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Headlamp recommendations
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Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Re: Zebralight Interface on 02/28/2014 21:49:25 MST Print View

Brian > the Zebralight interface is intuitive, genius.

And the darndest thing, Brian, is that it causes me virtually no issues in regular use, but when I absolutely, positively need to turn it onto low, it seems I invariably get it on a higher setting. I think I pause a nano-second longer on the button, trying to be very deliberate to not be too fast (as a fast click gets you on high), and that's where I run into trouble. Cracks me up how the issue never occurs except when I'm trying to be very careful, and not blast my eyesight.

Edited by Bolster on 02/28/2014 21:50:46 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Who's Worked Up? on 02/28/2014 21:54:05 MST Print View

well delmar ...

if someone asks me for a recommendation for a climbing rope, the first thing i ask is what will they be using it for (theres alot of different climbing uses)

quite a few folks have said "dont over think it" on this thread

if you want to recommend blindly its your call ..

my recommendation is that the OP let us know what he wants ... and still not overthink it

its not like everyone who aint using a particular niche brand is having a hard time in the dark out there


Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Edited. on 02/28/2014 21:57:10 MST Print View

Eric, I edited my previous sarcastic post, and apologized. We both know that the OP does not control the conversation of the entire thread. He has been asked for clarification multiple times. You're changing your stance from "don't overthink" to "don't recommend unless the OP posts more info." (Which is thinking about the issue MORE, not LESS...and I agree that's appropriate.) The OP is gone, the rest of us are discussing. More importantly, I think you and I are starting to irritate everyone else.

Edited by Bolster on 03/01/2014 11:03:13 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Edited. on 02/28/2014 22:00:55 MST Print View

no need to apologize

everyone has their own opinions

my opinion is what i stated last page

now if the OP will only tell us what hes going to use it for ...


Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Break in the action on 03/01/2014 01:23:07 MST Print View

Poor OP, he's probably sorry he ever asked...
I still say just go a good outdoor store and play with 'em, maybe then ask some more specific questions.

Maybe it's safe enough in here now that I can ask a question though ;)

I've seen the Zebralight around online a little, but there seems to be some kind of issue with getting a bad one and customer service and some kind of hang up over that whole can of worms. Anyone care to comment or have any insight?

I want to get one of the H52 models. I understand the differences, just need to make a decision. I'm more concerned about getting a dud or something.

Tuan Cao
Re: Zebralight on 03/01/2014 02:13:03 MST Print View

Flashlights are like a status symbol for the gear fanatics ;)
I also went through many flashlights because I just couldn't resist trying out a new one to see how they developed in the past months/year.
I read good things about the zebra lights, too. So before I bought one, I tried a $14.50 clone from DX to see if I like the angled head.
To my surprise, it was a really nice light and I likes it so much that I skipped the Zebras. This is my go to light now (with a head band):


I was googling for the dx-link and just ran into these ones ($31):
There's also one using AA and an updated version UltraFire UF-H7.
I wonder how these perform (must not buy new flashlight ;)

If $$ is no concern, the H52W is clearly the top pick. Want to try out the angled head first? Play around with the Z1.

Edited by zurich on 03/01/2014 03:03:15 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Repair & Reliability on 03/01/2014 10:14:26 MST Print View

> I've seen the Zebralight around online a little, but there seems to be some kind of issue with getting a bad one and customer service and some kind of hang up over that whole can of worms. Anyone care to comment or have any insight?

The loudest complaint I've heard about ZL, is that in the rare event you get a bad one, you don't get to return it to Texas headquarters and get a new one shipped out quickly as a replacement. Your ZL goes back to China for reworking, which takes IMO too long before it's returned--weeks. To me it seems you should have your replacement inside a week. I've never had a ZL go bad so this has not been a personal experience, just reading commentary of others. There's been talk that ZL would move its repair stateside; I don't know if that's happened yet, or will.

