View Full Version : What is the best head lamp for medics?

08-15-2005, 12:19
After our last two call-outs at night over the past month, it has become clear that our paramedics need a head lamp to see patients that we are taking care of.
My boss has given me the funding to purchase these items so Im looking for the best quality for the least cost (obviously). Does any other medics here use head lamps? Id like to konw what the best ones are. Research so far looks like Petzl is the better quality. Thanks for any help.

The Reaper
08-15-2005, 12:30
I like the Photon Fusion, but it is a bit larger than most of the Petzls.


08-15-2005, 12:55
The Petzls are all pretty sexy. I use the Princton Tecs because of price. I prefer LEDs for most work because the batteries last longer and they are far more durable. You may need to consider an incandescent bulp vs LED for medical work though. LEDs are wonderful but there are some serious color shifts. Some colors "disappear" or blend into their surroundings when illuminated with LEDs. I'm not a medic but I would think accurately distinguishing color would be important. Incandescent bulbs give a broad spectrum "warmer" light with a better color rendering. Unfortunately (relative to LEDs) they are less durable and they eat batteries. But they are usually cheaper as a system (almost cheap enough to be considered disposable). One of the Docs/Medics will be along shortly to add to the discussion. My .02 - Peregrino

ETA: Course you could do what a compadre showed me a while ago - Get one of the one-cell SureFire lights, keep it on you always, and when you need a headlamp - clip it to the brim of your baseball cap. Kills more than one bird with the same stone and you get a cool toy out of it. That and it'll put out more light than almost any headlamp. Course we're back to the battery life thing. If you use it for an extended period during a treatment, you'll need to change batteries religiously. FWIW - P.

08-15-2005, 12:56
I've been using a Petzl Myo Xp and have been very pleased with its performance.

08-15-2005, 19:51
Thanks for your input guys. Im making notes on what you said.

08-15-2005, 20:15
I have found that being able to focus the beam really helped when working in the dark places that I find myself when doing unconventional work out of "civilization". :D Having the ability to sharply concentrate the available light source for intricate/delicate work while still having the ability to then widen the beam for overall scene viewing is a nice benefit. Nothing worse than having simulated tunnel vision due to a narrow beam or vice versa having dim/broad lighting when trying to see with detail and work with precision.

I will let the gear gurus point you to what works best as far as model, etc. Good luck

08-17-2005, 08:53
- color of light
>white is great if loosing your night vision isn't an issue
>green or blue still allows differentiation of blood but not cyanosis and preserves 'night' vision
- LED vs incandescent: personnal choice with altered purity of color
- size/weight: always important: too big or too heavy and you'll tend to not use it. Also means of wearing it is important,.i.e., is it a clip on or does it have a head strap, can you change its angle, etc.

All this means is you have to tailor the equipment to the needs and the people using it. May want to check out the Equipped to Survive website, they did a nice review of these lights as I recall.


08-18-2005, 10:50
Hey guys, we were at the Outdoor Retailer show last week in Salt Lake City, and checked out the new Petzl Tikka XP. I was with Patrick (owner of Kifaru), and they gave him one to test. The new XP will come in a military version as a kit. The body is OD, and you will have a choice of an OD or Coyote headband. The military version will be supplied with 3 different colored lenses, and an adaptor to mount the light on PALS webbing. We played with it that night behind the motel we were staying at, and it was a pretty impressive little headlamp. There are 3 power settings for the 1 watt LED, and it has a focused light beam with a sliding gate over the lens, that converts it to a wide angle flood beam. There is a button for a boost mode, which increases the light output by about 50% over the maximum level, that you can use for up to 20 seconds at a time, to prevent overheating. The light body is tiltable, and removes in a flash to change batteries, or connect to PALS webbing on your gear, with the supplied adaptor. They didn't have any military versions to give out at the show, but I plan on getting one as soon as they become available. Definately worth checking out.


The Reaper
08-18-2005, 11:37

Don't be a stranger, stick around here and post more often.

Thanks for your input.

Have you seen SureFire's new helmet light?


08-18-2005, 15:29
Mel: Thanks for posting in with that info. Did you get a time line on when this new model will be out?
Thanks again

08-18-2005, 17:18
Hey TR, I'll try to be a little more active here, just been so damn busy. Tell me more about this new Surefire helmet light! Will it work on hats also? HTM, I'm waiting on a callback to get a timeline on the availability of the military version Tikka XP.


The Reaper
08-18-2005, 17:56
Hey TR, I'll try to be a little more active here, just been so damn busy. Tell me more about this new Surefire helmet light! Will it work on hats also? HTM, I'm waiting on a callback to get a timeline on the availability of the military version Tikka XP.



Sorry, the SureFire HL1-WH/BL helmet light is designed for sidemounting on the TC 2000 MICH, but you can probably mount it on any hard hat that you can stick/screw/attach it to.

IIRC, it is a twp piece affair, with the light QD from the conformal mount, so you could use it as a hand held, or take it off if it was not needed.

It runs off of one SF123 3v. lithium battery.

The light has multiple switching lighting options with three 5mm white LEDs, two 5mm blue LEDS, and one 3mm IR LED at 850nm.

