PRINCETON TEC REMIX HYBRID HEADLAMP
TEST SERIES BY ROGER AULT
INITIAL REPORT - August 25, 2009
FIELD REPORT - October 22, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - January 10, 2010
Spencer, Indiana USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
276 lb (125.00 kg)
I have been camping for several years. I had limited chances as a child but have
been camping a lot the past 20 years. I love backpacking and consider myself
moderately equipped although I can never have enough gear. I want to spend more
time winter camping. I typically carry 25 - 45 pounds (~11 - 20 kg). I generally
use a tent for shelter. I generally hike in the woods and rolling hills of
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Princeton Tec
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: Princeton Tec
MSRP: USD 44.99
Listed Weight: 2.93 oz (83 g) (includes batteries)
Measured Weights as follows:
Headband - 0.6 oz (17 g)
Three AAA Duracell batteries - 1.2 oz (34 g)
Remix Headlamp - 1.1 oz (31g)
Fully assembled (as packaged) - 2.9 oz (82 g)
Other details: Per Princeton Tec website:
POWER 45 Lumens
LAMP 3 Ultrabright LEDs, 1 Maxbright LED
BURN TIME 200 Hours
BATTERIES 3 AAA
WEIGHT 83g (includes batteries)
Burn time of 200 hours is based on low setting with three Ultrabright LEDs being used. The same LEDs burning on high are listed at 61 hours. The Maxbright LED on low is listed at 53 hours and high is listed at 28 hours burn time. I will say here that burn times on the highest setting do not mean much to me. I find that I rarely use the highest setting and more important to me, at this setting, is brightness and distance.
The Remix is listed as level 1 waterproof on the website. After reading that they mean it is able to withstand splashing and quick dunking I think I prefer "water resistant" over waterproof.
The Remix is gray and black with a headband that is black, gray and white with Princeton Tec printed on the left side of the headband.
The product packaging was cardboard and plastic with a hole to hang on a peg. The plastic was quite tough and I found a knife to be the easiest way to open but I feared I might cut the product. I was very careful with the knife and did not do any damage. I would prefer to see less and/or easier packaging. I do understand the need for tough packaging with the amount of theft and shoplifting these days.
There are several details on the package. The package says "5 year warranty" and has a diagram that lists the components. The labeling does say "water resistant" on it which I feel is more accurate than the "waterproof" level one shown on the website. At the bottom of the back there is a chart showing illumination distances and burn times for the various settings.
The front shows lumens, weight, burn time, water resistant and shows that it adjusts in a vertical arc. There is a diagram at the bottom, which shows three LEDs, and the single LED side by side and under it are the words "Hybrid LED Headlamp". To me this makes it clear that the "hybrid" means there are two distinctly different light sources working in one lamp, much like a car that is hybrid works on both gasoline and electric.
The headband, headlamp and batteries were packaged in separate compartments. Installing the headband was accomplished by inserting it into the split openings on the back of the Remix. Battery installation is below.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The included instructions are quite informative and are printed in English, French and German. They begin with clear directions for installing the three AAA batteries. To do this you simply pull the door open over the catch and open the hinged door. There is a clear picture to the right of the text showing how the batteries go.
Next is a section on switch operation, which is important to read. First it is necessary to choose a light source. Holding down continuously will cause the Remix to cycle between the 3 Ultrabright LEDs and the Maxbright LED. Simply release when the desired LED is lit. Once a LED is chosen it will cycle high/low/off by the switch until a different LED is chosen.
Whenever the light is turned on from the off position (with either LED) high is the first mode encountered. Pressing and releasing the switch within 1.5 seconds will change to low mode. (Twice will turn it off) Waiting 2 seconds or longer to press and release will turn the light off without changing modes.
To turn the light off it can be cycled though all the modes or if it has been on over two seconds one push of the switch will turn it off.
TRYING IT OUT
I could hardly wait for it to get dark! After playing with the switch I have gotten a little used to it. I think I would prefer the low mode to precede the high but that's just my preference.
After going for a walk in the dark and setting up a tent in the dark I am impressed with the lighting so far. I would still like to see the low operate prior to high in sequence.
I intend to purposely go out in light rain to see what happens. As well as general trail and camp use mixed in with everyday use. My current headlamp has a red LED. Will I miss this feature while using the Remix?
I have a slight concern that the battery door is not sealed very well and may allow water to enter easily. There is no gasket or o-ring present to form a seal.
The Remix feels good when wearing it and the headband adjusts to fit nicely. I think I would like to see the Maxbright focused a little narrower, but I will see how it goes.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I purposely set out in the dark on October 10, 2009 to test the Remix for light hiking and setting up my tent in the dark. The ground was saturated after it had rained the two days previous to this trip. The temperature got down to 32 F (0 C) and there was heavy dew, which turned to frost.
I have taken a couple of evening hikes that lasted past dark but were not overnight trips. Temperatures were near 40 F (4 C) and there was no rain during these walks.
I have used the Remix nearly every day when going to work. I leave home at 5:00 AM and it is quite dark still so I have used it to not only see but to be seen when walking on roads. As of this writing it is getting dark earlier in the evening. Even though it is not yet dark enough to need light to see, it is nice to be seen by motorists.
I took the Remix with me to a cookout on October 24, 2009. We had clear skies and the temperature was about 52 F (11 C) to start and got down to about 38 F (3 C). I started out near their home and ended up walking into the woods later in the evening.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I turned the three Ultrabright LEDs on high and placed the Remix in light rain for about three hours. It was very light drizzle and it was sitting motionless in the open. I did not notice any water in the interior and the lamp did not falter in any way. I could still cycle through all modes with no problems that I could detect. This is good news to me because I feared the battery door would leak. It has proven itself in this little test, so now on to the practical use tests.
