Ay Up Lights: Head Lamp System


There are head lamps… and there are head lamps!

It seems like such a simple idea, strap a lamp to your head, and you have your hands free to do things… well it is miners have been doing this for quite a long time, initially with candles and later fuel lamps up until good battery options became available. About 20 years ago, someone finally figured out that with a lamp strapped to your head it was easier to walk, run, bike, kayak and even just cook food whilst you were outdoors.

As lamp and battery technology has improved and costs come down, you can buy head lamps not only at specialist outdoor shops, but also at your local hardware store or supermarket… of course these really are the first type of head lamp. Yes, you wear it on your head and yes, it’s a lamp… however in most cases they are really pretty cheap, plastic housing and optics. They’ll run of AA or AAA batteries and last a couple of hours. Fine if you are looking under the sink for a missing washer or rummaging in your tent for your socks, otherwise they are pretty shit.

To step up to a proper head lamp you should be looking at alloy construction, quality optics, high lumens (brightness), long last batteries (re-chargeable) and solid construction.

Ay Up certainly come into the second category. They are based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and have been quietly making high-quality lights for bikes and outdoor activity for a number of years. They guarantee their work for life, if it breaks, send it back for a replacement. The business is run online via their factory, you cannot purchase Ay-Up products in any retail store, so you cannot try before you buy.

For 2014 they have updated the optics and LED’s of their lights and for the head lamp, that means over 700+ lumens and almost three hours running time on full power. The performance of the lights is great, they give a consistent light coverage, it’s bright, but not overly artificial. A lot of this is down to the “twin lamp” design Ay Up have developed, with each lamp being able to swivelled individually.




However, there is a bit of a slight of hand on Ay Up’s part, as it’s not really a true head lamp, but rather a head lamp system because all the lights, batteries and changers are interchangeable with their bike lighting systems. What makes it a head lamp is their unique harness. If you all ready own any Ay Up lights your well on your way to having a very powerful and flexible lighting solution.

Pros and Cons:
+ Great performance/battery life
+ Beautiful construction
+ Twin lamp design gives excellent light coverage
+ Can be incorporated into a great system of bike lights and head lamps

- Harness is bulky (though light)
- Only available from Ay-Up directly, no retail stores
- No alternative to re-chargable batteries

Summary:
The Ay Up head lamp system allows you to get things done in the dark with your hands free, especially so if you are running, kayaking etc. On a recent trip to Waitomo I was able to explore some caves just off local walking trails using the Ay Up system, at no time did I think they were not up for the job, especially as it rained persistently for the entire day. The Ay Up system is not a cheap option, but compared to some European counterparts, it’s pretty good value.

Source: Ay Up

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