Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

A place to chat about gear and the philosphy of ultralight. Ultralight bushwalking or backpacking focuses on carrying the lightest and simplest kit. There is still a good focus on safety and skill.
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Ultralight Bushwalking/backpacking is about more than just gear lists. Ultralight walkers carefully consider gear based on the environment they are entering, the weather forecast, their own skill, other people in the group. Gear and systems are tested and tweaked.
If you are new to this area then welcome - Please remember that although the same ultralight philosophy can be used in all environments that the specific gear and skill required will vary greatly. It is very dangerous to assume that you can just copy someone else's gear list, but you are encouraged to ask questions, learn and start reducing the pack weight and enjoying the freedom that comes.

Common words
Base pack backpacking the mass of the backpack and the gear inside - not including consumables such as food, water and fuel
light backpacking base weight less than 9.1kg
ultralight backpacking base weight less than 4.5kg
super-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 2.3kg
extreme-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 1.4kg

Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Aushiker » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 12:49 pm

Image

I switched to a Petzl e+LITE on my last bikepacking trip but it really didn't work for me: not really enough light; found the switch frustrating to use and I am not that keen on the thin head-strap or the use of button batteries.

On the positive side, the weight and size ticked key boxes.

I have a short list which currently consists of the following but open to other suggestions:

Image
Black Diamond Ion - [55g] - Odd switching setup

Image
Petzl Zipka [68g] - Negative is the thin strap; positive is the switch.

Image
Petzl Tikka [85g] - Weight limit and the pack-ability will be a bit more limited I suspect with the strap.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby slparker » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 1:18 pm

the tikka is reasonably reliable. I had one for years.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Mark F » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 2:10 pm

I have an old Tikka XP2 and replaced the original band with 12mm elastic and a ladder loc buckle. The old band, looks the same as on the photo, weighed 19 grams and the new one 7g. The actual head of the XP2 without batteries weighs 35 grams so the Tikka should be pretty much the same.

I chose the XP2 version over the standard Tikka for the red led and the lens which converts it from spot to flood.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby RonK » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 5:33 pm

Aushiker wrote:I have a short list which currently consists of the following but open to other suggestions:

Black Diamond Ion - [55g] - Odd switching setup.

Head torches are a bit like stoves - I have a collection of 'em. But I've been using one of these for a few years now without feeling the need to upgrade. It's an earlier version without the small lens on the left.

It's hard to beat for small and light and seems to go forever on a couple of AAA's so really no need to carry spares. And it emits plenty adequate light for my bikepacking/campsite situations.

I don't dislike the touch and swipe switching - it is unusual but not unintuitive. But I do have a copy of the instructions on my phone just in case I ever forget how to unlock it.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Neo » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 5:49 pm

I've got the Ion. I chose it for the small size and running on two aaa. I paid $45-50. The switch method works well with a bare finger and you can lock it by holding down. Half brightness if plenty for doing most things, full bright is good to 50m or so. The red light doesn't seem to be of much use unless you were hiding out. At first it flickered a bit but has settled down. I'm still running on the included lithium batteries and have picked up some Ni-CAD, so you'll only carry two aaa as spares. Comfortable to wear, I woke up one morning with it still on my head.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Mark F » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 5:57 pm

The red led limits loss of night vision when moving around a camp site but not enough light for walking along a track. It has also allowed me to watch various animals near my tent without them being aware of my observation. Many animals don't perceive red light.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Aushiker » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 6:53 pm

It looks like the 2016 Black Diamond Ion has a new switch. Cannot seem to find much more on it but to confirm ...

Extremely compact and powerful, the fully redesigned Black Diamond Ion headlamp packs 100 lumens of power into a tiny package for just-in-case lighting and fast missions. With a push button housing that lets you easily switch from full power to dimmed, strobe or red night vision, the Ion has the functionality of a bigger light, with none of the extra weight.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Aushiker » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 7:06 pm

Mark F wrote:I have an old Tikka XP2 and replaced the original band with 12mm elastic and a ladder loc buckle. The old band, looks the same as on the photo, weighed 19 grams and the new one 7g. The actual head of the XP2 without batteries weighs 35 grams so the Tikka should be pretty much the same.


