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Best Headlamp
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
failure on 10/16/2013 10:24:56 MDT Print View

the best headlamp is one that "never" fails ... and if it should go kaput its covered under an unlimited warranty

a dead headlamp is a useless headlamp, especially in situations where you depend on it to get off a mountain, etc ...

a dead headlamp which you cant take back is a useless chunk of metal which you spent $$$$ for ... remember electronics have a very good chance of going kaput ...

i personally use a tikka XP+ which i bought from MEC ... its never failed me yet and is known as a fairly reliable lamp ... and MEC has the no questioned asked warranty

no doubt there are other less heard of manufacturers with more lumens for the same price point .. but ask yourself if its an item youll have full confidence in?


Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Best Headlamp on 10/16/2013 10:36:15 MDT Print View

Unfortunately, the seller having a good return policy doesn't help me if it breaks in the backcountry.

I've destroyed several of the plastic headlamps (broken housing, broken switches) and now look for build quality above all. I want a aluminium housing not plastic. I agree that electronics can fail and because I consider a light mandatory, I will carry a tiny backup light (a tiny coin cell light is good for a backup and weighs next to nothing).

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Best Headlamp on 10/16/2013 10:51:09 MDT Print View

petzls have been used for every condition imaginable, and they all have plastic housings ...

im much more worried about the electronic going kaput ...

i often bring an e-lite up on climbs as a "backup" ... the number of times ive had partners who "forgot" their headlamp while topping out at night or to check their bats is ridiculous ... in reality either me or my partner still need a "proper" headlamp if were descending, the e-lite and other such small lights is just enough for following the person with the proper headlamp

ill probably get a more powerful headlamp next year for night climbing ... while there may be others that are better "value" for the money ... im likely leaning to something sold at MEC like the NAO for the warranty, and the fact that theyll have worked out the bugs by then ...

this will be an unpopular link on BPL but ill post it up here anyways ... im sure many BPLers have no issue with certain lights .. but one should be going into buying decisions with eyes wide open, not shut

to be fair ill post up the search for the failure for the tikka xp as well


Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Zebralight H600 MKII or H602 on 10/16/2013 10:56:03 MDT Print View

+1 on the H600.

It is bright as sh!t (a scientific term) & I LOVE the different options for the beam settings. I must admit, I had been using it for about a year before I watched a youtube video on how to "properly" use it, and I realized I had been only been utilizing half of it's features (I didn't know about the quick double tap feature).

But for a smaller profile, I like my ThruNite Ti2 AAA light (XP-G2 bulb). It resides on my car keychain.

It does make me wonder something: can two "small but bright" flashlights be ultimately better than one brighter light. I can easily rig my Ti2 to my hat. So what about rigging two of them?


John H
(pastyj) - F

Locale: SE US
Petzl TakTikka on 10/16/2013 11:27:04 MDT Print View

I've purchased too many headlamps to count trying to find something I like better than this. They are sold or lying in my gear bin and I still carry the Petzl.

- Bright enough. I thought the super bright long beam would be cool, but never really need it.
- 3 brightness settings. One of them is always perfect
- Flip up red lens. Lets me use any power setting.
- Have never even hinted at malfunction.
- Simple UI. I wish it came on low power first...but thats my only complaint.

Aaron Smith
(Aaronsmity) - M
Warranty on 10/16/2013 12:30:19 MDT Print View

It seems to me like it would make more sense to get a Petzl or Princeton Tec from REI simply for the fact that if there any kind of defects in the product at any time you can return it. Zebralights get 1 year through the manufacturer only since REI does not sell them.

Both PT and Petzl should have a light that fits your needs on the trail IMO. Not to mention many of them come with a red led for at night in camp which IMO is an important feature which the Zebralights do not have.

Edited by Aaronsmity on 10/16/2013 12:31:47 MDT.

Steve G

Locale: Ohio
Re: Best Headlamp on 10/16/2013 12:49:06 MDT Print View

I have no complaints with my Petzl Tikka 2. It's as light as anything else, battery life is good, high setting throws a lot of light, very comfortable and has multiple modes including red. I have dropped it many times on my concrete garage floor with out as much as a scratch.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Garage Sales on 10/16/2013 13:08:20 MDT Print View

Whatever I find at an REI garage sale seems to work for me. Less than $10 and usually some dumba$$ couldn't figure out how to change modes (manuals come with them and are also online...). I've got a few BD and Petzl headlamps thanks to this policy and have yet to find a headlamp that is actually broken.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Two is one on 10/16/2013 14:51:52 MDT Print View

Anathema on BPL I know - but one Candlepowerforums mantra is two is one and one is none...

My zebralight has been flawless and I've never worried about it in the field. I know there have been some issues at times. But I admit I'd take my Surefire if I was concerned about reliability (no better customer service or warranty in the light business). I generally have at least one backup (photon microlight freedom with clip) and a handheld as well...

But I know I carry more light than most!

As an aside - I do think the Princeton Tec EOS is also pretty bombproof - got it at REI as well.

Wolf's Rain
(WolfsRain) - MLife
Re: Zebralight H600 MKII or H602 on 10/16/2013 16:37:35 MDT Print View

Hey Mark.

Thanks for the descriptions of the various zebralights. I've been really looking into getting one for my primary headlamp. Zebralights naming system and product descriptions leave my head spinning a bit. If you have a chance, can you give some more specifics about the functional differences between the H600 MKII and the H602? Also, any of you insiders know when they might be releasing cool white versions of all the new lamps? Thanks!

Edited by WolfsRain on 10/16/2013 16:38:58 MDT.

