As a foreword to this post, this headlamp May have been the best $65 I’ve ever spent on a piece of gear. It ended my search for the perfect headlamp (after about 10 of them) and almost every person who has been in the woods with me since then has bought their own. Simply put, this light kicks ass.
The 2 ounce zebralight h32 has 6 light levels ranging from .5 – 480 lumens in output, and its bezel throws its power output in what I would consider a perfect balance between depth and width. Just this last season while hiking with a friend at night, it was more than obvious how superior this light was in comparison to his more mainstream black diamond spot. With the zebralight on medium and us both pointing the lamps in the same direction, it was hard to tell if the spot (on high) was even turned on at all.
Pair this awesome light output with an all metal construction that is o-ring sealed, and you have a tough as nails headlamp.
The silicone head band also holds the light incredibly steady and provides an infinite amount of angle adjustment all while having no pins to fall out, or plastic hinges to break like so many other headlamps. This also allows you to pull the light out of the head strap and use it like a flashlight. This is another personal preference thing, but when I don’t need both hands for something, I really like a flashlight as opposed to a headlamp.
Another factor that pushed me towards the zebralight h32 was its use of a cr123 battery as opposed to more traditional AA or AAA options. The cr123 is just all around a much more powerful and useful flashlight battery for the application. It’s shorter stature also lends itself to a smaller headlamp housing, which cuts weight there slightly as well.
Another cool option is being able to run a 16340 micro usb rechargeable battery in this lamp. Doing so let’s you plug a cable from your power bank to the battery itself to recharge it while in the field. Wether this is better than carrying a spare cr123 or not is debatable, but it’s a cool option none the less.
Honestly, I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this headlamp. I suppose there could be an argument for having a red or green lamp, but with its ability to dial the light back to such low levels, I don’t see it being a problem in terms of retaining night vision.
The major upsides to such a small, ultralight lamp with the juice to facilitate off trail navigation or blood trailing at night are huge. The other 10-12 headlamps I own I haven’t even left the shelf since I picked this thing up over a year ago. I honestly can’t fathom a better backpacking lamp at this point in time. It’s that good.
To sum it up, I will give some advice that I would be reluctant to give with most gear… Just go buy one. It’s that good. This is the rarest of cases where an incredibly durable piece of gear falls into the ultralight category, and does so without being overly expensive.