Head torches/headlamps

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Field Herper
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Head torches/headlamps

Post by Field Herper » July 25th, 2014, 9:08 pm

What are the best head torches/headlamps for field herping at night?
My old one has finally died, which was seriously outdated anyway, so can experienced field herpers please recommend the best brands and models they've used?

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Head torches

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 26th, 2014, 6:26 am


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Trey
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Re: Head torches

Post by Trey » July 26th, 2014, 6:32 am

Although I wouldn't recommend putting a torch on your head (it might ignite your hair!) ;) I would recommend Fenix brand headlamps. Nothing short of the best!

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Head torches

Post by BillMcGighan » July 26th, 2014, 11:23 am

Sorry, I researched another light thread and commented there instead of here. :roll: :oops:
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=16802

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Eric East
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Re: Head torches

Post by Eric East » July 26th, 2014, 3:55 pm

I love my Fenix!

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El Garia
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Re: Head torches

Post by El Garia » July 26th, 2014, 4:58 pm

My favorite headlamp - Nitecore HC50. It's my first Nitecore; I'd always avoided them, thinking their products were cheaply produced. I was wrong. Very tough unibody design - the thing's built like a tank

The lamp consists of a headband, and a self-contained, removable, wireless, articulating head, 18650 torch.
565 lumens on high. Very, very, floody, with a beam projection of under 100m. Low intensity red leds, also.
I managed to pick one up for $40, last year. Cheapest I could find, today, was $53 US. Still, a great deal.

To find which lamp best suits your needs, I would suggest looking at customer ratings and youtube reviews before making any purchase.

… on a dusty gourd:ImageNitecore HC50 / Ipu Heke 'Ole by Mo'o, on Flickr

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Curtis Hart
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Re: Head torches

Post by Curtis Hart » July 26th, 2014, 8:03 pm

I'll add another vote for Fenix. I own 3 Fenix headlamps and all work great. One is in its third season of bat surveys where I use it in the field for 5 hours every night for 70-90 days straight.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » July 27th, 2014, 6:11 am

I like Fenix.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Andrew Kathriner » July 27th, 2014, 7:30 pm

No other zebra light users on here?
Check em out!
http://www.zebralight.com/

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Field Herper
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Re: Head torches

Post by Field Herper » July 27th, 2014, 8:07 pm

Thanks very much for your replies guys. It's much appreciated. 8-)
The ones you've recommended look like really good gear and don't cost an arm and a leg (as I was expecting).
They're more powerful yet much lighter than the old miner's lamp I was using!

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Re: Head torches

Post by BillMcGighan » July 28th, 2014, 6:28 am

Just one last thing to keep in mind if you travel, CR123s are much more common than they have been, and cheaper too, but in some locations, finding AAs (recharge and not) is much easier.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Head torches

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 28th, 2014, 8:16 am

While we're on the topic of CR123a's, the Fenix HP30 looks wonderful, but I've lacked the funding so far to afford it (though it's not expensive for what it claims to do.)

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Chaitanya
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Re: Head torches

Post by Chaitanya » July 28th, 2014, 9:14 am

Josh Holbrook wrote:While we're on the topic of CR123a's, the Fenix HP30 looks wonderful, but I've lacked the funding so far to afford it (though it's not expensive for what it claims to do.)
Check goinggear.com for some bundle deals on headlamps. I recently got a Fenix Hp15, and during recent herp I really liked the performance. HP30 was my first choice, but even for me it was expensive so went with the next best.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 28th, 2014, 9:45 am

Chaitanya wrote:
Josh Holbrook wrote:While we're on the topic of CR123a's, the Fenix HP30 looks wonderful, but I've lacked the funding so far to afford it (though it's not expensive for what it claims to do.)
Check goinggear.com for some bundle deals on headlamps. I recently got a Fenix Hp15, and during recent herp I really liked the performance. HP30 was my first choice, but even for me it was expensive so went with the next best.

