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Leon's Blog

Is a headlamp the best survival light ? We review the Pelican 2765 LED Headlight

The Pelican 2765 headlight works well in most nasty weather.
Is a headlamp the best survival light ? We review the Pelican 2765 LED Headlight

My go-to light outdoors is always a headlamp. Think about adding one to your emergency gear, and this might be a good choice.

by Leon Pantenburg

I was not paid to do this review, and at the time of publication, Pelican has no sponsorship relationship with SurvivalCommonSense.com.

I ended up holding the Mini Maglite in my teeth, like an oversized cigar, while I field dressed the deer in the darkness. And in another instance, I had to hand-hold a flashlight in my armpit while using both hands to tie off a boat. Then there was the time – last week – when I struggled to handle two leashed Labs one-handed when  a deer popped up on our after-dark walk.

As far as I’m concerned, a good headlight is the light source you should carry in your emergency gear. If I were looking for a Bug Out Bag or survival light, it would be a headlamp. EMTs, first responders and anyone who might have to use both hands in a dark environment needs a reliable light source that can be mounted on a helmet or hat.

Pelican stock shot

The Pelican 2765 is designed to work hard for people who need a sturdy, reliable light.

I’ve tried a lot of  headlights and have the collection to prove it. So I was very interested in testing the Pelican™ 2765 LED Headlight. I put it through its paces on several dog walks after dark, and then recently on a fishing trip. Here’s what I thought of the product:

The specs:

Body: PC
Lens: PC
Shroud: PC
Switch Type: Push button
Modes: High/Low/Downcast/Flashing
Battery Level Indicator: Full time battery indicator (The Pelican in powered by three AAA Batteries.)
O-Ring: Over-molded TPR

Color: Black or yellow

Pelican™ safety approved headlights are designed for use in hazardous environments. It is Class I Div 1 approved, meaning it can safely be operated in an area where gas, vapor or mist will be present or expected to be present for long periods of time under normal operating conditions.

The good stuff:

Great design: The headlamp is compact and lightweight. You can wear it on your head for a long time without noticing the weight.

Pelican in hand

The Pelican is lightweight and compact.

Easy handling: I can operate the on/off switch while wearing gloves. That’s nice.

Water resistant: I walked in the rain and sleet with the Pelican on the outside of my hat. No problems. You’ll appreciate this feature if you ever end up hiking after dark and the weather turns nasty.

Brightness: On the high setting, the 2765 provides 105 Lumens. This compares to the 75 Lumens my Black Diamond Spot two mode headlamp puts out. I’ve used the Black Diamond with complete satisfaction for about five years now. I field dressed two deer last season in pitch darkness by the light of the Black Diamond, and it was very useful.

But, I’m really liking the brighter high setting and the downcast setting of the Pelican. I anticipate using one or the other most of the time.

Variable settings: The Pelican 2765 offers multiple modes (high, low, downcast, flashing). This is a great option, and I found myself using the the downcast mode most often. The LEDs provide plenty of illumination walking on pathways and over rocks. It is also a great choice for reading in your tent, and the light won’t blind you when it reflects off the page.

Pelican in dark

The Pelican has a very bright mode, as well as a dimmer, energy-saving setting for walking on pathways.

The high setting is very good for when you have to look in the distance. In my backyard pine forest, the Pelican easily lights 50 yards and beyond on really dark nights.

Long battery life: On the downcast setting, with new batteries, according to the product website, the Pelican can be counted on for nine hours and 30 minutes of run time. I haven’t really checked out the longevity yet. But with the nearly nightly use the Pelican has been getting, the batteries seem to be holding out really well.

Full time battery indicator: I really like this feature. Murphy’s Law, as it regards headlamp batteries, states that you will run out of power when you need it most, during the darkest possible circumstances. The battery indicator may prevent that.


The elastic band on this headlamp was used and stretched to the point where it has to be knotted to work!

Sturdy headband: I have headlamps with stretched-out headbands because I have put them on helmets and hats. Then, when you need to wear it bare headed, the band doesn’t work well. The Pelican comes with two rugged, well-built headbands in cloth and rubber.

Do you need a Pelican 2765?

Well, you need several light sources in your survival/emergency gear, IMHO, and one of them should be a reliable headlamp. The Pelican passed all my tests with flying colors, and I have included one in the daypack that rides in the car trunk.

I think the 2765 is a solid product, and at the suggested retail price of $49.95, the Pelican is priced right. This headlamp is a keeper.

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Leon's Blog

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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