Lighting up both tent and trail with one source – can this headlamp do both, and do them well?
Come by our tent on any given night and you may find up to 2 headlamps in use, plus maybe an ultra-light lantern. Not the most efficient. So, given our interest in gear that is multipurpose, we were curious about Snowpeak’s SnowMiner Headlamp/Lantern combo. Consistent with the Snowpeak brand, it’s pretty easy on the eyes. But would this merger of two lighting sources be a new bright spot on our packing lists?
The concept of the SnowMiner rests on a silicone dome that’s fitted over the light. Press it inward for a focused beam (headlamp mode) and pop it outward for lantern mode that casts a wider, more diffused light. A hook tucks neatly into the adjustable head strap, allowing you to hang it from almost anything.
The light itself is one LED bulb that throws up to 80 lumens of light. Activated by one small, but easy-to-push button, it comes with four light settings: high, low, variable dim and strobe. The high setting lasts 55 hours; the low setting lasts 140 hours. Push and hold the highest setting and it will slowly dim the light to your desired illumination. These were some definite strong points.
The hinged lamp tilts to greater angles than in many other headlamps we’ve used. And even though it looks a little chunky, the lamp’s 2.3oz. felt no heavier than the ones we usually use.
The ‘Miner works great in some aspects, but not so great in others.
It’s good in that it does a great job casting ample light inside a tent. In the lower setting, it was almost atmospheric; cozy even.
Headed down the trail, it cast a broad swath of light and we could see at least 100 feet ahead. But the silicone dome extends out from the forehead much farther than other headlamps. This was problematic. When we hiked, ran or went cross-country skiing, the light cast straight down into our eyes, causing an afterimage from the glare. This affected our vision and was an outright aggravation.
While the hinge lets you adjust to many angles, it performed poorly when used in active sports like jogging and cross-country skiing. The thing noticably bounced around, and so of course did the beam.
Overall, the lantern combo would be good around camp. It does a good job at this, but because it did so poorly with its primary function – a headlamp – this one needs a little more work.