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April 12, 2015

New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail

Princeton Tec ambassadors Justin and Patrice La Vigne recently completed their thru hike of New Zealand’s 3000+ kilometer Te Araroa Trail in 123 days. They endured all types of weather, terrain and logistical challenges to conquer this fairly new trail, but with the Princeton Tec Vizz to light up their way, they were ready to cruise. Read more about their adventures at www.wanderinglavignes.blogspot.com and see pictures at www.instagram.com/patricejustin.

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March 27, 2015

Habits and Real Adventures

You must know who JayP is by now. Dude is a legendary long-distance cyclist, setting and resetting records on rides including Great Divide, Arrowhead and Iditarod Trail Invitational. Even taking a shot at the RAAM route self-supported because he’s a proper badass. He’s from our home state, NJ, and while he moved west for bigger adventures in wider open spaces, he’s still in touch with us, and a big fan of PTEC lights for … hmm … eight or ten years at least.

Jay sent me an email the other day, confirming that his trusty combination of PTEC Apex, EOS Bike, Swerve and Fuel headlamps yet again lit the way for this year’s Iditarod. Minus 40 degrees for a week straight. You really have to give props to everybody who went for it in those conditions. No matter where they placed. Even if they had a DNF, they had the drive to get out there, give it a go, and learn a whole lot about themselves. I digress.

Salsa Cycles, one of JayP’s biggest sponsors, has been cranking out some great products and some cool marketing to support their focus: Adventure by Bike. Look closely in this screen capture from a recent video – JayP is wearing his signature Rasta PTEC Fuel headlamp. I bring this up to call out the detail that this headlamp is “upside down.”

JayP has been rocking an Apex headlamp pretty much since they came out. The power buttons are on the bottom. I can’t tell you why, that’s just the way it is. The light was designed before I even thought about becoming a Princeton Tec employee. Anyway, in JayP’s mind, the power button on a headlamp goes on the bottom, Apex or Fuel. He’s got his headstrap on right side up, so that won’t be driving our graphic designer nuts. He designs the headstrap graphics, and he takes pride in his work.

There is no wrong way. The Fuel works whichever way. The new Sync works whichever way too – right or left handed. So there you go – you have options, and you don’t even have to void your warranty. But please, whatever you do, make sure your headstrap is right side up if there is a chance of somebody taking your photo. Otherwise, our graphic designer will go nuts if he sees you with an upside down headstrap.

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March 26, 2015

Lighting for Your Ballistic or Bump Helmet

Check out the comprehensive Charge MPLS review on FRAGOUT. And for those who prefer to run CR123 power, check out the Charge PRO MPLS.

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March 25, 2015

Importance of Light Discipline

In my last post I mentioned how all of our divisions help inform one another in terms of product design and features. Sometimes a tool that’s necessary to do a certain job ends up seeming like a nice feature to have for another, even in less demanding conditions.

What the military calls light discipline – concealment from the observation of the enemy by controlling and eliminating sources of light – actually makes sense whether family camping, through hiking the PCT, hunting or fishing, though for differing reasons.

An example: the red/green/blue LEDs that our tactical lights incorporate to avoid detection of our military by the enemy will actually work well to avoid waking up your kids on your next family campout. They also help keep on good terms with the other hikers staying in a shelter or adjacent campsite. This is just one instance of how some of the lessons learned through developing military products benefit everybody who has the choice to use Princeton Tec lights.

This warrants a look at an even wider view – the philosophy behind PTEC lights.

There are people who think the brightest/loudest/fastest thing they can get their hands on is always the “best.” We beg to differ. Sure, hammers are great. But brute force is not always the answer. Oftentimes, one will be better served to strike with a little more precision and finesse.

As a lighting company (rather than a company that sells lights and a thousand other things), we gain the advantage of specialization.

You may need that 700 lumen handheld light. Incidentally, we make one if that’s what you need. But for many people, a smaller light with a different set of features will do the job even better.

Your friends won’t hate you for blasting their night adjusted vision away. You’ll have long enough burn time that headlamp battery change may happen less often than oil changes in your car. With a light like Sync, you’ll get multiple output levels and beam patterns for versatility over a simple on/off light.

Life is not always about raw (lumen) power.

We get a kick anytime a competitor’s reply to our multi-featured light is “well we have one with more power.” *Usable power* is the important part of the story. If a headlamp cranks out 180 lumens at the start, that’s great. Perhaps it looks better on paper than the Princeton Tec Vizz, which “only” puts out 165 lumens. Once the two lights have been on for 30 minutes, however, the Vizz is still at 165 lumens, while the competition is down to 40 lumens. A lot of good that initial output did, right?

The point of this post is not to bash any of the products out there, rather to say that there should be a reason for design and engineering choices. Each of those choices, particularly the balance between lumens and burntime, is a compromise. Does the company you’re buying from understand your needs? Have they developed the product with those needs in mind?

There are a bunch of different scenarios out there, and we think because of our focus on lighting, Princeton Tec does a solid job of building the right tool for the job. And we build a lot of tools for a lot of jobs. Check out the catalogs.

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March 18, 2015

Where We’re From

Princeton Tec has put in a lot of time manufacturing the products we’ve sold, since 1975. Starting with SCUBA gear (the company was founded in the back of a dive shop in our namesake town Princeton, NJ), the company’s eventual focus on personal lighting products really brought a lot of opportunity within reach.

When Princeton Tec shifted to designing and manufacturing personal lighting, we were able to recognize several niches, and utilize our expertise and the quick turnaround time resulting from domestic manufacturing, to rapidly grow our position within those niches.

In the late 1990’s, as LED technology was becoming more affordable, Princeton Tec was the first to market with an LED headlamp. This pioneering product made a ton of sense for backcountry use – the bulbs don’t burn out and the energy efficiency allow users to carry a fraction of the batteries that incandescent bulbs required – a real leap forward for explorers and travelers of all types. These days, it’s all about LED.

With a firm foothold in the outdoor world and our products being distributed to local shops and big stores around the world, Princeton Tec gained brand recognition for logically designed, quality, domestically made products.

Next, we recognized military applications for some of our products. Spending more time in that market yielded product feedbackthat could make the lights even better for tactical end users. Our ability to quickly adapt our products meant that we could incorporate that feedback into lights meeting the specific needs of the military.

While we began by selling outdoor products to the military, later adapting those products to add military-specific features, the culmination has been the MPLS line. Designed with and for elite US military forces, these lights are unparalleled tools for demanding users.

In a similar fashion to our growth in the military space, Princeton Tec has been able to take to the field for feedback on what could make industrial users’ lives safer and more efficient. With special details for professionals, and a series of lights certified for use in the most hazardous environments in the midst of potentially explosive gas or particulate, Princeton Tec has taken the lead on providing quality products that help the people whose work makes modern life possible.

Tying all of these very very specific niche products together, there is a big feedback loop in place. Sometimes the lessons we learn in the power plant lead to developments that will make it safer to go caving. Many features requested by the US military end up being useful in the outdoor market. And sometimes the products developed with feedback for SCUBA, our original starting point, look real good to our friends who hunt.

The point to all of this? We’ve traveled down a lot of roads and trails in 40 years. Princeton Tec has logged a bunch of miles, on foot, by bike, under water, on the battlefield and in the oil field. An open minded person finds the common threads in all of these experiences. With that mindset, we all learn. Everybody benefits.

In some ways, today, we are in the same place where we started. Still here in New Jersey, making the best products we know how. In other ways, things could never be more different – we’re growing ever faster, and in the process of moving to a new facility that will allow us to continue down that path.

Year 40 for Princeton Tec is proving to be an exciting one. Check in here for more updates, and join us on Facebook and Instagram as we share more of what makes Princeton Tec.

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March 10, 2015

Sync Wins 2015 Backpacker Editors’ Choice Award!

