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Toolumpy
05-31-2017, 22:37
Any suggestions for the best night hiking headlamp regardless of cost?

MuddyWaters
05-31-2017, 22:38
You have to define what best means to you

I think the little 0.68 oz light that clips to my cap brim is the best.....for me. 15 hrs on single AAA at 20L, can hit 80L when needed. Can change batt with my eyes closed..with one hand. Ive hiked well over a hundred miles in dark with it, including some sketchy trail , all I need.
In warm weather, my first 2-5 miles each morning are typically in dark by headlight. Absolute best time of the day is the hr before sunrise

Others insist on 200L of night blazing light to feel comfy. To each their own.

shelb
06-01-2017, 00:04
Please, make sure it has a RED LIGHT OPTION!!! It is really annoying to those around you to use the white light, especially when looking at them!

DownEaster
06-01-2017, 00:49
For night hiking, as opposed to moving around camp, a red light is not your concern. What is your concern is enough light so you can clearly see roots and other foot obstacles. I recommend more than 200 lumens. You won't need that much light all the time (full moon nights), but sometimes you'll want even more (rain, ground fog), so a bunch of brightness options are good. Start with something bright and cheap so you can try out the various options. I suggest this Bushnell Pro High Performance Rechargeable Headlamp (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Generic-20221-Bushnell-Pro-High-Performance-Rechargeable-Headlamp-300-Lumens/49840414) as a good start: 300 lumens, under $30.

bigcranky
06-01-2017, 06:42
The Zebralights that take a single AA battery would be my choice. They are bright enough for night hiking, dim enough for around camp on the low setting. I use Lithium AA batteries, and they last forever (though if I were night hiking a lot I would carry a spare -- easy to change by feel in the dark, compared to the 3-AAA cell lights). A rechargeable might not work well on a longer hike. About $70 at Amazon.

Like this: https://www.amazon.com/Zebralight-H502-L2-Flood-Headlamp/dp/B00K5ASHGY/

though I have a slightly different model.

BuckeyeBill
06-01-2017, 07:43
I use the Black Diamond Storm 2 (https://www.rei.com/product/117628/black-diamond-storm-headlamp). Up to 350 Lumens, Waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes, dust proof, three different low light colors with adjustable brightness and strobe functions. I will concede the it is a little heavier then some but at $49.00 I found it a good bargain. If you are an REI member you get $5.00 back at dividend time.

cmoulder
06-01-2017, 08:13
Although I rarely night hike, a few months ago I had a long drive to the trail head and arrived late, so I got a chance to test my BD Spot and found it superb for this purpose.

Battery run time is excellent, and it is very convenient to be able to fine tune the output while using the 'tap' feature for a quick bump up to full power and then another tap to go back to the previous setting. The BD Storm does this as well, but as BuckeyeBill said it is a bit heavier, and it also uses 4 AAA batteries vs 3 for the Spot.

JC13
06-01-2017, 08:18
I use a Nitecore headlamp.I like the potential to have more light if needed so I went with the NU30 which is 400 lumens on max. Weight is 3 oz, USB rechargable as I already carry a power bank. Price is $40.


Output and Runtime:

Turbo: 400 lumens / 1hr 15min
High: 180 lumens / 22h
Mid: 36 lumens / 25h 15min
Low: 1 lumen / 330hr
Auxiliary CRI LED: 35 lumens / 12hr
Red LED: 19 lumens / 13hr


Battery: Built-in 1800mAh rechargeable battery
Beam Intensity: 3700cd
Beam Distance: 132 yards (121m)
Waterproof: IPX7
Impact Resistant to 1.5m

OCDave
06-01-2017, 08:49
I use the Black Diamond Storm 2 (https://www.rei.com/product/117628/black-diamond-storm-headlamp). ...

Many complaints regarding audible whine emitted by the Storm. Any noise coming from your headlamp BuckeyeBill?

OCDave
06-01-2017, 08:55
I have several of the Black Diamond Spot. It was great when I got my first in 2012 and it just keeps getting better. My newest Spot has max output of 300 Lumens. It does everything I need it to do but, I don't ever need to cover significant miles after dark.

Good Luck

nsherry61
06-01-2017, 10:14
Backpacking night hiking or mountaineering night hiking or what?

