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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Nite Ize INNOVA STS Headlamp > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

Test Series by Theresa Lawrence
Initial Report - July 11/14


Name: Theresa Lawrence
Email: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
Age: 36
Location: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.

Initial Report

Manufacturer: Nite Ize Inc.
Manufacturer's URL:
Year of Manufacture: 2013

Made in:
MSRP: $34.99 US
Listed Weight: Not Available
Measured Weight: 3.4 oz/ 97 g
Colors Available: Blue, Charcoal, Orange
Color Tested: Blue
3 to 142
Run Time:
4 hours 40 min to 602 hours

              Image Courtesy of Website

DESCRIPTION & FEATURES                                                                                   

 The Nite Ize Inova STS headlamp showed up in blue color at my door looking like any typical hands free headlamp. It has a tight woven stretchy adjustable strap to accommodate a range of head sizes and helmets. The headlamp itself has a mount with 50 degrees of adjustable angle. The battery compartment comes with 3 AAA Energizer batteries and has a clasp and hinge opening. The headlamp is waterproof and impact resistant to 1 m (3.28 ft). The farthest range of light covered is 84 m (275 ft). Getting more technical, this headlamp has many unique features. First off there is both red and white light and each has 5 different settings (high power, variable dim, medium power, strobe and lockout). These settings are accessed by the swipe of a finger or the holding of two fingers on the top (where a button would normally be). The high powered setting provides 142 lumen of light (8 lumen for red light) with a run time of 4 hours and 40 minutes (36 hours for red light). Medium power provides 40 lumen (2 red) with a run time of 26 hours and 40 minutes (317 hours for red). The variable dim (low) setting provides 3 lumen of light (0.2 red) and 255 hours of run time (602 hours of red).


I was able to easily adjust the head strap to fit my head, though I noticed a large excess of strap. I have no idea whose head would be that big even with a giant space helmet. I tried to use the headlamp without the instructions. Failed hopelessly. Before reading the instructions and aside from swiping, I wasn't sure how I was going to turn it on, switch between settings and/or lock it. Good thing there were easy to read instructions with diagrams because I needed them.

Following the instructions I was able to go through all the settings and lock it out. I learned that swiping to the right, in the direction of the red arrow on the swipe pad, brought on the first setting of the red light and left, in the direction of the white arrow, brought on the white light. But unfortunately, while it's on my head, I couldn't see the red or white arrows, so I have committed them to memory. Right for red (R for R) and left for light (L for L), that should do the trick. Now to go between modes was one swipe for high power, 2 swipes for medium power and 3 swipes for strobe. The swipes I learned must be repeated within 2 seconds to register the command. Also, in any mode after 3 seconds, swiping once turned the light off. Now, getting into the variable dim setting was really interesting. Swipe once into high power (red or white), then immediately hold anywhere on the swipe pad. The light would start to dim and blink once when lowest dim was reached then started increasing brightness to maximum. It continued progressing dim to bright and vice versa until I released my hold at the light dimness of my choosing. Pretty cool feature. That was rather sneaky, but I think I've got it. So, on to putting it into lock mode so that I could store it without it accidentally going off. The trick was while in off mode, I place two fingers on the swipe pad and hold it there till the red LEDs blinked once. Then within 1 second I had to swipe in either direction causing the red LEDs to blink rapidly, signaling that I was locked out. If the pad is swiped in locked mode the red LEDs will blink rapidly then turn off. To get out of locked mode, the actions were the same,  but with the white light signaling instead. Very technical and fancy, but once the secret is known, it was not so difficult to use. Well, I'll be able to tell more when I'm out and about using it.

The instructions also had a worrisome statement in bold indicating that the swipe pad and fingers used to swipe must be dry. Naturally, this is a little concerning given that weather isn't so cooperative in my experience. And another concern comes up as to whether I will be able to swipe with gloves. Stay tuned to find out my observations in a couple of months.


Overall, my initial impression of the Inova STS headlamp was that it was very sophisticated and technical, though not expensive. It was not as intuitive as I might have otherwise thought. I mean how many options could swiping a pad offer or so I thought, but apparently a rather amazing amount. The variable dim setting just blew my mind. I found there was a lot of excess strap. I do have a small head, but this thing could go around a space helmet or my waist. I do have some major concerns about the necessity for dry contact between interface and fingers. What about wet weather and using gloves? It seems ironically feeble against the claims of being waterproof and impact resistance. I'm hoping it is not so sensitive as that. I will reveal all during the next couple months of field testing.

Thanks to Nite Ize, Inc. and for allowing me to take part in this test series, I am looking forward to testing the Inova STS headlamp.

Read more reviews of Nite Ize gear
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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Nite Ize INNOVA STS Headlamp > Test Report by Theresa Lawrence

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