Snow Peak’s new headlamp, the SnowMiner offers a high performance headlamp that easily transforms into a hanging lantern. The backpacker can now light up the trail and the tent in a compact and lightweight solution. The SnowMiner’s smart and patent pending design allows for the lens to be easily removed with a single hand, converting to an amazing ambient light spanning 180 degrees. The multi-function, sleek design and long battery life are all included in this new product, the SnowMiner.
- High-modulus nylon fiber
- Silicone resin
- Dimensions – 5.6 cm Diameter x 5.1 cm Wide (2.2 in x 2 in)
- LED bulb
- Lighting Hours – 140 hr (Low), 55 hr (High), 250 hr (Strobe)
- Brightness – 80 Lumens (High), 8 Lumens (Low)
- 3 AAA Batteries
- IPx4 Water Resistance Rating
- Low Battery Indicator
- Lighting Modes – High, Low, Strobe, Variable
- Measured weight – 99 g (3.5 oz) with Batteries
- Retail – $56
Snow Peak is a brand that creates products that inspire people to enjoy the outdoors. Their products are made to last and create harmony between people and nature. Snow Peak has been around since 1958.
Recently, they came out with several innovative lighting solutions, one of them being the SnowMiner. This innovative light is both a headlamp and a lantern. While this review is for the SnowMiner, some of the other lights also deserve a look if you have a chance.
Both my wife and I had a hand in testing the SnowMiner. Melissa likes to read, and the lantern mode was a favorite of hers. I used the headlamp in a more traditional setting. I took it on several backpacking trips to put it to the test.
Is it a headlamp? Or is it a lantern? Wait it is both, let me explain. The Snow Peak SnowMiner can be converted back and forth between headlamp and lantern mode. The SnowMiner is similar to other headlamps in that it has an elastic headband that connects to the lighting fixture in the front. The headband is fully adjustable and has a hook that can be tucked away when not in use. This hook allows the headlamp to be hung in a shelter or anywhere else of choice to create a lantern when in ambient light mode.
The lighting structure is where the magic happens. It is a large dome structure that houses 3 AAA batteries for power and can be tilted with an adjustable hinge to aim the light. The dome is made of silicone, which creates 180 degrees of ambient light. At the front of the dome is a lens that can be pushed inwards to create a true headlamp, directing the light in a beam out in front of you. To change between these modes it is as easy as pushing the lens in or pulling it out. At the top of the housing, there is a single button which controls the four lighting modes. These are high, low, strobe, and adjustable. In high mode, the light output is 80 lumens and has a battery life of 55 hours. On low mode, the light output drops to eight lumens but the battery life is 140 hours. In the variable mode, the light can dim from high mode all the way down to two lumens of output, battery life follows accordingly. When the batteries do get low, I small red light will come on to indicate low battery life.
The SnowMiner uses a long-lasting white LED light. This creates a clear and bright light for the best vision in headlamp mode. Some of their other lanterns use a softer LED light as they are geared more towards the ambient light only. The SnowMiner also carries a water resistance rating of IPx4. This essentially means the headlamp has been splashed from all angles for at least 5 minutes at a water pressure of 80-100 kN/m2. In laymen terms, it can be rained on but should not be dropped in a creek.
Check out this video from Snow Peak.
I tried to find out some information on Snow Peak’s use of sustainable materials or corporate initiatives but was not really able to find much. I did give them credit for creating a light with a long battery life. This is why the SnowMiner got a one for sustainability.
When talking about the fit of a headlamp, there is not much to discuss. As with most headlamps, there is an adjustable strap that is made of elastic for a tight and secure fit. The only added piece to this band is the attached hook in the back that is used in lantern mode. When wearing this light with and without a hat I never had any issues with comfort, even the hook in the back sits comfortably between the straps for comfort. I could not even tell it was there. The back of the light apparatus has a slight curve to it to follow the contour of your head and provide a better fit. I never wore the headlamp for more than an hour, but I felt like that was enough time to determine it as comfortable. Even with the large light in the front the SnowMiner stayed in place well.
Battery Life (20%)
Ease of Use (25%)
The SnowMiner really performed well. I was impressed by how bright the light could be while still being able to adjust. In high mode, the headlamp can shine to 40 meters and in low mode to 7 meters. It creates a good spot to see by. I found that I also used the ambient light mode even with it on my head. This came in handy when working on items in close proximity when a broad light was better than a spot. Since it is easy to switch between modes, I could adjust it based on my needs on the fly. Even with gloves on it was fairly simple to change between modes. The easiness is in direct connection with the thickness of your gloves, the thicker the more difficult it may be.
I really like how the light can be used as a lantern. Especially if you want to read in your tent at night, the lantern makes it easier. Melissa loved using it for reading, both in the tent and in the car. Gone are the days of constantly adjusting the spot of your headlamp to see as you read. For those with kids who are not fans of the dark, this is also a great light to have because you can adjust it all the way down to two lumens, and it will give off just a little light while not really draining the batteries. Speaking of the batteries, the SnowMiner has a long battery life, especially if you adjust the light down when you do not need full power. I do wish they had a rechargeable solution, but that is also something I can buy on my own to make it greener.
Changing between modes takes a little to get used to. As with all lights, it seems to take some time to learn the order and best methods of changing modes. This light was no exception, but the learning curve was rather short. The button is similar to the changing modes in that the thicker the glove the more you may need to push but with thin gloves or gloveless it was super easy to operate. One other overlooked but good feature in the headlamp is a small piece of plastic at the bottom of the lighting dome. This plastic gives a little shadow for your eyes making it easier to see. A small but important touch.
Overall, I was impressed by the SnowMiner. It has won several awards for its design and versatility, and I now truly can tell why. It is not only a powerful headlamp but also a great lantern with a good amount of ambient light. I love the fact that this comes in a convenient two in one package. The only trade off being the size of the light unit which is a little bigger than it would be if it was only a headlamp. I can easily get over this as will most others that give this a chance. It may look a bit funny at first, but once you use it; you will love it. I have used it in a light rain and had it in my pack for several trips and have not had any durability issues, time will tell, but I do not expect any. The SnowMiner retails for $56, which is a good price for what you get. I initially was surprised to see it for so little. Since Snow Peak is a smaller brand it may be a bit difficult to find the light, but it is worth the effort. This light is pretty cool. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- 80 lumen headlamp in high mode
- Can adjust the light down to 2 lumens
- Ambient light mode is awesome
- Easy to adjust between modes
- Light Unit is bigger than most and may cause hesitation to try
- May bounce if tried to use while running or cycling
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