When my wife and I were in Kenya for over a year doing humanitarian work, we experienced a lot of new things. One of those new things was the unreliable power grid of a third world country. At least two times a week or more the power would be out all day and all night at the compound we lived. We got used to candles and flashlights. One item that was a mainstay was a headlamp. It was then that I realized the importance of a good quality headlamp.
I will start off by saying I am no expert on flashlights and or headlamps in general. I have used them all my life but I never got into the technical aspects of them. When I was approached about doing a review on a headlamp I was a little reluctant because there are so many other people that know more about them. What I look for in a light, whether it is a standard flashlight or a headlamp, is rugged reliability. In Kenya we were always running the risk of theft or attack in our compound. If we were without light we could easily be taken advantage of.
I have been using the Olight H15 now for quite some time. Although I am not in Africa any more, I still find the functionality of a good headlamp a mainstay in my life.
To begin, here are some stats about the H15. The H15 has 3 modes or settings. It has a peak brightness at 250 lumens on its highest setting. On mode two, it emits 100 lumens and on mode three, 15 lumens. You can run mode one for 3 hours, mode two for 5.6 hours and mode three for a whopping 36 hours!
In my testing of this headlamp I used it during hunting season, both for deer and small game when I would be out before the sun came up. It helped immensely getting to my tree stand and finding my truck or tracking game after dark. After months of testing I want to share a few categories that I think are important in a quality headlamp.
I have used a few different headlamp brands in the past including Princeton Tech, Petzl and cheap off brands. One way that the Olight outperformed them all was with comfort. I found that when wearing this light it was extremely comfortable. The elastic that they use is very soft giving it level of comfort above the others I had used in the past. This is important if you will be wearing it for hours on end. Weighing in at only 3.46 oz. I think you will find the H15 very lightweight and not too bulky.
Ease of Use:
The Olight H15 boasts new technology that has really transformed the headlamp industry. This is the “wave” sensor. This is what they have to say about this feature,
“For the ultimate hands free experience, activate the infrared sensor — for instance, if you’re literally up to your elbows in grease, simply swipe your hand in front of the headlamp to turn it on or off.”
This feature is amazing. Sometimes you have your hands full. Maybe you are carrying a weapon or you are covered in mud and you can’t get to the button on top of the light. The wave feature allows you to simply wave your hand in front of the sensor and it activates the lamp. The lamp also has a memory setting so you can choose which mode you want to turn on when you wave it on.
I found that when I was in the woods with my hands full, with my hunting gear and I wanted to turn my lamp off, this was a great feature to have. Of course you can deactivate this feature as well if you want to run it on full manual.
Overall Design and Ruggedness:
If you are anything like me, you are hard on your gear. I tend to break things easily and one thing I can say about the Olight H15 is that it is very rugged and strong. If I am not using it, it usually just rides in my pack below other gear always getting beat around. So far I have had no issues at all with anything breaking on it. The overall design is very ergonomic as well. There is a handy light diffuser which is easily engaged or disengaged by a small lever at the bottom of the lamp. The battery housing is well built and it houses a rechargeable battery, this is a great advantage in my opinion. To charge the battery, Olight includes a small cable with a standard USB port that will fit any computer or AC that accepts a USB port. If you by chance cannot get to a charger, you can simply put four AAA batteries in the light and that will also work.
I have used many headlamps all over the world and I have found the Olight H15 to rank as one of the best. It is durable, easy to use and very ergonomic. I could not recommend it more!
Going Gear provided us with our review light and you can check it out here: