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Thread: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

  1. #1

    Default Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Hello,
    I am planning a trip to the rainforest. Most of the hiking will be done in the pitch black night looking up at trees. I will have a little LED flashlight and also a headlamp.

    In the past I used very cheap $20 headlamps that never seemed very bright at all. After some research, I saw Black Diamond headlamps.

    It looks like they have a 320 lumen model on sale for $49 and a 500 lumen model for $99.

    My questions are: 1) Will there be any real discernible difference in what I see looking up at the trees with these two headlamps, and if so, is the brighter light worth the $50 more?

    2) In my budget, are there any other bright headlamps I should be looking at?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    archimedes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    In general, with all other factors equal, it may take a lumen increase of anywhere from 4x - 10x for a light to subjectively be perceived as "twice as bright" ....

    The ~ 50% lumen increase you describe will be "noticeable" , especially compared directly side-by-side, but a relatively limited difference.

    Power consumption and runtime, however, will be quite different of course.
    Last edited by archimedes; 04-09-2017 at 07:32 PM.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  3. #3

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    In addition to brighter, you better have a more comfortable headband, one that also runs over the top of your head or hat to keep your light in place when the sweat runs.
    Floody beams are best if it is dense forest and you need to see where you are going.
    Armytek and Zebralight have excellent options, and you better get the most rugged headlamp you can afford if there will be no back-up.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lex Icon View Post
    In addition to brighter, you better have a more comfortable headband, one that also runs over the top of your head or hat to keep your light in place when the sweat runs.
    Floody beams are best if it is dense forest and you need to see where you are going.
    Armytek and Zebralight have excellent options, and you better get the most rugged headlamp you can afford if there will be no back-up.
    I will definitely check out those brands. I feel like my headlight will be more of a backup as the guides use 3200 lumen Lupine headlamps...when I went out with them last year, their headlamp was so bright, it looked like a car turned its brights on...but that model is way out of my budget for a random vacation here or there.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Your previous headlamps, were any of them of a known brand or output rating? What batteries did they use?

    How long did you typically use them for between battery replacements? Did you notice a major change in brightness after changing batteries?

    I'm trying to get a rough idea what your actual needs are, based on what you've used in the past. Because most cheap headlamps and even some of the better models (including Black Diamonds) dim significantly over the course of a set of batteries, having an idea how you used them, and not just what they were rated for, will be helpful.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Lupine are excellent, but pricey ....
    ... is the archimedes peak

  7. #7

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    Your previous headlamps, were any of them of a known brand or output rating? What batteries did they use?

    How long did you typically use them for between battery replacements? Did you notice a major change in brightness after changing batteries?

    I'm trying to get a rough idea what your actual needs are, based on what you've used in the past. Because most cheap headlamps and even some of the better models (including Black Diamonds) dim significantly over the course of a set of batteries, having an idea how you used them, and not just what they were rated for, will be helpful.
    I can only find one of the old headlamps I used looking through old amazon orders. It was a Foxelli 165 lumen headlamp that was around $13. In sure my other one was in the same price range. It ran on 3 AAA batteries and depending on the brightness it would last a few hours. We were running them from about 7pm to 3am every night with our flashlights. After using them for 2 days you deff noticed a change with new batteries.

    i am conflicted now if it will be better for me to get a more powerful flashlight and less bright headlamp for a total budget of $200. But I really know nothing about flashlights or headlamps.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    I see a bunch of options now like the Zebralight and Coast HL7 all under $100. Since battery life doesn't seem to be great, maybe it's better getting a sub $100 headlamp and maybe $100-$125 on a flashlight if that will be brighter and last longer.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* aginthelaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    If you're comfortable with using 18650 batteries, I would recommend the Fenix hl60r. If you have a solar panel charger, you can recharge it during the day if light is available. I love my thrunite th10 and my armytek wizard pro, in which the new version is rechargeable. I use these headlights over my helmet sponge when it's really sweaty out. It's like a half a sweatband for the head.

    The armytek has a sale on their xm-l2 version for under $45
    a single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows- St. Francis of Assissi

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Lupine lights seem nice, but they use 6000k cool white LED's which I don't recommend. Warmer or neutral colored LEDs will be much more natural and comfortable to the eyes. If you have the option to recharge, I would highly consider the Fenix hl60r or newer rechargeable Armytek wizards. They will be a fraction of the price of the Lupine, equally or marginally less bright, and significantly lighter with better color temp. The Zebralight h600w is my favourite, but you will have to buy the batteries and charger separately. Carry a spare battery or two in your bag, and you'll have a similar runtime to your guides.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    I will be able to recharge however it looks like the 600w is out of stock everywhere unless I'm not looking in the right places.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    The h600w mkii is out of stock but the newer mkiii appears to be in stock on their website.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Looks like the 600w is in stock on Amazon if you're in the US. But I'm not sure where you're from. This is another vote for Armytek or Zebralight. I love me Armytek Wizard Pro Warm. However I have heard of some people buying Armytek headlamps that end up not working properly. So if you get unlucky then that might not be fun to deal with.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    If you decide to go with a less bright headlamp I recently ordered a Fenix HL10 for camping because it looks like it will be really durable. It's 1xAA with 70 lumens. It's about $30, so that would leave plenty of room in your budget for something else.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by hardrock View Post
    I can only find one of the old headlamps I used looking through old amazon orders. It was a Foxelli 165 lumen headlamp that was around $13. In sure my other one was in the same price range. It ran on 3 AAA batteries and depending on the brightness it would last a few hours. We were running them from about 7pm to 3am every night with our flashlights. After using them for 2 days you deff noticed a change with new batteries.

    i am conflicted now if it will be better for me to get a more powerful flashlight and less bright headlamp for a total budget of $200. But I really know nothing about flashlights or headlamps.
    Perfect. I figured you were using a typical 3xAAA budget light. These non-regulated lights get really long run times, but they dim significantly over that time. You're talking about using your light for up to 16 hours before changing the batteries. Is part of that time spent with the lights in lower modes, or do you just let them run on high until they're too dim? 3xAAA batteries actually only have enough energy in them to average around 30 lumens over that long of a time. In all seriousnes, I would not be surprised if your light was below 20 lumens by the time you changed batteries.

    While the Black Diamonds are able to achieve higher peak brightness, they are still limited by the energy in their batteries. The $50 storm, with 4xAAA's, should last a little longer. The $100 Icon, with 4xAA's, should last quite a bit longer at equivalent brightness levels.

    The Zebralights and many other regulated lights are able to maintain nearly their rated maximum output for the stated times, but that does mean they consumer their batteries faster. In their lower modes, they're often impeccably consistent right up until the battery is almost dead. For example, a Zebralight H52 gives you the option of 300 lumens for about 50 minutes, or 50 lumens for 7.5 hours (a level I like for walking around outside), or 13 lumens for 27 hours (ample for basic tasks around the campsite, in my opinion). It might dim a moderate amount in the 300 lumen mode, but in those lower modes, it will be extremely consistent.

    And that's just with a single AA battery (but be aware they run more consistently with rechargeable batteries than with cheap alkalines).

    If you jump up to one of Zebralight's larger headlamps, powered by lithium ion 18650 batteries like the H600W, performance takes a big leap - around 1100 lumens - so much power the light will automatically lower output to about 500 lumens after a couple minutes to stay cool, but keep that lower level up for over 2 hours. Or it will do ~60 lumens for over a full day.

    Also, I think the idea of both a quality headlamp and flashlight is arguably your best option. A headlamp with a wide beam for finding your way around, and flashlight with a narrower, more intense beam for illuminating specific objects of interest at a distance are a hard to beat combo, and it sounds like both are potentially in your budget. $200 gets an excellent pair of lights. $100 still can get you a pair of very good performers, although not Zebralights.

