headlamp for running
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Nov 2, 2015 at 7:30 am #1333865Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
Hey guys – I've been looking all over for recommendations about headlamps for nighttime trail running and I'm getting so much info it actually is not helpful. So I thought I'd ask my trusted BPL peeps! What is your favorite headlamp for nighttime trail runs? My zebralight just bounces all over the place on my head and generally seems pretty darned worthless when running. I thought of clipping it on my waist then getting a second for my head…but I just don't really know what I should get. Is it worth it to get the strap that goes over the top? battery pack in the back for balance? these are things I never would get for backpacking…but maybe for running it would be helpful? My trails here are super technical by the way – lots of rocks to see (thus the thought of clipping the zebralight to my waist for low angle illumination, then something on my head…) help!Nov 2, 2015 at 7:51 am #2235564Greg MihalikSpectator
Whatever you decide on, it should go on a waist belt. By separating the light beam from your line-of-sight you will be able to see the shadows that define rocks, roots, etc. With a headlamp you will Not see shadows. The trail will appear smooth. Do a test tonight to see the difference. A Princeton Tec Byte is what I use for night time trails, but I don't run, I walk fast. Good beam throw and spread, long battery life, solid construction. Earlier models had severe parasitic battery drain, so be sure to look for the model with a "kill" switch on the battery case door. I also attach a petzl elite to the bill of my cap as a "task light". Trying to do something (open a bar, find a zipper, adjust a watch) with a waist light is pretty tough.Nov 2, 2015 at 7:57 am #2235566Art …BPL Member
I think more important than which headlamp is to run with 2 lights rather than just one. 2 lights always gives you a backup in case one fails. 2 lights offers better depth perception in the dark. I run with a basic Petzl headlamp or a BD Spot, each about 50 lumens. the Spot offers a flood mode where the Petzl doesn't. and a small handheld flashlight (a no name Coleman), 80 lumens, with a keeper sling around my wrist. the keeper sling keeps you from losing it in the dark, and allows you to let go of it temporarily if you need your hand for something. holding the light in the hand allows you to direct the light to wherever you want. my 130 lumen total light is plenty unless you are a fast runner, in which case you may want a bit more. some people put the second light around the waist but I find it too bouncy and not enough control over light direction.Nov 2, 2015 at 10:01 am #2235599Greg MihalikSpectator
… also – Headlamps with a lot "hanging out there" will bounce more than a low profile light something like a single AA battery Fenix. And "barrel style" headlamps like the Fenix and the Byte are able to rotate in their mount to allow aim adjustment. And most headlamp straps are easily modified with webbing and buckles to become "waist belts".Nov 2, 2015 at 11:42 am #2235626Mike MBPL Member
I agree with Art- use two lamps for sure for running- I like one on my head, the other on my chest or waist- I use two Black Diamond Spots- I find them to be a very good combination of light weight, output, battery life, weather protection, ease of use and price (can often be found for $20-25) MikeNov 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm #2235699
Mike, Have you seen the new Ultraspire 600 lumen waist light. It is pretty cool. I have one if you'd like to try it sometime.Nov 2, 2015 at 5:49 pm #2235701
For running or about anything my favorite headlamp is the Petzl Tikka RXP. I love the reactive lighting.Nov 2, 2015 at 6:03 pm #2235708Mike MBPL Member
damn Ed- 600 lumens! that would definitely light things up! might keep the lions off the trail too :) MikeNov 2, 2015 at 6:05 pm #2235709Kentz WillisBPL Member
I really like my zebralights (H52w and H52Fw) for running.The over-the-top strap you asked about does make the zebralight work quite well as a running headlamp, in my opinion. As previously mentioned a waist mount allows for much greater trail definition. For my training I typically just use one light but I can imagine some scenarios where I might want two. I have found that when mounting it on my waist I prefer the floody version as the regular beam seems a bit more 'bouncy'. Depending on what I'm wearing I will either clip the light directly to my tights at the waist or sometimes i'll put on a belt that I clip it to – just using the clip that came with the light. When running around town (as opposed to the trail) I seem to gravitate towards the head mount…this allows me to be a bit more visible to folks in cars.Nov 2, 2015 at 6:51 pm #2235717
Mike, The UltraSpire has three settings with 600 lumens the brightest. You are more than welcome to try it for a few days.Nov 2, 2015 at 7:48 pm #2235729Nick TruaxBPL Member
@nicktruaxLocale: SW Montana
I'm going with Ed on this one. After using mine all of this year, I must say that the reactive lighting is very good for trail running.Nov 2, 2015 at 9:21 pm #2235739
Second what Kentz said. Other than that, I would first try the Zebralight you already have on your waist, since it is such a very nice light (I have the H52Fw), and see how it works for you with just that. Perhaps it's enough, perhaps you would like more. If you find you would like something more, you could try a secondary light for up top. For me, though bright is nice, floody is nicer (if things are too bright or narrow (spotty) I dislike getting so insensitive to the dark).Nov 3, 2015 at 12:03 am #2235766Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
