Gear Gear Reviews

GEAR GURU: YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE

Having enough light at camp was something that used to do my head in. I have tried all sorts of things, from fragile gas element lights to dolphin torches tied up a gumtree on a bit of rope, all of which suffered the same fault. They took up too much space for something that wasn’t actually very efficient. At all!

It has only been since the manic influx of LED technology in recent years that have we started seeing lighting products that are powerful, efficient and affordable. But how do you know where to start looking? Well my friends, what we have here is fourteen of the coolest LED lighting solutions available on the market, guaranteed to turn night into day. There is everything from head torches to work lights and even something for the kids as well. What we can promise you however; the old dolphin torch on a bit of rope doesn’t even get a mention… and never will again!

PRINCETON
TEC VIZZ HEADLAMP

If you’re the type of person who can’t deal with compromise, then this is the LED headlamp for you. A 150 lumen spot beam LED creates long-throw illumination and a pair of white LEDs delivers a dimmable flood beam offering the best of both worlds no matter what you are trying to illuminate. To take things to the next level, two red LEDs are installed that handle close-range lighting and preserve night-adjusted vision. An IPX7 waterproofing rating means the Vizz is more than durable enough for outdoor use, and regulated circuitry allows use of lithium batteries.

Priced from $75

PETZL TIKKA RXP REACTIVE HEADLAMP

Charging a phone or tablet from a USB port is nothing new, but how about being able to charge your headlamp? The Petzl Tikka RXP Reactive Headlamp has a built-in USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery, making it suitable for those who will use the lamp frequently. With a wide, mixed or focused beam light, it can be adapted to suit most situations and terrains. The neatest thing about this headlamp though is the reactive lighting technology that uses a sensor to automatically adjust light output to suit the conditions. This is one seriously high-tech LED headlamp!

Priced from $175

BLACK DIAMOND ION HEADLAMP

If size and style is at a premium when shopping for your next personal lighting solution, take a good long look at the Black Diamond Ion headlamp. The Ion is the smallest and lightest in the Black Diamond range. Punching out 80 lumens of shear white light makes this one very practical unit. Even more so when you consider it happily sips power from just two AAA batteries that are easily and readily available. A really cool feature of the Black Diamond Ion is the fact the touch control housing lets you switch light modes with the swipe of a finger. When you consider Black Diamond have managed to squeeze full power, dimmed, strobe and red night vision modes into this tiny package, it’s hard to not be impressed.

Priced from $50

LED LENSER H7.2 HEADLAMP

Sometimes too much is never enough, which is why the LED Lenser H7.2 headlamp deserves a mention here, largely due to the huge light output offered. Yep, how does 250 lumens sound? So while it’s brighter than a Rolling Stones concert, it’s also really quite small weighing in at just 165g. It’s waterproof too, with a rating of IPX4. When all is said and done, LED Lenser claim this headlamp has a massive beam range of up to 160m, and has a maximum burn time of 60 hours. If you like relying on statistics when making a purchase, you can hardly argue with those figures!

Priced from $100

PRINCETON TEC BOT KID’S HEADLAMP

Kids love toys, but they also love to have their own bit of camping kit just like mum or dad. So the idea of getting them their own headlamp makes plenty of sense, but what do you do… buy a large (and boring) adult size light or battle through the wave of cheap kiddies products that aren’t designed to last much past the time you take them out of their box? This is why we like the Princeton Tec Bot kid’s headlamp. It’s built tough and offers more than enough light from the pair of ultrabright LEDs while still being entertaining for the kids to own and use. It’s all about compromise sometimes, and Princeton has hit the nail on the head here.

Priced from $25

IRONMAN LED SENSOR HEADLAMP

Headlamps might be about as sexy as a carton of milk, but you can’t deny how practical they are. If you haven’t used one, try going fishing and holding a torch at the same time, and let us know how much fun you have! What is cool about the Ironman headlamp is the fact it is sensor operated. All you have to do to activate the light is wave your hand in front of it. The benefit here is the ability to turn the light on with your hands full, without having to fumble for the on-off switch. It’s not just clever though, it’s superbly functional too with up to 94 lumens of output from the super bright white LED.

