View Full Version : lighting

Dan Bowen
11-15-2002, 20:25
Just trying to figure out what to bring along with me on my thru-hike.What kind of lighting do you guys and girls use?Right now I am using a mag-lite (2AA)and a candle lantern.Do you think that combo will work for the long hawl?

11-15-2002, 20:42
I think the mag light is fine but, drop the candle lantern. Unless you have your sweetie along that is...:p

11-15-2002, 22:13
The new LED headlamps are lightweight and convenient. My favorite is the Black Diamond Moonlight because of the wide even beam, the nice thumb switch, and the tilt feature, though mine recently developed a loose connnection after 1.5 years. I returned it to REI and am waiting to get a new one. The Moonlight weight 3.2 ounces. Have also tried the Princeton Tec Aurora (2.6 oz) which has a more focused beam and 3 light intensities. I find the switch awkward for us left-handers. The Petzl Tikka (2.4 oz) is another good one. Zipka (2.2 oz) is the same as the Tikka with a thinner band. Newest entry is the Black Diamond Ion (only 1 oz) which seems too small to me. Some people get by with keychain lights like the Photon Microlight or Princeton Tec Pulsar. These make a good backup light if you carry a headlamp and don't want to bring spare batteries for it. Your AA mag light is 4 oz. for comparison

I recomment a headlamp if you expect to need a light for camp chores, like cooking. If you go to bed at dusk every night you could probably get away with a couple of Microlights. If you camp in spring and fall, nights are long and you'll want a headlamp. If you camp in winter, get something that takes AA batteries because you can get those in lithium. The above lightweight headlamps all take AAA.

11-16-2002, 07:23
Dan - I used the type of maglite you're thinking of in 2001. It worked ok. The only real problem I had was I blew out the bulb in the middle of the night while taking care of "business". Left me out away from the shelter, on a dark rainy night. Was a little "interesting" get back!

I'm going to switch over to a Petzel Tikka for 2003. It just seems easier than the maglite. Your hands are free when you use a headlamp. I also love the light output on the Tikka. It's so amazing the amount of light you get out of such a small package. I also have a Princeton Tec Pulsar that I have a thin cord on. I wear it around my neck when I go to bed. If I have to get up in the middle of the night, it's easier to find. Plus, you're not shining a lot of light in your sheltermate's eyes. Trust me.. they will appreciate it.

11-16-2002, 11:23
I didn't know this either for a long time. But the mags come with a spare bulb inside.

Twist off the end and take the spring off the cap and there it is. There's also room there to put two more bulbs if you remove the plastic thingy around the spare that's already there.

You can also make a lantern out the mag by taking the lense off and putting that on the end, therefore making a stand for it to stand on.


SGT Rock
11-16-2002, 11:50
I have been using MAG lights for years, I've probably spent more on the bulbs than I ever did on the light, and I've probably cussed at them more than anyone here. The bulbs seemed to fail at the worst moments, are a pain to replace without another light, and the spares sometimes fail as soon as you replace it. I hate them and have quit using them as of about 6 months ago. I now rely only on LED lights.

There is a plethora of LEDs out there. I have found some relatively cheap ones that last for many hours on a couple of lithium batteries, the LED (not really a bulb) lasts for YEARS, and I can carry two for less weight than a set of AA lithium batteries for my old MAG light.

BTW, I hate headlamps. Seems like the wearer will at some point (often) look into your eyes with them - as is natural, but with a tripple LED headlamp is downright un mannerly. I just use a LED and hold it in my teeth when I need both hands or I'm reading. As for night hiking, that is my sleeping time.

11-16-2002, 11:54
early in my 2000 hike, at NOC, i bought a princton tec matrix. 3 LED bulbs, 2 AA batteries. later in hot springs, i put lithium batteries in it. the thing is heavier than the ones i see mentioned here, but it puts out lots of light and 2 1/2 years later, it still has the same batteries in it. it's been used and abused and like the bunny, just keeps on going.

11-18-2002, 09:22
During prime season hiking (April-November), I use two photon lights. One yellow and one turqoise. The yellow one is for reading, etc, and the turqoise one for hiking at night, if I have to. The turqoise one works just fine, although remember that you have to hand hold it if you are doing a long hike (mouthslobber isn't good for it). I like the light weight, but also the compactness. Headlamps are better if you are going to be doing a lot of night hiking or are worried about having to do a lot of campchores in the dark. Now that there is little light left, I am back to carrying my Petzl Zoom. When I get around to it,I'll probably replace it with a Moonlight.