I've never needed more than 40 lumens when night hiking along a trail, even a trail covered in roots and rocks. I would consider 100 lumens an obnoxious extravagance (i.e. run your 100 lumin light on 1/2 or 1/4 power) if you are hiking along trails with even a modicum of identifiable treadway.

Conversely, when trying to pick out a safe route when mountaineering or trying to find poorly marked distant rock cairns above treeline, I have wished I had more than a paltry 300 lumens.

I have to disagree with DownEaster. I have never felt a need for anything close to even 100 lumens for hiking a trail regardless of how rough the roots and rocks are. And, with rain and fog, extra light is even more of a problem because the backscatter of a brighter light makes it even harder to see. As for full moon nights, heck, those are the nights you hike without your light on at all.

Whatever you choose, have fun out there.

Just Bill
06-01-2017, 10:25
Two basic schools of thought:
Dominate your surroundings (said in my best Flextrak Whipsnake voice) with your mobile spotlight and area flood light. This can make some sense especially for trail running, SAR or youth group leaders. There are also folks who just have crappy night vision too (or have aged into crappier night vision).

Preserve your night vision as much as possible and supplement it when needed.

I prefer the latter but nothing against the former.

I use a headlamp of some sort (Tacktikka or similar petzel lamp) but I mount it on my sternum strap and/or waist strap... depends on the trail.
When the trail is very rocky/rooty you want it high and pointed right in front of you to avoid excess shadows. You'll be going fairly slow anyway on this type of trail so keeping the few feet in front of you lit properly is all you need.
When the trail is relatively smooth/flat- putting it on your hip belt casts a lower beam over a longer distance and keeps better with your pace. Most of the petzel or BD flood modes will cast a decent pool of light 6-8' in diameter so you can always see a step or two ahead even when it's pointed straight down.

I also carry a small hand held (been liking Fenix lately) of the single or double battery style... again depends on the trip... but I try to get a matching battery to the headlamp I choose.

I did pick up one of the rechargeable Petzel Reactik lights... thinking to pair that with an Anchor battery or similar at some point. Tossing fistfuls of LI batteries in the garbage on anything but an FKT trip leaves me feeling less than happy so hoping to get that system worked out better at some point.

When you use a headlamp (as a headlamp) the beam is crossing your vision to illuminate the trail at your feet. So you actually looking through the beam of light which screws up your night vision and requires brighter and brighter light to do the job.
If you mount it below eye level then you are not looking through it and you need much less light. You can also use a flood type light which is less harsh and tends to have the best battery life as well. Being closer to the ground the brightness where you need it is also improved since it's closer to where you need it.

The handheld (or spot light feature of a headlamp) sucks the most juice but can be critical for routefinding. Again- it's not at eye level so blasting off a few hundred lumens in the dark of night doesn't turn into a blinding experience.
This also avoids cycling your main lamp through a bunch of modes and lets you leave it on low or medium pretty well full time. (again saves juice)
The handhelds with a burst or turbo mode are handy when you need that big bright light... and they tend to be more compact and lighter than selecting a head lamp that also includes this feature. Also having the ability to point or search with a handheld spotlight is handier than trying to crane your neck all over and peer through the beam. Anyone who's done this in even a light mist of fog knows the futility of trying to spotlight/scan with your headlamp.


The firefly mode on the Fenix is a nice setting for checking maps or reading pages as it's so faint it won't snowblind you like other lights will even on the low settings... which again... when you're route finding back and forth from paper to trail is very handy. If nothing else- try to cast your handheld across the map rather than right at it.


A combo of a Tikka style (3 AAA) chest mounted flood and a BD spot or similar lamp (princton tec) with a spotlight feature can be a great combo too when you mount the spotlight one on your chest (or hold it) and the flood one on your waist... having the double flood at different heights and angles is very effective for busting shadows on very rough trials (like the north half of the LT). I tend to put the hip light pointing at the few feet in front of me and let the chest one go at a shallower angle pointed about 8-10' in front of me. This puts overlapping light (less shadow) right where you're going... but also puts some shallow angle light out down the trail which creates shadows that actually highlight upcoming obstacles pretty well.

Perhaps the best thing... most of these lights are $20-$40 or less on sale. So it's not expensive to put a collection together to try out different combos or to pull the right combo out for a given trip.

You can go all the way down to a petzel E+ light with a cheapie AAA hand held on nice trail.