Andrew Stow
(AndyS) - F - MLife

Locale: Midwest USA
Zebralight product guide on 10/16/2013 16:57:02 MDT Print View

They keep this sort-of up-to-date.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Zebralight H600 MKII or H602 on 10/16/2013 17:32:13 MDT Print View

I asked many of the same questions not long ago, and I ended up with the Zebralight H602w XM-L

I'm extremely happy with it. The long run times are convenient in counter to the inconvenience of the specialized battery. Even if I mess up and forget to charge the battery, the run times on lower output modes are enough to get me through a short trip without worry.

I did get a backup light that uses standard AA batteries, Eagletac D25A Mini, but have subsequently lost it, at home. ;)

Not much chance of losing the headlamp though, it's big. Wouldn't be ideal for night runs, but I haven't had any prob using it for night hiking or in camp.

The spill beam profile of the standard Zebralight's are pretty ideal for a combo of camp and trail use. I was considering some other options in flood modes, based on the info out there from flashlight obsessives, but most of the info preferring "floody" models for camp use seems to originate from "car camping" types, who don't take into consideration the types of uses we are more likely to encounter, on and off trail.

Anyway, long story short, it's not the lightest option, but it's certainly not the heaviest, and I don't think I could downgrade on output or runtimes at this point. I highly recommend the H600 or H600w (I like the neutral white, but it's a bit weird if you're in a group and the other's have cool white LEDS, so use your discretion here).

zebra on 10/16/2013 19:59:20 MDT Print View

With a zebralight, if you wear a ball cap, put the holder on the strap in the back, and wear it backwards when you need to use the light at night.

Olite i3S EOS, 0.46oz, clips to hat,~0.74 oz with AAA lithium battery, and 15 hrs @ 20 lumens 80 lumen max.

Hiked about 9 hrs in dark with mine a few weeks ago. I would like more light, 30 is probably better, but 20 is enough, and the simplicity cant be beat. For momentary use, 80L setting is plenty. I cant see needing the 200L of my Z51, so no reason to bring the weight.

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/16/2013 20:05:57 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Blast from the past on 10/16/2013 20:59:57 MDT Print View

Remember when we used to carry extra bulbs? And thought the Maglites were pretty well-thought-out because they included an extra bulb in the base?

So, you young'ns: It isn't just 5x the battery life that LEDs give you, it's the essentially infinite "bulb" life. And the shock resistance.

And then there are lithium batteries with twice the capacity at a lower weight than alkaline.

Alkalines used to be the best option - so much better than carbon-zinc.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Blast from the past on 10/16/2013 21:04:06 MDT Print View

Don't forget mercury batteries.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Nitecore Sens AA flashlight on 10/17/2013 00:06:58 MDT Print View

I've been using the Nitecore Sens AA flashlight for a little while now and I really like it.

I attach it to the brim of my visor with a homemade clip and use it as a headlamp. This seems to work quite well with the added benefit of eliminating the weight of a dedicated strap. The flashlight itself weighs about 1.9oz with a AA NiMH battery installed.

Anyway, you might want to check this inexpensive ($25) option out. In general, the newer models of the single AA battery, regulated LED lights are a really great way to go these days. These lights will give you the most consistent light and best burn time for the least weight, while still allowing for easy battery replacement (I hate those little coin batteries!).

Edited by dmusashe on 10/17/2013 00:12:38 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Best Headlamp on 10/17/2013 02:06:08 MDT Print View

I'm using a Fenix HL21headlamp backed with an Olite i2 flashlight on my pocket survival keychain. Both use a single AA battery. The HL21 is dimable and has a flip up diffuser, so it can light up a trail and still be useful for camp chores and reading in the tent.

Standardizing on single AA battery lights makes for easy replacement and lights that have reasonable output and battery life. You have a chance of replacing a battery in the dark with one cell. Try that with a 3xAAA unit or coin cells. I can carry one spare and still swap between lights as needed.

Andrew Meinert
(minerat) - M
Re: Petzl TakTikka on 10/17/2013 09:42:57 MDT Print View

I second this headlamp. Pretty light, 3 settings and the flip up lens is really nice when just doing chores around camp at night or looking for something in your tent. I like the red and find it far more useful than I ever thought I would.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
pett on 10/17/2013 12:05:02 MDT Print View

Petzyl zipka, the band attaches to anything and it's one of the lighter models.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
CRI is Important on 10/17/2013 12:35:07 MDT Print View

I can't take the awful LED tint and low CRI light of most "consumer grade" headlamps. Outdoors, it's really important to have some orange and red in your beam. Typical low CRI LED lights drop out orange and red, giving an artificial look to flora at night (like the image below right).


That's why I carry high CRI lights, like the Zebralight. I can "see" better for any given brightness (see photo on left which is high CRI). Easier to distinguish between items at night with high CRI, I don't feel like I'm seeing in low definition monochrome, which frequently happens in vegetated areas at night with a low CRI light.

The inability to "see" with low CRI LEDs is why so many police departments kept old, outdated, dim incandescent flashlights around for so long. When looking for a perp at night, the dimmer, high CRI beam of an incan outperformed brighter, low-definition LEDs. Nowadays you can get high CRI in powerful LED lights so there's no need to carry an incan anymore.

(High CRI = high Color Rendering Index, using special LEDs that have orange and red in the spectrum. Not found in most consumer-grade lights. Last time I looked, there was not a single light available at REI that had high CRI.)

If you haven't used a high CRI light at night, it's hard to describe the difference, you have to experience it. Loads of people have never tried a high CRI and have no idea what they're missing in terms of ability to "see." I will gladly buy a dimmer, more expensive, high CRI light, over a brighter low CRI light.

Edited by Bolster on 10/17/2013 12:44:58 MDT.