Eastmans’ Gearlab: Backcountry Lighting
Headlamps, one of the most vital pieces of equipment any hunter can have. Whether you pack into the backcountry six miles or dayhunt, the best time to find animals is always during the grey light hours. Which means you have to be hiking to and from the glassing points in the dark. Forgetting your headlamp can easily ruin a backcountry hunt and even forgetting extra batteries could make life a little more than uncomfortable. Read on to see a few of our favorites that we have put through the paces!
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp- $39.95
Three things I look for in a headlamp are price, battery type and battery life. The Spot Headlamp by Black Diamond (5 oz) is one of my favorite lamps to use no matter where I am in the world. At $39 this lamp is “mid range” in price and uses three AAA batteries. AAA’s are cheap and sold just about everywhere. I usually change my batteries once or maybe twice a season which leaves me less likely to pull out a dead headlamp out of my pack when I need it most. Lastly, at 130 lumens you won’t be breaking any brightness records but that’s not a concern to me if I’m going to be hiking a few hours in the dark. The new Spot by Black Diamond is 300 lumens which is a little power house but expect much less operating time. Visit www.blackdiamondequipment.com for the entire selection.
Coast FL 75 R- $105.00
The R in the FL 75 R stands for a rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack in this 3.2 oz headlamp. It comes standard with a USB cable that you can run to your standard solar charger or USB equipped battery pack, making the prospect of going dark in the backcountry a non issue. Equipped with three LED lights with the primary in the center that propels 530 lumens in the high setting down the trail and 65 at the low setting. The beam can be adjusted for a wide or distant beam and both settings make seeing your surroundings easy. The power buttons are made of a tough rubber that protects the corners from things like rocks, in rock slides, don’t ask, it’s happened. The band is comfortable and sticks with the idea of light weight through and through. You can find the Coast FL 75 R at www.coastportland.com.
Ledlenser H7.2- $60
The Ledlensor is another lamp I like to use. It runs $60 and weighs in at 5.8 oz. This lamp emits 250 lumens and once again uses AAA batteries, but four of them. Battery life is decent but does run down rather quickly if you’re running full blast for very long. The strong points with Ledlensers are the wheel switch which allows you to control light intensity. Of course your battery will last longer on less intensity. Lastly, Ledlenser offers a 5 year warranty under normal use. My old H7 had three hunting seasons on it and the tilt mechanical cracked and broke on the hinge. I sent it in and they returned to me a new lamp and the newest model. That alone is enough reason for me to go with Ledlenser. Check out the whole line at www.ledlenserusa.com
The UCO Vapor + – $39.99
When I first saw the Uco headlamp options at SHOT I was intrigued to see what they had to offer and when I was able to go on a test run with it I was happy with the result. The 300 lumen high end works well to light the path or the shelter and head band is comfortable while it carries the battery system. When you need to reach out and touch something with a beam of light the AAA batteries provide a beam clear out to 207’ and the red light is nice for the early mornings. With the batteries this lamp is in the 3.2 oz range so it’s ideal for the lightweight backpack hunter. To see more on this headlamp visit www.ucogear.com.