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Thread: Trail Runners, Fastpackers & Urban Runners, What Lamps Do You Use?

  1. #31

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenk View Post
    Urban night running I think the 70 lumens from my Fenix HL10 is spot on.
    For trail running (rough ground) I prefer the 150 to 250 lumen range.
    Floody beams are essential to allow for illumination of your next foot strike as well as bright illumination of the next few metres ahead.
    Neutral and/or high-CRI beams are much more pleasant, and help to identify objects you may step on.
    How fast do you tend to move on the street with the 70 lumen floody Fenix HL10? Do you tend to aim the center of the beam at any particular distance from your feet?

    Your Fenix has a rotatable diffuser. Do you find that light is more pleasant to run with than with spot bounce generated by a running gait, or does it dim the light too much?
    General Zod: "So this is planet Houston." Superman II (1980)

  2. #32

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    Sorry for more delay than I intended, but here's my attempt at a contribution to this excellent and useful thread.

    I am a 56 year old male who took up ultramarathon mountain trail running 3 years ago - a form of running that often requires one to negotiate technical terrain at night. I mention my age simply because I found that my still quite decent eyesight did suffer some at night compared to my younger days. Keep that in mind when reading my preferences.

    I came to this forum seeking assistance with assembling a package of lighting suitable to my ultrarunning needs and the wealth of information here and the willing and knowledgeable contributors shortened the process and ultimately led to a far better system than I would have otherwise had. Thanks to all.

    (You can see my thread on the topic here: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...or-Waist-Light )


    I started out seeking ways to build a better waist-light. My aging eyes were better able to read the rocky, root strewn terrain that is mountain single-track when shadows are visible - something headlamps can't do. I built a kick ass dual head version and ran with it in training, only to find that the bounce of the light as simply too annoying and distracting. Couldn't deal. Adding to the negative of a waist-light is the fact that smaller stray branches that often hang out into the trail at eye level weren't illuminated well enough from waist level for me to see before they hit me in the face (and eyes). I could see that even if I were able to deal with the bouncing of the waist-light, I was still going to need to provide some light from a headlamp to be able to see eye level hazards and react to them. I bailed on the waist-light entirely after enough trial and finding mostly error.

    I then modified my dual LED light to mount headlamp style. I was hoping that simply pouring enough lumens on to the trail would make up for the flat lighting. I wasn't overwhelmingly pleased with the results. I felt like there were diminishing terrain reading returns weighed against the extra battery requirements. Additionally, extra lumens produced and thrown at eye level actually exacerbate certain negative aspects of headlamps - fog and rain reached a blinding level with my ~1,000 luman dual rig.

    I had played previously and continued to run with a variety of hand lamps. I loved the way the lower light angle made the terrain visually pop up in 3D, but again the unsteady nature of the lighting (waving around a lot) was disconcerting. Also, hand-helds have one really nasty negative feature -- at the moment you need them the most (say you've caught a toe on a root and are struggling to regain your balance), your arms naturally wave frantically to help in your recovery and your trail goes dark. I simply couldn't abide by losing my trailing lighting right at the moment I needed it most. Also, eating and drinking on the run (totally necessary in ultrarunning) required movement of the hands such that lighting was lost.

    So much for all the negatives of the different lighting packages -- what did I finally settle on?

    I'm using a straight up stock Skilhunt H03 (TIR lens) in headlamp form. I run this on the top sustainable setting for the most part (500 lumens). I supplement this with a Rofis TR20 adjustable angle handheld with a custom built handstrap which makes it so I can't drop it easily. I run the Rofis also on the 500 lumen setting - occasionally cranking it up to the higher setting for route finding.


    Here's the positives of the system:

    1: Two totally separate lighting systems provide redundancy.
    2: Single type battery for both lights
    3: Lightweight single battery packaging for both lights, while still providing 3+ hours full bright.
    4: Design of both lights allows easy 30 second battery swap even in total darkness or on the run.
    5: Skilhunt flood diminishes the perception of beam movement of the hand held Rofis.
    6: The more 'throwy' nature of the Rofis overcomes the Skilhunt lumens, still inducing readable shadows.
    7: The Rofis throws well for 'look ahead' route finding - not the Skilhunt's strength.
    8: The Skilhunt continues to light the trail even when one trips and the Rofis is windmilling about.
    9: The adjustable head of the Rofis allows me to pick the perfect, comfortable angle for my wrist.
    10: When I encounter fog or rain, I can just switch off the Skilhunt and am all set with a lower angle light
    11: Excellent lighting of eye level hazards.

