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burchey

Headlamp - is the weight-savings really worth it?

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For those of you that actually get up high and out in the cold:

 

I run a BD Spot right now. I need to replace it.

 

I like that it is light and fairly bright, but I'm worried about it in some of the more extreme weather I get into. It has almost let down a couple times. Maybe I have a lemon.

 

My understanding is that lithium batteries are lighter, not really affected by temp fluctuations, etc etc. However, I'd like to use something rechargeable, and I know I'll suffer longevity and a little weight. Lithium AAs = not rechargeable, yes?

 

In addition...I'm considering the BD Icon/Princeton Tec Apex (remote-ish battery pack/brighter beam/etc) instead of something lighter like the BD Spot or Storm.

 

8806374-%20APEX%20Headlamp.jpg

 

vs

 

Black-Diamond-Storm-headlam-mango.jpg

 

Am I kidding myself? Will the fact that the batteries will be under a hood in potentially brutal cold vs out front really make a difference? Will that extra 4 oz of weight be the thing that blows my stubby screw when I take a 40 foot whipper on WI7+????

 

Personally, having only worked with the lighter-style models, I think the extra brightness and the batteries on the back (for possible added warmth under a hood) would be well worth the added weight.

 

Chime in if you've got experience either direction, or have some technical knowledge on the newer headlamps...i.e. the LEDs actually help to warm the batteries on the Storm/Spot style models, etc etc.

 

Also chime in if you have a "Mummy" comment, or something similar.

 

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Lock your Spot while packing it and you'll be fine.

 

If it leaks, get a BD Storm.

 

The rest of your questions can be answered by the mfgr's websites.

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I've used a Spot for years, have an older version. I like its simplicity. Reliability has never been an issue for me, but as with many gear experiences, your mileage may vary.

 

I became a fan of the "everything in one place" headlamp design after ditching my Petzl Zoom way back in the day. The extra strap, remote power pack, etc. wasn't worth the hassle to me. I find the light projection of the Spot to be powerful enough for my needs. Unless you are caving or working search & rescue I think the main LED can handle most climbing situations. If it's so freaking cold that my headlamp isn't working then I'm either at home drinking beer or hunkered down in a giant sleeping bag.

 

Is 4oz going to be THE determining weight factor? No. The way I look at it, though, is if you can save 4oz in 4 places then you have saved a pound. The more places you can save weight the greater the cumulative effect. A headlamp is a relatively inexpensive place to save weight, compared to a sleeping bag for instance. But then again, if you're sweating it over 4 ounces then maybe you need to train harder. Everyone here can stand to lose 4oz off their bodies. I know I could benefit from losing a bit more than that.

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All other considerations aside, I can't recommend the APEX. I had one. The first thing that happened was that the clip on the battery box broke, while it as in the top pocket of my pack... then the pivot on the front of the light broke, again, while being carried. There have been lots of reports from cavers that they are not very water resistant, and the battery life is not that great.

 

If you want a decent light for a good price, check out Fenix. Not a big name climbers brand, but they work, and they are good value. I don't have any experience with the latest crop of BD or Petzl lights.

 

Current rechargeable battery technology is pretty good, and with a high performance LED light you will get more out of a good NiMH than out of an alkaline battery. It's a question of current draw, not voltage... I recommend the Sanyo Eneloop brand as the best out there. Otherwise look for "precharged", as a keyword. Don't buy the highest capacity NiMH that you see, they will suck in real world performance.

 

Check out the forums at candlepowerforums.com for more details on batteries and LED performance than you will ever want to know.

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I happily use lithiums and won't sweat four ounces on a lamp if it has the features I like. For truly light weight applications I just use one of a few other's I have on hand.

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I used one of those BD remote battery pack lights for a while. Maybe it's good for the Himalayas or something but it was a total pita. You can buy mine if you want.

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If it isn't too late, you might also look at the BD Icon. It also takes AAA or the rechargeable battery. I got it to replace the Mammut Lucido TX1 that up and died on me. The Icon, like my previous BD headlamps works like a champ and is dependable.

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As a caver (and climber) with lots of experience with the Apex, I would not recommend the Apex at all. It's not a dependable light and as one other posted stated it is not as waterproof as princeton tec thinks it is. Plus it's heavy. I have been up sh*t creek several times with the Apex.

