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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Ledlenser MH10 Headlamp > Test Report by Andrea Murland

Ledlenser MH10 Headlamp
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - March 13, 2018
Field Report - June 7, 2018
Long Term Report - July 26, 2018

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 32
Location: Elkford, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, Europe, and Nepal. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, and prefer to be hut-based for overnight trips. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Initial Report – March 13, 2018

Product Information

Manufacturer: Ledlenser GmbH & Co. KG
Manufacturer's URL: www.ledlenserusa.com
Model: MH10
Year of Manufacture: 2018
MSRP: US $80
Listed Weight: 9.31 oz (264 g)
Measured Weight: 5.70 oz (162 g) headlamp and battery only, 7.20 oz (204 g) including case and filters

Description & Initial Impressions

The Ledlenser MH10 headlamp is a rechargeable two-piece headlamp. The front of the headlamp has a single LED light in a housing. In front of the LED is a combination lens and reflector that Ledlenser refers to as its Advanced Focus System. More about that later. A single button on top of the housing controls the light. The battery pack for the headlamp is on the back of the strap, connected to the light by a power cord. The cylindrical battery compartment is 10.7 cm (4.2 in) long and 3.5 cm (1.4 in) in diameter and clips into a holder that’s on the strap. Both the battery holder and the light itself are contoured to sit against my head and padded. The strap itself is stretchy and 2.5 cm (1 in) wide, adjustable by slide buckles.

Now, a bit more about the light. Ledlenser specifies the light output as 600 lumens at maximum setting and 10 lumens at minimum. There is also a middle setting. The specified range is 150 m (492 ft) at max and 20 m (65 ft) at minimum. The light has two modes, so I can set it to either start bright and get dimmer with more button pushes, or vice versa. I am also able to lock the light so that it can’t turn on in my pack by accident. The Advanced Focus System allows me to change the width of the beam by rotating the bezel on the front of the housing. When the bezel is against the housing, the beam is wide, and rotating it pops the bezel away from the housing and focuses the beam. I am able to set the beam at any intermediate point as well. The lamp rotates with slight clicks through five positions, ranging from looking straight ahead to looking straight down.

The battery compartment contains the included lithium ion battery. A short rotation moves the end of the compartment from the locked to unlocked position to access the battery. The power cord is connected to the cap of the compartment, so I can’t drop it. Also on the cap of the compartment is the charging port, which is a microUSB port. The included cord is USB to microUSB. When plugged in, there is a light on the cap which is either red (charging) or green (charged). The website specifies that the battery should last 10h on maximum or 20h on minimum, and take 6 hours to charge.

The headlamp also came with a set of red and green filters. They came wrapped in tissue paper and in a separate baggie, with a filter holder. The chosen filter sits in the holder, which fits onto the front of the housing. Additionally, there is a nylon carrying case for the headlamp, which closes with a flap and hook and loop closure. The case has a belt loop on the back. The case dimensions are 12 x 9 x 5.5 cm (4.7 x 3.5 x 2.2 in).

As far as looks go, the headlamp is mostly black. The button is green, and there are gray and green logo markings on the strap. The battery compartment has the Ledlenser logo in white. The carrying case has the Ledlenser logo as well.

The headlamp came with a pictorial Quick Start Guide and a warning to not look into the beam of light. There is also a user guide on the website which contains the same information, though the pictures are slightly different. The light is IPX4 rated, which means it should be fine for a bit of splashing or rain. The warranty for the light is five years, or seven years if the light is registered.
Ledlenser MH10

Trying It Out

The first thing that I did was put the battery in the headlamp and set it to charge. Even without the quick start guide, opening the battery compartment and installing the battery was intuitive and quick. Just for fun, I tried by microUSB phone charger cord, and it worked fine to charge the battery. That’s excellent, as I have cords of that type all over the place, so I have to worry less about losing the cord.
Charging Lights
Once the battery was charged, I adjusted the headlamp and went outside. The slide buckles were easy to adjust, though I did find that the strap loosened off slightly in the few times I put the lamp on and off. I have quite a small head, so when the strap is adjusted down to fit me, I end up with a loop of cord that sticks out from my head. It looks funny but wasn’t noticeable to me while wearing it. I hope it isn’t a problem when I’m wearing the headlamp for bushwhacking on Search & Rescue tasks.