    Negatives:

    1: The single cell config of both lights leads to only ~3hrs lighting before needing cell changes.
    2: Hand held lights occupy hands.
    3: The color of the two lights don't match which annoys the hell out of me.


    I have now used this system on the run through hundreds of mile of wicked terrain and currently wouldn't trade it for anything (Note that I own multiple high end Petzls and Black Diamonds and Princeton headlamps and have used all of them happily for years backpacking and climbing).

    Typically I turn the Rofis off when climbing steeper terrain (sometimes I even tuck it into a velcro pouch located on my running belt). The fact that I'm generally power hiking these stretches means terrain reading becomes much easier - reducing the needed for the shadow producing handheld. Also, I'm usually trying to feed myself during this time and while the hand-strap does allow this with light in hand, if I know from the elevation profile of the route that it will be off for a while, it's just easier to tuck it away and be truly hands free. Depending on the route of course I find I need the Rofis lit about half the time.

    When needed I use the Nitecore MB40 battery magazine to carry spares and this gives me over 9 hours of full bright system usage. One could of course ramp down the lumens and go much longer. I have found for me that the weight to lumens trade-off falls easily in favor of lumens. The extra batteries simply aren't that heavy, and for most ultras crew access is such that other than a single emergency spare, you don't need to carry extras at all. It's only the longer more remote versions (which are my first love) that require the added weight.

    That's my 0.02 cents. Lighting is like shoes as I see it -- too many variables and personal preferences to nail down one "perfect" combo for everyone. Try things and find what works for you.

    As a reference to questions asked in the OP, my running speed on long races is not high (my fastest mile completing the 75 mile SCAR (Smokie Challenge Adventure Race) was only in the 9 minute range. Many technical running miles are completed in the 12+ minute range. I have however run many night training miles with this system down in the 7s and 8s without issue.

    Your results may vary.

    JB
    Last edited by ThinAirDesigns; 06-06-2017 at 10:42 AM.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    I imagine when you descended from Davenport Gap Shelter and approached I-40, your radio call went a little something like this:

    "Clingman's Tower, ME-056 with you on the localizer four OH right."
    "M.E. 056, roger, cleared to land four OH right."
    "Cleared to land four OH right, ME-056."



    So tell me, were there many UFO calls on the Haywood County, NC 911 log that weekend?

    That's a lotta light!

    When I do 1 day in the mountains (43 miles with about 3 lbs of food), I'm not pushing the 20 lb limit of my packs, so I won't hesitate to carry extra items I wouldn't otherwise carry on a three day trip. But when I hit that ceiling, luxuries have gotta go, or the ship starts to sink! The compromise I have to make with the extended range load is limiting myself to one or two lamps, raw weight of 30g each, plus batteries and headband (which is what my visor will slide onto). Fortunately, I consider 122-198 range on the ZL H53w to be way more light for my foreground light than I feel I could ever hope for.

    I read your warning about redundancy, and I'm definitely going to make a back-up light mandatory. I should know better, having had my former lamp take a deep six on me right when I began my first night trail running last October. Lucky thing I brought that 30 degree bag, although another headlamp would have been 21 oz lighter!

    Speaking of lucky, I'm not too far from your age and I can still run streets at night in my neighborhood without needing a lamp. It's dark between the street lamps, but I can adjust pretty well. Haven't fallen yet. I had some fun with sidewalks and driveways in the beginning, however. Now I keep to the asphalt at night.

    Thanks for sharing your lamps story with us! I was glad to finally see it.
    Last edited by Genzod; 06-07-2017 at 11:02 AM.
    General Zod: "So this is planet Houston." Superman II (1980)

  4. #34
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    Quote Originally Posted by Genzod View Post
    How fast do you tend to move on the street with the 70 lumen floody Fenix HL10? Do you tend to aim the center of the beam at any particular distance from your feet?

