Hey Buddy, ya got a light?

Dan_Millsip

Paddler
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Messages
9,297
Location
Beautiful BC
Now that the shorter days of winter are upon us, the need for a headlamp when camping becomes more important.

What kind of LED headlamp do you have? Are you happy with it?

*****
 

Astoriadave

Paddler
Joined
May 31, 2005
Messages
5,625
Location
Astoria, Oregon, USA
Dan_Millsip said:
What kind of LED headlamp do you have? Are you happy with it?
Petzl Tikka Plus. Yup. It has three intensity levels and a strobe choice, with the lower levels adequate for most uses. And, it tilts down for use while doing close work (says bifocal guy). Simple headband type strap, which is all I need for camp. Don't recall what I paid, but it was one of the less expensive choices. Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/y6pagm

I had one that did not tilt, and had only one illumination level. Did not like it. It is now the shop headlamp.
 

Dex

Paddler
Joined
Aug 7, 2006
Messages
24
I use two types of LED headlamps but the one I use most is a 21 dollar one from MEC.
link

It comes with a handlebar attachment for your bicycle and a head band for your head. The light by itself has a pocket clip. They are light and use three AAA batteries. I use them for the flashing feature as a second light system on my bicycle. When camping (with table) I tie a string about 4 feet above the picnic table and hang (clip them to the string) two of these (one is Jen's) so they light up the table; works very well for this application. And Jen and I wear them as secondary lighting on the kayak at night time; also can used as a flashing light on your kayak for emergencies. And for about 20 bucks as well!!!
 

Komatiq

Paddler
Joined
Jul 23, 2005
Messages
152
Location
Vancouver Island
Dex that is neat, thanks for adding the link so we could take a look.

I've got a Princeton Tec Aurora that uses 3 led's and has the 4 light settings (3 + strobe). It does the job and the batteries last a l-o-n-g time. Forget what I paid for it now but it seems it was somewhere in the $20 + range and it came with a small led keychain light that is REALLY handy.

Picked it up at Alberni Outpost in Nanaimo couple of years ago.
 

Dan_Millsip

Paddler
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Messages
9,297
Location
Beautiful BC
Like Dave, I also am a fan of the Tikka Plus. I've got a couple of them and like that headlamp a lot. The tilting feature is especially nice so that when you're talking to someone, you're not shining your light in their eyes. It's a very capable light around camp and is small -- it fits easily in a pocket until needed.

A while back, I purchased a MYO 3 by Petzl -- this headlamp is awesome. With 3 LEDs (only one brightness setting) and a super bright Xenon bulb it makes for a great paddling headlamp -- perfect for lighting up the shoreline when night paddling. If there is one caveat about the MYO 3 it's that the Xenon bulb uses up a lot of battery in a hurry (4 AAs in about 3 hours). I've got few complaints about the MYO 3, it even survived a severe dunking in about 10 feet of salt water.

I've also got a couple of the Petzl Tikka XP's. This headlamp has three brightness settings and a flash mode. It also has a burst feature that gives you 50% more light for up to twenty seconds -- usually enough to see what's just beyond the range of the standard "high beam". A very nice feature of the XP is that it has a diffuser that slides in front of the LED to spread the light out -- perfect for eliminating the "centre hot spot" when reading.

Recently I switched brands and purchased a Princeton Tec Apex and am absolutely blown away with this piece of gear. If you want a headlamp that is bright this is a really good choice. It's not cheap at $110 (Cdn) but it's easily one of the brightest LED headlamps that I've ever come across. It has a 3 watt LED bulb with two brightness settings and four smaller LEDs with two brightness settings and a flashing mode, that do a good job of lighting the area directly in front and in the peripheral area. The entire back of the unit is a heat sink designed to dissapate the heat that the 3 watt bulb gives off. At maximum brightness the lamp is good for 70 hours, 200 on the lowest non-flashing setting.

The Apex is great for paddling -- you can easily fully light shoreline that is 50 metres away (I completely lit up the house five doors down the street from my place). It uses four AAs in a battery pack at the back of the headband which isn't ideal for reading in your sleeping bag at night but it's surprisingly comfortable when wearing it in normal conditions. It's waterproof and the LEDs are regulated, meaning that the brightness is consistent until the batteries are nearly drained. It might not be the best choice for around camp or in the tent at night because it's so darned bright, but it's a fantastic choice if you're looking for a really bright, good quality headlamp for paddling.

Currently, Brunton is the only other manufacturer I'm aware of that offers a 3 watt headlamp. The L3 3 Watt LED headlamp would also make a good choice (I tried one).

If headlamp technologies are going to get better than they are now, I'm looking forward to seeing what's coming.

