Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Headlamps - Joining the Modern Era

Thanks to Badger Paddles & Algonquin Outfitters, I have a new headlamp coming my way!

For 15 years or so I have been using a Petzl Zoom Zora, a large headlamp that can use either a halogen or standard bulb, and has a 6 volt battery that is strapped onto the back of your head. Although I've been satisfied enough over the past years with the headlamp, a perpetual problem has been that the headlamp gets turned on in the pack (the lens rotates to turn it on and off) and the battery is quickly drained. So, for trip use, I need to bring at least a couple of the flat 6V batteries (which are getting more expensive) along, just in case. Also, because the bulbs are conventional bulbs, they eat batteries even through normal use (especially the halogen bulb), when compared to the LED lights that are available today.

So, after seeing a promotion recently on the Algonquin Outfitters blog, I realised that a new LED headlamp was the perfect thing to spend my $50 gift card on. The gift card was recently won in the "Badger High Water Marks" contest that I took the top prize in (see my winning blog post here). After going through the Petzl web site, I decided that the Tikka Plus2 was the perfect one for me. It has a bright white LED bulb with various output settings, plus a red LED so that I can maintain my night vision & not blind my camp mates. Batteries should last MUCH longer than on my old Zoom Zora and hopefully it does not turn on accidentally quite so easily. The long battery life will be especially appreciated since I seem to have folks around (ie, kids) that like to borrow my flashlights. Another nice feature to further reduce my battery consumption is that I can later add the Petzl "Core" rechargeable battery system if I choose to.

I also wanted to mention the fantastic service that Gord at AO gave me. He has little to gain by going out of his way for me since, with me in Saskatchewan & they in Ontario, I am unlikely to become a regular customer. However, not only was he very friendly by phone and email, he went out of his way to help me through my indecision (I was initially thinking of spending the gift card on a pot set) and to get the Tikka Plus2 on it's way to me, just in time for my upcoming kayak course in BC! By rights, he should have charged me a good ten bucks for taxes and shipping, above the value of what my gift card covered. However, he chose to simplify things and called it square. So, this post is my small way of repaying those good vibes.