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Trail Running Headlamp
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Mark Wilkison
(RyanW) - F
Trail Running Headlamp on 07/15/2013 20:18:15 MDT Print View

Didn't want to highjack the other thread....but speaking of headlamps....

My runs are getting later and therefore darker these days. I'm wondering if you guys/gals have any specific recommendations on trail running headlamps.

I think I'm using a Petzl Zipka/Zipka2 ?? right now and it is fine for hiking but nowhere near bright enough for running. I've heard of people doubling up with a more flood type headlamp on the waist and a spot type headlamp on the head but I'm not sure what direction to go given my already limited arsenal. Which lamps are the best at flood vs spot?

Criteria would be something appropriately bright, lightweight, compact(no bounce and easily carried), regulated?, and not too expensive. Battery life isn't as huge a deal as it would be for backpacking but efficiency is always appreciated. Thanks

Edited by RyanW on 07/15/2013 20:20:11 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Trail Running Headlamp on 07/15/2013 20:29:52 MDT Print View

if you seriously want to run at night, meaning more than just an hour or less, then 2 lights is the way to go. I run ultras, and during the night section I run with 2 lights, a 50 Lumen headlamp, and a small 80 Lumen flashlight in one hand (with a keeper strap around the wrist).
2 lights coming from 2 differnt angles gives you better depth perception as well as simply more light.
any headlamp that you like with at least 45-50 Lumens, I have a Petzl Tika and a BD Spot.
and any lightweight flashlight that you prefer, mine is a small Coleman from Walmart.
neither of mine is regulated, that kind of scares me, because don't they just go out completely when they hit "that" point? I prefer the warning of the slow fade out, just carry extra batteries if needed.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Trail Running Headlamp on 07/15/2013 20:31:52 MDT Print View

Some of the heavier units with the battery compartment in the rear actually work out pretty well for trail running because they're better balanced.

I would also recommend checking out some of the USB rechargeable units if its something that gets used often for short periods.

That being said, I get by just fine with a zebra light that runs on a single CR123. The low bulk makes the decision for me when I'm packing up my kit. I'm not particularly fast and my night running typically has me on trails that I'm intimately familiar with.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Trail Running Headlamp on 07/15/2013 20:42:36 MDT Print View

I get by nicely with the Petzl Tikka XP2 running lithium AAAs. This is usually what I keep in my rig and grab if I'm going to be out running at dark. My other headlamp which gets passed around in my pack or used as backup is my Black Diamond Storm running on lithium AAA's. Both are really good for night running and I'm fine using just one of these on my head. Wider fill on the Petzl, but slightly brighter output from the Storm. These can be found for less than $50 if you look around.

The new Black Diamond ICON would be the headlamp I'd get if I was looking to upgrade.

200 lumen output
Inexpensive ($70-80)

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
ZL H51W on 07/15/2013 23:17:51 MDT Print View

The Zebralight H51F is a favorite of trail runners who frequent CPF (candle power forums). It's a mix of focus and flood, often called a "directional flood." 200 lumens, single AA. Weight 1.2 oz. $64.

There are lots of trailrunner discussions over there if you want to get into it. Generally the argument revolves around how much throw or flood or mix of the two does a trailrunner want. The H51F is a favorite because it has an 11 degree hotspot with an 80 degree flood, so you can see sufficiently ahead and sufficiently to the side.

Edited by Bolster on 07/15/2013 23:22:29 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: ZL H51W on 07/16/2013 00:21:14 MDT Print View

I think the H501 and H502 are about the same but with no hot spot. Just flood.

Stick one lithium AA battery in there and you are ready.

I stripped off the standard (nice) headstrap and applied my own, and that brought the total trail-ready weight under 2 ounces.


Mark Wilkison
(RyanW) - F
RE: Trail Running Headlamp on 07/16/2013 06:44:01 MDT Print View

Great suggestions.

Very helpful all. I now have some looking around to do.

I realized that "trail running" isn't a very detailed or useful description. Most of the trails around here are heavily forested and dark with many roots and rocks. I've found that this season is more challenging than the open canopy of Winter and Spring forests and my frequent falls are becoming uncomfortable!

Thanks again

Matthew Steiger
(txlur) - F
+1 502 on 07/16/2013 07:01:47 MDT Print View

Another vote for the 502 series. I have a zebralight H502c and love it. The tint on a 502d may also be amazing - high CRI all the way. And eneloops.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
two lamps on 07/18/2013 18:53:17 MDT Print View

after quite a bit of experimenting w/ several different lamps- I'd agree w/ Art that two lamps>one lamp; I'm using a BD Revolt for a headlamp- rechargeable (via USB) NiMH AAA's or regular AAA's (regular AAA's burn longer and brighter) and a H31 clipped to my waist

it would be nice to find something similar to the H31 in AAA turn run the same batteries, but c'est la vie :)

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
My 2c on 07/23/2013 14:02:17 MDT Print View

I have night trail ran with my Petzl Tikka XP2 for years without incident in very gnarly conditions. That being said, there is something about night trail running that makes you acutely aware of your surroundings. I have always wanted to try a 2 light system, but haven't pulled the trigger because it would be more of a luxury than a necessity.

I'll give the Zebralight H51F a look.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: My 2c on 07/23/2013 14:07:53 MDT Print View

Pay close attention to what Art said, especially -

"...if you seriously want to run at night ... then 2 lights is the way to go."

Using just a headlamp will make the trail look flat. You won't see a shadow behind a "tombstone" because the light is higher than your eyes. A light on your waist and one in your hand gives you good depth perception as well as a "scouting" beam.

Edited by greg23 on 07/23/2013 14:18:59 MDT.