11-18-2002, 23:05
i personaly tend to pack up on the lights. i bring several with me. its not that i think that i wont be able to function without it, its that i dont want to have to deal with an emergency and find that i have to just deal without a light. i enjoy night hiking as well and therefore bring lights that can be used safely while hiking at night. although im aware of the problems that headlamps cause there is also a big benifit to having both hands free. i think im going to get red filters for my lights soon so as not to destroy other hikers night vision as ive become aware of this occurence. im also figuring that LEDs are becoming a big thing now, and they are much more efficient than traditional lights. im deffinently going to look into the different methods mentioned in this post. im glad that theres a place for me to get information on this.

11-26-2002, 06:23
excellent compilation and comparison between all that it out there, so thanks!

11-26-2002, 13:03
I use a Petzl Tikka. It's not built all that durable though. I dropped it once, and now have occassional problems with the light flickering if I move my head fast. Probably a loose wire. I've heard BlackDiamonds 4-Led "Moonlight" is much better in quality.

LEDs are the obvious choice for multi-week hikers. However, I rarely spend more than 3 days (2 nights) hiking at a time, and would appreciate a brighter Halogen headlamp for it's huge lighting advantage. I'm thinkning about getting a BlackDiamond Gemini. Which incorporates a 7-hour Halogen & 1000-hour LED setup in one.

12-16-2002, 09:29
I bought a Black Diamond Gemini for my husband, and I think it may be the perfect choice for all-season, all-conditions hiking. There's a bright incandescent bulb for night hiking/skiing or rescue work and the LED for around camp. Takes 3 AA batteries, so you can use lithiums (a must for winter). Weight only 7 oz (6 with lithiums). Compare that to my standard winter headlamp, the Petzl Duo Belt, which weighs almost a pound with batteries.

12-16-2002, 13:55
I use the Petzl Zipka and on a lanyard I have one white photon(along with a swiss army knife, P38). The zipka is good for night reading or setting up camp in the dark or night hiking, the photon I use for middle of the night potty excursions.

Max Patch
12-16-2002, 14:56
I saw a lot a candle lanterns at Springer. I didn't see any at Katahdin. Personally, I bought one in Damascus. Threw it away after 2 or 3 weeks.


12-17-2002, 16:49
ive known people who really liked having just a single candle, no lanturn, (useless weight) but just a candle to read at night and write in their diary and it worked great for them as long as there was not a strong wind. i think they should incorporate the trick birthday candles with larger type candles for hikers, then you wouldnt have to worry so much about it, just make sure the flame was extinguished when you put it back in your pack.

12-19-2002, 10:43
I use the Petzl Tikka nad my husband used the Petzl Zipka. Both had flickering problems occasionally but it wasn't anything we couldn't live with. After a month or two it's a lot lighter out later in the day, and if yo're like us, you won't even need a light...you'll probably be asleep before it's fully dark anyway! Good luck.

SGT Rock
12-19-2002, 11:07
I just want to ask again, for the record. You guys with the headlamps, please do not look someone in the eyes to talk to them while wearing those things, we hate it. It is very inconsiderate. And there are those of us that also night hike without all those bright lights, please don't screw up our night vision with those.

12-19-2002, 13:14
The shining of the headlamp into other peoples eyes is a problem for many headlamps. One of the reasons I like the Aurora is that one can flip it so that it is pointed down to the ground (ie illuminate your own face) while talking with someone and to keep the light out of the other persons eyes without bending ones head down. The hinge on the Aurora occassionally works loose however but it gives me a good excuse to carry a tool (Swiss Army knife "Midnight Mini") that includes a small phillips screwdriver and its own LED light.

Blue Jay
12-27-2002, 09:07
In 2001, I started from Springer in May. In almost every shelter there was one or more candle lanterns. I for some reason I started collecting them and mailing them home. I ended up with 57 of them. I have a theory that they are the number two item (after garbage) purposefully left in shelters.

12-27-2002, 10:29
I agree with SGT Rock on the "light in yo eyes" problem. :(
EarlyRiser mentioned the Red Filters. Do you know where to get them and which headlamps they fit?

