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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Energizer Trailfinder Micro Headlamp > Owner Review by Guille Cinel

ENERGIZER TRAILFINDER MICRO HEADLAMP
BY GUILLE CINEL
OWNER REVIEW
June 02, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Guille Cinel
EMAIL: guillecinel AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 27
LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

Backpacking Background: My backpacking experiences began back when I was in Boy Scouts about 10 years ago. Back then I mostly focused on going on short two-day trips because I didn't have adequate gear to go long distances. Over the years I've acquired lighter gear and have undertaken over 30 multi-day hikes in the dense forests and mountainous regions of northern New England. I wouldn't consider myself "ultralight" because I like to be comfortable, but I try to go as light as possible. I usually camp in fall, summer, and spring but sometimes I head out in the winter as well.

PRODUCT INFORMATION


Stock Photo courtesy of Energizer
Stock Photo courtesy of Energizer



Manufacturer: Energizer
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: www.energizer.com
MSRP: None Listed
Listed Weight (without battery): 58 g (2.05 oz )
Measured Weight (without battery): 60 g (2.11 oz)
(with battery): 83g (2.91 oz)

Listed Dimensions: None Listed
Measured Dimensions: Lamp: 1.6 x 0.6 x 1.4 in (4.1 x 1.5 x 3.6 cm)
Battery Case: 2.6 x 0.9 x 1.1 in (6.6 x 2.3 x 2.8 cm)

Other details:

Power source: 1 AA
Lamp: White Cree LED + 2 additional LEDs
Modes: 3 -White, Adjustable Brightness from 100% to 6%, Red
Runtime: 3 Hours
Max Output: 60 Lumens (white LED)
Min Output: 3.6 Lumens (white LED)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Out of the package the first thing I noticed about the Energizer Trailfinder Micro headlamp (hereafter referred to as "headlamp") was its compact size compared to other multi-LED headlamps I own. Because the battery case is in the rear, the actual LED part of the headlamp that sits on my forehead is incredibly small and I could quickly predict benefits for weight distribution and comfort. After putting in the one AA battery it required, I tried it on and my thoughts about the comfort were verified. I am assuming that both the battery pack and the frontal part of this headlamp are fairly similar in weight because the balance on my head was perfect. After comparing it with similar headlamps in the 3xAAA format, I will say that this is much more comfortable because of the balance and the use of only one AA battery.

This headlamp by Energizer (as of June 2010) is the most compact headlamp they manufacture that has a high-output Cree LED. It is intended for running/hiking and this is very obvious in its design. Energizer states that the headlamp can produce up to 60 lumens of light on high. It has a runtime of up to 3 hours with the white Cree LED and 15 hours with the red LEDs.

Main LED in center, 2 red LEDs on sides
Main LED in center, 2 red LEDS on sides

,

Front side view
Front side view

OPERATION

To turn on the headlamp there are two buttons, for either white or red light. The right side button turns on the white high-output Cree LED, while the left button turns on the two 5mm red LEDs. Energizer has implemented a great new technology which I have yet to find on most other mainstream headlamps which is a dimming switch for the white LED. This switch allows for continuous ramping of brightness up or down to the exact level desired. This is done by maintaining the switch pressed down. Energizer claims that the range is from 100% to 6% brightness (60 to 3.6 lumens). The red LEDs do not have a dimming switch and are either on or off, with no in-between. The headlamp also has an angle-adjustment that can be tilted 90 degrees from straight ahead to straight down.




One factor that is important to note is that the headlamp will always turn on at the highest brightness level, not at the level it was turned off at. For me this was a negative aspect because if I don't need much light around the campsite, I would like to turn on my light at the lowest level to not ruin my night-adapted vision. In defense of the headlamp, however, the ramping is very fast so it's not that big of a downfall.

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

March 23-29, White Mountain National Park, New Hampshire.
Elevation: 2000 - 4000 ft. (600 m - 1215 m)
Weather: 30 F/-1 C (morning) 50 F/10 C (afternoon)
White Mountain Trail in New Hampshire. Multi-day hike


May 2-5 White Mountain National Park, New Hampshire.
Elevation: 1000 - 2000 ft. (300 m - 600 m)
Weather: 40 F /4 C (morning) 60 F /15 C (afternoon)
White Mountain Trail in New Hampshire. Multi-day hike


August 4-9, Pittsfield State Forest, Massachusetts
Elevation: 1400 - 2200 ft. (426 m - 670 m)
Weather: 55 F/ 13 C (morning) 75 F/ 24 C (afternoon)

FIELD PERFORMANCE

Since acquiring this headlamp, I have been on three backpacking trips with this as my only light source. My first two trips were in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire along the White Mountain Trail. This headlamp performed flawlessly. The continuous ramping of brightness was something I've never had in a headlamp but was perfect because I could decide exactly how much light I required. While hiking into camp in the evening, I had the headlamp at full blast and it lit up the entire trail. Around camp, where I wanted to conserve battery power, I would use about 30% brightness. On the trail I also noted how important the battery source was. Since my GPS, mp3 player, etc, all use the same battery type, I had no need to pack spare AAA batteries (which I used to use with my other headlamps). Changing the batteries on the trail was also a breeze because there was only one to change. Since one AA battery (2200 mah) has nearly the same capacity as 3 AAA batteries (3 x 800 = 2400 mah), the one AA battery format for me was a no-brainer. For my trip to Pittsfield State Forest, I used this headlamp at the highest brightness level on two night hikes on marked trails. To be completely honest, 60 lumens was overkill even for this but I wanted to make sure there were no overheating issues with the LEDs and also wanted to check out the runtimes.

Battery Compartment Sealed
Battery Compartment Sealed


Battery Compartment Open
Battery Compartment Open

SUMMARY

Overall I would estimate I used the headlamp for about 5 hours a day on my trips. The headlamp is a nice mix between throw and flood and utilizes both a small reflector and an aspheric lens to create a beam pattern that is better than any other headlamp I've previously owned. Night hikes were a breeze and I had plenty of illumination. The low setting was great for inside my tent so I could read and not disturb my partner. After wearing the headlamp for hours on end, I'll say that I have had no issues with comfort. The one minor issue I had with the headstrap was that it is fastened with small 'hook-and-loop' squares that might come under a bit of strain if you have a larger head. For me it was not a problem. Overall I've been very impressed with this little offering from Energizer.

WHAT I LIKE

- Very bright at 60 lumens
- Continuous ramping of brightness between 100% and 6%
- Red LEDs good for inside tent
- Extremely comfortable and balanced
- Lightweight
- Has a lifetime warranty through Energizer

WHAT I DON'T LIKE

- Always turns on at highest setting
- Headstrap could be sturdier, with 'hook-and-loop' straps looking a bit flimsy

SIGNATURE

Guille Cinel
guillecinel AT yahoo DOT com

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Energizer Trailfinder Micro Headlamp > Owner Review by Guille Cinel



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