If that scenario is unbearable, you might consider a SureFire light, which will get repaired here in the US. For what it's worth, I have owned 3 Sparks, 5 Fenix, 7 ZLs, and probably a dozen other lights of various brands from good to junk including Petzl (case cracked), ShiningBeam (fine), Romisen (connection issues), and Energizer (bad design). To me, they are not all the same; one is not as good as another. The ones that have given me trouble are the inexpensive lights; usually a connection going bad. The Fenix have been solid (although with poor tints and hot spots), the Sparks have been great (one has a switch that doesn't always remember its last setting), and the ZLs have given me zero trouble, just none. If SF made a smaller headlamp, I'd buy one without question--they are good quality, just larger than I'm accustomed to.

I dunk-test all my new waterproof lights to make sure I don't have a leaker. I suggest the same for any new purchaser. Turn your light on, drop it in a glass of water for 15 minutes, and see if it stays lit. If it fails, send it back right away.

scree ride
H52 on 03/01/2014 12:20:50 MST Print View

I've had no issues so far. I bought directly from ZL though I understand it is better to buy from an independent for a better return policy.
It is sort of a status symbol when you really need a good light. I've yet to use it for a headlamp in which case there are cheaper choices.
The ZL, I keep in my pocket even when not hiking. It just comes in handy more often than you might think. A headlamp would be put away. When it comes to cost, which is cheaper, something I pay little for and use only on occasion or something I pay a bit more for and get multiple use out of?
It defiantly does appear durable. I've only had it a couple of months. Judging by the reviews of the H51, I have no worries.

M Blick
(mattblick) - F

Locale: Ohio
Trustfire Z1 on 03/01/2014 14:08:32 MST Print View


I like your suggestion, $15 is a great way to give the angled head design a shot. I also have a Z1, I keep it in my fly fishing chest pack (not for backpacking). Sometimes when you find yourself "making just one more cast", or "working just one more run" you find yourself needing a little help getting from the stream to the road. The angled head design practically provides an extra hand when you need just a bit more light to tie a fly on.

That ultrafire H1B is also available as a H3B, I really prefer the 18650 cells:

Edited by mattblick on 03/01/2014 14:12:26 MST.

Mark S
(gixer) - F
Re: Re: Who's Worked Up? on 03/01/2014 17:50:56 MST Print View

"if you want to recommend blindly its your call .."


Not sure if you've tried a decent headlamp, but i use my H600 for night hiking, work, working on the car, camp duties, even used it for free diving for a few trips last summer.

It's light weight, the beam has a great flood/throw compromise, it has a high enough boost mode to enable me to safely ride down the side of a mountain at night while hitting just under 60kmh (it's my MTBing back up light), yet has decent medium and lows to make it a great camp light without blinding everyone.

Only thing i've found it not particularly brilliant at is a tent light as the beam is a little too focused to bath the inside of the tent in light, my solution is a old white 35mm film canister, i wedge it between the light and the holder and it diffusers the light to give a really nice glow.

So it really doesn't matter what the use i've found my various H600's (i have a few) to be a great light for 99% of the activities i do.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Lights on 03/01/2014 18:58:35 MST Print View

The H600 does sound pretty awesome. I'd love one.

"but am not appreciating the difference between the H52 floods and the H502 floods"
H502 = 120 degree flood, no brighter "hot" spot in the center
H52 = 80 degree flood + brighter 12 degree hot spot
H52f = like H52, but frosted to blur the line between hot spot and flood, plus the flood is wider (90 degrees)

The H502 is likely the best for camp chores. The H52 is best for walking and the H52w slots in between. The H52f doesn't seem that different than the H52, but I haven't used it.

Edited by dandydan on 03/01/2014 19:00:07 MST.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: H52 on 03/01/2014 19:58:50 MST Print View

Seems the only H52 available even from the ZL website is the neutral "w" model, which is what I want. I'd prefer the floody, but it's not availabe either. I guess there's a few diffuser mods out there I could fashion if low power is still too much on the hotspot to ruin the flood effect.

