LED headlamp beanie, your boat may need one

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 9, 2017

Ben_w_LL_Bean_LED_Beanie_cPanbo.jpgThis LED beanie has gotten a lot of use since a knowing Secret Santa gifted it to me at our family Chrismakah celebration, and I think it would make an excellent Father's Day gift for many dads I know. Or maybe you just need to buy one for yourself, in which case the magic words apply: "I need it for the boat"...

LL_Bean_n_Panther_Vision_LED_beanies_cPanbo.jpgThe headlamp cap I'm still using when working in Gizmo's dark and cool engine "room" is the $30 L.L. Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie. It's light, comfortable, well made, and easy to operate with a simple on/off button hidden in the back left band and two pairs of LEDs angled differently so that adusting the hat position for a particular task is rarely necessary. And while I wouldn't want a cheaply-made copy, the Panther Vision Powercap looks quite similar and has earned good Amazon reviews while only costing $13 to $18, apparently depending on color.

LL_Bean_LED_Beanie_inside_detail_cPanbo.jpgThis photo shows the switch and battery module that is normally held securely inside the beanie's band by that black webbing. The four CR2032 Lithium 3v coin cells are fairly inexpensive to replace and last a long time anyway. Bean's claims 68 hours for this cap, while Panther Vision claims 43, which is odd as both specify the LED output at 48 lumens.

48 lumens is not a bright light even in extreme darkness. By contrast, the Energizer Hard Case Headlight below can throw 70 lumens and also has a less bright red mode that can be very helpful around a boat underway. (That headlamp has endured years of abuse, but there seem to be many interesting choices these days, like this Yalumi 140 lumen headlamp with red night vision and beam width options. Hopefully, readers will offer other ideal boat headlamp ideas.)

At any rate, I find the LED beanie quite useful at close ranges while working in many nooks and crannies of the boat, plus its fleece insulation offers a bit of noggin protection. Of course, it's also useful for many other situations, too, and can be worn in public without much embarrassment, unless perhaps you accidentally leave it turned on in a well-lit place, a possibility users should be aware of.

It would take a truly oblivious person to wear a rig like the one below while he dinghied into town to buy a sandwich in the middle of bright summer day, in fact to not even realize that it was on his head and lit until he got back to the boat and walked by a mirror. But it has happened. What's more likely is to wear the beanie during a predawn drive to the airport, use it in the parking garage to avoid walking on ice, and then have the TSA identification checker say in the kindly voice (I seem to hear a lot these days): "Um, sir, do you realize that your hat is lit?"

Energizer_Hard_Case_headlamp_cPanbo.jpg

Comments

Keeping the light on instantly disqualifies you as a threat to flight safety, I guess. You could even use it to advantage maybe :-)

Posted by: Kees at June 9, 2017 2:13 PM | Reply

The light on that Panbo hat looks very non-nerdish. I'll have to try mine with a cap on. It has to be more comfortable than "bareback".

Posted by: Butch Davis at June 11, 2017 11:00 AM | Reply

So in the interest of research -- and having an LED beanie ready both at home and on the boat -- I purchased a Panther Vision Powercap, and the LEDs and battery/switch module appears to be exactly the same. Also the tag specifies 68 hours of run time, just like the LL Bean beanie (suggesting that the PowerCap's Amazon listing is incorrect).

The way these two beanies are cut and sewn together is different, as seen in the orange cap photo above, but I'm pretty sure they were made in the same factory.

Posted by: Ben at June 13, 2017 8:49 AM | Reply

I have also been happy with the baseball style led cap
From Home Depot online for under $14. You do have
To order $45 of stuff to get free shipping tho.

Posted by: Brian at June 17, 2017 3:39 PM | Reply

Bob M. sent me a nice photo of him sporting an LED Beanie just gifted to him "on behalf of his two-year-old." Happy Father's Day to all.

Posted by: Ben at June 18, 2017 11:07 AM | Reply

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