Even for the night vision challenged... I'd still suggest a combo of medium/low intensity body mounted lights with a nice handheld. With multiple lights you can often siphon off/cycle your batteries too. A fancy Fenix might suck that last hour out of a LI battery that your headlamp won't... Similiarly a tikka will work fine on yesterday's batteries from your spot type headlamp that seems duller than it should be. (basically use fresh batteries in your medium light, then move those to your low light the following night).

It might weigh about the same as the monster light... and when the monster light goes you need a lot of batteries to make it go again so it's a bit like a canister stove... fairly efficient when one canister is perfect but really heavy when you need 1.5 canisters. The other thing I find... when I have the light I tend to use it. So I'm guilty of leaving the big light on medium or high when a lower setting might be fine. So I don't sip juice like I should or get lazy about dimming it back down when the need for the brighter light passes. So the batteries fall faster than they should.

Spare batteries are heavy... dead ones twice as much, lol.

George
06-01-2017, 16:38
a slightly different viewpoint than bill:

IMO the advantage of a low held light is it makes rocks/ roots "cast a shadow" that is easy to read

I night hike a lot, when I kept the light on my head kicking/tripping was common and my pace was very slow - now I hold the light low/ parallel with the ground, stepping over obstacles is nearly as automatic as daytime and the pace is closer to daytime

I hike with one stick so the handheld light works well - with 2 sticks, not so much

Toolumpy
06-01-2017, 22:26
Thanks for all the information, just looking for a good lamp for some relatively easy to follow trails nothing too difficult.

Leo L.
06-02-2017, 05:29
I own and use several headlamps and made the experience that more often than not the beam streaming off right above my eyes causes problems, the brighter the beam the more serious.
In the desert within seconds of turning on the light lots of moths or other flying insects start to dance in the beam right in front of one's eyes.
In cold nights one's own breath steams op right into the beam
In snowfall or fog the light flashes back into the eyes
All of the above doesn't render a headlamp useless (it is still very OK for short usage in camp), but if I were into serious nighthiking I would consider carrying the light in other ways than as a headlamp.
Did some night MTB cycling sometimes and had best results using two lamps, one attatched to the handlebar and one to the helmet.

Kaptainkriz
06-02-2017, 08:08
I'm a fan of the Zebralight too (the warm/natural color). I use this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F8UHMDK



The Zebralights that take a single AA battery would be my choice. They are bright enough for night hiking, dim enough for around camp on the low setting. I use Lithium AA batteries, and they last forever (though if I were night hiking a lot I would carry a spare -- easy to change by feel in the dark, compared to the 3-AAA cell lights). A rechargeable might not work well on a longer hike. About $70 at Amazon.

Like this: https://www.amazon.com/Zebralight-H502-L2-Flood-Headlamp/dp/B00K5ASHGY/

though I have a slightly different model.

Just Bill
06-02-2017, 09:12
Thanks for all the information, just looking for a good lamp for some relatively easy to follow trails nothing too difficult.

https://www.petzl.com/INT/en/Sport/CLASSIC-headlamps/TIKKA#.***dqmeGMy8
Very hard to go wrong with a Tikka. I like the Petzl lights because the base for them is sturdier than other lights and easy to mount on any 3/4" strap (sternum or similar). The plate has a bit firmer "stops" so when you adjust the angle of the light it holds pretty firm. The zebra lights have gotten more popular but I haven't owned one personally. Black Diamond spot is also very popular. Both can often be found as little as $20 when on sale.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WWOZN5E/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_c_x_2_w
Thru-night or Fenix is a good handheld- though all the names get confussing. To be blunt there's a huge explosion of these types of lights right now for some reason but I'd stick with a name brand.
I just grabbed this model because the single AAA can be annoying to hold for some with larger hands. In general, to get a good spotlight feature you need to go up to a double battery light too.
But this one is a AAA so you only have one type of battery carried. The 2x AA models tend to do a little better on specs and battery life in the handhelds if you happen to go in that direction. I pick the "headlamp" first then match the hand held and most compact headlamps use AAA.

That would be a good set to have and as a worst case it gets you going relatively inexpensively and both models make nice lights to have generally if you choose something different later on.

I would suggest staying away from the specialty batteries personally... I like being able to walk into any gas station or town and grab AA or AAA off the shelf but if that's not a priority for you... there are other options.

Those lights would be a good combo to get you started... or perhaps get you finished. You may find one or the other needs an upgrade in brightness or features but at this point some of the tech is getting silly for backpacking and many features offered now are just upgrades to keep selling/improving things generally.

