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Headlamp, flashlight, illumination

What brands, models, manufacturers have held up
to the abuse, moisture, conditions involved with
paddling your canoe or kayak ?

NOT looking to start a war about "legal lights"
for coast guard approval, etc., etc. - just merely
seeking help on what failed, what worked best.

I love my Petzl Duo14 but it's a brute !


  • We have Black Diamond
    -- Last Updated: Jan-30-14 3:35 PM EST --

    and they have stood the test of harsh conditions.
    The have a great beam as well as an adjustable setting.
    But I would not recommend them.

    See my review under the Reviews

    jack L

  • One tough headlamp
    While not the brightest on the market, 80 lumens isn't too bad either, the Princeton Tec EOS is a rugged unit. The EOS II is rated as 'intrinsically safe,' which is a National Electrical Code rating for the ability to be used in an explosive atmosphere. If I remember correctly both models are similarly rated, just not advertised that way. What does that mean to kayaking? If it is tight enough to not ignite gas fumes it surely isn't going to leak if you swim with it. It can take a beating.
  • intrinsically safe not equal waterproof
    Intrinsically safe means the item is "incapable of producing heat or spark sufficient to ignite an explosive atmosphere". This doesn't necessarily mean the item is waterproof.
  • I too have a black diamond
    It is the Storm model 100 lumins. The head band stretched out very quickly, but I replaced it with a Princeton tec band from an older light. Otherwise it has worked for 2 seasons used often paddling salt water. So far without a problem. Very versatile beam functions. I also have a princeton tec that is waterproof but not as good a beam. Both have strobe and red light. Except for the "pis" headband I like the B/D Storm best.

    I have a small Duracell 250 3AAA flashlight that was a gift. It is an amazingly small and bright light, but does not have a focusing beam. I don't trust it to be waterproof, though I think it is supposed to be. I was told it was about $12, but do not know for sure. Only have had it for about a month. I carry it often now.
  • Options
    Waterproof - proper testing
    -- Last Updated: Jan-30-14 7:48 PM EST --

    Waterproof means exactly that - no intrusion !

    The testing standard of IEC 529 level 7
    is designated "IPX7" and is equivalent to JIS 7.

    Basically designates equipment can survive
    immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.

    The classification of IPX7 is for temporary
    (i.e. accidental) immersion in water.
    It is not for continuous underwater use.

    IEC 529 (European Community Specification)
    or International Electrotechnical Commission
    and JIS2-8 (Japanese Industry Standard)
    have graduated test levels of #2 - #8

    Salt water - marine usage - is a very harsh world
    Michigan has fresh water, we are a bit lucky

  • Princeton Tec EOS
    Here's my review of the Princeton Tec EOS.

    Overall, a great little headlamp that packs a lot of power into a small package.

    Jeffrey Lee
  • Yep.
    Most likely it just means that it's not possible for the device to make a spark, or at least not a spark that is exposed to the air. Thus, one possibility is that the switch is waterproof even if nothing else is.
  • Petzl Tikka Plus
    I have had mine for 7 years still works like the day I bought it. Just replaced the head band so it's better than new!
  • Petzl Tikka Plus question
    You say you have had one for several years. I just checked and according to the website it says its rated IPX4 which is not for submersion. So my question have you ever had yours under water say during a roll? Did this cause any problem? I ask as Iam looking for a light now and want to know if I really need it to be IPX 6 rated or not.I have been using a low powered light that attaches to hat brim and that was rated only ipx4 and have rolled with it on and mine still works after 1 year of use.

    Oh they apparently now sell the Tikka Plus 2 now.
  • Options
    Actuality - stuff gets wet
    -- Last Updated: Feb-01-14 1:18 AM EST --

    Gear gets used, on trips, on vacation, etc., etc.
    Folks that play outdoors all 12 months, all 4 seasons,
    encounter storms, rain, puddles, capsizes, leaky hatches,
    ice cold snow, condensation, bumps, drops, etc., etc.

    Usually; when you really truly need a flashlight;
    it's because something needs immediate attention;
    to get you out of a jam or situation.

    Redundant gear is a fact for success,
    as are spare lightbulbs and batteries,
    but its nice to know what holds up to strenuous usage.

    I sincerely appreciate getting feedback from folks
    that actually use their gear outside, in the elements,
    versus the glitzy marketing hype on shiny packages.

  • When You REALLY Need...
    -- Last Updated: Feb-01-14 5:25 AM EST --

    some light, the batteries best not be dead. I have found that CR123 batteries last a long, long, time on the shelf. I keep this in my pocket always as my backup / go to light. I have a couple of nice headlamps but can't attest to their water-proof-ness.

    CR123 batteries gooood.


  • more info on my previous post
    Both the BD Storm and the Princeton Tec are IPX 7 water proof ratings. My Princeton Tex has 4 mode and h2o 1m printed on it, but I don't know the model. The two lights are comparable and I use both with the Tec as back up. The Storm has a brighter beam 100 vs 80 lumin for the Tex. The Storm has a dimmer feature for the main beam, and can be reduced down very low, or you can use two separate lower lumin area bulbs instead.

