Reccommend a headlamp


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Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 12, 2017 - 07:22pm PT
Credit: Jaybro
Mondas! except no substitutes!

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Sep 12, 2017 - 08:05pm PT
After 10 years as a backcountry ranger in YNP, I rarely brought a flashlight or headlamp; extra weight not needed and horribly unreliable! Your eyes work good enough for most everything. Such technology diminishes the experience!

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Sep 12, 2017 - 09:56pm PT
OK another nickname, you said:
BD products (other than climbing) in recent decades that were design leaders and/or clearly superior for some period of time: Hiking poles, tarp tents, headlamps, "bivi-style" dome tents.
and "to say otherwise is drivel."

You are uninformed.

Here are facts that you are apparently not aware of when you call what i say drivel.

By the 80's Sierra West, Todd Bibler, Marmot Mountain Works, Blue Puma, Moss, and Jack Stephenson had already pioneered everything in back diamond tents. and the sherpas in nepal had been using a configured fly, for many years more.

The first single wall tent, the Taku, was designed by Eric Reynolds cofounder of Marmot Mountain Works, sometime around 1978. it was a light weight Gore-tex tent, and it worked, it did not ice up around zero as it had a high and low end, with a cone sheltering the exhaust port at the top. I do not see how the bd tents would fare as well in near zero temps, but have not talked to an owner.

and by the way, even though bd would tell you they are pioneers in waterproof breathable fabrics, they were one of the last companies to come to the table.. Eric Reynolds at marmot went to WL Gore company, a manufacturer of artificial veins, as they had developed a membrane that could exchange gas, but was waterproof. Eric convinced them to laminate it to fabric, and Gore-tex, gore textile (for bd fans) was born. It was a Marmot Mountain Works innovation, not patagucci.

Sierra Designs built an integrated fly tent, the Airflex, around 1975.

Todd Bibbler was great at Bivvy Sacks, and minimalist tents in 1979, read the BD catalog! The Bibbler series!! that did not come from BD, it came from Todd Bibbler, they bought what they could not design themselves!!! But, they are so good at marketing that you think BD did it?

Domes, North Face hired R. Buckminster Fuller to assist them in Geodesic, or dome, tent design, also in the 70's, meanwhile the diamond whatever, it wold be more than 20 years before they made a tent with a floor... innovators? no.. they just "borrowed," or bought, the ideas of others.

Continuous pole sleeves for ease of tent setup? no threading at junctions? oh wait, they have not copied that yet, perhaps they do not know the patent has expired.

Hiking Poles? Rainer Lenhart, Austria, by 1983 he already was settled on tube thickness and alloy.. he did lack a system that disabled shock absorption in the poles BD sells a trivial but nonetheless cool feature there, but i would be surprised if the idea came from in-house. Rainer was very responsive in developing new design ideas, and manufactured poles sold by Liberty Mountain Sports under the Alpschmiede brand in the US, along with his own Leki Brand, with all the other features more than ten years before bd even sold a trekking pole.

Backpacks? no.
Greg Lowe, and Wayne Gregory are both so very much better, that it is uninformed to contemplate. or if you wish to discuss durability, Wilderness Experience figured out how to sew with nylon thread, when no-one else could, not bd.
but, both did sell their respective companies... but to call a bd copy of someone else's design an innovation.. you just do not want to do that.

as for the "new" look of patagucci insulated jackets the last few years with metallic fabrics and tones? Eustice Braunschweiger, CLASS 5, 1977.

headlamps, if bd actually did make an innovation i would say, about time! but i would want to talk to who really did it first.

