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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Princeton Tec Bot Headlamp > Test Report by Derek Hansen

Princeton Tec Bot Headlamp

Photo courtesy princetontec.com

Princeton Tec — Bot Headlamp

Test Series by Derek Hansen

TESTER INFORMATION

Me
NameDerek Hansen
Age35
GenderMale
Height5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg)
Email Address City
City, State, CountryFlagstaff, Arizona, USA

BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical weekend pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), which includes food and water. Because I pack less than 20 lb (9 kg), I prefer lightweight trail-running shoes. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.


PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer Princeton Tec, New Jersey, USA
Year of Manufacture 2011, made in USA
Manufacturer’s Website princetontec.com
MSRP N/A
Listed Features
  • 15 Lumens (high)
  • 2 Ultrabright LEDs
  • 9 hours run time (on low)
  • Water resistance to splashing and quick dunkings (IPX4 Level 1)
  • Three modes (high beam, flashing high beam, and low beam)
Manufacturer Recommendations
  • 2 AAA batteries (alkaline or lithium)
Measurements
Specifications What They Say What I Say
Weight 2.3 oz (64 g) 2.1 oz (60 g)
Colors Purple/Pink, Green/Blue, Blue/Red, Pink/Yellow/Green
Sizes One size
Warranty 5-year warranty


INITIAL REPORT

24 Oct 2011

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Princeton Tec Bot is a headlamp designed for kids. It has two bright white LEDs that have three modes: low, high, and high flashing. The light is activated by a single push button on the top. The light cycles through the three modes upon successive button presses.

The Bot headlamp can swivel into different positions to point the light up and down. The Bot attaches to the elastic head band through two cutaways in the plastic where the headband can slip into.

The headband can adjust to different circumferences.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I have three of my children who will be testing this product. I am looking forward to having them join me on short backpacking trips where they have to review a product. However, this will be a new experience for both of us since I will try to relate their thoughts and experiences in the report.

ir-bot-in-box

When the package arrived, I had my kids open the packaging and do their best to assemble the product. The Bot came with three alkaline batteries, the lamp, and the headband all separate. My 10-year-old daughter (Bot 1) was able to attach the headband and my 8-year-old son (Bot 2) and 5-year-old son (Bot 3) all tried it on to fit.

ir-opening-bot

Bot 2 tried to remove the white plastic attachment/rotating arm from the light (unsuccessfully, thankfully) thinking it was extra garbage.

Getting the batteries installed was a chore. Since I had my kids do their best to put it together, I didn't get involved until I saw Bot 1 getting out a screwdriver. She tried her best, but it looked like a Dad job. Ironically, I had to try four (4) different screwdrivers before I found one that fit and worked. The single screw was tough to turn and was very tight. I stripped the metal a bit and I am worried about subsequent openings.

ir-bot-on-head

The battery door is hinged on one side, but the screw fell to the ground. Thankfully we found the screw and assembled the light back together.

Bot 1, Bot 2, and Bot 3 all tried the light and were able to easily manage the different modes, but adjusting the light to point up or down was difficult. The Bot was hard to turn for them.

INITIAL SUMMARY

We've had the Bot for a few days and Bot2 has used it a few times to read books in bed. I asked him his likes and dislikes and this is what he said:

LIKES

  • I like that the battery case can fold out.
  • I like that the band stretches to fit.
  • I like that I can adjust the strap.
  • I like that the light can get brighter.

The light was bright enough to read in bed when I tested it using the low setting. It feels good around my head, since the plastic adjusters don't hit against my head very hard.

DISLIKES

  • I don't like how hard you have to push to turn the light on.
  • It is hard to rotate the light.

We are looking forward to going on some camping and hiking adventures!

FIELD REPORT

9 Jan 2012

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I expected I might have a challenge getting my kids to go backpacking and night hiking with me in the middle of the winter, and it turns out that was true. In the past few months I've only been able to convince my daughter (Bot 1) to come out with me once. Other planned trips were canceled due to frigid weather, and on a "cat eye" trail with the Boy Scouts, my son came along, but the Bot was forgotten (doh!). That said, the headlamp has been used a lot--nearly every night since we received it. My kids practically fight over who gets to use the Bot at night so they can read their books (I have some avid readers in the family). My oldest son (Bot 2) finished the Lord of the Rings series while wearing the headlamp (over many nights of reading), and Bot1 finished a few of her own books.