    I could say more about specific models (all of Zebralights models have different nuances), as well as other respected brands, and a few other factors that might be helpful, but I don't want to hit you with too much info at once. If what I said raises questions, just ask. If you're itching to get a light sooner rather than later, the recommendation someone else made of a Zebralight H600W is pretty safe, although keep in mind you'll need an 18650 battery and charger for it, too.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    Perfect. I figured you were using a typical 3xAAA budget light. These non-regulated lights get really long run times, but they dim significantly over that time. You're talking about using your light for up to 16 hours before changing the batteries. Is part of that time spent with the lights in lower modes, or do you just let them run on high until they're too dim? 3xAAA batteries actually only have enough energy in them to average around 30 lumens over that long of a time. In all seriousnes, I would not be surprised if your light was below 20 lumens by the time you changed batteries.

    While the Black Diamonds are able to achieve higher peak brightness, they are still limited by the energy in their batteries. The $50 storm, with 4xAAA's, should last a little longer. The $100 Icon, with 4xAA's, should last quite a bit longer at equivalent brightness levels.

    The Zebralights and many other regulated lights are able to maintain nearly their rated maximum output for the stated times, but that does mean they consumer their batteries faster. In their lower modes, they're often impeccably consistent right up until the battery is almost dead. For example, a Zebralight H52 gives you the option of 300 lumens for about 50 minutes, or 50 lumens for 7.5 hours (a level I like for walking around outside), or 13 lumens for 27 hours (ample for basic tasks around the campsite, in my opinion). It might dim a moderate amount in the 300 lumen mode, but in those lower modes, it will be extremely consistent.

    And that's just with a single AA battery (but be aware they run more consistently with rechargeable batteries than with cheap alkalines).

    If you jump up to one of Zebralight's larger headlamps, powered by lithium ion 18650 batteries like the H600W, performance takes a big leap - around 1100 lumens - so much power the light will automatically lower output to about 500 lumens after a couple minutes to stay cool, but keep that lower level up for over 2 hours. Or it will do ~60 lumens for over a full day.

    Also, I think the idea of both a quality headlamp and flashlight is arguably your best option. A headlamp with a wide beam for finding your way around, and flashlight with a narrower, more intense beam for illuminating specific objects of interest at a distance are a hard to beat combo, and it sounds like both are potentially in your budget. $200 gets an excellent pair of lights. $100 still can get you a pair of very good performers, although not Zebralights.

    I could say more about specific models (all of Zebralights models have different nuances), as well as other respected brands, and a few other factors that might be helpful, but I don't want to hit you with too much info at once. If what I said raises questions, just ask. If you're itching to get a light sooner rather than later, the recommendation someone else made of a Zebralight H600W is pretty safe, although keep in mind you'll need an 18650 battery and charger for it, too.
    Great info, thanks for the writeup. I think I will go with the Zebralight. I actually have a 18650 battery already with a charger from some cheap LED flashlight I got on Amazon last year. I like that they will all be able to run on the same battery.

    I was looking at the H600w but it seems there are many different sub-models all with different lights. I really dont know what the difference is between any of the cool whites/neutral whites, etc especially when they are all the same price.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by hardrock View Post
    I was looking at the H600w but it seems there are many different sub-models all with different lights. I really dont know what the difference is between any of the cool whites/neutral whites, etc especially when they are all the same price.
    That was the next part of the discussion I was holding back on for the moment. The choices between the sub-models come down to your personal preference.

    Zebralight offers 3 different beam patterns. Example from their model numbers:

    * H600 - Conventional beam. A noticeable central hot spot for decent long distance throw, plus fainter spill for some up-close vision.
    * H600F - Floody beam. A fairly broad beam with no noticeable hotspot, but a gradual fade outside the center of your vision. Very popular for general use headlamps.
    * H603 - Full flood. Short range due to the wide spread, but illuminates almost your full field of vision

    They also offer several different beam tints. Examples again, using the floody suffix for consistency:

    * H600F - Cool white. Slight brightness advantage, and usually perceived as more brilliant than warmer tones.
    * H600Fw - Neutral white. Most people consider this easier on the eyes, and neutral white usually renders yellows and reds slightly better than cool white.
    * F600Fd - High color rendering index (CRI). The LED is chosen specifically to minimize the washed out appearance many colors take on under a typical LED flashlight. d suffix indicates a color tone very similar to daylight.
    * H600Fc - Also high CRI. c suffix indicates a neutral or slightly warm white tone.