There is a three position toggle switch with a white light position, a blue light position, and an off position. There is a secondary momentary switch which cycles white and blue lights through low, medium and high settings. A final two position toggle switch cycles the IR lights between a strobe setting (IFF) and the OFF setting.

It is made from glass filled nylon and weighs 2.8 oz.

Pretty slick.


08-19-2005, 10:17
Hey TR, thanks for the info on the new helmet light. Sounds very cool, and I can't wait to see one in person. I must say that Surefire definately stays right on the cutting edge of technology!


01-08-2006, 07:08
I wear NODs, a conventional headlamp won't mount with them. (unless there is a mdoel where the head can swivel 90 degrees to the left/right.)

For a helmet mounted light I use a surefire E1E, 2.2 oz and 90 minutes of burn time, clicking tailcap, attached by velcro to the non-firing side of my helmet. Can swap it out for a M1 infrared illuminator as needed.

Idea stolen blatantly from BL and adapted for white light/medical use.;)


01-08-2006, 11:58
I have a Petzl Tikka Plus.......don't know nothing about nothing......but I love my Petzl!

The Reaper
01-10-2006, 09:28
Just got my hands on a SureFire helmet light.

Very sweet!


01-11-2006, 13:26
TR: Standing by for your report.

The Reaper
01-13-2006, 09:48
The SureFire helmet light is now in production and should be available for sale shortly.

All of the previous descrptions are accurate, the execution is better than I anticipated. The secondary lights are currently blue on the initial production models, rumors are that anyone buying a sufficient quantity could obtain Red, Green, or IR. There is no permanent modification to the helmet, the mount attaches securely and is easily installed or removed. The light portion snaps off in less time than it takes to read this to leave the conformal mount attached, the light is fully usable by hand when detached.

This light is designed for working at arms length, not lighting people up two ridgelines over. There are three white LEDs with three intensity levels, and two blue LEDs, also with three intensity settings. The unit runs for 60-100 hours on a single SF 123 battery. The flashing IR strobe on the side is very handy for SA and Blue Force tracking with NODs.

The details have already been posted, pics follow.



01-13-2006, 10:39
That Surefire is one slick attachment.

01-13-2006, 10:43
Thanks for the pics TR.

Hot little item, looks like another thing I don't really need but somehow must have for the next trip into the sandbox.

Any forseeable problems of it getting kicked off the helmet if it snags on a doorframe or other hard surface. Looks pretty solid and I'm a believer in Surefire products, just want to make sure. If that's the case is there a way to dummy cord it to the helmet?

Looks good, just don't look at your gunship support with it on. :D

To add: If you've recently entertained the thought of buying Digilight products to cure the Surefire itch, Don't!

I had a co-worker (part-time job, not military) purchase one as a weapons mounted light and it lasted 34 rounds of 5.56 before the bulb went out. It's not designed with shock absorbtion in mind. We carry some in the store and they are (my opinion) good for a truck light or house use, but will not withstand use on a weapons system or a small child's inquisitiveness. You get what you pay for. The T-12 model is 227 lumens, but when you hit the tailcap it'll dim out and come back to full power, and repeat that until you shut it off. It doesn't have the capacity to keep the wattage up consistently.

Spend the pennies on a Surefire, and save your keester later!

The Reaper
01-13-2006, 10:52

I think that it is pretty secure, I would only take it off for a jump, since the risers would come past it pretty quickly.

That said, I suspect that you could dummy cord it to the mount, but I do not like dummy cords on things fastened to my head.

Digilight and Pentagon, to name two, consistently overrate the output and run time of their products. You cannot make the amount of light they claim, from the power supply they use, for that length of time.

All weapons lights are subject to recoil related failure, but SureFire develops shock isolated products for that reason and maintains the highest quality standards, backed by the best warranty in the business.

Is the T-12 incandescent or LED?


01-13-2006, 12:11
It's an incandescent lamp assembly.

I'll take the camera to work tonight and snap some photo's of a stripped one.

I have yet to see a Surefire go down like that. I have burnt out the bulbs on my centurion, but that gets used alot on Fridays for shooting drills.

01-14-2006, 08:50
TR: Thanks for the report and Pics.

06-23-2014, 23:48
Hello good men,

I see the original post was about the best lights for medics. If I may, I would like to make a few suggestions...after my own use of helmet light systems that are mil-spec, and the light systems I have used and still use for civilian use for night climbing in the Rocky Mountains, 24 hour Mountain Bike races, and just about every use under the sun these days, I highly suggest Serfas and Nite Rider. I have a new Serfas LED light system that at full charge lights to 1500 Lumens. The battery is an extremely lightweight Lithium Ion battery that can be easily stored in your kit. There is a wire that disconnects at different intervals to give you a more desired length, as needed. This light has performed flawlessly for me in different environments, including rain and hail, not to mention many night rides on dirt trails to back country dusty dirt roads...Sorry if this sounds like a commercial plug; it isn't!

My previous Nite Rider system with HID lasted me about 6 years and traveled with me to 24 hour events in Colorado and Moab. I loved it, but the new system is much better...800 vs 1500...you do the math!!

Anyway, I just thought I would put that out there as an option...Hope all of you in distant places are well and staying safe!!