I'll give it a look, thanks. I typically get mine from Fenixoutfitters.com; they usually have some sort of 10% off deal; and actually when I just recently went they had a 15% off coupon for joining their email list.

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Chaitanya
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Re: Head torches

Post by Chaitanya » July 28th, 2014, 10:22 am

Josh Holbrook wrote:
Chaitanya wrote:
Josh Holbrook wrote:While we're on the topic of CR123a's, the Fenix HP30 looks wonderful, but I've lacked the funding so far to afford it (though it's not expensive for what it claims to do.)
Check goinggear.com for some bundle deals on headlamps. I recently got a Fenix Hp15, and during recent herp I really liked the performance. HP30 was my first choice, but even for me it was expensive so went with the next best.

I'll give it a look, thanks. I typically get mine from Fenixoutfitters.com; they usually have some sort of 10% off deal; and actually when I just recently went they had a 15% off coupon for joining their email list.
15% is quite a large amount of discount and that will make the HP30 much better deal than Hp15. I was planning to get Hp30 and eagletac 3400mah batteries from goinggear. I found out the hardway importing lithium-ion cells needs special permits in India.

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Re: Head torches

Post by jonathan » July 28th, 2014, 10:33 am

Anyone else have any issue with the battery springs on the Fenix HP15? I've heard nothing but good things about the HP15, and generally like the performance of mine, but at times I've had trouble keeping it turned on due to the springs getting too loose to hold the batteries on tight after very minimal use.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 28th, 2014, 12:57 pm

jonathan wrote:Anyone else have any issue with the battery springs on the Fenix HP15? I've heard nothing but good things about the HP15, and generally like the performance of mine, but at times I've had trouble keeping it turned on due to the springs getting too loose to hold the batteries on tight after very minimal use.

I know I haven't. It seemed they finally worked out all the bugs of the HP11 in the HP15.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Head torches

Post by Kelly Mc » July 28th, 2014, 2:27 pm

I'm looking for a headlamp that articulates downward readily, and is flexible with intensities. I'm a sucker tho when I see something good and would like help in being informed so I don't pay more than I have to.

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Re: Head torches

Post by justinm » July 29th, 2014, 4:25 am

I have the Fenix HP 30. It's just nuts. I don't use the highest setting except to show it off. I can see the tops of trees bright and clear. If you're one of the road cruising crew that would be a good lamp as it's brighter than headlights on bright. It's heavy, bulky and awkward but it's so bright it's a trade off.

I'm on my third Fenix flashlight. The quality is unreal, the power unbeatable and I can't ever recommend them highly enough.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Josh Holbrook » July 29th, 2014, 5:29 am

justinm wrote:I have the Fenix HP 30. It's just nuts. I don't use the highest setting except to show it off. I can see the tops of trees bright and clear. If you're one of the road cruising crew that would be a good lamp as it's brighter than headlights on bright. It's heavy, bulky and awkward but it's so bright it's a trade off.

I'm on my third Fenix flashlight. The quality is unreal, the power unbeatable and I can't ever recommend them highly enough.

How do the batteries work for charging electronics? Can they charge an iphone without draining?

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Re: Head torches

Post by justinm » July 29th, 2014, 8:30 am

Josh Holbrook wrote:
justinm wrote:I have the Fenix HP 30. It's just nuts. I don't use the highest setting except to show it off. I can see the tops of trees bright and clear. If you're one of the road cruising crew that would be a good lamp as it's brighter than headlights on bright. It's heavy, bulky and awkward but it's so bright it's a trade off.

I'm on my third Fenix flashlight. The quality is unreal, the power unbeatable and I can't ever recommend them highly enough.

How do the batteries work for charging electronics? Can they charge an iphone without draining?

