I have used the Princeton Tec Fuel for over two months now in just about every condition
imaginable. I've used it hiking in rain, snow and sleet. I've used it recently in 75 F (24 C)
weather. In January and February, I had the opportunity to use the Fuel in -10 F (-23 C) weather.
I've used it when working on my car or searching for something under the couch. In short,
I've used it a lot!
Backpacking trips included multiple day hikes and two overnight trips. These trips occurred in
the areas surrounding my home. Most of the day hikes occurred in the gorges around Ithaca, New York.
Whether on these hikes as been relatively mild. Temperatures varied between 35 F and 55 F
(2 C and 13 C).
In an effort to give some idea of my usage, I'd say I use it on average for about 6 hours a week.
Over the 2.5 months since the Initial Report was posted, this gives me approximately 60 - 70 hours
of use. Thus far, I've had to replace the batteries twice. Most of my usage was on the highest
I'm happy to report that this has been one of the easiest test series I've ever participated
in. Not so much due to the amount of thought I put into using the gear, but more so the lack
of thought I have regarding the Fuel. As long as I remember to pack it, it's just there, ready
to work. The one button operation is fantastic and the design of the button is great. I can use
it with thick gloves or even mittens without a problem. Everything just works.
Battery life has been excellent. As I mentioned earlier, I use the lamp mainly on its highest
output setting. One of the benefits to this headlamp over others I've used is that it doesn't
simply die -- it tapers out slowly (over the course of an hour or so) making it very easy
to not get left stranded with no light. Also, the battery compartment is very easy to use
once you realize that the headband clip doubles as a sort of pry bar to open the latch. While it
may sound difficult, it's actually very easy.
Comfort has been wonderful. I often forget I'm wearing the lamp when I come in from outside
or enter my tent -- usually blinding anyone around me. I've worn the Fuel over a winter hat,
a baseball cap and with no headgear and found that the elastic band has been comfortable and required
no real adjustment after initially finding a good setting. Also, the head of the lamp adjusts through
a far greater range of motion than other lamps I've tried making it possible to focus the beam
anywhere from a couple feet in front of my boots up into the trees. Also, my initial concern with
regard to the removable headband was thus far, unfounded. The lamp has stayed securely attached
throughout a wide range of motions.
While I haven't purposely exposed the Fuel to excess water, it's gotten very wet on a couple
of occasions during some hard rain / sleet. The secure battery compartment is weather sealed as
is the rest of the lamp from what I can tell. Regardless, there have been no issues with such
exposure. On one such occasion (2 hours of use in very hard rain), I opened up the battery compartment
after reaching shelter and found no dampness at all.
This product is utterly simple in the best possible way. It's one of those gear items a person
forgets about since it just does its job.
- Very good battery life
- So simple -- yet so useful
- Huge range of motion for adjustment of the beam
- If only it were slightly brighter
concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be amended to
this report in approximately two months from the date of this report.
Please check back then for further information.