I like your idea with the elastic. I have an Petzl or Princeton Tec lamp here somewhere so might give this a shot just to see how it works out. Might then get a Tikka and convert it if I do not go with the 2016 Black Diamond Ion.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Aushiker » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 7:09 pm

Thanks Ron and Neo for your input on the Black Diamond Ion. Much appreciated.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby kitty » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 8:40 pm

Have you looked at Zebralight, which you can now buy from Tiergear. They come in different colours and beam types. The weight is 78g with battery and headband.
What I like is that it takes 1 AA rechargeable battery and has 6 light levels (3 main and 3 sub-levels).
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Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby RonK » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 10:56 pm

Zebralight? I don't understand the attraction.

I stopped using flashlight style torches with makeshift headbands years ago and can't see any reason to go back.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 11:00 pm

Zebralight all the way. Highly recommended here.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Strider » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 7:48 am

RonK wrote:Zebralight? I don't understand the attraction.

I stopped using flashlight style torches with makeshift headbands years ago and can't see any reason to go back.

Not sure what is "flashlight style" about a Zebralight but the single AA format is a big advantage IMO. My H52F weighs 89g with an Eneloop.

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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby johnw » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 10:36 am

Princeton Tec Byte http://www.princetontec.com/byte. Owned one for about 5 years and find it very good.
Very bright on low and good burn time (~96h). I've used it bushwalking at night and found it bright enough for that on low. I often just use the infra-red setting if sitting around camp cooking etc, or reading in the tent (~146h burn). Caution if using high beam. It's extremely bright but only runs for 2 hours. Definitely in the ultralight category. Runs on 2 aaa's and I barely notice wearing it. Very compact and lives in my day pack until needed for overnight trip or longer.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Orion » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 10:47 am

Your question revolves around the intended use. That is, are you planning to be walking in the dark a lot? Or just using a light in camp?

The original Tikka was lighter. Mine is 68g including the 3 AAA batteries (and a replacement elastic strap from the fabric store). The original Tikka didn't have as bright a light as the new one. Still, it's my default choice for when I think I might do a little traveling in the dark.

In the middle of summer when the days are long I don't even carry a headlamp anymore. I just take a tiny little keychain LED that weighs 12g. And most of the time I don't use it.

But if I were going to be walking a lot in the dark, more than just a couple of hours each day, I wouldn't fuss over the weight so much. I'd take a good headlamp.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Nuts » Thu 13 Oct, 2016 6:16 am

I like the zebras ( not as much with the annoying flash warning). Looking at the specs for that ION though I doubt weight for weight they would come close to that efficiency at 100 lumens The little elite's are good for what they offer ( and tough) but I agree, really only enough light for around camp.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby lseries92 » Thu 13 Oct, 2016 5:23 pm

I use a Zipka 2 Plus (and previously had the original Zipka). The current Zipka is the 3rd generation by the look and seems to be quite a bit more powerful than my current Zipka 2. I find the brightness of mine adequate for most things although if I knew I was going to do a lot of walking or whatever at night I would take my bigger headlamp (a BD Storm).

I do not find the band a negative - in fact I love how it retracts into the body making it a nice neat small package. Both my Zipka's still work fine after a fair bit of use over the years too ...
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Stew63 » Thu 13 Oct, 2016 5:29 pm

I have the Tikka1 and the Tikka 2 that I use together for Ultra Trail running throughout the night - one on my head (spot) and one mounted on my backpack shoulder strap (flood) - it's a good setup. Great lights but at a massive 85gms each they are definitely not in the UltraLight category!

For my UltraLight hiking kit I use a Fenix HL05 headlamp that weighs in at only 12grams - more than half the weight of the 27gm Petzl e+LITE. The HL05 has a white light high/low, red light and flashing red light. It uses 2xCR2032 batteries that are easy to replace and has a good elastic headband - not a piece of string! I find the white light on low is fine to read with but would only really consider it as a light suitable for use around camp/tent. The headlamp can be easily angled up/down.

