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Thread: Head lamps

  1. #61
    Senior Member Little Rickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    FWIW3, on my road bike, I use a 1W narrow beam aimed in the distance, a 3W broader beam for the middle distance and surround, and a 1W light aimed down at the ground (to spot sticks etc) on my handlebars and an Aurora hiking light on my helmet (to stare down cars and light my instruments and view direction).
    4 lights/beams. Now that is impressive!
    Peace

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  2. #62
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Doug -

    I've been thinking about risk for the past few hours, and - ever read Thor Heyerdahl? The accounts of his expeditions, especially involving the Kon-Tiki, and his later expeditions enthralled me when I was a teenager and later, as many of his expeditions were occurring as I was growing up. Setting aside for a moment where people came from who inhabited the Micronesian islands - just imagine the level of risk-taking people must have undertaken to build a small boat, stock it with food and water, and just head out across the oceans. And it wasn't just testosterone-poisoned males, either - the men had to convince their girlfriends and wives to accompany them as well.

    Who knows what motivated them to take such huge risks, not just once, but on multiple occasions? Maybe it was starvation, or pestilence, or dramatic climate change? Or maybe we've mutated/evolved so that we evaluate risk differently. We'll probably never know why they did what they did, but Heyerdahl demonstrated a plausible how they did it.

    As for the young men who spent the night on the summit of Baldy (San Antonio) - don't quote me on this, but I think they're college students.

  3. #63
    Senior Member Little Rickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    I guess a person could always say, "don't bushwhack in the dark or ski downhill on hiking trails with blowdown in the dark", but that would be very grinchy and un-(insert north here to include krazy kanuks)american.
    I not sure if the typical person would be doing that. The average hiker may just need an average headlight or two and simple AAAs.

    A lot of people reading these posts may not be that adventurous. I wouldn't want them to get the idea they need to get expensive equipment or that sking through blowdown and biking down a dark path with pedesterians on it is the norm rather than the exception.
    Peace

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  4. #64
    Senior Member Hikes4fun's Avatar
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    Like Jay I'll use a more powerful light at night for sighting trail markers if I'm moving at night etc..But for general camp use, a less expensive Tikka/Mammut etc is fine..Sooo I carry both...
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  5. #65
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Rickie View Post
    I wouldn't want them to get the idea they need to get expensive equipment or that sking through blowdown and biking down a dark path with pedesterians on it is the norm rather than the exception.
    You mean it isn't?

    Incidentally, that was skiing on a trail that I referred to, a marked trail. The one that comes down off of Colden to Lake Colden. Nice and normal.

    I would like a headlamp that melts the snow 50 feet in front of me so that it turns to ice when I get to it.

  6. #66
    Senior Member adktyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    You mean it isn't?

    Incidentally, that was skiing on a trail that I referred to, a marked trail. The one that comes down off of Colden to Lake Colden. Nice and normal.

    I would like a headlamp that melts the snow 50 feet in front of me so that it turns to ice when I get to it.
    http://campar.in.tum.de/twiki/pub/Ch...tHMLP/Kopf.jpg

    Only problem is, it melts your brain cells in the process.

  7. #67
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Rickie View Post
    4 lights/beams. Now that is impressive!
    I want to make sure they can see me coming.

    Any 3 can fail and I can still get home--but then I have to slow down...

    I generally shut down (or aim off to the right) the 1W distance light to preserve the retinas of oncoming cyclists. A bit like dimming your car headlights for oncoming traffic.

    The lights are worth more than the bike...

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 12-10-2009 at 05:30 PM.

  8. #68
    Senior Member buddy's Avatar
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    I like it dim

    My friends and I night hike on a regular basis and have all come to the conclusion that a dimmer light is better in some ways than a really bright light. We use low power LED lights for general travel and bush whacking as well. We find that in most cases as long as the light is bright enough to see eye hazards and holes under foot, using a dim light is a much more pleasurable experience. Low level lighting helps preserve your night vision and reduces the amount of glare off near by brush while bushwhacking. There is often more light in the woods at night, from the moon or reflected urban lights, than you might realize
    , especially if you let your eyes adjust. It takes alot longer for your eyes to attain full night vision capabilities than it does to lose it from exposure to bright light. Last year I was up in the Niagara Brook valley ( West Mill Brook area ) and the amount of light reflecting off the low clouds from the Border patrol stop on Int. 87 was all the light you needed to hike/ ski around. If we had not turned off our lights or not had very dim lights we would not have noticed how bright it was. Bright lights make your night world alot smaller and darker feeling than it generally is. Of course there are times when a bright light is advantageous, like when your desire is for speed or the footing is exceptionally rough or steep. I always carry a 1 watt LED for those times in addition to my dim LED. Buddy

