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Snow Peak SnowMiner and Icon Irix II review
Written by Jason Elliot   
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SnowMinerOver the last few months, a few headlamps have been glued to my forehead for a barrel full of fun. Nighttime road running, moonlit hikes and even some night resort skiing needed some illumination.

Snow Peak SnowMiner Headlamp

Snow Peak has been deluged with awards for the creative design of the SnowMiner Headlamp. The headlamp takes a practical approach to design that gives us a versatile lighting product.

The SnowMiner Headlamp can be used to light your way returning to base camp after dusk then later hang from the apex inside your tent to light a bedtime game of backcountry poker.

The headlamp’s dome uses some whiz-bang engineering that gives it versatility. The dome can be depressed, so the SnowMiner can dissipate light and be used as an overhead light in your tent.

The light has three brightness settings – high, low and strobe. It sports 80 lumens on its brightest settings. Testing the Snow Peak SnowMiner proved its versatility and brightness as its biggest strength. It’s small enough for backpacking with a 2-inch diameter and width, and also throws off a decent size light in smaller car camping tents.

I was concerned with the durability of the headlamp’s flexible dome when I first saw the SnowMiner at the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. I stopped just short of stepping on it or throwing it against the wall to see if the rubber dome would split. And it held up to the abuse. (MSRP $55.95)

Irix IIIcon Irix II Headlamp

Most outdoor pursuits don’t require a heavily sophisticated headlamp in lowlight situations. Mostly you need a headlamp to navigate the last parts to your backcountry site and to set-up your basecamp during dusk. Plus it always comes in handy cooking at night or pre-dawn much easier.

The Icon Irix II proves its worth and sets you back less than $30. It works great for hiking, backpacking and base camping. The five mini-lights are exposed and may easily break with a few rough and tumble episodes, so it’s not the most rugged headlamp.

How often do you find yourself stumbling around at your campsite? I try to avoid stumbling and falling face first. Well not always. If any of my camp mates packed a few bottles of wine, then stumbling around may very well happen.

The Irix II shines 50 lumens at its highest setting. It has a dimmer-style knob that allows you to adjust the brightness to what best suits you. It met my needs for my typical outdoor excursions. (MSRP $29.95)

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Jason Elliot

JElliotJason Elliot is the Editor and Publisher of Elliot has established a respected following with the top industry professionals and gearheads for his nonbiased reviews of outdoor gear and apparel. Elliot is a regular contributor to, and other publications on top of his editorial and writing role with

Elliot left a successful fifteen-plus year management career that he worked at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies to pursue his passion for writing about the outdoors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from La Roche College.

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