Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp

by dpm | 09/26/2013

Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp


If you're as ancient as I am, you probably remember taking a flashlight on a camping trip, if you even remember what a flashlight was. They were these archaic, cylindrical devices that you would hold in your mouth while trying to rip open the mac and cheese packet in the dark, simultaneously trying to aim it and not drool all down the handle which was inevitable. Then came the battery-powered headlamp, which got rave reviews from the coal-mining industry, but there were some definite drawbacks to taking it camping and climbing. The box of batteries strapped to the back of your head balanced out the weight of the front but the incandescent bulbs usually burned out right before you started down that 1000-ft. rappel.

Headlamps have come a long way; most of them now fit in the palm of the hand and weigh under 100 grams, but the first generation of LED headlamps were dim. The Princeton Tec Vizz is the first headlamp I've used that employs the lightweight benefits of LED technology, yet still casts a powerful beam like the old flashlight I used to drool on.

Slightly larger than a matchbox and weighing just 92 grams, the Vizz has a single strap headband and can be angled up or down to adjust the direction of light. A single button on top controls three light modes. One press of the button turns on a pair of red LED's for close-range lighting that won't wreck your night vision. Press-and-hold turns on a pair of white LED's that offer a low-level, even light sufficient for cooking, messing around camp, or hiking on a trail. A double tap turns on what I call the, "What was that?" light; the brightest beam I've ever seen come out of a LED lamp. The 165-lumen spot beam is powerful enough to find whatever just made that crashing noise in the forest or locate the next rappel station when you're descending into the blackness.

The Vizz also offers a "lock mode," employed by a  triple-press of the button, which prevents the light from accidently turning on in your pack. The translucent switch has a low battery indicator as well, which flashes red when the three AAA batteries drop to 20% capacity. No more surprise battery failures and you can use Lithium, rechargeable, or standard Alkaline batteries. One of my favorite features is that it's also completely waterproof to a depth of one meter so you could actually go swimming with it. Packed with every feature you could need, the Vizz is light and bright enough for any nighttime activity, whether it's hands-free mac and cheese cooking or climbing through the night on El Capitan.