Gear Advice: Head Lamp

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In my caving days, I carried an “Easter Seals” headlamp that ran 4 or 5 hours on 4 AA batteries, and I carried a lot of extra batteries. At Philmont, I ran a Petzl Zipka on 3 AAA batteries for 10 days without needing to change the batteries. As a matter fact, I went another year on those batteries before I changed them! The big change in the headlamp area is the LED. The new LED based lights last a long time, and this allows you to carry far fewer batteries.

Bill’s Choice

I run two headlamps. If weight is a major issue, and I don’t expect to be hiking at night, I run a Petzl Zipka. If I suspect that I may be hiking at night, I run an older Black Diamond that has one led, great for cooking and other close up work, but it also has a halogen bulb. Pressing the on/off switch changes from one to the other. The up side of this unit is that you can get a lot of light when needed, but the 3 AA batteries will only last 8 hours in that mode. The single halogen however will run for something like 1000 hours.

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