A little too big for me to EDC though, I like my Maratac AAA for that. Ditched the clip and carry it in the little pocket in my work jeans. Twisty tailstander with only low/high but bombproof. Works like a charm, even straight out of the washing machine.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
"Headlamp recommendations" on 03/01/2014 20:00:50 MST Print View

I have not used a Zebralight yet and the reason why, which for me is their biggest apparent drawback is they seem to have a very hard time keeping them in stock. Every time I've considered buying one they have been unavailable. Whether that is due to high demand or problems with the supply chain if availability is important to the poster this might be a drawback.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Zebralights on 03/01/2014 20:03:08 MST Print View

You can order any of the lights listed on their site and it'll ship out with a small-medium delay. My H51 was out of stock when I ordered and it shipped in about 5 days, while my H52 took about 2 weeks to ship out.

When an item is out of stock then it ships directly to you from the manufacturer (China). Zebralight does seem a bit lax about keeping the lights in stock, perhaps because they prefer customers using retail channels or maybe they don't see it as an issue since the backorder/direct shipping method works pretty well.

Edited by dandydan on 03/01/2014 20:04:07 MST.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Zebralights on 03/01/2014 20:28:06 MST Print View

Dan, Sorry if I'm a bit unclear yet, but are you saying your short delays were when you ordered direct, or did you order through some other retail storefront distributor and got them dropshipped to you from China with only a short delay? And if you used a retail outlet, any you'd recommend in case of return issues?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Zebralights on 03/01/2014 23:43:59 MST Print View

I bought direct from

On the page for a headlamp it often says "Availability: Back Order". My guess is that Zebralight just finds it easier to make them in small batches and ship them out directly from China (Just in Time production?) since it's been like this for a few years.

It's too bad there's not an estimated shipping time, but my experience is 1-2 weeks until it ships, and then another 1-2 weeks until you get it (sample size = 2).

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight Shipping... on 03/02/2014 00:08:35 MST Print View

I think you've been lucky Dan (to get an out of stock item so quickly from Zebralight). Probably just hit it right.

Zebralight ships your parcel for free if it's over $50 and if you are having it mailed to an address in the USA they use USPS (so not coming directly from China). If you are outside of the USA, they send it via China Registered Airmail. This is from Zebralight's website: "China Registered Airmail (2 to 8 weeks or months)"

My orders have taken many weeks even when the items are in stock, if I order directly from Zebralight. Since I'm in Canada, it's still an advantage for me to order directly from Zebralight because of the fact that it ships from China. If it shipped from the USA, I would get dinged for duty (and shipping if I ordered from a reseller in the USA).

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Zebralight on 03/02/2014 00:19:36 MST Print View

"Zebralight's website: "China Registered Airmail (2 to 8 weeks or months)"
This excerpt is only referring to the speed of the shipping service, so it is does not include the back order time. Note that the other shipping options listed in this spot are too fast to be including back order waiting (ie. DHL listed at 3-4 days).

While Zebralight lists this service at "2-8 weeks, or months", the faster end of that is normal for China Airmail to the USA or Canada (based on a lot of eBay purchases over the years; I'm in Canada too). Zebralight lists this huge range seemingly to cover shipping times to more obscure locations or for those times when a package gets hung up at a border. In my opinion, you can safely consider the free China Airmail shipping to USA or Canada to take 1-3 weeks.

The actual back order time is unfortunately non-transparent. However in the past I've heard of people sending a quick email to Zebralight to get an estimate and they seem to respond quickly.

Edited by dandydan on 03/02/2014 00:21:04 MST.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight Shipping.... on 03/02/2014 00:28:44 MST Print View

>> (ie. DHL listed at 3-4 days). <<

Yes, that's true... if you don't mind paying over $30 for shipping (half the price of the light... not me).

>> you can safely consider the free China Airmail shipping to USA <<

Zebralight uses USPS for orders from the USA (not China Airmail), so if the item is in stock you should get it quickly.

@Dan -

You are either up very late tonight Dan or maybe moved back to the west coast?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Lights on 03/02/2014 11:20:29 MST Print View

Just up late....I'm on the PCT this summer and then back in BC for good in September though.