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Thread: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

  1. #1

    Default Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    I need a very good headlamp for an upcoming trip to Colorado. My budget is $150 and I am looking for a durable and bright headlamp. I looked at the following lights:
    Surefire saint
    Princeton tech
    Brunton l3

    Any advice?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Love my Surefire!

    But truthfully never used the others.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    I doubt any headlamp will provide as much throw as a handheld. Why do you need a headlamp? What batteries are you using? How much output do you need?

    I've had the Photon Fusion, ZLH501 and the Saint. From experience I'd say the Saint is the best all around headlamp. Decent throw and good flood up close. The beam might not be perfect but I don't mind once I really start using it. Probably the only headlamp I'd trust not to die after a couple of months.
    Last edited by red02; 07-30-2010 at 10:20 PM. Reason: clarification
    >>Opinions expressed by red02 do not necessarily express the opinions of the company or its subsidiaries. Facts stated by red02 are not necessarily facts.<<

  4. #4

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget



    What will the lamp be used for primarily? For instance...

    1) Around camp duty?
    2) Night hiking?
    3) Tracking or trailing?

    Not knowing what your use will be makes this a tough question for the CPFers to answer.

    With your budget (either $150 or $200), you could get a couple of good lights and decent backup, that could cover several needs.

    All depends on your intended use.

  5. #5
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    I've packed a lot of deer off mountains after dark, sometimes with nothing but a button cell key-chain light held in my mouth (because that was all I had with me,and I needed two hands on the rifle just in case the bear showed up.) However, I don't recommend that set-up. My current lights of choice: A zebralight 501w for following the trail and a hand-held Quark Mini AA neutral for finding the trail. Both are extremely lightweight, easily carried in a shirt pocket, one-hand interface,use the same battery, and are outstanding camp as well as field lights. If you want more pop, you can run the Mini AA on li-ion 14500 as long as you don't leave it on high and let it overheat.

    I wouldn't hesitate to disappear into the boonies for a few weeks with these two lights and a supply of lithium batteries--and I live in Alaska.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* nein166's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    My advise follows MarkWs line of thinking, use only one type of lithium battery.
    Either AA or CR123 for the headlamp and handheld, got a AA powered camera too?

    I'm a big fan of my Rayovac 1AA and since your on a hunting trip why not get the new Remington headlamp.
    Its got a 150lm hi about 60lm low using a Cree LED with 4hr Hi (maybe)
    And a Red/Blue cluster, that has a Red Low, Red/Blue Blood Tracking, Red Strobe
    The Diffuser is very useful for flooding everything in front of you and then flips away if you need to light up a target in the distance.
    Its under $50 so that leaves you $100 to spend on energizer lithium AA cells
    Heres a review though the pics are down
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=217942

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    stay away from different color lights they do not help well with tracking blood contrary to popular belief

    I don't know which headlamp, but I do know you want at least 200 lumens of warm floody light to make tracking easier

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Thanks everyone for the response so far. I will be using the light during the early morning hours (still dark) to get to our hunting spots. We will be hunting very high elevation and they said you will need a headlamp to keep your hands free. I will also have a standard flashlight but they said you will want to rely on the hamplamp for the hike to/from camp.

    I am pretty close on ordering the Surefire Saint. Don't know if I should get the minimus or the standard. The ability to use AA batteries doesn't matter to me as the CR123A should last me the whole season.

    Thanks

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Depends what modes you'll use. If your using high a lot it might be worth it to get the full Saint. You won't get lots of runtime on max with the minimus before you need to change out the battery.

    I can tell you that you'll definitely feel the extra weight of the battery pack if you use the headband. If you attach both or either to the webbing on a boonie hat the weight will be distributed better. Since I use AAs exclusively my only option was the Saint.

    I'd go for the Minimus if your only using cr123s. Remember that spyder tactical has a generous discount on all surefires.
    >>Opinions expressed by red02 do not necessarily express the opinions of the company or its subsidiaries. Facts stated by red02 are not necessarily facts.<<

  10. #10

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    If I had money to eat, set fire too, or clean up coffee spills, I'd get the regular SureFire Saint rather than the Minimus since it can also be quickly converted to the Minimus with the included accessory cap. In essence, you'd be getting 1.5 headlamps for the price of 4, instead of just one headlamp for the price of 3.

    Far better value.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by entoptics View Post
    If I had money to eat, set fire too, or clean up coffee spills, I'd get the regular SureFire Saint rather than the Minimus since it can also be quickly converted to the Minimus with the included accessory cap. In essence, you'd be getting 1.5 headlamps for the price of 4, instead of just one headlamp for the price of 3.

    Far better value.
    If 1 is none and 2 is one, how much is 1.5? 0.5?

    the Saint is fairly priced, probably even a bargin. Worth more to me than 4 other headlamps I could get for 200. Will probably last longer too.

    There really isn't anything quick about the conversion. The attachment points on the battery pack are pretty solid, so you need to remove the entire thing from your head to start working with it. It takes time to unscrew the wire that connects the HS2 to the battery pack and do it such that the wire doesn't coil up. Its not a zebralight that you can just pull out of the silicon bracket.
    >>Opinions expressed by red02 do not necessarily express the opinions of the company or its subsidiaries. Facts stated by red02 are not necessarily facts.<<

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Just sayin', I love my Saint.
    [gearcarrot.com] Collector and distributor of (mis)information.
    The Guide to High-End Lights | Flashlight Story Collection updated Sept 28
    CPF Specials | 4sevens | LED Testing | EDCF | #cpf

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    If it's just for walking in and out and general use, I'd have to go with a Zebralight. I prefer the CR-123 size but the 18650 provides more output and longer run times. The H60w and a few extra 18650's would provide more than enough light for a trip with a whole lot of hiking. A Zebralight H30w or H31w, a Quark 123˛, and a box of Titanium 123's and you have a pocket able setup with plenty of batteries and nearly a $100 left over. The H31w would give a spot as well as spill and has more modes than the H30. One of it's choices is 32lm for 12 hours on a single CR-123. That's more than enough light for hiking in and out for a small headlamp.

    My 2˘ added. :P

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* kevinm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    What battery does the handheld take? I'd get a headlamp that takes the same battery (if it's AA or CR123). You'll want your hands free as the altitude here makes for some huge temperature swings and you might want your hands in pockets. It's not uncommon for the daytime to hit 80F and the nightime low to be below freezing. Also, our "trails" are often not very clear, ...

    The Surefire is nice, as is the Zebralight. Go with either with the same battery as your handheld. And bring spares. If it's winter hunting, avoid alkalines; sometimes, it's too cold here for them to work. Keep your hands free; our bears and mountain lions are pretty friendly.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Thanks guys!! I just ordered the Saint, a E2DL with click-type rear cap and a 12 pack of surefire batteries. I think I should be set for my trip. This should be a big improvement over my AA maglite that I have been using for the last 15 years.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* degarb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by red02 View Post
    I doubt any headlamp will provide as much throw as a handheld. Why do you need a headlamp? What batteries are you using? How much output do you need?

    I've had the Photon Fusion, ZLH501 and the Saint. From experience I'd say the Saint is the best all around headlamp. Decent throw and good flood up close. The beam might not be perfect but I don't mind once I really start using it. Probably the only headlamp I'd trust not to die after a couple of months.
    My browning nitro, or remington 4aa. Both were tailored to hunting. Both good throw.

    Why headlamp? Imagine, in the day time, every time you opened your eyes and looked around, your left arm became tied behind your back. This is what you are essentially doing with any flashlight when using normally.

    Yes, I know flashlights can be driven harder because of better heatsyncing. Then, that puts you back to question of runtime, and for what limited application a short running lamp is good.

    I have settled on three types of headlamps: pocket/toolbelt (small) for quick tasks; the aa lamp good for ample light with good throw for 10 hours and fits into briefcase/bookbag/toolbox; and 7.2 volt toolbelt powered lights for wall hunting at 25+ feet and long day at full strength. I love them all, but am a fickle lover, awaiting my 130 lumen/watt warm thrower or the 140+ cools to replace this 80 to 100ish generation. I fear this won't come in next decade, or perhaps my lifetime, because the bean counters have figured out most people are as dim as the lights they will buy.
    Some people are all lumens and no lux, while others are all lux and no lumens. Some just thank God they have neither.-- All of my lights have throw--some pretty darn far, into the garbage.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    My hunting setup is the SF Minimus, with a handheld backup (L1, E2DL, or E1B depending on the mood). The L1 and E1B are also able to be clipped to my cap as a makeshift headlamp if needed, and using the lanyard as a retention around my head.

    Last year on our moose hunt, we remained out tracking far past dusk, and I had 4 lights with me, and we used them all, because only a few of the guys brought lights. This year I'm hoping I don't need to carry for everyone again.
    Lights removed for search accuracy

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Best hunting headlamp? Have a $200 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Jsottile View Post
    I need a very good headlamp for an upcoming trip to Colorado. My budget is $150 and I am looking for a durable and bright headlamp. I looked at the following lights:
    Surefire saint
    Princeton tech
    Brunton l3

    Any advice?
    Maybe a little late now, but for $225 you could have 600 lumens.
    Check out post #9
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=287453
    Triple XP-E and XM-L headlamps/ bike lights.
    XP-G Modified PT Apex and EOS
    Custom Night Lightning iBlaast II

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