Following the Quick Start Guide, I was able to easily switch the headlamp to “Mode 2”, which means that one click of the button turns the lamp onto the dimmest setting, with more pushes making it brighter. I was also able to lock the light by holding the button down for 19 seconds. I found that a very long time to push to get it to lock. Unlocking the light requires a hold for 5 seconds, which is fine. What I didn’t like was that once unlocked it was back in “Mode 1”, which turns on to the brightest setting first. So, if I want it in Mode 2, I have to hold it for the 5 seconds to unlock plus a couple more seconds to get it to Mode 2. Thankfully there are flashing signals for which mode you’re at as you hold the button down!

I found the red and green filters fiddly. I can see myself losing them…especially since putting on the filter holder without looking in the beam might be a challenge. I found it difficult to snap the filter into the holder, and also a bit difficult to get the holder securely onto the light housing. I anticipate using the red filter more than green, so I will probably carry the holder with the red filter already snapped into it. Attaching a separate filter definitely seems less convenient than what I’ve had on previous headlamps (button press sequences that turned on a red light)

After getting things all set, I headed out to see how bright it was. I was impressed by the amount of light provided, especially with a narrow beam at distance. It will be interesting to see what settings I find most useful. Getting the filters on outside in the dark and snow was not very much fun, but they make very cool looking light on the snow! For the few minutes that I was wearing the headlamp I found it to be comfortable. I’ve never used a headlamp with a separate battery compartment before, but I didn’t really notice the change in weight distribution.
Different Beams
Filters
I registered my headlamp easily on the website.

Summary

The Ledlenser MH10 is a rechargeable, bright headlamp. It seems comfortable, easy to use, and seems to have lots of features. So far the sequence of locking, unlocking, and switching modes seems a bit time-consuming, but otherwise the function is intuitive. I think that keeping track of the filters and using them will be the biggest challenge with this headlamp.

Field Report - June 7, 2018

Field Conditions

Over the past two months I’ve done more carrying of the Ledlenser MH10 than actually using it, thanks to the late light that we have in spring. I have carried it on three dayhikes in my local terrain (around 1300 m (4265 ft) in elevation), and one in southern California (just above sea level), all in fair weather. As far as use, I have used the MH10 at three Search & Rescue (SAR) practices, in warm weather above freezing. I have also used it for two nights of geocaching, also in warm and dry weather, up to about 25 C (77 F).
Geocaching

Observations

Lighting & General Function:
The MH10 has worked well for me, overall. It has been bright and comfortable.

I have used the light mostly in Mode 2, so it turns on at the dimmest setting. I like this for not immediately blinding everyone in the vicinity when I turn it on. I have mostly foregone locking the light when it’s in my pack, as it reverts to Mode 1 once unlocked. Additionally, it takes quite a long time to get it locked and I often forget.

For geocaching and SAR, I have usually put the light onto its brightest setting. With the light diffuse, I still find myself wanting more light. I like the amount of light and the range in the narrow beam when I’m looking for something. However, that means that I have to very consciously move my gaze slowly to ensure that I’m not looking beyond the beam as I move my head. That’s not a bad thing when looking for something!

I haven’t used the filters yet, but I have had to look for them a few times. They keep ending up in random places in my pack or my house.

I find that the strap of the headlamp loosens a bit over time, I often have to tighten it a bit when I put it on. It fits nicely on my climbing helmet, which I use for SAR. Adjustment is easy, just a simple slide of the buckle. I haven’t found that I have to adjust it once I have it on my head. The strap and weight balance are comfortable, and I don’t notice the additional weight from the battery pack unless I focus on it.

Charging:
I have charged the MH10 twice since the initial charge. I plugged it into the provided cord after returning home in the evening, and by morning it was charged. I don’t think the light necessarily needed charging either time, but I’d hate to have a half-charged light, especially since it is in my SAR pack ready to go for a call.

Waterproofness & Durability:
I haven’t had the MH10 out in the rain yet. The gentle use I’ve put it to so far hasn’t resulted in any visible signs of wear on the light.

Summary

So far, the Ledlenser has been a good headlamp for Search & Rescue and geocaching. I find that I want more light when I have the beam wide, but a narrow beam is sufficiently bright for effective searching. Enough snow is gone now to think about getting out backpacking, so I can’t wait to see how this light does in camp.

