ZebraLight H600 MK II
Reviewers Paid: $85.00
1.4 oz / 39 g
80 degree spill / 12 degree hot spot
The H600 MK II is a nearly indestructible headlamp, providing a blinding 1,090 Lumens of light. Combine that with its long battery life and feather weight, and you will be stunned to learn it retails for hundreds of dollars less than its less powerful competitors!
- Long battery life
- Can be worn as a headlamp or held as a flashlight
- Programmable sub-levels are complicated
- Batteries can be hard to find
Zebra Light is taking the caving community by storm, and it won't be long until that tempest pours into all outdoor sports. Consider these four factors:
- It puts out 2-4 times the light of a typical headlamp.
- It costs a fraction of less powerful lights.
- It weighs a mere 1.4oz/39gr (4.7oz with battery and head strap).
- Its low setting will go continuously for 16 days on one battery.
The H600 MK II is a compact light that can be hand held or worn with the strap (included) to use as a headlamp.
Laura, wearing both her H600 MK II and a Sten Light (see
chart below), is one of our grotto's toughest cavers and
definitely the best looking of the bunch.
The unit is submersible and durable. I have banged this light through many cave crawls and dunked it multiple times in flooded passages. With a total weight of 4.7 oz, the H600 MK II feels like I forgot to attach it to my helmet.
H600 beneath my Princeton Tec Apex (used for backup)
The H600 MK II uses a single Panasonic 18650 Rechargeable Battery to provide between 2 hours (high) and 6 months (ultra low) of light.
Zebra claims the light has “negligible parasitic drain” on the battery, and that the battery's own discharge rate is higher. This means the light can be stored for years without needing a charge.
Note on Batteries: Users definitely want the Panasonic brand of this battery, made in Japan. Cheaper Chinese knockoffs have been flooding the market, with much shorter battery life and fewer recharges before being spent.
The H600 MK II has three primary levels. Pressing the button once brings up the lowest setting. Pressing and holding the button cycles through the primary levels.
- Low: 3.7Lm (16 days of continuous battery life)
- Medium: 70Lm (30 hours of continuous battery life)
- High: 1,090LM (2 hours of continuous battery life)
I have found the lowest setting to be sufficient for reading or digging around in my cave pack. The medium setting is brighter than the high setting on some of my older caving lights, with a longer battery life. The high setting is overkill for most passages and merits the wrath of other cavers you are blinding. However, consider this photo:
Yeah, this picture is grainy and unprofessional. However, that person is at least 300' away from me and is only being illuminated by the H600 MK II, no camera flash. Frankly, the camera is unable to pick up how well illumined my friend was in this cave.
Try this pic, with the subject being a full 40' above me. Again, no flash or additional lights, just the H600:
In addition to the three main settings, there is also a seizure-inducing strobe setting. Above ground you could signal for help or disable an attacker. Indoors, you are ready for the disco.
Every product has its cons, and the H600 MK II con is its subsettings. Maybe if I were an electrical engineer, I would understand how to program the subsettings in this light. The directions explain that by pressing and holding and pressing and holding...you can program the light to different levels:
- High 1,090Lm (2 hours)
- ~H2 660Lm (2.5 hours)
- ~H3 350Lm (3.9 hours)
- ~H4 160Lm (11 hours)
- Medium 70Lm (30 hours)
- ~M2 32Lm (66 hours)
- ~M3 12LM (172 hours)
- Low 3.71Lm (16 days)
- ~L2 0.41Lm (2.5 months)
- ~L3 0.06Lm (4.6 months)
- ~L4 0.01Lm (5.5 months)
Someone smarter than me will have to figure this all out. For caving, I would prefer to just have the four high settings and forgo the rest.
How it compares
I can tell you how bright it is, but here is a video that compares three different lights I have reviewed on Trailspace, all on their highest settings. The object is the top of a small waterfall, approximately 30' from my position.
And here is a comparison chart I made of several lights I have used for caving and backpacking.
As you can see, the H600 MK II dominates. Not only is it the brightest, its cost-per-Lumen ratio is the lowest of the bunch.
Vendors I have talked to at a recent caving festival tell me they sell Zebra Lights as fast as they stock them. They state the wait time on the rechargeable 18650 batteries keeps climbing with the high demand.
I found this to be the case with my own purchase. Zebra was out of stock on their own website. Luckily I found another website with one light in stock. The batteries were found on a third website—again watch out for cheap Chinese-made knockoffs.
I expect to see more outdoor retailers carrying this light in the months ahead. Zebra has set a new bar for other manufactures to jump for. I believe this light is the pioneer for brighter, cheaper lights to come our way in the near future.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $85