Ultralight Headlamp
Princeton Tec Vizz

$50, 3.2 oz. (with three AAA batteries, included)


As headlamps for the backcountry have continuously improved in terms of brightness, versatility, and low weight, some have acquired a level of complexity that demands spending a little time learning how to use it. Not so with the latest version of this longtime top-performer. Still among the brightest ultralight headlamps, Princeton Tec’s Vizz 420 stands out for many reasons that others do—plus simplicity: You don’t need a degree in electrical engineering to operate it—almost anyone who’s ever used a headlamp will intuitively understand how to use it. But many will most appreciate not having to study a user manual.

I’ve used generations of Vizz headlamps on countless backpacking trips over the years and the Vizz 420 most recently in camp on a six-day rafting and kayaking trip through Desolation and Gray canyons in southern Utah.

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Princeton Tec Vizz headlamp.
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With quick, one-button operation, you can click the power button to cycle through the two white modes and one red mode and depress and hold the button to control the dimming function in all three modes. Holding the power button for several seconds turns the lockout mode on and off.

At max power, the 420-lumen spot LED projects a beam 79 meters (over 250 feet), according to Princeton Tec. In my experience with it on dark nights in the backcountry, at max power, the beam illuminates at a distance well over 200 feet (60 meters). But most of us will more commonly use any headlamp at medium power, which is 90 lumens in the Vizz 420. That’s bright enough to light your foreground for 25 meters (65 feet)—certainly adequate for hiking a dark trail—and the Vizz 420 can provide that level of light for over 50 hourson three fresh AAA batteries, longer than most backpackers need on typical trips.

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