Super Reliable Headlamp for backpacking?

markr6

markr6

Flashaholic
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
9,258
I really like my Zebralight H600w. It's been reliable for years, but you never know. Also, last winter I started a backpacking trip at 10pm when it was about 7° and the lamp would not stay on the high mode, even for 2 seconds. It immediately dropped to the medium level. I never hike with any of the high modes so I didn't care, but just something to remember when heading out in the cold with Li-Ion.
 
B

billcoe

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 14, 2011
Messages
46
Regarding the "Black Diamond Storm". I don't believe I've seen the words reliable and Black Diamond paired previously. Petzl I have. Plenty of times. I recently got a deal on the Storm, so it's good to see.
 
I

insanefred

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
453
I understand this is an old thread.

I am a search and rescue volunteer, black diamond headlamps is one of the most popular brand headlamps in the unit I am in. They are also by far one of the least reliable of all the brand names, by a long shot, sadly. The generic/ no name headlamps people use are pretty bad and BD is just a step up from those. Now, if you have a BD and has been reliable for you, then great!

Brands I have seen that work great are but not limited to:

Petzl: As cheap as BD lights and crummy specs, but at least they work and more transparent about their specs.

Zebralight (of course :kiss:): Most, "wow, who's light is that"? of all lights. And work!

Coast: Not great, not crap either, they work and some people love being able to focus their lights.

Fenix: Only seen a few of these action unfortunately, but most users are very happy with them.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brands I do not recommend (seen them fail too often):

Black diamond: They either have problems with the switch (becomes finicky or very difficult to use) or just stop working with out warning

Harbor freight/ costco multi-pack headlamps: Not waterproof.

Princeton tec: I am not sure what's going on here, but they last only one outing for most users.

Jetbeam: Battery contact issues, quality control.

Energizer/Duracell branded lights: virtually no lock out mode on most of them and tons of parasitic drain with ones that use an electric switch. Gee.. I wonder why... :devil:
 
Last edited:
M

marinemaster

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
1,234
Location
Atlanta, GA
Petzl, I have few of their models very reliable.
 
Gryffin

Gryffin

Enlightened
Joined
Feb 16, 2005
Messages
449
Location
People’s Republic of New Jersey
My go-to hiking headlamps for a long time were a couple of Petzl Tikkas; they've been faultlessly reliable for me, but certainly not cutting-edge performance (output OR runtime), and 3xAAA sucks big time: crappy runtimes, lousy output regulation, more tiny cells to misplace, and of course, trying to remember which way the replacement cells have to be oriented *in the dark* is about as fun as a root canal.

I'm also not a fan of CR123A or 18650 for hiking lights; the former get expensive over the long haul, and the latter are big and heavy, and both are difficult-to-impossible to find at your typical roadside or trailhead shop.

So I think AA is the perfect compromise between size/weight, performance, and availability of spares.

A second light is IMHO *mandatory*. Even if it's a Photon keychain light to find spare cells in your pack, you need one.

Personally, I like to let my eyes adapt, and use just enough light to get by; you really don't need much light at all to watch your footing or do camp chores. I've had good luck with a floody AA headlamp (Zebralight H501W), usually on Low, just enough to see my feet and ~10–20' of trail ahead; and a second throwier AA light* on a wrist lanyard, used intermittently to look farther down the trail, or into the woods when something goes bump. Both use the same Eneloop cells, and I usually pack an extra pair, as well as a pair of Energizer Lithiums just in case.

(* Usually a beat-up old Quark AA Tactical; stupid simple UI, light, rugged, and my old XP-G one hit the "reflector focus jackpot" and actually out-throws most of my XM-L lights. But any good-quality EDC-type AA light would do.)
 

Similar threads

M
Replies
62
Views
28K
cue003
C
U
Replies
16
Views
4K
Henry50
H
W
Replies
26
Views
8K
LogansRun
L
W
Replies
11
Views
4K
wiiawiwb
W
5
Replies
77
Views
20K
5150Bronco
5
Top