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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Essential Gear eQ2 Headlamp > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

Essential Gear
eQ2 Ultra-Light Headlamp
Initial Report 14th January 2010
Field Report 30th March 2010

Long-Term Report 1st June 2010
By Mark McLauchlin
 

eQ2

Photo Courtesy Essential Gear

Reviewer Information

Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia

Backpacking Background

I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where possible. Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 5 kg (13 lb), which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.


Product Information

Manufacturer: Essential Gear
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.essentialgear.com
Listed Weight W/Batt: 26 g (0.9 oz)
Measured Weight W/Batt: 28 g (0.99 oz)
Listed Size: 1.2" x 1.2" x 1.9" (3.1 x 3.1 x 4.8 cm)
Measured Size: 1.2" x 1.2" x 1.9" (3.1 x 3.1 x 4.8 cm)
Battery Type: 2 x CR2032
Burn Time: 25 Hours Steady, 50 Hours Flashing
Bulb Type: Nichia LED
MSRP: $11.95


Product Description
The eQ2 is essentially a dual function, lightweight headlamp which can be mounted by the elastic head-strap or converted to clip onto a cap worn by the user, or any other suitable item. It comes with two function modes, steady on and flashing, and boasts a great burn time of 25 hours while on steady and 50 while on flashing mode. Described by the manufacturer as "New dual function eQ with steady on & flashing modes plus 10 lumens brightness. Weighing less than an ounce and featuring a versatile clip mount that provides 9 light positions. Magnifier lens provides focused beam."

Initial Impressions

clip-on mode Converts to Clip-on Light: This is a very unique and functional part of the eQ2 headlamp, it allows for use either with the traditional adjustable elastic head strap or without which allows for it to clip onto the peak of a hat/cap or another suitable object. This seems to be very easy to use and to switch between the two modes.

Steady on or Flashing: Like many other headlamps on the market the eQ2 has two modes of light, Steady on and flashing which are both the same white colour. Switching between the two modes and also the on/off positions is done by rotating the light head. After some time spent playing around with this I have been able to understand the use a little better, here is what I have found. From the off position if you rotate the light head clockwise, looking at the headlamp, the steady on mode is activated. If you then rotate anti-clockwise the LED is turned off. Rotate again clockwise and the flashing mode is activated, rotate anti-clockwise and the LED is turned off, and so repeats the pattern.
 
Magnified lens Focused Beam: The beam remains very directed due to a magnified section on the front lens. There is no way to turn this focused beam off, it is a permanent feature. From my initial testing directing the beam at a solid object 80 cm (31.5 in) away will produce a focused beam with a diameter of approximately 37 cm (14.6 in).

Multi-angle ratcheting head: As the subtitle suggests the head of the light can be adjusted by tilting up or down through 90 degrees or 9 positions. The headlamp is easy to move through the angle range and I do not see any issues with it becoming loose and not retaining the set position. The advantage of headlamps being able to move in this manner is that it enables the wearer to direct the beam to focus it on the task at hand. As an example if you are walking at night it might be relevant to have the beam directed to the ground so that potential hazards can be spotted.

Initial Trial

clip The eQ2 fits great while using the elastic head strap, it is comfortable and easy to adjust while wearing. It is also quite easy to convert to clip-on mode, only taking a few moments.  The elastic strap simply slides out of the clip attached to the main body of the headlamp. The body of the headlamp has a large alligator type clip which is squeezed open and attached to the front peak of a cap or any other suitable mounting point. Inside the clip there is a serration to assist with it gripping and remaining attached.

In the dark the beam is very bright and focused which I have not experienced with other headlamps. I am looking forward to using this for night navigation as the beam being so focused may make it easier.
 

Reading the Instructions
The instructions for the eQ2 are on the reverse side of the packing. They are very basic and easy enough to understand, and cover the areas of: Specifications (as listed above), Battery Replacement (Which I will try out during the field-report) and the operation of the two different modes.

Summary
Overall I am sure this will be a great item to test, it is both functional and lightweight which are my two main priorities when selecting hiking gear.

Things I liked
Light-weight
Can be used as a clip-on light
Bright, targeted beam

Things I disliked
On/off mechanism will take some practice to operate.
 

floppy hat mount strap removal adjustment clip
Headlamp on floppy style brimmed hat Removal of elastic strap Adjustment clip

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.


Field Report
30th Match 2010

Field Conditions
Since January this year the Essential Gear eQ2 Ultra-light Headlamp has accompanied me on three overnight hikes, where it has been used each night, and numerous day hikes where it has remained in my pack as part of my emergency kit.

The Heritage Trail in the John Forrest National Park was the first overnight hike the eQ2 accompanied me on. Trip length was 17 Km (10.5 miles), and their was no significant elevation gain or loss. The temperature was, at the time of recording, 22 C (72 F).