Bottom Line, John Salathe made pins at his Diamond Peninsula Company, a horizontal diamond with a P in it, yvon, liked the logo enough to rip it off by rotating it 90 degrees and putting a C in it, rather than create something new himself. Tom Frost, both creative and amazingly capable, and full of integrity, left the company even though he was a partner. Since then, Hugh Banner nuts were knocked off, and marketed as a new innovation with the cable cast into the nut!! From Allen A long underwear and socks, to Bill Forrest using pile for insulation, repeatedly, bd and patagucci have remade someone else's design or idea, usually not quite as well, for a higher price, called it synchilla or something else, and then told you it was their exclusive innovation, in the case of polartec jackets that they called synchilla, even the idea of drop pockets was not their own, they copied Wilderness Experience's jacket from the year before, and then touted it as a new sleeker and better fitting design.

With the exception of Salathé, everyone mentioned i have either met, or worked with, and i heard their stories, from them, and in a couple of cases above, the new design idea, was mine.

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, CO
Sep 13, 2017 - 05:09am PT
Werner, it sounds like you have a really good grasp at what makes a good headlamp here. Can you throw out a few models that you like and use? I am in the market again. The last headlamp I bought for serious work was the Petzl Mega, if that tells you anything. :-D I have gotten cheap sh#t since and of course it is not up to the task for actual work.

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Sep 13, 2017 - 05:31am PT
Nice history writeup, but it's "Bibler"...
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Sep 13, 2017 - 02:47pm PT
Well.... Let's see....whew.... sorry... but......Apart from the obvious points regarding BD climbing gear....

Hiking poles:

The Leki mechanism for collapsing the poles was quite awful and horrible, relative to the elegant little levers BD put out....Fortunately I never dealt with ice & Leki. This competitive state of affairs probably lasted more than a decade......I gather that non-BD poles and Leki specifically has overcome this problem in recent years....

For much more than a decade, the Mega/Betamid was the only widely available thing of its sort...Today, many examples are available and are somewhat popular.....

But yes (by gum!!), floorless tents were available at least as far back as the 19th Century.....(My summer camp used them extensively in 1960s....Boy Scout manuals from early 20th Century offer lots of detail.) We used rectangular tarps set in pyramid configuration for ski touring in 1970s....Yes, nothing new there..... They were all definitely "Single Wall"...

"Sherpas in Nepal"? Their mail-order catalog must have had a very limited circulation...

The BD bivi tent... The history you recount regarding domes is well-documented....and the Bibler/Integral Designs bivi tent was a unique development, circa 1980.

The BD version, perhaps a decade later, was what -- half the weight of the original? It was apparently not "better," but different, and in some way seemed to create a new, very narrow category of product. (I've never owned nor wanted one).

Headlamps.....After suffering with a JustRite & other contraptions for years... it seemed to me during the 1990s that BD was about the only decent game in town.....Now, the go-to brands are "no-brand" at Home Depot.

Backpacks: Sorry you don't like them. I've never owned one, but they are relatively attractive to my eye.

As for Black Diamond garments, I gather that's quite a new development...But you mean to include Patagonia/Chou ???.... Patagonia makes nice stuff & it's merely foolish to say otherwise....Given my modest economic station in life, however, that's almost all I'll ever know about Patagonia clothing.


Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Sep 13, 2017 - 11:49pm PT
ok another,
you said BD headlamps are the leading product and to say otherwise is drivel.
You also said yours broke. Is that your definition of industry leading?

if they have had the best poles for the last 20 years, glad to hear they finally did something themselves instead of taking credit for developing something, when they only developed an alternate name while badly copying someone els's design. Synchilla being my favorite example. Malden Mills sold "polar fleece" to everybody, but patagucci charged 20% more for a garment with inferior cut and stitching, but it was synchilla. Mostly it all works, and i guess they had the best trekking poles. but trekking poles aside, unless you desire a headlamp that breaks, you can find a better product at a lower price somewhere else. if you still want to call that drivel, go right ahead.

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Sep 14, 2017 - 12:31am PT
These guys; this German headlamp company rules!

I have several models given to me by my Rep. One, for night skiing or climbing has huge, dual lamps and lights up a football field, yet you forget you've got it on your head.

