What is the PERFECT HEADLAMP? Does it exist? Where? Who makes perfect headlamps?
I reviewed some other headlamps today – I didn’t even need to buy them, I just reviewed their website and found that their batteries need 8 hours to recharge, and that was it, end of review. Unacceptable LedLenser!
So, I got excited about the idea because no, the perfect headlamp DOESN’T exist today (1/4/2020). If I can dream for a moment though, I’m going to let you know what the ideal headlamp features are in my humble opinion.
1. The Ideal Headlamp is BRIGHT!
The perfect headlamp doesn’t need to be 5,000 lumens, but at least have the potential to crank up to 1,500 lumens, maybe 2,000 lumens at the brightest for 10 minutes or so – at least. No, 1 hour. This is the perfect headlamp we’re talking about here.
2. It’s LIGHT
As in, LIGHTWEIGHT. It is less than 200 grams, and the wearer can hardly feel the weight of the headlamp on the head. The entire headlamp – with battery should fit on the head because batteries attached to the waist are not convenient.
3. The Perfect Headlamp is NOT EXPENSIVE
It should be under $300 USD. I realize we have to pay for great headlamp technology. I pay more than that for my Ultra Rush headlamps, but I’m not happy paying that much, I do it because I absolutely need them. They are quite a good match for my field herping at night.
4. It’s TOUGH – SHOCKPROOF – DUSTPROOF – WATERPROOF
You can drop it, step on it, fall with it, and even drop it down a rocky hill, and it will still work perfectly. This must be possible – especially with LED technology – but so far I haven’t seen any headlamp that could handle that abuse. I want to never think about – am I going to break this thing? I want it to last for at least 5 years without any issues. Surely that’s possible. We have computers that last 5-10 years. I can’t remember the last notebook computer I owned that failed before 6 years of use. Someone can make a VERY tough headlamp for a reasonable amount of money.
5. It’s COMFORTABLE
The weight of my heaviest headlamp gets to be noticeable after 4 hours or so. The bands should be soft and stretchy. The plastic should be more flexible and soft – like a snorkeler’s mask – that would be ideal. The headlamp band would be easily adjustable – like the Petzl Nao+ and Nao2 – with drawstring type locks.
6. The Perfect Headlamp Recharges in UNDER 1-HOUR
Most headlamps today recharge in a 3-4 hour time span. That is simply too long because, well, because we’re human and forget we’re going out and need to charge something FAST because we only have an hour, not 4 or 8 hours to recharge stuff. Our phone technology has really improved. I think my iPhone charges to 70% within about 30 minutes. That’s pretty good. Headlamps need to catch up.
7. It has a VARIABLE BEAM SHAPE
Not just zoom – which is also essential for the perfect headlamp, but the ability to change the shape of the beam to fit the circumstances would be a really nice feature to have. For my own uses, I’d like to be able to reshape the beam to be a long vertical oval when running.
For herping at night, I’d like to be able to zoom the beam tight and stronger (brighter) so I could see animals far ahead on the road or up in the trees. If I was reading a book, I’d want to have a very diffuse beam that made reading a paper book easy – not hard on the eyes. The perfect headlamp should do all of this!
8. The Perfect Headlamp Adjusts Light Output Automatically
Petzl’s “Reactive Lighting Technology” is pretty good. I like it. It isn’t perfect, but it’s quite good. The perfect headlamp will leapfrog this tech and make it perfectly intuitive and ultra-fast. It will always put out the correct amount of light. It should learn what you use the light for – and adjust for that, making it even more perfect.
9. Battery Life is 15+ HOURS!
This headlamp wouldn’t need to put out 1,000 lm for 15 hours, but it should be able to throw 600 lumens for 15 hours. I’m thinking about someone lost in the forest who needed the headlamp to work at least 12 hours. It should work at least 15.
10. LIFETIME Warranty
Having paid $$$$+ for my Ultra Rush headlamps, I feel like their warranty is lame. It should absolutely be a LIFETIME warranty for the perfect headlamp, and any headlamp that costs anywhere near $$$.
Certainly, it must be possible for Petzl or one of these other headlamp manufacturers to make a headlamp that does most or all of the above in 2018. I really hope we see it. I would even pay more than $300 for such a light. I’d pay $600. No joke. I’d pay that because it would be the only headlamp I’d ever need to buy for camping, hiking, train running, street running, cycling, reading a book in a tent, finding snakes and other tropical wildlife here in Thailand… A headlamp that could even accomplish HALF of what I’ve outlined above, would be worth $600 to me.
Ready to Buy a Great Headlamp? The PERFECT Headlamp hasn’t been made yet, but the following are as close as we can get right now for less than $200.