Long Term Report - July 26, 2018

Field Conditions

I got in some good use of the Ledlenser over the past two months, and also did a lot of carrying it again. I had the light out on an overnight hike, a three-day hike, and a five-day hike. I also used it for one overnight Search & Rescue (SAR) task.
- Overnight hike: This was a short 4 km (2.5 mi) overnight at an elevation of 1980 m (6500 ft). The conditions were mostly rainy and it was about 10 C (50 F). I used the headlamp some while getting ready for bed and into my tent.
- Three-day hike: I was at the same camp for both nights, and the walk in and out of camp was 6.7 km (4.2 mi), with approximately 28 km (17.4 mi) of day hiking from camp. On this trip it was the walk in that was wet, but the last two days were dry with a mix of sun and cloud, and temperatures from about 5 to 20 C (41 to 68 F). The elevation on this trip ranged from 1640 m (5380 ft) at the trailhead to a bit over 2400 m (7875 ft) at the highest point. I went to bed before dark on this trip and just carried the headlamp.
- Five-day hike: This hike totalled 55 km (34 mi) of backpacking, plus about 12 km (7.5 mi) of day hiking. The trailhead elevation was 1340 m (4400 ft) and the camps ranged in elevation from 1700 m to 2050 m (5580-6725 ft). Overnight temperatures got as low as freezing and weather conditions varied between hot sun, rain, and hail. Again, I wasn’t a party animal in camp and was in bed long before dark each night on this trip, so the headlamp was only carried.
- SAR Task: This task was an overnight high angle rope rescue, conducted entirely in the dark. I used the headlamp intermittently and on various setting for about six hours. The temperature was warm and the weather was dry, and we were at an elevation of 1460 m (4790 ft).
Long Term Use

Observations

Lighting & General Function:
The MH10 continues to be a great headlamp.

I have continued to use the light in Mode 2. Since the light is so bright, I like it to turn on at the dimmest setting. I find that the dimmest setting is a sufficient amount of light for most tasks. The second setting is considerably brighter, the difference between the second and third setting is a bit more subtle. I loved the bright, narrow beam while on the overnight SAR task. We lowered a team member almost 100 m (330 ft) down a cliff, and with the brightest setting I was able to make out the ground at the bottom, though not in great detail. Bits of dust in the air pick up the light beam quite effectively and it’s amazing to see how much stuff is floating around in the air. I also found that the range of angle on the headlamp is good. I like being able to point the light straight down for a moment so that I don’t blind someone I’m talking to, while it’s still providing ambient light. I haven’t been in the habit of locking the light, as I noted in the Field Report.

I tried to use the red filter while on my overnight hike. I found the holder and the filter generally hard to handle in the dark and the woods. In the morning, the filter holder was mostly off the light, as I clearly hadn’t gotten it on quite right. In general, I have found the filters and holder to be more trouble than useful.

On the hikes, I found that the strap and battery pack are a bit uncomfortable with my typical backpacking hairstyle. I’ve never noticed that problem with a strap-only headlamp, but the extra weight of the battery pack pushes my braid into my head and gets a bit uncomfortable.

Charging:
I have charged the MH10 an additional three times since the Field Report. Charging remains straightforward. I left the light on to test the battery life once, on high, and it died just shy of 10 hours, so I believe that the advertised battery life is fairly accurate.

Waterproofness & Durability:
The MH10 was very briefly exposed to rain on my overnight hike. That brief exposure had no detrimental effect on it. I’ve been lucky this year that most rain I’ve experienced while hiking has been in the middle of the night while I’m cozy in my tent.
The MH10 is still showing no signs of wear. Everything looks great!

Summary

I have found the Ledlenser to be a very effective, bright headlamp. Where it really shines for me is for Search & Rescue, when the bright beam gets put to full use. For general camp tasks the dim setting is more than sufficient.

Thumbs Up:
Bright!
Easily re-chargeable
Good battery life
Easy change in beam width

Thumbs Down:
Filters are hard to use and separate components
Battery pack a bit uncomfortable with some hairstyles
Switching modes or locking light is time-consuming

Thanks to Ledlenser and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this light. It’s definitely earned a place in my Search & Rescue pack!



Read more reviews of Ledlenser GmbH gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Ledlenser MH10 Headlamp > Test Report by Andrea Murland



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