It’s been 2 full years now since I started caving. For my first trip, I hopped on Amazon and ordered a helmet. Then I grabbed some knee pads, gloves, and a couple flashlights from the store and headed out with a local grotto on my first wild trip underground. It was amazing! I certainly learned some lessons on that first trip that were no-brainers for seasoned cavers. One important lesson was that having a handheld flashlight as my primary light source was a bad idea since a headlamp would free up both hands for tasks like scrambling over breakdown or snapping pictures.
Lesson learned. On the trip I asked the other cavers what they use and found that Zebralight seemed to be the light-source of choice for those on the trip. Other cavers, on many trips since have all seemed to share the same opinion. With that being said I place an order for a Zebralight and have been using it ever since for myself, and then later for my 13 year old son when he started to join me on trips. It is reliable, waterproof, and puts out significant like in the 1000 lumen range on high which can adequately light passages, but struggles in larger rooms.
Recently, I’ve noticed a shift with other companies producing high quality lights in the same price range and wanted to give them a shot. Zebra has been somewhat stagnant for years now in that their design has not changed. Some of these new comers offer features like magnetic charging and modes with significantly higher lumen output so I went ahead and reached out to Olight to see if I could give their H2R Nova model a try.
On arrival, the Olight H2R Nova looks similar to the Zebralight and feels to be well made. In the box it comes with a band for use in securing it to your helmet along with the magnetic charging cable. The light itself comes with a high-drain 18650 battery.
For my purposes, the main points that I wanted to assess were the lights 2000 lumen output and it’s appearance as a floodlight as I take a considerable amount of photos when caving for use in these blog posts. I went ahead and did a quick test in the back yard and was impressed with not just it’s overall brightness but in the smooth appearance of the flood (no major focused ring).
|150 lumen output|
|2300 lumen output|
The 2300 lumen setting rating appears to be genuine in that it is significantly brighter than a Zebralight though you would of course want to limit its use at this setting as it quickly becomes hot and would have rapid battery drain. On a later cave trip, you can see that its 2300 lumen setting more than adequately lights a passage though sadly I didn’t have a chance to test it in a large room. Based on my experience with it, it would have no problem doing so however.
This light is priced comparably with Zebralight at $89.95, though in my opinion, it is a much better value for the money considering its build quality and higher lumen output. I have to admit that I am a fan of the magnetic charger as well. If you are interested, the Olight H2R Nova can be purchased from the Olight store www.olightstore.com and they have a Black Friday sale going on that brings it’s price down to $71.96.
Also, Olight is having a 2hr flash sale with 40% off at 1-3pm on 25th so if you are in the market, keep an eye out and scoop one up!