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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > LL Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

L.L.BEAN PATHFINDER LIGHTED BEANIE

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BY KATHLEEN WATERS
April 25, 2017

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 66
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: L.L. Bean, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.llbean.com
MSRP: US $29.95
Listed Weight: 2 oz (57 g)
Measured Weight: 3 oz (85 g)
Sizes Available: One size fits all
My Size: 7 (22 in/56 cm)
Colors Available: Black, Capri Blue, Hunter Orange, Navy, Tuscan Olive
Color Reviewed: Hunter Orange
Listed Output: 48 lumens.
Listed Beam Distance: 42 ft (13 m)
Listed Runtime: 68 hr.
Batteries: Four (4) CR2032 batteries which were included.

Made in China
On the Eagle River in Avon, CO
On the Eagle River in Avon, CO

LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since I received the Pathfinder Lighted Beanie at a media event last year, I've worn it literally dozens of times, both at home and on backpacking trips.

Some of the fun, outdoor, out-of-state locations have included two weeks camping and hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Banff and Jasper National Parks (Alberta, Canada), and Glacier National Park and Custer-Gallatin National Forest (Montana, United States of America).

Location and condition details for the above two weeks were:

Custer-Gallatin National Forest - Moose Creek Flat
Terrain: we base-camped in a valley besides the Gallatin River, but day-hiked to mountain lakes for fishing as well
Elevation range: 5700' (1700 m) to 7500' (2300 m)
Temperature range: 35 F (2 C) to 65 F (18 C)
Other weather-related conditions: rain every day for varying periods of time from just a periodic drizzle to a downright downpour for hours (mostly at night). Very little sunshine.

Banff/Jasper National Parks-
Terrain: ah, mountains. Rocky, heavily treed mountains
Elevation range: 4500' (1400 m) to 10,000' (3000 m)
Temperature range: 22 F (-6 C) to 70 F (21 C)
Other weather-related conditions: rain every day for varying periods of time from just a periodic drizzle to a downright downpour for hours (mostly at night). Very little sunshine. (Yup, same as the previous week in Gallatin!)
Cascade River in Banff National Park
Cascade River in Banff National Park, AB
Banff National Park
Latest Base Camp Fashion In Banff NP
Monarch Pass
Snowshoe on Continental Divide at Monarch Pass, CO

Glacier National Park
Terrain: high, rocky mountain trails
Elevation range: 4600' (1400 m) to 6600' (2000 m)
Temperature range: 45 F (7 C) to 65 F (18 C)
Other weather-related conditions: Sunshine!

Closer to home, I spent time in Eagle, Summit and Fremont counties wearing the beanie on hikes and snowshoe trips. Elevations and terrain are as follows:

Fremont County, Colorado (my home "range") - this area is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with elevations ranging from 5500 ft (1700 m) to 9900 ft (3000 m). The terrain is mostly rather rough with lots of mud, loose rock and huge slabs of granite rock. Vegetation is scrubby pinon pine, Gamble oak, juniper, cactus and prairie grasses (or weeds, depending on who is talking!).

Eagle and Summit, Colorado Counties - Breckenridge/Avon/Vail/Minturn - Rocky Mountain (proper!) with elevations ranging from 7400 ft (2260 m) to 11400 ft (3480 m), generally rather steep dirt or snow-packed trails winding through ponderosa pine and aspen forests.

Coloradan weather conditions when I wore the beanie ranged widely from cool and dry, to cool and wet, to down-right cold!

The beanie is made of a very soft and lightweight fabric consisting of 93% polyester and 7% spandex. It is slightly stretchy so it hugs my head without being too tight. The beanie is constructed with four panels of fabric, one over the middle of my head from front to back, two "sides" and the connecting sweatband. It has a separate lining. At the front of the sweatband is an oval flexible rubber-like panel with the two downward-tilted lights.

The beanie is definitely easy to pull on and comfortable to wear. The fabric is very smooth and has kept me warm in temperatures down in the low-teens F (-10 C) in both dry and wet (mist/snow) conditions. It's a great wind-blocker! When I've been in a steady rain, I've pulled my rain jacket hood over the beanie without any undue bulkiness.

The exterior of the beanie seems to resist pilling and snagging on those errant pine branches that just seem to come out of nowhere to grab at me. So while I have had some sticky souvenirs on my head after a mountain trek, I haven't damaged the beanie like so many other loose knit headgear I've owned. This is good! Oh - and I don't know why - pulling off this beanie does not seem to produce the usual static hair-standing-on-end look. No, I'm not posting a picture apres beanie!

Of course, where the Pathfinder Beanie really stands out is in its unique lighting! Without it, the beanie would be nice but not nearly as special!

I'm very, very visually challenged. I have a "syndrome" which drastically reduces my peripheral vision and causes severe night blindness. So I would never expect to get the results a normal-sighted person would as to the distance the beanie lights attain nor the clarity. However, I can use the beanie very well to a distance of about 10 ft (3 m), especially when looking straight ahead. This saves me from banging into tree branches, other people, tents and things at eye level. Forget the ground right in front of my feet, but then again, that's iffy for me in broad daylight! Bottom line, the Pathfinder beanie works well for me for my needs (finding that spot for night-time necessities and my tent afterwards) and following a trail mate. It gives me confidence to do some tasks in the dark that I wouldn't do otherwise and sure beats trying to hold a flashlight!

Battery Compartment Opening
Battery Compartment Opening
The battery compartment is very unobtrusive but conveniently placed just below my left ear. There is a slightly noticeable to my touch, on/off button at the top left of the compartment. No effort is needed to turn the lights on and off.

Inside the beanie is a tag with instructions for battery replacement. They are rather simple and even though I haven't had to change the batteries due to dimming, I followed the instructions just to see how easy it was to do so. I just needed to slide the battery compartment out the button hole in the sweatband, slide the compartment door open, remove all four batteries, replace the batteries, slide the door back and replace the whole battery compartment back in the sweatband. Easy-peasy!
Battery Compartment
Battery Compartment

On the other side of the same tag are washing instructions. I've washed the hat twice so far even though the beanie hasn't really gotten very dirty. I don't want to have a sweat "ring" develop on the inside of the hat. Washing instructions are also simple: Remove the batteries, hand wash warm, separately with no bleach. Line dry and replace batteries when dry. And then there is my favorite - NO IRONING!

After washing in a mild hand-wash laundry detergent and rinsing thoroughly, I hung the beanie in my laundry room to dry. Can't say exactly how long it took to dry as I washed it at night, but it was dry in the morning, keeping in mind I live in a very dry climate.

The beanie still looks great!

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) Works great to light my way
2.) Is comfortable to wear
3.) Has been reliable
4.) Batteries appear to be long lasting

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1.) Nothing at all that I can come up with after many months of wear

SUMMARY

Because this L.L. Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie is so comfortable, I find that I wear it even when I don't necessarily need the "lighted" part. It fits me perfectly and the two lights and the battery compartment are not distractions during the daytime at all. I love the bright orange color which makes it so easy for anyone to spot me anywhere, though I have been known to "borrow" my husband's less conspicuous navy beanie when not out in the "wilds".

As for the "lighted" part, since I have a degenerative eye condition that causes night blindness coupled with diminished peripheral vision, this beanie is a real boon to me, enabling me to enjoy the outdoors in dim conditions that I wouldn't be able to otherwise.

I can definitely recommend the L.L. Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie! Thank you, L.L. Bean, Inc.!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Clothing > Hats > LL Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters



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