By Justin Park
When I got the request from HEADSPIN to field-test their new docking lighting system, I had just finished debating the pros and cons of headlamps with my hunting partner at camp. We were in the thick of bugling bulls in a Colorado elk archery season and had been in a cold camp near a herd we couldn’t quite pin down on and off for two weeks.
Of course, our headlamp debate was around options that are borderline standard on most headlamps these days. Do you use the red light function? Do you even know how to get to all the options in your headlamps one-button “menu”? Is yours bright enough? Too bright?
The HEADSPIN is an entirely different animal from what I saw in testing it out over a three-day span. Here are my takeaways from a backcountry archery hunter’s perspective.
In the Box
The unit is built around one light which moves from mount to mount easily with a spin. The included hard case is attractive and keeps your light and mounts from getting damaged when shoved into your pack with everything else. I did find the case a bit bulky after a while for day hunting using my ~35-liter daypack and just threw the head strap and light in an internal pocket.
Obviously, the whole point of any lighting system is illumination and while this is a docking system with an included flashlight and Go Pro-style clamp mount options, the core of the system and what I used most is the headlamp.
The rating on the HEADSPIN is 400 lumens– the high end of standard for most headlamps these days–so I wasn’t expecting a spotlight. But the first thing that’s obvious when you switch it on for the first time is how bright it is. Perhaps it’s the power delivery system, the size, the bulbs or just the design, but we compared the HEADSPIN side-by-side with 400-lumen units from Energizer and Black Diamond, and the HEADSPIN covered more area and was obviously the brightest of the three by a mile.
Some folks might still want more, but for wayfinding at dusk/dark in the woods, this strong 400 lumens was plenty for me and most of the time at camp I used the lowest of the HEADSPIN’s three settings, which thankfully was nice and dim as to conserve battery.
Speaking of battery, I managed to not run out of juice over three nights in the woods, which is incredibly positive. Using my other headlamps, which run on AAA batteries, I am usually noticing dimming and replacing batteries after two nights at camp.
The battery isn’t replaceable which I’m fairly agnostic on. Using AAA or removable/rechargeable batteries gives you options, but it also means spending precious prep time making sure you have fully charged or new batteries. With the HEADSPIN, you just need to get the unit fully charged. If and when I take the HEADSPIN for a longer run in the backcountry, I’ll bring a power block that can take advantage of its USB charging option to ensure I’m not left in the dark.
Overall, I loved the core performance of the light. Switching it on to hike back to camp and knowing I was going to get reliable but not-too-bright illumination every time was one less thing to worry about in the field. Looking forward to watching the evolution of this company and the system itself.