Value of Interchangeability - AAA

bmyton

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Apr 15, 2013
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East Tennessee
Hey CPF,

I'd love some feedback from you guys on a headlamp dilemma.

I backpack with a Garmin Foretrex 401 (2xAAA), I have a Preon P2 that I usually toss in (2xAAA), and I occasionally bring a laser pointer (2xAAA). I am quite happy with the performance of the Foretrex and hesitate to give that up, which means even if I leave the other lights at home, I'm going to have a need for AAA backups in my pack.

Here is where my question comes in. I am looking at an upgrade from the cheap button headlamps that I usually bring, and am considering AAA as an option for convenience, and battery redundancy. This forum tends away from the typical REI fare (Black Diamond, Petzl) and towards some of the more typical flashlight brands (Fenix, Olight, ThruNite). I thought I'd check in and see about your opinion on some options

Fenix HL10 - 1xAAA - $30 (Size/Weight advantage)
Fenix HL15 - 2xAAA - $30 (Run time advantage over HL10)
Olight H05 Active - 2xAAA - $20 (Cost advantage)
BlackDiamond Ion - 2xAAA - $20 (Questionable light levels)
Petzl / BD Assorted - 3xAAA / 4xAAA - (I would rather stay at 2xAAA or below if I could)


--Or--- Am I barking up the wrong tree with a AAA format headlamp? I am not looking to spend over $50, which is pretty limiting when I have to think about buying two batteries and a charger in 18650 format. Will the Skillhunt H03 be good enough to merit an additional battery type?

I'm targeting relatively light, safe in heavy rain (PNW Hiking), reasonable brightness (step up from the $10 Walmart), and good battery life on a middle brightness (normal trail walking).


Thanks Guys!
 

OldmanRon

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Dec 30, 2016
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Hi Bmyton,

For your actual "wants and needs" and (maybe) budget, I would strongly suggest the new 2017 Petzl Tikka. It's a respected brand, although many hard-core users/hobbyists are quick to disagree.

The new model has twice as much peak power as last year's model (now 200 lumens), plus a red LED (with a strobe that is surprisingly effective at night) ... and it's so tiny and unobtrusive that you won't even feel it on your head. Plus, they didn't raise the price ... still about US $30 or $38 here in Canada. I own a few Fenix products and love them too, but I was so impressed with this Petzl (my first) that I immediately ordered a second one from MEC (the Great White North's shamelessly-copied version of your extraordinary REI) where I've been a member for about 30 years.

No "bragging rights" with the Petzl, but lots of "Holy Sh1TT!" from average citizens. :)

For thirty dollars.

Ron
 
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dirkomatic

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Jun 28, 2016
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Not sure why you're so against the "typical REI fare." I have several headlamps (AAA, AA and 18650) for different purposes and find that the Black Diamond Spot and Storm are my go to camping lights. I have the Fenix HL10 which is a nice light, but the Spot and Storm are far better for hiking and trail finding.

Although, now that I reread your post, you want 2xAAA. I think you're limiting yourself for not much of a reason. One AAA weighs 12 grams...
 
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OldmanRon

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Not sure why you're so against the "typical REI fare." I have several headlamps (AAA, AA and 18650) for different purposes and find that the Black Diamond Spot and Storm are my go to camping lights. I have the Fenix HL10 which is a nice light, but the Spot and Storm are far better for hiking and trail finding.

Although, now that I reread your post, you want 2xAAA. I think you're limiting yourself for not much of a reason. One AAA weighs 12 grams...

I agree ... it seems an unreasonable restriction. We (all) seem to have too much time on our hands ... we should be out trying square-dancing (again) ... it hasn't changed since Grade 3 Phys. Ed class ... :)
 

xcandrew

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Although, now that I reread your post, you want 2xAAA. I think you're limiting yourself for not much of a reason. One AAA weighs 12 grams...

One reason for avoiding 3 AAAs would be for people who use NiMH batteries, but don't have a good charger that charges cells individually. A lot of cheap, but common chargers (such as one of the chargers that come in Eneloop packs) charge in pairs only, and there's no reasonable way to charge that 3rd cell safely. This is kind of a trap for non-technical people, because they don't realize the issue.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Dec 13, 2007
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I'd go with the Olight HO5S if you plan to stick with AAA. It's like the HO5, but brighter (180 lumens) and has a unique feature for changing batteries. When you open the case, it has a red light that comes on in the shape of a + indicating which direction to place the batteries. This function works with the batteries out of the light. I call it the ghost light feature. Also, this light doesn't come in colors favored by a 5 year old.

If you go away from AAA batteries and want a reasonably cheap and light headlight, take a look at the Nitecore NU series USB rechargeable lights. I'd avoid Petzl headlights for backpacking. They are only IPX4 rated for waterproof (can be sprayed at any angle for 5 minutes) and the pulse width modulation on the last generations of lights is annoying on anything under full power. You want a current regulated light that doesn't have an annoying strobe effect on the most used level, medium. If I was backpacking now, I'd go for a Nitecore NU30 headlight and bring a spare lithium ion USB power pack/phone charger, a Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar charger, or a Biolite stove for recharging the light, depending on location and duration of the trip.
 

Mr Baz

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Dec 24, 2016
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The HO5S is quite good nice wide beam the only downside is the red LED's are only bright enough for up close (arm distance) work. Other than that it's a solid unit at the right price
 

OldmanRon

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I'd go with the Olight HO5S if you plan to stick with AAA. It's like the HO5, but brighter (180 lumens) and has a unique feature for changing batteries. When you open the case, it has a red light that comes on in the shape of a + indicating which direction to place the batteries. This function works with the batteries out of the light. I call it the ghost light feature. Also, this light doesn't come in colors favored by a 5 year old.

If you go away from AAA batteries and want a reasonably cheap and light headlight, take a look at the Nitecore NU series USB rechargeable lights. I'd avoid Petzl headlights for backpacking. They are only IPX4 rated for waterproof (can be sprayed at any angle for 5 minutes) and the pulse width modulation on the last generations of lights is annoying on anything under full power. You want a current regulated light that doesn't have an annoying strobe effect on the most used level, medium. If I was backpacking now, I'd go for a Nitecore NU30 headlight and bring a spare lithium ion USB power pack/phone charger, a Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar charger, or a Biolite stove for recharging the light, depending on location and duration of the trip.

If I took a Biolite stove on a backpacking trip, it would pretty-well cancel-out the easy-carrying benefits of a lightweight little AAA headlamp like the swell new Petzl Tikka.

But I must admit that you can cook on the Biolite ... :)
 
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