Just completed a camping trip using several LED headlamps and wondered why there were no other campers using headlamps despite what I believed were clear advantages over flashlights, especially for hiking trails. With a headlamp, my hands were free. Also, the light was automatically pointed to where my eyes were looking at. Plus, the headlamp could be used as a flashlight, as well, anyway.
Why LED? For example, with only 2 AA rechargeable NiMH batteries, the 7-LED headlamp worked from 9PM to 8AM the next morning with power to spare. I brought along a portable Rayovac 1-Hour NiMH battery charger, IMHO the best NiMH/Nicad charger.
The Yukon’s Xenon bulb produced a yellowish light that showed trail terrain and texture best. With a bluish LED light, we couldn’t tell if the trail had changed from soil to sand.
FYI, here are my impressions of several brands/models of LED headlights for camping and hiking:
Princeton Tec Yukon (not HL): The yellowish Xenon bulb with adjustable angle was the best one for trail hiking, in our view. Also has a wide-angle mode with 3-LEDs for close/medium distance. Best for outhouse duties. Nice balance, with the 3 AA batteries in a rear carrier. The LED mode light was even and wide, best choice for reading. Well built and durable IMHO. Xenon bulb was useful up to 60 feet. LED light was useful to 6 feet.
Petzl Tikka Plus: Light was too bluish for reading trail terrain, and its wide-angle light was too disperesed for good trail definition. However, quite useful for setting up camp due to its wide-angle light. Changing batteries was difficult, even without gloves. Light had alternating blue/brown ‘rings’ which would be distracting for reading. Seems overpriced IMHO, but the garter of high quality and was very comfortable around the forehead. Plastic may not survive a concrete drop.
No-Name 7-LED headlight: Unusual, uses only 2-AA in a “front” battery carrier. Friend bought at eBay. Neutral white color was useful for seeing trails. Best angle/brightness among all the LED headlamps, but the “cheep” garters (compared to the name brands) made for slightly uncomfortable long-term use. Surprisingly, the two 1800 mAH NiMH AA’s powered this light all night, until morning. Light was useful for up to 10 feet.
No-Name 8-LED headlight: Uses 4-AA batteries in a front battery compartment. My head felt unbalanced with this much weight in front. Slightly brighter than the 7-LED. Due to its weight, it was used mainly for stationary duty, and not as a headlamp. Plastic construction may not survive a concrete drop. Only slightly brighter than the 7 LED headlight.
Dorcy 3-LED headlight: This was relatively inexpensive, only
$12. Light output was the weakest among the ones we brought. Was too weak for trail walking or camp duties. No one wanted to use this Dorcy headlight. Useful light only up to 2 feet.
Review Anonymous Poster.