I use this for charging electronics, it's served me well.
http://www.amazon.com/New-Trent-PowerPa ... t+powerpak

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Re: Head torches

Post by Field Herper » July 31st, 2014, 12:35 am

Thanks again guys. This is very informative.
Fenix seems to be the most popular, with the Fenix HP15 getting the thumbs up.
BillMcGighan wrote:Just one last thing to keep in mind if you travel, CR123s are much more common than they have been, and cheaper too, but in some locations, finding AAs (recharge and not) is much easier.
What does CR123s stand for?

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Re: Head torches

Post by justinm » July 31st, 2014, 5:08 am

Field Herper wrote:Thanks again guys. This is very informative.
Fenix seems to be the most popular, with the Fenix HP15 getting the thumbs up.
BillMcGighan wrote:Just one last thing to keep in mind if you travel, CR123s are much more common than they have been, and cheaper too, but in some locations, finding AAs (recharge and not) is much easier.
What does CR123s stand for?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=What+does+CR123s+stand+for%3F

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Roki
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Re: Head torches

Post by Roki » July 31st, 2014, 6:24 pm

Ha, I will also add my vote for Fenix, you really can't go wrong with them. The strength(lum) and burn time on them is fantastic. I have done a fair bit of night work and my black diamond icon has been my go to headlamp and I pull out the Fenix when we really need to light things up.
Roki

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Re: Head torches

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » August 1st, 2014, 4:54 am

After singing the praises of Fenix headlamps for over half a decade, someone introduced me to the German brand LED Lenser, and a whole new universe opened up for me. I have three now. They're not cheap, but my God, what a powerful, yet eye-friendly beam. And weather-proof (here in Borneo, I constantly expose my Lensers not only to very wet equatorial conditions, but also to the massive amounts of sweat coming off my noggin.) And the models with the rechargeable battery shine on and on and on at maximum power for at least an hour.

Compared to the Lensers, the Fenix are mediocre at best.

This is the model I'm currently using - the H14.2: http://www.ledlenser.com/uk/headlamps/h14-2/

PS: you can also take the lamp itself off the strap and attach it to a belt, a bike handle etc.

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Re: Head torches

Post by btskanks » August 1st, 2014, 1:39 pm

I love my fenixes ?so. But I picked up at Walmart for fourteen bucks on sale usual $26

A 220 LUMEN Ozark trail head/flash lite uses 3 AAA which I normally stay away from but the lumens for price hooked me. Wow a little ringy but for the price a great buy and when u see how the lite is affixed to the carrier so simple its cool . BTW my new main lite is the sunwayman d40 4 aa and 980+lumens and a flood of lite u won't believe!

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Re: Head torches

Post by Antonsrkn » August 1st, 2014, 9:45 pm

I have a Fenix hp15 and it worked great until one day it didn't. It ended up going out on me here in borneo, there must be a bad connection in there somewhere but it had been flickering or spontaneously going out on occasion however at first I was able to just turn it back on. Then one night as I was out in the jungle and a massive rainstorm was moving in it just went out completely and wouldn't turn on again, I had a shitty little light (carabiner light that came with the lamp) that I typically only use for changing batteries, I was able to get back using that though I did get caught up in the storm. Not thrilled about it as i had only been using it for a month and a half prior and being in Borneo, mostly at a fieldcamp, its tough to procure a suitable replacement. The only solution I was able to find was buying the best headlamp I could find out here to tide me over for a while and ordering another fenix hp15 which a friend is bringing out here for me. I was hesitant to buy the same product again but I really liked it when it worked and decided to take a chance, but it is ridiculous that it failed after such a short time and not wanting to sacrifice my night hikes in the jungle I have basically had to spend just under 200$ on headlamps in the past few months (the first and second fenix as well as the bridge headlamp).

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Re: Head torches

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » August 4th, 2014, 4:34 am

I spent quite a bit of time deciding which headlamp to get and like Hans I went with LED Lenser. I use it routinely on fire salamander surveys many times a year, which requires a stable beam for at least 3hrs.