The 6gm Photon Micro lights are also pretty cool as a backup but not adaptable to a headstrap - I have the MicroLight II. Good burn time, quite bright.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Aushiker » Thu 13 Oct, 2016 6:43 pm

Stew63 wrote:For my UltraLight hiking kit though I use a Fenix HL05 headlamp that weighs in at only 12grams - more than half the weight of the Petal e+LITE. The HL05 has a white light high/low, red light and flashing red light. It uses 2xCR2032 batteries that are easy to replace and has a good elastic headband. I find the white light on low is fine to read with but would only really consider it as a light suitable for around camp/tent. The headlamp can be easily angled up/down.


Thanks for the heads-up. The lumen rating might be a bit low for me but the weight is appealing for sure.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Singe » Thu 13 Oct, 2016 6:59 pm

I have one of the larger Black Diamonds - Spot I think - that has the same switch setup. I've found it simple enough to use, if a little gimmicky, though sometimes it takes a little trial and error to remember how to switch between modes if I haven't used it for a while. The locking mode is very handy indeed.

Even though it's probably double the weight of the Ion, it's extremely comfortable to wear and I think I've also fallen asleep with it on (under a beanie).

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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Orion » Fri 14 Oct, 2016 3:33 am

Stew63 wrote:For my UltraLight hiking kit I use a Fenix HL05 headlamp that weighs in at only 12grams...

Did you weigh it? It would be more like 19g if you believe the manufacturer's website specification.
They say 13g empty and CR2032 batteries weigh 3g each.

My keychain LED doesn't have a strap which probably accounts for the 7g difference. A strap is a distinct advantage. Also it's sometimes hard to find the thing since it's so small. But in full power mode it's surprisingly bright, twice the lumens of the HL05. It is sufficient for travel over terrain that isn't too demanding.

The main problem with coin cell battery headlamps is how long they last in higher intensity mode.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Stew63 » Fri 14 Oct, 2016 9:46 am

Orion wrote:
Stew63 wrote:For my UltraLight hiking kit I use a Fenix HL05 headlamp that weighs in at only 12grams...

Did you weigh it? It would be more like 19g if you believe the manufacturer's website specification.
They say 13g empty and CR2032 batteries weigh 3g each.

My keychain LED doesn't have a strap which probably accounts for the 7g difference. A strap is a distinct advantage. Also it's sometimes hard to find the thing since it's so small. But in full power mode it's surprisingly bright, twice the lumens of the HL05. It is sufficient for travel over terrain that isn't too demanding.

The main problem with coin cell battery headlamps is how long they last in higher intensity mode.


I tried weighing the HL05 just now - hard to get a definitive answer without using precise lab scales - but with the excess headband cut off and batteries it's about 16gm. My 6gm Photon Micro (keychain light) although greater in lumens than the HL05 tends to throw those lumens everywhere - like a lantern - great for lighting up a whole tent but without being adaptive to any headstrap and being only a small 'flood light' is a bit limited in practical use. The HL05 on the other hand focuses the 8lumens it's got into somewhat of a beam (in comparison) - the adjustable/tilting head, the elastic headband, high/low white, red led, and ease of battery replacement without doubt makes the HL05 much more convenient for me - but I still carry the 6gm Photon Micro as a backup. Although the HL05 is only 8lumens (max) I can easily read a book on low (4lumen?) and easily get around the campsite, cook dinner etc. on high. I generally find it useful for a 3 night trip in summer before batteries need to be replaced.

I realise 8lumens will not suit most people who like 100+ lumens to light up the whole campsite but it mostly works just fine for me with the HL05. Depends on who with/what I'm doing really on a hike as to which light I take along.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Orion » Fri 14 Oct, 2016 11:46 am

Are inexpensive pocket scales unavailable in Australia? The one I use to weigh my coffee in the morning (and sometimes bushwalking gear) is accurate to about 0.02g and cost $15.