Another one I have kind of operates like those old Mag Lites where you twist the lens and it focuses down to a tight spot light or widens out to the bigger picture.

Very cool IMO.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Sep 15, 2017 - 06:49am PT
That's an interesting link. Merely on basis of supplied specs, it looks like Ledlenser's high end is more powerful than Coast. In fact their super-high-end, wildly bright product at a claimed 2,000 "lumens" (1 lb) and $330, doesn't have a corresponding "Coast" product.

Lenlenser's $140 light (1,000 lums) corresponds to something for $175 and 800 lums at Coast.

But Coast may beat Ledlenser in its mid-line....400 lums at $40......(This is relatively speaking, however, an extremely bright lamp, cheaper than comparable "premium" outdoor brands....

Ledlenser's products in this range are $90 - $120...

BTW, point re. BD was that during the 1990s (not earlier or later) they were a clear market leader in headlamps.....Separately, it's obvious that in 1970s, Chouinard's personal endorsement of synthetic "fleece" or whatever, was highly influential....quite apart from virtues of his specific branding, pricing, textile sourcing or whatever. (Is example of a commodity product).
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Sep 18, 2017 - 06:19pm PT
Just for the record, at Home Depot today I saw a 3-pack of headlamps for $10.... claimed 50 lumens (each) and distance 45 meters.....9 batteries included in package.

So for $3.33 per headlamp....

Mechanisms looked reasonably well-designed and reliable....Switch recessed to prevent accidental discharge.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 18, 2017 - 06:23pm PT
What happened to just holding a flashlight in yer teeth?
Did that while guiding a client down a sketchy downclimb, while I was below him placing his be-cramponed feet on the rock.

Boulder climber
Sep 18, 2017 - 06:29pm PT
Yes, I recommend a headlamp :-)

I took my kids to the fair the other day, and at the entrance, they wanted to see what was in my day/water pack. Huh, what is in there, anyway? A headlamp and some spare batteries of course. Luckily, no knife!

Trad climber
Sep 18, 2017 - 06:30pm PT
The Black Diamond Spot used to be the top contender in my book. I just bought the new BD Revolt. 300 lumens and rechargeable. We will see how that pans out.

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
Sep 18, 2017 - 08:36pm PT
I wanted a headlamp that was:

-- I don't like wasting batteries, and it's nice to always have a bright light

 Li-ion or polymer
-- Other battery technologies are terrible in comparison
-- ... ok, so the charge/discharge management of these batteries is a bit scary, but there are many off-the-shelf chips that should safely manage that task these days.

 reasonably durable
-- obviously

 would not turn on accidentally
-- BD, man, those lights are incapable of staying off in a pack, "lock mode" or not.

-- also obviously

After a bunch of hunting, I couldn't find anything from the big climbing brands that fit the bill. Besides, my ReVolt was horrendous. It would fail to charge, die spontaneously, turn on in my pack --- that thing was a liability.

And then I stumbled into the brand "Foxelli" on Amazon. I got one for my wife, and then got one for myself as well. Literally the only feature it lacks is a small red light for working around camp or in a tent. Its on/off button is stiff, slightly recessed, and on the side of the lamp. It's never turned on accidentally. There's a battery indicator light that glows green (usually) or red (if really low), and I'd recommend the black case light, 'cause the green battery indicator glows a bit through the white case. It's a bit odd, but no big deal.

Eventually --- after 2+ years of use --- the headlamp stopped charging, and I contacted the brand. They sent me a new replacement lamp immediately. Moreover, I should note that the defective light still has charge after multiple night runs; its failure mode, while problematic, was hardly catastrophic. I should also note that I also tried their MX10 lamp, it fell apart quickly, and Foxelli replaced mine with a MX500 free of charge.

Long story short, the MX500 listed on the link below is the best lamp I've ever owned, and Foxelli, whoever they are, have been stalwart in supporting their products.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Sep 18, 2017 - 09:11pm PT
Plenty to choose from
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