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headlamp quest
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Brian Vogt
(slickhorn) - F
headlamp quest on 05/06/2010 19:03:52 MDT Print View

my princeton tec scout bit the dust. Now I'm looking for a trail light. I would like a light that:

- is a headlamp
- uses rechargeable batteries (no CR2032 or whatever those are)
- weighs < 1.5 oz

In a perfect world, it'd also be able to clip to my hat, and might even have different brightness settings or a red led option.

but mostly, minimal, light as possible, headlamp than I can recharge batteries for.

Whatcha got?

Thanks folks!

patrick johnson
(pjohnson78) - F
rechargeable headlamp on 05/07/2010 11:12:44 MDT Print View

I have been looking for the same thing but have come up dry. I did purchase a proton pro from BPL, it has all the features except being a headlamp. my main reason for it is that I can carry only AAs. the protom works well with NiMH most of the time and in the winter I can use the lithiums. My only problem with it is that the clip goes the wrong way to clip it on the bill of a cap, so I cut a small slit in the bill near where it meets the head and slide it in, works great! Oh and I tried cutting an old hat first to see how or if I even liked it.

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
AA on 05/07/2010 11:33:12 MDT Print View

Wouldn't AA be a better option for field use? They are much easier to find than a power source to recharge a battery. If so, I suggest this...

It comes with a nice little clip that would work for your hat. The 120 degree beam is amazing. Check out the run times. Pretty impressive. They list it at 2oz, but shoot them an e-mail with the configuration you want and they will weigh it for you. Great guys to deal with.

Brian Vogt
(slickhorn) - F
I should clarify on 05/07/2010 12:27:13 MDT Print View

AA or AAA is indeed preferred. That's what I meant by "rechargable" -- something I can buy and use standard rechargeable batteries in, as opposed to a proprietary rechargeable solution or coin battery I can't recharge.

my fallback light is a petzl zipka plus, which is a great light, just a bit bulky and heavy at 2.4 oz

that zebra looks cool but is rated 2oz. I really like my princeton tec scout for 1oz w/o the headband, but it's proven to be a bit delicate.

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Tough as nails on 05/07/2010 12:30:28 MDT Print View

The Zebra is very rugged. I would call and ask for an exact weight. I'll see what else I can find for you.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: I should clarify on 05/07/2010 12:44:45 MDT Print View

How about the Fenix HL20?

battery: 1 AA
weight: 49.5 gram (1.75 oz)
waterproof: IPX8

Should be a nice durable light. The biggest problem with it is that its mid setting is too bright for a lot of people (48 lumens)

That weight is excluding the battery -- you have not specified whether your goal weight is with or without battery.

Brian Vogt
(slickhorn) - F
weight goal on 05/07/2010 12:49:29 MDT Print View

is with battery. The weights I've listed above for my two lamps includes batteries. The tec scout uses (i think) 4 of the coin batteries, whereas the zipka uses 3 AAAs.

maybe I shouldn't be so quick to write off that zipka.

edit -- thanks for the great suggestions guys, I don't think I'd come across any of these lamps you are sending my way.


Edited by slickhorn on 05/07/2010 12:50:02 MDT.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: I should clarify on 05/07/2010 12:55:06 MDT Print View

Check out Mark Verber's Flashlights section

One he likes is the iTP Light A3 EOS Upgrade Edition

battery: 1 AAA
weight: 9 grams (without battery)

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: weight goal on 05/07/2010 13:10:35 MDT Print View

One more suggestion -- look at either the vendors' sites (Fenix, Zebralight, Liteflux, Nitecore, etc), or a vendor who sells lots of brands (e.g. Going Gear)

Edited by blean on 05/07/2010 14:05:25 MDT.

patrick johnson
(pjohnson78) - F
AA headlamp on 05/07/2010 13:43:38 MDT Print View

I wish Black Diamond would make AA version of the Ion. Maybe come in at around 1.5 oz with a lithium battery.

