Headlamps for Cold Winter Use
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John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Headlamps for Cold Winter Use on 11/13/2009 08:19:36 MST Print View

I've totally converted to the tiny sub 1 ounce doo dads for 3 season use, but am wondering what people recommend nowadays for winter use in very cold climates like the White Mountans of NH.

Back when I did a lot of ice climbing and winter hiking we all used the big Petzel caving lamps, sometimes with a dangling battery pouch that allowed us to tuck the battery into our clothing layer which helped keep the battery warm and functional.

I still have 2 or 3 of these old style headlamps down in the gear room but they all must weigh over a pound easily.

What are you guys using in the winter now when the following conditions apply:

1) Sub zero F temps expected
2) Night hiking expected (but with a snow layer on the ground which makes night hiking by headlamp easier.)

Paul Davis
(pdavis) - M

Locale: Yukon, 60N 135W
winter headlamps on 11/14/2009 13:05:05 MST Print View

Hi: Petzl lamps with 3xAAA batteries worn on the head work fine for a couple of hours, then the batteries freeze much below -20C. Your old Petzl lamps are not a bad thing, you can re-lamp them with a screw-in base LED which will push up your battery life significantly and give you a bluer light. Led Replacement.com sells those, TLE-1S, you might loose the ability to srew the head in and out to focus. MEC.ca also sells a 3xAA battery conversion clamp so that you are not tied to using the 4.5V Petzl flat pack batteries.

Red light is worth considering, as is a lamp with multiple light levels, as both can preserve your night vision. A swatch of cold temperature house sheathing adhesive tape (red) makes a good red filter. ('CMHC' tape in Canada).

enlightenment!

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
BD Spot on 11/14/2009 13:38:16 MST Print View

BD Spot w/Lithium Ion batteryies. Keep it in your jacket until you need it.
Lots of light, great throw, light and convenient.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Headlamps for Cold Winter Use on 11/14/2009 13:39:39 MST Print View

Forget the incandescent bulbs - they are just too hungry. Go with white LEDs. They will work happily to -40 C or lower.

Ah, but think about the batteries. ANY ordinary alkaline battery will die when it goes below 0 C. The chemistry is water-based, and the water freezes. Switch to the e2 Lithium batteries: they work to -40 C. Yeah, I know, they are expensive to buy. But since they last many *times* longer than the alkalines they work out no dearer in the long run - and they DO work. And they last on the shelf for up to 10 years.

Caution: Petzl rely on the internal impedance of alkalines to regulate some of their headlights. They explicitely warn against using lithium batteries. OK: pick a different brand which can use lithiums.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 11/14/2009 22:47:27 MST.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Re: Re: Headlamps for Cold Winter Use on 11/14/2009 14:14:12 MST Print View

Roger Caffin: "Caution: Petzl rely on the internal impedance of alkalines to regulate some of their headlights. They explicitely warn against using lithium batteries."

The latest versions of the Petzl Myo XP (Myo RXP) and Tikka XP (XP2) allow lithium batteries. Lithiums are highly recommended for cold weather. I have the Myo XP and Tikka XP which I really like except for that problem.

Headlamps really have gotten better. The old Petzl Zoom had a really lousy beam pattern and I suspect it would even with a LED adapter. You might consider using your belt battery holder with a more modern headlamp. You can get by with something lighter, but for winter I'd prefer a brighter light like the Petzl RXP (6.3 oz) or Princeton Tec Apex (9.8 oz).

For winter in the NH White Mountains I'd recommend carrying some sort of decent backup light (with lithium batteries). It gets dark awfully early. I've almost gotten caught in the dark with no light up north in winter and it's scary.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
"Headlamps for Cold Winter Use" on 11/14/2009 22:07:03 MST Print View

So it sounds like an LED model with lithium batteries and maybe a red filter is the way to go.

Can anybody recommend a light model that meets these requirements and is also designed so as not too turn itself on accidently too easily?

A backup light for winter in the Whites is probably not a bad idea either. Has anyone used the Pak-lite's? I'm thinking one of those attached to a 9V lithium battery tossed in the bottom of the pack might be enough insurance and not too heavy. (I don't know what a 9V weighs though.)

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Re: "Headlamps for Cold Winter Use" on 11/14/2009 23:15:42 MST Print View

I don't think the Pak-lite is very bright (or cheap).
For a bombproof not very bright backup flashlight that'll give light forever: http://www.brightguy.com/products/Gerber_Infinity_ULTRA.php
I ran the older version over with my car and it had no effect on it. 2.2 oz with battery.

A lightweight headlamp would probably need to use AAAs. Examples are the Petzl Tikka XP2 or Tikka2, Princeton tec Eos or Black Diamond Spot.
http://www.brightguy.com/results.php?Search=keyword&Keyword=G

My preference for winter, where you might spend a lot of time in the dark would be AA lights: Petzl Myo RXP or Princeton Apex, but they're heavier and more expensive.

Check
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=6
for more than you ever wanted to know about lights.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Headlamps for Cold Winter Use on 11/14/2009 23:54:40 MST Print View

I like Walter's suggestion of the MYO RXP. It will take any AAs, keeps the batteries at the back of your head, which is likely to be under a hood, nice and warm, and is the rare regulated Petzl light.

