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Snow Miser
09-11-2009, 12:37 PM
I was wondering if anyone could give me a recommendation on a good headlamp that you use? I want to buy two of the same type and have looked at a few on LL Bean's site, but I am not sure if they are the best type to buy. If one model that they stock is, then I can click on their link from the Obs site so they get a cut. Thanks for your help!

mtruman
09-11-2009, 01:16 PM
We've got a couple of Princeton Tech headlights (can't remember the model offhand) and they've performed very well. One thing I like about these is that they're OK with lithium (non-rechargeable) batteries which give much longer life. Some of the other brands (Petzl for one) specifically say that you can't use lithiums (presumably because they don't use voltage regulation in the LED circuits) and that it is possible for the lithiums to overhead and even explode. Not something that seems like a good idea for a device that is strapped to your forehead.

Brad
09-11-2009, 01:55 PM
I was in the LL Bean store the other day and there was a sign about rechargeable batteries in headlamps. There was a date range where there was a problem. Any new lamps should have a sticker on them saying rechargeable batteries are fine - all the ones in the store had the stickers.

I had a headlamp which worked fine till I saw the light that was thrown out by a Petzl LED unit. I got a Petzl and have used it last winter and also this summer. It says Petzl Tikka Plus. Press the button and it is on or off. Press the button twice quickly and it shifts to different levels of intensity - high - medium - low - and a flashing mode. It would be nice to have a red light as another feature as I use the headlamp when taking pictures at night.

All in all I am very pleased with it.

mtruman
09-11-2009, 02:26 PM
I was in the LL Bean store the other day and there was a sign about rechargeable batteries in headlamps. There was a date range where there was a problem. Any new lamps should have a sticker on them saying rechargeable batteries are fine - all the ones in the store had the stickers.

I had a headlamp which worked fine till I saw the light that was thrown out by a Petzl LED unit. I got a Petzl and have used it last winter and also this summer. It says Petzl Tikka Plus. Press the button and it is on or off. Press the button twice quickly and it shifts to different levels of intensity - high - medium - low - and a flashing mode. It would be nice to have a red light as another feature as I use the headlamp when taking pictures at night.

All in all I am very pleased with it.

The problem with the Petzl (including the Tikka and others) is with single use Lithiums (like the Energizer e2): http://www.energizer.com/SiteCollectionImages/products/high_tech/lithium/product-lithium-aa2.jpg

Here's the link to the notice on the Petzl website: http://www.petzl.com/us/news-corporate-0/2009/02/23/lithium-batteries-information

Rechargeable batteries are OK in most of them. The latest high capacity rechargeables probably give as much or more life than the single use lithiums (when they have a fresh charge) but the shelf life is poor where the lithiums last forever. The other benefit to lithiums is that they work better at low temperatures.

Knapper
09-11-2009, 03:34 PM
I will give my two cents having been the night observer on the summit for sometime, I have used a lot of headlamps. If you are looking at the LLBean site for two, I have only tried two they have. The first is the Petzl Tikka Plus and the Black Diamond Icon. Two other Black Diamond brands I have used up here is the Cosmo/Moxie Headlamp and the Lunar model (which I am not sure they still make). And lastly, my personal one is the Princeton Tec Apex Pro. Overall, they all give off plenty of light and work good enough for what they are for. But there are a couple things to consider. Brightness: if you are looking for a really bright light, the Black Diamond Icon and Princeton Tec Apex series are tops. Downside is though, if you want to extend battery life, brighter is not always a great thing. Rechargable batteries: while we do not use rechargable batteries on the Obs lamps because of the short life they have in the cold, when I was researching mine, the Petzl did have a lot of complaints of battery explosions. I went with the Apex Pro since every review they had said they had heat sink technology which is key. The last thing to consider is summer vs. winter. If you are using if for a three season headlamp, batteries on you head are fine. If you are using it for winter, look for a battery pack that goes in your coat to keep the batteries up for longer.

Out of all the ones I tried, my personal one is the one I would recommend above all others. It was about 60.00 with free shipping on Sunnysports.com. Kind of pricey but if you read up on it, it is well worth it. I probably should have gone with the extreme version for better use in the winter but the pro is so much lighter.

