SureFire St. Minimus LED Headlamp

By Ryan Hatfield
Headlamp Eastmans' Hardcore Field Test - If there’s one thing hardcore western hunters can appreciate, it’s the mantra of “do it once and do it right.” Nothing can be more frustrating than having to re-buy something because it didn’t last or perform up to expectations. That’s why it’s easy to appreciate something built intelligently and ruggedly. Cue the Surefire St. Minimus headlamp.

Simply put, this thing is a beast. The first time I turned it on in the dark, which was on a mountain goat scouting trip in a high basin, I about had to reach for sunglasses. What a luxury it was to be able to see just about any darn thing I wanted to.

With a beam that can generate up to 100 lumens, you won’t have to worry about getting an outstanding field of view in the deafening darkness of the mountains. I’m not kidding when I say it felt like I had a car headlight beaming from my forehead.

At 3.3 ounces (with battery), it’s light as a feather – an important attribute for load-conscious hunters. Constructed from hardanodized aerospace-grade aluminum, a sudden spill onto your backpack won’t crush this crucial gear item (nor would a steamroller).

Another well-thought-out feature is the output dial. You can go as low as 1 lumen (good to about 12 feet) clear up to the maximum 100 lumens (burn a hole through a tree at 135 feet). The dial was designed to be easily accessed and operated with one hand, especially with cold or gloved hands, crucial for dire circumstances. Speaking of dire circumstances, there’s also a built-in SOS beacon, should you ever need one.

I like the fact that everything is contained up front, eliminating any battery cables or other clunky apparatus likely to get hooked on brush or tree limbs while pushing through thick cover. The last thing you need when working that hard in those conditions is to suddenly find yourself in pitch dark with your headlamp yanked off of your head and a ripped battery cable.

At minimum lumen output, it will run for 50 hours – plenty good enough for a weeklong hunt. If you want to light up a canyon at full blast, it will still run for 1-1/2 hours. I would definitely recommend using the lithium batteries to help it achieve this maximum performance.

The price ($139) might seem like a bit of overkill for a headlamp, but few things can turn a situation bad as quickly as being miles from anywhere in the dark with no light. The entire intent of Surefire’s engineers when designing this product was that it would be nuclear bomb-proof and it appears they succeeded.