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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Panther Vision POWERCAP 2.0 Beanie > Test Report by Mike Lipay

Panther Vision - Powercap 2.0
Initial Review by Mike Lipay

Reviewer Information
Height:5' 6" (1.6 meters)
Weight:155 lb (70.3 kg)
Home:Southwest Pennsylvania, USA
Background:I’ve been hiking since ’65 with occasional backpacking trips (backpacking became a love affair in the early 80’s). My first sleeping bag weighed in at 8 lb (3.6 kg) by itself! These days my loaded pack only weighs about 15 lb (6.8 kg) sans food. While most of my adventures are in the Northeast I’ve also been spending a good deal of time in the desert Southwest and most places in-between. My trips tend be in the cooler months - September through May - as I’m not much of a hot-weather person.

Initial Report - November 18, 2019

Basically, this is a beanie style cap with a built-in headlamp. It’s a very soft and lightweight fleece cap with a single LED for illumination.

Product Information

Size: Listed as one-size.
Weight: None specified by manufacturer, personal weighing: 2.8 oz (79 g) (with batteries), 2.0 oz (57 g) (without batteries).
Material: Fleece (97% Polyester, 3% Spandex).
Color: Camo, orange, black, or navy blue.
Light Source: Single tri-level LED: 75 lumens, 30 lumens, 15 lumens.
Estimated Illumination: 45 ft (14 m), 30 ft (9 m), 20 ft (6 m).
Batteries: 2 AAA (included).
Estimated Life: 3.5 hr, 5.5 hr, 12.5 hr.
Care: Remove batteries, hand wash warm water, no bleach, flat dry.
MSRP: $29.99 US

Initial Impressions

Soft is the word for this beanie, it feels like a high-quality fleece jacket, not the typical ribbed beanie. Outside and inside are smooth without any pilling, the only detractor is a large synthetic label inside with fabric and care instructions, with short hair I find it a bit annoying when first put on, but that feeling disappears after a few moments.

The battery pack, which I thought would be annoying, I actually don’t notice at all. This is because the bottom edge of the beanie is wide enough so that the battery pack really doesn’t come in firm contact with my head. The down side of this is that it doesn’t snug around the ears, which I suspect will keep the bottom of my ears from being protected from the cold, time will tell.

As far as the illumination, I am always surprised at how bright LED’s can be, and this is no exception. Taking it to the woods outside my abode, trying all three lighting levels, I seriously doubt that I will find much use for the highest setting (75 lumens) as I was able to easily see my path at the medium level (30 lumens), though at lowest level (15 lumens) I was not comfortable walking, though I feel that will be enough for campsite work as well as putzing around inside the tent. (see photos)

Highest Illumination Medium Illumination Lowest Illumination

I was disappointed with the batteries provided, generic alkalines, the beanie headlamp is meant for use outside in cold weather, alkalines aren’t known for good performance in cold weather, again time will tell. According to their website the batteries can be “replaced with rechargeable AAA batteries”, something I will find out about soon as I like the idea of using batteries that I don’t have to throw away at the end of the day. But, rechargeable batteries are alkaline, so how will they perform in the cold?

I have some very cold weather coming up the in next few weeks (before the Field Report is due) so I will have ample time to try the beanie cap and headlamp out, especially different types of batteries.

Long Term Report - March 30, 2020

Field Locations and Conditions

The long term testing was done in the western and central areas of Pennsylvania, explicitly in the Laurel and Tuscany Mountain ranges of the Alleghenies. Elevations varied from 1050 ft (320 m) to 2788 ft (850 m); temperatures this was worn in varied from 38 F (3.3 C) to 10 F (-12.2 C).

Date Location Trail Distance
Altitude Weather
Dec. 14, 2019 Jennings Environmental Education Center, Butler, Pennsylvania Multiple 7 miles (11.3 km) 1158-1302 ft (353-397 m) Cold, rain turning to snow, 32-40F (0-4 C)
Jan. 18-19, 2020 Laurel Highlands, Ligonier, Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail 9.7 miles (15.6 km) 2267-2870 ft (691-875 km) Cold, snow, 22-31F (-5.5 - -0.5 C)
Feb. 15-16, 2020 Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania Great Gorge Trail 9.9 miles (15.9 km) 1167-1666 ft (356-508 m) Cold, cloudy, 21-25F (-6 - -3.8 C)
Mar. 21, 2020 McConnell’s Mill State Park, Pennsylvania Multiple 9.02 miles (14.5 km) 906-1169 ft (276-356 m) 906-1169 ft (276-356 m)

Product Evaluation

This has not only been my hiking cap, but it has been my daily go-to cap any time I ventured outdoors when temps called for a warm cap, or when I needed a light outdoors for walking and hiking.

Conditions included heavy snow storms, ground fog (day and night), light rain, and even a few nice days. The cap has been washed a few times, following the directions in the care tag (hand wash only, light detergent, no bleach, dry flat).

In addition to hiking/walking I have used this while building fires, setting up my tent, and while reading. While not what it is meant for, I even used this while working on my car in the evening (light tasks like checking fluid levels, inflating tires).

I have used rechargeable batteries exclusively, for reference the batteries are rated at 970 mAh. Not knowing how long they would last (especially in the cold) I always carried a spare set, charging both sets before setting out on hikes. I don’t know if it's because the batteries sit right against my head, but I found that one pair would last me easily through a two-night trip.

I have been pleased with the light feature of the cap, and have received numerous comments about it when I met people. The light aims perfectly for me, when reading my head is in a natural position; when building fires, cooking, or setting up my tent it provided just the right amount of lighting for the task (thanks to the three lighting levels) and I never had to cock my head in an odd direction to get the area illuminated right.

The biggest problem I had with the cap was with the fit. For the most part the fit was good, not real tight on the noggin’ (just enough to feel comfy), but I found it to be just a tad short. When pulled down (see photo 1) is was just right, but after a few minutes (see photo 2) it would ride up and uncover enough of the ear that a cold breeze made it uncomfortable to wear. Honestly, there were a few times when I had to switch to my backup cap just to keep the ears warm.

That said, considering how thin and light the material is, it kept the old cranium from getting cold, even when inactive (like at night).

The only other issue I had was with the battery clip. The holder is very thin and flexible, which makes it easy to work with, but the problem I have is that everything is black. Twice I had to use my backup light to find the clip, which I had dropped when changing batteries. I would really suggest a color that is easier to see at night, like a hunter orange or a fluorescent green. If lost there is no real way to create a work-around as the clip has metal to connect the two batteries. This is a problem as, browsing around on their website, I don’t see the ability to order a replacement clip.

Wrap Up

  • Warm and comfortable.
  • Light is perfectly aimed, and three light levels are ideal.
  • Cleans easily.
  • Light lasts an acceptable amount of time on rechargeable batteries.

  • Too short, it leaves the ears exposed to biting wind.
  • Battery clip is hard to find, as small and dark as it is, making a backup light essential.


This ends my Long Term Report, I’d like to thank Panther Vision and for the opportunity to test this wonderful lighted beanie cap.

Read more reviews of Panther Vision gear
Read more gear reviews by Mike Lipay

Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Panther Vision POWERCAP 2.0 Beanie > Test Report by Mike Lipay

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