    High CRI lights usually have modestly lower output and efficiency as their tradeoff compared to the regular models.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Just want to add that you might want to let us know what the 18650 and charger are that you have. There are some really dodgy batteries out there that aren't all that safe to use and a good one can be bought for $10 or less these days I think.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by blah9 View Post
    Just want to add that you might want to let us know what the 18650 and charger are that you have. There are some really dodgy batteries out there that aren't all that safe to use and a good one can be bought for $10 or less these days I think.
    Im sure its a piece of garbage. It came with this light:
    https://www.amazon.com/Flashlight-Li...led+flashlight

    Thats not the exact light, but the accessories look exactly the same as what came with mine, charger and all.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Ah yeah, it might be a good idea to get a nicer 18650 then and a charger. Doesn't have to be fancy but there are plenty of recommendations on this site that would work well. Could get an 18650 from Mtn Electronics and a Nitecore F1 charger for example for about $20.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    One thing everyone is missing is that in a jungle the distances are extremely short. Even your eyes and brain take time to adjust to the unusually short focal distances. It is a well-known and understood phenomenon. Throw will work against you. You will have strong reflections bouncing straight back at you from all the damp foliage in front of you. It is a real handicap!!!. You want a wide diffuse beam (or you will not see the snakes right under your feet). If anyone tells you different ask them if they have ever spent time in a jungle. Also, dump the cool white light (you want to be able to distinguish greens, browns and rust red colors), or you will never see the brown pit viper or anything else that wants to chew on your ankles with a cool white light. The following are excellent lights:
    ZLH600Fc Mk 3 H600Fc III High CRI Floody Neutral White 18650 Headlamp
    Or even better (a more uniform beam and more durable light) is the Armytek Armytek Wizard Pro v3 XHP50 (Warm)
    Last edited by Lumencrazy; 04-11-2017 at 06:40 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lumencrazy View Post
    One thing everyone is missing is that in a jungle the distances are extremely short. Even your eyes and brain take time to adjust to the unusually short focal distances. It is a well-known and understood phenomenon. Throw will work against you. You will have strong reflections bouncing straight back at you from all the damp foliage in front of you. It is a real handicap!!!. You want a wide diffuse beam (or you will not see the snakes right under your feet). If anyone tells you different ask them if they have ever spent time in a jungle. Also, dump the cool white light (you want to be able to distinguish greens, browns and rust red colors), or you will never see the brown pit viper or anything else that wants to chew on your ankles with a cool white light. The following are excellent lights:
    ZLH600Fc Mk 3 H600Fc III High CRI Floody Neutral White 18650 Headlamp
    Or even better (a more uniform beam and more durable light) is the Armytek Armytek Wizard Pro v3 XHP50 (Warm)

    This is is very true, I usually find myself using my flashlight at the "widest" setting when hiking in the jungle. Perhaps a flood headlamp and a more beamy flashlight would be a good combo

