Headlamps on the Homestead

By , April 23, 2017

Recently, while revisiting an old post on the importance of headlamps in our life (see Headlamps: Don’t Leave Home Without Them!) I saw how out of date it had become in terms of preferred gear on our homestead. I didn’t even recognize the name, Streamlight Enduro, our most trusted headlamp back then.

It seems time for an update, even as we move into the lighter months of the year, when headlamps hardly get used at all.

Such an update proves long overdue, apparently. I banged away at a rough draft, then discovered that, well before I’d said half of what I intended on the subject, I’d exceeded a thousand words! I guess it’s time for another series . . . .

Streamlight lost favor with us soon after I published praise for their product.

These headlamps once included a robust mechanism that allowed a user to adjust the height of the beam from close to far by tipping the light on a ratchet. We rely heavily on this common feature, as we use headlamps throughout our day, focusing now on something close at hand, now on the far distance. When we next ordered a Streamlight Enduro, we got the new, “improved” version of the light, featuring a more delicate ratchet. In fact, it now had a thin tab of plastic engaging with the ratchet, that broke off in the first few adjustments. After that, the light flopped limply with every step. While fine for extremely close work, the light proved useless on the trail, or for anything else. This one change lost us as customers of the company. We haven’t bought a Streamlight product since.

There are so many different brands and types of headlamps to choose from. We try to narrow it down to one particular brand and type, because we rely on lights a lot. If one gets broken, lost, or otherwise used up, we like to know what we’re getting with the replacement. We don’t like to experiment with new models, in hopes that they will serve us as well as those we’ve used in the past. “Better the devil you know” becomes a word to the wise here. We know there are better headlamps out there, within and beyond our price range, but we’re fairly happy with what we use now.

When Streamlight failed us, we turned to another brand we’d tried, Princeton Tec. Actually, our first headlamps were Princeton Tec. I’m wearing one in the photo of the original post, linked above.

Next time, I’ll talk about our successes and failures with Princeton Tec headlamps.

2 Responses to “Headlamps on the Homestead”

  1. Dave Zeiger says:

    Hi Mark,

    We’ve had (mostly) good luck with the Princeton Tec BYTE…

    It’s small, light, and runs on 2xAAA bateries, with long-ish life. We use 1.2V rechargables and usually switch every 3 or so days in winter (lots of use), and every one or two weeks the rest of the year.

    Charging in (low) even numbers is convenient for most chargers.

    It has Red (long lasting) / White low / White High. I read with red just fine with aging eyes, and it preserves night vision. Red bright enough for walking through woods at night. Both whites are plenty for about max 12ft radius work (rarely use high).

    Cost is around $20… galling, but cheaper than most quality lights.

    Cons: Not waterproof, and the battery compartment latch sometimes breaks (good return policy, but who should have to?).

    Dave Z

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Dave, yeah, I get into the Byte and other Princeton Tecs in the next post. I actually got my Byte based on your recommendation. I like it the best of all my headlamps, except for one alarming detail that I get into in the post that will go up around April 29th. Stay tuned!

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