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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: And another opinion on 02/27/2014 22:26:14 MST Print View

Zebralight H501W.


Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Don't Think? on 02/27/2014 22:40:03 MST Print View

I very much disagree with the "don't think too much about a headlamp" advice.

First, we think about EVERYTHING here on CPF. Heck I posed a question on rubber bands and got lots of thoughtful answers. Why not about an expensive bit of electronic gear, upon which your life might someday depend? People will tolerate excruciating detail about windshirts and plastic groundcloths...what's wrong with detailed information about flashlights?

Second, when I started taking the quality of my flashlights seriously, I started seeing much better, in many more conditions. Seeing is actually important. The quality and volume and dependability of light is important. Most of the functioning of the human brain is devoted to processing visual stimuli. Why the heck would I "not think" about feeding my eyes?

Third, headlamps vary significantly in terms of their reliability. You need to inform yourself, before you know which brands are known for giving out, and which are renowned for carrying on. Even the best headlamps have known weak points that you should know about.

So my recommendation is: think about it. Thinking too much is less risky than thinking too little.

Edited by Bolster on 02/27/2014 22:55:31 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Don't Think? on 02/27/2014 22:45:13 MST Print View

Plus, it seems like so many headlamp purchasers are chasing after something that will put a spot on a wall farther and farther away. Instead, I go after one with a flood pattern so that I can see better the stuff around me. Also, I've been known to shoot photos at night using the flood, and it looks a lot more natural than if I had been using a spot.


Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Flood on 02/27/2014 22:57:41 MST Print View

I'm with you there, Bob. The light I carry on a pack trip is either an H501w or an H502c.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Bottom line on 02/27/2014 23:17:55 MST Print View

The bottom line is that all these athletes out there generally use "name brand" headlamps for things much crazier tha what any of us will ever do

Heres ueli steck on his 28 hour solo of annapurna last year

Im going to go out on a limb here and say no one on this thread, perhaps even on BPL does anything as crazy as he does

Hes using a petzl tikka rxp, plenty of other athletes use the BD, and others use other "name brands"

Get something that works, is reliable, meets your need and price, and has a good warranty

These threads are like the windshirt ones ... Theres what works ... There nothing magic or revolutionary here

Dont overthink it


Edited by bearbreeder on 02/27/2014 23:19:29 MST.

Mark S
(gixer) - F
Zebralight H600 on 02/28/2014 03:47:27 MST Print View

Tried every major brand of headlights, there really is no comparison.

The Zebralight H600 is the best headlight by far.

Best compromise on beam profile (throw/flood) great tints offered, a 3400mAh 18650 will offer far better run time per gram than another other battery solution,.
Great output levels with a decent turbo mode and great medium and low levels.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Zebralight on 02/28/2014 05:39:20 MST Print View

Don't know who said the interface is convoluted. Maybe for the first five minutes because it offers three levels each with high and low, but the Zebralight interface is intuitive, genius. I have the H52F and it's the best flashlight I have owned. The BD ion is great if you want a glorified squeeze light for gram weenies. The Princetontec Remix is also a solid light with great weight, power, run time, etc., but it falls into the three-AAA camp and I am kinda over that PITA. To each his own. It's worth a little thought. I don't care what Uli Steck uses for anything. (A) he is heavily sponsored, and (B) we are not doing the same kind of trips. I want the best light for the money with low weight and low fiddle factor, and proven reliability.

Matt Sanger
(IPARider) - MLife
Petzl e+LITE on 02/28/2014 07:40:54 MST Print View

less than an ounce and long runtimes, but I wouldn't want to use it for hiking

Petzl e+LITE

Matt Sanger
(IPARider) - MLife
Zebra on 02/28/2014 08:18:06 MST Print View

Then again...

I was happy with my minimalist e+lite, but I'm not into the retractable band on the new of course I thought I'd check out the Zebra stuff mentioned above...oops, need more gear!

I'm thinking of trying one out, but am not appreciating the difference between the H52 floods and the H502 floods

Any insights into why I'd go with one or the other?


Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Headlamp recommendations on 02/28/2014 10:28:18 MST Print View

>> but am not appreciating the difference between the H52 floods and the H502 floods <<

The H502's have a wider flood beam (120 degree spread). The H52 flood models have 90 degree beam spread.

The wider the beam the less throw you will get out of the beam (less distant illumination), so you have to decide what you need. The 120 degree beam will basically light up your entire field of view but won't travel far. The beam spread of the H52 Floody models aren't that much different from the non-floody H52 models (80 degree vs 90 degree beam spread) but with the floody models you won't get the 12 degree hot spot that the non-flood models provide (the hot spot provides distant illumination).

Edited by skopeo on 02/28/2014 10:29:37 MST.

