Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Worlds Lightest Headlamp?

I'm not sure if this is the worlds lightest headlamp, but at 0.3 ounces it just might be! Have I gone too far? Maybe not...

Start with a Photon X-Light Micro key chain light, which costs about 10 bucks at REI and other retailers. Remove the metal clip and loop from the light. Then cut a piece of 1/16" shock cord about two feet long and fish it through the loop on the end of the light. Add cord lock, tie a knot at the end, and this Make your own gear project is done!

The light is very bright for its size and weight. Don't get me wrong...it isn't like the multi-bulb "ultralight" headlamps that can weigh 5-10 times more. But unless you are night hiking with no moon, this light is probably bright enough for the tasks you do around camp after dark.

If you're not using the light, you can wear it like a necklace and not even know it's there. Want a little general indirect lighting? Turn it on and let it hang around your neck, on a tree limb, or anywhere else you can find. It  also works great as an overhead light in your tent!

Because of the shape of the end of the light, you can wear it in three positions. Angled up, straight ahead, or angled down. Just tighten the cord lock and it stays put. 

When you pack it away, put it in a safe place so you don't lose it! You might want to have several...your backpack, day pack, car, work.


  1. Let me get this straight. You put a light on a string and you're calling it a headlamp? Why not put a trashbag on your back and call it a pack?


  2. @ Anonymous
    If you think about it, a headlamp is just that...a light on an elastic strap (not a string). If you want something bigger, you get to carry more weight.

    I suppose if a trash bag works, more power to you. Your backpacking style is a very personal choice.

  3. Look at this: http://www.abload.de/img/p1070702k3vn.jpg based on the idea of Laufbursche (http://laufbursche.blogspot.com/). You wear the lamp on the side so you can adjust the beam height.

  4. Hmmmm... I happen to love this idea! I rather have a light that actually happens to be brighter than those big heavy "head lamps", that weights so little and that I can use in so many other ways. Thank you for always trying to come up with ways to make Ultra Light Weight Backpacking even lighter! :)

  5. I've been thinking about the Petzl e+LITE (1 oz.) for a while, but when I saw this, I thought heck, 0.3 oz. and a little less than 1/2 the cost.. cool. Then I started thinking about battery life, and beam brightness -I originally found your blog with the review of the caldera cone article (When is heavier better?). I guess what I was wandering is if you could answer these questions, since the batteries are a bit pricy.. really both lights use batteries that are in the $5 range.

  6. Hi Patrick,
    I think the Petzl is very cool and probably a bit brighter than Photon, but the Photon does everything I need so I stick with it. I don't do much night hiking...if you do, I think you'll want to go with something brighter. The Photon uses 2-CR2016 batteries, and I always carry a spare set with me. I don't tend to use the light that much because if it's light out, I'm probably walking, and if it's dark, I'm probably sleeping, so my battery life may not be the same as yours. I only change the batteries a couple times a year.

  7. And I thought I was a genius for coming up with this design! I used 1/4" flat elastic so it sits better on my head and I have a red photon in addition to the white one. Great minds think alike!

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