Head Lamps

7:47 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm looking to buy a new head lamp soon for upcoming climbs I plan on taking that may involve alpine starts.

My current head lamp is fine around camp or even for some hikes, but the brightness seems to be fading.

I know I can look at reviews and all that jazz, but with so many people here experienced on big time mountains who took alpine starts, I wanted some opinions from you all.

I want something that is very very bright, and obviously waterproof and good battery life.

8:19 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey iclimb, question for ya. Is there a price point you are trying to meet? This will have quite a bit bearing on what ya have as far as options go. Personally I like the MYO RXP. 8-140 Lumens(programmable) with a boost mode at 160 lumens. You also have a wide angle option with this light. A friend of mine has one and loves it. After playing around with his I am actually ordering one tomorrow.

http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/myo-series/myo-rxp

At the same time the Black Diamond Storm may do the trick as well not to mention it is cheaper. 

100 lumens for around $50. 

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/lighting/storm-headlamp/

Both should provide enough light for your needs imo.

10:00 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Love the BD Icon.I use rechargeable batteries.Second favorite is the BD Spot.Not as many features but a very good head lamp anyway.Here in the pnw early alpine starts are the norm,as are descents in the dark.

12:14 a.m. on September 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Princeton Tec EOS.  Waterproof, 70 lumens, durable, and functional.  Takes lithiums (optional).  Getting up to, and over 100 lumens makes seeing with snow on the ground difficult.

4:46 a.m. on September 6, 2011 (EDT)
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another feature to consider is whether the headlamp has a Regulated Output

5:13 p.m. on September 6, 2011 (EDT)
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whatever you pick, most of them have LED bulbs.  don't get a headlamp that doesn't use LED; the bulbs are head & shoulders better than more traditional bulbs.

also, invest in the right batteries, because it makes a diff.  for freezing conditions and long life, hard to beat lithium, with NiMH  rechargeable batteries a close second.  both are better than alkaline in cold weather. 

10:56 p.m. on September 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I have several models, but the one I always grab is the Surefire Minimus.  I like the ruggedness of it, plus I like the broad beam of up to 100 lumens.  Not cheap by any means though.

DISCLAIMER:  I am a Surefire Dealer

2:45 a.m. on September 7, 2011 (EDT)
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As Leadbelly said, a headlamp with regulated circuitry is important, esp. in winter where headlamp use is often prolonged. Princeton Tec has what I consider the most reliable regulated headlamps in their Quad and EOS headlamps. Mammut does also if I recall correctly.

However for serious winter use such as mountaineering I'd get a headlamp with a remote battery pack to keep the batteries warm. Even lithium batteries function better if kept warm.

But, be sure the battery pack has an O ring seal to keep out body moisture. Alpine conditions may require you to do a "long after sunset" descent. The Princeton Tec Yukon model has a rear headband mounted battery pack that, worn under a hat or hood will stay warm.

For use with a climbing helmet I'd try to detatch the battery pack from the headband and extend it to an inner chest pocket. Splicing in some extra power cord may be necessary. Just be sure to use a good quality cord and heat shrink connectors and coat them with a bit of silicone caulk at each end. You can buy good silicone sealant in a squeeze tube a Ace Hardware stores.

Eric

6:37 p.m. on September 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Rick.  Just curious about the lights you recommended?  What rigors did you put them through?  What temps and elevations?  Weather, glove or mitt use with axe in hand?  Was it easy to clear ice build up off the lens?  Etc....

Thanks, Mo

7:31 p.m. on September 9, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey mozee, I was getting more at light output without an astronomical price tag.

The Myo is programmable which means you can fine tune it to your desired light output. The thing that is nice about it is it can be set as low as 8 lumens and as high as 140. There is also a boost mode that cranks it up to 160. At the same time you can also program it to maximize battery efficiency.

On the BD Storm more of what I have seen in regards to feedback has been positive than not. $50 for a max of 100 lumens seemed pretty decent when compared to what you can pay for lights with comparable output.

My friend that has the RXP has been at it(climbing) longer than I have been alive and he said its a great light for this use; its also very flexible(fine tuning.) He is a climber and only a climber.

I've been trying to get him to hit the trail with me but he won't have any part of it. His response is usually "if I wanted to go on a camping trip I would just do it on my property; I've got cold beer in the fridge." lol.

On the other hand he has been quite adament on trying to get me out with him. I regularly get the "wish you here" emails with pictures from all over the world.

...Kinda wish I was there in a way but at the same time my resposibilities at home limits how far away I can go for extended periods(30+ days) anymore. Plus the wife worries alot. So I guess I made a few sacrifices.

10:21 p.m. on September 9, 2011 (EDT)
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www.zebralight.com <---good lights, many using one AA battery. Many, many lumens. All kind of adjustability. 

The light I currently use is a Petzl Tikka XP2, a headlamp that I got as a gift. It is a very good light, but as soon as it breaks, I'm getting a Zebralight.

The Surefire product are also extremely well built, and their Minimus is reputed to be a very good light, as vigilguy testifies.

300winmag's suggestion about remote battery packs is a very good consideration. I guess it comes down to how many batteries you want to carry?

...good luck iClimb; the headlamp dilemma is one of the hardest to figure out...

9:54 p.m. on September 14, 2011 (EDT)
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thanks everyone, I'm still wading through the headlamp waters...

4:36 a.m. on September 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I like this lamp, it is very bright (CREE LED @ 150 - 200 lumins).  I would devise a remote battery case that can be stashed in your pocket if you are using in the cold, however, to conserve battery life.. 

Ed

7:19 a.m. on September 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Fenix HP10

I just went through the whole headlamp decision a few months ago. Even the wife loves it.

http://www.fenixlight.com/viewproduct.asp?id=102

1:13 p.m. on September 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Protos said:

Fenix HP10

I just went through the whole headlamp decision a few months ago. Even the wife loves it.

http://www.fenixlight.com/viewproduct.asp?id=102

 Looks good.  Question: how big is the diameter of the area illuminated when pointed at your feet, with light set at its widest mode? 

Ed

1:38 p.m. on September 15, 2011 (EDT)
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First>  You may want to consider only  "regulated" headlamps because they give off a virtually constant light level until the last few minutes. Non-regulated headlamps gradually decrease light level as the batteries drain.

Second> You may want a heavier headlamp with a battery pack at the back of the headband (& kept warm by your headgear). This option usually means more batteries but also much longer burn time.

Third> you may want the option of a red light to pereserve night vision.

Fourth> Most headlamps with the above configurations have light level choices to increase burn time or increase distance kighted, as the need arises. Do you also want a flashing strobe light for emergencies?

 

My favorite headlamps are made by Princeton Tech but the new Mammut headlamps are very good as well.

 

 

8:45 a.m. on September 16, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

Protos said:

Fenix HP10

I just went through the whole headlamp decision a few months ago. Even the wife loves it.

http://www.fenixlight.com/viewproduct.asp?id=102

 Looks good.  Question: how big is the diameter of the area illuminated when pointed at your feet, with light set at its widest mode? 

Ed

 Hmm did this real quick .....  with the adjustment pointed  straight down the clearly defined outer cone is just under 9 feet.

I am sure with someone taller and a less exaggerated angle that number goes up significantly. We have been delighted with it and it also meet ALL the criterion of the previous poster. Its total winner imho. Planning to buy another.

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