After a few days of snowing, my kids played outside, in the dark, for a few days using the Bot to provide light while they constructed snow forts. My kids have also used the Bot while building huts out of blankets and furniture and playing with toys with the lights off.

Oct 7-8: Foothills near Mount Elden, Flagstaff, Arizona. I took my daughter on a short backpacking trip in the national forest in Flagstaff. We found an ideal spot on the north slope of a small cinder mountain, just below 7,000 ft (2,134 m). The weather was cool, around 35°F (2°C) and dry.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

pix-fr-bot-in-snow

Using the Bot at night to build a snow fort.

We had to change the batteries once so far. With the nightly use, the light started dimming and my son kept asking that we should switch out the batteries. My son was able to help me open the case and replace the battery.

I asked my kids what they thought of the Bot: fit, comfort, brightness, etc. Here are their thoughts.

Bot 1: "I think the light is comfortable, but it is hard to move up and down. I like that it only has a few different switches to go from bright to blinking to not bright."

Bot 2: "It is a good light. It is bright enough to read. I don't think it is very comfortable for a long time. The white thing [plastic where the Bot's elastic band threads into the light hardware] isn't comfortable. I think they should add a pad or something."

Personally, I like the bot because it is rugged and has withstood nightly use and abuse without harm. The form is sturdy and the band is easy to adjust. Besides the dimming light, I've heard no horrible complaints from my kids (well, the odd argument about "it's my turn," but I think that's a point in the Bot's favor).

FIELD USE SUMMARY

  • The kids like it!
  • Great battery life.
  • Rugged and tough.
  • Bot 2 did complain about the plastic being a little uncomfortable when asked.

Please check back in a few months where I hope to get my kids out on more night hikes.


LONG TERM REPORT

12 Mar 2012

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Feb 18: Old Caves Crater, Flagstaff, Arizona. I took my four oldest kids out on a long day hike, covering a few miles up and around Old Caves Crater. We bushwhacked, mostly, until we reached the top of the hill where we explored the lava caves. There was a slight breeze. The temperature was 55°F (13°C).

Mar 3: Coconino National Forest, near Flagstaff, Arizona. I managed to convince my two oldest kids to come on a night hike to test the headlamp. We hiked into the forest and set up a camp where we could read books. The temperature was 32°F (0°C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

While most of the use my kids got out of the BOT was indoors, we were able to get out a few times during the long-term test period.

Our hike up to Old Caves Crater was a lot of fun. We explored trails we hadn't been on and decided to bushwhack up to the top where the lava caves opened up. We covered a few miles in the few hours we were out, but the culminating event was getting to the top of the hill to explore the lava caves. The top of the crater is full of small lava tube caves and I had my son use his light to explore them.

pix-ltr-putting-it-on pix-ltr-bot-in-cave pix-ltr-crawling

In March, I convinced my two oldest that it would be "fun" to do a night hike in the forest. As we all had novels we were reading, I told them we could hike in a mile or so, set up hammocks, and read our books as we normally do, and then come home. I had my kids lead the way with the Bot headlamp illuminating our path as we hiked in the pitch dark. We mostly bushwhacked our way around, although I tried to give hints of some good places to explore. We discovered a spot on a slight slope where three trees grew in a nearly equilateral position to each other: a triangle that made for a perfect hammock spot.

I pitched the three hammocks in the triangle and got my kids situated so they could read. I think we lasted just under an hour when my son began complaining of a headache. I noticed he wasn't wearing his hat and he must have been growing steadily colder as the night wore on. We were all bundled in sleeping bags and quilts, but his head was exposed. We quickly packed up and made a bee-line for the trailhead and our car.

Other than these outdoor adventures, my kids have really made use of the Bot indoors. In fact, almost every night the light is used as the kids enjoy reading in bed.

The only difficulty my kids have had with the bot that I have observed is trying to adjust the headband. I've demonstrated it a few times, but they mostly just get me to help.

We've gone through two more sets of batteries on this light, but I think with how much we're using it, the light lives up to its claims of longevity.

FINAL SUMMARY

  • Good illumination on the trail.
  • A great light to ready by.

I would like to thank Princeton Tec and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.



Read more reviews of Princeton Tec gear
Read more gear reviews by Derek Hansen

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Princeton Tec Bot Headlamp > Test Report by Derek Hansen



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