Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Headlamp-to-Headlamp Comparison

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.

It's been a hot minute since I've blogged here, hasn't it? I do apologize for that. March was incredibly cruel to me and I needed to practice self-care. You can read about my troubles with a mold infestation within the walls of my home on my personal blog

One of the unfortunate side-effects of the mold remediation is that many of my preps are stacked and not readily accessible in the garage, which bothers me like a piece of food stuck between my teeth. Even if I don't need to access them right now, my mind knows that if I need anything it will be a massive pain to get, and that just grates upon my patience. Lack of control regarding my immediate surroundings is a source of stress for me, and I've been dealing with that stress for over two weeks now. 

One of the ways that's been helping me manage that stress has been my nightly walks around the neighborhood. While I haven't yet reached the point where I can do two loops with a rucksack, I have been able to comfortably walk two loops without a pack, which I do when my knees or back are aching. This exercise has also helped me not gain weight from all the stress eating I've been doing. 

As a result of all this I have pretty thoroughly tested two of the headlamps that I own, and since each brings something different to the table I thought I would do a head-to-head, or perhaps a headlamp-to-headlamp, comparison between the two. 

EverBrite 350 Lumen Red/Green Headlamp

My original assessment of this light may be read here

  1. Affordable ($18) 
  2. Three color options at the touch of a button (white, red, green)
  3. Four white light options (high, medium, low, strobe, and circuit-on-board [COB])
  4. Good battery endurance (three hours performance at the highest setting, five hours at medium)
  5. Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  6. Rear button light can be removed for added comfort when hiking with a backpack which is close to the back of your head
  1. Focal distance is fixed; no way to adjust between "spot" and 
  2. Lack of a top strap means the light can slide down your head from sweat or strenuous activity
  3. Non-removable battery can only be charged via micro USB cord and power source (difficult to do in the field or a survival situation)
  4. Charge level is indicated with four blue lights on the bottom of the casing which shine in my eyes (correctible with black electrical tape)

Dland / Madala 1000 Lumen LED Headlamp

My original assessment of this light may be read here, but please be advised that it (Dland) is no longer available at Amazon. However, an identical product (Madala, which I also own) can be bought from for less. I believe that both of these are knockoffs of the more expensive Explorer headlamp ($55) by Eagle Beam. 

  1. Affordable ($14)
  2. Bright setting is very bright (if not actually 1,000 lumens then at least 750 lm)
  3. Easy adjustment between spotlight and floodlight
  4. Light rotates 90°
  5. Top strap holds headlamp securely in place
  6. Surprisingly not as heavy or as uncomfortable as you might think
  7. Hinged battery pack allows dual 18650 lithium batteries to be quickly replaced if unable to charge via micro USB cord
  8. Strobe setting may dazzle/incapacitate an assailant
  1. No options for non-white light without changing lenses -- a process which is easy but not quick. These lenses are also an additional expense and more items to track. 
  2. Bright setting can easily dazzle the wearer if too close to a mirror or white-painted source, or even if your hand intersects the beam.
  3. Rear battery pack is bulky and can cause discomfort with a backpack that is close to the head.
  4. Battery life is poor -- two hours on bright diminishes output to below what the medium setting produces and reducing medium output to ineffectively dim.

Which Is Better?
While it may seem like the Dland/Madala 100 lumen light is better, that's not necessarily true; its great features are offset by some significant downsides like poor battery life and a thick battery pack. Conversely, the EverBrite's variety of colors and good battery endurance make up for its lack of focus and reduced range. 

I think that both headlamps have a place in a prepper's arsenal. The EverBrite is in my bug out and get home bags because of its versatility and its lack of a skull-bumping battery pack, and I compensate for its USB-only recharging by carrying a small power bank that can be recharged by solar or by hand crank. 

The 100 lumen headlamp trades versatility for power, and that power is best used around the home where I am unlikely to be carrying a backpack and where I will have ways to recharge it regularly, either with the aforementioned solar - hand crank - power bank solution or by changing out its lithium batteries. While I would hesitate to call it a tactical light, it is still an excellent choice for checking the outside of your house at night -- so long as you don't expect trouble from people with guns.  

I am very pleased with both of these lamps, and I am certain you will be, too, whichever one you choose. At these prices, why not get both?

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