Myself and a fellow BGT tester went out on a multi-day hike in the Monadnocks National park where we stayed at a campsite overnight and returned the following afternoon. The total trip length was 14 km's (8.7 miles) and took us over some spectacular mountain tops including Mt Vincent and Mt Cuthbert. I recorded a whopping 37 C (99 F) during the return length back to the trailhead.

The last trip for the report phase was out to the Helena National park for an overnight hike, 22 km (13.6 miles) round trip. I recorded the maximum temperature to be 32 C (90 F) at 3 pm.

Field Performance
The eQ2 has proven thus far to be a great headlamp, its performance and general characteristics are a winning combination. Performance of the headlamp for me is measured by how well it does the job of illuminating the subject area and how efficient it is at doing so. Efficiency has been great, the dual CR2032 batteries have not been replaced and are clocking up close to 10 hours of use. This use is a combination of time spent around the camp area, cooking food and sitting around at night chatting to fellow hikers.

The illumination 'pattern' of the eQ2 is unique to other headlamps I currently own. As noted in the Initial Report it has a focused beam rather than a much broader field of view. I had some hesitations as to how well this would perform but after my first night out with the headlamp my perspective changed. Not only does the focused beam mean that objects much further away can be seen but it also means that when around camp there is more control over where the light is directed thus avoiding other peoples eyes, which is often seen as an annoyance.

During my hike in the Monadnocks National Park, whilst talking around the campfire, we heard some noises in the bushes. A few seconds later a small unidentified marsupial walked out. It was with the eQ2 headlamp that I was able to remain focused directly on it for quite a while as it walked around the camp. I doubt with my other headlamps I would have been able to do this while remaining the same distance away. I would estimate roughly 5 - 6 meters (16 - 19 FT).

The steady on or flashing selection of the headlamp has not proven to be an issue for me, once I worked out the pattern as indicated in the Initial Report. I did however pass the headlamp onto my hiking companion who did find it a little difficult to use, but I am sure it is something he too would get use to.

I have not been able to test the clip-on feature during this part of the report for any significant amount of time. During the use that I did have there were no issues and it performed as expected. I will however aim to test this further during the next phase of the report.

The elastic head strap and adjustment clip have also performed well. The head strap is quite comfortable and together with the adjustment clip there is little if any re-adjustment required after wearing for a prolonged period, it does not slip and require tightening.

The multi-angle ratcheting head of the eQ2 works well and shows no signs of potential failure. The movement is still quite tight which reduces the "free play" one might see with some moving parts.

Summary
I am very pleased with the performance of the eQ2 headlamp, it has exceeded my expectations which makes for one happy camper. The "Things I like" as reported in the Initial Report remain the same and my dislike of the on/off mechanism is no longer a concern.
 

Thank you to Essential Gear and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of testing the eQ2 Ultra-Light Headlamp.

This concludes my Field Report for the eQ2 Ultra-Light Headlamp.
 


Long-Term Report
1st June 2010

Due to personal injury I have not been able to test the eQ2 headlamp as much as had hoped. My current limitation restricting me from spending more than one consecutive night out hiking. As a result the headlamp has only seen one nights additional use hiking, however it has been use for several other night activities such as geocaching and fishing. I am well on the way to recovery now and expect make full use of the headlamp over the coming weeks and months. Hopefully longer on the assumption the headlamp will continue to perform.

The night I was able to spend out hiking was fairly consistent with my other hikes in terms of geography and style. The total trip distance was 11 km or 6.8 miles. There was no precipitation, however the temperatures were very mild.

The geocaching night on the other hand was only a very short distance, less than 1 km (0.6 mile), but I did manage to expose the headlamp to some precipitation which was good. The headlamp became quite wet and still managed to function well with no loss of function.

I feel very strongly now towards how well the focused beam performs when compared to other headlamps that do not have this feature. It, in my opinion is a must. The additional control the user has over how much of the light is directed is fantastic.

The headlamp shows no signs of wear and tear or durability issues. The elastic head strap and adjustment are still very effective. The ratcheting head still performs as if it was new.

The steady on or flashing 'switch' is a great feature which I am well and truly used to and again this shows no performance issues or loss of functionality.

It is safe to say that the eQ2 headlamp will definitely form part of my regular hiking gear, it is both functional and lightweight which are the two most important aspects to me as strive to reduce my pack weight (currently 5 kg or 13 lb).

Thank you to Essential Gear and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of testing the eQ2 Ultra-Light Headlamp.

This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the eQ2 Ultra-Light Headlamp.

 

 

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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Essential Gear eQ2 Headlamp > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin



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