TBT Gear: Mini-Maglite Jakstrap Headband

Though I schlepped heavy gear for my early backpacking jaunts, one concept I quickly learned was that the halogen headlamps popular at the time were much too heavy for what I need.

I purchased a Mini-Maglite Solitaire running on a single AAA battery. At less than an ounce, not really sure it balanced out my heavy leather boots, Whisperlite stove and PUR Water filter that I also carried.

But it was a start.

To hold this little flash flight at night, I needed a head strap of some sort.

In seemingly every big box store, small outfitter and EMS, the Liston Concepts Jakstrap was available.


Originally from Liston Concepts

As I continued to go lightweight, I switched to the longer lasting and lighter Photon II key chain light.

The Jakstrap continued to be use for all my backpacking from 1997 –  2009.

I believe I paid less than $10 for it, held the Photon light well enough  and weighed less than .50 ounces.

On the BMT


As with many backpackers, I shifted away from the Photon II as my main headlamp.

The Jakstrap went into the misc junk drawer/extra gear bin.

This past winter, my very light and function AAA headlamp went kaput after six years.  I could not find the same headlamp.

Oddly enough, I ended up with a light similar in form and function to my old AAA Solitaire but with modern updates: a Fenix LD02 EDC Flashlight.


From REI

A very popular light among well-known backpackers, I can see why.  Somewhat expensive, but very light, rugged and runs on a AAA battery for quite a few hours and has two brightness settings.

The only problem? My hat choices do not lend themselves to the light being clipped-in as easily as with a ball cap or visor.

So I went hunting through my misc “bin o’ gear”. Alas, I could not find the Jakstrap.  I suspect it was done away with in the last gear purge.  And some Internet hunting did not turn it up for sale and/or the cost of shipping was a bit ridiculous.

This little device no longer appears to be made.

And a similar strap is heavier bulkier, and frankly, the velcro looks like it will be PITA in the long run. It has received mediocre reviews vs the tried and true Jakstrap.

So I needed to go the MYOG route.

I’d rather have paid less than $10 for the Jakstrap again.  The time spent procuring the material and my mediocre sewing skills makes paying money for a ready-made product worth it!  🙂

EDIT: After writing this article, on a hunch, I found the doodad in someone misc items. Ah ha!

Would I still buy this gear? In a heartbeat.  Surprised it is no longer made. But the market for an elastic head strap is probably small.

Why I still use this gear? See above. The strap works well for my gear needs and backpacking style.


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