The 11 hour setting with 50 lumens on the H52fw is just okay for running but it's not ideal. It's perfect for hiking. The next level up at100 lumens works great for running, lasts for 4 hours, or is it 4.5 hours. Still excellent for how tiny and light it is.Nov 3, 2015 at 12:35 am #2235769
Good point, also to coordinate your two lights battery wise. Carry two lights, one or two spare batteries of same size depending on epicness of run.Nov 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm #2235862James holdenBPL Member
I cant speak to running But for all night long duration climbing , you want – rechargeable …. If yr using it alot youre gonna burn through a set of bats or two a night, it gets expensive with disposables – a 18650 bat … These are the only bats that provide 100+ Lm for 10 hours+ for all night activities for a reasonable weight There are quite a few 18650 headlamps on the market, personally i use a fenix If you are moving fast on jagged terrain at night dont skimp on the lighting … All it takes is one bad fall to make it into an all nighter waiting for the nice fine folks in orange for that free whirly bird scenic tour ;)Nov 3, 2015 at 11:44 pm #2235978
Perhaps all known, but just came across this: "Bring enough light. When running city streets at night there is often ambient light. This is not so in the mountains unless there’s a bright moon! I recommend a bright light at waist level as well as a dimmer on the head to minimize shadows and maintain depth perception. A second headlamp is also a great backup in case something happens to one. Always bring an extra set of batteries for both." link Hope you have funNov 16, 2015 at 1:52 am #2238385Christopher YiSpectator
@traumaheadLocale: Cen Cal
With the 8 hour run time at 600 lumens, I'm assuming it's not regulated? Run time on my H600Fw Mk II at 590 lumens is listed at 2.5 hours, with max 970 lumens listed as approximately 2 hours. In actual use it only lasts me 1.5 hours at max lumens before it automatically steps down with a 3400 mah Panasonic 18650.Nov 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm #2238497
I guess I'd call it "somewhat regulated." By that I mean that when the light is on the high setting, it automatically dims after an hour to conserve battery life. To again go to high beam, all you have to do is turn it off then back on. Great light so far and it comes with a rechargeable battery.Nov 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm #2238732Steve BBPL Member
@geokiteLocale: Southern California
I have two running setups. First is for streets; H52W on the front, a H502r on the back, with a strap on top. The weights are balanced, so there is no movement. Total weight is about 5oz. Usually run with the front on the H2 level (I think 25 Lum). Red in the back for drivers to see me. Second is for trails; two H502d (or H502w), each on the back of my hand. I cut a head strap in two and used some plastic hardware to make a loop, the loop goes through the stock silicone holder. The flood beam has no bounce as my hands move around! And I get the advantage of shadows of the terrain. They can be aimed as needed. This is the best setup I've used. It has changed my choice of waist lights for hiking (I would use one of these now over a H52w or H32F). It can be worn over gloves. Same thing as knucklelights, just more expensive, more brightness options, I suspect better tint, lighter, and only one battery per light. SteveNov 18, 2015 at 12:42 am #2238822Christopher YiSpectator
@traumaheadLocale: Cen Cal
Any chance you know what the lumens are when it dims? Just bought a ZL H600w Mk II to supplement my H600Fw Mk II. A bit overkill but I do love the 900+ lumens.Nov 18, 2015 at 9:01 pm #2238991Serge GiachettiSpectator
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
I've gotten a lot of use out of my petzl nao for the last 3 years or so & mostly I like it. Its one of my most used pieces of gear since I do a lot of night trail running and hiking. The reactive lighting is great as is the balance of flood and spot. Its especialay good for micro route finding when hiking, as the spotlisht has a super long throw. As other have mentioned, the limits of a headlamp like this as your sole running light is that everything looks pretty flat. I think through experience you can get a lot better at reading flat light when you're moving fast, yet I'm definitely interested in moving to a two light system. Ed, I'm curious about your experience with the ultraspire waist light thus far. I'm considering getting one to combine with an rxp or spot or similar smallish headlamp. I'd only wanna invest in one if I knew it would give me a significant advantage for running technical terrain. My other thought is to get a zebra h52 with a rechargeable battery (if compatable.) Thank for any insights you might have.Nov 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm #2239179
Serge, I haven't run a lot of technical terrain yet with the Ultraspire. What I have has impressed me. It really lights things up. More so than with the NAO I used for a while. I really like the combination of the RXP and the Ultraspire. For more gentle terrain the RXP alone is ideal and when the terrain gets rocky & steep, turning on the Ultraspire really improves vision. I'll get more technical running in as soon as elk season ends in a couple weeks.
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