SGT Rock
12-27-2002, 10:32
Hey Blue Jay, maybe those candle lanterns were left on purpose. The new ATC shelter lighting project. Now you have screwed it all up LOL :cool:

Some LEDs come in color these days, and that is all I ever use anymore - green and blue seem the best.

You can always make your own by getting a colored document protector, then trim it to fit inside your lense.

12-27-2002, 12:50
I believe you can buy a set of colored plastic filters for the Tikka and Zipka, including a red one.

12-27-2002, 12:56
SGT Rock- Many of the newer headlamps have the ability to point down at your feet. But I will agree that it is very annoying to have someone shine their light in your eyes.

As for my light of choice, I just bought a new headlamp for this year. The Black Diamond Ion. Has two LED lights, uses one AA batt. and weighs in at an ounce. It costs about $22. Don't know if I will use it, or the Photons like I did last year. The only problem with the photon lights are that if they get wet, they stay on.

01-09-2003, 22:37
I'm a headlamp user- Princeton Tec Aurora.

I also HATE that lamp in your eyes thing...~!!!!!

So, trying to avoid abusing , I wear mine around my neck when around shelters or areas where there are others around,instead of on my head. Works just fine!
One advantage of the Aurora is that is has adjustable brightnesses .
Haven't had mine all that long, but I really like it.


01-10-2003, 08:34
experimenting with the Black Diamond
Moonbeam- it is a 4 burner model that I woulndt want to look into SGTROCK's eyes with...much brighter than my Tekka. 2months ago used the Teka to get to Fontana Dam after dark...for me a little more light is needed in the crepuscular hours

01-10-2003, 09:40
How is the Moonbeam? I use the Tikka, and have had no problems with it except for a switch that sometimes flickers on and off when jumping, or whipping my head around fast.

01-10-2003, 09:54
I'll be hiking with my Tikka, and a Photon for backup. I don't plan on doing much night hiking, unless forced into it, so I'm confident that I'll have sufficient light for camp activity. If you plan on doing any serious night hiking, I'd recommend going with something with a bit more power than a Tikka...I've done a couple miles at night with the Tikka alone, and it's fine until the fog rolls in - I've taken a few wrong turns on foggy or rainy nights, it just doesn't cut through that well at longer ranges.

01-10-2003, 09:55
I love my Moonlight. Like the tilt feature, the batteries on back to balance the weight, the big thumb switch, the way you can turn the lamp to block the switch when it's in your pack. However, mine developed a loose connection after 1 1./2 years. REI replaced it and we'll see if this one develops the same problem.

02-02-2003, 16:03
I like the ArcFlashlight, a one LED light that uses one aaa battery, because it has a circuit that keeps the brightness similar to a new Photon for almost the entire lifetime of the battery.
It is tough, waterproof, has a battery that is easy to find and easy to put in, and has a good reliable switch. The aaa battery loses around a third of its brightness during around 6.5 hours and then quickly declines during the next hour. The flashlight weighs less than its battery.

When I want more light I use a MiniMAG with the bulb assembly replaced by a new more-efficient super-LED from Inretech. If I want a headlamp I use it with the JakStrap headband. It is far brighter than a typical LED headlamp and lasts much longer. Unlike the standard MiniMAG it is reliable.
With 2 alkaline aa batteries it is bright for around 12 hours. With 2 lithium aa batteries it is bright for around 65 hours. The difference is caused by the fact that the voltage has to stay above a certain level to keep the LED bright. In both cases it continues as a less bright light for many days.
This light works the same as the CMG Reactor sold by Campmor but the Reactor weighs almost twice as much as the Inretech.

02-02-2003, 22:22
Go with the BD moonlight - It is a great piece of gear.

02-02-2003, 23:06
The BD Moonlight is good, but for 5 dollars more and 7/10 oz more weight the Inretech in a new MiniMAG with a JakStrap gives you a much brighter light that remains a bright light 10 times as long. The Inretech uses a new more efficient LED, one LED that is far brighter than the four in the Moonlight.
Actually, for hiking the AT when it isn't winter, the ArcFlashlight is more than enough unless you are really into night hiking.

Dan Bowen
02-03-2003, 20:51
GARRATY,where can I get some super-led's from inretech.I would like to get some bulb assembly replacements for my 2aa mag-lite.thank you.

02-03-2003, 20:58