Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Fenix HL35 headlamp

First seen on Breach Bang&Clear here ...

My pal Sean from G8 sent me a pre-release Fenix HL35 LED headlamp to review, which was awesome to have happen, and very timely for us here.
I've covered a number of Fenix lights previously, from the unusually designed TK51, to the mighty LD60 and the very handy E99Ti keychain light to the very practical domed CL20 camp lantern. The HL35 is the next iteration of the existing Fenix headlamp range, and whist some of the stats are still unpublished, here's what I can tell you.

It is an aluminium housed, high performance headlamp boasting three levels of light from the main LED (assuming similar stats to the HL25 a maximum of 4/50/280 lumens while in burst mode, and a 223ft beam distance). A second, red LED is built in as well, and the selection button on the side of the housing cylinder next to the power button. You cycle through the four modes once the light is on with this. 1) steady white light (cycle through power setting with power button), 2) steady red light, 3) slow flashing white light 4) fast flashing red light. The main light is cycled through its three settings by pressing the power button, once lit and both LED's are shut off by holding the power button down. Holding the Mode button down will cause the light to come up on its maximum setting, before allowing you to cycle through the modes. The lamp is fitted in a bezel and is rotatable 60 degrees in the front, with a nice sturdy ratchet action, and well crenelated ends to facilitate the turn.

Built to resist the elements, the HL35 is waterproof to 2m, impact resistant at 1m and incursion protected to an IPX-8 rating. The HL35 is powered by 2 AA batteries.

The HL35 measures 66mm (3.2") wide, 45mm (1.8") "deep", and weighs about 90g (3.2oz) so it's remarkably dense, but not too weighty. the around the head and over the crown elastic headbands. These are usually the part of headlamps that I like the least; that the lamp part either flops around or the band is awkward. The HL35 is very stable, with a thin closed cell foam pad holding it in place and adding some comforting padding and the elastic is adjustable both in circumference and over the top.

One thing about the lamp, the two buttons are a little differentiate, especially with gloves on. I was rummaging in a dark nasty place this week, and needed to not bring too much attention to myself (don't ask, but I have a strong stomach), and it was tricky to select the right option with the gloves I had on. Working out which button was the power, and would let me alternate the three light levels, and which was the mode button, and inadvertently set me to strobing, was a problem.  I feel that even with the mode button being stippled, and a bit larger, the fact that they are both side-by side makes that tricky, especially when gloved.

That said, it's the first headlamp I've had where I didn't cringe at having to put on and use, the light was crisp and well cast, and it was comfortable to wear. If you're in the market, it would be well worth a look in.

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