Priced from $40

ARB HEADLAMP

When you buy a quality item, you want a complete package. Which is exactly what you get with the ARB headlamp – everything including the batteries! The 5W 6500k Cree LED light used has been chosen to offer the perfect balance between performance and reliability. This is especially true when you consider it has been mated to a hard-wearing anodised aluminium body with focus adjustment for a wide or narrow light beam patterns. The lamp can be hinged for further adjustability, and will run for up to seven hours without changing the batteries. There are three lighting modes which are activated via a simple push button switch on top of the lamp, meaning this headlamp is as convenient as it is practical.

Priced from $30

GOAL ZERO TORCH 250

For the more adventurous types, bringing along the Goal Zero Torch 250 makes as much sense as bringing a water bottle and a map while exploring. You need this! It’s tough, and has built-in redundancy to cover any situation. But what does it do? It’s a flashlight, floodlight and emergency red beacon all in one. Goal Zero claim this is the most reliable emergency light for any situation. It has a built-in USB port and cable, a red light for emergency situations, and a built-in solar panel and hand crank for quick charging when finding an electrical outlet isn’t a possibility.

Priced from $120

LED LENSER P7

Torches aren’t torches these days, and this is especially true now that LED technology has allowed manufacturers to build smaller and smaller units. Which is why the LED Lenser P7 is so impressive. It’s not just another small torch, this is actually a step into the future. Featuring an advanced focus system reflector-lens, a speed focus, and redesigned battery cartridge offering amazing performance from such a small package. Stop buying cheapies from the $2 shop, and get yourself the last compact torch you will ever need to buy.

Priced from $105

NARVA 71320 CORDLESS INSPECTION LIGHT

The Narva 71320 is the big-boy in the Narva inspection light range, and is a sight you will spot in pretty much every workshop in this country. Why? Well because they are bright, reliable, durable and feature a fold away hook to allow for creative mounting options. Those very reasons are why you should consider one for your vehicle or camping setup, too. They work brilliantly as mechanical inspection lights during unexpected breakdowns (does anyone ever break down during the day?), but can be used as a torch or camp light just as easily. The rubberised external coating is a good feature too, as it will absorb bumps and bruises from the road without costly damage. Again, this is why nearly every mechanic has one!

Priced from $185

EXPEDITION CENTRE FLEXIBLE LED CAMP LIGHT

It’s hard to not love a decent vehicle mounted awning in terms of sheer convenience and ease of set-up. But illuminating them effectively has always been a bit of a black art… or a bit of a backyard operation. This is why we were excited to see this flexible LED light that simply clips onto the extension poles of any awning with a series of velcro hooks. Two lengths are available (600mm and 1200mm) utilising up to 72 x 5050 SMD Chip LED lights. There is even a dimmer switch incorporated, so you can set the mood just right. Being flexible, the entire package folds neatly into a convenient carry pouch for easy storage, too.

Priced from $55 – $75,
size dependant

NATIONAL LUNA FIX MOUNT LED LIGHTS

For the camper trailer owners out there, or anyone looking for a quality, permanently mounted compact LED light, take a look at these guys! The National Luna Fix Mount LED Lights are available in a range of sizes producing from 176 lumens all the way up to 616 lumens depending on your requirements. The plastic base allows for easy installation, and the lights even incorporate a built-in switch to allow for neater wiring. All-in-all, these are a concise, practical and durable option for those looking for a permanently installed light.

Priced from $30 – $80,
size dependant

KAYMAR TELESCOPIC WORKLIGHT

If you own a wagon with a rear-mounted spare tyre, then this could the product for you. This telescopic work light bolts onto your spare tyre bracket, and can then be raised or lowered to your desired height. Featuring eight 3W LED lights mounted in individual reflectors for maximum efficiency, the light output is generous. It can be wired to activate off an internal cabin mounted switch, however a large external switch is built into the stand for easy operation. If you are looking for a simple, effective and well built camp light that doubles as a reverse and work light, you may have just found your next excuse to open your wallet.

Priced from $260

DOBLE SOLAR POWERED TENT POLE

Are you looking for that latest innovation that will be the envy of the whole campsite? The Doble Solar Powered Tent Pole is an all-in-one package that incorporates a stainless steel telescopic tent pole with a built-in light and charging system. Not only is it a pole and a light though, the charging system and lithium-ion phosphate rechargeable batteries can be used to charge multiple devices such as your phone or tablet via two inbuilt USB ports. If you want to take things to the next level, an additional 5W solar panel can be purchased separately as well.

Priced from $160

Words by Evan Spence

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