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Headlamps for alpine climbing 2019


pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Austin Wainwright wrote: I work in a gear shop and am testing the new BD Spot 325 and so far im very impressed. Small, lightweight, can be locked in off mode when not in use and super bright. It's waterproof too adhering to IPX8 standards. Only downside is it`s not rechargable (takes 3 AAA) but....... rechargable headlights don't last as long burn wise, some models less than half for the same lumen output (in the BD. However, this isn't the most eco friendly option but very practical. 

I agree on the Spot 325 being a great lamp. 

Actually, as a comparison because of what people recommended on this thread, I purchased 3 headlamps to compare to the Spot 325: Petzl Reactik+, Fenix HM50R, Zebralight H600c Mk IV 18650 XHP50.2 .

I returned all the other lamps and stayed with the Spot 325.

I ran side by side tests for brightness at the highest and medium (standard use) settings.
For both intensity levels, the Spot shone further consistently, and stayed brighter for longer, than the others. This is despite higher lumen count of other lamps (since they have a wider diluted beam).
The others are also heavier.
The closest was Petzl. It will be interesting when the new Petzl Swift comes out in the fall.

This is just one comparison, of course.
David Spittle · · Brisbane, Queensland, AU · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

Out of interest did you test those for a long duration?

I’m still researching and found this:

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/expert-advice/why-headlamp-claims-are-deceptive

pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
David Spittle wrote: Out of interest did you test those for a long duration?

I’m still researching and found this:

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/expert-advice/why-headlamp-claims-are-deceptive

Yes, about 10 hours.

Austin Wainwright · · Arico, Tenerife · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 40
pjc30943 wrote:

I agree on the Spot 325 being a great lamp. 

Actually, as a comparison because of what people recommended on this thread, I purchased 3 headlamps to compare to the Spot 325: Petzl Reactik+, Fenix HM50R, Zebralight H600c Mk IV 18650 XHP50.2 .

I returned all the other lamps and stayed with the Spot 325.

I ran side by side tests for brightness at the highest and medium (standard use) settings.
For both intensity levels, the Spot shone further consistently, and stayed brighter for longer, than the others. This is despite higher lumen count of other lamps (since they have a wider diluted beam).
The others are also heavier.
The closest was Petzl. It will be interesting when the new Petzl Swift comes out in the fall.

This is just one comparison, of course.

One big thing for me was weight too as the old Reactik + was more bulky and heavy. I mostly use mine for night trail running and having that extra bulk on your head as you whip your head around is really notable.

Glass Tupperware · · Atlanta · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 45

Stay away from BD and Petzl!! I have a Zebralight (model H53w ) that I've really enjoyed, but I've also heard great things about Fenix

pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Glass Tupperware wrote: Stay away from BD and Petzl!! I have a Zebralight (model H53w ) that I've really enjoyed, but I've also heard great things about Fenix

Just out of curiosity, why stay away from them?

I tried Fenix and Zebralight for myself given the many positives I've heard; I think my post above gives at least some food for thought about brightness vs time and weight going to BD, since I did a number of direct comparisons. BD seemed to outperform Zebralight's equivalent models, at least for the tests that I ran.

al ex · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20
pjc30943 wrote:

Just out of curiosity, why stay away from them?

I tried Fenix and Zebralight for myself given the many positives I've heard; I think my post above gives at least some food for thought about brightness vs time and weight going to BD, since I did a number of direct comparisons. BD seemed to outperform Zebralight's equivalent models, at least for the tests that I ran.



I don’t know how you did your comparison, but my observations are completely opposite. The Spot is nowhere near my H600w in brightness or runtime. And that makes sense. I consider it a technical impossibly for a 3xAAA power source to outperform a quality 18650 cell in terms of max current and total energy storage. 


Furthermore, for climbing, a more diffuse (“spot”) beam is more useful than a beam optimized for throw (“spot”). You want to see a wide area around your feet for selecting foot holds, for example. It’s a pain to have to move your head because the beam only covers a few inches. 
pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
al ex wrote:

I don’t know how you did your comparison, but my observations are completely opposite. The Spot is nowhere near my H600w in brightness or runtime. And that makes sense. I consider it a technical impossibly for a 3xAAA power source to outperform a quality 18650 cell in terms of max current and total energy storage. 


