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Best UL light and Backup Light Combo
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Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Best UL light and Backup Light Combo on 12/18/2012 02:05:34 MST Print View

I am trying to decide between cutting ounces and having the ability to evacuate or closely examine a wound in the backcountry at night. The best and heavier choice would be to bring my Fenix LD10 and E05 for a general use light (e05 makes a great table lantern) and the brighter single-AA for when substantial light is needed. But, I could say my lightest option would be a Black Diamond Ion and a Freedom micro for backup. Obviously this would make late night returns to the trialhead in emergency, less viable. Should I be looking at the Zebra with its low light settings as a single option? I don't use a lot of light in camp, but I appreciate the durability of the Fenix, and other products like them. As an aside, I prefer to avoid CR123 and other less common batteries. What do you use? Thx.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
light lights on 12/18/2012 04:53:46 MST Print View

I have been more than satisfied with the H51's low and mid levels. I actually use the high beam more around the house than I do in the woods. For backup I carry a SOLED from County Comm. I can and have done night hikes with one of them, although it wouldn't be first choice for something like examining a wound in the dark.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: light lights on 12/18/2012 07:33:13 MST Print View

I use a H31 as my Steripen is also cr123, it's a workhouse lamp that I'm very comfortable hiking/running at night, multiple settings lets you dial in the just right amount of light from reading to running trails

for backup a trusty Photon (.2 oz)

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Lights on 12/18/2012 11:35:36 MST Print View

I've been extremely pleased with my Zebralight H51. I've got a Petzl e+Lite that gets used occasionally in the summer, but the H51 goes on 90% of trips.

As a backup, I was using a little Princeton Tec Photon (7g keychain LED) on a key ring connected to my pack. It did come in handy on one trip where I forgot my headlamp, but the Photon ended up breaking after a year or so (squeeze switch).

Edited by dandydan on 12/19/2012 06:32:00 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Tikka 2 Plus on 12/18/2012 11:38:38 MST Print View

I use a Petzl Tikka 2 Plus with the CORE recharge system, with AAA's as backups. I customized the settings so I have 160 hours of extremely low light suitable for moonlight hiking and basic camp setup, and 6 hours of the highest 60 lumens setting for emergencies.

My backup light is the tiny little Mammut Burny, but I am not a fan of the batteries. I want a lightweight light that uses AAA's, so my spares go both ways. I never use the Burny, though, so hopefully it works when I need it...

I'll probably get a petzl e+ light.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Best UL light and Backup Light Combo on 12/18/2012 11:58:12 MST Print View

"Zebralight H51"

I use a variation of that, the H501. I feel that a headlamp is much handier than a flashlight. Having multiple light intensity levels makes it more energy efficient.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Best UL light and Backup Light Combo on 12/18/2012 13:31:45 MST Print View

I'm using a Fenix HL21 headlamp and an Olight i2 flashlight. Both take a single AA and have all the bells and whistles I could hope for. I wanted to simplify battery management and reliability. With a single AA, I can have fresh batteries any time I want and I have a prayer of replacing one in the dark. Try getting 3 AAA batteries loaded by feel!

I have a Black Diamond Icon for those times when I want to move at night, but I rarely use it.

Edited by dwambaugh on 12/18/2012 13:32:31 MST.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Fenix on 12/18/2012 18:03:57 MST Print View

I use the Fenix E01. Not quite as convenient for camp set up or cooking in the dark as my Petzl Tikka 2 headlamp. Not as far reaching for night hikes as the Fenix AA monster. But works for both, and is small and light enough to live in my pocket full time :).

Edited by JohnG10 on 12/18/2012 18:05:55 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Best UL light and Backup Light Combo on 12/18/2012 18:11:10 MST Print View

"Try getting 3 AAA batteries loaded by feel!"

Dale, on a lot of these lights, you have to get the polarity right, and that often means two up and one down. Hard to see in darkness.

So, I have some bright yellow luminescent tape, and I put specks of that next to the two slots up. Now I can change them in the dark.

I prefer my Zebralight since it uses only one battery.


Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
headlamp on 12/18/2012 20:10:25 MST Print View

For me personally, it has to be a headlamp. I tried to save weight on my last trip and just brought a photon freedom and the fenix LD1. It was not worth the weightsavings over my petzel tactikka since I was always trying to hold it in my teeth.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: headlamp on 12/18/2012 21:14:10 MST Print View

"It was not worth the weightsavings over my petzel tactikka since I was always trying to hold it in my teeth."

Amen. I bike toured with just a bike light and then every night, took 3x longer to set up camp because I'd be trying to have a conversation with my travel-mates while holding a giant light in my mouth.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Backup on 12/18/2012 21:21:13 MST Print View

I am not a headlamp geek so I can't say much about your primary light but I'm a big fan of a secondary light.

A friend once lost his only light in the snow after breaking camp. We didn't realize it till that evening. It was "fun" hiking out in a blizzard sharing one light. For a while my system was too keep a micro light in my first aid kit I never touched so I knew it would have plenty of power for an emergency.

For serious night hiking Andrew Skurka recommends hiking with two lights, a flood light headlamp on the waist and a spotlight like the Fenix LD01 on your head. I haven't got to try it yet but I plan too.

Bill Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Ion and Photon on 12/19/2012 05:07:29 MST Print View

If you don't need a floodlight and want to go lightweight, I'd recommend Black Diamond Ion as primary. Many people think they're not bright enough to be useful, but the problem isn't the light, it's the batteries. The included battery and Black Diamond replacement batteries are terrible, in my experience. Put a compatible lithium camera battery in it, and it's like night and day. For backup, a Photon, left in demo mode to ensure that it never gets drained by accidental activation.


Bill S.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
"having the ability to evacuate" on 12/19/2012 10:38:56 MST Print View

"having the ability to evacuate"

My wife and I broke camp and evacuated in the middle of the night due to an approaching forest fire. We each had a quarter sized, photon like, white led squeeze light. When held low (end of hanging arm) they provided enough light to see the trail and to provide notice of bumps, holes and obstructions.

We only had to hike about a mile.

I carry two of these in case one quits. I don't normally hike at night.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Depends on 12/19/2012 10:55:04 MST Print View

If you might need to decend a narrow mountain ridge in the dark, you'll need something that can throw a long beam. A well marked trail needs a lot less.

john hansford
(jhansford) - MLife
E+lite and led on 12/19/2012 17:22:03 MST Print View

I think the e+lite now comes without a headband, and the original is now the Petzl E02P2 Head Torch with Whistle. I prefer the headband version. Only weighs 1 oz. Great around camp, and even got me up Whitney in the dark. Back up is a single led type, any make.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: "having the ability to evacuate" on 12/19/2012 17:44:38 MST Print View

A night evacuation is one of my top emergency scenarios. Not for me, but for anyone who might need help. Being able to grab a stuff sack or light pack with essentials for the messenger (no need to create TWO crises) and make a quick exit to the trailhead is something to keep in mind. It's not something to tackle with a Photon or an e+lite.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Best UL light and Backup Light Combo on 12/19/2012 20:09:41 MST Print View

I use a Zebra h51w with a single aa as my headlamp with an itp eos single aaa flashlight as backup. I don't use the itp much, so just keep a lithium battery in it. I use an alkaline battery in the h51 and carry an extra new lithium for it.

I like this setup because there is enough redundancy that I never worry about the condition of my batteries and can just use them up.

The itp is about 0.7 ounces with the battery. It is bright enough to night hike with and has good battery life. IMO, the itp is a better choice than a Photon.

The heavy metal case on the h51 bugs me so I ordered a couple of the fenix hl21 headlamps that Dale likes. So may switch to that.

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
klarus on 12/19/2012 20:53:35 MST Print View

after searching all the options I could find, I settled on the klarus mi10 as the best AAA light for everyday and emergency use. extremely bright on high, but also offers 60 hours runtime on a pretty usable low, that is fully regulated. I like the tail slot for clipping it. there are lots of great AAA Lights out there now to pick from. I dont like using headlamps, so my headlamp is not my primary choice usually.