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Thread: headlamps

  1. #1
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    Default headlamps

    looking for a solid, dependable headlamp. the ones i've used seem to last a few months, and then just stop working. mostly about 50$ range led lamps that use triple a' battery's. anybody have experience with more costly ones, and think they were worth extra $$ ?

    like to hear some experienced opinions. thanks

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    Default headlamps

    You try Princeton tec??? I've had zero issues with their higher quality models. Eos is my go to right now. No complaints, $40 I think, but I got a deal.

    Well, sometimes the hinges seem to seize up, but that was only on the cheaper model p tec. It still works but I had to tape it so the hinge couldn't move.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I've used all kinds (except maybe the latest greatest ones). The best overall performance that I've found was the Princeton Apex. I think it is a 3 watt bulb and we use rechargable AA's exclusively.

    We live off the grid so we use the headlamps everyday for probably 6 months of the year. I am still using the first Apex that I bought in 2003 or 2004. THe headlamps main plastic housing is slowly falling apart, and it is now being held together with duct tape, but it still works just fine.

    Honestly, if you want a BRIGHT, durable headlamp, find out what this years crop of iditarod mushers are using. They always gravitate towards the latest greatest brightest toughest...

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    It really depends what you want to use it for. I run dogs and I've got chore headlamps for around my property and brighter headlamps for running dogs. I do have to say that the only Princeton Tec headlamp I've had that I really liked is the Apex. If you run with just the LEDs it isn't that hard on batteries and can do double-duty as a chore headlamp. Princeton Tec Fuels are okay but can't take a beating at all. Drop 'em once and the end caps break off - it's happened to three in our household now. The Princeton Tec Byte is worthless - chews through batteries and goes into a weird can't-shut-off mode when the batteries get low - you have to pull the batteries. Another headlamp that I've got and like a lot is a Brunton L3, which I don't think they make anymore but has been absolutely reliable and has reasonable battery life/power tradeoff. Had a Black Diamond Storm I liked but I lost it.

    For distance stuff a lot of us have moved to Lupines, but they're expensive and are brighter than you need for most applications. They'll really light up the woods. Expect to pay upwards of $800 for a top-of-the-line one, plus you'd probably want to add extra batteries (that's right - they don't use disposables, and you've got to recharge them). There are a couple of other very high-end headlamps in that price range now. A few people I know use Mammut Lucidos and are happy with them - they're about the same range of power as a Princeton Tec Apex, I think, and you can find deals on them from time to time.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've got a half dozen Petzl Tikkas for the family....good results so far. Pretty bright, easy on batteries, like the flip up diffuser for tent use. I've got a 10yr old Petzl with a AA battery pack on a cable...has LEDs and a halogen beam- still going strong but I use the Tikka more because the battery life is so much better.

    Works good for hiking, hunting, trail running, XC skiing, snowshoeing, etc. For mushing dogs or powersports and such you'll probably want something brighter.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    I have a Petzl Tac Tikka that I was issued several years ago in the military that's still going strong. It had a flip down red lens that's nice for turning on in the tent when you don't want to wake your partner up.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default headlamps

    I have a bunch of BD headlamps and have been impressed with battery life and range. They dim down for tent use and switch between spot and close up which works great. Don't weigh much either and my oldest one has been in the pack for years now. I take two and have tied one to the top of my spike tent set on strobe to get be back to camp in the dark a couple times with good success. Nice to see that beacon in the distance with a heavy pack!

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    have tied one to the top of my spike tent set on strobe to get be back to camp in the dark a couple times with good success. Nice to see that beacon in the distance with a heavy pack!
    Yep- mine has a smaller red LED beacon that carries quite a ways. Nice to see that and know you're getting there.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    I mainly use AA headlamps. They may be heavier but I want everything I carry to use the same batteries so I can carry minimal spares and swap them between devices if needed. I went on a crazy headlamp buying spree on steep&cheap a while back and have a bunch of different ones now. I like the Mammut Lucido TX1 for backpack trips. It actually got me back and forth across the delta river 4 round trips in the middle of the night one January using the spot light. The buttons are small and get stiff when the temps drop but it is my favorite so far. Spot light, 2 fog lamp levels, or combination spot/fog. I use the Mammut X-Zoom for cutting wood, work around the yard, and hunting from vehicles. These two lamps have the battery pack on the back of the headband with red blinking lights that can be turned on and off. The X-Zoom is easy to use with three light levels and a twist adjust beam.

    I also have a Petzl MYO XP with the remote battery pack to try on the trail when it is real cold but haven't tested it enough yet. The Mammuts can also be had with the remote battery packs.

    I have a BD Spot that I use for working on stuff in the shop when a drop light isn't handy. It uses AAA's and usually stays home.

    A long time Iditarod musher I visited with a couple years ago told me the BD Icon was popular among the mushers.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sh View Post
    looking for a solid, dependable headlamp. the ones i've used seem to last a few months, and then just stop working. mostly about 50$ range led lamps that use triple a' battery's. anybody have experience with more costly ones, and think they were worth extra $$ ?

    like to hear some experienced opinions. thanks
    I've used Petzls and Princeton Tecs and never had a failure. What brands are giving you problems?

  11. #11
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I have a Princeton Tec EOS and a Black Diamond Spot. No problems with either.
    Now what ?

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    Member Ryan J's Avatar
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    My favorite right now is my Princeton Tec Remix. We also have some PT Fuels in the family that have not failed. I have heard about the battery cap breaking off but we have not had that issue. In fact a dog got a hold of my wife's Fuel, it is chewed up with teeth marks all over it but works fine still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GD Yankee View Post
    I've used Petzls and Princeton Tecs and never had a failure. What brands are giving you problems?
    i had a black diamond one that went into lock mode for no reason, hard to get it reset or whatever you call it.

    i just returned it today and got a petzl, going to try that out. this one has double aa's instead of triples, so more battery power to start with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mlshore View Post
    It really depends what you want to use it for. I run dogs and I've got chore headlamps for around my property and brighter headlamps for running dogs. I do have to say that the only Princeton Tec headlamp I've had that I really liked is the Apex. If you run with just the LEDs it isn't that hard on batteries and can do double-duty as a chore headlamp. Princeton Tec Fuels are okay but can't take a beating at all. Drop 'em once and the end caps break off - it's happened to three in our household now. The Princeton Tec Byte is worthless - chews through batteries and goes into a weird can't-shut-off mode when the batteries get low - you have to pull the batteries. Another headlamp that I've got and like a lot is a Brunton L3, which I don't think they make anymore but has been absolutely reliable and has reasonable battery life/power tradeoff. Had a Black Diamond Storm I liked but I lost it.

    For distance stuff a lot of us have moved to Lupines, but they're expensive and are brighter than you need for most applications. They'll really light up the woods. Expect to pay upwards of $800 for a top-of-the-line one, plus you'd probably want to add extra batteries (that's right - they don't use disposables, and you've got to recharge them). There are a couple of other very high-end headlamps in that price range now. A few people I know use Mammut Lucidos and are happy with them - they're about the same range of power as a Princeton Tec Apex, I think, and you can find deals on them from time to time.
    in the winter i use mine for my surveying job. we need to see the data collector and equipment to start early on dark mornings. the new one i bought i will check out tomorrow.

  15. #15
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    I prefer the princeton tec apex extreme. The battery pack can be kept near your body during cold weather. Lot of lumens for the money. The battery pack will work with two batteries, and will hold a max of 8 batteries.

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    Default second for the princeton tec apex, but only if you're serious

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I prefer the princeton tec apex extreme.
    I bought this exact unit after a post on here from mainer on this very subject, maybe a year ago. I love it. Very bright, very good controls, plus I'm a AA guy - most all I carry takes AA, from my varied flashlights to my SPOT (I) to my GPS.

    One caveat though. If you're a one headlamp kind of person, this might not be the one you want. For very short trips to a dark yard, dark freezer, dark shed, etc... I slap on a little (no name) mini headlamp that has no dangly cord to its batteries; its more convenient since its self contained and light. But for a serious outing, that mini headlamp falls way short and could help towards getting its owner killed; I wouldn't rely on it for my main light afield.

    As Mainer said, that princeton tec apex's cord that leads to its battery pack is quite a huge feature for serious outings, since it hugely improves your illumination time without forcing you to a different/separate battery type, and you can keep the batteries warm inside your coat greatly extending life, and also: that removes the weight of batteries from your head - I do find that significantly better for anything but a quicky trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    As Mainer said, that princeton tec apex's cord that leads to its battery pack is quite a huge feature for serious outings, since it hugely improves your illumination time without forcing you to a different/separate battery type, and you can keep the batteries warm inside your coat greatly extending life, and also: that removes the weight of batteries from your head - I do find that significantly better for anything but a quicky trip.
    Absolutely, and the Lupines and the Brunton L3 have that, as well. If you're interested you can pick up external battery packs, bumper switches, arctic cord, and sealed connectors to convert a (non-regulated) headlamp at Cold Spot Feed in Fairbanks.

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    I'm a big fan of the Princeton Tec Apex series of headlamps. Actually have two of them, One that takes 4 AA batteries, with the battery pack up at the back of the headband and the other takes 8 AA's and the battery pack either tucks into a pocket or clips to your belt. With 8 AA lithium batteries, that thing will last for a really really long time. Really like both of those lamps. They are more than bright enough for whatever I used them for, including running dogs for a long run at night. Also for those in the Fairbanks area....The power cord on my original apex would get really stiff in the cold and the outer layer eventually cracked in several places. Brought it into Arctic Fire and Safety and they handed me a new one right off the shelf, no questions asked, even though I even told them that I did buy the headlamp from them. The guy there said that Princeton Tec has changed to an arctic grade power cord in the last or two to help address that issue. Said for most issues with the princeton tec headlamps to bring it in to them and they'd most likely just exchange it on the spot for you.

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I have been using the Petzl MYO for years. Float trips in AK, camping and other stuff here in NC, just a great head lamp. Like you, I went through a few duds along the way. These are the bee's knees. Runs on AA batteries, long battery life, different brightness settings (including boost for when you need more), articulating head for close up jobs, flip down dispersion filter for broad lighting or flip it up for spot lighting, and still looks and performs like the day I bought it. Had it for 3-4 years, and seeing your thread reminds me I wanted to pick up an extra for the wife. I also have a few of the tiny Petzl e-lites. They are great in the tent and for cooking at camp. I use them around the house, while grilling out, etc..

    http://www.rei.com/product/829549/pe...rxp-2-headlamp



  20. #20
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Tools for the job...

    Quote Originally Posted by mlshore View Post
    It really depends what you want to use it for...
    For most camp uses, I've been happy with Petzl Tikka XPs. Instead of carrying extra batteries though, I was just carrying two headlamps. But for other uses, a brighter (heavier) light can be worth its weight. On our October deer hunt, I found a heavier, much brighter headlamp (Petzl Myo RXP) far better suited for dark nights and tricky footing. I shot a deer late in the day in October. The many humbling lessons I learned from my more experienced hunt partners on this trip would take up another thread - but not the least of which is carry my best lighting with me when I leave camp.

    Those Lupine lighting systems are in a whole new price class, but must be special (http://gretnabikes.com/headlamp_sets.asp). thanks for the tip, mlshore.

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