At Outdoor Retailer, Backpacker Mag awarded the Princeton Tec Sync headlamp with the 2015 Editors’ Choice Award, because they love how the headlamp combines ease of use and a ton of features into an affordable $29 light. I have been carrying this announcement around in my pocket ever since. Backpacker made us agree to wait until today to share this great news; what a challenge that’s been! The Sync is available at find retailers all around the world. For those of you who work in a shop, we have a special SYNC offer for you – just hit up your manager or PTEC rep to find out more about the killer deal.

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February 24, 2015

2015 Preview

This is going to be an exciting year for Princeton Tec.

2015 is Princeton Tec’s 40th anniversary, putting us in a small group of companies that have been around for four decades.

Princeton Tec SYNC is an award-winning headlamp! We can’t say anymore right now, but we’ll be making a formal announcement very soon.

We are expanding as quickly as ever, with a really, really major announcement coming in the next few weeks.

New products are coming out, including our first ever line of lanterns. Those of you who have been asking us for lanterns: don’t say we never listen!

In honor of our 40th anniversary, PTEC will spend the year sharing glimpses into our internal process – product design, engineering, manufacturing and testing. We will begin by shedding some light into the philosophy that guides the creation of PTEC lights.

Stay tuned to your preferred channel to keep informed:

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February 19, 2015

Living on the Dash Once Again

Photo: Beth Puliti

Years ago, around the time when blogging was cool, and well before it stepped aside to make way for the Facebooks, Twitters and Instagrams of the world, we had a little blog called Living on the Dash. If you scroll down and look on the right hand side – there are posts going back nearly eight years.

Back in 2007, it was all about taking the PTEC brand on the road. That continues!

We’ve shaken a few things up at the office, among them sending Justin off with a one way plane ticket and his touring bicycle, to focus his attention on international business development.

The Princeton Tec brand is well regarded around the world, and we intend to keep that going. Spending face to face time with foreign customers, retailers, and distributors is an important component in the evolution of our products and business. Yes, the internet is fast. But getting there by bike and spending time sharing culture and customs means so much more. It is our willingness to learn and attention to detail that continue to make PTEC shine.

Justin has been sharing with us the trials of a life behind (handle)bars. While we at the office may long for the rewards afforded by fresh air and mountain passes, Justin is always ready to remind us that there are rainy days, gear that acts up, and maps that could use an update. The daily challenges of downsizing from a house to a set of panniers. Even the effort it takes to get your laptop connected from the mountains.

In all, Justin’s recent travels have been a trip, and he’s looking forward to sharing some stories from the road as he continues the journey. From what to pack to sights along the way, we’ll begin sharing regular bits from the road with you here.

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February 16, 2015

It’ll Last a Lifetime

I have owned an EOS headlamp for years. I work as a mountain guide in Grand Teton Nat’l Park, where it is imperative that I have high quality light and distance illumination. I travel over steep terrain in the dark with clients. I am very impressed with the quality and distance performance of your headlamps. I had years of quality performance, then I could not turn my headlamp off. I sent it back to see if a minor correction might fix it. Today , I got a brand new headlamp sent to me! So, PTEC makes great products, and stands behind them! Thank you very much!
Tom Egan
Sr. Guide, Jackson Hole Mtn Guides

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February 5, 2015

Princeton Tec Backpacking Ambassadors’ New Zealand Update

Princeton Tec ambassadors Justin and Patrice La Vigne have finished the North Island of New Zealand and are half way done with their thru hike of the 1900-mile Te Araroa trail. Lighting up their way and keeping them on track is the Princeton Tec Vizz. It not only helps get things done around camp, but Justin and Patrice have relied on their headlamps for night hiking a few times along the way as well! Be sure to follow the rest of their adventure as they start the South Island at www.wanderinglavignes.blogspot.com

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Hitting the road. That’s what this is all about.


Life at PT sure is interesting, but it’s what happens when we saddle up and head out of Bordentown that fuels our passion and provides inspiration. Our travels present the opportunity to explore new places, see old friends, meet strangers that grow into old friends, and share our enthusiasm for the outdoors. www.livingonthedash.com is our outlet to share these experiences.


Sit back, enjoy and spread the love.