I have an original MYO XP and it's my favorite "serious" headlamp, but this new one is better in every way. There's also the Myobelt if you prefer a remote battery, but the whole cord thing can become a bit much.

The Princeton Tec Apex is their equivalent model to the MYO XP, and also worth a good look.

Cheers,

Rick

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Headlamps for Cold Winter Use on 11/15/2009 01:31:47 MST Print View

I still stick with a headlamp with an battery pack that hangs around my neck. Mine is a Black Diamond from about five years ago. The difference is remarkable and I feel sorry for friends and their dying headlamps.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Eos on 11/15/2009 10:56:45 MST Print View

I use a Princeton Tec Eos with lithiums.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: "Headlamps for Cold Winter Use" on 11/15/2009 13:30:04 MST Print View

John wrote "A backup light for winter in the Whites is probably not a bad idea either. Has anyone used the Pak-lite's? I'm thinking one of those attached to a 9V lithium battery tossed in the bottom of the pack might be enough insurance and not too heavy. (I don't know what a 9V weighs though.)"

Pak-lites work, but are just an interesting footnote in the lamp world. I have one and they are great for AV techs who are using 9v batteries in wireless mics and such and throw out perfectly good batteries after a performance. If you are carrying other 9v gear, they might be just the thing. They make a great tent light. The Pak-lite I have won't register on my 0.2oz scale and the 9v battery comes in a 1.2/1.4oz.

LED flashlights

Fenix makes a bunch of small, light and very tough AAA and AA LED flashlights. The little AAA model in the photo above is 0.7oz with the battery :)


Those headlamps that have a battery pack at the back of your head will stay warmer under your beanie and hood. Someone should make a beanie with a headlamp hole in the front!

Edited by dwambaugh on 11/15/2009 13:33:33 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Good winter headlamps on 11/15/2009 21:40:49 MST Print View

Not only should you forget incandescent bulbs, you should forget Petzl headlamps as most will NOT function (i.e. will burn circuitry) with lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are the best for winter, as mentioned in another post, because they function well when they are cold, burn a long time and are among the lightest batteries.

I like my Princeton Tec Quad and PT Eos Tactical (with red lens for snow storms) for winter but the PT Apex or Yukon headlamps have rear-of-headband mounted battery packs that hold more and larger batteries (AA instead of AAA) and are better suited for extended winter use in bitter weather, where the battery pack is under headgear and kept warm.

IF Petzl has finally made two of their headlamps to accept lithium bateries you can try them but why not get a waterproof U.S. made Princeton Tec headlamp?

Eric

Edited by Danepacker on 11/15/2009 21:45:50 MST.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Good winter headlamps on 11/15/2009 22:28:36 MST Print View

Hi Eric,

Petzl has been upgrading their headlamp lineup and most, if not all now are cleared for lithium use. Few are regulated but as I noted above, the MYO RXP is and it's a good winter option.

Cheers,

Rick

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Good winter headlamps on 11/15/2009 22:31:22 MST Print View

I have been using an PT EOSR with Lithium batteries and it's worked fine... but my winter trips tend to max out at a few days. If I was going to be on a more extended trip I would want something that used something beefer than AAA batteries, and I would want a remote battery pack so they would stay warm. No specific recommendations... I have to little experience with current generation headlamps with remote power.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
re: "Headlamps for Cold Winter Use" on 11/16/2009 07:31:13 MST Print View

>>>Few are regulated but as I noted above, the MYO RXP is and it's a good winter option.<<<

I've checked into these and this one does look interesting. However, this particular model doesn't have the belt pack option. It looks like the 8 ounce MYO model with the belt pack doesn't take lithium batteries. The one with the belt pack that takes lithium batteries weighs over a pound with batteries. (It takes 8 double A's instead of 4 like the other models.)

Looking at your MYO RXP, would it be possible to remove the battery pack from the headband, splice the wire, and add a couple of feet to it? Does anyone know if this would somehow negatively effect the headlamp?

Paul Lippi
(Ozniot) - F
SureFire Minimus Winter headlamp on 11/26/2009 16:08:46 MST Print View

Product is too new to have been Winter-tested (at least in the Northern hemisphere), but the few months I've had mine I've been pleased. Since it takes a 123A battery, I don't anticipate problems in moderate cold. Not exactly UL (3.3 oz), but rugged. It's so comfortable that several times I've fallen asleep with it still around my head and not removed it until sun-up. Unobtrusive under balaclava, parka hood, or sleeping bag hood. Rheostat adjustment is a welcome feature. The lowest possible setting is fine for camp chores. Medium is adequate for blazed trails. Beamshape favors flood over spot, which I think is a good compromise in a headlamp. Looking forward to further testing as temperatures drop.

Jay Cable
(spruceboy) - F
Re: Headlamps for Cold Winter Use on 11/29/2009 12:47:56 MST Print View

if you are going to spend a lot of time using a headlamp at temps below 0f, then one of newer led versions of the caving style headlamps you mention with external battery packs are worthwhile, like the myo-xp belt or princeton tec extreme. Alas, both those headlamps are pretty heavy, and are brighter than what you need for hiking. You could try using your normal summer headlamp and see if it works for you - I ski with several people who use petzl tikkas and seem to do fine, doing long skis in the dark at -20f. They definitely get dimmer, but for some folks that is tolerable. YMMV of course.

Edited by spruceboy on 11/29/2009 12:48:51 MST.