In graduating from day hiking to overnight trips there is a requirement for a whole range of additional equipment, including some form of lighting. What form this takes really depends on the individual as well as on the type of hiking being carried out. These days head lamps are the lighting option of choice for most hikers and this is where the vast array of models available can be confusing. When deciding which head lamp to take on a trip I usually ask myself the following questions:
Will I be hiking at night or am I just hanging around camp?
How well do I know the trail?
What condition is the trail in; is it easy to locate and follow, or could it be dangerous in the dark?
Is there a full, reasonably full moon?
Will I miss too much scenery by travelling at night?
And lastly, do I feel like it?
While one of my greatest joys is night hiking, there are times based on the answers to the above questions when I just don’t do it. In these circumstances when I know I won’t be night hiking, I choose to carry my Petzl e+Lite.
Lets be frank, Petzl market this light as an Ultra-compact emergency headlamp however with the rise of long distance hiking, particularly in the USA, this light has now become the choice of many as their main light. This light is currently the lightest weight head torch on the market and when not being used as a way finding light, ticks all the boxes:
The coin cell batteries will last at around ten hours and still give good light, and still perform up to 30 hours at a lower light level
The switching mechanism is easy to use and in the off position is unlikely to be bumped on and accidently flatten your batteries
In signaling/emergency mode, this light does the job its designed for
And last and not least, it provides adequate light without blinding all the wildlife, and your campmates
The E+ Lite has seven different switch positions:
Low white light
High white light
Flashing white light
Flashing red light
Solid red light
As a camp light the E+ Lite does what’s needed. This light is not going to fry the wildlife, or your hiking partners like some of its bigger cousins and for that I am eternally grateful. It also means that you are not as likely to scare away the wildlife. The bulkier and more powerful lights, even on the low power setting, tend to be too bright for me and chew through the power quickly in comparison meaning that you need to ensure you have enough back up batteries to last the longer trips; adding more weight to your pack.
As a way finding light its really only suitable for those trails you you know well and regularly hike. If the moon is fairly bright, I will often hike without a light on for familiar trails and use the E+ Lite as an emergency light or for when I walk down unstable slopes and need that extra bit of clarity.
While most hikers will choose not to make this their main light source, it is lightweight enough to perform the role of an emergency or back up light. For those focused on minimising weight and don’t need a serious way finding light, the Petzl E+Lite is hard to go past.
Please note that while this light has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years it now has a more comfortable head strap
Ultra light weight (27gram/1oz) and compact making this light very easy to carry either as a main light or as a backup. This means you can carry it as a spare and not notice the weight
Waterproof construction meaning this will last through the worse that nature can throw at you and still keep on working. I accidentally put this head light through the washing machine and it didn’t phase it
Battery life up to 30 hours (10 hours for good quality light). For the average trip this means that one set of batteries will usually cover you and minimise the need to carry extra batteries
Up to 300 meters visibility and for up to 30 hours in emergency red strobe mode ensuring that you are easy to spot when needed
Locking switch that prevents accidentally being turned on ensuring that this torch will always be ready for use
The switching lever also makes it very easy to dial in the right light choice. No more pushing a pressure switch for the right number of seconds
Excellent range of adjustment that allows the light to go in exactly the right direction; never blind you partner again. Having said that this torch does have the unique ability when being worn to point directly into your own eyes.
We Don't Like
For what this light is designed for the following negatives are only minor niggles:
The manual switch lever on this light is prone to clogging by fine dust particles. On the first night of my 2016 Larapinta Trail hike heavy winds managed to cover the entire inside of our tent, including us, with a fine red dust. For the next 13 days any time I wanted to use the light I needed to blow sharply on the switch to shift the fine particles that were clogging the mechanism.
This torch is not suitable for serous way finding unless the path is clear and clearly marked. Once you decide on this as your one and only light your options are limited.
The light quality will drop off as the batteries age and although the specification chart for this torch indicates a 30 hour battery life they should be replaced approximately every 10 hours to maintain a good beam if they are being used for hiking as opposed to an emergency light. Still much better than the alternatives.
Emergency lighting in case your main light goes down
Night time hiking or camping that doesn’t require way finding or when you know the trails very well
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If you have used the Petzl E+Lite Headlamp or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
From $61.45 AUD RRP but can often be found at a cheaper price
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker