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pure_mahem
11-28-2019, 04:13
Just checked out this subforum and realize there hasnt been any posts in a long time here.

So What Light is Everyone Using these days?

Pros, Cons, Buy or Burn?

I will say I have a couple Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamps that Ive used for years neither of them are the higher lumen one they offer these days the Vizz 400 lumen. I bought them back then because they were at the time the only headlamp that could consistently run lithiums without frying the electronics. Not an issue Now at all. I will say I really like the Vizz it just does what it's suppose to do. I like running it on Lithiums they just store better and run better in my opinion. I tried rechargeables Rayovacs and man are they junk they go dead quick and dont hold a charge for now for more than a day before going dead.

I've used the Vizz as a bike light just removed the strap and attached it to my stem with 2 ranger bands. It works very well in that regard.

Down side is that the switch can be finicky to get the setting you want. Like trying to get into Red mode can be a real bear sometimes especially if you dont remember the button presses required.

I'm liking some of the new lights I've been seeing that actually have seperate switches for red and white light modes. Even seen a rechargeable Ozark Trail 300 lumen model that offer that for under $25. I may have to give this headlamp a try.

But thought I might bring this subforum back up into conversation and See whatchya all got goin.:banana

JC13
11-28-2019, 09:41
I have used the Nitecore NU25 for the past couple of years and it has been great! Very lightweight, the charge lasts for weeks if not months depending on use. USB rechargeable so I can replenish it if needed on trail from my battery bank.
It randomly goes on sale for <$25 and the normal price is around $35. It has separate buttons for red light and "normal" also has a CRI setting.

colorado_rob
11-28-2019, 10:38
I have used the Nitecore NU25 for the past couple of years and it has been great! Very lightweight, the charge lasts for weeks if not months depending on use. USB rechargeable so I can replenish it if needed on trail from my battery bank.
It randomly goes on sale for <$25 and the normal price is around $35. It has separate buttons for red light and "normal" also has a CRI setting. I've owned a gaggle of good headlamps over the decades, and I have to say this NU25 is my all time favorite, best lumens per gram as far as I can tell (with alternate UL strap) and excellent battery life, plus other nice features. We'll see how it holds up, but so far so good after about a month plus of hiking this fall.

Cheyou
11-28-2019, 10:47
Thrunite Ti3 single AAA battery flashlight with lithium batteries.

thom

Starchild
11-28-2019, 10:54
I have not found much difference in quality and experience between the high prices ones and the el-cheapo ones. As I have several I just chose the one that I can find at a particular moment.

Recalc
11-28-2019, 13:52
I've owned a gaggle of good headlamps over the decades, and I have to say this NU25 is my all time favorite, best lumens per gram as far as I can tell (with alternate UL strap) and excellent battery life, plus other nice features. We'll see how it holds up, but so far so good after about a month plus of hiking this fall.

Purchased an NU25 this summer. It was a pleasure to use. Nice headlamp for night hiking. It did everything it was supposed to do. After a couple of weeks, the headlamp started to behave erratically (unit was taken care of & never immersed in water). Next thing I knew, it wasn't working at all. My mistake was buying it from an unauthorized dealer. Thankfully, Walmart.com was receptive.

That being said, my plan is to replace the headlamp with a new NU25 because I really like this product. Nitecore does not have a big presence in the US, so it will be ordered from an authorized dealer.

capehiker
11-28-2019, 16:28
I have the second generation BD Ion and love it. The Ion was essentially written off after the first gen came out due to some design flaws but the second gen fixed those flaws and for me it’s just about perfect. All in, it weighs 1.8oz (with factory headstrap and batteries installed). It has a red light and the white light has an adjustable dimmer. You can lock the headlamp in the off position to keep it from coming on in your pack/pocket. I can get a long life off of one set of batteries, in which I don’t even carry a spare set (just use cell phone if needed).

When I compared the Ion and the Nitecore- factoring in features, price, headband comfort, and battery options, there is nothing the Nitecore can do that the Ion can’t. Saving scant ounces for more money in this category wasn’t worth it to me.

Slo-go'en
11-28-2019, 17:16
The only time I need a headlamp is in the winter, but I don't like the white light as the snow reflects it back and kills my night vision.

So I modified a headlamp by putting a high intensity Green LED in it, and made a special battery pack with electronics to varry the brightness. I have four levels of brightness to choose from depending on conditions.

fastfoxengineering
12-02-2019, 17:21
Litesmith version of the Nitecore NU25 for the AT and as my primary headlamp. Petzl AAA for nightime excursions in the White Mtns. Played with a thrunite Ti3 on a yoyo of the MSG but I like the headlamp better.

Going forward I'll continue to use the NU25 unless doing sketchy stuff or lots of night hiking is planned.

Mouser999
12-02-2019, 18:17
If you head over the Princeton Tec site, they have a promo for a free SNAP Light. All you have to do is sign up for their newsletter.
Got mine today and its bright. The box says 200 lumen but the site states 300. Its free so what?

Alex Blain-Laider
12-03-2019, 00:14
Either ThruNite TH20 headlamp or Fenix E12 handheld -both single AA flashlights.

pure_mahem
12-05-2019, 00:54
Thanks for that link. I signed up and shared it with a number of friends. Awesome!

OwenM
12-04-2020, 19:45
Litesmith version of the Nitecore NU25 for the AT and as my primary headlamp...Going forward I'll continue to use the NU25 unless doing sketchy stuff or lots of night hiking is planned.
^^^Agreed.

As a former "flashaholic", I'm not a fan of NiteCore as a brand, but a friend sent me a NU25 a while back. I've carried it to "test", and used it for night hiking a couple of times, when a campsite was unexpectedly taken, and when a late start had me getting into camp >2hrs after sunset. Maybe 3hrs of hiking, total, all in Medium. It's definitely usable for that, though far from ideal, due to the concentrated spot.
I would never choose it as a dedicated night hiking headlamp(Floody Zebralights with neutral emitters and replaceable batteries all the way, there), but being so light and tiny, and rechargeable, it's fine for normal backpacking use, where you're usually in camp by dark. No batteries to worry over, and a good spread on the levels.
The high beam is great for locating a good spot in a campsite, or when you need to see a way across a stream or something. The medium is plenty for hiking, the low for around camp, and the high CRI flood for inside a tent.
I think of it as my "real backpacking trip" light, as opposed to shorter ones where weight and bulk aren't an issue. A little keychain light would often be "enough", if less convenient, and I always carry something along those lines for a backup.

BatteryJunction has the NU25 on sale for $27.71 right now...

Nanatuk
12-04-2020, 21:57
I don't hike at night, so I rarely used a flashlight. I was usually in bed by dark. I carried a cheap 3 AAA amazon headlamp $20 and a small single AAA flashlight Thrunite Ti3 $15. I also carried 4 spare lithium AAA's. I only needed to change batteries in the headlight once in 1200 miles and still on the original battery for the Thrunite Ti3.
Unless your going to do any night hiking, you don't need much.

Edit -- Just realized this thread is from last year.

Sparky B
12-04-2020, 22:30
The Petzl e+LITE https://www.petzl.com/US/EN/Sport/CLASSIC-headlamps/ePLUSLITE is my primary headlight. It may be as light (weight-wise) as you can go. It works great for me around camp after dark. For night hiking, you will probably want more power at the cost of weight.

Dropdeadfred
12-04-2020, 22:46
I hate headlamps, carry a flashlight. Everyone with a headlamp no matter how considerate constantly blasts people in the face with them.
Dont use white lite on trail at all and keep white light to a minimum, and watch where you are shining it.

HankIV
12-04-2020, 22:50
Knog Bilby. No cord USB charging. Silicon strap, very comfortable. Bright.

OhioHiker
12-05-2020, 09:24
I have to add another vote for the NU25! It is awesome! I wanted to get a headlamp with red light AND USB rechargeable. the NU25 is about the only option and its under $30! IMO it sets the bar for headlamps. It is also true the headband weights just as much as the light unit. I went to Walmart and got a wide hair tie headband thing in the Womens hair care area, works perfect.




I hate headlamps, carry a flashlight. Everyone with a headlamp no matter how considerate constantly blasts people in the face with them.
Dont use white lite on trail at all and keep white light to a minimum, and watch where you are shining it.
I am always conscious of that.. it drives me crazy. I typically turn my light off or at least to red when talking to people and in camp. I recently backpacked to a fairly busy spot, I counted 15 tents within visual distance of me. Anyhow at night it was very humorous to see people with their headlamps on what must have been full brightness! it was like a laser light show lol..