Furthermore, for climbing, a more diffuse (“spot”) beam is more useful than a beam optimized for throw (“spot”). You want to see a wide area around your feet for selecting foot holds, for example. It’s a pain to have to move your head because the beam only covers a few inches. 

Edited:

Yes, I agree with some 18650 headlamps. For the 600c specifically, it had a significantly wider beam, so ultimately the High-level illuminated distance was a bit below the BD Spot 325, even though the 600c was significantly brighter. 

al ex · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20
pjc30943 wrote:

Yes, I agree with the 18650 headlamps -- those will be in a different league in brightness. But also, a different (heavier) weight.

(I'm referring mainly to the comparable smaller lamps that were referred to above, eg H53W. I didn't test the larger 18650-based lamps.)

In your first post you said you sampled an h600c, which is an 18650 headlamp. It is not significantly heavier than a BD Spot. The metal form factor and LED is 1.3 ounces. With battery and head strap it's a little over 4 ounces. About an ounce penalty over the Spot, but with many benefits. 

pjc30943 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
al ex wrote:

In your first post you said you sampled an h600c, which is an 18650 headlamp. It is not significantly heavier than a BD Spot. The metal form factor and LED is 1.3 ounces. With battery and head strap it's a little over 4 ounces. About an ounce penalty over the Spot, but with many benefits. 

Yes, you're correct; mental slipup on my side. Will edit my post to clarify, thanks for pointing it out :)

C. limbnski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5
al ex wrote:

In your first post you said you sampled an h600c ... It is not significantly heavier than a BD Spot ... About an ounce penalty over the Spot ...

An ounce isn't significant, until you add all the ounces together.

I certainly understand allowing yourself to carry more, balancing useful function, but that is still more.
al ex · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20
C. limbnski wrote:

An ounce isn't significant, until you add all the ounces together.

I certainly understand allowing yourself to carry more, balancing useful function, but that is still more.

In fact, I often carry two headlamps. Perhaps a bit of paranoia about being left in the dark  

But in this case, the extra weight is really a larger battery with more capacity. That's not usually a bad thing, unless you never carry spare batteries. Normally on multi day trips I carry a couple of 18650 cells, an 18650 light, and a power bank/charger that can accept 18650 cells, such as an XTAR PB2. This way, I can use the same 18650 cells to charge my cell phone and power my headlamp. Together, the combination is lighter than a aaa/aa headlamp with spare batteries and a separate power bank with non-replaceable cells for charging electronic devices.

If weight is top priority, I have a Fenix HL-50. Takes AA or CR123a batteries. Barely over 2 oz with a CR123a and as a bonus I can share AA batteries with my handheld GPS. 
C. limbnski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

Informative, thanks.

Porter M · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 65

I love my fenix hl40r. They can usually be had for ~$45. Rechargeable, 700lumen max. Very simple user interface is a huge plus. A better option would be either the hl60r or hm50r depending on whether you prioritize weight/size or brightness/runtime. Another good option could be the hl32r. All fenix lights are reasonably priced and very high quality and performance, unlike climbing companies that attempt to make lights. 

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 175

Used my zebralight for the first time for real the other day. Not sure if I'm a fan honestly. The beam is very wide, so I had to have the brightness pretty high to see where I was going. This made the very white and bright light reflect off the snow and hurt my already fragile "alpine start" head and stomach. Not sure how to solve this problem except maybe just not use it on snow, which doesn't make it a very good alpine headlamp

Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
Robert Rowsam wrote: Used my zebralight for the first time for real the other day. Not sure if I'm a fan honestly. The beam is very wide, so I had to have the brightness pretty high to see where I was going. This made the very white and bright light reflect off the snow and hurt my already fragile "alpine start" head and stomach. Not sure how to solve this problem except maybe just not use it on snow, which doesn't make it a very good alpine headlamp

Did you buy the "floody" version? I find the non-floody to be better for hiking, climbing, skiing, etc. Basically the floody is only nice around camp, so I'd recommend the spot.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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