This is the one I'm using ...
http://www.ledlenser.com/uk/headlamps/h14r-2/

What I like about it?

http://www.ledlenser.com/fileadmin/down ... 140114.PDF


+ the beam can go much brighter than what I need, even when I want to bug mammals, owls, night herons; imho, the brightest setting of today's top headlamps is generally too bright to herp in areas with a lot of vegetation, because you are blinding yourself as soon as the light hits any object close to you
+ the beam's brightness is adjustable over a continuous range, not in fixed steps
+ multiple power supply options (comes with rechargeable pack, but you can also use 4x AA, 4x CR123A or 2x 18650's - see Youtube link) - I don't like replacing batteries but I like that I can adapt to anywhere, anyhow
+ ability to choose between energy use maximizing either time (making it last as long as possible) or brightness (making it stay at practically equal brightness)

- it's a bit heavy to wear all the time when roadcruising all night, but not a big deal; for cruising I don't really see the need for such a strong lamp anyway, as you don't need the light to find the animal

BTW, the performance times mentioned by manufacturers may be misleading. While definitely not featuring every (latest) model, I found this insightful.
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Headlamp- ... eamB=49000

Having said all that, I cannot really compare as my previous one was a Petzl from a different generation/galaxy and I never owned a similar lamp before.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » August 4th, 2014, 4:39 am

What Jeroen said :-) I do wear it continuously on long roadcruising trips, but then, I'm a big guy.

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Re: Head torches

Post by MonarchzMan » August 4th, 2014, 12:39 pm

Andrew Kathriner wrote:No other zebra light users on here?
Check em out!
http://www.zebralight.com/
I'm a Zebralight user! I'm surprised there aren't more here. Absolutely love mine (the H600). Battery lasts forever. Incredibly bright. Incredibly light(weight). Highly recommended.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Field Herper » August 6th, 2014, 6:59 pm

Thanks for the continuing input.
It looks like I spoke a bit too soon, as it sounds like LED Lenser is just as good, if not better (although the overwhelming majority in this thread go for Fenix).
I'll check out the Zebralight as well, since it's also been highly recommended.

Does anyone have any experience with Petzl, as someone spoke highly of them but it was a single voice (elsewhere).

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El Garia
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Re: Head torches

Post by El Garia » August 6th, 2014, 8:00 pm

Fenix HL55. Due for release sometime, this month:

ImageFenix HL55 by Mo'o, on Flickr

From Fenix:
"It is a new headlamp with Cree Xm-L2 T6 led and uses one 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries.

The max output is 900 lumens on Burst mode, and high mode 420 lumens,mid 165 lumens, low 55 lumens,ECO 10 lumens.

The max distance is 116 meters.

And waterproof is IPX-8."

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Re: Head torches

Post by jonathan » June 12th, 2015, 3:00 pm

jonathan wrote:Anyone else have any issue with the battery springs on the Fenix HP15? I've heard nothing but good things about the HP15, and generally like the performance of mine, but at times I've had trouble keeping it turned on due to the springs getting too loose to hold the batteries on tight after very minimal use.

Unfortunately, my performance diminished to the point where the headlamp became unusable, barely 6 months after the original purchase and with very light use.

Fenix has a good warrenty, and for about $10 I was able to mail it to them for repairs. Went they sent it back to me it worked again.

However...it started getting inconsistent again within weeks.

Now I'm in a huge dilemma. Do I but another Fenix, which has by far the best reviews from everyone but which really didn't work out for me at all?