During the overnight trip on October 10, I was able to use the Remix for some fairly open trail walking and also to set up camp in the dark. I find that the three Ultrabright LEDs on low work fine most of the time for me. When doing tasks like cooking and setting up camp I find it necessary to turn the same LEDs on high to make things easy.
On October 24 I was able to use it to assist several elderly people to their vehicles after dark. I did find it was better to turn the three Ultrabright LEDs on high, rather than low for this use. Once the evening came to a close I walked into the woods and setup a tent. I still find that for most walking purposes I am content with the low setting. I do use the three Ultrabright LEDs on high for tasks in camp, such as setting up my tent, yet switch to low when just sitting around. I have not had the opportunity to be camped with anyone else to see if it would be necessary to switch to a higher setting to provide more light.
The Remix stays where I set it on my head and doesn't bounce much at all. It is nice to have the light stay where I want it and not have to adjust it unless I need to change where I want it to shine.
Although I do miss the red LEDs I have used on other lights in the past, I am able to perform necessary tasks without them.
I would estimate about seventy-five hours of burn time so far. The majority of this has been on the lowest setting. I have not noticed any diminished battery capacity so far.
I have not been able to get as much backpacking use as I would like due to some sore ribs from a fall (not backpacking related). I have managed to use on a couple of nights out in the field and several days going to and from work.
I would still prefer to start with the lower setting and have to cycle up to high rather than the way it is now. I generally use the three Ultrabright LEDs on low except when I need more light to hike through rough or overgrown terrain or when performing tasks in camp.
I feel that the single Maxbright LED is better suited for when moving faster than a walk. I tried running (something I do not do often) and found that the added distance the beam is projected is better when moving faster. I believe this could help when riding a bike also. At least it was nice when trying it out on my lawn tractor with the headlights off.
I hope to get in some more actual backpacking use during the next couple of months. I would also like to get some measurements on distance the various beams are projected and some measurements of the diameter of the beams. I do not have a way to measure lumens but I hope to get some decent pictures to show the strength of the various settings.
THOUGHTS SO FAR
Easy to use switch
Small and light
Stays where I put it on my head
Having to cycle from high to low (I prefer to start on low)
No red LED (not really a dislike just a preference)
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I took the Remix along on what started out to be a one-night stay at McCormick's Creek State Park but turned into two nights. Arrived about dark on October 30th and stayed until November 1st. It was raining pretty hard upon my arrival and continued into the night. The temperature was in the 60's F (upper teens C) and some wind but not a lot.
I took it on an overnight trip when I went out for a night to try out my new sleeping bag. It was about 28 F (-2 C) when I left home and it got down to about 16 F (-9 C) overnight. There was light snow when I set out but the ground had not yet frozen. The snow diminished to nothing by about midnight and the wind picked up and was gusting to about 25 - 30 mph (40 - 48 kmh).
I have used the Remix a great deal when doing things around home as well as walking morning and evening in the dark.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have noticed on several occasions that the remix flickers on the high setting with the three Ultrabright LEDs. I have never had a problem turning the light on or off and it has never stopped working. This flickering does cause me some concern about dependability.
I have used the Remix primarily on the three Ultrabright LED setting. I have used mainly the low setting with a good deal of high being used also. I doubt that the Maxbright setting has seen over two hours use on high and not over thirty minutes on low. I have used the three Ultrabright LED's on low the majority of the time. I have a little over one hundred hours on the low setting and probably about twenty more hours on high. I have not had to change the batteries yet, but when I try new batteries for comparison, I can tell a slight difference in brightness.
I still prefer the lowest setting for walking or sitting around camp. I don't need a bright light to see my feet or the ground in front of me and I don't want to annoy others with an unnecessarily bright light. For walking along a road I prefer the three Ultrabright LEDs on high for the added visibility for motorists to see me. I have not found any situation where I would prefer the Maxbright LED on low. I did ride around in a golf cart with the Maxbright on high and it worked fairly well. Since I primarily use a headlamp for hiking, I would like to see the Maxbright with a narrower focus that may concentrate the beam for greater distance.
I have yet to find any water inside the battery compartment. This leads me to believe my initial concerns may not be any issue. I have had the Remix in some rain, but during the heavy rain it was actually protected by the brim on my hard shell rain jacket. It has gotten wet and done fine but it has not been subjected to a hard pounding rain or a long soaking rain.
|3 Ultrabright low
|3 Ultrabright high
The pictures above were all taken from approximately 50 ft (15 m). I think this is slightly beyond the intended distance for the lowest setting. The lack of illumination at this distance (on the lowest setting) may be slightly misleading but I wanted to take them all at the same distance. These are all taken with exactly the same camera settings while mounted on a tripod. The building is actually the color that is best seen in the second picture. The pictures of the Maxbright take on a yellow tint that is characteristic of the color of light cast by this LED. I can actually see better with the Ultrabright LED light than I can with the Maxbright.
The Remix is a nice headlamp but I would like to see a couple of changes. First I really would like to start with the lower beams instead of high every time it is turned on. I would also like to see the battery compartment sealed a little better just for peace of mind. Lastly I would like for the Maxbright to have a narrower focus.
I plan to continue to use the Remix for many of my activities. It has performed fairly well to this point and I see no reason not to continue to use it. I probably won't depend on it for any extended trip until it has proven itself better due to the flickering I mentioned and the possibility of the battery compartment allowing water inside.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I would like to thank both Princeton Tec and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Remix headlamp.
Read more reviews of Princeton Tec gear
Read more gear reviews by Roger Ault