.  As you lean forward, the light will pendulum out away from your body, so watch using this method while starting any pull cord machinery, like a generator.  Don't ask.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 28 2012, 2:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Jul. 27 2012, 11:28 pm)
QUOTE

(3pinner @ Jul. 23 2012, 5:43 pm)
QUOTE
I've pretty much switched to the Photon Freedom Microlight that comes with a swivel clip for general camp use.

Clip that light to a piece of string or a lanyard around your neck, and you can have hands free light while you work at most any surface.  As you lean forward, the light will pendulum out away from your body, so watch using this method while starting any pull cord machinery, like a generator.  Don't ask.  

The kit comes with a lanyard that I've used that way.

Musta been glad you were only using a string rather than a nylon cord eh?

Reminds me of working on my old 72 VW Beetle - Never wear a loose long sleeve shirt  while the engine is running.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 31 2012, 9:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow! That's a lot of responses. Thanks, guys! I decided to go with the Black Diamond Storm. It's 100 lumens with multiple settings, a battery meter, waterproof and I think it shines for 70 meters for 50 hours. Pretty insane setup for $50. Makes it even better when you had a $25 gift card.

Safe travels and explorations!


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2012, 12:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

3 sets of BD Spots for two of us, one spare. more then enuff lite for what you need. I bought one to try out, a second for my G/F and she liked it, then bought the 3rd still in sale for a backup for simple camping, I have used it to hike with......Are you shining Moose or whitetail or more? sometimes price won't matter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2012, 12:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'll add a bit of wisdom for those buying these products.  I've been an electronic technician and test engineer in Silicon Valley for over 4 decades, mostly in engineering groups.   Though never for battery products however the electronic concepts are trivial.  Generally the three most significant problems with such consumer devices with small batteries and wire cabling are:

1) Where wiring enters the body of a device, flexing of a wire through frequent use may cause the individual small strand wires within a cable jacket to increasingly crack open.  In headlamp designs there is often a cable between the battery compartment and the LEDs. Thus the weakest point is often where battery power wires enter the LED section or the battery holder section.   Often wiring is designed into an elastic head band.  Eventually so many wire strands may break at the weakest point that the serial resistance increases causing voltage drops between the battery and the LEDs wasting power, dimming illumination. Or when the last strand breaks the headlamp LEDs are totally off or more commonly intermittent depending on flexing.  Better products use higher quality wire cables a factor of metalurgy that can withstand more flexing.

2) Flashlight and headlamp products often use removable low voltage batteries often one to a few AA or AAAs. Low voltage requires low resistance between LEDs and batteries.  Battery contacts are a weak link.  Cheap products may use battery holders with cheap metal contacts that readily oxidize or environmentally contaminate creating greater serial resistance.  Everyone is of course familiar with cheap flashlights that one turns on and then have to bang against some object to turn on more brightly. Quality products use contacts that won't easily oxidize or contaminate. Develop a habit of rubbing battery contacts against clothing before inserting them into holders in order to remove contaminants like oil on skin.

3) As batteries discharge, voltage and current decreases.  With cheaper designs of directly connected LEDs, the result is decreasing illumination over discharge time.   The best designs regulate the battery output to a stable level that stays at a consistent voltage at the LEDs until batteries are near discharged levels.  That also allows current regulation for multiple illumination output levels. For smallest lightest sized designs, voltage boost regulators take the outputs of single AAA or AA batteries and increase voltage to the higher levels necessary to turn on an LED semiconductor.  Example is the single AA regulated Fenix EL11 that also regulates at current to two levels for multiple illumination levels.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 03 2012, 5:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


My Zebralight H51w - love that thing. Choice of tints which you dont usually get on normal name brand crap, the warm tint works awesome outdoors IMO. 7 output levels I think it is...
moonlight mode of .2 lumens up to 172L (200 for the cool white yucky tint) and these are real OTF lumens not emitter lumens.
Waterproof to IPX8 standards (a lot of BD and Petzls are only splash proof).
I love the UI... instant on to low or high. And love just having 1AA battery. So easy to switch out I can do it mid run in the dark without even slowing down to stop.
And it also comes out of the headband to be a handheld light - I carry it in my pocket every day. Comes with pocket clip that swivels and reverses.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 03 2012, 7:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One thing I found out the hard way is be careful what you use to clean your lamps. I had some corrosion on the battery posts and tried cleaning them with electric parts cleaner from a sray can. When the plastic got hit with the cleaner it just started to fall apart disintegrating before my eyes. REI took the bag of junk back and gave me a new one though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 03 2012, 9:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I got a rookie question. I guess it depends on your hiking style, but for me I would think that I would be in camp and setup before dark. Is that unreasonable to expect? I too have the cheap Energizer and would like to get something that will be more backpack friendly. I think that I might only need it if I am behind schedule or reading.
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