Kaptainkriz
12-05-2020, 10:36
My primary is the Zebralight H52w and been using mine since 2016. It's no longer available and H53w replaced it I think. I paired it up with a Fenix ARB-L14-1600U USB Rechargeable AA Li-ion Battery. Loving this pairup!

BlackCloud
12-05-2020, 12:58
Surefire makes a very light, very bright, very expensive headlamp. Same expensive battery as my UV water filter.

Pelican makes good stuff as well.

OwenM
12-11-2020, 01:44
Surefire makes a very light, very bright, very expensive headlamp.
Strange way to describe an extremely heavy, bulky, underpowered, 1xCR123A headlamp. Unless you meant the Maximus, which is even bigger and heavier.
The Minimus really is a well-built light, but it's huge, and 3-4x the weight of a headlamp suitable for backpacking.
Feels like wearing a rhinocerous horn around. I had an older version with the same construction, and a warm emitter(Minimus Vision). Tried it out on some overnight trips and a long night hike, but its obnoxious size and lack of support for rechargeables were both dealkillers.

Tipi Walter
12-11-2020, 10:44
I hate headlamps, carry a flashlight. Everyone with a headlamp no matter how considerate constantly blasts people in the face with them.
Dont use white lite on trail at all and keep white light to a minimum, and watch where you are shining it.

In the old days of backpacking (1980) we all used state of the art backpacking flashlights---MINI MAGS!! No decent backpacker back then wanted anything else like Mallory etc. We held Mini Mags in our mouths most of the time to set up camp at night---here's my buddy Johnny B in 1985 setting up camp on Upper Creek in Pisgah with his Mini Mag in his mouth---And we drooled spit water down the things---

https://photos.smugmug.com/BooneYears/Pisgah-Upper-Creek/i-MGTmz6S/0/9edf54a8/L/Johnny%20B%20gets%20to%20Pisgah%20Camp%20at%20nigh t%20and%20sets%20up%20the%20tent-L.jpg

Many years ago I switched to headlamps---it's a no-brainer and so much more convenient---and purchased two of these---3 AAA fed---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2018-Trips-188-/20-Days-with-a-New-McHale-Pack/i-6b54HrT/0/4bfa2591/XL/Trip%20192%20%2881%29-XL.jpg

The Mini Mags had so many disadvantages---the little light bulb would burn out at the worst time---and replacing it at night on the trail was fun---getting the bulb's little prongs into the tiny holes---and not dropping the spring in the butt end to get the bulb etc etc. And how fast the bright bulb got dull. My Petzl lasts me easily 14 or 15 days with one set of batts---

CalebJ
12-11-2020, 11:09
So many memories of drooling on a Mini Mag. I'm glad to have moved on!

BlackCloud
12-11-2020, 13:37
Then they came out with the rubber bite tips.

CalebJ
12-11-2020, 13:44
Yep, there were various workarounds. Bite tips, even clunky straps to hold the light next to your head. Headlamps were a huge improvement (especially LED so you got improved durability and battery life).

BlackCloud
12-11-2020, 13:45
Strange way to describe an extremely heavy, bulky, underpowered, 1xCR123A headlamp. Unless you meant the Maximus, which is even bigger and heavier.
The Minimus really is a well-built light, but it's huge, and 3-4x the weight of a headlamp suitable for backpacking.
Feels like wearing a rhinocerous horn around. I had an older version with the same construction, and a warm emitter(Minimus Vision). Tried it out on some overnight trips and a long night hike, but its obnoxious size and lack of support for rechargeables were both dealkillers.
So 4 oz. is obnoxious? I am usually wearing a helmet when needing a headlamp. The Minimus is nothing compared to some of Petzel's or Nite Lite's other offerings:

https://www.huntsmart.com/products/nl1013?variant=27515713159232&gclid=Cj0KCQiAzsz-BRCCARIsANotFgOK-8nAblMCZA0i5-btkADzMAs5noLqYAoVCXrgjKZ2NfseoVc7C2MaAuLyEALw_wcB

Tipi Walter
12-11-2020, 13:54
Then they came out with the rubber bite tips.

I wrapped my Mini Mag with a fabric bandaid for mouth protection. Easily replaced.