    Your Fenix has a rotatable diffuser. Do you find that light is more pleasant to run with than with spot bounce generated by a running gait, or does it dim the light too much?
    I always aim the beam so that the lower edge of the beam is at my feet for the next foot strike. This usually results in the hotspot being 2-3m away. Running speed is typically 12kph for urban running.

    The Fenix HL10 beam options are very floody and even more floody. The diffuser doesn't make a huge difference, though makes the beam edge and hotspot slightly softer. My preference is diffused, though I'm not that fussy.
    Most Recent Reviews: XTAR WK007 Zanflare F1 & S2

  5. #35

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenk View Post
    I always aim the beam so that the lower edge of the beam is at my feet for the next foot strike. This usually results in the hotspot being 2-3m away. Running speed is typically 12kph for urban running.

    The Fenix HL10 beam options are very floody and even more floody. The diffuser doesn't make a huge difference, though makes the beam edge and hotspot slightly softer. My preference is diffused, though I'm not that fussy.
    If you don't mind, I'd like to link to your review of the Fenix HL10 and present a quote and a photo from it that I think is great advice to new runners reading this thread:

    "The 70 lumen brightness on high is sufficient for urban night running. 50 lumens is roughly the minimum for urban night running. If the light is angled so that edge of the beam is around the runners foot, then the path is well illuminated for around 10m ahead of the runner. This is a critical area so that the runner can plan their next few foot strikes. Nothing worse than mistaking a leaf or twig for a cane toad, spider, or snake! The hot spot beam can illuminate up to around 30m ahead of the runner if required. I should note that much brighter lights may annoy motorists, and thus 70 lumens is a good brightness for urban night running. "

    Beam shots:

    General Zod: "So this is planet Houston." Superman II (1980)

  6. #36

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!


    I recently purchased a Zebralight H53w for trail running. I tested it out last night for urban running.

    Normally I don't use a headlamp at night for urban running. The streets tend to be well lit with street lamps spaced every 0.05 to 0.10 miles (80-160m). I live in a residential area that tends to be isolated from through-traffic, and I run at a time when most residents are already in bed and not in their cars on the road coming home. Provided I stay on the road and stay off the sidewalk, I'm fine. Get on the sidewalk and surprise, surprise, I'm tripping over driveways, meter access grates and tree root upheavals of concrete when the ambient light dims between street lamps.

    Last night using a setting of 65 lumens (Energizer AA Primary lithium) and a semitransparent medical glove fingertip stretched over the head to provide wide angle diffusion, I was able to successfully run on the sidewalk at a typical speed of about 6 mph (9.65 kph) without mishaps. It was very decent light when I traversed the sidewalk near the duck pond where there are no street lamps, only minuscule ambient light from distant houses.

    Removing the diffuser at the duck pond, the 12 degree spot filled the meter wide sidewalk where I tend to keep the light aimed, and I could see the spill focus of 80 degrees to each side which was in my opinion a much better concentration of light for paths the width of sidewalks and mountain trails. The edge of the spot was about 3 and 5 m ahead of me where I tend to look when I run in the dark at that speed (less when slower). The edge of the spill near my feet is about 1 meter ahead of me. I tilt my head down a little when I need to have spill light at my feet.

    I'm heading out to try this lamp on the mountain trails very soon. I suspect 65 lumens diffused or spot/spill will be plenty of light for fastpacking with an occasional boost to 122 lumens for really technical stuff and running downhill. Uphill is much slower and I think 26 lm will be good. There will be much less ambient light glare constricting my pupils limiting light, so the light will appear much brighter in that context. Plus, I will be running much slower due to terrain and pack weight, so I will not have to look very far ahead to anticipate obstacles, meaning light intensity on the path will be brighter with closer aim.

    The single strap headband doesn't' work well running, bobbying up and down from a running gait. I tried ThinAirDesigns advice and ran the band through the round holes of the lamp holder, and that stabilized the lamp. Unfortunately, the rubber holder became uncomfortable, the edges of it pressed into my forehead, so I think I'll need a sweatband to go underneath to make it work. Reversing a baseball cap and riding the mount on the cloth/velcro adjustment strap works, but the hat itself is uncomfortable in heat while running. Edit: I purchased a UA sweatband, and the light rides on it very comfortably.
    Last edited by Genzod; 08-18-2017 at 12:48 AM.
    General Zod: "So this is planet Houston." Superman II (1980)

  7. #37
    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    For the past few years I have been using an Armytek Wizard Pro with XM-L2 S6 3000K 90CRI, mostly in the second highest mode (370lm).

