Head lamps are one of the most useful lighting tools ever created until you have to wear something else like a helmet or hat on your head that precludes the use of a head lamp. Using a head lamp as a hand held light when you are unable to wear it sounds like a good idea until you try it. If you can’t wear it and you don’t want to hold it, what can you do? Well, if the head lamp in question is a Surefire Minimus (previously known as the Saint Minimus), you can use the ECHO NiNER (E9) Head Lamp Pouch to secure the light to your MOLLE gear for hands free use.
The E9 Head Lamp Pouch combines both unique features with unique materials to create something very functional. In fact, there are some materials used in this pouch that you are likely going to start seeing a lot more frequently.
The main body of the pouch is made from Hypalon which is a synthetic rubber material that is relatively light in weight and very tough. It is not stretchy but feels somewhat rubbery to the touch like dry bag material. It is water resistant (though the pouch is not), chemical resistant, temperature resistant, and UV light resistant.
The interior of the pouch is stiffened with a thin frame of plastic. This is necessary so that the pouch doesn’t shift and sag under the load of the head lamp. It works very well for its intended purpose and also serves as some additional impact protection for the items contained in the pouch.
The top flap of the pouch is constructed of 1000D nylon with a pack clothe lining. The flap is secured over the opening of the pouch via hook and loop.
There is a large opening in the front of the pouch that allows the head lamp to protrude. The top of the opening is split to allow easy installation and removal of the head lamp. Each side of the head lamp features a short shock cord loop that prevents the head lamp from falling out the front of the pouch. This design works well for the wide barrel shape of the Surefire Minimus that I tested.
When the head lamp is secured in the pouch, the body of the light is outside the pouch while the strap and forehead “mount” is contained within the pouch. It is very secure and allows for all functions of the Minimus to be accessible (brightness adjustment, tilt).
E9 says that this pouch is also useful for GoPro cameras and any other item that you don’t mind being visible/exposed through the front of the pouch. I was not able to test a GoPro Camera but I did find that it the pouch is useful for items other than head lamps. You are really only limited by what will fit in the pouch without falling out of the hole in front.
Observations from Use
More than anything else, I wanted to test how secure the head lamp was secured by the E9 Head Lamp Pouch. It is very well secured. Even if the flap opens accidentally, the shock cord will retain the Minimus head lamp well enough that accidental loss shouldn’t be an issue. It is a pretty ingenious set up. E9 says the pouch will work specifically with the Minimus (which includes the Saint and Saint Minimus) and ICON head lamps. I tested with a Minimus but I suspect that other head lamps with a similar barrel shaped form factor will work.
The E9 Head Lamp Pouch work really well mounted on the high center of a plate carrier. From this position, the broad beam of the Minimus can be put to good use illuminating items in your hands like maps or the path that you are walking. It attaches via 2 MOLLE straps so it is also narrow enough to attach to items like some backpack or chest rig straps via the horizontal sections of webbing that can often found on these items. The higher you can mount the pouch, the better it will work.
There is enough room in the pouch to secure a few extra batteries and color filters. This can be very handy for the Minimus since the newest versions allow the use of somewhat bulky, “U” shaped color filters. However, if the head lamp is removed, these small items will likely fall out of the pouch immediately upon movement.
The quality of the pouch is very good. The materials are all bomb proof. There were no surprises here.
I did note two potential issues with the pouch. One is noted earlier. Small items like batteries and color filters will not be retained if the head lamp is not in place which renders the pouch useless for small items unless you also have the head lamp installed. Some way to close the opening in the pouch would make it more useful. Perhaps if the perimeter of the opening was covered with loop material a patch could be used to cover the opening.
The other issue is that the gnarled adjustment knob of the Minimus can rub on the stitching that secures the plastic stiffener to the inside of the pouch. Mine is already starting to fray the stitching a bit so I have placed a small piece of tape behind the adjustment knob to protect the stitching. This will likely be a non-issue with the ICON head lamps and care can be taken with the Minimus to prevent this when operating the knob.
The E9 Head Lamp Pouch is extremely handy. It improves the usefulness of your head lamp when you don’t have it on your head. In fact, my Minimus will probably spend more time in this pouch than it does on my head. I would love to see a way to close the pouch’s opening in a future version. It would also be very cool to make an expanded version that was more of an admin style organizer with the head lamp holding capability built in.
Check out the E9 Head Lamp Pouch on ENiNER.com.
Disclosure: This product was provided for review by ECHO NiNER, free of charge.