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Thread: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

  1. #1

    Default Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Instead of a Headlamp has anyone tried mounting a standard flashlight to the shoulder strap of a backpack? The main disadvantage would be the light doesn't follow where your head is pointing. An advantage would be that you could remove the light and use it as a hand held. I would rather carry only 1 good light backpacking instead of a headlamp & flashlight. Perhaps a head mount flashlight would be even more practical?

    Currently I have a not so bright Black Diamond Ion headlamp. Aside from not being bright the glare from the 2 LEDs is right in my eyes when I point it down. My 1w RayoVac Sportsman Extreme flashlight is much brighter. It is adequate for most hiking but not great when the terrain gets nasty. I have a Tank007 E07 on the way and perhaps more to come now that I have the flashlight bug

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    For backpacking, a good headlight is massively more useful than a good flashlight.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    One drawback about head mounted flashlights as opposed to properly designed forehead mounted headlamps is that they don't work too well with hoods if it's raining.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    My friends and I mucked around for a while with small shoulder and chest mounted flood lights for seeing the ground at your feet and reading maps. Then we'd use a headlight with very narrow beam to see things in the distance.

    It was all rubbish. The only way to go is a good headlamp with quality flood and narrow beams.

    In my opinion, a good headlamp should not shine in your own eyes or off the rims of reading glasses. I think the lights should be recessed in the opaque casing.

    ...but that's just me and I'm pretty picky about headlamps.
    Last edited by ahorton; 01-13-2010 at 10:04 AM.
    Maker of Aspheric Lenses and Headlamps.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    headlamp, hands down.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    +1 for me on headlamp as well. ALthough I do have a H501w that I clip to the backpack for closeup, work, I find maps in particular are hard to read with a spotty headlamp beam.

    On top of that I'll have at least one throwy handheld light with me. I find them significantly easier to pick out distant objects with.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* psychbeat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    headlamp with a good high and low low is ideal. my brunton L3 with p4 has
    too high of a low and annoying pwm so Im going to clip a h501w or h60w to it for reading

    that said there's always room in a pocket for a quark mini or something.
    good to have both incase something goes wrong or u "misplace" one

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* hopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Bender - others have had similar problems with glare from a headlamp shining
    onto the face. A fix that has worked is to glue a piece of opaque rubber
    onto the headlamp, under the LEDs to shade your face. Start with a big piece than a little trimming with scissors to get it to the correct size.

    In a dark room, try looking into a mirror and tilting to headlamp down. Trim the shade piece till its just right. Bicycle inne rtube rubber works good.
    A very cheap fix and won't snap off while stored in a pocket.

    Alternately I'd recommend buying a Petzl MYO XP. Throw and flood in one package.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Bender Sade I would rather carry only 1 good light backpacking instead of a headlamp & flashlight.
    the saying here is 2=1 and 1=none its always good to carry a back up it does not need to be a big light a small AAA or similar in the pocket just in case your main light goes

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Hello Bender,

    Welcome to CPF,

    I often find myself working in remote areas that are very dark. I use one of the ZebraLights on a low setting to add enough undirected light to keep me from stumbling or falling into holes. My main light is a hand held flashlight.

    While this set up works very well for work, I revert back to a headlamp for hiking, with the ZebraLight held in reserve for use around camp.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

  11. #11
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bender View Post
    Instead of a Headlamp has anyone tried mounting a standard flashlight to the shoulder strap of a backpack? The main disadvantage would be the light doesn't follow where your head is pointing. An advantage would be that you could remove the light and use it as a hand held. I would rather carry only 1 good light backpacking instead of a headlamp & flashlight. Perhaps a head mount flashlight would be even more practical?

    Currently I have a not so bright Black Diamond Ion headlamp. Aside from not being bright the glare from the 2 LEDs is right in my eyes when I point it down. My 1w RayoVac Sportsman Extreme flashlight is much brighter. It is adequate for most hiking but not great when the terrain gets nasty. I have a Tank007 E07 on the way and perhaps more to come now that I have the flashlight bug
    Yes, I've tried mounting it to the shoulder strap, but I was using two headlamps at the time, one on my head and one strapped to the left shoulder strap on my pack. One was a lower power flood, the other was a higher power spot beam. I used the flood for hiking, and the spot for trailfinding. But I don't remember which one was at which position, I do remember swapping places but I forgot which way I ended up going with. I think I probably ended up with the spot beam on my head so I could use it to look around..

    In the last thread I started on night hiking, I think I mentioned that I moved the shoulder mounted light down to the hipbelt. I feel like it works better there, it's further away from the eyes, and closer to the ground.

    If you only carry one light, make it the headlamp. A headlamp can do everything a flashlight can do and more, and flashlight strapped to your head is a very poor substitute for headlamp.
    Last edited by InTheDark; 01-14-2010 at 01:32 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    I'm thinking instead of "flashlight I can use as a head/shoulder-lamp" you should be thinking "headlamp I can use as a flashlight", such as a zebralight. Then, since 2=1;1=0, you need a backup, preferably taking the same batteries; a second zebralight would do, and could in fact be clipped on the front of a backpack strap, but I'd go with a flashlight with more throw, preferably clipped in the side of the zebralight headband. That way you have your pick of flood and spot beams, as well as the redundancy of two entirely independent lights.

  13. #13
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    The zebralight 501w plus a Quark Mini AA is a nice backpacking combination: very lightweight, interchangeable battery, flood w/the zebra plus enough throw to scout a trail with the Mini, many battery options in AA size for extra power if needed.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic woodentsick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    I would go with a headlamp, and couldn't you also use that as a handheld by just holding it in your hand instead of putting it on your head?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodentsick View Post
    I would go with a headlamp, and couldn't you also use that as a handheld by just holding it in your hand instead of putting it on your head?
    I probably end up using mine like that more than on my head in the misty and rocky Scottish mountains.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* hopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    When your breath makes clouds of steam, a headlamp will blind you
    as it reflects off. When this happens I wear the headlamp on my wrist
    by doubling the strap.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Headlamp or Shoulder strap mount for backpack?

    Just tested this "tummy light" idea by strapping a zebralight on low to my daypack straps, at chest height. It provides just enough glow to avoid tripping, I could see about 4 - 8 feet ahead. I think the result without snow is somewhat similar, it provides enough light so you don't trip on anything but you can't really see anything beyond 5-10 feet.

    Seeing 5-10 feet with zebralight on low is great for using your night vision to see the rest of the landscape - but clearly not enough for picking the best way through the woods. I used a quark neutral white AA on a quark headband for that. Click it on and "tap" until you have enough light. Switch it off when you don't need it. Using as little light as possible preserves my night vision and also gives me a better contact with my surroundings, at the same time I have anything from 0.2 to 70 lumens available at the touch of a finger... I want a dedicated headlamp that works the same way, until then I'll stick to my warm/neutral quark on a headband.

    The zebralight on my chest provides SUPERB light for reading the map. No glare because of the angle, very bright because the map is close to the light source. Colors show up very well (warm/neutral Q3 5A version). Each time I looked on the map I had memory flashbacks of trying to read the map with old bluish 5mm LED headlamps...

    My conclusion is that a zebralight on the chest is not really practical for navigating, but works really well for two things:

    - if you can or want to find your way with your night vision, the "tummy zebra" on low will give you just enough light so you don't trip, but still preserving your night vision

    - It is really good for map reading, at least the warm/neutral version. This is highly useful if you have a powerful, throwy headlamp on your head because THAT will blind you when you point it on your map.

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