Princeton Head Torches
- By John Fenna
- 4 Comments
- Last updated: 27/04/2018
For most of my work in the dark I prefer the convenience of using a head torch, as it points where you are looking and leaves both hands free, and one of the best manufacturers of head torches that I have found is ‘Princeton Tec’, who always seem to be pushing the boundaries of head torch excellence.
Princeton Tec’s latest models of head torch are the ‘Axis’ and ‘Axis Rechargeable’; two head torches that share the same basic configuration, except that one takes AAA batteries (including rechargeables) and the other incorporates its own lithium ion rechargeable battery that charges via a standard micro USB cable. Apart from their colourways, the two torches look identical and share their main features, and have proved themselves pretty much ideal for bushcraft use being light, compact, robust, very water resistant (but not immersible), practical and reliable.
The torches come with a soft, comfortable and adjustable headband, to which the base plate of the torch is clipped. The base plate supports the main body of the torch by a single arm pivot, which allows you to angle the light. The torch has a clipped cover over the battery compartment at one end and the light controls at the other. Hinge open the battery compartment cover to reveal, on the orange (battery) model, access to 3AAA batteries, or on the lime green (rechargeable) model to reveal the Micro USB port.
A button on the other end of the torch body allows you to cycle through the settings. One press gives you a mid-powered red light, two a medium white spot, press-and-hold gives a low-powered white diffused flood, and one press from any ‘ON’ mode switches the torch off. Press the button for five-seconds and the light is locked off, while to unlock the torch, you again have to press and hold for five-seconds.
As you lock or unlock the torch, the red LEDs will flash and the number of flashes indicates the approx.. battery power – 4 flashes is full power, 3 is 75%, 2 is 50% and 1 is 25%. When recharging the rechargeable model, the LEDs flash as the battery charges, while steady illumination shows the battery is fully charged.
Around the button is a rotating ring with which you can dial the power of the illumination up or down in both the red or spot modes of from flood to dual beam when in flood mode, to give the ideal amount of light for the job in hand.
I have found both these torches to be very practical and easy to use and I really appreciate the order and versatility of the varying light outputs. I particularly like the fact that you start with mid power red light, so as not to destroy your night vision if you only want a quick look at something, and the low ‘flood’, which is ideal for night time reading without having too much glare bouncing back from the page. I find the system so much more convenient than just a few ‘factory pre-set’ light levels that never seem ideal.
All in all, I find these two head torches to be possibly the best I have come across for my needs when I am out in the woods at night, or working around the farm in the early mornings – very versatile and practical bits of kit indeed!