The Princeton Tec Apex Pro gives you consistent light, strong durability, and hardcore adventure versatility.
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I've only used this headlamp a handful of times at this point (3-5 times no more than an hour each time, same batteries) and kept the intensity and the lower level as that was plenty of light. I've not yet felt the pain of buying new expensive batteries, but I understand rechargeables are a great alternative. Simply put, no complaints. You get what you think you are getting; a bright, reliable, bright! headlamp.
, no fear of walking the dog late in coyote territory. Only drawbacks I find are the cr-123 batteries which do not come cheap and second, they do not last as long as the manufacture claims. I must submit that I have never officially timed the battery life empirically, but after years of using a wide array of different lamps intrinsically I intuitively sense this to be the case.
The lith batteries may be experiencing performance degradation due to storage or exposure to cold that limits their effective life.
Overall this is a great headlamp in the 5 years I've owned it. However this will be the 2nd time I will be returning the headlamp back to P.T. for a replacement. A plastic piece broke off on the swivel hinge. I am happy it comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This headlamp easily beats out any competition I have ever encountered from anyone using a headlamp. The thing emits a powerful beam of light equivalent to staring at the surface of the sun, and one night while on a trad climb in Red River Gorge, it served me faithfully and provided an inordinately large amount of light for my whole group (4 guys plus packs) while climbing almost until midnight. Given the positives, there are also the negatives, albeit not (at least in my opinion) salient enough to deprecate my feelings about the lamp: 1) the battery pack can be a bit bulky whenever you're in a space where head room is at a premium, and it can become a bit heavy after a while, but just slip it off enough to relax the band for a few minutes and you can throw it back on, no problem; 2) it does NOT use AA or AAA batteries; instead it uses cr-123 batteries which can make or break your bank depending on where you buy them and in what quantity. Personally, I just bought some rechargeable ones from cr123batteries.com, so I can avoid buying many of them, given I am only going to be gone for a few days max. However, the web has distributors and purveyors where the batteries can be obtained in relatively bulk quantities for drastically cheaper than you will find buying them in smaller packs or when out on a trail. Overall though, I wouldn't trade it simply because of the amount of light that it is capable of putting out,and the ease with which it illuminates pitch black wilderness.
PTEC designs, engineers, manufactures and assembles our own products at our facilities in the great state of New Jersey, USA. The technology and products have evolved since we started in 1975. This is what the process looks like today.
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My friend asked me to come with him (aka have another guy just incase a sticky situation arose) on a whitewater rafting trip with his wife and her 2 female friends. The water level was low, there were lots of non-moving flatwater, and we had a ton of mileage to cover to make the campground before nightfall as planned. The campground was a small clearing where the cliffs broke and overshooting it would mean trouble. The girls were more interested in lounging in the sun than paddling which left me to awkwardly guide a whitewater raft by myself. We got caught in the moonless night and between trying to navigate shallow rocky sections and constantly pulling the raft off rock, this light was the only one out of 5 with enough throw to navigate a course down the river and desperately find the campground. The light output and waterproofing was everything I needed to get out of this hairy situation.
I've also used this whitewater kayaking in class 3 rapids at night. The waterproofing and tough body making rolling with this a non-issue.
The new model is 200 lumens and although my 130 lumen apex works just fine, I'm going to buy it anyway.
On a sidenote... I had to buy a headlamp with less output for getting around the campsite, hiking, and my favorite night climbing. This light is just too bright for those applications. It works for hiking, but you really don't need that much light, and a lamp with less power and longer life means less batteries = less weight.
P.S - anyone know what led/driver they're using in the 130 & 200 lumen models? I was thinking about switching out my 130 for a more powerful one. Not that its feasible, but imagine running a Luminus CST-90 in it (2700 lumens, 700m throw, 13.5 Amp max drive)!
I purchased this headlamp specifically because it uses CR123 batteries which meant that I can share the same power as my Steripen Adventure handheld UV water sanitizer. Having to only bring one type of battery on expedition really simplifies things.
On Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, I loved the fact that the headlamp will burn down every last ounce of power from it's batteries before quitting. Other headlamps will simply shut off if they don't get enough juice. This meant I could use the "dead" batteries from my Steripen for a few hours in the headlamp, which is quite economical.
In terms of performance, I had no issues. The light output is great on a full charge, though to maximize battery life, I usually kept the side-lights on (not the main bulb) and set to the lower setting. The light-weight of just two CR123 batteries is fantastic.
I would use this headlamp on most expeditions up to 8000m peaks. For 8000m and above, I'd consider taking a lamp that uses more batteries (sacrifice the weight savings) for performance under severe temperatures.
So far I really like this light..Im really surprised at how far LED technology has come over the years...just a few years ago if you wanted something this bright (actually brighter) you had to go with HID technology. My Light and Motion HID set up with 6hr lithium ion rechargeable battery was about a $700 set up, which I used for cycling mostly. I could ride full speed on my road bike or mtn bike with that set up. The Princeton tec headlamp isnt quite as bright but is very bright none the less. This is the first headlamp I've seen with LED technology where I would feel safe cycling at night. I'm more of a backpacker than a cyclist these days from old nagging injuries, but if I would ride my bike at night with this light it will most certainly work great while walking through the woods at night!
This headlamp is simply amazing. Wow !!
very bright with a large field of vision. 2 intensity. Also, i love the red light mode, almost a furtive mode, witch you can eyes of any animal quite far (at night of course). Lithium batteries is an plus, since they work well on cold weather, long life and small size. (CR123A).
Two brightness settings on the LEDs and a separate high-power incandescent - very useful. I use the "tactical" version of this thing with red LED's; smaller signature and allows your eyes to remain adjusted to low light. The top strap is not really needed and can be removed. The headlamp and stays put running. You will need to use something metal to open the battery housing as the recommended method works poorly. (A dog tag works great.) Also carry extra Lithium 123's if you will be out a while. Sure Fire makes a great spare battery carrier.
There is no better headlamp and I've tried them all. With 200 lumens it's SO bright and light and uses the same batteries as camera. Don't go for the cheaper model with the double A's it's too heavy.
A couple of questions
According to the Princeton website, the Princeton Tec Apex Pro gives off 200 lumens, but according to this website, it only gives off 130. As far as a I can tell, on the Princeton website, the Pro does not come with any coloured LEDs. Is the Pro being sold on Backcountry last year's model? I just want to make sure that I get the product I think I'm getting.
Also, how different are 130 and 200 lumens? I plan on using the headlamp for night trail running and mountain biking. Would 200 lumens make any real difference?
Greg, the new model lamps are indeed 200 lumens.
You will notice a decent difference moving up to the 200 lumen light, especially for trail running and mountain biking.
colored LED's are available. Affirm on the 200 Lumens which makes it like broad daylight.
For MTB you want more like 700 or more lumens. The faster you go the more you need.
200 is for walking or a desperate situation to get you out of the woods at a slow pace.
Ive logged many miles of night riding with an HID set up. This light is not quite that bright but would be sufficient for night riding. I could see it being a problem if your bombing down a technical descent at 40 mph but unless you only ride downhill this light should be enough. the problem you will run into is that the batteries go very fast in high mode and will automatically resort to low beam when the batteries start to go. Unless you dont mind spending a $100 a month on batteries I would look into a Light and Motion rechargeable set up but thats just me.....
I have not had any problems MTB with this headlamp. Maybe I am not riding as fast as some people do but it is sufficient for the trails and speed that I ride.
This was one of the first headlamps to use the CR123 batteries, which have a great power-to-weight ratio, have a long shelf life, and work better in cold weather. I used this headlamp primarily for adventure racing, where every ounce counts, but at the same time you want as much light as possible for nighttime navigation. The battery compartment is a little difficult to open, but I would rather have it that way instead of a non-watertight casing. Quality construction, bright light, low-weight. Buy the batteries online to save money, you can get them for around $1 apiece. Don't bother with rechargeables unless you only have short trips in mind.