Bill O
09-11-2009, 06:17 PM
LED headlamps have reduced/eliminated the need for complicated re-charging systems. Batteries last so long now it's just not worth it.

Snow Miser
09-11-2009, 08:25 PM
Thanks guys! You've given a wealth of information and a few good models to take a look at. One thing is for sure, I will go with a non-rechargeable model. It's always easy to carry a couple of spare fresh batteries in the backpack, then just properly dispose of spent ones back at home.

BlueDog
09-11-2009, 09:58 PM
I'll throw another vote in with Knapper for the Black Diamond Icon.

Though its really the only "good" headlamp that I've purchased, I bought it based on several glowing (ha! get it? get it?) reviews from hiking/backpacking related publications.

The extra $30 for the rechargable battery pack and plug is well worth it.

When I first bought it, I was doing some Adventure Racing. At 3 am, thigh deep in a swamp in southeastern VA, my Icon did let me down. How? Glad you asked... well, when looking for orienteering flag I flipped on my spotlight and it blew everyone elses away in terms of the distance and brightness... the let down was that since I had the brightest light, I was voted as the person to lead the way through the swamp.

redthorne
09-11-2009, 10:53 PM
My wife has a Petzel E+ Light which has high, low, blink settings as well as a Red led for mapreading at night.

The unit runs on 2x cr2032s, has a basball cap clip-wire on it if you need to use it.

She has used it for a few camping/hiking trips and says she likes it. And the small size of the batteries makes it easy to carry some extras with you if you will be out for a long time.

Brad
09-12-2009, 05:36 AM
Thanks guys! You've given a wealth of information and a few good models to take a look at. One thing is for sure, I will go with a non-rechargeable model. It's always easy to carry a couple of spare fresh batteries in the backpack, then just properly dispose of spent ones back at home.
Last winter I did an early morning hike back into HoJo's and right as I was leaving PNVC the batteries in the headlamp went. The next set did not like the cold either. The 3rd set worked fine for that hike and the next one. Even with the same brand of battery there seems to be a difference in how well they handle the cold. My rule now is 3 sets of batteries and no fewer in the cold.

Snow Miser
09-12-2009, 12:55 PM
I just ordered two of the Black Diamond Icon headlamps w/o chargers from Amazon.com for $51.82 each. That's right in the price range I was thinking of. It definitely looks like a nice lamp. One thing that I like is the strap that goes over the head. That makes it like wearing a baseball cap.

Brad, I will take your advice and carry three sets of batteries in my pack, just in case.

Thanks again for all your recommendations!!!

paulgla
09-12-2009, 01:43 PM
I have great luck with Surefire lights. The batteries last 12 hours, or so and are so small extras don't really take up space. The LED lights they have throw massive amounts of light. I have a headlamp but always carry my Surefire flashlight as well. They can handle a beating but what fun would it be to have your light break and now have a backup.

Snow Miser
09-13-2009, 04:03 PM
Paulgla, you're absolutely right about carrying a spare light. I will have to look into one of the Surefire flashlights. Thanks!

Brad
09-13-2009, 04:54 PM
My camera pack has a headlamp, a small maglight, and a large LED flashlight. These get shifted to my hiking pack on most occasions.

Snow Miser
09-14-2009, 07:55 AM
My camera pack has a headlamp, a small maglight, and a large LED flashlight. These get shifted to my hiking pack on most occasions.

That's a great idea Brad. Then you're sure to have enough lighting for whatever you may need it for.

mahony
09-14-2009, 09:13 AM
So this might sound like heresy, but I've had good luck with the Wal-Mart brand headlamp ($16) and lithium batteries. I have been night hiking quite a bit this summer and the light is bright and the heat from my head keeps the batteries warm. The temps have only been into the 40's (and only on a couple of trips), so it's not exactly winter camping (yet).

mtruman
09-14-2009, 09:19 AM
So this might sound like heresy, but I've had good luck with the Wal-Mart brand headlamp ($16) and lithium batteries. I have been night hiking quite a bit this summer and the light is bright and the heat from my head keeps the batteries warm. The temps have only been into the 40's (and only on a couple of trips), so it's not exactly winter camping (yet).

