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Headlamps

September 22, 2009

So I haven’t updated this since last month because, frankly, I was too depressed about not being able to do outdoorsy stuff due to my ongoing injury status to bring myself to talk about outdoorsy stuff. Tonight, however, I found out that I qualified for this: http://www.mrmib.ca.gov/MRMIB/MRMIP.shtml The effective date of coverage is November 1, so I’ll be seeing an ortho on or within a couple of days of that date, and very likely scheduling a surgery for soon thereafter. I’d imagine I’ll recover enough to still make most of the ski season. As one might imagine, I’m much happier about life now.

The topic of this post is “Headlamps” for a reason, and now I’ll get on with it. I’ve owned several headlamps over the past few years. I’ve owned the original Petzl Tikka, the Black Diamond Zenix, and the Black Diamond Spot (which I still have). All of these lights have been great for their time. The Tikka lasted forever. I think I lost it sometime around moving out of my place in college. Or maybe I gave it away. The Zenix went to my friend Vanessa and she took it to Bolivia for Peace Corps work. The Spot I still have. It works fine, but the dimmer function doesn’t work, which is a mild annoyance. That said, for the last couple of years I have been lusting after something brighter—something that I can use for those unplanned nighttime rappels and walkoffs, those late late afternoon skis out when you get lost in creek drainages (cementing new friendships), cycling, etc.

After doing a bit of homework, I’m thinking the Black Diamond Icon is going to be it. The price point is much better than the competition (Princeton Tec Apex, Petzl Myo XP, Mammut Lucido TX1), it’s brighter overall than the competition, it has an optional rechargeable battery pack, the overhead strap is removable, and I’m a sucker for Black Diamond products. I’ve heard of and witnessed (through many returned Auroras when I worked at REI) durability issues with Princeton Tec stuff, so that’s a knock against them to begin with… although my girlfriend’s little Fuel works well. The cons of the Icon are that it’s slightly heavier than the competition and that it doesn’t have a removable battery pack for cold-weather activities. The weight is marginal, so I’m not particularly worried about that. Being that I live and do most of my recreating in California, I’m not that worried about the cold issue either. I’d imagine that simply using lithium batteries would help me overcome any performance issues I’d run into while skiing in the Sierra.

I’ve also been thinking I’m going to pick up one of their mini-lanterns too.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chza permalink
    October 19, 2009 8:44 PM

    Which one would you recommend for running? I might start getting in early morning or late night runs as I prep for some ultras – and so I don’t have to be away from the wife and kid so much. I really needed one this weekend as I went for 15 at 5:30 am. I didn’t go down these trails cause I couldn’t see for shiet!

    • grindingmygear permalink*
      October 19, 2009 8:58 PM

      Hey Bud,

      For running I’d check out the Petzl Tikka and Tikka Plus 2, the Princeton Tec Fuel and Remix, and the Black Diamond Spot.

      That give you some options.

      Of those, I would personally lean toward the Tikka Plus 2 or the Remix (I used to trail run with the original gen. Petzl Tikka like 7-8 years ago). They have the option of using a long-range LED or proximity LEDs, depending on your preference for brightness vs. battery life. And I think they’re both slightly more stable than the BD Spot. 3 AAAs is the standard battery configuration and they’ll last a long time. REI in the Sacto area carries them. The Cal Expo store may have a better selection than Roseville and Folsom.

      Let me know how it works out for you and thanks for checking out my (shitty) blog. 🙂

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