A question for all you cavers...

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A question for all you cavers...

Postby Ylaranon » Apr 8, 2019 3:10 am

I need a new headlamp to mount on my helmet for caving. I dont really know whats out there that is good quality( Im still sort of new to caving). I am looking to spend around $300.00 but my max limit is around $500.00( if its a awesome light). Thanks for all the help.
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby trogman » Apr 15, 2019 3:39 am

El Speleo is a good choice; I don't personally own one, but I know several folks who do and are happy with them.
Another possibility is to get two Zebralights, one spotlight and one flood. I have a Stenlight paired with a Zebra. I don't know if Stenlights are even made anymore. They were all the rage for a while, and mine has been pretty reliable. However, it doesn't compare with the newer lights in terms of brightness.

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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby bobby49 » Apr 15, 2019 12:54 pm

My single floody Zebralight headlamp is excellent for me. I carry a backup spot flashlight in my pocket. Each uses a type 18650 lithium, so I can interchange batteries if I need to. The standard is for every caver to have three independent sources of light, so I carry some dinky little AA alkaline battery flashlight in my pocket or in my pack.
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby ohiocaver » Apr 15, 2019 4:34 pm

Love my Zebralights. However, I'd look at something that uses AA or AAA batteries (there's a slew of them out there from PrincetonTec and other good firms). That way you can buy batteries anywhere (7-Eleven, Costco, local general store), exchange batteries with anything else you have that uses AA's or AAA's, and not worry about chargers. As a beginner, you'll probably be on trips up to about 12 hours, so a Zebra with two batteries is plenty (assuming you have two other light sources). On the Zebra batteries, be sure you don't get the El Cheapos meant for vaping cigarettes (high output over a short time) and get batteries that have a more consistent output profile over a longer time :cavingrocks:
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby trogman » Apr 16, 2019 7:18 am

If you do get a light that uses AA or AAA batteries, I would recommend looking into rechargeable batteries paired with a good high-quality charger. Search through the old discussions on this forum and you'll see a lot of references to Eneloop brand rechargeable batteries. They are HIGHLY recommended, and with good reason. My wife and I invested is a couple dozen of them about 8 years ago, and we have been using them ever since. I have yet to have any go bad, and they have great output. It takes a little while to get in the habit of popping them in the charger when they get low, but you get used to it. We've probably saved hundreds of dollars using them, not to mention the environmental benefit. Not sure about your household, but we use batteries for a number of non-caving applications as well, so even if you don't need them for your headlamp, you will likely use them for other things around the house.
Eneloops are made by Sanyo, and are available on Amazon.
We've had good performance from LaCross chargers like this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RSOV50/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you get a light that uses 18650 batteries,then I would recommend Panasonic.

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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby FreightTrain » Aug 3, 2019 9:07 am

Zebralights are the way to go. I have both a flood and a spot. If your budget is as high as you say, then get both. If you only get 1, get the flood.

They are incredible lights, and were the envy of my cave group. Whenever somebody wanted a photo, they asked me to turn on my lights on full blast. The rest of the group was using budget headlamps. No comparison.

18650 batteries are the way to go. Get a good charger. I have 4 batteries that I bring with me - 2 in my lights, and a backup for both. I use the spotlight sparingly (large drops, high ceilings, photos) so it never really gets very low.

Good luck out there.
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby bobby49 » Aug 5, 2019 1:31 am

Ditto to FreightTrain.

I keep one Zebralight on the helmet front. Then another one in my pocket. Then extra 18650 batteries in my cave pack.
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby NV Guide » Aug 19, 2019 6:49 pm

Stenlight and zebras
Headlamp on helmet and flashlight in pocket
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby ohiocaver » Aug 20, 2019 8:48 am

One or two Zebralights on my lid. I wear a small AAA flashlight on a tear-away lanyard around my neck. It's a throwback to when I had a tip reamer (for carbide) and light around my neck. It is meant only to give me light long enough to change batteries, find a "real" light or other stuff inside my pack, etc., not as a second or third source. BTW, I've only had the necklace pop open on a few occasions - mostly when I'm dressing or undressing and pull on it. Everything else, save a cave map if I have one, is in my cave pack. I've found putting stuff in my pockets results in 1- stuff catching on tight spots or 2- stuff falling out (it wouldn't if all my Velcro worked).
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby NZcaver » Aug 21, 2019 3:59 pm

For compact-but-efficient lights, the Zebralights seem to be pretty solid. I've had good results from Fenix headlamps too. I played with the new Fenix HM-65R earlier this year, and was impressed.
https://www.fenix-store.com/fenix-hm65r ... 00-lumens/
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Re: A question for all you cavers...

Postby Squirrel Girl » Aug 21, 2019 7:50 pm

I think we may have lost our original poster, as he hasn't been back since his first post in April! Hope he's having success with his caving endeavor.
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