Recommend a headlamp

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Recommend a headlamp

Postby Suz » Tue 24 May, 2016 10:33 am

Hey,

I think it's about time I got a headlamp. I have read the outdoor gear lab reviews on this but after reading user reviews I wasn't that thrilled with their recommendations.

I would like to get a headlamp that is reasonably light with a reasonable battery life. It does not need to be super bright or go into the distance a super long way. Moderate light and moderate distance should be fine. Something that is suitable for walking after dark if I have to, but also comfortably useable around camp and in the tent.

Anyone have any personal faves?
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby keithy » Tue 24 May, 2016 6:43 pm

Checkout the Zebralight ones that simon at Tier Gear has:

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=21994

Simon only has the AA ones, but there are also models that use lithium batteries. The lithium ones can have better weight vs output and light duration than the AA ones, but the downside is that you need separate lithium capable chargers if the torch doesn't provide in-torch charging. And you need replacement lithium batteries which might not be as easily obtainable as AA batteries.

I am a less a fan of dedicated headlamps, and like the flexibility of using a torch like the Zebralight in a head band that when removed from the headband can be used as a handheld torch.

I find for longer distance walking in the dark, the lighter the torch the better. After trying out a few headlamps, I've settled on using single battery AA/14500 torches with a headband strap when needed.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Gadgetgeek » Tue 24 May, 2016 7:03 pm

Black diamond gizmo was my work headlamp for a very long time. Doing AV you do a lot of work in the dark, a mix of close and far-ish, and with other people. The gizmo runs a good long time, is dimmable for when you know you will be working close for a long time, is nice and floody, you won't see far, but you also don't have tunnel vision, and you don't get dazzled every time you look at your hands. AAAs are light and easy to carry spares. It was also my main camping light for a long time, I've gone to a bigger one since now I spend more time outside, but its still the backup light in my pack. I have the old model, but I suspect the new one would be a good choice as well.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Strider » Tue 24 May, 2016 8:52 pm

Zebralights are amazing, but you will spend as much on a charger as you do on the light itself. Personally, I think it's worthwhile but going by your post you may not believe so.

My second pick would be Black Diamond.

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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby neilmny » Wed 25 May, 2016 4:17 pm

Black Diamond Storm
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Mark F » Wed 25 May, 2016 5:14 pm

Very happy with my Petzl Tikka XP2 (3 x AAA or rechargable Petzl Li battery) for when I want good light. I have the Core rechargeable battery which allows the brightness on the high and low settings to be set through an app on your computer as well as selecting regulated mode (this means the torch gives constant light output and a quick drop rather than a slowly decreasing light output. It also has a red led for watching animals from the tent and spot or wide beam through a drop down diffuser. I think this model has been updated but still available.

For mid summer or full moon I cut down to a Petzl eLIte.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 25 May, 2016 5:27 pm

Strider wrote:Zebralights are amazing, but you will spend as much on a charger as you do on the light itself. Personally, I think it's worthwhile but going by your post you may not believe so.

What's the rationale here? Suggesting anyone going NiMH would get too florid with their maintenance?
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Wed 25 May, 2016 6:25 pm

GPS,

The only way to get reliable NiMH battery performance is to:
a) buy good quality batteries like Eneloop
b) charge and maintain them using a good quality hobby charger.

Buy cheap batteries and they'll lose capacity and die after a few uses. Buy a rubbish charger, and it'll overheat and destroy any NiMH - good or bad.

What Strider is saying is that the Zebralights (which I would also highly recommend) aren't cheap - and if you don't own already own the batteries and a good charger, you're setting yourself up for some pretty big $ outlay.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby benjabimon » Wed 25 May, 2016 8:30 pm

+1 for Zebralight.

I love my Zebralight, it's awesome. Having a light which uses just one AA is so convenient :) So sick of headlamps that use three AAA's, it's such an odd number and is a pain in the butt! You can't buy packs of three or six AAA's, and all my chargers can only do batteries in multiples of two. So having a well built, bright, and compact headlamp that uses just one AA means that I don't have any first world problems to complain about.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby roysta » Thu 26 May, 2016 8:58 am

Suz, to be quite frank you could go in a number of directions with this.
You could go for a well known brand like Black Diamond or Petzyl or you could go to the Supermarket and buy one of the Energizer headlamps.



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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby GPSGuided » Thu 26 May, 2016 9:09 am

South_Aussie_Hiker wrote:What Strider is saying is that the Zebralights (which I would also highly recommend) aren't cheap - and if you don't own already own the batteries and a good charger, you're setting yourself up for some pretty big $ outlay.

Not sure about that. Zebralight is clearly no Aliexpress but doesn't compare badly with named brand headlights of quality. On batteries, one always have the option of going the disposable alkaline route while with NiMH, as Keithy has pointed out elsewhere, there are economical but good chargers around eg. Ikea. In any case, most of us probably already have rechargeable AAs at home.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Strider » Thu 26 May, 2016 9:19 am

GPSGuided wrote:
South_Aussie_Hiker wrote:What Strider is saying is that the Zebralights (which I would also highly recommend) aren't cheap - and if you don't own already own the batteries and a good charger, you're setting yourself up for some pretty big $ outlay.

