ZebraLight H51

Manufacturer: ZebraLight
Model: H51 (Headlamp AA 200Lm)
Date of Purchase: February, 2012
MSRP: (US) $64.00
Manufacturer’s WebsiteZebraLight.com

Measured Weights:
>>Headlamp (w/o Battery): 1.3 oz (37 gm)
>>Headband w/ Holder: 0.8 oz (23 gm)
>>Clip: 0.1 oz (2 gm)

LED: Cree XP-G Cool White (color temperature 6100-6500 K)

Listed Light Output:
>>High: H1 200 Lm (0.9 hrs) or H2 100 Lm (2.4 hrs) / 140 Lm (1.7 hrs) / 4Hz Strobe
>>Medium: M1 30 Lm (10.5 hrs) or M2 8 Lm (26 hrs)
>>Low: L1 2.5 Lm (3 days) or L2 0.2 Lm (16 days)
>>Parasitic Drain: Negligible (equivalent to 16 years)
(Light output are out the front (OTF) values. Runtime tests are done using Sanyo 2000mAh Eneloop AA batteries.)

Beam Type:
>>80 degree spill beam spread
>>11 degree (3.8 feet at 20 feet) hot spot

Basic Operations (from the site):
This light has 3 main levels (High, Medium, and Low). Each main level can be configured to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of the High can be further configured to different brightness levels or strobes.

  • Short click turns on the light to High. Short click again quickly to cycle from High to Medium, and Low.
  • Press and hold to cycle from Low to High, release to set. When press and hold, the light always cycle from Low to High regardless which level you are currently in.
  • Double click to toggle and select between the two sub-levels for that main level. Sub-level selections (except the strobe) for the 3 main levels are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes.
  • The second sub-level of the High can be configured after 6 double clicks. Double click (starting with the 7th) to cycle and select different brightness levels or strobes. Short click to turn off the light when finishing configurations. The selections for the second sub-level of the High are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes.

Features:
~Requires 1 AA Battery (NiMH, lithium or alkaline)
~Electronic soft-touch switch, with a 200,000 cycle operating life
~Precision machined unibody casing from premium grade Alcoa aluminum bar stock
~Durable natural hard anodized finish (Type III Class I)
~Ultra clear lens with anti-reflection coatings on both sides
~Waterproof to IPX8 (2 meters, 30 minutes)

Included in Box:
1. ZebraLight H51 Headlamp
2. Headband
3. One Black Silicone Holder
4. One Glow-In-The-Dark Silicone Holder
5. Pocket Clip
6. Two Spare O-Rings
7. Basic Operating Instructions

Back in February of this year, I got the itch to get a new headlamp. I have had a few in the past, most of which were good-enough headlamps, but I wanted more… but less… More function, but less weight, however, at this point, weight had now taken a back seat to function, within reason anyway.

My first headlamp was a Princeton Tec Fuel, which is a fine headlamp, but not great. I will admit, I never had to use the Fuel at night to hike with, but with regular/general use, the high setting seemed adequate for using it for night-hiking if I needed it. What I didn’t like is that the low setting was a bit intense (IMO) when using in a crowd, and it does not have the more “friendly” red light. As well, this light required 3 AAA batteries, and changing them out was not the easiest. (I am just glad that I never had to change them in the dark.)

So, by the time I got my wife a headlamp, I decided that I was not a big enough fan of the Fuel to get her one too, so I decided to look elsewhere. However, she was not interested in spending too much for a headlamp for her to use… So, we found a Black Diamond Gizmo at an REI for like $10. IMO, this headlamp pretty much had the same pro’s & con’s as the Fuel as listed above. However, the fact is both of these headlamps worked just fine, so we used them for a while…

Then I started to get the light-weight bug. I ended up picking up a Petzl e+LITE. When getting this light, I thought I understood that this light was not as bright as my other lights. However, at this point I had still not done any real night hiking, so I really didn’t understand. In this case, I will admit, I was blinded by the weight…not the light…

Then, one night my son and I unexpectedly had to hike out of camp around midnight… In this case, I found the e+LITE to be severely inadequate (at least for my liking) when it came to using it as a true night-hiking light. And to be honest, my Photon Micro Light actually got us out of the woods that night.

Since this time, I had went back to my Fuel headlamp. I had my eyes on some other headlamps for a while, but never serious enough to pull the trigger on one. At the time, I just really knew that my next headlamp would have the friend lamp (AKA: red lamp) in it.

Then one night, it got in me. That “need” to get another headlamp…

I had begun by looking at the Fenix LD01 lights. The LD01 did not have the red light I at one time had so desired, but everything else about it had drawn me to it. It had a wide variety of light intensity settings, which ranged from low enough to probably still be friendly in a crowd, as well as high enough (I think) to do some occasional night hiking with. It only used 1 battery and is pretty dang light weight…. However, as I was researching, I came across a lot of folks that really, really liked their ZebraLights… and more specifically, the ZebraLight H51.

When I first looked at the ZebraLights, I will be honest, the price put me off. However, with all the hoorah over them, I felt that I should at least “look into them.” So I did, and now I can say that I am glad that I did…

Now, I am not going to try to compare the Fenix LD01 to the ZebraLight H51 (which is what I have now) or say that one is better than the other, but I am just going to say that I dove into the ZebraLight pool on this particular night. It was definitely a spur of the moment thing, but after using it, I can honestly say that I am very happy that I decided to go for it.

