Archive for January 6th, 2008
On a tour, off the bike lights are much more than a convenience, they can be a safety item. A good light will let you make repairs by the side of road in the dark, it will also light your way home from dinner, and to the bathroom at night. Those are all important but my light has to also be great for reading in the tent at night, be very reliable, be very light and small and not use many batteries.
That used to be hard to find but LED lights give 50 to 150 hours of good light with just 3 AAA batteries so they are both small and light. I can travel with these and only carry one set of spare batteries, that save a lot of weight.
Two companies seem to really stand out when it comes to LED lights, Princeton Tec and Petzel. They make fairly priced reliable high performance LED lights. I usually find the best deals at Campmor.com on Princeton Tec Lights. For example, the Princeton Tec Aurora is on sale now at Campmor for $16.97, they usually sell for around $30. This is a great little light (less than 3 Oz.) at a great price.
The Aurora is a great little light, perfect for reading in your sleeping bag and working on your bike when it is dark. It is also easy to change batteries on this light. That may not sound like a big deal but trying changing batteries on some of the newer models with better seals in the dark.
The Aurora is not as fancy as the newer models but that translates into lower price and fewer things to go wrong. I always carry two when I tour with my wife because I know that she will have forgotten hers.
I also always keep a smaller LED light attached to the zipper on my panniers and another one is my wash up kit. This light is handy for reading a map when it starts to get dark or finding things in your panniers at night. They are also nice if you don’t want to wear your head light when you walk around at night. The blinking mode is great when you have to walk along a road at night. I like the ones with an on/off switch so that I don’t have to keep my fingers on it to get light. These lights are also on sale at Campmor.com. The Pulsar with no switch for $7.99 and the Pulsar II with a switch for $10.99. These little lights weigh 7 grams and run for 12 to 14 hours.
At these prices it is time to stock up for the summer. I like to give them away to friends and people I met on trips. Everyone loves having one of these little light attached to their key ring.