Oh, now I see that someone else had virtually the exact same experience:
Antonsrkn wrote:I have a Fenix hp15 and it worked great until one day it didn't. It ended up going out on me here in borneo, there must be a bad connection in there somewhere but it had been flickering or spontaneously going out on occasion however at first I was able to just turn it back on. Then one night as I was out in the jungle and a massive rainstorm was moving in it just went out completely and wouldn't turn on again, I had a shitty little light (carabiner light that came with the lamp) that I typically only use for changing batteries, I was able to get back using that though I did get caught up in the storm. Not thrilled about it as i had only been using it for a month and a half prior and being in Borneo, mostly at a fieldcamp, its tough to procure a suitable replacement. The only solution I was able to find was buying the best headlamp I could find out here to tide me over for a while and ordering another fenix hp15 which a friend is bringing out here for me. I was hesitant to buy the same product again but I really liked it when it worked and decided to take a chance, but it is ridiculous that it failed after such a short time and not wanting to sacrifice my night hikes in the jungle I have basically had to spend just under 200$ on headlamps in the past few months (the first and second fenix as well as the bridge headlamp).

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Field Herper
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Re: Head torches

Post by Field Herper » June 13th, 2015, 8:16 am

Thanks Jonathan. Sounds like Led Lenser is more reliable than the Fenix.
When you're out and about in wild places you can't afford to have a torch/head lamp fail you. It's happened to me before in croc infested swamps near the Daintree River in far north Queensland. I was very fortunate and lucky to get out of there alive and unassisted.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Antonsrkn » June 13th, 2015, 9:19 am

Yeah it was my fenix that failed back then, I have gotten another one since then and its been working well for me so far, must be about a year of lots of use at this point. But I now always carry two headlamps with me. Navigating my out of a tropical forest with a clip on carabiner that produced barely enough light to illuminate my feet during a monsoon like rainstorm is not something I care to repeat ever again, and sounds I had it easy, atleast there were no crocs to worry about in there!

But no matter what the headlamp is, i think having a backup is almost mandatory if you are in a somewhat remote area. Not only is it useful when changing batteries and whatnot but one time when I lost my trail while following a mouse deer in the bornean jungle I was able to recover my path by hanging my extra headlamp up from a vine and walking in growing concentric circles around it until I stumbled on the path again, I wouldnt have trusted myself to do this without a beacon showing me my starting point.

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Re: Head torches

Post by Jimi » June 16th, 2015, 2:21 pm

But no matter what the headlamp is, i think having a backup is almost mandatory if you are in a somewhat remote area.
Agreed, except for the "almost" part. Main headlamp plus an extra battery set, plus a backup light (head or hand) plus its backup batteries.

Spending a cold wet hard buggy night on the ground after your one light dies on you, will teach you about the wisdom of redundancy for critical gear. Been there done that. Major SUCK. Better than stumbling around in the pitch black though, waiting for something awful to happen.
I was able to recover my path by hanging my extra headlamp up from a vine and walking in growing concentric circles around it until I stumbled on the path again
That's a great use of the backup light!

cheers
Jimi

PS I have also had some issues with Fenix hardware. I might look into that German stuff (duh!!! think it's better than Chinese?!?! ha ha)

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Re: Head torches

Post by jonathan » August 3rd, 2015, 4:54 am

I feel like I owe Fenix an update.

My re-fixed headlamp, which I was afraid was starting to fail me again, performed decently well through 3 weeks of nightly use in a difficult context in Bangladesh. I was quite rough with it, pushing it through brush and tree branches, going out in downpours, etc. From time to time it randomly turned off, but every time I was able to quickly turn it back on, and it never outright failed on me or got too annoying to use. So I'm still using the original Fenix headlamp I bought 1.5 years ago, I just had to send it back to get refurbished (for free) that one time.

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Re: Head torches

Post by palmer1076 » August 3rd, 2015, 7:44 am

Cavers use some might fine headlights. They want brightness, reliability, and a long run time.

Here is a top end El Speleo light. Yes, that is NOT a typo on the price!
http://www.innermountainoutfitters.com/ ... on-system/

Sten is another good light.
http://www.innermountainoutfitters.com/ ... mp-system/

But many cavers (including me) use a Princeton Apex-a much more reasonably priced option, very reliable, rugged, uses AA batteries, easily found at local vendors, but not as bright as above lights but totally serviceable.
http://www.innermountainoutfitters.com/ ... -headlamp/

For a handheld flashlight look at a Maelstrom.