As long as it's the heat from your head keeping the batteries warm and not the heat from the (overheating) Lithiums keeping your head warm :eek:.

Seriously - if you're going to use any headlight with lithiums it is worth checking to see if it is recommended by the manufacturer. Some of the pictures that I've seen of lithiums that have caught fire or exploded in devices without voltage regulation are pretty scary!

Brad
09-14-2009, 10:07 AM
When I use a headlamp I normally wear a baseball cap turned around backwards. Then the lap and batteries are not right against the skin.

Snow Miser
09-22-2009, 12:26 PM
I wanted to thank all of you who gave me advice on a couple of headlamps. We used the Black Diamond Icons to do a 9.5 mile night hike down here to a place called The Pinnacle this past Saturday and they worked out GREAT! Plenty of light even on the middle setting. The spot light on high does reach the 100 meter range they claim it will. That works great for spotting things way down the trail or up in the trees. Thanks again!!!

Oh, BTW, now I'm hooked on night hiking too. How am I ever going to do all these hikes between daylight and night and work at the same time LOL?:D

mtruman
09-22-2009, 12:54 PM
...Plenty of light even on the middle setting. The spot light on high does reach the 100 meter range they claim it will. That works great for spotting things way down the trail or up in the trees.

Spotting things up in trees!?!? :eek: What kind of things!? Seems like the light may be working too well!

Snow Miser
09-22-2009, 02:45 PM
Spotting things up in trees!?!? :eek: What kind of things!? Seems like the light may be working too well!

We were mostly looking for owls, porcupines and the Boogeyman.:eek: No, really just the animals. It wasn't frightening at all in the dark woods. We were on the alert though for a bear, or a buck during the rut, but we ended up not seeing anything.

h2oeco
09-22-2009, 07:42 PM
I've got two headlamps and one Surefire flash light that I use regularly - one is a Black Diamond Icon, the other is a heavy-duty Petzl (rechargeable), I forget the model. All three lights have worked well. I've used lithium AAs with the Icon and the Surefire flashlight, w/o a problem, including during winter volunteer weeks on the summit.

Ed

Brad
09-22-2009, 09:27 PM
Oh, BTW, now I'm hooked on night hiking too. How am I ever going to do all these hikes between daylight and night and work at the same time LOL?:D
Solution: Bag the work stuff and stick to hiking. work just gets in the way. Gee, why am I going back to work after 9 months off?

Snow Miser
09-23-2009, 07:52 AM
Solution: Bag the work stuff and stick to hiking. work just gets in the way. Gee, why am I going back to work after 9 months off?

Brad, I love that solution. I may have to give that a try. Now I just have to figure out a way to keep the bill collectors away.

Patrad Fischroy
09-23-2009, 10:12 AM
Brad, I love that solution. I may have to give that a try. Now I just have to figure out a way to keep the bill collectors away.

Well you can always just keep walking, they probably won't be able to keep up with you:rolleyes:

kaseri
09-25-2009, 02:09 PM
Surefire Saint Minimus is the headlamp for me. Lithium 123 batteries can be bought online for $1 each.

Snow Miser
09-26-2009, 10:48 AM
Surefire Saint Minimus is the headlamp for me. Lithium 123 batteries can be bought online for $1 each.

That's a really nice headlamp. At 3.3 ounces you probably forget you're even wearing it. Not sure I would like the short battery life though. With the Black Diamond Icon, I was secure knowing that once deep in the dark woods, I had 80 to 140 hours of burn time without having to reload the batteries. I suppose that's why there's a headlamp available for each hikers needs.

adknight
11-08-2009, 12:27 AM
Petzl make a number of high quality headlamps but if you want something low-cost, that is also very good ... the Princeton Tech Fuel 4 headlamp (http://www.princetontec.com/?q=node/60).

I have owned & used a number of headlamps in the past, from the Petzl Zoom, the new Myo's with belt pack (which are super cool) but considering overall weight, weather resistance, brightness and finally cost ... it's tough to beat the Fuel 4.

My appologies if this has already been mentioned.