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New High-Powered, Lightweight LED Headlamps from Princeton Tec, Petzl, and Black Diamond (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2004)


by Alan Dixon and Ryan Jordan | 2004-08-14 03:00:00-06

Princeton Tec EOS

Princeton Tec is releasing a one watt led headlamp with a lens/collimator. The Princeton Tec “EOS” has current regulation for constant light output for as long as the batteries have sufficient voltage to power the light. The lamp has three brightness levels depending on your illumination and battery conservation needs. The lens/collimator provides a balance between a long distance beam for navigation and localized flood lighting for task work. The Princeton Tec EOS is waterproof to 3 ft. This may be the best do-it-all light to date. At less than 4 oz, the EOS has sophisticated electronic circuitry that maximizes battery life and will do everything from serious night navigation in difficult terrain to camp chores.

Weight with batteries 3.7 oz (3 AAA).
Style: 1 watt LED, 3 brightness modes and blinking emergency/signaling mode.
Run time (with Alkaline batteries): High output mode – 2 hrs of constant brightnes/6.5 hr of run time; Medium output mode – 9.5 hrs of constant brightnes/12.5 hr of run time; Low output mode – 44 hrs of constant brightnes/60 hr of run time.

Princeton Tec Pilot

Need a backup light? Check out the Princeton Tec Pilot (the small lamp pictured to the left of the EOS 1 in the above photo). This is a clip-on micro light that is great backup light that stays out of the way (or as a standalone light for the typical microlight fanatic). It also attaches in a variety of other places (backpack straps, hat bill, etc.).

Weight with batteries: 15 g (2 Lithium coin cells, included)
Style: backup light that clips to most headlamp headbands Burn time: 12 – 14 hours.

Petzl Myo XP

Not ultralight, but our favorite in terms of performance:weight innovation at this year’s OR is the Petzl Myo XP.

This lamp houses a 3 watt LED powered by 3 AA batteries that weighs only 5 oz with lithium batteries.

Not the lightest LED headlamp around, but consider the performance here: Most headlamps with 3 to 5 watt LEDs require a significant heat sink (read: heavy) to keep them from overheating. Petzl’s solution, rather, is a little simple, and nothing short of brilliant: put a lightweight thermostat on the LED and shut it down before it gets too hot!

They call the maximum power mode (controllable by its switch) “boost mode” and in this mode, the LED runs for about 20 seconds at maximum power before the thermost trips it and sets it back down to 1 watt mode. Inconvenient? Heck no. Consider when you actually need to use maximum power: for brief bursts during nighttime navigation while you scan terrain. What a remarkably efficient way to use a headlamp!

The Petzl Myo XP’s Boost mode and automatic down-powering of the LED saves battery life and weight (by eliminating the heat sink). The Petzl Myo XP offers multiple lighting modes (intensities) and a plastic lens that flips over the lamp diffuse flood lighting for task work, and – here’s a novel idea: it includes a colored LED battery level indicator. Smart.

The three AA batteries and option to use Lithium AA’s give the Petzl Myo XL great burn time and cold weather performance.


  • BOOST mode: 50% more light than normal maximum level for 20 seconds
  • battery life indicator: green LED light (100-30%) changes to orange (30%-10%) then red (less than 10%) as battery weakens (indicator blinks when color changes)
  • Weight: 99g/3.5oz (batteries not included); add 1.5 oz for lithium AA batteries and 2.5 oz for alkaline AA batteries
  • Battery life and lighting ranges: Boost (65 m), Maximum (70 hr / 45 m), Optimal (90 hr / 35 m), Economy (170 hr, 20 m)

Petzl MYO XP with its 3 watt focused LED. You can see the diffusion lens folded down underneath the LED. This flips up to creat a flood light pattern.

Black Diamond Zenix IQ

Black Diamond says the Zenix is smarter. We say they fixed a bug.

Last year in our review of the Zenix, we found that battery life was better when using the high-powered “hyperbright” LED than with the low-powered LED ancillary task lights. Strange, but true.

Well it’s fixed, at any rate. And 3AAA batteries have been replaced by 2AA. Weight with lithiums: around four ounces.


"New High-Powered, Lightweight LED Headlamps from Princeton Tec, Petzl, and Black Diamond (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2004)," by Alan Dixon and Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2004-08-14 03:00:00-06.