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William Mitchell
(astronutski) - F
headlamp/lantern on 06/07/2006 11:28:35 MDT Print View

I'm new to backpacking (actually taking our first trip this weekend) and was looking for input on lighting. What do you all use for lighting? Not so much for navigating at night, but for at the campsite. I am learning about the importance/significance of dual use items and wondered if there was a headlamp that could also double as a camp "lantern" as I'd hate to just carry a flashlight solely for at the camp.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/07/2006 11:38:00 MDT Print View

I just use a small headlamp, or a Photon Microlight that i clip to either my cap/hat brim or to my eyeglasses. You can get creative and hang most small headlamps inside of your tent, tarptent, or under your tarp to act as a lantern if you need one.

A headlamp puts light where you need it, i.e. precisely where you are looking. To my way of thinking this makes more sense than a lantern.

Having said that, if you feel that you want a lantern, try a LED lantern like the Brunton Glorb (about $30) or an Essential Gear identical model for $20. Both models have two levels of light output - viz., low and high.

Try as a reputable on-line source for one. I've added heavy duty, kitchen-type aluminum foil to 180 degrees of my Glorb so that light only comes out a 180 degree arc instead of 360 degrees. I just used some small bits of tape to afix it to the Glorb. It's easy to remove the foil for complete are lighting. We only use it for power outages at home.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/07/2006 11:41:39 MDT Print View

Petzl, Black Diamond, and Princeton Tech all make lightweight LED headlamps used by UL hikers. The Photon Freedom Micro LED Light is a standard item too.

I personally carry the Microlight Photon II for survival/essential use and either a Gerber Tracer LED headlamp or a Black Diamond Ion LED headlamp.

Search the forums (look above this message where it reads "MAIN FORUM>INDEX>SEARCH FORUMS>RECENT POSTS> NEW POSTS>OR NEWS>READER REVIEWS") and you'll find plenty of chater an opinions about lighting gear. The trick is to find the balance of weight/light output/light quality/battery life/cost.

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/07/2006 11:42:16 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/07/2006 13:16:51 MDT Print View

I carry 3 Photon Freedoms. One white, one red and one turquoise ("Night-Vision Green"). I usually use the red one. When seeing color matters I use the white. When I need a lot of white light I can use all three. When you have the red and turquoise lights clipped to your hat, it looks like your impersonating a patrol car, particularly when they are set to blink. Just another reason for my kids to give me weird looks. The odds of all three lights failing is obviously smaller than one light failing, and they are so small and light. The red and turquoise light are good for night vision, and as I recall, they use less battery power than the white. The turquoise light is particularly bright.

Edited by ericnoble on 06/07/2006 14:22:24 MDT.

Tariqa Mead
(fenester) - F
diffuser on 06/07/2006 14:11:39 MDT Print View

You can use items you're already carrying as a diffuser for your headlamp. I used to set my headlamp on my clear water bottle (with the light shining into the bottle) and it gave a pretty nice general lighting for the inside of the tent. See what other translucent/transparent gear you're already carrying and try it out.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/07/2006 14:14:03 MDT Print View

>What do you all use for lighting?

I always carry a Petzl Zipka (2.3 oz including batteries), even day-hiking. It has excellent battery life, is great for use in camp, is versatile, and is sufficiently bright to follow an easy trail at night. If there's a chance I might be night-hiking off-trail, then instead I bring a Princeton Tech Eos (3.7 oz including batteries), which is brighter and is more compatible with my helmet. I haven't found a lantern useful enough on a backpacking trip to bring it with me, but I have strung the Zipka around a stick or branch to flood an area with low-level work light.

Edited by Otter on 06/07/2006 14:17:42 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/07/2006 14:27:21 MDT Print View

I have found that Photon3 Photon Freedom button lights are typically adaquate for all my "in camp" needs, and I have even used them to follow easy trails. If there is any real chance of night hiking I use a PrincetonTec EOS. I really like the Petz Zipka for around camp use (flood is more useful than the spotlight of the EOS, and it can be mounted many ways)... but only bring it on group trips when I expect a lot of time will be spent in the evening around camp.

Mike Storesund
(mikes) - F
Re: Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/08/2006 09:36:36 MDT Print View

>>>" I carry 3 Photon Freedoms. One white, one red and one turquoise ("Night-Vision Green")."<<<

Ditto. I usually keep the red and white on my lanyard and the green hooked to the drawstring on my pack, so it always has a light close by. Either can be unhooked and put on the hat clip as needed. The green also intensifies the topographic map symbols and contour lines.

I just wish they all used the same batteries so I only need to carry one type as a backup.

Edited by mikes on 06/08/2006 09:37:59 MDT.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: headlamp/lantern on 06/08/2006 10:24:06 MDT Print View

That reminds me, I need to add backup batteries to my gear list. I once hiked a well marked trail at night with just the turquoise light. I worked quite well. Following colored blazes might be an issue. I haven't tried that yet.

Michael Mangold
(mkmangold) - F
Headlamps on 06/09/2006 22:44:54 MDT Print View

Are there any solar headlamps available? Seems sensible to me to have a light that recharges on your cap during daylight hours which can then be used as needed at night. I'm trying to go "light" by going solar, or at least solar rechargable.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Headlamps on 06/10/2006 01:03:19 MDT Print View

To put it in perspective, this reply is from a confirmed gizmo geek. So, i'm definitely not anit-gizmo or anti-gadget.

There are small solar panels available which connect to a battery charger. You'd place the batteries to be charged into the solar-powered charger for charging.

I'm under forest cover very often, and often couple with cloud cover. So, not an option for me.

Don't know that anyone would want to count on this method if night-time lighting was a definite need.

Even if i were in the SW with lots of sun and open areas, i would think twice about the solar-charging route.

Figure in also the weight of the panel and charging unit. How does it compare to a spare set of Li AAA's batts? Li AAA batts only weigh ~0.27oz each. The complete solar-charging rig probably weighs more than that. You'd proabably be able to carry a few sets of spare Li batts for the weight of the unit. Even Alkaline AAA batts are only ~0.4oz each.

Just something to think about.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Headlamps on 06/10/2006 12:33:27 MDT Print View

> I'm trying to go "light" by going solar, or at least solar rechargable.

Brunton Solarport 4.4W + BattJack (21.2 oz) and, say, three AAA NiMH rechargeables (0.5 oz each) is a lot of weight compared to disposable AAA Lithiums (0.3 oz each). Cheaper in the long run, though. My experience with the Brunton charger hasn't been very successful: on less than full-on Hawaii sunlight I had a problem keeping up with the battery drain of a GPS.