Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $21 - $30 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros: One of the lightest headlamps out there, three lighting modes, durable.
Cons: Low spotlight, below average battery life, expensive.
Best Uses: A light to take for any outdoor activity in case you get caught out after dark.
The Petzl e+LITE was our highest rated micro headlamp. At less than one ounce, it was the lightest and most compact headlamp we tested. It is durable (we put it through the washing machine by accident) and it scored surprisingly well for beam quality and close proximity, considering how small it is. Even though this headlamp (understandably) scores very poorly for beam distance and trail finding, we were still impressed with it. It comes with three different lighting modes, including a red light mode. It comes with a handy waterproof case that will insure it stays dry. However, the best part of this light is how small it is so we never used the case. It is small enough to put in a sock or keep anywhere. Part of it being so small means it takes very small batteries, which are hard to find at the last minute in rural areas near most trailheads – you will need to hunt down a camera, electonics or outdoor store.
Its main competitor is the Black Diamond Ion, which is the same weight and size. The Ion had a better spotlight but the E+Lite had much better close proximity light and battery life. Considering the main reason to have this headlamp is for emergency or unintended backup use, the better battery life of the E+Lite makes it the clear winner. That said, at $30 the E+Lite is $10 more expensive than the Ion and puts you in the category of much more capable three-ounce lights like the Petzl Tikkina 2 or Princeton Tec Fuel.
The Bottom Line
Even though its total score was not that high, we still consider this a must- have headlamp for anyone who does serious activity in the back country or away from the car (trail running at dusk, etc). It eliminates the decision of "should I bring a headlamp?" It weighs nothing so there is no reason not to bring it everywhere. If you have an extra $30, there is no reason not to buy this headlamp. It could be the most useful headlamp you ever buy. That said, if you are on a budget and don't mind a headlamp that weighs two more ounces, go with the Fuel or the Tikkina 2, which cost less, perform much better and are still pretty darn small and light.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
— RJ Spurrier
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 7, 2012
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