Features May 2008 Issue

Lights On for Practical Sailor Headlamp Round Up

Practical Sailor chooses versatile BD Icon in tough field of 17 LED headlamps

Headlamps compliment rather than compete with traditional hand-held flashlights. Lighting of more than one kind is invaluable on board, and headlamps have the advantage of freeing up the two hands of the sailor who always seems to need a third. Our test focused on LED headlamps that claimed water resistance and featured a crosshead strap for comfort, and did not require a battery recharge. We tested 17 headlamps from six manufacturers: Icon from Black Diamond, a rock-climbing and skiing gear maker; the HeadsUp Recoil 2680 from Pelican, maker of all things watertight; and Vizion from Underwater Kinetics, along with four headlamps from Petzl, five from Princeton Tec, and five from Streamlights. Our top picks were based on wearing, testing and using these headlamps for months. Best Choice honors go to the Black Diamond Icon, a lightweight lamp thatís versatile and loaded with features. Recommended products include the feature-laden red-filter-equipped Petzl Tactikka and the lightweight, Lithium-powered Streamlight Argo HP. The Pelican outshone others on pure brightness.

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