Princeton Tec Scout Headlamp Review

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by the Product Review Staff | 2003-12-10 03:00:00-07

Princeton Tec Scout Headlamp Review

Princeton Tec Scout Specifications

The Princeton Tec Scout weighs 1.4 oz (40 g) with its 4x2032 coin cell batteries. It is a 2-LED headlamp with the battery housing in the front (same compartment as the lamp housing). The headband is a single strap, wrap-style with 3/4" elastic webbing.

Usability

The Princeton Tec Scout offers three brightness modes ('high', 'medium', and 'low') plus two blinking strobe modes (30 Hz, 120 Hz). Modes are toggled with a single pushbutton switch, designed to be pushed with your index finger while your thumb and index finger 'pinch' the lamp housing. The switch is easily operable with bare hands, but its tiny 1/4" x 3/8" size and low depression depth make it difficult to use while wearing even thin gloves and nearly impossible with any kind of mitten.

Changing the batteries requires removing a single screw from the housing with a Phillips screwdriver. Because the screw is not set in a secured screw housing, the tiny screw require attention so you don't lose it in the field.

The pivoting head can be operated with one hand (but the hinge could benefit from smoother operation), and pivots to a position where the switch remains covered during storage, preventing accidental turn-on of the lamp in your pack or pocket.

One unique feature of the Princeton Tec Scout is the ability to remove it from the headband and clip it to the bill or brim of a cap. In this configuration, the Scout with batteries sans headband weighs only 0.94 oz (26.6 g).

Performance of the Princeton Tec Scout

With fresh batteries at room temperature, the Princeton Tec Scout has an initial center-of-beam brightness on its high setting of 111 lux at a distance of 2 feet, falling off to 2 lux at 1 foot off the beam's center.

In our cold conditions test (center-of-beam brightness at 38 °F), the Scout's lighting power on its high setting was 81 lux at 0 hours (fresh batteries), 14 lux at 8 hours, and 9 lux at 24 hours (sufficient for close-up task lighting). For the Scout's medium setting, corresponding brightness levels were 51 lux (0 hours), 10 lux (8 hours), and 6 lux (24 hours), respectively.

Application

The Princeton Tec Scout is best suited as a short range task light. With fresh batteries at its highest setting, it is bright enough for short-range navigation on a trail, even in cold conditions.

Weaknesses

The Scout's primary weakness is its battery configuration. While 2032 coin cell batteries are readily available, carrying four spares, plus a Phillips screwdriver to open the housing, and having to keep track of the tiny housing screw in the field will effectively limit the Scout to outings where battery replacement is not a chosen option!

Strengths

The Princeton Tec Scout offers a lot of function in such a small package. Three brightness modes, two strobe modes, and the ability to separate the light from the headband and use it on a cap brim make the Scout one of the most feature packed sub-2-oz headlamps on the market.


Citation

"Princeton Tec Scout Headlamp Review," by the Product Review Staff. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00263.html, 2003-12-10 03:00:00-07.

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