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Thread: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

  1. #1

    Default AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Runners! Anyone have time on the trail running with both one of the AA Zebra models and also some of the more typical 3xaaa headlamps from Petzl or Black Diamond? I've used both types of headlamps but not for running. Recently started hitting the trail closer to dusk and got caught out there without a light. Loads of mountain bikers with headlamps and mounted flashlights making me feel bad as well. Just wanted to ask if you favored running with one or the other. Weight, bouncing around, or moving from the adjusted? Any experiences would be helpful! Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Iím hardly a runner but did get up to 3 miles a couple times a week after my shift a few years back. I used a petzl Myo XP. Dated now but the balance and beam profile worked great even on icy and rutted winter roads.

    I wouldnít hesitate to use my thrunite th20. Had an old zebralight h30(?) that use used to use but the silicone holder was always a little loose and it would occasionally rotate.

  3. #3

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Thanks Buck! Yea I guess the two biggest things function wise would be flopping/bouncing around and moving positions. Petzl and black diamond look to have low end models for $20 so I may nab one again to try on the trail.

  4. #4

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    The 3aaa light I tried was a pt eos tactical. It worked but did like to rotate on its hinge.

    My black diamond cosmo would work totally fine.

    If I was going to start jogging in the dark again it would be my th20 or acebeam h40. Both extremely light and plenty bright.

    Even a single cell 18650 is much heavier. Certainly doable if you need the output or runtime but you can definitely feel it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Hi, I do trail run and have a ZL AA model, but in my opinion, even with Eneloop cells, the output you need is not high enough for long enough. With alkalines the run time is very short. I run in an XTar 18650 that is heavier, but not too much so. Also, the ZL 18650's have a strap across the top of the head which helps stabilise it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Thanks STrint. How do you like the Zebra as far as bouncing around and staying in position on runs?
    Quote Originally Posted by Strintguy View Post
    Hi, I do trail run and have a ZL AA model, but in my opinion, even with Eneloop cells, the output you need is not high enough for long enough. With alkalines the run time is very short. I run in an XTar 18650 that is heavier, but not too much so. Also, the ZL 18650's have a strap across the top of the head which helps stabilise it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    I have experience with relatively short (around 5 mile) trail runs at night. Used to use 3xaaa lights from the manufacturers you mentioned until I discovered Zebralights and honestly have not even considered switching back.

    I have an H53c thatís great for these shorter runs. The biggest improvement with this in my opinion was the better light temperature and color rendering, made the experience of the run on the trail much nicer and helps me see details in the terrain better. It's just easier on my eyes. For me the comfort was OK but I've honestly had problems running with both the 1xaa and 3xaaa lights. I feel like I have to fit them all too tight to prevent bouncing, and my head is sensitive to that sort of stuff. I feel that these lights are about the same feel for me, but still always would prefer the Zebralight now.

    I know this is not what you asked, but feel it's worth mentioning that I now do even the shorter runs with an H600Fc. For me it's much better in a few ways. I know this is a bigger, heavier light, but the added strap over the top of my head is a game changer! I can wear it much looser yet somehow the light moves and bounces less. Honestly this was a happy accidental discovery for me. Another plus is obviously increased runtime and extra light (output). I didn't think I cared but now that I have it, I use it and like the extra lumens on more technical terrain. Last, the Floody beam is super nice for running in my opinion.

    I'd like to suggest an idea I've had for your consideration. My H53c silicone holder actually has a place to mount that strap that goes over your head, it's just not included. I bet that if you added that strap then the H53 would be super comfy and killer for running. (Maybe Zebralight would even fit that strap as an add-on? It's worth a shot to ask!) I think you might forget that it's even there with this setup. Maybe I'll try this out for myself next time I do a night run by combining my setups (don't wait on me though... it's freezing here when the sun goes down now and will be for a while).

    I hope that helps, happy to discuss further if you would like!

  8. #8

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    YES! Exactly the kind of input I was looking for. A good point you mentioned is the quality of light coming off the H53C in comparison and I can definitely see how it would improve trail visibility. The over the head strap will definitely be considered after I see how it goes for me out on the trail this weekend. I will hold off grabbing another 3xaaa until I give the Zebra a solid chance. Might grab a lithium primary to cut down on weight from my typical Eneloop usage.
    Quote Originally Posted by autoxer View Post
    I have experience with relatively short (around 5 mile) trail runs at night. Used to use 3xaaa lights from the manufacturers you mentioned until I discovered Zebralights and honestly have not even considered switching back.

    I have an H53c thatís great for these shorter runs. The biggest improvement with this in my opinion was the better light temperature and color rendering, made the experience of the run on the trail much nicer and helps me see details in the terrain better. It's just easier on my eyes. For me the comfort was OK but I've honestly had problems running with both the 1xaa and 3xaaa lights. I feel like I have to fit them all too tight to prevent bouncing, and my head is sensitive to that sort of stuff. I feel that these lights are about the same feel for me, but still always would prefer the Zebralight now.