 

I second the recommendation for Fenix (they're good lights) but you should also look at Zebra Light (they're lighter). Fenix and Zebra Light are used mostly by cavers and are not as well known since they're not made by mainstream brands. However, cavers are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to headlamps.

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If you're having an argument about the weight with yourself and are ok with a little heavier and want something awesome, the new Petzl Nao has won all the awards in the last year.

 

Pricey, but supposed to kick some serious ass. 6.5 oz and supposed to be able to climb 5.12c.

 

REI Product Page

Edited by CaleHoopes

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The storm with its 4 triple As. Lithium in the winter. Cant b beat. Rechargeables have less power and less duration. Remote bats with wires always break from flexing

 

 

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Like every other piece of gear, headlamps come down to having multiple to choose from, depending on what you're doing and what time of year it is. Here's mine:

 

Older (2006?) BD spot is still my "go to" lamp and only has three settings, off, low beam and high beam. Simple, effective and not real heavy or bulky, seems adequate for most climbing/skiing stuff and says put on my head/helmet.

 

Trusty old (2001?) Petzl arctic Zoom with it's worn out elastic has been relegated to cleaning up dog poop in the dark months of winter when good lighting is critical, lest ye step into an errant pile of poo that ruins my good shoes. This thing won't die.

 

Fancy Mammut Lucido TX-1 that is my dedicated bike commuting lamp (along with a fixed headlight/tailight mounted on the bike), good strong high beam and red flashers on the back so I don't get run over by a smartphone texting teenage driver. With the single band around the perimeter of my head, this one isn't as secure as the BD Spot and I acutally zip tie it to my biking helmet for the winter.

 

I also have a $10 black diamond 3oz light for camping/backpacking and a similar petzl tikka for the same use. The only reason I bought this BD is that I lost the Tikka only to find it later inside the pocket of a pack. Lesson learned - always get your light out and on your head before it gets dark, especially if it's a smaller one.

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burchey,

I have the Apex. It is cheap and effective. I use it for truly cold tempatures on bigger climbs and when I plan on climbing through the night. Other than those situations a multitude of other lamps work. I happen to have a tactikka (sp?) for that stuff.

 

You wont regeret your purchase of the apex.

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Rechargeable lithium. Buy, modify existing case, done. Lose 25% of power compared to non rechargeable lithium, save a HECK of a lot of money.

 

Use your spare camera lithium battery if nothing else. 2 birds 1 stone and you now have a double backup either for your headlamp or your camera. All you have to do is make the connection modification.

 

If you want to go really light and really powerful, get the lithium batteries sold to RC airplane modelers.

 

If you want to keep your lithium batteries around for nearly forever, never charge them over 70-85% and when the battery is getting low do not keep using it till its dead dead. Doing both of these will keep your rechargeable LI-ion or Li-poly around for a VERY long time.

 

If you are pissing about a couple of ounces, take a leak, dump, work out more, or quit eating so much.

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My two cents, look at lumens and compactness as being as important as weight, however......

 

As most light AND affordable lamps are not regulated perhaps the biggest thing is what you feed them. I use nimh rechargeables not just for cost or green reasons but mainly because one can know the batteries are 100%.

 

had an all night descent with a fellow with a decent lamp but crapped out batteries, needless to say mine was the one that found the path.

 

I would also look at the beam lens as being crucial as dispersed is nice for reading and not blinding folks but throw is what gets you the route or anchors. Like mammut.

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Lithium batteries work better in the cold and are lighter. The only choice on a serious big climb.

 

If you worry about weight take the elastic strap off. A good helmet will have elastic cord to hold it without a headlamp strap.

 

I won't buy a headlamp that doesn't have a removable strap (some are not removable), nor a helmet that won't hold a strapless headlamp.

 

The Storm having 4 cell capacity is brighter than any 3 cell headlamp on the market and lasts longer on low mode.

 

I think more manufactures should have the 4 cell option. The battery chargers all require you charge 4 batteries at once and the batteries all have to be down on charge when you charge them so if you have a 3 cell lamp you have to somehow draw down the one battery you don't use. A real pita.

 

In addition rechargeables are so much weaker than one-use batteries you need 4 of them to equal a 3 cell setup using one-use batteries.

 

 

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I have both the Ion and the spot, If you want LOTS of light the Ion is thebest choice if you want adequet light spot is your choice. the 4 onces don't matter if you need a bright light source. but thats me.

