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  1. #1
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Default Headlamp referrals/waterproof?

    I'm considering getting a headlamp and wondered if I could get some advice:
    - I see some are waterproof; I would think they all should be, and if not, should this be a determining factor for buying one?
    - Is a red filter a useful perk?
    - Besides battery life, brightness, and weight, is there anything else I should look for?
    Good referrals, bad referrals all welcome.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  2. #2
    AKA - Yahtzee mnof1000v's Avatar
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    :banana my opinion

    When I bought a headlamp, I didn't take nearly the interest in the process that you seem to have. That said, I can fill you in a bit.

    I use a Petzl Zipka, which is ridiculously light and sturdy. They say it's not waterproof, and list it as water resistant. I usually carry it in my pocket, and in Maine I forded a few rivers without realizing it was there. Each time I kicked myself for inadvertently dunking it in the water as I had, but each time I found it in perfect working order. Honestly, I don't know why you'd need it to be more than water resisitant - unless you plan on doing what I have done. In which case, this headlamp would hold up anyway.

    I never understood the whole the red tint thing or the strobe-light feature, and think it's entirely unnecessary.

  3. #3
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a heavy one by most standards. I use the Petzel Mayo3, I think it is called. It weigths about 8.5 oz with batteries. It takes 4 AA batteries.

    I like it b/c of the long battery life, it has a normal halogem bulb for seeing distance, and has 3 brightnesss settings. Petzel makes other lighter ones, I just wanted some over kill for the times I want to so things in the dark.

    One thing to consider is the battery size. I got one that takes the same ones as my digital camera. If I bring head phones I will get ones that also take AA. That way I do not need to worry about different sizes. Plus batteries that won't power the camera will still power the radio or headlamp for a while.

  4. #4
    AKA - Yahtzee mnof1000v's Avatar
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    Default oh yeah....

    In reference to the batteries... My batteries lasted for about 70% of the hike before I had to replace them.

  5. #5

    Default Pak-Lite?

    Has anyone experimented with using the following on-trail?

    http://www.9voltlight.com/

    I like the glow-in-the-dark model... 'leetness.

    I thought about getting one to replace my headlamp, although everything I have that requires batteries currently uses AAA. (jwin AM/FM radio, headlamp, iPod Shuffle, yada, yada, yada...)

    Now if I could find a small AM/FM radio that requires a 9 volt, I'd be set!

    BTW: I also thought the idea of a 9v would be pretty cool for emergency firestarting (bring along a small 35mm film canister with steel wool -- touch a small piece to the battery contacts to ignite).

    Besides if you get really bored, you can use it to zap your tongue! (Behold, the human battery-tester! -- LOL.)

    -- pp

  6. #6
    Registered User Hammerhead's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mnof1000v
    When I bought a headlamp, I didn't take nearly the interest in the process that you seem to have. That said, I can fill you in a bit.

    I use a Petzl Zipka, which is ridiculously light and sturdy. They say it's not waterproof, and list it as water resistant. I usually carry it in my pocket, and in Maine I forded a few rivers without realizing it was there. Each time I kicked myself for inadvertently dunking it in the water as I had, but each time I found it in perfect working order. Honestly, I don't know why you'd need it to be more than water resisitant - unless you plan on doing what I have done. In which case, this headlamp would hold up anyway.

    I never understood the whole the red tint thing or the strobe-light feature, and think it's entirely unnecessary.
    The red light feature is to basically preserve your night vision and I would assume that the strobe feature is for emergency signaling or for for those times when you want to make the inside of your tent look like a disco!
    Official Star Schlep Crew Member

  7. #7
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Petzl Zippka with AAA Lithium batteries. They will last forever and the whole unit will weigh less than 2 ounces with batteries.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

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    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
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    NO SNIVELING

  8. #8
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Default clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by mnof1000v
    When I bought a headlamp, I didn't take nearly the interest in the process that you seem to have. That said, I can fill you in a bit.
    I was initially thinking this was a straightforward purchase, but then I always find something to overanalyze!

    Anyway, I saw some that said 'waterproof' and didn't know if the others weren't - seems like it should be out on the AT, not that I plan on doing a lot of nighttime rain hiking, but you know...

    I think you probably answered my waterproof question in that these things are probably built to be sufficiently water resistent anyway, whether they say it or not in the sales blurb.

    The red filter seems like a reasonable feature, but I'd like some feedback from anyone that has an opinion on its real usefulness.

    Strobe has the same purpose as the whistle I carry. I only use for referee disco parties at the shelters.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  9. #9
    Registered User dla's Avatar
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    Go to Target. Buy the Rock River 0.5W headlamp. Uses two AAA batteries. I can vouch for it's waterproofnes. Cost you $15. Very lightweight. Very rugged. 2 brightness settings. It is the best of the budget headlamps.

    You can spend more, but you won't get much more.

  10. #10
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    Default

    EverReady has two very good headlamps, 3AAA with spotlight beams and a red option built in to preserve night vision. One model weighs 2.2 with batteries and has 2white and one red LED with a sliding switch. the other has a push button switch, 6 LEDs with spot, flood and red options. It weights 2.7 if I remember right.

    A direct current system like a headlamp does not have to be waterproof. All that happens is the contacts corrode and the batteries go down faster than normal until it dries. If you can't get a waterproof unit, don't worry too much. Just keep it as dry as possible, shake out water if it gets wet and be prepared to clean the contacts now and then.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Pretty much all decent headlamps are water resistant enough to hike with in moderate rain. In really heavy rain a headlamp won't help you much as it reflects off the rain, and you'll likely have the brim of a hood or cap over the lamp in rain anyway. I don't think waterproof lamps are necessary.

    I LOVE the Petzl Tikka Plus. I've nighthiked with it tons, in rain, in cold, hasn't let me down yet. A red filter is nice because it preserves your night vision if you need to swtich it on briefly, and it won't wake others up if you're in a shelter or sleeping near other people. Also, animals don't really perceive red light so you can sneak up on mice in shelters and squish them, all stealth like. I've never really found one necessary, shield the light with your hands.

  12. #12
    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    Default mice smasher

    Quote Originally Posted by -BLEACH-
    A red filter is nice because... animals don't really perceive red light so you can sneak up on mice in shelters and squish them, all stealth like.
    OOh, I like that function!!
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  13. #13
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Default

    I have the Zipka and now the Zipka PLus (is that right? Anyway it's the new one with 4 LEDs.) The Zipka has been a great light for years, but the newer version is MUCH brighter, and still weighs less than 3 oz with batteries. With the new one, you push a button to set the light levels, and it does have a strobe function (though I'm not sure what you do with it). I have night hiked with the older 3-LED Zipka, and it sort-of worked okay, but the new one is MUCH brighter (did I mention that already?).

    The Zipka has a nifty built-in cord thingy for a strap, while the Tikka has a standard webbing head strap. Otherwise they are the same.

    The only serious issue I have with the Zipka is that the LEDs point down at an angle that makes it very easy to work on something right in front of me. That's nice for cooking, setting up camp, etc., but it makes it difficult to aim the light down the trail when hiking. But it's not that big a deal. Oh, and it's not cheap at about $40, but I think I've gotten my money out of it.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  14. #14
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    I'm still using a Petzl Tikka that I bought back in 2000. Amazing life for a little light. It was the first in the line of headlamps. Might not be totally waterproof but I carried it on my thru in 2003 and I know it got wet.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  15. #15

    Default

    I have the zipka (3 LED) and the zipka plus (4 LED), neither is bright enough to do serious night hiking, great for camp, getting water, reading etc. I use the Petzl Duo with the new 5 cluster super-LEDs, Its the best I've ever used.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mnof1000v
    In reference to the batteries... My batteries lasted for about 70% of the hike before I had to replace them.
    y=.70x What does "x" equal?

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    Here's a vote for the Princeton Tec Aurora. I've abused that headlamp, dunked it in rivers and banged it on rocks, and it still works perfectly. It's light, has three brightness settings, and the batteries last for a long time, especially if you use lithium.
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

  18. #18
    James Sodt Time To Fly 97's Avatar
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    Petzl Tikka Plus - Always reliable, been through monsoons with it, batteries last a long time, lightweight, fits well (under jacket hoods, etc.)...

    I've had mine since 2000. Highly recommended.

    TTF

  19. #19
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    Default another princeton tec vote

    I've had an aurora that survive daily use and abuse in Afghanistan (it was with me for the whole time basically, on my head, around my neck or in my pocket) for 8 months and abuse from me and my kids. I had a LED go disco on one of my 3 auroras and they sent me a new one (headlamp) promptly. I've never had the batteries run completely dead - plenty of warning as the light dims (haven't tried lithiums). Recently got the EOS from REI-outlet for 19 bucks but haven't tried it in the field. It has a nice throw tho.
    nous défions

  20. #20
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    Try the Princeton Tec Quad. 4 LED's, great beam pattern, great battery life (including a battery meter), less than 3 ounces, and waterproof to 1 meter. It's regulated so that you get good brightness right up until the batteries die. It's also a bit cheaper than comparable lamps, at $30 in most stores.

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