Lightest and Cheapest
“Thru-hiker approved,” says a tester who carried the tiny Lenser on the 500-mile Colorado Trail. The long-lasting, superefficient LED did nearly as well on a single AAA as others did with three, and the LED housing is smaller than a quarter, which makes it a no-brainer for ounce-counters.
As with a lot of superlight gear, some functionality is sacrificed for weight savings: The Lenser has one brightness setting, and while it can light up maps and perform other in-camp tasks, its diffuse, violet-colored light didn’t have enough gusto to spot far-off trail blazes on extended night hikes. It is bright enough for street joggers, with a well-balanced fit and two rear-facing blue LEDs that let cars keep track of you. In the morning, the Lenser balls up smaller than a plum tomato. Drawback: only two inches of strap adjustment.