Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Gear Review: Black Diamond Zenix IQ Headlamp

The Black Diamond Zenix IQ Headlamp must be overstocked or discontinued, because I see it at least once per week over at steepandcheap.com for a price in the low $20 range.

I have this headlamp and I’ve been quite impressed with it. I’ve used it on a number pack trips, for night photography jaunts, and for car camping and it has worked like a charm. It is one of the newer LED headlamps that puts out enough light to actually navigate a dark trail – unlike the earliest models which were designed more or less for around camp use.

It has two basic modes of operation. In one the more powerful central lamp comes on and in the other a pair of smaller LEDs at the edges of the light unit come on instead. The former provides brighter light but consumes battery power more quickly, while the latter is only bright enough for camp chores but is draws less power from the batteries. In both modes you can switch between several different brightness levels and a blinking mode. (The latter is useful for giving your backpacking partners a severe headache – or for a long lasting emergency signal light. A friend of mine used a lamp with a similar feature to guide me to camp once when I arrived many hours after dark.)

If this headlamp has a downside it might be the smallish and somewhat difficult to press control button. Once you figure out where it is it works fine, but it is still difficult to operate even with light gloves on. Well, it might have one other. At a time when some of the very small and dimmer backpacker LED headlamps weigh around 1 ounce, this one is a bit bulkier and heavier – but still quite a bit smaller and lighter than the headlamps we used in the pre-LED era.

But in actual operation – at least for typical backpacking use – if you are looking for a long lasting headlamp that puts out enough light for actual hiking, this could be the one for you.

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Commentary, Equipment, Gear Reviews | Comments Off on Gear Review: Black Diamond Zenix IQ Headlamp

Speaking of the Darn Global Warming Thing

A couple interesting articles and more of the pesky reality-based evidence stuff:

Dot Earth: Federal Report Links Warming to Climate Extremes. A new federal report sees more harmful climate extremes accompanying a warming climate. [NYT > Science]

Dot Earth: Seas Rising Faster Than Realized. A new study indicates that heat held in by a building greenhouse blanket has largely accumulated in the oceans. [NYT > Science]

On a positive note, it sounds like many citizens are “getting it” and that the car companies may not be far behind:

The Smaller the Better, Automakers Are Finding. The demand for fuel-efficient small cars and hybrids is so fierce that automakers cannot produce them fast enough. [NYT > Business]

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Commentary, Environment | Comments Off on Speaking of the Darn Global Warming Thing

More on Drilling

Seems to be environmental politics week at this blog. Ah, well. A few more thoughts regarding the sudden interest by Republicans in drilling our way out of this energy mess.

I heard a wonderful comment on the radio yesterday, right after hearing the President blame Democrats for not being responsive to his sudden call to open up basically every available place to drilling. The speaker pointed out that this assertion of blame seems quite ironic given the fact that for six years the Republicans had majorities in the Senate and the House and held the executive branch… and apparently didn’t think it was enough of a good idea then to do anything at all about it. And now all of a sudden it is a great idea?

And, along those lines, does anyone else smell an election year set-up here? Republicans trying to get some traction on some issue (any issue!?) against the Democrats seem to have stumbled on this as perhaps a way to fool the public into thinking that the Democrats somehow are not concerned with the plight of the “average person.”

Never mind the fact that if we opened every square inch of US territory to drilling today it would be years before we would see any oil from this. And that the oil reserves are generally rather small. And that the oil companies are already not using all of the drilling sites currently available to them.

Oh, and there is that little matter of global warming. Let’s imagine for a moment that we somehow could find enough oil in US territory to return to the “good old days” of cheap gas and SUVs… has it occurred to anyone that we’d have to reduce consumption and look for alternative energy sources anyway in order to deal with that pressing problem?

I don’t buy this sudden call for more drilling one little bit. It is short sighted, won’t solve the problem, will make other problems worse, and is probably just being raised as an election year wedge issue in any case.

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Commentary, Environment | Comments Off on More on Drilling

   

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