Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, November 24, 2008

First Impressions of the Lupine Tesla


I've put in a couple of runs with a Lupine Tesla and thought it'd be worth noting my initial impressions. My point of reference is my other headlamp - a Silva 10/20 watt halogen lamp with a 7ah sealed lead acid battery (i.e. mid 1980s technology).

The light from the Tesla is a good bit stronger (i.e. brighter and travels further) than the 20 watt halogen. It makes it a little bit easier to move through the forest at speed, but I've never really felt like the 20 watt halogen light was holding my running speed back. The Tesla lets me see a bit further, which makes it a bit easier to pick out a good micro-route through rough vegetation.

The light from the Tesla travels further. I noticed this when I was crossing a field. With the old Silva, I'd have had to take a quick look at the compass to keep my line, but with the Tesla I could pick out a feature on the other side of the field to use as a guide.

The Tesla has three setting. The Silva has 2. The lowest setting on the Tesla seems to be just a little bit less than the Silva at 20 watts. Supposedly, the Tesla with the 4.5ah battery will run for 24 hours at the lowest setting. The Silva will run for just over 2 hours at 20 watts with the 7ah battery.

The Tesla gives the impression of being very well made. It seems more like a fancy bit of technology, while the Silva feels a bit more like a cobbled-together tool. That said, my Silva has been incredibly reliable and sturdy. I've been using it since 1989 and had no real problems with it.

The most striking difference between the 1980s technology and the Tesla might be the battery. The battery that comes with the Tesla is small and light. The 7ah seal lead acid battery I've been running my Silva with is big and heavy. The Tesla battery is much easier to carry.

There is something special about the Silva. It is a classic. I've got to think that some of best orienteers of all time have run with one of those on their heads. I can imagine seeing Oyvind Thon or Kent Olsson with a Silva sitting on their heads. Of course, Thierry Gueorgiou runs with a Lupine. Probably more Tio Mila winners have used the old Silva 10/20 watt lamp than any other model. The Silva is a great bit of gear. The Tesla is new and cool. It is better than the Silva. But, it just doesn't have the same classic feeling to it. Aspleaf probably wouldn't be seen with a Lupine.

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posted by Michael | 7:42 PM


Kinda like vinyl records compared to CDs. There is no comparison in sound quality; the cd blow the vinyl away but there is a growing crowd that still love the clicks and pops of the old media. Nostalgia I guess...but for lights?

As if it's going to have a 'classic feel' while it's the latest technology available.

Get over the sentiment mate, the tesla is awesome.
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