Kevin Kerstens
(kjkerstens) - MLife

Locale: BC Canada
Petzl elite on 05/07/2010 17:39:01 MDT Print View

I know it doesn't match all of your requirements but the Petzl elite is awesome. You can wear it as a head lamp, tie it to a tree or your arm, it even has a flashing red mode for when you are walking the dog at night. It has a little clip for attaching it to your hat or shirt and has 5 settings (2 red and 3 white). It only weights an once and they guarantee the battery has a 10 year shelf life.

The CR2032 are great, once you figure out the trick. I went online and ordered 10 of them at a 1$ a piece. It has been three years now and I still have 7 left. The batteries are so small and last forever, I have stuffed two of them in my first aid kit and I am good to go.

Ryan Corder
(demo) - MLife

Locale: Arkansan in Seattle
Re: headlamp quest on 05/07/2010 17:44:06 MDT Print View

Well, I was going to recommend the Petzl e+LITE until I read your rules more closely. Nice little light, but it does use CR2032 batteries.

Edited by demo on 05/07/2010 17:45:21 MDT.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: headlamp quest on 05/07/2010 18:43:22 MDT Print View

The eLite is a terrific headlamp but leaves much to be desired when hiking at night because of its rather limited beam. If you don't hike at night, I think it's a great headlamp. If you hike at night, I would go with something with a bit more power. But that is me.

Edited by dirk9827 on 05/07/2010 22:45:35 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: headlamp quest on 05/07/2010 23:58:28 MDT Print View

Bob posted much of what I would say... expect that the Fenix HL20 we own is a bit heavier ... 2.5oz without battery. iTP clicked to a hat, Zebralight if you don't need a long through, the Fenix HL20 if you don't might a bit more weight are all good options.


Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: headlamp quest on 05/08/2010 00:30:37 MDT Print View

This thread has made me do some looking around for myself.

Here are some comments about the iTP A1 EOS CR123 (and some comparisons with the other two models in the family).

1) The A1 uses a CR123 battery (or the rechargeable RCR123 or 16340). The A2 (AA) and A3 (AAA) do not.

2) The weights, with battery, are approximately A1: 1.4 oz, A2: 1.7 oz, and A3: 0.8 oz.

3) The A1 is only about 0.6 oz heavier than the A3, and not a lot more expensive. The light is a lot brighter and the battery life is quite a bit longer.

4) The A1 is 0.3 oz lighter than the A2, and the same price. The light is a lot brighter and the battery life is longer (except on the brightest setting).

5) The A3 uses 200 Hz PWM, which causes flicker that is annoying to some people (many do not see it, or are not bothered by it). The A1 and A2 use 2.43 kHz PWM -- any flicker that causes is undetectable.

All three are good lights, and meet your requirements. The A3 is clearly the lightest, and quite adequate for most uses.

For a small trade-off (0.6 oz, $4.45) the A1 seems to me to be an interesting choice, as long as you are willing to buy into the CR123 / RCR123 battery. Here's how the A1 compares to the criteria the OP laid out in the original message (note: all that is not specific to the A1 also applies to the A2 & A3):

Now I'm looking for a trail light. I would like a light that:

-- is a headlamp

The light comes with a clip -- the manufacturer does not say you can reverse the clip so it will clip to a hat brim as a headlight, but I have found postings on the web that say you can, and Mark (above) mentioned clipping an EOS to your hat brim.

If you really do want that elastic band around your head (e.g. to use when there is no hat brim), you can get one intended to hold little lights like this one. For example, the Nite Ize Headband

-- uses rechargeable batteries (no CR2032 or whatever those are)
The A1 can take RCR123 or 16340 batteries, both of which are rechargeable. Smart chargers for them are not all that expensive. The batteries themselves are lithium ion, which means
-- they are light, a fraction of an ounce, so carrying a spare is no big deal
-- they work well in the cold -- down to -40 -- much better than NiMH in the winter

In addition to being light weight, the A1 is very small -- 59.8mm (2.35") long x 20.4mm (0.8") diameter.
Note: for AA or AAA you can get rechargeable (NiMH) or you can get lithium batteries. You cannot, however, get AA or AAA batteries that are both lithium and rechargeable.

