Princeton Apex Headlamp review.

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Woods Walker
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Princeton Apex Headlamp review.

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:55 am

I just had to get one of those new higher end Headlamps. Not that my Princeton Aurora is bad but curiosity drove me to purchase a newer regulated model. Here is a description from the company’s web site.

http://www.ptsportlights.com/products/i ... pe=1&use=0

“The Apex is the pinnacle of waterproof LED headlamp design, boasting up to 60 lumens of output. With its four light levels, safety flash mode, and impact-resistant design, the Apex is an ideal headlamp for any hardcore adventure. The Apex combines a regulated three-watt Maxbright LED with four regulated Ultrabright LEDs, for Constant Brightness on all modes. Switching modes has never been easier —the dual switch system allows you to independently control the intense, smooth, long-range lighting from the Maxbright LED, and the wide-angle, close-range lighting from the four Ultrabright LEDs. Proprietary heat sink technology allows the LEDs to burn brighter and longer. The Apex is compatible with alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable batteries.”

The Headlamp boasts a heat sink to prevent heat from the 3-watt Maxbright LED causing any damage. It will reduce the output until the temp drops. I have not seen any issues with heat and if the Lumen output dropped I never noticed. I like the tinny LED that reports how much juice remaining in the batteries.

Here is the headlamp.

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It takes 4 AA batteries in a power pack and has proven waterproof in the field so far. The company says it is waterproof down to one meter. This is fine as I am waterproof only up to my nose. There is an O ring in the battery pack that can fall out when opened so keep an eye on it.

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I know that posting photos of light output is like a High definition advertisement being played on a black and white TV but here goes.

These are the 4 Ultrabright side LEDs. They can be set in 3 modes. High, Low and Blink.

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These are the 4 Ultrabrights in the field illuminating a tree at maybe 10 feet.

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This is the 3-watt Maxbright center LED. It has a High and Low setting.

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This is the 3-watt LED illuminating a tree at maybe 20 feet.

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My overall impression of the 3-watt output was fairly good in the context of a headlight. The rated output is 60 lumens on high but my Surefire or Inova T3 has greater output. But the Apex is very impressive. The beam is more of a spot light and goes out far. Enough light spillover occurs to illuminate the whole area. Not Surefire Good but darn fine with a longer run time too. Check the company link for the Stats. I have not used the light in the field enough to determine the accuracy of the claims.

The down sides.

This is not an Ultralight headlamp. With batteries it weighted 9.8 oz on my scale. I guess this weight could be mitigated by the fact you really don’t need a separate more powerful light for spotlighting etc in addition to the headlamp. However 9.8 oz loaded is still 9.8 oz that was felt some on my head but nothing that was unbearable. I have fallen asleep wearing my Aurora. The Apex is not comfortable enough to pull that off. The freak factor can’t be overlooked too. Wearing this thing makes someone look kinda odd. You decide.

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Post by BloodLust » Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:33 am

I was thinking of purchasing that headlamp. I love the Princeton Tec products. But since I was looking for something a bit more lightweight, I opted for the Princeton Tec EOS and I attached a Princeton Tec Pilot on the side to serve as a back-up/lower output light which also uses an Ultrabright LED. I also use the Pilot for reading.

One other thing which made me choose the EOS is that there is no battery pack attached to the back as I find this uncomfortable when reading lying down as per my experience with the Black Diamond NightRay despite it being a relatively lightweight headlamp.

Congratulations on the purchase though. I'd love to have an Apex myself. It just didn't suit my needs and budget for the moment. :wink:
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Post by mrkash » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:34 pm

I decided to upgrade my headlamp to a newer and better model. I've been poking around for a while and found something I like with decent reviews. I did a search on ZS and found this thread. (Thanks WoodsWalker!) It pushed me over the edge.

I was able to get a 15% discount on the REI website by using coupon code NBMVE7. Since I am an REI member I will also recieve a kickback at the end of the year.

Yea, new toys!!!
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Post by Jamie » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:35 pm

Thanks for the review WW!

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Post by Woods Walker » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:50 pm

I forgot all about this thread. The Apex works great and proven it's worth.
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Post by Buddha » Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:44 pm

I have a PETZEL head lamp. But like most things I bought it a while ago.
It has been through some rough weather and still stands up. Looks like every time I open a new thread I find something eles I want to buy. Nice work on the review.
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Post by Impus » Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:43 pm

I picked up the same headlamp in the 'Lou last April, and have been using it for hiking/kayaking/ working on the van. So far:

Happy with the battery life
Happy with the brightness except...
Wish it had a low "redlight" setting for when I want to check a map without attracting too much attention
Happy with the comfort/weight/says-on-your-headability
OK with the waterproofness...

After a couple of really wet paddle trips, I was gearing up for another and checked the lamp. Turned it on, turned itself off... Repeat, repeat... Completely disassembled lamp, let it air out for a few minutes, reassembled. Worked like a champ. Actually, I'm kinda impressed that it had a good enough circuit breaker to keep from being damaged with water in the housing. Just annoyed that any got in in the first place. I will use this light in wet and rain, but make a point of not subjecting it to submersion for long.

Oh, and dis/reassembly was not particularly tricky. Always a plus.
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Post by mrkash » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:45 pm

Great info guys! I'm all gitty like a young school girl with a new puppy. I can't wait for it to come in. :lol:
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Post by JCD » Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:25 pm

I picked up a Yukon HL (228 grams, whatever that means). It has a three LED setting and a 1 watt LED.

Its a bit heavy, but it lasts for 120 hours on 3 AA batteries. I picked it because I wanted to keep one style of batteries for my gear and it seemed to be a great light for the price.
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Post by BAD BOY » Sat Dec 01, 2007 7:06 am

That's simular to the Black Diamond Zenix headlamp I currently use with a few more lights and batts. I really like the Zenix cause it's lightweight but I would like something with a little more throw since I'm always the group leader. I'll pass the Zenix down the the woman.

Thanks for the excellent review, that's on my list of possibilities now.

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Post by Impus » Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:35 pm

JCD: Battery type was one of the "non-negotiable" parameters guiding my choice. So far, everything powered in my load-out for hiking/kayaking/bug-out runs on AAs. Except for the VHF marine radio I take on open water, which takes a proprietary battery. But that lasts for weeks since I only use it to check weather alerts and call for help if dying.

But you got me to thinking, The BOB is a 72-hour bag overlaid on some INCH necessities, how many AAs will it take to run all my gear for 72 hours continuous? There's not much; Garmin GPS, Apex Headlamp, Mini Maglight, and I need to add some commo besides the marine radio. As part of my non-bugout gear, I carry a camera which sips dantily at four AAs. These would be spares in an emergency. But if I needed light and navigation for 72 hours straight? Test time...
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Post by mrkash » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:27 pm

The fact the Apex used AA was another reason I picked it. I use AA on most of my gear. (GPS, radio, scanner, HEADLAMP)

So I went ahead and purchased a few of these...
http://www.inanycase.com/Merchant2/merc ... -BATUCA-BW
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This fits perfectly into a small MOLLE pouch. 8)
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Post by Impus » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:44 pm

Mrkash, thank you! One of those things you don't even know you need until you see one. Before I order, can you give us an idea of how waterproof/sturdy these things are?
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Post by canuck » Mon Dec 03, 2007 5:04 pm

Great review. If you're looking for a better lamp I reccomend a Tikka from Petzl. Able to illuminate distances, has a boost and strobe function, all that. If you want a red filter get the Tactikka. They run on AAAs.
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