  23. #23

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Durable, compact, lightweight, bright (and super long lasting low levels), efficient battery usage, comfortable head band... Zebralight H600, H600w, or H600Fw.
    Under 100$, in fact the Mk II are on discount now that the Mk III are for sale. Add two quality 3,400 mAh 18650 and one of Olight's little 10$ magnetic chargers and you could keep the whole setup at right around 100$
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    I'm not sure whether I'll want a li-on powered device on my forehead though. My opinion is that headlamp don't need too high a brightness as, if some unintentional "object"(be it flying animal or whatever living/non-living matter) appeared in your line of sight at a close distance in a sudden, chances are you will be having an instant extreme glare back at yourself if you're on medium or higher up mode and I believe ramming down the brightness takes more time than just shining away with a handheld flashlight. So my recommendation is a lower powered headlamp coupled with a high powered handheld flashlight. I would choose a AA Zebralight headlamp and a 18650 flashlight in your case. But there is one con in this combo though, is that you'll lose versatility battery wise. If you run out of 18650 but are left with AA then you'd not be able to use your flashlight. Good side is you'll have higher chances of encountering AA on the shelf in such remote area than 18650. If both of your 18650 lights are out and the AAs are smiling at you...

    Otherwise yeah, I agree going with a floody headlamp and a throwy flashlight. Everybody opinion differs so some might not agree with my view. I'm just merely expressing my take on this for your consideration. The choice is in your hand though.

    Quote Originally Posted by hardrock View Post
    I was looking at the H600w but it seems there are many different sub-models all with different lights. I really dont know what the difference is between any of the cool whites/neutral whites, etc especially when they are all the same price.
    Regarding the cool white and neutral white tint, cool white is the normal blue-ish white color beam you see in normal led. For neutral white...let's just imagine the color of the morning sun shining on the greenery of the forest and the land...you get the idea.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    So its been just over a year since Ive made this post. Ive been on quite a few trips and have been using a Fenix TK35 flashlight and a Fenix HL60R headlamp. I am very happy with my flashlight...in fact I use it almost exclusively, and just use the headlamp when needed. One thing I noticed with the headlamp is that the throw is very floody...when I shine up at trees, I see the entire tree, when I want a headlamp that can focus on just one part of the tree with the same intensity.

    Can you guys recommend any headlamps that are more like a spotlight then a very wide beam (floody?) light? Looking forward to any recommendations you guys might have. I prefer ones that can use 18650 batteries, but AAs are fine since I carry those in my bag anyway.
    Last edited by hardrock; 05-13-2018 at 02:02 PM.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic colight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by hardrock View Post
    So its been just over a year since Ive made this post. Ive been on quite a few trips and have been using a Fenix TK35 flashlight and a Fenix HL60R headlamp. I am very happy with my flashlight...in fact I use it almost exclusively, and just use the headlamp when needed. One thing I noticed with the headlamp is that the throw is very floody...when I shine up at trees, I see the entire tree, when I want a headlamp that can focus on just one part of the tree with the same intensity.

    Can you guys recommend any headlamps that are more like a spotlight then a very wide beam (floody?) light? Looking forward to any recommendations you guys might have. I prefer ones that can use 18650 batteries, but AAs are fine since I carry those in my bag anyway.

    Hi hardrock. Since you're already using Fenix products and know their ability, I am going to recommend their HL40R headlamp, which has a focusable beam, and where the spotlight angle is 13°. The only "problem" with it is that it has a built-in battery and not the 18650 that you would like.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    Quote Originally Posted by colight View Post
    Hi hardrock. Since you're already using Fenix products and know their ability, I am going to recommend their HL40R headlamp, which has a focusable beam, and where the spotlight angle is 13°. The only "problem" with it is that it has a built-in battery and not the 18650 that you would like.
    Thanks for the recommendation. I had credit at B&H so I picked up a Fenix HP30R. I hope it works well..only thing I don't like is the headlamp cant swivel up any higher, only down. At least the H60R could swivel in either direction.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic colight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    No problem. Always happy to help, and I'm sure you'll have as much pleasure from this headlamp as from the HL60R, although IMO the latter is a better product even though it can't focus. I've always liked the HL60R.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    I second the Fenix HL60R and zebralights. Buy lots of backup 18650 batteries.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Recommendations for a headlamp for jungle hike under $100?

    For comfort and light weight, I would consider the Olight HS2, in addition to the Zebralights. For light weight and convenience in a quality headlight, I don't think you can beat the HS2.
    "However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." -- Stanley Kubrick

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