Headlamp for dog walking

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charley
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Headlamp for dog walking

Post by charley » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:20 pm

There was a thread on flashlights a few months back, and while helpful, didn't dive deeply into headlamps.

I walk the dog for 1h, 7 days a week, requiring a flashlight ~6 months of the year. I've used my rechargeable bike headlight the past few years, but would like a headlamp for the winter months, when holding leash, mittens, flashlight, and dog waste can get complicated. I'm leaning toward a single AA, regulated headlamp, but welcome alternatives, such as Li-ion.

I'm currently looking at the Thrunite TH20, Fenix HL23, and Zebralight H52, in roughly price order. Does anyone have experience with these lights? I want a light that will endure daily use walking the dog. I'll also use it for camping, outdoor cooking, working on the car, etc. Is the price premium for a Zebralight worth it? I can always carry my current light as a backup. These lights aren't as mainstream as other brands, so a general google search is very helpful. I want to balance quality, durability, and price - the BH sweetspot. Any thought?

letsgobobby
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:35 pm

More important than which headlamp, I think, would be a flashing neon vest with bright LEDs front and back.

charley
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by charley » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:40 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:35 pm
More important than which headlamp, I think, would be a flashing neon vest with bright LEDs front and back.
Agreed. I already own this.

ladycat
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by ladycat » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:31 pm

I also clipped a flashing light on our dog's collar. It was a light-weight, red flashing light that looked like a bicycle reflector. Got it for free at some type of safety fair. That way if he ever got away from me, he'd be easy to see.

panine
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by panine » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:33 pm

Hi Charley. I can highly recommend the Nitecore NU20 headlamp. $30. Only 1.66 ounces. 360 lumens max. with SOS and beacon modes also. Adjustable angle. USB rechargeable. Excellent headband.

letsgobobby
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:41 pm

I have a number of headlamps for backpacking and camping. I find they work as advertised and the name brands are pretty similar. You get what you pay for as far as features (weight, battery life, lumens, etc) so just pick one that is very bright (safety being more important than weight, for example, in this application).

JoinToday
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by JoinToday » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:54 pm

I have had light weight headlamps from REI. They tend to be more expensive, and the longer lasting lights are just dimmer. You don't get a bright long lasting LED headlamp. The LEDs put out similar lumens per watt, so lower power headlamps (fewer watts) last longer, but produce less light. That is the physics of LED lights.

Now I just go to Home Depot. Last ones I got were the Energizer I think. Three intensity levels plus flashing plus a red LED. Cheap, work well. I use them all the time around the house at night.
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iamlucky13
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by iamlucky13 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:22 am

As long as you aren't the sort of person who likes as high of output as you can get, I think 1xAA lights are fine for most people. They're roughly equivalent to the more common 3xAAA models for battery capacity. I think most people should be comfortable walking or even jogging on reasonably well-maintained surfaces with 50-100 lumens, so I'd suggest basing your runtime expectations on that.

The brands you're looking at so far do a good job of maintaining consistent output for most of their runtimes - in other words, they are well-regulated. Even a lot of the better known brand lights sold in sporting goods stores and most of the budget brands are unregulated, and dim significantly as battery voltage drops due to simpler circuit designs. This also makes their claimed runtimes a lot longer, which I've always considered rather misleading, regardless of the fact that the international standard for testing flashlights allows it.

Zebralight is worth the premium if you use the light very frequently, but not everyone needs that caliber of light. They're known for being reliable, lightweight, efficient, and versatile, but also have a somewhat complicated user interface. The H53 is the most recent AA model. Most users like the "F" models because the frosted lens gives a floodier beam to help with peripheral vision, so it's good for hiking and camp tasks, but won't throw as far at models with a clear lens and reflector. I also like "neutral white" color temperatures, so if it were up to me, I'd suggest the H53Fw or H53Fc if you decide to go with a Zebralight.

Fenix has a generally good reputation for quality and customer support, and is one of the better brands you can find in some sporting goods stores, where as the rest of these are hard to find anywhere but online. Their feature sets are basic, but they're usually reasonably straightforward to use.