    I read Jacks review and agree the head band is crap. The switch is also hard to locate by feel at first though I quickly got used to it. Personally I like the light and would give it an 8 or 9 if the strap was good. It has held up well for my coastal paddling, however I haven't roll with it on. The Princton tex head band is better and the switch easier to feel.

    The 250 lumin Duracell comes in a 3 pack at amazon for $23.50 and is not waterproof. It has a strobe function and 2 different lumin settings. It is a very bright area light and worth the money as it comes to about $8 each.
  • Options
    Bike Lights - modifications
    -- Last Updated: Feb-01-14 3:01 PM EST --

    Bicyclists commute in the rain, mountain bikers
    do adventure racing in wet conditions, etc.
    Always wondered why that set of manufacturers
    are separate from other light production models.

    Example - might be a simple retrofit modification

  • dive lights would be anothet option
    Which might be next for me.
  • P-Tec
    Been pleased with the various modes of the waterproof 165 lumen Princeton Tec Viz for head lamp and the 45 lumen Amp w/diffuser cone on the back of my pfd as a stern light.

    Other options abound but so far been happy with them.

    See you on the water,
    The River Connection, Inc.
    Hyde Park, NY
  • I have a Princeton Tec
    -- Last Updated: Feb-02-14 6:16 PM EST --

    headlamp not sure of the model. It is black and has "4 mode" and "H20 1M" printed on the front of it. No idea what the model is but I bought it at Bass Pro Shops several years ago.

    It has been wet with salt water many times and I have never had any problems with it. It it very bright but it also will go through batteries pretty quickly so I usually leave it off (yeah I know not legal) unless I hear or see powerboat traffic, then I flip it on to let them know I am there.

  • FE noober one choice
    -- Last Updated: Feb-02-14 8:27 PM EST --

    Underwater Kinetics Vizion... none better! (Sounds a little like CJ). An' still made in de USA.



  • Petzl Tikka Plus
    Mine has never been under water.
  • Princeton Tec/LL Bean
    -- Last Updated: Feb-03-14 12:34 PM EST --

    I have an older LL Bean Trailblazer which has been great through the years. Great amount of light and built very well. It appears to be made by Princeton Tec as it has their symbol on it. I think they must make LL Beans headlamps for them. Never have tested it being water proof but have used it in snow and rain with no worries. Has rubber seals around battery case door. Simple and easy to change batteries.

  • petzl
    It was advertised as weaher-resistant. It is now making it's way through a third season of snowshoeing and skiing after finishing a second season of camping. I keep a spare in my glove box.
  • Petzl.
    I have an old school Petzl Zoom that still works fine. It is a bit bulky but has never let me down. Used to use it back packing. I guess it is about 20 years old or so.
  • Black Diamond Storm
    The best headlamp I've ever owned is the Black Diamond Storm. Very bright on the highest setting and tbhe batteries last practically forever on the lowest.

  • Waterproof lights
    Not usually. So far I have not found anything, including two brands of waterproof headlamps and two other brands of waterproof stick-on-deck white lights, that actually stand up to getting regularly wet (headlamps from still being on head when dunking for a roll). I have pretty much given up on that one. I just try and hang onto my receipts to return it.

    The little lights that are meant to clip to a PFD have performed well for me though - the C-light, the orange strobe, those guys. Salt water, rain, fresh water, nothing seems to bother them.

    I have had less good luck with laser flares living in the pocket of my PFD than my husband.

    It is possible I am not cranking things down as hard as the folks who test these things. But I am getting them screwed down as tight as I can. So this may be a form of failure of the equipment specs.
  • Fenix HL 21 is my current fav
    In the past I used the Zebralight H31 Headlamp (CR123 battery, 220 lumens) but during the 300 mile Everglades Challenge last year, it died on only the second night. My backup H31 died just before the EC started. In both cases the electronic switch leaked, both died from just operating with wet hands and being in a damp PFD pocket.

    Since then I have been using a Fenix HL 21 headlamp ( http://www.amazon.com/Fenix-Flashlights-HL21-Headlamp-Black/dp/B004XN5MBW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391528063&sr=8-1&keywords=Fenix+HL+21+headlamp ) and have been impressed. I regularly wash it/dunk it and it has held up very well.

    The Fenix is not as bright as the Zebralight, at 90 lumens, but has better waterproofing (IPX-8 versus IPX-7 for the Zebralight), is less expensive, uses a single AA, and has good throw (nice for finding channel markers at a distance, not as nice for doing close work where a more floody light is best).

    I much prefer the single battery lights to the common three AAA types. The design of the single-battery lights are easier to make waterproof.

    Greg Stamer
  • I'm aware of that
    its also listed as waterproof.
  • Options
    Real Life situations
    -- Last Updated: Feb-04-14 11:44 AM EST --

    Thanks for the response - beats the hell out of
    any marketing hype on the package or via store rep.

    Paddling spring or fall; when the daylight seems
    to dwindle oh so quickly, practically demands some
    sort of illumination, to get back to the start spot.
    Then there is the strapping down of the boat,
    putting away gear, sweeping the area for dropped items,
    helping others load, etc.
    Equipment has to work, reliably, week after week.

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