I agree with you about the headband, tilt and also the intensity needed in camp. For some reason it's in vogue nowadays to have a headlamp with a brightness that rivals the sun, but in most situations that's not even close to necessary. My keychain puts out only 2 lumens in low light mode and that's enough for most camp chores. It's a pretty focused beam.

The current LED technology is quite amazing. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was using a headlamp with an incandescent bulb and bulky battery pack. Do you remember the days of carrying a spare lightbulb?
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Stew63 » Fri 14 Oct, 2016 11:52 am

Orion wrote:The current LED technology is quite amazing. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was using a headlamp with an incandescent bulb and bulky battery pack. Do you remember the days of carrying a spare lightbulb?


Yeah - carrying an el-cheapo 2xD Cell Torch with a chunky slider switch (few other options back then) that weighed a ton and put out a yellowish beam that would only last a couple of hours!

About 8years ago I remember buying my very first LED downlight bulb for the house to test/experiment with - fitted into a standard halogen fitting. It was 3Watts with a very dim light and cost me $60 bucks for just one! Too dim to actually be useful or practical back then. Now in 2016 the 5watt modular led units we installed are just ridiculously bright! We replaced our old 1980s 6x60watt incandescent downlights (360watts!) with 4x5watt led modules and the room seems 3x brighter!
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Stew63 » Fri 14 Oct, 2016 12:21 pm

Orion wrote: For some reason it's in vogue nowadays to have a headlamp with a brightness that rivals the sun, but in most situations that's not even close to necessary. ber the


I have a bike light that is ~5000lumen - a German engineered Lupine Betty R14. I experimented with it once as a headlamp for UltraTrail running but the industrial strength headband required/supplied almost caused my skull to cave in! The other problem is that when everyone else is running with 100lumen headlamps and yours is 5000lumens they all run in deep shadows created by your light - very selfish and very bad/dangerous for their spacial awareness! The Betty is great to light up a whole makeshift soccer field when out camping with others though.
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Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby RonK » Fri 14 Oct, 2016 1:27 pm

Orion wrote:For some reason it's in vogue nowadays to have a headlamp with a brightness that rivals the sun, but in most situations that's not even close to necessary.

Not just unnecessary, but often anti-social as well.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby north-north-west » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 7:13 am

johnw wrote:Princeton Tec Byte http://www.princetontec.com/byte. Owned one for about 5 years and find it very good.

Thanks for the heads-up on this one, John.
Hadn't known there were any decent 2 x AAA headlamps out there. Lashed out on one of these recently and it's great. 2 batteries is so much more convenient than the usual 3.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Chev » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 2:04 pm

^ Be gentle with the closure. We had the plastic clip snap on ours. Restless little fingers were involved and I think it would be fine with normal use. But it did strike me as a weakness in the design.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby johnw » Fri 21 Oct, 2016 9:12 pm

north-north-west wrote:
johnw wrote:Princeton Tec Byte http://www.princetontec.com/byte. Owned one for about 5 years and find it very good.

Thanks for the heads-up on this one, John.
Hadn't known there were any decent 2 x AAA headlamps out there. Lashed out on one of these recently and it's great. 2 batteries is so much more convenient than the usual 3.
Yep, it's the only "brand" name one like that I can recall finding NNW. Not expensive either and good burn time (low beam) for 2 x AAA.

Chev wrote:^ Be gentle with the closure. We had the plastic clip snap on ours. Restless little fingers were involved and I think it would be fine with normal use. But it did strike me as a weakness in the design.
Thanks, worth noting. I haven't had any issues but can see how it could happen.
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Re: Headlamp [Headlight] - Small and Light. Suggestions?

Postby Aushiker » Sat 22 Oct, 2016 8:52 am

Wild Earth have the Princeton Tec Byte on sale at present for $38.25. Haven't looked into whether that is a good price or not as yet but.
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