    I know this is not what you asked, but feel it's worth mentioning that I now do even the shorter runs with an H600Fc. For me it's much better in a few ways. I know this is a bigger, heavier light, but the added strap over the top of my head is a game changer! I can wear it much looser yet somehow the light moves and bounces less. Honestly this was a happy accidental discovery for me. Another plus is obviously increased runtime and extra light (output). I didn't think I cared but now that I have it, I use it and like the extra lumens on more technical terrain. Last, the Floody beam is super nice for running in my opinion.

    I'd like to suggest an idea I've had for your consideration. My H53c silicone holder actually has a place to mount that strap that goes over your head, it's just not included. I bet that if you added that strap then the H53 would be super comfy and killer for running. (Maybe Zebralight would even fit that strap as an add-on? It's worth a shot to ask!) I think you might forget that it's even there with this setup. Maybe I'll try this out for myself next time I do a night run by combining my setups (don't wait on me though... it's freezing here when the sun goes down now and will be for a while).

    I hope that helps, happy to discuss further if you would like!

  9. #9

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    YES! Exactly the kind of input I was looking for. A good point you mentioned is the quality of light coming off the H53C in comparison and I can definitely see how it would improve trail visibility. The over the head strap will definitely be considered after I see how it goes for me out on the trail this weekend. I will hold off grabbing another 3xaaa until I give the Zebra a solid chance. Might grab a lithium primary to cut down on weight from my typical Eneloop usage.
    Glad to hear it was helpful!

    I think the lithium primary is a great idea. If I remember correctly itís pretty significant weight savings over an eneloop. I do use envelops in mine and if I also remember this correctly, the H53c with an eneloop is still lighter than my Spot with 3x eneloops.

    I would look forward to hearing how your test goes once you try it out on your run, if you want to share!

  10. #10

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    First night run with the zebra h53c this evening and it was awesome! I probably would have loved doing it with any headlamp just because it was so fun being out there running the trail at night. The zebra worked well. There was a small amount of up and down movement that was noticeable at first and then sort of faded away. Not a huge issue and the light never slipped to another position during the run. What might become an issue is the beam pattern. A flood or floodier beam would be much nicer as you donít have the hotspot moving around out in front of you. Iíll have to try some tape or the dc fix that people use and see if that helps. Regardless it was super fun and cool to put this headlamp to a new use! This is just the beginning of the night running with a headlamp for me.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    The primary pro beyond the fact 1XAA = 2.5 (or so) AAA is what happens when your light runs low on batteries when on the fly trail running or night hiking. Try changing 3xAAA in the dark. I can easily change 1XAA and more easily pack an extra battery. Same for charging between daily conditioning hikes/runs. Also easily pack a 1XAA flashlight which uses the same battery. Stopped using 3XAAA headlamps for trail running or night hikes years ago. Overall their comfortable as well though haven't bought the newer ZL headlamps (have the older ones). Tend to use a Fenix or Armytek in this class.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Loads of mountain bikers with headlamps and mounted flashlights making me feel bad as well.
    I have long used headlamps that mountain bikers use for trail running since the Magicshine 808 was the hot thing, first popular, inexpensive, high lumen LED headlamp for night riding. The lighting needs are actually similar (often same trails, often similar speeds), so why not? If you think the lighting needs for trail running and mountain biking is very different, night orienteering runners show that is not true... they are often lit up brighter than mountain bikers.

  13. #13

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    Agree with you here Walker. The simplicity of one battery vs 3 is a major positive in my book. The desire to try a 3xaaa for trail running is fading. What I have works and works well. Plus it serves as my go to around the house light as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Woods Walker View Post
    The primary pro beyond the fact 1XAA = 2.5 (or so) AAA is what happens when your light runs low on batteries when on the fly trail running or night hiking. Try changing 3xAAA in the dark. I can easily change 1XAA and more easily pack an extra battery. Same for charging between daily conditioning hikes/runs. Also easily pack a 1XAA flashlight which uses the same battery. Stopped using 3XAAA headlamps for trail running or night hikes years ago. Overall their comfortable as well though haven't bought the newer ZL headlamps (have the older ones). Tend to use a Fenix or Armytek in this class.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    I just bought a Zebralight H600Fc. I was surprised at how small and light it is. It's a 18650 light, but it's not much bigger than the AA size. You might want to give it a try if you don't mind slightly more weight than AA, for a lot longer run time. I find that AA run-time is kind of short, unless you're running it at under 100 lumens. Yes, you can swap batteries, but I don't like doing that in the dark unless I really have to. It's too easy to drop the tailcap.

  15. #15

    Default Re: AA Zebralight vs 3xaaa headlamps for trail running

    THought I would revisit this since I'm out on the trails more running at night. Still using the H53W and really enjoying it. I use it on the 122 lumen setting and find that to be plenty of light for me to feel comfortable. I thought that I might try some DC Fix for a floodier beam, but I'm not really getting the "bouncing ball" effect from this light. I did decide that I will start taking a handheld light as well that has more throw that I can shine off into the distance or blast into the bushes when I hear the rustling that can freak you out. Overall I'm sticking with the Zebra.

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