Leo L.
06-02-2017, 10:12
One other thing comes to mind:
Once we did an 24hr hiking challenge that involved 2500 vertical meters up (and the same down).
At this time I used an older Petzel with 3x AAA batteries, all in one housing on the front of the head. When jogging downhill the housing started to bounce a bit and this gave a unsteady "dancing" lighting that was very confusing.
If you will ever come near such an usage, you will be way better off when using a type of headlamp that has a separate battery pack on the rear of the head. These lamps typically run on 3x AA batteries.

One reason why I prefer a 3-batteries lamp over a 2- or 1-battery models:
In the 3-batt. models typically is a very clever electronic built-in that allows to drain the batteries down to very low voltage. First, this will save you lots of batteries (and money) in the long run, and second, you can save even more by using half-used batteries from other devices for your headlamp.

BuckeyeBill
06-03-2017, 03:11
Many complaints regarding audible whine emitted by the Storm. Any noise coming from your headlamp BuckeyeBill?

I have not noticed any noise from mine. I also own an original Storm and it still works great. I use it at my shop now. Girlfriend brought me the new Storm II.

dmax
06-03-2017, 08:39
I have not noticed any noise from mine. I also own an original Storm and it still works great. I use it at my shop now. Girlfriend brought me the new Storm II.

I haven't noticed any noise in mine either.....hope it stays that way!

Alex Blain-Laider
06-18-2017, 11:12
don;t know, but i like my th20

DownEaster
07-27-2017, 00:53
I found a light that will work clipped to my pack belt, and reviewed it here (https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/125861-Tansoren-TO1-Torch?p=2161667#post2161667).

rocketsocks
07-27-2017, 11:26
Best to me means versatility, for me it's the "revolt" which allows for using disposable dry cells as well as charging/recharging from a AC source.

rocketsocks
07-27-2017, 11:27
...and USB charging

AllDownhillFromHere
07-27-2017, 11:45
Petzl ACTIK-CORE - white and red options, 3 AAAs or micro-USB rechargeable off your Anker. Massively popular on the PCT this year.

Rex Clifton
07-27-2017, 13:52
This is a good one, great price too for a rechargeable lamp.

https://sectionhiker.com/nitecore-nu20-rechargeable-headlamp-review/


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

DownEaster
07-27-2017, 17:03
This is a good one, great price too for a rechargeable lamp.

https://sectionhiker.com/nitecore-nu20-rechargeable-headlamp-review/
Pretty nice, except for the battery life issue. Decreasing the output by a factor of 5.5 (220 lumens down to 40 lumens) only gets you 29% more use time (an extra 105 minutes). I do like the NU20's IPX7 waterproof rating.

Rex Clifton
07-28-2017, 06:00
Pretty nice, except for the battery life issue. Decreasing the output by a factor of 5.5 (220 lumens down to 40 lumens) only gets you 29% more use time (an extra 105 minutes). I do like the NU20's IPX7 waterproof rating.Good point , but I always carry a 1,000 milliamp battery charger (a cheapo unit that cost around five bucks) for the NU 20, as well as the little Sandisk mp3 player I always carry. Not much weight gain when you consider I always carried three spare AAA batteries for my previous, non-rechargeable lamp.

Sent from my SM-G955U1 using Tapatalk

TTT
07-28-2017, 06:54
Recently ordered a Black Diamond ION headlamp S17 with 100 lumens. Weight 50g or 1.9 oz with batteries included. Light enough to night hike and allow me to carry a few carrots in my pocket.

saltysack
12-28-2017, 11:37
Iíve owned most major brands...nothing compares to Zebra light imo.....itís not plastic but UL aluminum unlike the rest. Having the available 300lm when needed and only 2oz w 1 AA battery....sure for most night hiking I use med/low setting but sure is nice to be able have some range when needed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MtDoraDave
07-09-2018, 06:58
I used to hike with one of those Energizer 3AAA headlights that was rated to 100 lumens. I came upon several sets of white eyes reflecting back to me, maybe 25 to 40 feet away and I couldn't identify the animals. They didn't run when I yelled at them. It was quite unnerving.

I now carry a 200 lumen light (also a 3 AAA version) but almost never use the high power setting. I agree that 100 lumens is more than enough light for simply night hiking, but there are times when I want more light than what is required to see my footing immediately in front of me.

cmoulder
07-10-2018, 06:46
I used to hike with one of those Energizer 3AAA headlights that was rated to 100 lumens. I came upon several sets of white eyes reflecting back to me, maybe 25 to 40 feet away and I couldn't identify the animals. They didn't run when I yelled at them. It was quite unnerving.

I now carry a 200 lumen light (also a 3 AAA version) but almost never use the high power setting. I agree that 100 lumens is more than enough light for simply night hiking, but there are times when I want more light than what is required to see my footing immediately in front of me.
I do very little night hiking but appreciate the BD Spot because of 200 lumen max that can be temporarily engaged simply by tapping the side of the housing and then returned to pre-set level by tapping again. IIRC they've gone up to 300 lumens for the high but IMO this is completely unnecessary — 200 lumens lights up the woods for about 150 feet for me!

nsherry61
07-10-2018, 10:52
I use my BD spot most often, often on high, when I head out to the woods to find the dogs when they are on some scent and won't come when called. They also quit making noise when I get close so I can't find them with audible clues, I have to see them. When I get really angry with the dogs I pull out my 900 lumen light and flood the whole darn forest.

BUT, for night hiking, I generally don't use the light at all, and when I do, I rarely use more than 40 lumens or so unless I'm hunting for trail markers on poorly marked or non-existent trails when the more power the better. I carry tiny lights backpacking (i.e. primarily on trails) and big powerful lights mountaineering when finding distant cairns or other distant route identifiers is critical.

blw2
07-10-2018, 22:23
I wish I had a light with two speeds and a simple mechanical toggle or rotary switch, 3 positions.... low - off - high, and some sort of separate mechanical way to toggle white vs red (or green)

Every light I've had, both cheap and expensive seem to have a dizzying array of settings of different levels and usually a red color thrown in too....with one push button. I want a dim red light...but first push gives me bright white, the next dim white, etc.... Well I should say every led I've had is like that. I think the first headlamp I ever had was more simple to my liking...one speed, on/off. A Princeton tech halogen I think it was.... rather big and heavy by today's standards.

I'm thinking for the purpose outlined by the OP, a better combination just might be a dim headlamp with a second bright light handy...so when you hear the noise you can pop on the spot...rather than cycling your dim light off, to red, to low, to medium,....

Perhaps a winning combo could be a dim light mounted waist height or so for better hiking depth perception, and a bright spot at the ready on the head

Last Call
07-11-2018, 00:31
if your going to night hike go ahead and use a real light...I recommend the Princeton Tec "League".....backup would be one of the new Energizers available at any Wal-Mart or Lowes.....good value and lots of light....

cmoulder
07-11-2018, 06:26
I wish I had a light with two speeds and a simple mechanical toggle or rotary switch, 3 positions.... low - off - high, and some sort of separate mechanical way to toggle white vs red (or green)

There actually is such a beast but you wouldn't want to use it for night hiking, the Petzl e+lite (https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/CLASSIC-headlamps/ePLUSLITE)... 50 lumens max and runs on 2x 2032 buttons so not a lot of run time.

https://www.petzl.com/sfc/servlet.shepherd/version/download/068w0000004n7CmAAI

blw2
07-11-2018, 19:35
that's pretty sweet cmoulder. I love it except for the batteries. l love the switch design...well what I can see in a picture anyway.

A long time ago though, I swore off lights that need 'special' batteries. By special I mean very small so they don't have much potential energy in them, less available, expensive, or all of the above. I'm partial to AA and AAA since you can get them anywhere....even more places than you can get button cells.

Here's one I've been considering becasue I like the switch on it too.... but for the price the battery has too small a capacity for my preference. Still, rechargeable is starting to have more appeal to me... the idea is growing on me.

https://www.ucogear.com/air-lithium-ion-rechargeable-headlamp-hl--air

cmoulder
07-12-2018, 06:53
One downside to rechargeable is no field replacement of batteries, although some rechargeables can also run on AAA, etc.

I know, one can use an external brick for recharging but I ain't that kinda guy. :cool:

If forced to stick with only one headlamp it'd be the BD Spot. Just replace the stupid-heavy head band with some shock cord.

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OwenM
12-01-2018, 04:34
Old thread, but I 4th the Zebralight 1AA. H52Fw for me, but I haven't kept up with the latest models. Nothing beats a wide beam with neutral tint for hiking at night.
After all, there are some things you don't want to miss seeing...
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