Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Winter Lighting

Winter backpacking in Scotland is one of short days and long nights and reliable lighting both for potentially walking in the dark and around camp is a necessity.

My primary headlamp is the Petzl MYO XRP it’s a programmable and power regulated LED light with 3 user defined light levels ranging from 13 to 141 lumens in 10 steps, plus and a ‘Boost’ override button that chucks out 205 lumens.  I’ve found that the lowest level (1 = 13 lumen) is quite adequate for use around camp with the diffuser in place; for general walking power level 3 or 4 is good, the only time I’ve used the high setting (8) or the boost is when winter climbing.  Since the LED’s have a regulated power supply the light can be used with Lithium cells which are more reliable in winter (cold) as well as providing extended life.  The headlamp isn’t particularly light at 146g (including the lithium cells) but I reckon the functionality is worth the weight.

As a backup (and my summer headlamp) I carry the Petzl E-Light which has two light levels the lower is quite sufficient around camp or for digging the spare cells for your main headlamp from the rucksack and installing them, in the high mode there is plenty of light, 27 lumens (for a few hours), to get off the hill, a worthy 27g IMO.

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During the long nights under the Trailstar I like to have some form of general lighting rather than use a headlamp all the time.

The nightlight (tea light) is probably the universal backpackers lighting since they’re cheap, plentiful and at around 15g quite light enough to carry but the light output is pretty feeble and under a drafty Trailstar needs a windshield (cut from a plastic bottle).

My latest ‘find’ is the LED night light which kicks out a lot more light that the candle particularly with an aluminium foil reflector.

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These lights are reckoned to be submersible, run off 2 CR2032 lithium cells (same as the Petzl E+Light), a simple twist to turn on, weigh 14g and best of all cost £0.99 each from a well know auction site (here), they’re from Hong Kong so do take a couple of weeks delivery.  The only negative I can find is that the on/ off mechanism doesn’t latch so I’m a little concerned about inadvertent operation so I’ve taken to isolating the cells with a small piece of tape for carriage.

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A bit of work with a small drill & the addition of some copper wire gave a light that I can hang from one on the mitten hooks on  the Trailstar (& bend/ twist to point the ‘right’ way) or simply tape to the centre pole.

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Bothies provide another lighting opportunity, I’ve found the humble night light almost useless at lighting a bothy room, the household candle is far more efficient, particularly with an aluminium foil reflector.  The problem I’ve found is finding somewhere stable to park the candle, only a few bothies seem to have decent candle holders around so I came up with a MYO solution; the bottom of a soda can with 3 ‘petals’ cut into it.

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Zero cost, simple to make, light (3 – 4g) and very stable.

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2 comments on “Winter Lighting

  1. jeremystormsky
    January 15, 2014

    Will have to remember this for when I go backpacking myself this summer. Great post and thanks for sharing the info!

  2. Victoria
    January 27, 2014

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2014 by in Gear, MYOG and tagged , .
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