Leo L.
12-11-2020, 17:07
Just wondering, if anybody else noticed a decay or fading of the LED brightness over the years?
My oldest LED is a Petzl Tikka (like in Walters pic above), about 12yrs old and while it still works perfectly fine it seems to be much less bright even with a new set of batteries than it had been when new.

CalebJ
12-11-2020, 17:13
I haven't noticed it, but my understanding is that's reasonable for an LED in general. Slow decay rather than sudden burnout, especially when they're driven hard.

Tipi Walter
12-11-2020, 17:13
Just wondering, if anybody else noticed a decay or fading of the LED brightness over the years?
My oldest LED is a Petzl Tikka (like in Walters pic above), about 12yrs old and while it still works perfectly fine it seems to be much less bright even with a new set of batteries than it had been when new.

Probably true. Any LED experts out there?

Question---you guys know of any headlamps that have "volume" brightness switches instead of click step-up switches? On a fresh set of batts I'd like to keep the light very dim but even on the lowest setting it's still too bright. (Mostly for reading in the tent). A volume knob could control light output better.

CalebJ
12-11-2020, 17:26
Probably true. Any LED experts out there?

Question---you guys know of any headlamps that have "volume" brightness switches instead of click step-up switches? On a fresh set of batts I'd like to keep the light very dim but even on the lowest setting it's still too bright. (Mostly for reading in the tent). A volume knob could control light output better.
As I recall, my older Black Diamond headlamp slowly adjusts brightness while you hold down the button. Not step by step, but a progressive adjustment like spinning a dimmer switch. I think it's a Spot?

Edit - this video demonstrates how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfyE0ChAovc&feature=youtu.be&t=41&ab_channel=BlackDiamondEquipment

That's a newer model than I've got, so it must be pretty standard for them.

Leo L.
12-11-2020, 17:29
Walter, the other Petzl I have (a Myo XP) you can program the steps of brightness.

Same idea here, to start with a very moderate brightness and then possibbly step up as needed.
Usually, when nighthiking I like very low light, just enough to get a clue where the path is going.
Same when having to get up in the middle of the night.

Later:
Just got a glimpse at the Petzl website.
Oh man.. this is going through the sky.
The more advanced models have multy-beam and can be monitored and modified by an app on your smartphone.
It has an intelligent way of detecting your environment and by this is able to set a suitable brightness by itself.
Looks like you're going to carry a computer on your hat.

NY HIKER 50
12-11-2020, 23:18
It was called the Jackstrap and I still have two somewhere.

NY HIKER 50
12-11-2020, 23:19
Yep, there were various workarounds. Bite tips, even clunky straps to hold the light next to your head. Headlamps were a huge improvement (especially LED so you got improved durability and battery life).
It was called the Jackstrap and I still have two somewhere.

NY HIKER 50
12-11-2020, 23:21
Just wondering, if anybody else noticed a decay or fading of the LED brightness over the years?
My oldest LED is a Petzl Tikka (like in Walters pic above), about 12yrs old and while it still works perfectly fine it seems to be much less bright even with a new set of batteries than it had been when new.

LED's tend to fade with age so your's is normal

NY HIKER 50
12-11-2020, 23:24
Hey everyone. I had the same problem with the Mini mag, especially when the bulb went out at the wrong time. When the LED conversion kit came out I ran to get it.

Dropdeadfred
12-12-2020, 09:05
ssems to be the case with all LED's, false advertising IMO. Claim to last for years but really they dont. Put them in my garage and yep super nice for a year or two now they are duller than the old school florescents they replaced. Same thing in the Kitchen and also on the boats I work on. Ones a few years old and the engine rooms look like a dungeon.

OwenM
12-13-2020, 04:04
So 4 oz. is obnoxious? I am usually wearing a helmet when needing a headlamp.
Is 4oz the size?
What kind of backpacking helmet do you have?
Do you wear it all the time, or just around camp, and in your tent?


Probably true. Any LED experts out there?

Question---you guys know of any headlamps that have "volume" brightness switches instead of click step-up switches? On a fresh set of batts I'd like to keep the light very dim but even on the lowest setting it's still too bright. (Mostly for reading in the tent). A volume knob could control light output better.
I used to be an "expert". Haven't really followed the development of LEDs very closely, or modded or built any lights, since they overtook incandescents in terms of practical brightness and runtime. That was the goal back when "bright" factory LED lights were putting out 15-30 lumens.
Nowadays, there's not much point in following every new development, and my soldering iron just gathers dust. I've got a little light that weighs less than the battery that powers it, puts out ~1300 lumens for a few minutes, has a fantastic tint and beam, and can run for 2.5 weeks at the level I actually use most before needing a fresh battery. Amazing.


