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Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE

10.17.18

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Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE

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  • Side by side comparison of the Petzl Bindi and the e+LITE with a Nalgene for comparison.- Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • The fastening system tightening on the back with a pull string. - Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • The settings are easily visible on the face of the e+LITE, as is it's little flexi stem and the pill box it comes in. - Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • Side by side light comparison of the Bindi and e+LITE.- Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • Late night walks are made easier by the e+LITE.- Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • Side by side comparison between the e+LITE's 50 lumens and the Bindi's output. - Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • It's often handy to have other people with lights around when you're using the e+LITE.- Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • But if you forget your headlamp or spare batters, it's way better than nothing. - Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
  • Or you manage to kill or lose a whole headlamp, it's way more useful than batteries. - Gear Review: Petzl e+LITE
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Pro Contributor

Petzl e+LITE specs

  • 50 lumen max output, 10 meter beam
  • Five light modes: 50 lumens (9 hrs), 15 lumens (12 hrs), 2 lumens red (15 hrs), strobe red and strobe white (95 hrs)
  • 26 grams without the protective case
  • IPX 7 rating (waterproof to -1 meter)

Where to get it

The Bottom Line: Brendan Leonard recently wrote that you should keep your spare headlamp batteries in another headlamp. Being the weight weenie I am, I went for the lightest I could get, and it's a great choice. Long lasting batteries make it a superb tuck-in-and-forget back-up option. It's easy to use, and while the 50 lumens is underwhelming, it definitely gets the job done for a fraction of the weight.  

Let's get the first things out the of way. This headlamp is the definition of ultralight. At 26 grams, you know every part has been considered carefully, and it shows. In terms of features, it's simple enough. A small lever rotates through the various light modes. It sits flush in lock mode and seems to be pretty hard to turn on even when not in it's case. The LED sits on the face, and it has no bulb for direction or concentration, so it casts a wide and indirect light. The elastic headband is tightened by a toggle that doubles as whistle.

When in use, the light is...well, it doesn't live up to the 50 Lumens. With fresh batteries, the 10 meters advertised is just reachable. Not with any clarity, mind you. I bought this thinking of the mountaineers of the 1990s who used halogen lights with 20 lumens and how incredible this little device was. Using it recently for a four-hour hike, I had to strain to make out details at my feet. While the area around me was well illuminated thanks to the very broad beam, details like slippery logs were a little harder to interpret with the 15 lumen beam that I was using to conserve the battery. The 50 lumen setting wasn't a huge improvement, and I decided that more light was better than no light. I was able to descend, though, and the headlamp played a big part in that, so I am thankful. If it hadn't been for this headlamp, I would have only had a set of batteries in my first-aid kit. 

Now, I admit this light had seen at least four hours of use prior to this trip, so it wasn't operating on peak performance. Even on max power it isn't as bright as one might expect from 50 lumens. I was imaging the Tikkina 2 with it's 23 lumens, or my venerable BD Cosmo, with 50 lumens that lasted me ages, and it didn't compare to that. Does it make this tool unusable? Absolutely not. This isn't meant to be a primary light source. But I was surprised by how much this light wasn't really an improvement over it's predecessor. Don't get me wrong, I still love and use this little monster regularly, but just don't be fooled by the bold claim of 50 lumens. At this time I am trying to see if I can source a bulb that would direct and harness these 50 lumens for a truly superb device. Stay tuned.  

In terms of use, I have two central purposes for the e+LITE. The first is when I go on longer runs in the alpine where I expect to be home a couple of hours before dark but I bring a headlamp just in case. While my Reactik+ is a superior running headlamp, it's nearly five times the weight, and if the plan is to not need a headlamp, having the option to basically forego a headlamp is ideal. The second place I put it is in my first-aid kit. It basically lives there when not in use. I do keep it in it's case to make it easy to find and organize. This has come in handy when I've forgotten my headlamp, as I am disappointingly prone to doing. And the e+LITE is definitely one of the best options for this. It's ultralight, durable, and simple. For many people, something like the UCO Hundred is likely a better value despite being double the weight. But if you're committed to keeping things as light as possible, this is the only choice, and it works great as a backup. 

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