  9. #69
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    Doug -

    I've been thinking about risk for the past few hours, and - ever read Thor Heyerdahl? The accounts of his expeditions, especially involving the Kon-Tiki, and his later expeditions enthralled me when I was a teenager and later, as many of his expeditions were occurring as I was growing up. Setting aside for a moment where people came from who inhabited the Micronesian islands - just imagine the level of risk-taking people must have undertaken to build a small boat, stock it with food and water, and just head out across the oceans. And it wasn't just testosterone-poisoned males, either - the men had to convince their girlfriends and wives to accompany them as well.
    I have read it. I think I even have a hard-bound copy... (From my parents when we cleaned out their house.) I think one could call them adventurers. They did have a radio so they had some chance of rescue in case of mishap. The Ra (a papyrus boat) broke up under them and had to be abandoned (they were rescued). For those who are curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Heyerdahl

    Who knows what motivated them to take such huge risks, not just once, but on multiple occasions? Maybe it was starvation, or pestilence, or dramatic climate change? Or maybe we've mutated/evolved so that we evaluate risk differently. We'll probably never know why they did what they did, but Heyerdahl demonstrated a plausible how they did it.
    A theory (or two). A sense of adventure. A desire/obsession to hike a list of peaks above some arbitrary altitude...

    We all take risks at some level.

    <speculation on>
    From an anthropological standpoint a certain amount of risk would be desirable for the survival of the group. Otherwise one will not discover new resources that might be useful to the group. Obtaining food (eg by hunting) also can involve significant risks. And one has to at least occasionally hunt for mates outside the group to prevent inbreeding--a potentially risky venture.

    So it would be perfectly reasonable that a desire or at least a tolerance for some amount of risk would become inherent in a number of individuals. And a wide range of desire/tolerance levels would increase the fitness (chance of survival) of the group because it would make the group adaptable to a range of situations.
    <speculation off>

    As for the young men who spent the night on the summit of Baldy (San Antonio) - don't quote me on this, but I think they're college students.
    A group known to be highly risk adverse.

    (Yes that was humor.)

    Doug

  10. #70
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Rickie View Post
    I not sure if the typical person would be doing that. The average hiker may just need an average headlight or two and simple AAAs.
    Agreed.

    IMO, the marjority of hikers will be adequately served by a BD Spot or a PT Remix, both corrently US$39.95 at REI. And one can find cheaper lights at non-hiking stores. In fact, a PT Fuel will probably also be quite adequate for the majority of hikers at US$24.95.

    I personally carry a Spot and a PT Aurora as a backup when hiking in NE and have hiked with just an Aurora (or two). (3-LED Auroras were on closeout sale at REI recently for a pretty good price. I don't see them, so maybe they are sold out.) (The PT Fuel is the follow-on to the discontinued Aurora.) Since I have a range of headlamps to choose from, I can choose one to match the activity. For instance, I bring a brighter light if I am going XC skiing with the possibility of skiing down steepish terrain in the dark or am concerned about after-dark navigation. (The Spot/Remix/Fuel are quite adequate for level kick-and-glide even at less than their maximum intensity settings.)

    A lot of people reading these posts may not be that adventurous. I wouldn't want them to get the idea they need to get expensive equipment or that sking through blowdown and biking down a dark path with pedesterians on it is the norm rather than the exception.
    IMO, it is worth understanding the issues for a range of uses to help one choose the best light for oneself.

    Doug

  11. #71
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddy View Post
    My friends and I night hike on a regular basis and have all come to the conclusion that a dimmer light is better in some ways than a really bright light. We use low power LED lights for general travel and bush whacking as well. We find that in most cases as long as the light is bright enough to see eye hazards and holes under foot, using a dim light is a much more pleasurable experience. Low level lighting helps preserve your night vision and reduces the amount of glare off near by brush while bushwhacking. There is often more light in the woods at night, from the moon or reflected urban lights, than you might realize
    , especially if you let your eyes adjust. It takes alot longer for your eyes to attain full night vision capabilities than it does to lose it from exposure to bright light. Last year I was up in the Niagara Brook valley ( West Mill Brook area ) and the amount of light reflecting off the low clouds from the Border patrol stop on Int. 87 was all the light you needed to hike/ ski around. If we had not turned off our lights or not had very dim lights we would not have noticed how bright it was. Bright lights make your night world alot smaller and darker feeling than it generally is. Of course there are times when a bright light is advantageous, like when your desire is for speed or the footing is exceptionally rough or steep. I always carry a 1 watt LED for those times in addition to my dim LED. Buddy
    Yes! Agreed. Less is more.

    Any time you use your headlamp, the bright foreground reflections damage the visibility of the background.