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The Storm having 4 cell capacity is brighter than any 3 cell headlamp on the market and lasts longer on low mode.

 

Within the BD line-up, the best compromise is actually the Spot, not the Storm.

 

Spot:

LED Type : 1 TriplePower, 4 SinglePower (2 white, 2 red)

Lumens : 90

Max Distances : 70 m (TriplePower LED); 15 m (2 SinglePower LEDs)

Max Burn Time : 50 hours= (TriplePower LED); 200 hours (SinglePower LEDs)

Batteries : 3 AAA included

Weight With Batteries : 90 g, 3.2 oz

 

Storm:

LED Type : 1 TriplePower, 4 SinglePower (2 white, 2 red)

Lumens : 100

Max Distances : 70 m (TriplePower LED); 25 m (2 SinglePower LEDs)

Max Burn Time : 50 H (TriplePower LED); 125 H (SinglePower LEDs)

Batteries : 4 AAA

Weight With Batteries : 110 g, 3.9 oz

 

For 10 lumens less (hardly noticeable) you get 75hrs more burn time in low, same max distance and 20g less weight (very noticeable, especially on your head!).

 

FWIW, I've got the Spot and the Icon, and love both for very different uses. The Spot is small, light, and comes with me everywhere.

 

For serious climbs in darkness for long periods of time, the Icon is hard to beat with a crazy bright beam!

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To address the question of rechargeable Lithium batteries.

For several years I have been using Sanyo ENELOOP rechargeable NiMH batteries in my headlamps, and GPS. They are incredible, and, like Lithium, are resistant to losing power in low temps. They come in AA or AAA size, and also in two power/lifetime versions.

 

http://www.eneloop.info/eneloop-products/eneloop-batteries/eneloop.html

Edited by robertjoy

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I am a huge fan of my Petzl Tikka XP2 Core. It comes with a rechargeable and programmable battery pack. Every time I go out, I leave with a full battery and it lasts extremely well. I could even take extra AAA batteries and still put those in by removing the rechargeable core in the field (very easy). For what it is worth, I'm a fan.

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Was a fan of the Core battery until I found out its rated power output was the same as ONE of my three 900 milliamp hour rated nimh AAAs.

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You wont regeret your purchase of the apex.

 

Until it breaks in your pack. Like mine did... twice.

 

The battery chargers all require you charge 4 batteries at once and the batteries all have to be down on charge when you charge them so if you have a 3 cell lamp you have to somehow draw down the one battery you don't use. A real pita.

 

In addition rechargeables are so much weaker than one-use batteries you need 4 of them to equal a 3 cell setup using one-use batteries.

 

Buckaroo - you might want to read up on modern rechargeables. ie - low self discharge NiMH like the Eneloops mentioned above. Good chargers are capable of charging 1-4 cells at a time no problem. The modern LED headlamps draw high currents that alkaline (one -use) cells can't provide for very long. Overall, high end lights generally depend on rechargeable cells for maximum performance.

 

 

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To address the question of rechargeable Lithium batteries.

For several years I have been using Sanyo ENELOOP rechargeable NiMH batteries in my headlamps, and GPS. They are incredible, and, like Lithium, are resistant to losing power in low temps. They come in AA or AAA size, and also in two power/lifetime versions.

 

http://www.eneloop.info/eneloop-products/eneloop-batteries/eneloop.html

 

 

they seem hyped, the only advantage they have over normal NiMH is a low storage discharge rate, otherwise they are the same.

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Buckaroo - you might want to read up on modern rechargeables.

 

Okay

 

all AAA's

 

Duracell Alkaline (Coppertop) 1.5v 1150mAh .4oz

 

Energizer Advanced Lithium 1.5v 1250mAh .3oz

 

Energizer Rechargeable NiMH 1.2v 700mAh .4oz

 

Eneloop NiMH 1.2v 800mAh .4oz

 

Sony Rechargeable NiMH 1.2v 900mAh .4oz

 

Sanyo Rechargeable NiMH 1.2v 1000mAh .4oz

 

can agree though that some of the more expensive chargers will charge 3 batteries at a time

 

But I use rechargeables at work and they just don't have enough juice with 3 of them, 4 has the juice and lasts a moderate time.

 

3 AAA rechargeables 35gms

 

3 AAA Coppertop 33gms

 

3 AAA Lithium 22gms

 

(I just got a nice digital scale at Fry's and I'm weighing everything)

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