“How anyone can camp without a headlamp escapes me…”, a simple Gear Whore truth. Flashlights are a necessity while camping, in your everyday carry kit or in the garage, but when you actually have to work on something, and you need light, a headlamp is a must. In the last few years there has been a rush of LED lights on the market sporting the popular, well made, and inexpensive CREE LED modules. The headlamp market has caught onto this trend and a large selection of inexpensive headlamps have hit retailers. Our friends at Fox Outfitters are doing some super secret squirrel DARPA type stuff, because how they knew we needed a new multimode CREE LED headlamp is pretty perfect. Also with a name like Firefly, and being rabid Browncoats, we had to pick up The Fox Outfitters Firefly Headlamp.
–Quality and Assembly–
The Fox Outfitters Firefly Headlamp, like most headlamps offers the simple convenience of having light where you need it while offering hands free operation. The white CREE LED assembly has a bright and shiny reflector, as opposed to an orange peel texture on some of their other assemblies. The overall enclosure is a high impact plastic case that had the strap loops split to allow it to be removed easily and placed on a new headband or other strap. This split strap loop setup is similar to ITW Nexus replacement buckles. Out of curiosity we tried to fit the Fox Outfitters Firefly headlamp on to some standard molle webbing, but the web loops are too small to fit over the molle. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
The joint between the headlamp and the web loops has the ability to also tilt down in position via a multi-position ratcheting action. This feature allow you to more easily adjust the light to where you are looking, as long as it’s down. Certainly a good feature for enjoying an bedtime novel. The Fox Outfitters Firefly Headlamp also claims a IPX6 “waterproof” rating. Though we did not test this feature, when you open the battery compartment a hearty orange gasket can easily be observed surrounding the edge of the enclosure.
Having both a white and red light mode is especially useful when either navigating a late night run to the latrine or enjoy the low red glow of the illuminated pages of a favorite novel. There are three modes in each light type and you have to click through the entire sequence to turn the headlamp off as the button hold feature is to change from white to red and back. This is a slight inconvenience, but once you get used to the overall operation it is easy enough to manage. The enclosure holds two AAA batteries, and when opened is very dimly illuminated for ease of battery replacement in the dark, which is a neat feature. While AA would be prefered it is near impossible to find a headlamp that runs on AA. Luckily Eneloop also makes AAA batteries, and the Eneloop Pros we used fit and worked just fine.
As with most CREE LED lights the max output, listed at 115 lumens for The Fox Outfitters Firefly Headlamp does not last nearly as long as other modes. Also it is nice to see that when we opened the light the manual included a performance chart of the available modes, being very honest that the 115 max is good for about 15 minutes, followed up the 75 on high for about 2 hours. The red light mod really only has one brightness setting, and it is more than enough for map reading or whatever random tactical red light thing you need to do. The two other blinky modes, one being “strobe”, which is actually just a quick blink, and SOS, which we’ve never had to use, work pretty much as advertised.
The Fox Outfitters Firefly Headlamp, easily compares to other headlamps in this price range, and offers good usability for the value. We operate with the philosophy that it can be expensive to be cheap, but unless you’re a professional spelunking type, the Firefly Headlamp is a great choice for almost any situation a headlamp would improve.