Weight: 27 grams
The luggage gods are not kind. Multiple times, when traveling internationally, I’ve had to wait days for my luggage to catch up with me. I’m starting to get used to it–but it becomes problematic when I’m scheduled to guide clients and my gear is in airline purgatory. This was the case at the outset of a recent twelve-day trip to the Alps. Luckily, my bags arrived on the first evening as we prepared to leave for a backcountry hut. But one of our clients was not so lucky–her bag had not arrived by the time we departed. Between me and the other guide, we assembled an ample amount of climbing gear for the client. She ended up with my normal LED headlamp, and I pulled the Petzl e+lite from my first aid kit to use for myself.
The e+lite has never gone back into my first aid kit–it now serves as my all-around headlamp. Petzl designed the e+lite to be a secondary headlamp that would live in the bottom of your pack, first aid kit or glove box until an emergency situation would mandate using it. With this is mind, Petzl crafted the e+lite at an unbelievably light 27 grams. They also included two lithium watch batteries designed to last up to ten years in storage. Additionally, the e+lite is waterproof and has the ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Despite its lightweight, minimalist design, I continually am amazed at its luminosity. It features three settings for the white LED (including a flash option), as well as a red LED that allows you to see at night while preserving your night vision. The brightest setting of the main LED provides enough light for predawn route finding while approaching climbs, and I used the red LED in bunkrooms of crowded huts without fear of blinding people in the middle of the night.
In order to accommodate an easy fit, the e+lite’s thin elastic strap is equipped with a cordlock. It also features a clip that can attach to a pack strap, hat or just about anything else. Adding to the ease of use, the headlamp swivels 360 degrees on a ball socket.
Since I use the e+lite all the time, I had to track down some replacement batteries. Petzl claims that the two included batteries will last forty-five hours. Mine, however, didn’t quite make it that long before becoming too dim to use. New batteries are two dollars apiece–not bad compared to the cost of replacing AAAs in a standard LED headlamp–and weigh less than a nickel each.
Overall, the e+lite is good for emergencies and great for going light. In my mind, the design of this product is the closest I’ve seen to perfection for a headlamp in a long while.
Pros: Although marketed for emergencies, this headlamp’s light weight, small size and waterproof qualities make it a great ultralight torch; has both white and red modes; features are well designed.
Cons: Light does not stay bright for as long as Petzl claims.