As can be seen from the first of this post, there are a lot of technical details about this light (and these are only some of the ones I copy and pasted from the ZebraLight site). From what I understand, there is a lot of detail and attention that goes into manufacturing the ZebraLights’, and while I am no “headlight buff,” after using it for a while, I can say that my ZebraLight H51 seems like a much higher quality light than the other headlamps I have owned (which are listed above).

Since getting the ZebraLight H51 back in late February, I have used it on all of my trips, which have indeed included a few night/early morning hikes. Temperatures have ranged between high 20’s F to near 100 F, and I have had it out in both rain and sun. I have used it in groups as well as on the trail. And it still looks, and more importantly, functions the same as the day I got it!

So, after this small bit of use, I am definitely sold on the ZebraLight H51. Here are a few things that I like about it so far:

  • Durable. Really, it seems tough as nails, but that doesn’t mean I intentionally abuse it. I use it as I need to, and so far it has easily stood up to this use without any evidence of failure.
  • Simple. At first it did take some getting used to as far as going through the cycles, but that did not take too long. Come on, it only has 1 button… how much more simple can it get?
  • Versatile. This light has so many different light intensities, I have found that for me, the H51 has a light intensity setting for each occasion. But not one that will “just do,” but one that actually works very well for that specific occasion!
  • Only uses 1 AA battery. This is a huge like for me. The single AA battery makes it easier to change out than multiple batteries. As well, the simple act of changing the battery out in this light is by far easier than any other headlamp I have owned.
  • Lightweight… Ok, maybe not the lightest. With the stock headband, silicone holder, light and (lithium) battery, this unit comes in at 2.7 oz! This makes it slightly heavier than my Fuel, and almost 3X as heavy as my e+LITE. However, all the above mentioned features more than make up for its weight problem, at least in my book. (Besides, with my DIY headband, everything comes in at a mere 2 oz, which now makes it considerably lighter than my Fuel headlamp, and produces way more light than the e+LITE!)

So at this point, I am really happy with my decision to get this light. It has excelled in all the areas my other lights have, but then took it a bit farther and shined even brighter in so many other areas that my previous headlamps did not. I will admit, spending the $64 on a light at first was hard to swallow, but now I don’t find it so bad and realize it was well worth it. I can definitely say that I look forward to taking this headlamp out with me on many more future trips.

Thanks for reading!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: In case you couldn’t tell, I paid full price for this light with my own, hard-earned money straight outta my pocket. I am under no obligation to write this review, but the fact is, I love this light so much, I gotta let everyone know about it…

7 Responses to ZebraLight H51

  1. Pingback: Olympic National Park Post Hike Gear Talk | Stick's Blog

  2. DeanS says:

    Have you tried using rechargeable 14500 Li-ion batteries? That way you don’t have to keep buying non rechargeable batteries and when you start each trip the battery will be fully charged. I see the Zebralight ZL584 840mAh battery for $10 and the Efest XSmart charger for for $8 at Illumination Supply.

    When I was looking for a headlamp/flashlight I wanted something that used a single cell rechargeable Li-ion battery. Single cell since that maximizes the energy density by minimizing the weight of the case. Rechargeable Li-ion because it has the maximum energy density available and I start out each trip with a full charge.

    I ended up with the slightly larger H600F with 18650 batteries and have been extremely happy. The H600F is truly amazing for off trail route finding at night. Plus the 18650 battery has enough capacity (4x the 14500) that I don’t carry a spare.

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    • Stick says:

      Dean,

      When I bought my ZebraLight I also bought some of the rechargeable 2000 mAh eneloop batteries and a Maha Powerex MH-C9000 battery charger/analyzer. It’s a very nice charger, and the batteries are great, however, they are a little heavier than an L91, and have a little less power, although, as you point out, they are not rechargeable. But, they last forever, at least for me they do, although, I always carry one as a back-up (whether it’s rechargeable or not), and I can’t really think of one time in which I actually had to change batteries on a hike. When I went out this past weekend, I had the same L91 battery in my headlamp that had been in for the past 3 months or so, and it did great. I use it on occasion at home to read at night. I gotta say though, this set-up really has worked for me. Light weight, and lots of lighting options. I rarely ever put it on high when out hiking (although, it’s nice too when throwing a bear line late at night…), and even when finding trails, the medium settings work well enough. Great little lights for sure!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. I’ve looked at several reviews and can’t find the Zebra listed. Lots of fans of the Princeton models. However, the fact that the Zebra uses 1 AA battery I think is a fantastic feature in itself from convenience to weight. You also list lots of other pluses. Any other thoughts on headlamps or are you sold on this one? Seems like a great product from what you say.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Bill,

      I am still a huge fan of my ZebraLight H51, and have nothing but praises to sing for it. If I were to trade it for something else, it would only be for the newer, updated, ZebraLight H52… Love the light. It works great, has lots of options, last forever (for me) with a lithium battery, is easy to use and is even easier to replace the battery in when needed. Nothing but love…

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. Ben Middleton says:

    thanks for another really helpful review Chad 🙂 In the absence of the H600 from stock I think I’ll be getting an H51 instead.

    Like

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