Home » Hiking » Shedding some light on things . . .

Shedding some light on things . . .

Yes, I know, two posts in one afternoon . . . sorry to overload you, but I need some more help.

I’m investigating lights. Now, I’m not intending on walking at night, nor even in setting up camp at night (though this may happen with poor time management skills). I don’t even intend to read at night as I don’t want to lug a book around. This light is purely intended for emergency use and any necessary night-time pottering. I may, on occasion, write in my notebook, but even this I’ll try to do during the day. Night is purely for sleeping!

My current headlamp is a Princeton Tech Apex, running off 4xAA batteries and weighing in at about 300g (incl spare battery set). Max output 275 lumens. Burn time is quoted at 150 hours, but this is on low beam, and with Li batteries only! I can chew through a set of batteries easily in a 24hr rogaine (~10-12hrs darkness, but a fair amount of time spent on high beam). It is great for rogaining but far from optimal for what I need on my trip.

After the first round of research I have refined my criteria and narrowed my shortlist. Wants:
1. Lightweight (of course)
2. Long battery life (at low intensity)
3. Rechargeable would be cool, or small replacement batteries
4. Red light option for preserving night vision / being less obtrusive at night

Here is my shortlist:

Petzl E+LITE Emergency Head Lamp

1. Petzl e-lite: This thing is tiny (28g), runs off 2xCR2032 batteries (like watch batteries, 2.5g each), supposedly has a 70hr battery life (on low beam, white light) and has a dedicated red mode. It is waterproof to 1m. It has a max output of 26 lumens. The strap is a tiny thin cord (not looking forward to this, although I can bring another headstrap if I really want to use it as a headlamp) and it also has an integrated clip. It really looks like this is the way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ruta Locura headlamp. Again, tiny (37g). Powered by 2xCR2023 batteries. Similar size to the e-lite, but doesn’t have any of the fancy features. Does have a better headstrap and is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper. Plus, if I’m ordering tent pegs from these guys it would be easy to include a light too.

 

 

 

 

 

Petzl Tikka R+ Plus Reactive Rechargeable Headlamp - 170 Lumens

3. Petzl Tikka R+ : This is more like a traditional headlamp, and this is reflected in the size and weight (115g). It is rechargeable by USB, which is cool. Light output is significantly greater at 170 lumens, but battery life is corresponding lower (12hrs on automatic mode). It has some fancy function which ‘optimises’ light output . . .whatever that means. It has a separate red light. This looks awesome but I think it is just too much for what I need in a light. I’m not intending to go walking and looking for landmarks (or controls) in the distance with this light. Looks like it has the standard micro USB connection though!!

 

 

 

 

Black Diamond ReVolt  Rechargeable Hybrid Head Lamp with RED LED

4. Black Diamond Revolt: Like the Tikka R+, this is rechargeable, but works by having rechargeable 3xAAA batteries which can be recharged within the headlamp. It is a little lighter (97g) and a bit cheaper than the Tikka R+ but has a lower output (110 lumens). Burn time is good (70hrs high beam, 300hrs low with alkaline battery (non rechargeable) or 12/190 with NiMH (the rechargeable ones)). Features are similar to the Tikka R+, so while this would win over the Tikka R+ (battery life and weight) it is still really too much for what I need. Also, splash resistant, not waterproof! Although . . . . only 70g more than the e-Lite, with much greater potential. Maybe this is worth a thought?

 

 

After that summary, I’m tossing up the Petzl e-Lite or the Black Diamond Revolt. What do you think?

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4 Comments

  1. thegomof51 says:

    #2. You need the real headband & button batteries, preferably w/proof but should sit under your shell hood.
    #3 & 4 are too close to your current one. Save money take yours.
    #1 headband is going to be an expensive pain. The red option is a good extra but not likely to offset the downside of $ & headband issue

    Buy #2 plus a kathmandu version backup for less than #1!
    Chief requirement is a wide clear focussed spot for close-in campwork & stumbling off to toilet in dark, not a broad bright beam as per rogaining.
    The # of hours becomes almost irrelevant with spare button batteries being virtually weightless cf to AA

    • Helen says:

      So you don’t think the red night light (and much more guaranteed waterproofness) would be worth it? I didn’t think the headband would be such a problem to fix if I wanted to put a proper one on.

      • thegomof51 says:

        If you can fix it on permanently thenOK but if its a constant fiddling around, slipping off etc then we’ll probably hear you back here.
        Years ago I graduated to the new whizzbang torches newly built small enough to fit in my mouth…great leap forward in technology! then graduated to a cheapy head torch. Never found the need for red light… If you’re on your own who cares? If others are around you can bet they will not only have bright searchlights but the ignorant sods will constantly raise them above knee height killing any nightsight anyway! 15 min in dark will return sufficient sight to start so sit & wait if its needed.
        Also you’ll eventually need to practise full setup/breaking camp in the dark by feel, as well as have a regular pattern of organisation so everything is always(usually!) in the same location relative to a set piece(eg bed). Maintain a tight neat camp so everything is always close to hand regardless ( one of my soapboxes.. Sorry)
        Currently I use the $20 job from kathmandu. It rides in the top pocket of pack in the wet, my pocket, around wrist; in the rain; its lasted a few years & hasnt died yet. If it dies gets lost, dropped, snaffled, I’ll buy another $20 worth. Meantime I carry the keyring midget as emerg backup. Why pay heaps if cheap does it?
        Consider how often was red light a real need as opposed to convenience when rogaining? Will similiar situations arise often enough for red light cost to be warranted now, bearing in mind I’m always basing opinion on Oz experience, not Scotland plan.

        Plus….If it doesn’t work out on 1st walk, buy a replacement before walk 2.

    • Helen says:

      Fair enough. Good point re: if it doesn’t work, buy a new one before walk 2.
      Also, I don’t use a red light for rogaining – my route, marked on the map in highlighter, doesn’t usually show up under red light! It just sounded really useful!

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