Bomb proof, Bright, and theres only two buttons (easy to use), and worth the money
I brought this along side the BD Icon in preperation for a last minute camping trip last Nov. I ended up using it and the my partner the BD Icon to hike to and set up camp in near complete darkness, made even worse by the heavy fog. Safe to say we got really good use out of both headlamps from a camping/trekking prospective.
Quick comparisons between the two lamps:
Battery Life: As many have said, the battery life of the Princeton Apex is not near as long as the BD Icon. If you only use the Apex spotlight on mid-power, you can improve battery life a decent amount, but it's still a battery eater compared to the BD Icon which seems to be more efficient.
Cost: The BD Icon uses AA batteries which are much cheaper than the CR123 the Princeton requires.
Bad Weather Use: The CR123 batteries in the Princeton perform slightly better in the very cold than Alkaline AA. However, if you buy Lithium Ion AA, you can get similar performance. Both lamps are pretty water tight, though the Apex claims to be waterproof while the Icon does not.
Rechargeable Option: The BD icon supports the NRG battery pack by BD. There's nothing similar for the Princeton Apex, however your can find rechargeable batteries for it if you look hard enough. As noted before, CR123 batteries the Apex uses are the same batteries used by the Steripen. I can use my solar charger for my Steripen to charge rechargeable CR123's. Very nifty.
Brightness: The brightness difference between the two lamps is noticable, but barely. The Apex puts out a little more light, but the light also appears to be a bit more "pure" than that of the BD Icon. Both lamps performed perfectly in our conditions.
Weight: The Princeton Apex is noticeably lighter weight than the BD Icon
Build: The Princeton is noticeably better built than the BD Icon. While the Icon is a solid product, the Apex simply feels more rugged due to it's compact design. Case in point, I'm replacing the BD Icon because of an over-torqued screw that keeps the battery compartment together. Granted it was likely user error, but I doubt you'd be able to do the same with the Princeton.
Ultimately, the decision is between the Princeton Apex and the BD Icon for me, is one between build versus battery life. The Apex weighs less and built a bit more solidly, but the BD Icon has longer battery life. I'll be probably keeping the Princeton Apex for hardcore use and getting a Petzl e+Light to use to conserve battery life when in more casual situations.
After a nighttime snowshoe outing my old headlamp did little more than let me see the 20 ft ahead of me. 4 years later, my Apex Pro is spotting the trail as I run, helping me navigate in fresh snow at night. Main bulb(3-Watt) sends out a nice spotlight while the four other bulbs provides a more than illuminated perimeter light. You know there is serious light output when there is an aluminum radiator on the back of the bulb housing...
The perimeter on low is what I use when hiking on an established at night trail while(and even when jogging on trails at night). I don't know if it is my model's age or the cold temperatures it has endured, but I have noticed some cracks on my casing. If they develop further I will return my light and get the newest model.
Warning! This is not for up close use! Your hiking partners will ask you to turn this off while in camp every time you turn it on. I have since bought a Petzl e+LITE for use in the tent and around the campsite and have saved my eyes as well from overly bright light.
Another heads up, the CR123 Lithiums are expensive! Some stores sell them for almost $20 bucks for two. Surefire sells a 12 pack of them for $30.
great for night hike
So the harvest moon was last night (9-23-10). I used this as a light in the shady parts (yes, the moon was that awesome) of Phil's World, a great ride outside of Cortez, and it was awesome! That is not necessarily what it was made to do, but it performed beautifully! Four of the girls on the ride used Princeton Tec headlamps, and they worked great. Full disclosure - My company, Verde PR, does the PR for Princeton Tec. That's how we had the product to seed to them for review... It's a super bright light and stayed in place (wore it on my helmet).
I used this headlamp for Rainier in July. It was sooo bright. I brough backup batteries just in case, but the battery lasted plenty long. There are many different power settings, and the buttons are easy to access. I'm stoked that it's supposed to be so water resistant too, since sometimes I need it out in the rain for long hours. It's pretty light, powerful, and sweet! All for a great price. The batteries for it are super expensive though and a little awkward to get in the casing.
I've used this headlamp many times outdoors, but tonight my power went out and I'm using it to finish reading my current book - much easier than holding a flashlight and better light than a candle.