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Backpacker Magazine – October 2013

Gear Review: Princeton Tec Vizz

A headlamp for those wet weather climes.

by: Cameron Martindell

Princeton Tec Vizz (Bottom) - Ben Fullerton
Princeton Tec Vizz (Bottom) - Ben Fullerton

If your trip is going to get wet, this is your light. The battery case screws tight against a robust O-ring instead of just snapping closed, so the waterproof Vizz can withstand at least 30 minutes of submersion and still crank out 150 lumens on high—enough light to spy your next camp through a downpour. (Tip: Don’t overtighten the screw.) The Vizz is dialed to preserve your night vision: From the “off” setting, one quick press of the single button turns on the red light mode. Because it uses two bulbs, “it’s so much brighter than other red modes I’ve tried,” says one tester. Then just press and hold the button to fade the white light up from the dimmest flood setting, and click it twice to activate the brightest spotlight beam. “I quickly caught on to the mode cycle and could lock into the type of light I needed in seconds,” said one tester after a climbing trip in northern Utah.

Bonus: The Vizz had the longest burn time in the test (112 hours). A low-battery indicator starts blinking red at 97 hours (good), but doesn’t stop when you power down (annoying). $50; 2.8 oz.; IPX7; 3 AAAs; 150 lumens; Overall: 4 Ergonomics: 4.4

More Tester Feedback:
Quinton Brown: This light was built to stand up to whatever weather backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts may find themselves in. I would recommend this light to my friends. Bruce Kreutzer: This headlamp worked great when I was setting up a survival shelter in the middle of the night in the Indian Peaks Wilderness not far from Nederland, CO. The red setting was much brighter than expected and allowed enough light for detailed tasks such as knot tying.

Bridger Kroenke: This is a very robust headlamp, which will survive lots of abuse such as dust and bumps. However, it was difficult to open the battery jacket, even when using a pocketknife to pry it open. Ben Morrissey: I love this light. I would have no issue choosing it for a long trip. I was especially impressed with its red mode. I used the red mode a lot when I was sleeping out without a tent and it did a great job of preserving my night vision so I could see the night sky but at the same time, let me see what I was doing clearly.

Tim Schermerhorn: Overall I think that this is a solid headlamp. If you’re looking for one light to use for multiple activities this is it. I would use this light for almost all of my trips (hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, and general use).

Rachel Zurer: This is like a Swiss-army knife light: It has many functions that let it perform well in a lot of conditions. I used it for a variety of tasks (biking, sitting around camp, hiking in the dark, stargazing, reading, etc.). Might be overkill in both weight and features for someone just looking for some basic light.

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