Good luck with your light.

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Field Herper
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Re: Head torches

Post by Field Herper » August 3rd, 2015, 4:47 pm

Thanks guys. 8-)
They look like great lights, especially that El Speleo (wow! it's expensive though).
Our season is just starting, so it's time to kit up. We're expecting a hot summer down under, which means lots of very warm nights for herping.

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Head torches

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 3rd, 2015, 7:26 pm

I really like my black diamond headlamp. The batteries last several nights and its pretty bright.

http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/hea ... ml#start=3

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Head torches

Post by Antonsrkn » August 3rd, 2015, 8:04 pm

Whoa that el Speleo is interesting, but I don't understand why the price is so high to be honest. I'm sure its great but is it really that much better than a nice headlamp for 1/6th the price? I want one anyways haha.

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Head torches

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 4th, 2015, 6:44 am

These zebra lights are tiny and super bright. Too bright for my taste.

http://www.batmanagement.com/Ordering/l ... eadla.html

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justinm
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Re: Head torches

Post by justinm » August 7th, 2015, 1:02 pm

I had a zebra light and I loved it, but I lost it....

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Head torches

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 8th, 2015, 7:24 am

justinm wrote:I had a zebra light and I loved it, but I lost it....
lol Too small and easy to lose. I find it too bright for bat work. It blinds everyone around you.

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.

Post by craigb » August 8th, 2015, 3:11 pm

.

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Re: Head torches

Post by chrish » August 9th, 2015, 12:13 am

I recently bought a zebra light after seeing a cave entomologist with one. I bought the zebra light floody (http://www.zebralight.com/H600Fw-Mk-II- ... p_118.html#) and you have to try this thing in the field to believe it. I am a flashlight addict :oops: and this may be the last light I ever buy. The width and evenness of its bright field is unequaled in my experience.

Too bright? It has about 30 power settings?

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Bryan Hamilton
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

Re: Head torches

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 9th, 2015, 2:16 pm

chrish wrote:Too bright? It has about 30 power settings?
I guess I should have read the directions first... Thanks for posting the link.

I would agree the CREE lights are cheap and super bright.

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Field Herper
Posts: 52
Joined: July 7th, 2012, 5:15 am
Location: Oz

Re: Head torches/headlamps

Post by Field Herper » April 12th, 2016, 6:09 am

I looked into Cree headlamps and it seems that you can only buy them online. I couldn't find any stores that stock them. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I ended up buying a Coast HL7. It was ranked #1 in a headlamp gear review (outdoorgearlab.com).
The proximity lighting was as bright and even as you could possibly want and it was great value compared to more expensive headlamps. It also has a pretty good, fairly long range spotlight. Negatives are short battery life on high and the batteries are difficult to change. Overall I was so impressed that I bought two. In Australia you can buy it from Bunnings hardware stores for $60.

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Kelly Mc
Posts: 4335
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Head torches/headlamps

Post by Kelly Mc » April 12th, 2016, 8:28 pm

Coast has great customer service. If a mishap occurs with a light, its like you're in Mayberry - a real person answers the phone right off the bat - not only that they have excellent communication among their representatives, when I called back the other person knew my issue and who I talked to, its easy to tell that's how they do things.

I made a promise to them because I was so happy with their service that I would mention it when it came up.

My flashlight fell out of a loose pocket all the way downstairs on to cement and the character of the beam was altered. although it was entirely my fault they resolved the problem.

I have had stuff happen to gear before from other companies and just wrote it off because its such a pain. Totally the opposite with the Coast people.

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Field Herper
Posts: 52
Joined: July 7th, 2012, 5:15 am
Location: Oz

Re: Head torches/headlamps

Post by Field Herper » April 13th, 2016, 1:03 pm

That's very good to hear Kelly. Great customer service is unfortunately rare these days (depending somewhat on where you are), so it's encouraging to read a great report.

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