Anyway, for reading in a tent, a floody headlamp with neutral tint and a mode/level with very low output is what you want.
I suppose the first step is deciding what kind of battery to use, and how much money you're willing to spend.

My idea of "cheap" is a $60-80 Zebralight flashlight or headlamp, and those are far and away the best overall lights in their price range, IMO. My "serious" lights have different priorities(and a different price range:rolleyes:), but for hiking/backpacking needs, I'm all about the floody Zebralights with neutral emitters.
They have programmable modes, so you can get very low output from them-like tiny fractions of a lumen.
The current H53Fw model automatically gets my recommendation, since it uses a AA battery.
http://zebralight.com/H53w-AA-Headlamp-Neutral-White_p_197.html

This version, with no reflector, is best if you want something strictly for use in the tent, reading, etc. It is pure flood, as opposed to the "floody" of the other light.

http://zebralight.com/H503w-AA-Neutral-White-Flood-Headlamp_p_237.html

All lighting supplied by my H52Fw.
Maybe you can see why I like the broad beam, and neutral tint...
47062

47063

47064

...and the floody vs.
47065

...the normal reflectored beam.
47066

colorado_rob
12-13-2020, 10:29
ssems to be the case with all LED's, false advertising IMO. Claim to last for years but really they dont. Put them in my garage and yep super nice for a year or two now they are duller than the old school florescents they replaced. Same thing in the Kitchen and also on the boats I work on. Ones a few years old and the engine rooms look like a dungeon. Maybe it's just the brand? I must have gotten really lucky because my very bright garage LED's have worked fine for 3-4 years now, since I replaced my bank of fluorescent lights. I think I usually buy Phillips brand. I got roped into a cheap brand, "Reit" or "Leit" or something like that and had numerous LED bulb failures (my entire house now uses LED's).

But yeah, LED's do fade over time, the main culprit is heat. with that said, running a 200 lumen headlamp at 200 lumens will probably make it fade a lot faster. Running it at 100 or 50 or whatever would probably make it last over twice as long, just a guess.

I used to hike with a mere 30 lumen lamp, and even did a lot of night hiking with it, though only on fairly easy terrain. I sure like having that 200 lumens available though for technical climbs at night (rare).

So far, I've yet to notice any fading on my nitecore NU25, but I hardly ever run it on high, mostly on the medium setting. Best overall headlamp I've ever owned. I think I've had it about 2 years.

Dropdeadfred
12-13-2020, 11:32
Wouldnt surprise me on the boats as they are state and I am sure installed by the lowest bidder. Probably buy some new shop ones soon and will look at the brand.
Thing about it is, it is so gradual you dont notice till you buy a new bulb.

colorado_rob
12-13-2020, 11:57
Wouldnt surprise me on the boats as they are state and I am sure installed by the lowest bidder. Probably buy some new shop ones soon and will look at the brand.
Thing about it is, it is so gradual you dont notice till you buy a new bulb. Yeah, true, but you can put a new bulb in a fixture next to an older bulb and then compare. I recently added two more LED fixtures in my garage, and the brightness look pretty darn similar to the older ones, but it really is hard to tell exactly. FWIW, I use the Phillips 6000K (daylight) "150W equivalent" bulbs (23 watts, I think) and 2600 lumens. I have 12 of those puppies now in my garage, it's like standing outside on a sunny day in there, very nice for woodworking and such. Sorry for the headlamp subject drift....

The overall good news is that LED bulbs have really come down in price, so they are so worth it for energy savings. And this applies to hiking lamps as well, way more light per ounce of battery than the old filament types.

h. hastings
12-16-2020, 08:30
+1 for the NU25. Used one on my recent Sobo and it worked like a champ. I liked to get an early start so I was usually on trail a couple hours before sunup every day. One of my daily "chores" was to plug it in when I got to camp in the evening to top it off for the next day's use. I especially like that you can lock the switch so it doesn't get turned on by accident. Also carried a Maglite Solitare for those mornings when the fog would just reflect the light from the headlamp back at me.