Some entrepreneurial adventurers (adventurous entrepreneurs?) seem quite convinced that the classic headlamp, lantern and flashlight just aren't cutting it anymore. They think campers, backpackers and other outdoorsy folks need to mix it up with solutions like chest lights, backpack strap lights and even 8,000-lumen belt lamps. Another alternative, the One80 works as a headlamp, but it's far from classic, replacing the typical central light housing with a curved LED band that spreads light the namesake 180 degrees. And if you prefer your light lower down, that LED band can be removed and strapped to your waist.
One of the shortcomings of many traditional headlamps is that, while they're effective at lighting up everything directly in front of you, their beams tend to be narrow, so they leave you black and blind at the peripherals. There are flood-style headlamps with wider beams, but these can leave you with a limited distance of visibility. Another shortcoming is that the beam may move with your every nod and stride, causing unsteady, bouncy light, a particular problem for quicker, bumpier nocturnal endeavors like running.
Those are the shortcomings that One80's designers are fixing to solve, and their solution is to spread the light source out on your forehead. In place of a single centrally-mounted housing with one or a few LED lights inside, the One80 Halo headlamp features a flexible band of 20 individual LEDs spread nearly ear to ear. Instead of throwing light in a relatively straight beam, the One80 spreads it out into a wide, uniform field.
The One80 Halo looks a little goofy at first glance, like something you might wear in a nightclub as opposed to a campground, but the idea of a uniform 180-degree light field is an intriguing one, assuming that the headlamp also fires out an appropriate distance. Instead of just seeing the trail immediately ahead, you'll have peripheral vision, so if there happens to be a skunk lurking a few feet left of the trail, you should know about it well before you cross its path. The flat, flexible construction fits right up against your forehead, so it seems like the design should make good on promises of less bouncing.
The One80 puts out up to 360 lumens and runs for about three hours on a charge. It has a regulated output, shining with full glow for its entire runtime, instead of dimming gradually, as some headlamps do. The current version does not have multiple brightness settings, but given how many times that feature has been requested in the comments section of the One80 Kickstarter campaign, it seems like something the One80 team might consider working on for the future.
The One80 is powered by a compact, rectangular 1,800 mAh lithium battery pack that slides into a holder on the headband. The pack can be easily swapped with a spare so that you can extend headlamp life by carrying extras. At 1.5 oz (43 g) per pack, the spares won't weigh you down. In fact, the entire headlamp weighs 3.3 oz (94 g), making it a lightweight, versatile choice for all kinds of outdoor activities.
In addition to the Halo headlamp, there's the One80 Trek belt lamp, which carries the same hardware on an adjustable waistband. The LED band and battery pack are removable and you can switch them out between headband and waistband as needed, giving yourself two separate ways of lighting the path ahead (and to the sides).
One80's designers are currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign and moving toward tripling their original US$15,000 goal. The One80 Halo headlamp was originally available at the $37 pledge level, just under half the estimated $75 MSRP, but that level has sold out. Hoever, it's still available at the $44 level. The One80 Trek belt lamp is available at pledge levels of $42, and there are a number of other pledge level packages, including a $97 Halo headlamp/Trek belt lamp + 4 battery pack combo. If all goes as hoped, deliveries will begin in August