MagazineDecember 2009Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights

Daylight runs thin this time of year, but with a new breed of lighter, brighter LED headlamps on the market, the dark night is no reason to stay out of the woods. Here are four headlamps that turn night into day. Zipka Plus2Petzl Zippka Plus2 headlamp

The single high output LED sheds 50 lumens of light, which is plenty bright for trail running, night hiking, or taking care of campsite business. But what truly sets the Zippka apart is the retractable cord. Instead of a traditional strap, you’ve got a zippy cord that you can cinch around your head, wrist, tent pole, handlebars, or trekking pole. Our tester strapped it to his forehead beneath his bike helmet for extra lighting on a night ride—something you can’t do with bulkier strap systems. Later, he strapped it to his seat post for added visibility on the road commute home. Bottom line: Different mounting possibilities make the Zippka far more versatile than most other headlamps. $42.95.

RemixPrinceton Tec Remix

Princeton Tec went back to the drawing board with their most popular headlamps (the Fuel and Remix), building brighter, longer burning lamps without adding additional weight. Our tester liked the Remix, which combines three small LEDs with a Maxbright Rebel LED to put out 45 lumens in a featherweight package (2.9 ounces). The Remix distinguishes itself with its burn time. Switch the lamp to economic mode and you’ll get 200 hours of light—almost twice as economic as most comparable headlamps. Bottom line: It’s light, bright, and burns forever. $44.99.

BruntonBrunton L3

Imagine strapping one of those police-issue spotlights to your head. That’s the sort of power you’re getting with the L3–one of the brightest LED headlamps on the market. Brunton uses a single 3-watt Luxeon LED with external battery packs (C batteries) to put out 85 lumens. The total package is brighter than most commuter bike lights, giving trail runners and adventure racers more power in the woods without being weighed down by a traditional bike light’s battery pack. The lamp and strap are balanced well on your head, but can be a bit heavy for running (8.7 ounces). Look into Brunton’s compatible Runner’s Belt if you’re looking for a super-bright running option. Bottom line: It’s pricier than other headlamps, but almost twice as powerful, so you get what you pay for. $152.

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