Not sure about that. Zebralight is clearly no Aliexpress but doesn't compare badly with named brand headlights of quality. On batteries, one always have the option of going the disposable alkaline route while with NiMH, as Keithy has pointed out elsewhere, there are economical but good chargers around eg. Ikea. In any case, most of us probably already have rechargeable AAs at home.

Zebralights will not run on Alkalines due to their high internal resistance - they simply can't deliver enough current to sustain the draw required. I wouldn't bother with cheap NiMH, personally.
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Recommend a headlamp

Postby GPSGuided » Thu 26 May, 2016 9:49 am

Strider wrote:Zebralights will not run on Alkalines due to their high internal resistance - they simply can't deliver enough current to sustain the draw required. I wouldn't bother with cheap NiMH, personally.

How so? I have used disposable alkaline in my Zebralight and it worked fine at home. Yes, may have longevity issue at max intensity but seemed OK otherwise. It's not that bad.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Strider » Thu 26 May, 2016 9:54 am

Max intensity will stop working after a couple of minutes. Other levels progressively stop working soon after.

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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby tas-man » Thu 26 May, 2016 1:35 pm

neilmny wrote:Black Diamond Storm

I will second this. I have used on of these for my bushwalking and outdoor activities for the past five years and have found it equal to all situations where I have needed it. The ability to dim the output to suit your needs and the battery lock option keep me happy. On extended trips I usually pack a spare set of AAA alkalines but have never needed them! I have discovered that its circuitry does not seem to like lithium batteries.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby dunamis » Thu 26 May, 2016 10:17 pm

I've had black diamond and petzyl and like them both. Have tested Petzyls warranty when a crack in the housing developed and it worked great! Sent me a new one straightaway


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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Fri 27 May, 2016 12:26 am

GPS,

Alkalines will probably out perform NiMH on the low low modes, because they actually pack a higher energy (3000mAh alkaline vs 2000/2500 NiMH).

Problem is, these lights pull serious currents in high modes and alkalines won't manage. Because of their high internal resistance, they'll heat up massively and dump most of their energy as waste heat. As strider said, perhaps a couple of minutes at best.

Same reason an alkaline will last longer than NiMH in a walk clock or remote, but won't take more than a couple of pictures in a digital camera when NiMH will take hundreds.

Since they're only single cells in Zebralight, there is no risk of reverse current leakage... But flat alkalines can still leak over time, while NiMH won't. If you've got any Zebralights kicking around with alkalines, it's a ticking time bomb. I wouldn't be impressed to spend $100 on a light, only to find it full of corrosion and acid from an alkaline.

The best peformance option - a lithium primary. But cost a bomb and bad for environment.

If you're not going to buy good quality NiMH and charger, don't bother with Zebralight.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby GBW » Fri 27 May, 2016 12:45 am

tas-man wrote:
neilmny wrote:Black Diamond Storm

I will second this. I have used on of these for my bushwalking and outdoor activities for the past five years and have found it equal to all situations where I have needed it. The ability to dim the output to suit your needs and the battery lock option keep me happy. On extended trips I usually pack a spare set of AAA alkalines but have never needed them! I have discovered that its circuitry does not seem to like lithium batteries.


+1 Have this also and works great. Maybe a little heavy but plenty of power if you need it and the 4 x AAA last ages with normal use.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby kitty » Fri 27 May, 2016 8:54 pm

benjabimon wrote:+1 for Zebralight.
I love my Zebralight, it's awesome. Having a light which uses just one AA is so convenient :) So sick of headlamps that use three AAA's, it's such an odd number and is a pain in the butt! You can't buy packs of three or six AAA's, and all my chargers can only do batteries in multiples of two. So having a well built, bright, and compact headlamp that uses just one AA means that I don't have any first world problems to complain about.


+1 for Zebralight for all the reasons above, so convenient. For spare batteries you only need to take 1, not 3 spares.
+ love the ultralow light level you can achieve with it. 3 light levels each with a sub-level.
I use rechargeable eneloops with it which I already had.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby weeds » Fri 27 May, 2016 9:34 pm

Which Zebralight are you using??
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby kitty » Fri 27 May, 2016 10:07 pm

H502w AA Flood Headlamp Neutral White
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Strider » Fri 27 May, 2016 11:04 pm

H52F for me. Tried the warm white and didn't like it.