You can get rechargeable Li Ion batteries in those form-factors (14500 to replace AA and 10420 to replace AAA). If you use those, your light may be significantly brighter (but still not brighter than the A1).
*) The A2 description does not mention the 14500, so that is unsupported.

*) The A3 description does list the 10420, but also cautions "due to the small body size, 10420 batteries are not recommended since they may cause the light to become hot very quickly".
The problem with these batteries is that they are 3.7 volts. You may be able to use them, but you need to be careful not to not let the light overheat -- especially on the brightest setting.
-- weighs < 1.5 oz
The A1 weighs about 1.4 oz, including the battery

In a perfect world, it'd also be able to clip to my hat
You can do that -- see above

might even have different brightness settings or a red led option.
There are three brightness settings (A1: 1.8, 35, 190 lumens; A2, A3: 1.5, 18, and 80 lumens).

There is no red LED -- you'd have to use a filter for that. OTOH you may not care -- from what I read, the 1.8 lumen setting is pretty good about preserving night vision.

but mostly, minimal, light as possible, headlamp than I can recharge batteries for.
From what I can find, this is as minimal as it gets. You have to take a battery, and the A1 battery is quite a light battery. The light itself only adds 22 grams.

OK -- the A3 version is even more minimal than the A1, but I explained above why I think the A1 would be worth the extra 0.6 oz

Reassuringly, all three versions of this light (the A1 & A3 are the most popular) have a good reputation on Candlepower Forum. Owners love them.


Edited by blean on 05/09/2010 04:48:43 MDT.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: headlamp quest on 05/09/2010 17:47:25 MDT Print View

Take a look at the Zebralight H31 -- it is a very new model (first customer shipment was late April 2010), initially well-received, that uses CR123

They expect an H51 out very soon (probably late May or June) -- that should be much the same, but will use AAs and 14500s

Either one should met your needs, and be an outstanding light for you.


Edited by blean on 05/10/2010 01:02:59 MDT.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Zebralight beam question on 05/10/2010 01:07:40 MDT Print View

I know that Zebralights have traditionally been floodlights. Part of that has been due to no reflector.

The recently-released Zebralight H31 does have a reflector. Its light pattern reportedly has a nice white hot spot, with smooth side spill. It is reported to be definitely less of a floodlight and more throw than the H30.

My question is just how much throw it has? How does its throw compare to a Fenix or to one of the iTP Ax EOS lights?

Can anyone help with that, or is it just too new for anyone to know yet?


Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
candlepower forums on 05/10/2010 04:31:29 MDT Print View

I haven't taken a look yet, but there's a good chance this has started over at candlepower already. Asking specifics about a new light here is a bit like asking about lightweight stoves over on whiteblaze. Sure there are a couple of people who can give a good considered opinion, but not many.

The guys over at the candlepower forums are so fanatical they, make Roger, Ryan, Mark and Richard look like laid back hippies. ((Which of course a couple of them are!!)

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: candlepower forums on 05/10/2010 12:29:03 MDT Print View

Yes, I have checked there. In fact, the info I posted did come from there. The light has been well received there, but no real review yet. (I have not joined CPF -- I guess it is time to do so and post my question there.)

I was just hoping that someone here, such as PJ or Mark Verber, might have some added info.


As to info this forum would like to see, the OP was looking for the lightest good headlight. Since I was already wondering myself, I looked around a bit. It looks to me as if the answer is that there are two families that are serious contenders:

*) the iTP A{1,2,3} EOS line

*) the Zebralight H31, H51 (soon to be released), and H61 (hypothetical, but consistent)


Edited by blean on 05/10/2010 12:47:41 MDT.

Dutch Anderson
(Silveradodutchman) - F

Locale: Central Florida
best light on 05/10/2010 21:37:07 MDT Print View

1 AAA battery

clip for pocket or cap

lanyard ring
stands upright for tent light
80 lumens
10 on low
I think it's the perfect light