What Head Torch???

Bowlander

Full Member
Nov 28, 2011
1,352
0
Forest of Bowland
+1 for the Alpkit.

Did anyone try the Aldi cree headtorch? It was in a few weeks ago but looked too front heavy. The 2x AA hand held is great.

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gixer

Member
Dec 16, 2012
40
0
Midlands
As said, it really depends on what you want to do, a torch that offers a great beam for close up work like reading isn't necessarily going to have a good beam for running at night off-road.

Some things to consider when choosing a torch

Beam pattern
A torch with a more flood type beam will be great for closer work, but won't be good for viewing anything further away

Beam Quality
A lot of the alpkit, Petzl torches i've tried have terrible beams.
They might look ok to someone coming from say a Maglite, but compared to decent modern torches their beams are terrible.
Most have dark lines or artifacts, this makes any work you do very tiring.
For close work like say reading a book you have to keep moving your head so the bit you want to see isn't in a dark area, with night hiking it's even worse as these artifacts hide rocks and roots that can cause you to trip

Tint
Another nail in the coffin for the Petzl, alpkit lights is their tint.
Might sound daft, but a white or even worse blue tint to the light will tire your eyes and blow out any detail.
A light with a darker tint (around CCT 4400k) will give a far far better rendition of colours, you'll be able to differentiate between say rocks and dust covered roots, you'll be able to see foliage better as greens will pop out more.

For someone not having had much experience with torches it's easy to brush this aside, it really does make a real world difference though

Battery type
Are you doing multi-day trips to remote areas?
If so those button type batteries might be difficult to find
AA or AAA lights seem great, but how many stores are there around where you intend to use the light?
Plus it'll inevitably be dark, will these stores even be open?

Again sound trivial, but if you have to start taking extra batteries these lightweight torches don't start to make as much sense any more.

I've got hundreds of toches these days, that run on everything from tint button sized batteries through to 12v car batteries, by far the most useful size is 18650

It's a fair old outlay to buy the batteries and charger and like all batteries you do need to take care.
The capacity for size/weight is fantastic though, plus they put out enough power to light really bright torches.

Comfort
I do a lot of night running and hiking, that super lightweight strap might seem great in the shop, after 15 mins on your noggin though it'll feel like some ones trying to garrotte your head in half.
So a decent strap is essential if you're planning to wear it for more than 10 mins at a time

Weight also comes into this, a heavy torch will bounce around and tire you a lot quicker.
I've got a old Petzl that has 4 x AA batteries in a case at the back of the strap, it's nicely balanced but a right sweat box when running.
So the strap and the torches weight need to be taken into consideration


Price
You might find all the above that suit you but only in a $6000 custom torch, so finding something that suits your pocket is also important


I'm a bit or a torch nerd and have bough hundreds of torches over the years, some were a waste of money, so these considerations are from mistakes i've made so hopefully you don't have to.

As i say i've got a fair few torches to choose from, the one that gets used on 99% of outdoors runs/hikes/trips is my Zebralight H600w


Beam pattern is fantastic for night running/hiking, it has enough flood to illuminate a fireroad path from side to side, yet has enough of a throw to illuminate 50 meters in front easily enough

Beam quality is fantastic, no artefacts

Tint is a CCT of 4400k, so it brings out greens really well.
Where i run there are a lot of tree roots, this is made worse by the fact that it's very very dusty here, so these roots are covered in a thin film of rock coloured grime and dust.
The tint allows me to spot the slightly different shade of tree roots.
This is important as a wet tree root offers a LOT less underfoot friction than a wet rock

It uses a 18650 battery, my favourite

Comfortable to wear, i've often nodded off to sleep wearing it.
The newer version also have a 3rd over the head strap which gives a very secure fit, even when running
 

Silverback 1

Native
Jun 27, 2009
1,216
0
61
WEST YORKSHIRE
The Alpkit are great value for money, they just need to sort the issues with the battery compartment on the Gamma.
Just bought myself one of these, and couldn't be happier.
Runs off a single AA (will also accept eneloops/rechargables) plenty of light on full power, and 2 other power levels, a simple to use, no nonsense head light with easy to source batteries.

http://www.flashaholics.co.uk/products/fenix-hl23.html

 

tree beard

Full Member
Feb 21, 2011
370
1
Sheffield
After a lengthy search I settled on a Nitecore HC90 (recommended by Big monster on here if I recall) and a great bit of kit it is too, very happy with it.
I like the power switch which is a sliding design, it is off in the centre, sliding the switch to the left turns on the white light at a very low power (0.2 lm) and sliding it further up turns the light up like a volume knob all way up to "turbo" mode which is 900 lm. From the central off position sliding the switch to the right you get red, green and then blue working light's.
It has an nice aluminium construction that feels quality and tough, it takes an 18650 battery which can be recharged in the torch via a mini USB. (lead provided)
A little expensive (I got mine from DX for £50) but not if you consider it will probably last you through 2 cheap plastic head torches (which I've used in the past only to fail at the most inopportune moment. . . obviously!)
Check it out, you just might like it!
 

Mike_B

Tenderfoot
Dec 21, 2009
67
0
Perth, Scotland
Largely thanks to this thread, and the lust for light it brought out in me, my trusty Petzl has been consigned as a "spare", and my affections have been transferred to a Princeton Tec Apex.

I've not had the chance to use it "for real", but on giving it a test outing last night I have to say it's very impressive - I thought the Petzl Myo XP was good (and my partner's later version, the RXP was very good) but the Apex really outshines both. She's a runner, we both hill-walk and sea kayak, so the need is for a decent beam with a bit of reach, and some flood. A night paddle, with the need to search for a safe landing, really needs a decent light, and the RXP was certainly good at that on max output.

Equally, in camp, there's a need for more diffused, lower light output and as we're quite often away on a sea trip for a week or so, we need decent battery life and the sort of batteries that can be found in the average village shop in some west coast of Scotland village. I made a decision a few years ago to run as many of my gadgets as possible on one battery type, AA's, and I've got several sets of rechargeables in that format. As I live in the countryside, with no street lights or outside lighting round the house, a head torch also becomes something I use most evenings in winter.

My goodness, what a difference the Apex makes, even just for routine stuff on a dark winter's evening like bringing in things from the car, or logs from the woodshed.

The Apex is a beast of a thing though - it's fairly big and relatively chunky in comparison to the Myo's - this is largely thanks to the 4 AA battery box, compared to the 3 AA of the Myo, and the light head is chunkier too, which is understandable as it's got multiple LEDs rather than the single one of the Myo. But, it seems very well made, properly waterproof to IPX7 (useful if we end up taking an unplanned dip!) and has a decent headband, which it certainly needs. It's not the lightest of head torches at 280 gms.

Back in the day when a Petzl Zoom with a halogen bulb was the light of choice for coming off a hill in the dark, we accepted the relative weight and bulk of them - then we went to tiny wee lights, which just didn't have the same output. I've got to say that the Apex is the first head torch I've had in many years which gives the same sense of "being able to see where I'm going" as the old Zoom did. This said, I usually ended up changing those hard-to-find flat batteries over the course of a w/end away in winter.

It's not exactly cheap, but then again neither are the Petzl's. This said, as noted earlier, I've also still got an ancient Zoom which still works fine and although the head bands only last a few years, at least getting replacements is easy. Time will tell whether the Apex has the same longevity, and whether the parts / repair back-up is as good. But for now, for what I want it for, it's looking like a contender and having asked Princeton Tec about UK back-up, they were quick to respond and gave me the answers I wanted.

This said, for general use, it's quite possibly over-kill. You can always choose to run the thing at lower output,but you can never have more than it will provide. And having more is always better than not having enough!
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,643
McBride, BC
From winter to winter here, seems that the only time something goes wrong outside is when it's snowing, windy and dark.
What do I need? To see where I'm going or to see what I'm doing?

I found some little LED lights with button batteries, twist on/off and pinch-clip fixtures.
I clip them to the cuffs of my coat sleeves and point them to where my heavily gloved hands are working.
 

NoName

Settler
Apr 9, 2012
522
4
I have a princetontech aurora, exept for opening spontanously (ducktape!) I quite like it
 
Dec 10, 2015
8
0
Oman
I like Princeton Tec lights, Petzl are overpriced for what you get.

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RE8ELD0G

Full Member
Oct 3, 2012
882
11
Kettering
My personal fav is the Petzl e-lite.
Its tiny, weighs nothing and has lots of different modes for use.

Bad point is its light output, its enough to walk around camp and do any admin or jobs but its a bit lacking if you want to do a night walk.
 

Mike_B

Tenderfoot
Dec 21, 2009
67
0
Perth, Scotland
Well, despite only being used in light rain, and then only briefly, my brand new PT Apex shows condensation in one of the LED sections. Fortunately, I took the precaution of buying from Amazon so one automated report later, and a replacement is already on its way, and the original unit will be collected in a day or so.

Disappointing though.
 
The Alpkit are great value for money, they just need to sort the issues with the battery compartment on the Gamma.
Just bought myself one of these, and couldn't be happier.
Runs off a single AA (will also accept eneloops/rechargables) plenty of light on full power, and 2 other power levels, a simple to use, no nonsense head light with easy to source batteries.

http://www.flashaholics.co.uk/products/fenix-hl23.html





2questions: i'm tinkering with the idea of getting one of those myself (as my trusty petzl is getting old (9years of faithful service).... .does the lowest setting provide enough light for reading?! do you have to switch through all the settings every time you switch it on/off or can you leave it on the setting you use most?! (=one point i find not-so-good on my petzl...)
 

carpist

New Member
Feb 21, 2016
2
0
Lechlade
Do not spend your hard earned on petzl etc there is another group of users of head torches trades men and their headlamps get much harder use than most outdoorsmen clambering up into lofts etc go to toolstore etc no fancy names just work straight out of the box robust workmanlike pieces of equipment for far less dosh than go outdoors etc if it gives up the ghost chuck it buy another one and transfer the battery better still buy 2 one for the bedside and one for the car and get really good batteries on the cheap of the internet top of the range duracell procells 10 in a box pp9s often half the price of 5 from the supermarket . Both Aldi and Lidl often have el cheapo head torches often these are made by the same people in China that rebrand them with a fancy name for camping shops . i have 3 or 4 strategically dotted about in the home and car so that i do not end up saying where is the b*****dy torch after all if the lights go out you do not want to be bumping into doors and making an idiot of yourself trying to open a tricky toolbox . check your batteries once a year if in doubt chuck em out .
 

rancid badger

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
I'm looking for a serious head torch for night navigation-specifically mountain walking in the dark- and my days of doing it covertly/tactically are long gone!

I want really good throw/range/spot, good flood, decent endurance and for a change-good quality.

I've used petzl,maglite and silva in the past and all of them fell way short of the mark in various ways but mostly in craxxy output/endurance and lack of robustness given their prices. The petzls in particular proved to be pathetically fragile.
 

Mike_B

Tenderfoot
Dec 21, 2009
67
0
Perth, Scotland
My partner is into orienteering and running, often at night. She has some form of bike light with a head mount / strap and a separate battery. The thing is awesome. Probably worth asking the running types what they use. I'll find out what she has.