Thrunite is probably a small step below Fenix for reputation, but still good, and I think an excellent value for the average user. The TH20's most noteworthy feature is its "ramping" user interface instead of a small number of discrete modes, but I wouldn't call that a must-have feature.

The Nitecore NU20 is a pretty good ultralight choice, convenient to charge, and it can even run on a USB powerbank while charging if you end up running out. It has roughly the same battery capacity as a 1xAA powered light, but the battery is not user-replaceable. It will gradually wear out over time and/or (hopefully) a few hundred charge cycles, so I'd plan for 5 years or so of regular use out of it.

The Armytek Elf C1 is also USB chargeable, but unlike the NU20, you will be able to replace the battery when it dies. It is easily removeable from its headband for use as a handheld. I have the pro model of Armytek's AA-powered model, the Tiara, which is not USB rechargeable. It has a somewhat complex user interface, but one I really like. The Tiara is not easily removeable from the headband. The potential downsides of Armytek are they tend to be heavier than other brands, and Armytek's customer service is reported to be inconsistent - really good for some users, bad for others.

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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by livesoft » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:24 am

Once again, there is no "Best."

Do you want a USB charging headlamp or one that uses rechargeable AAA batteries? Or one that uses AA batteries?

Do you want lightweight one? Do you want continuously adjustable brightness? Or just a few steps of brightness? Do you need tilt? Do you need flashing this and that? Red and white? What are the indicators when battery is low, charging, or fully charged? How much are you willing to pay? What brightness do you need? Is it for seeing where you are stepping or just to be seen?

I have a UCO headlamp that weighs about an ounce because I replaced the stock band with a hair band. I can wear it or my dog can wear it. Also runs off a powerbank while in use if needed.
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mortfree
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by mortfree » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:26 am

Is the purpose for you to see or to be seen by drivers, etc when walking the dog?

Combination of head lamps and reflector vests or bands might be appropriate.

iamlucky13
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by iamlucky13 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:30 am

One more thing: don't use alkaline batteries except as backups.

With as often as you indicate you will use your light, the payback of rechargeables will be pretty quick.

More importantly however, they can't sustain 100+ lumen outputs very well, and the relatively high drain rates involve significantly increase the risk of a leak that could potentially ruin your light. It's frustrating under the conditions, and can be downright serious if it happens while camping away.

I would consider a good set of NiMH rechargeables like Sanyo Eneloops and an appropriate charger a must-have accessory for any light you want to be able to depend on.

Lithium primaries (different from lithium-ion rechargeables) are also a good option, but expensive.

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GoldStar
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by GoldStar » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:56 am

Please be sure to adjust the angle of the hand lamp so it is hitting the ground directly in front of you. You want it to be seen by drivers but not blinding drivers. I came around a corner one night to be suddenly blinded by some idiot who didn't get this (and who was lucky I didn't hit him as a result).

Freefun
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by Freefun » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:05 am

Don’t know the models you’re looking at but I use black diamond headlamps for hiking and they’re great. I have spot and sport models. The cheap headlamps work ok but aren’t nearly as bright or reliable.
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DanMahowny
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by DanMahowny » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:36 am

charley wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:20 pm
There was a thread on flashlights a few months back, and while helpful, didn't dive deeply into headlamps.

I walk the dog for 1h, 7 days a week, requiring a flashlight ~6 months of the year. I've used my rechargeable bike headlight the past few years, but would like a headlamp for the winter months, when holding leash, mittens, flashlight, and dog waste can get complicated. I'm leaning toward a single AA, regulated headlamp, but welcome alternatives, such as Li-ion.

I'm currently looking at the Thrunite TH20, Fenix HL23, and Zebralight H52, in roughly price order. Does anyone have experience with these lights? I want a light that will endure daily use walking the dog. I'll also use it for camping, outdoor cooking, working on the car, etc. Is the price premium for a Zebralight worth it? I can always carry my current light as a backup. These lights aren't as mainstream as other brands, so a general google search is very helpful. I want to balance quality, durability, and price - the BH sweetspot. Any thought?
Hey charley,

I have a Thrunite TH20. It's a great light. I don't use it for dog walking, but I guess it will work well for that.

