Last week I decided to sign up for Surrey Search & Rescue (Link). I’m outdoors testing gear most of the time anyway so I thought I’d put that to some good use. They have an induction test which comprises a six-mile hilly footpath hike which you have to complete in under two hours. Sounds easy, but mine was a night hike on a moonless night, which without a decent light could have been a problem.
I press-ganged Princeton Tec’s UK distributor into giving me a Remix headlight to test out on the hike, and I’m very glad I did. I started the hike using an Icon Link hand torch, but whilst it’s beam is very intense, it’s also very narrow which was hard to walk with. I switched to the Princeton Tec Remix quite early on and played with the modes as we walked.
You’ll see that the Remix has four LEDs – a single extremely bright one, and a cluster of three very bright ones. The cluster of three can be set to two levels of brightness. We were out long enough on the hike that I was able to walk easily with them set to their lowest, which casts a wide glow akin to that of a camping lantern. It’s easily bright enough to read a map by and my eyes became easily accustomed to it. On it’s slightly brighter setting you get the same wide spread with a little more intensity to make out gnarly bits of terrain.
Holding down the button for a couple of seconds switches the three very bright LEDs off, and the single Extremely bright LED kicks in. That bad boy kicks out a much narrower, but much more intense light that you can use to pick out the eyes of beasties looking at you from the bushes. I found it bright enough to illuminate trees 100ft away. It’s bloody bright.
Like all head torches – and I’m prepared to accept that I’m alone in this view – I find that if I have the Remix angled slightly downward to light the path in front of me, I get a light haze on the tops of my eyes. I actually tend to carry most head torches in my hand unless I need them for other things.
The Remix is powered by a set of three AAA batteries. It’s okay weight-wise and didn’t feel like it wanted to slip down my forehead at any point. It weighs in at 80g (inc batteries), which isn’t much more than a Snickers bar. The batteries will give you 200 hours of light on the lowest setting and 28 hours on the very brightest beam, which is pretty good and ideal for Search & Rescue work.
The Remix is rated as Splashproof (IPX4) which means it’ll be fine in rain, but not for going into waterfalls or submersion. That’s fine for my usage. I hope.
SUMMARY: The Princeton Tec Remix is a lovely little head torch which makes walking at night easy with its wide beam and oddly natural light. The intense narrow-beam mode is excellent for picking out details at distance (or blinding the guy next to you when you forget you’re wearing it) and the whole package is light and the batteries last long enough that it can be a great travel or outdoor-work tool.
Price: £35 ish
More: Princeton Tec