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Running Headlamp

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by M4Lki3r, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. M4Lki3r
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    M4Lki3r Loaded Pockets

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    1) Short Essay Question: What do you intend to use this light for?
    I'm going to be running in a Ragnar Relay which is a long distance, multi-day relay race that goes through the night. I'm looking for a lightweight headlamp that can be swapped out so that not every runner needs to buy one, but 2 or 3 will do to be able to swap out. Weight is a concern as some of the legs are 10+ miles. I had a 3xAA one a long time ago that felt like I was getting punched in the forehead every step. Replaceable, cheap batteries preferred to rechargeable, built-in batteries. Comfortable headband for males and females would be nice too.

    2) What Region/Country/State will the light be purchased in?
    [X] I will be mail-ordering or buying online, so this doesn't matter.

    3) Price Range: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :broke:
    [X] $1-15
    [X] $15-30
    4) Format:
    PART A
    [X] I want a headlamp.

    PART B
    Length:
    [X] 1-2 inches. (Keychain sized)
    [X] 2-4 inches. (Pocket carry)

    PART C
    Width:
    [X] Doesn't matter.

    PART D
    Weight:
    Lights of a similar size can be very different in weight and may turn the perfect sized light into a paper weight. In general a lights of the same size will stack up like this; plastic and aluminum will be your lighter choices brass, stainless steel, bronze will be heavier. I won't put numbers here because everyone has a different weight sensitivity. For the purposes of EDC specifically I'll limit the choices here to the more easily carried sizes pick 2 sizes to represent a range of weight.
    [X] Very light, can't tell it's there.
    [X] Light, no heavier than a few keys or a small car remote.

    5) What kind of "bulb".
    [X] LED - more rugged, unlikely to burn out in your lifetime, less accurate color rendition, in general less output but more efficient (longer runtimes)

    6) What batteries do you want to use? Alkaline batteries are easier to find and less expensive but don't pack as much stored energy and are don't work well in cold temperatures. Lithium batteries have long shelf life (10+ years, great for stored emergency lights) and are not as affected by cold but must be kept dry and are more expensive. Rechargeable start expensive, but if used frequently pay off quickly.
    [X] I want common Alkaline batteries. (AA, AAA, C, D)
    [X] I want a rechargeable system. (Not opposed to Eneloops)

    7) How much light do you want? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is impossible).
    [X] I want to walk around a generally paved area. (15-20 lumens)
    [X] I want to walk unpaved trails. (40 lumens)

    8) Throw vs Flood: Which do you prefer, lights that flood an area with a wide beam, or lights that "throw" with a tightly focused beam? Place an “X” on the line below. Sometimes a flood is better particularly closer up or indoors. You won't have to "sweep" the light back and forth to see what you need to see. You can also just set it down pointing the general direction rather having to point it right at that which you are working.

    Throw (distance)--------------X--------|----------------------Flood/close-up

    9) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims (like some LED lights). but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries. Understand that runtime is a function of brightness and capacity of your batteries. If you want 6 hours you'll either have big batteries or dimmer light, they haven't made a setup yet that lights up like the sun, runs all night, and fits in your watch pocket. ;)
    [X] 60-240 min. (1-2 hours)
    [X] 240-360 min. (4-6 hours)

    10) Durability: Generally the old phrase “you get what you pay for” is very accurate for flashlights.
    [X] Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box.)

    11) Switch Type:
    [X] I don't care.

    12) Switch Location:
    [X] I don't care.

    13) Operational Modes: Check all that apply.
    [X] A simple on-off is fine for me.
    [X] I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)

    14) Is it important whether the body is metal or plastic/composite? In this case "plastic" and it's variants does not mean "cheap" or poorly made. In many applications a plastic bodied light is preferable, hard use and water resistance comes to mind; think caving or lights that get dropped or abused.
    [X] I don't care.

    15) Special Needs: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Circle any below or write in your own comment(s).
    [X] Waterproof – how deep: Water Resistant in case of rain
     
  2. foxmo

    foxmo Loaded Pockets

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    Black Diamond Storm. I like Black Diamond headlamps a lot. I use them at work and as a backup bike light. I also have a Zebralight, and it's really really nice, but I stopped using it while running at work because it's metal and not comfortable when it slips and bonks your nose, or when you're running with it around your neck.. Black Diamond headlamps have flood options, spot options, and red light. They're also dimmable from high to low. They have nice headbands too.
     
    Mudinyeri likes this.
  3. iangineer

    iangineer Loaded Pockets

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    This might not help, but I've read before that putting your "head" lamp at closer to chest height gives you a better depth of field when walking/running. Obviously it's better around your head for when doing tasks up close like car repair or under a sink, but when walking/running you're whole body is facing the direction you need the light. I wonder how hard it would be to make a strap to attach a regular headlamp. I was thinking of starting with a heart rate monitor strap or something. Maybe one of those GoPro harnesses, but that seems like overkill.

    When we walk our dogs at night, my wife and I prefer to extend our Black Diamond Spot straps all the way out and hang the lights around our necks and point them at the ground in front of us on the flood setting. It takes the weight off your head and helps to prevent blinding oncoming cars/people.

    Mounting at chest height might also open your search criteria because you could stand a little more weight on your chest than flopping around your head so you could get longer battery life with bigger/more batteries.

    Good luck, sounds fun!
     
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  4. iangineer

    iangineer Loaded Pockets

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    Double post! I replied to my first post instead of editing...
     
  5. M4Lki3r
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
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    M4Lki3r Loaded Pockets

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    So after the Ragnar Relay this past weekend, I think I can give the Black Diamond Gizmo Headlamp a decent review for runners.

    Ran with it for about an hour. Had absolutely no problem with it. Was bright enough to see my path about 6ft ahead of me and let people know that I am coming at about 1 in the morning. After the first 3 minutes of getting the brightness and angle adjusted, I completely forget it was even there.

    The band holds in sweat so when we had to trade off to the next runner, it was a little disgusting but that would be expected from any lamp. It was not so heavy that it needed a top strap and it did not bounce against my head at all.
     
    twin63 likes this.