And fantastic job walking your dog 1h, 7 day a week. Love that.
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TLC1957
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by TLC1957 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:39 am

$9, 310 Lumen headlamp @ Harbor Freight

https://www.harborfreight.com/310-Lumen ... NyJ9%0D%0A

I have several of these work great, 2 power settings and 1 flash mode. I keep 1 of these in my car emergency kit, along with a vest, reflective triangle, etc.

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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by nisiprius » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:27 am

I'm not sure people in this thread are heading in the right direction. Oddly enough, some of the cheaper bargain brands of headlamp use "COB LED" technology. (So do some better lights, and some use a combination). COB LEDs aren't focussed; they are a row of a dozen or so LED emitters, with no lenses or anything else, and they produce a very broad spread of light. (I like them for camping because inside a tent they illuminate everything; I almost forget I have a headlamp on).

Anyway, my point is that these lights, because of their wide spread, are highly visible in all directions. They also give enough light to prevent stumbling if you hit a chunk of street where the streetlight is out. They also use LEDs that are not specially high output, don't use much power, and therefore have pretty long battery life.

I haven't done the right thing which would be to go out with my wife and have her tell me how I look from half a block away while wearing one, but if the point is visibility the might have some advantages.
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shmidds
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by shmidds » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:23 am

Lightwalker makes an LED light that goes on a belt at your waist for night walking. Less bobbing and weaving than using a headlamp.

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capitalG
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by capitalG » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:07 am

Have the same issue and use the Craftsman light below <insert Sears joke here> - it is incredibly bright, the batteries seem to last forever, and I clip it to my belt or the dog collar. I ended up picking a few more for the glove box and the home because who knows how long Sears will be around...

https://www.sears.com/craftsman-led-poc ... ockType=G2

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dratkinson
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by dratkinson » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:30 pm

You don't need much light to walk at night when your eyes are dark-adapted---a full moon is sufficient. And lower power = longer runtime.



I was given a Petzl Tikkina as a gift several years back.
--Then: ~5 & ~20 lumen modes, 3xAAA batteries last a long time, ~$20. Well-rated by outdoorgearlab.
--Now: Claims to have been improved and is still well-rated by outdoorgearlab.

Never before owned a headlamp. It's two light modes are sufficient for working hands free, walking, and slower bike rides on smooth trails. I put it in my pocket when I ride late in the evening and wear it if I get back after dark. It's lower power is much easier for others to live with than meeting a bike with a 100+ lumen light. A blinky red bike light clipped to the back of the headband round outs the ensemble and makes me feel safer returning on residential streets.

Current OutdoorGearLab Petzl Tikkina review: https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/ ... zl-tikkina

Search other headlamp reviews: http://www.google.com/search?q=headlamp+review



Ditto the recommendation to use rechargeable, or lithium primary batteries.
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inbox788
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by inbox788 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:18 pm

For you or the dog?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgTKUKqTCOI

I probably wouldn't get a headlight for the dog, but a lightup collar or vest would help keep him safer.

With regular use, I'd be sure to get a rechargeable, and if you go with AA, some way to charge it without removing the batteries or making sure it's easy to change them. Most of my flashlights now are rechargeable with a microUSB, and I find the ones that take regular batteries often dead with leaky batteries from poor storage habits.

I haven't been to the BH of flashlights recently, but Fenix and 18650 always seemed to be the answer. For headlamp, they may be a little heavy. Spark SD6 (120 g) looks like way overkill, but I like it! I'd go for the lightest (under 90 g?) usb rechargeable single AA/14500 with longest run time you can find (> 10 hours at 100+ lumens should make it so you only have to charge it once a week).

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/sho ... Fenix-HL16
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/sho ... 0-headlamp

Do you have a brightness in mind? 100, 300, 500, 800, > 1000 or more lumens? And do you want a spotlight or a wide spread?

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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by forgeblast » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:40 am

I have a few Petzl and love them. I use them all the time and have had them for years. We used them the other day when we were replacing a bathroom vent. Very useful!!

capsaicinguy
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by capsaicinguy » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:53 am

I recently bought a black diamond spot and have been really happy with it. The controls can be a little confusing at first though, and you might not need this much adjustability.

https://www.rei.com/product/117627/blac ... t-headlamp

Agree with a lighted collar/vest for the pup too.