M Blick
(mattblick) - F

Locale: Ohio
Don't Overthink it? on 02/28/2014 16:59:24 MST Print View

While you might not find lighting important to your backpacking experience, to me and others in this thread, lighting is critical. I frequently drive 5 hours after work to get to the Smoky Mountains and then hike in 4-5 miles in the dark. I need light that is bright and efficient in order to backpack light at night.

There are 920+ gear sub-forum pages, going back 10 years, describing the many ways we obsess about our gear. Discussing gear is a great way to vicariously spend time in the wilderness when we can't be there. Clearly this flashlight discussion is not the only thing that is being over thought?

Thankfully most of us are polite enough to avoid being egocentrically dismissive.

Paul Andronico
(Jakesandwich) - MLife

Locale: S.F. Bay Area
+1 Zebralight H52W on 02/28/2014 17:02:39 MST Print View

I tried 3AAA lights and the Petzl elite. Nothing wrong with them, but I love my H52w (the "w" version is the non-floody with a neutral tint).

light on 02/28/2014 17:31:38 MST Print View

I think many people get a bit carried away with headlamps.

For several hundred miles on the AT I only carried a single tiny photon. Works great if you dont hike at night. The one drawback is cannot change battery without a knife blade type tool, and cant do it in dark by feel.

My H51 has been on one 60 mile trip with me. Never was used. Only used the photon. After that, just left it home.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Interesting on 02/28/2014 20:15:11 MST Print View

What i found most interesting is that the OP hasnt indicates his actual usage pattern and under what conditions ...

It might be beneficial to clarify these before recommending actual models ....



Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Fancy Petzl is Not Overthinking? on 02/28/2014 21:12:51 MST Print View

LOL. Notice the example Eric gives for "not overthinking your light" is a top-of-the-line, bells-and-whistles, auto-adjust Tikka RXP Petzl at an equally fancy price of $95. I would say plenty of thought went into that choice, and it's a cutting-edge lamp. You can get a Zebralight for $65, but I suppose that would be over-thinking it.

If you *really* don't want to overthink your headlamp, go get a Defiant or an Energizer at Home Depot. It might give up the ghost on your first night out but REST ASSURED, you won't have taxed any brain cells.

There's some odd juju about light discussions here. When they come up, you often get a chorus of people intoning that the discussion is too deep, that actual harm will come from continuing to think about or discuss the issue.

If you can't use your lamp to hike at night, and you find it impossible to change a battery in the dark, and you need a separate tool to open it...maybe, just maybe, you NEED to think a little bit more about your headlamp choice.

Now excuse me while I go and don't over-think my quilt, tent, sleeping pad, puffy and stove. All of them need de-thinking.

If I catch any of the rest of you thinking about your gear choices, there'll be hell to pay...

Edited by Bolster on 02/28/2014 21:26:53 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Fancy Petzl is Not Overthinking? on 02/28/2014 21:25:31 MST Print View

i didnt recommend the petzl if you noticed

i just pointed out that someone who does more than any of us uses a regular "name brand" headlamp, which by the way if you buy from MEC has a lifetime no questions asked warranty (i would snap up a zebralight too if it was at MEC, since warranty tends to be the achilles of these chinese brands) ... and i pointed out other athletes use BD and other different brands

i simply recommended not to overthink it ... go buy something that meets your needs, is at the price you want, and has a good warranty ... as we all know that electronics can always fail

i mean outdoorgearlab recommended the coast HL7 as one that works as well as any of the $$$$ ones they claim, and you can get that for 35$ at home depot

but i wont "recommend" that one since i dont know what the OP will be using it for

i dont know how people can say "zebralight buy buy buy' without knowing what the OP really wants

and really ... dont overthink it

any decent name brand headlamp can and will work for what most people do here ... plenty of people use what they sell at REI/MEC/Backcountry headlamp section just fine

perhaps one should ASK the OP his usage intent, his price range, his warranty expectations, etc ... before going off about "zebralight"


Edited by bearbreeder on 02/28/2014 21:27:44 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Why? on 02/28/2014 21:28:01 MST Print View

Eric, why are you thinking about this thread so much?

Relax, man. Any other thread will do.

Edited by Bolster on 02/28/2014 21:28:33 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Why? on 02/28/2014 21:31:51 MST Print View

delmar ...

im simply saying one should probably ask him

and that for most general purposes any headlamp will likely work ... no need to overthink it

come to think of it maybe the coast HL7 is the new way forward ... i may need to pick one up .. hmmmm

you seem pretty worked up ...

perhaps we should stop with the recommendations till the OP clarifies his use?


Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Who's Worked Up? on 02/28/2014 21:42:22 MST Print View

Self-edited ... my original response was too sarcastic. Apologies.

Carry on.

Edited by Bolster on 02/28/2014 21:53:35 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Why? on 02/28/2014 21:42:34 MST Print View

The OP has posted on other threads, but not followed up on this one...

go figure.