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Recommend a headlamp

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 29 May, 2016 5:34 pm

That's the thing with Zebralight, so many models to choose from. SAH, as you said, I already got hit by an alkaline leak, but it was my fault, left it for a good 4 months. Fortunately I caught it early and was able to clean it out. No damage. But now, lost it somewhere in the household. So have ordered another unit in case the old one doesn't turn up. Chose H52Fw Neural White this time. Output is a little higher and can take Li cells.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Mickl » Sun 29 May, 2016 8:54 pm

I have an older model Black Diamond Spot, current model Black Diamond Storm and also a new model Black Diamond Spot which is the one I am currently using.

The new model Spot is a different shape than the older models (more square shape). It is similar weight (52G empty / 88G with batteries in) and is as comfortable to wear. It is now as bright as the older storm (200 lumens) and is also as waterproof (IPX8.) Its a big improvement on the older model and I would definitely recommend it. I can't fault it to be honest and if you carried a fresh set of 3 x AAA batteries with you (33 grams in weight) you'd have to be off the grid a long time to run out of juice. Specs claim 50 hours on full and 150 hours on low. RRP is $79.95 but I've seen it cheaper online at multiple places.

I have Eneloop batteries which I have used for years but have recently discovered Aldi rechargeable batteries. They are usually on the counter and are around $5 or $6 I think for a pack of 4 in AA or AAA. The Aldi batteries have a higher rating than the Eneloops (900mah vs 700mah for AAA and 2400mah vs 2000mah for AA). They are also cheaper and probably easier to get with the number of Aldi's around these days. They also get very favorable reviews on lots of forums so that's what I'll be using from now on...

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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby BarryK » Sun 29 May, 2016 9:20 pm

I've got one of these, only about $7:

http://www.dx.com/p/usb-rechargeable-water-resistant-0-5w-led-white-flashlight-black-orange-255383

As I already carry a USB charger for my phone, can charge the torch as well. Also from my solar panel.

Image

It has a clip so can hang it above me in my tent. But what I would like to do is figure out some way to attach it to my beany, or construct a head-band.

EDIT:
For the gram-counters (like me): it weighs only 17gm.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby Aushiker » Mon 30 May, 2016 7:14 pm

Mickl wrote:I have an older model Black Diamond Spot, current model Black Diamond Storm and also a new model Black Diamond Spot which is the one I am currently using.]


Thanks Mickl. That Black Diamond Spot looks interesting.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby MrsGypsy » Thu 30 Jun, 2016 4:36 am

http://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/hc90

I am lovin my new headlamp!
My Petzl's on/off switch died and this is my replacement.
Purchased from the very helpful and knowledgeable Aussie online resource
https://www.eliteoutdoorgear.com.au

I compared the light beams on youtube between Zebralight and Nitecore to help with my decision.
Personally I preferred the beam from Nitecore and I went through the specs and decided.

Has taken me to a whole new level of illumination joy at night...!!
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby keithy » Sun 03 Jul, 2016 11:33 am

MrsGypsy wrote:http://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/hc90

I am lovin my new headlamp!


Be keen to know how you go with this longer term. I wasn't as big a fan of the slidey switch at the top of the Nitecore HC90 when compared with the HC50.

You probably already know, but on highest output the HC90 gets only around 45mins on battery life. The HC50 is not as bright, but at around 750 lumens is still no slouch - and on that setting goes for around 1:15 hrs.

Are they including an 18650 battery with the HC90 now? If not, make sure you get a good quality 18650 battery. It certainly makes a difference.

You can also pick up a reputable single slot 18650 charger for not too much. I have a few from Xtar, but my current favourite single slot USB input charging one is the LittoKala Lii100 mentioned here viewtopic.php?f=21&t=22730&p=297189&hilit=liitokala#p297189

This way you can carry a spare 18650 with you and charge it separately to the one in the torch.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby MrsGypsy » Mon 04 Jul, 2016 7:05 pm

I was aware of the reduction to battery life on full lumens but am ok about that.
The slider works for me with my clutsy arthritic digits!
The HC50 does look good too, maybe I was seduced by mega lumens...??!!
It came with an 18650 and I bought a spare.
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Re: Recommend a headlamp

Postby keithy » Thu 07 Jul, 2016 11:25 pm

MrsGypsy wrote:The slider works for me with my clutsy arthritic digits!
The HC50 does look good too, maybe I was seduced by mega lumens...??!!
It came with an 18650 and I bought a spare.

That's good to know they are shipping with batteries now. They didn't use to, which I thought was annoying.

I also can see the attraction of the higher lumens. I also did that when I got my first 800 lumen Nitecore, but now having used a few 2000+ lumen torches wow... the difference sucks you in.

But in normal use (and not say, search/rescue scenarios), I find myself using mainly the lower settings (maybe around 100-150 lumens) more often as the balance between battery life and brightness. For walking at night, I usually put a waist or arm mounted torch that puts a low output spill beam on the immediate trail in front of me, and if I wear a head torch as well, I have it at a brighter setting for distance.

I'd seen some clever torches (like the Nitecore Sens http://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/sens-aa) that used a tiltmeter to adjust the brightness, was wondering if anyone built that into a headlamp yet.
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