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hand
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by hand » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:10 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:22 am

Zebralight is worth the premium if you use the light very frequently, but not everyone needs that caliber of light. They're known for being reliable, lightweight, efficient, and versatile, but also have a somewhat complicated user interface. The H53 is the most recent AA model. Most users like the "F" models because the frosted lens gives a floodier beam to help with peripheral vision, so it's good for hiking and camp tasks, but won't throw as far at models with a clear lens and reflector. I also like "neutral white" color temperatures, so if it were up to me, I'd suggest the H53Fw or H53Fc if you decide to go with a Zebralight.
This is great advice if you don't mind the expense and the slightly complicated Zebralight interface - hold in power button until light ramps up to desired brightness (more intuitive in practice than to describe). There are also a bunch of "hidden" options that you don't need to think about if you don't care. Floody, neutral color would be my choice as well.

Assuming you go the AA battery route, invest in a couple good rechargable AA batteries - Panasonic eneloop is probably what you're looking for.

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Blues
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by Blues » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:44 am

Nitecore HC30. I've been using it with our dog nightly for a couple of years now. It's a great light and has withstood the rigors of cold, wet and being dropped once or twice.

We live in a very dark semi-rural setting without outdoor lighting along the gravel paths we walk through in a heavily wooded environment.
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Katietsu
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by Katietsu » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:09 am

I have always used Petzl branded headlamps for walking. I have found them very comfortable, durable and easy to use.
( I have a couple of these $10 lights recommended here, which are fine for around the house. But these are not comfortable for walking for an hour in my opinion.)

charley
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by charley » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:57 pm

Wow - thanks for all the replies. I had limited internet access for the past week and am sorry I couldn't engage more in the discussion.

I appreciate all the concerns about safety. I use a LED vest during dark walks and mostly use sidewalks. As such, the headlamp will mainly serve to illuminate my walking path. I value durability and illumination ability over weight and lighting modes, such as flashing or multiple colors. I have a USB-rechargeable bike light that I use for commuting and as my current walking light. It's rated for 350 lumens on high, but I run it on low (100-150 lumens?) and it works well. While I like the convenience of USB recharging, headlamp with this feature are more expensive. I'm leaning toward the Thrunite, but will keep an eye out for good deals on USB-rechargeable models.

Thank you for all of the insightful responses.

random_walker_77
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by random_walker_77 » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:31 pm

fwiw, I've got a few like this and haven't worn them out yet. For $2, it's been well worth it as it's bright, and invaluable when working on the car. "3 mode Q5 1000 lumen zoomable headlamp"

I didn't buy from this specific buyer, but it's almost definitely the same item from the same factory:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3Modes-Q5-1000 ... 2ccec13697

spammagnet
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by spammagnet » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:10 pm

Not a headlamp, but Flexi makes an LED disk light that attaches to a reel leash with velcro. The leash reel becomes the flashlight. It works well and frees up your hand. It won't light your way down the street but does light the area at your feet very brightly. It's easily seen by drivers.

I also use a BSeen rechargeable LED dog collar. They're one-size-fits-all. You just trim it with scissors to fit on your dog by slipping over its head. (Suggestion: make it just tight enough to not slip off easily.) In addition to adding safety, it's easier to locate your dog at the end of a long leash in the dark.

I use and recommend both of the above. They make dog walking easier. Both are available on Amazon and probably other sources.

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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by casun » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:20 pm


five2one
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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by five2one » Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:38 pm

Do you want to see or be seen?

If the first then PETZL.

If the second, a vest with lights if feeling flashy.
You can get X harness lights for front and back lighting.
Runner's use them as they are weight distributed.

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Re: Headlamp for dog walking

Post by longleaf » Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:01 am

Durable, reflective dog collar

This would be the minimum amount of visibility-enhancing product I'd let my dog wear while exiting the home at dark. The white band is like a beacon, even when lit by a mere phone screen. Water doesn't affect the product, either. Also, they allow you to engrave your phone number free. Made in USA :happy
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