    IMO, everyone should try night hiking without lights. (Yes, bring them but leave them turned off except as a last resort.) People will be surprised at how much one can see by natural light--night lighting can vary from bright moonlight to almost nothing (no moon under heavy clouds and tree coverage). (Bright moonlight is almost like clear sun once your eyes are dark adapted--I have needed to wear a baseball cap to shield my eyes from the moon glare.) I have been able to follow a trail under conditions so dark that I could only see a dark grey slot in the trees above the trail. (I knew the trail pretty well, used my poles as feelers, and could feel the trail under my feet.)

    Night hiking during winter is much easier than the other seasons--snow is a nice bright white carpet.

    Hiking poles make great feelers--think of insect antennae or cat whiskers.

    Doug

  12. #72
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    The lights are worth more than the bike...
    Easily. I now run a 10W halogen NiteRider reasonably tight beam as a "see" light, a 20W halogen hacked together from VistaLite for wide beam, CatEye as a "be seen" light, and a BD 1W LED on the helmet as a pointable. (Taillight is CatEye 1000, half on blinky, half normal, a Planet Bike superflash, and Planet Bike small light on the helmet for coming over the top of hills. Plus those awesome SAE 3" reflectors.) A lot of the headlights stay off on bike paths

    Hiking is a PT aurora for most purposes, the BD 1W for winter (when weight is a little heavier and dark a little more likely), and a Photon Freedom as a backup. The Freedom does the job in a pinch and is lighter by far than replacement batteries; nothing like having another whole headlamp if it comes down to it

  13. #73
    Senior Member Neil's Avatar
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    Interesting post Buddy. I remember whacking up the west side of Gore Mtn in the dark and the beam of my Zenix IQ, which was set to full power, bounced off the balsam needles and dazzled me. (I was dazzled by balsam photons could be a headline in a supermarket tabloid.)

    It was only afterwards that I realized I should have turned it to the lowest setting. Ideally you would use the brightest setting for spotting obstacles as far away as possible and low for negotiating stuff up close.

    (This entire thread is becoming rather dazzling).

  14. #74
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    Interesting post Buddy. I remember whacking up the west side of Gore Mtn in the dark and the beam of my Zenix IQ, which was set to full power, bounced off the balsam needles and dazzled me. (I was dazzled by balsam photons could be a headline in a supermarket tabloid.)

    It was only afterwards that I realized I should have turned it to the lowest setting. Ideally you would use the brightest setting for spotting obstacles as far away as possible and low for negotiating stuff up close.
    Taking the headlamp off your head and holding it a distance away from your face can help too. Also a big help in the fog. And it also helps with depth perception of the scene

    The brightness of an object is proportional to the inverse square of the distance from the source (for a small source such as a headlamp). So when you are wearing the headlamp, anything close to your face is very bright--good for seeing a twig about to hit you in the face, bad for anything in the distance. Of course, the lamp also attracts bugs to your face and nearby snowflakes become blinding flashes.

    (This entire thread is becoming rather dazzling).
    A brilliant conclusion...

    Doug

  15. #75
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    FWIW2, the Icon only runs at 1.7W. BD advertises a 3W LED, but doesn't mention that they do not run it at full power. (The plastic-covered heatsinks are inadequate to run the LED at full power. It would overheat and burn out. Look at an Apex to see what "real" 3W heatsinks look like.) IMO, this is misleading advertising by BD.

    FWIW3, on my road bike, I use a 1W narrow beam aimed in the distance, a 3W broader beam for the middle distance and surround, and a 1W light aimed down at the ground (to spot sticks etc) on my handlebars and an Aurora hiking light on my helmet (to stare down cars and light my instruments and view direction). (I often ride on a very dark bike path where nearly invisible pedestrians in dark clothing are a major hazard.) A mountain biker is likely to want a brighter wider pattern.

    Doug
    I read the reviews on the Icon vrs Apex before I bought it and frankly, didn't care one bit. The icon was bright enough for me to use as a road commuter on roads know very very very well. The Apex, I believe was considerable more expensive at the time I bought the icon and that was enough for this cheap bastard. If I was actually Mtn Biking on unfamiliar terrain at night, I wouldn't use the Icon for it, but real dual beam bike lights with a bottle cage sized battery pack which I used to commute with for a bit til I deamed it heavy and unnecessary (for my commute).

    One thing the headlamp and handlebar light combo works well is if you have to do a field repair in the winter, you want to spend as little time as possible not moving because, like hiking, you'll get real cold, real fast. Not having to take off the handlebar light to see is a small but meaningful time saver.

    Having liner gloves is also a very very meaningful skin saver as trying to fiddle with small bike parts in subfreezing temperatures with any winter bike glove is impossible.

    Jay
    You must go and you must ramble
    Through every briar and bramble
    Till your life is in a shambles
    Maybe then you will know
    -"You Must Go" - John Hiatt

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