Still would like to hear more about other people's experiences with their headlamps.

*****
 

IanC

Paddler
Joined
Mar 1, 2006
Messages
166
I also have the Petzl Tikka Plus and it's just fine. I usually have one or two little Turtle lights also - great cheap (about $3) little item for inside the tent, or to give to someone else who forgot their headlamp/flashlight back in their tent, etc. (I also keep a couple for my bike)

One thing about all of these inexpensive and long-lived headlamps is that people use them too much around the campsite, IMHO. Many people don't realize just how much you can actually see in the dark (sometimes) and just how much nicer it can be with the lights off. I wish there was a generally agreed etiquette about turning them off when not actually needed. It can be a bit annoying sitting around the ol' campfire staring into other people's glaring headlights. I sometimes go on "club" or other trips where it can take a day or more to get to know your companions, and I don't always enjoy being the one asking others to turn out their lights. Fortunately, most people "get it" but so many can't seem to remember that their light is on, and that they are shining in others faces. (My grouchy rant for the day, bummed out by too much rain......)
 

IanC

Paddler
Joined
Mar 1, 2006
Messages
166
Well it's pretty lame for me to gripe about the inconvenience of lights in my eyes on the eve of Nov 11, when we really should be remembering those who endured unimaginable hardships, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Sorry about that...Lest we forget...
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,488
Dan_Millsip wrote:
I find myself constantly reminding others to turn their headlamps off too.
look who's talking!

you're gonna get a lot more of that and MORE if you keep blasting us with more and more power!!

3 watts?? i/m gonna have to get mirrored sunglasses and mirrored leds from now on.

pass the sunscreen . . .

.
 

Dan_Millsip

Paddler
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Messages
9,297
Location
Beautiful BC
LOL. It IS bright isn't it. 8)

I don't generally use a headlamp too much at camp unless I'm walking around, cooking dinner, or reading. I am really impressed by the 3 watt LED but it does come at a price (more than monetarily) -- first of all, it's a bit on the big side compared to the latest quality headlamps, this makes it a bit awkward to put into a pocket. The battery pack is a bit to blame for the bulkiness. It's also got a little light that blinks to show how much battery life is left -- it drives me nuts. It's like having a blinking target on your forehead. This woudn't be so bad if it stopped blinking when you turn it off but it keeps blinking for 24 hours after you turn it off! A small piece of duct tape cured the problem. I know one fellow who thinks the blinking light is a good thing as he says it's easier to find the headlamp in a dark tent at night. Personally, I've never had a problem finding my headlight in my tent because it always goes in the same tent pocket.

For around camp, my current choice is the Tikka XP -- it's small, lightweight, throws a decent amount of light, has the diffuser to eliminate the hot spot, and is very comfortable to wear when reading in your sleeping bag (no rear mounted battery pack).

*****
 

rider

Paddler
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
1,837
Location
Coquitlam,BC
I have 2 headlamps- the 20$ Rayovac,uses 3 AAA batteries,has single red LED/2 white LED/bright light bulb. i like it though a bit bulky.
and the little Energizer that i found some time ago,theyre also 20$ at walmart. 3AAA but its little because it doesn't have the bright bulb. very convenient because of the size.
And of course a turtle light and also a 2AA maglite with LED conversion kit.
 

jurgenk

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2005
Messages
510
Location
New Hazelton, BC
Good call on the Princeton Tec Apex Dan. Just tried it out on a night hike on a trail I had never been on before and on its high, low LED setting it seemed as bright as my old Petzl Duo's halogen high beam and a lot less bulky. Got it for just under a hundred shipped from an ebay seller in the States and could not initially be happier with it.

Brad
 

Dan_Millsip

Paddler
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Messages
9,297
Location
Beautiful BC
Brad, it saddens me to tell you that we're no longer owners of "bleeding edge" technology. :(

There's a new high-end headlamp on the market -- the L5 5-Watt LED Headlamp from Brunton. It's got a claimed light range of 75 metres and a battery life of 50 hours. It's priced at $195 US.

I can see where search and rescue people or those working in industrial jobs where conditions are dark (railroad workers, seafarers, millwrights, police, etc.) would be all over the new Brunton 5 watter.

But at nearly twice the price as the Princeton-Tec Apex, I think I'll be happy with my "leading edge" technology for a while yet -- 56 metre range and battery life of 150 hours suits my needs quite adequately. Until battery life increases and price comes down a bit for the 5 watt versions I'll stick with my very capable 3 watt model. Although, seeing a 5 watter in person might make me rethink the need for a new headlamp. :oops: :wink:

*****
 
Top