When I first received the SNAP from Princeton Tec in the mail, I didn’t know what to think of it. I have many lights to choose from and more than a few headlamps. I opened the box, without anticipation. The packaging was standard Princeton Tec (PT) fare, well diagramed, well packaged and the item of interest presented in plain view. The accouterments were in place behind the main presentation and consisted of a plastic carabiner, what appeared to be another body, or sleeve, and two different sized rubber straps. It came with a trio of Duracell AAA batteries, and a semi-elastic headband adorned with Princeton Tec’s logo.
I did not look at the included instruction manual since I pride myself as a lover of all nice gear, I figured I could figure out the light without help, right? Well, I was able to easily insert the batteries, but I needed to look at the instructions to figure out what the two rubber straps were for. More on that later.
The light is very, um… light. It weighs a mere 2.9 ounces with the three AAA batteries installed. It’s fairly small, measuring only 2.6” long, and 1.1” tall. It runs on three AAA sized batteries, compatible with Alkaline, Lithium or NiMh (Nickel Metal Hydride), but don’t mix battery types.
The literature on the SNAP claims a 130 hour burn time (on low), with another claimed 130 hours of burn time when on strobe mode. On bright, the lumens claimed are 200 lumens with a burn time of 40 hours. I don’t have a scientific lumen measurement device, but I can tell you that on the bright setting, this little headlamp delivers.
The rubber push pad that turns the light on, took a little getting used to. It’s fairly difficult to find when wearing gloves, but easy to the bare finger. A single press turns the light on with it defaulting in the bright setting. If you hold the button down, it dims slowly, to the dimmest setting. If you single press it after turning it on, the unit will shut off. A quick double press turns the unit into strobe mode.
This light is advertised as a multi-use piece of gear that is designed as a headlamp, but can pull double duty as a bike light, a lantern, a magnetic area light, or a safety strobe. While using as a headlamp, the light can swivel up or down, allowing you to set the light where you need it. If you wear a hat like I do most times, the light fits under the bill or brim of the hat, allowing you to use it functionally. Princeton Tec claims that the Maxbright LED with spot technology will throw out to 118 feet. I did not run a tape measure out to test this claim but walking my dogs at night, I could easily see it light up a stop sign from one block to the next.
The light is water resistant, and I tested it in my pool. I just causally dunked it under water, to simulate falling into water and it did not flinch. I would not dive with it, since it is not designed as a submersible light. However, if you get caught in a rainstorm, it will be just fine.
Attaching the light to my Mountain Bike handlebars was pretty straightforward, once I read the instruction booklet. This light provides more than adequate light to navigate a sidewalk or single-track after the sun dips below the horizon. I would not partake in a 24-hour adventure race with this as my only light source, but it would be a perfect secondary light or back up light if needed.
At a retail price just shy of $40 USD, I can’t find fault in this light. One thing to note, it does not have a red filter, or any filter to help with night vision protection, but again, it really is not designed for that.
If you are looking for a low cost, high quality, do everything type of headlamp that will also serve as a lantern or a bike light, this SNAP from Princeton Tec should be one you consider. I will definitely be using it around the house, and it will become a part of my daily use gear. Princeton Tec is an American Company, based out of New Jersey, who has been delivering top-shelf lighting solutions to the public since 1975. They even give the SNAP a five-year warranty which makes choosing this little do-everything light a no-brainer!
Author – (D. MacIntosh) US Army Special Operations with over 30 years of service. Former 1SG, current Warrant Officer with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggary. Over the years, he’s developed a unique style and appreciates the finer things in life. He evaluates gear based on his unique personal experience and no-fluff presentation.