Amos Whiting has been working as a guide and outdoor educator since 1995. He was the 20th American to become a IFMGA guide — the highest guide qualification in the world. He is owner and Head Guide of Mallorca Climbing Camps, a deep water soloing school in Mallorca Spain & is Head Guide for Aspen Expeditions in Aspen CO. He is also a senior instructor/ examiner for the American Mountain Guides Association. He lives in Basalt, CO with his family and has been known to salsa dance on frequent trips to Mexico.
I have been testing the Princeton Tec Apex head lamp this winter season. I have used it ice and alpine guiding, side country and ski touring, as well as on a couple hut trips.
The Princeton Tec Apex headlamp is an high-quality headlamp that could be geared towards a high-level recreationalist or mountain guides for all the traditional (alpine, rock and ski) disciplines as well as canyoneering. This head lamp is waterproof up to 1m and weighs 275 grams or 0.6 pounds. It sports a three-strap design with that battery on the back and LED bulbs on the front. The Apex uses 4 AA batteries, which greatly contribute to the weight, but also store more power. The Apex is a great light for anyone looking for a powerful, durable, and reliable headlamp.
This head lamp is a bit bulky and heavy for a emergency/ live in your pack headlamp, and when I first looked at it was daunting. But when I put it on my head the weight is distributed very well making it feel more like any other lighter and less powerful headlamp. I tested the Apex on two different climbing helmets. It performed great on both, resting securely in the tabs on the helmets.
The biggest strength of the Apex is, without a doubt, the brightness. On its highest setting, the Apex illuminates up to 120 meters, which is great for mountaineering or alpine touring, or searching for rappel anchors on a night decent. Unlike some other headlamps, the illumination from the Apex is continuously bright as long as the battery has sufficient voltage. This is due to Princeton Tec’s regulated LEDs.
A second strength of the Apex is the simple user interface. The Apex has two buttons and four modes. There are rows of two LEDs on the sides of the main lamp to provide wide-angle illumination and a main lamp to create a blindingly bright focused beam. Both focused and wide light modes offer a dimmed setting and there is also a flashing safety light. This user interface makes the Apex easy to operate in all environments from freezing alpine temperatures to multi day climbs. To add to the ease of use, the battery compartment is relatively accessible even without light. Unfortunately, the Apex does not have a red LED to preserve the natural night vision of the people around you.
Overall this headlamp is a very good product with only a few cons such as weight, ok battery life and no red LED. I recommend this headlamp to outdoor professionals who need a bright, reliable and durable light.