Are you using Coleman’s MAX headlamp with the super bright Cree XR-E LED’s? If you are then tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.
(1/24/11) The review for Coleman’s MAX headlamp was provided by Patrick R. from Kansas. Thanks Patrick for all of your detailed reviews including this one. Hopefully your review will help someone find their way out of a dark spot.
As a father with 3 boys in Scouts, Coleman products are very familiar to me considering their association with the Boy Scouts of America. Many Coleman products are top-notch, and others are really just cheap Chinese-made items. The Coleman MAX headlamp falls in the former category.
The lamp has a main white LED emitter and two red 5mm LEDs on the sides of the white emitter. On the right side is a rotary switch that selects between the red light, or white light on either high or low.
The main emitter is a Cree XR-E LED, which is probably the best brand of LEDs available. It is rated at 105 lumens on high and considerably less on low, around 50 lumens. The high mode projects a tight beam of focused light with a wide spill beam, helpful for walking down trails or searching for a downed deer. The low mode works better for close-in work such as in a tent or when tying a lure or hook to some fishing line or baiting said hook for late night fishing.
The two red LEDs are not nearly as bright as the Cree light, but they are still useful for walking to the treestand or blind in the pre-dawn hours without destroying your night vision or spooking any game in the area.
The lamp assembly comes with an elastic headband that is soft and fairly comfortable. It is attached to the plastic lamp mount which has a thin foam pad on the back that will leave an impression on your forehead if worn for an extended period of time. You won’t notice the headlamp or the impression it leaves all that much as it is comfortable enough to wear for an extended period. I use it whenever I have to work underneath my truck or van or in the lower parts of the engine, keeping my hands free for tools. While there are plenty of headlamps out there that are more comfortable, they are also more expensive.
The lamp is powered by 3 AAA batteries, and while not exactly known for longevity, the circuitry does a good job of ringing out every last drop of electricity for a decent 2.5 hour runtime on high, or about 6 hours on low. Lithium AAA batteries will make this runtime much easier to meet, plus they work far better in winter conditions than alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries can also be used for performance in between alkaline and lithium batteries.
Getting to the battery compartment, however, takes a bit of work. The lamp must be snapped out of the mount as the battery compartment is on the back side. The small tab securing the battery cover is not he easiest to remove, but comes off with a little bit of effort and holds the batteries in very securely. Even if the tab on the cover were to break, the light would still be usable since the mounting frame would hold the batteries in.
What I like:
The price is excellent for a LED of this quality. The Cree XR-E is a good, strong, high quality emitter. The strap is pretty comfortable and adjustable to fit a wide range of head sizes.
What I don’t like:
The rotary switch is stiff, and not the easiest to manipulate with thick gloves on. The red LEDs could stand to be brighter, but they are on par with typical 5mm LEDs. There just needs to be more of them. Not the best design for access to the batteries.
If you are looking for a quality headlamp that won’t break the bank or give you neck strain from the weight, the Coleman MAX Cree XR-E headlamp will definitely fit the bill. Don’t expect the same quality as a $80+ Petzl, Princeton Tec, or Surefire headlamp, it will definitely work for the outdoorsman on a budget and will leave you pleasantly surprised with the quality you will get for the price you pay.