    • At night I usually don't run faster than 5min/km (8:03/mi)
    • I look straight ahead as much as possible so that my running form doesn't deteriorate (maybe 10-50m)
    • I mostly run on paved roads, trails and sometimes normals paths in the woods. Nothing crazy.
    • The Armytek Wizard has a TIR optic with a built-in hexagonal diffusor. Together with the XM-L2 LED it produces an almost perfect beam for running. There is no bouncing spot (although this also depends on how good your running technique is, i.e. how high your cadence is) and the the range is good enough.
    • When it's raining I use the turbo mode with 630 Lumens.
    • The amount of light is great, it's easily enough.
    • Fog is ok, but snow is not so nice because the snow flakes basically got towards my eyes the whole time which is annoying.


    The only thing I want to improve is the tint. I think the 3000k is a bit too low for my taste. I find that it is easier to concentrate with a higher color temperature. I am thinking of having the light modded with an XP-L2 4000K 90CRI.

    The one thing that really annoys me and is really quite dangerous is the low battery warning. The main LEDs actually blinks multiple times to tell you this. When you are running downhill in the dark that is quite dangerous. In the winter (around 0°C) the light and the battery are much colder. This causes the low battery warning to start much earlier because cold batteries have a lower voltage. Using unprotected cells with a low internal resistance fixes this problem though.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Driver View Post
    For the past few years I have been using an Armytek Wizard Pro with XM-L2 S6 3000K 90CRI...The one thing that really annoys me and is really quite dangerous is the low battery warning. The main LEDs actually blinks multiple times to tell you this. When you are running downhill in the dark that is quite dangerous. In the winter (around 0°C) the light and the battery are much colder. This causes the low battery warning to start much earlier because cold batteries have a lower voltage. Using unprotected cells with a low internal resistance fixes this problem though.
    We recently purchased a Wizard XPH50, and it seems the yellow switch blinks red or green depending on the message. I wasn't aware the main LED might blink when battery is low. Is that still the case with recent models?

    General Zod: "So this is planet Houston." Superman II (1980)

  9. #39
    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    I have the Wizard v1. Armytek likes to change things...
    I would check the Manual and maybe just try it out before running (you can use your fridge to make the warnings come earlier).
    Last edited by The_Driver; 08-15-2017 at 03:28 AM.

  10. #40

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers and Urban Runners please share!

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Driver View Post
    I have Wizard v1. Armytek likes to change things...
    I would check the Manual and maybe just try it out before running (you can use your fridge to make the warnings come earlier).
    I think we have an XHP50 Wizard v2. Manual only indicates battery level warnings are provided at 100, 25 and 10% by different colors of flashing light from the switch. Nothing about the LED flashing. My Zebralight uses the LED to flash battery level indication, but I have to activate that test by a sequence of 4 short clicks before it does that. I suspect it regulates output until first stepdown before it eventually and completely shuts down.
    General Zod: "So this is planet Houston." Superman II (1980)

  11. #41

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers & Urban Runners, What Lamps Do You Use?

    I usually alternate between my Petzl Tikka RXP and my Nitecore HC30. I tend to use the Petzl for most of my urban running and the HC30 for trails. Both weigh about the same. All depends on how far/long I intend to run. Both have ~200 Lumen modes which In my opinion is more then enough light for both urban and trail. Although I only use the Petzl Autonomy modes on trails as it doesn't do well when an oncoming car's lights shine towards it.

    But the HC30's silicone holder is extremely uncomfortable and it bobs a lot on my head. I DIY'd the HC30's bracket/holder onto the Petxl band with zip ties for a 100Miler earlier this year to try and get the best of both worlds...I wanted the battery life and lumens of the HC30 but the comfort of the Petzl. Worked fantastic and I only used one battery for the entire night, alternating between the 210 / 70 lumen modes depending on my pace and terrain, although it wasn't the prettiest setup.

  12. #42

    Default Re: Trail Runners, Fastpackers & Urban Runners, What Lamps Do You Use?

    The new Olight H2S seems like it meets many requirements.

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