I spend more than 150 nights a year under canvas in the woods or on expedition running a busy bushcraft school. It’s important to have a reliable light source. I have used a lot of head torches in the past. From the original brick Petzl with the square battery to super expensive lightweight head torches made by various top end manufacturers. Despite sometimes eye watering price tags a torch is really a simple piece of kit that needs to be something that one doesn’t really notice. It’s just there where you need it and works day in day out.
I am quite a harsh user of head torches, I have broken several from cooking the rechargeable batteries in the summer heat in the Forest Knights van to watching luggage handlers drop my kit bag out of air planes. Never a good sight knowing that something is going to emerge damaged. I’m rather price sensitive when it comes to head torches. I want a bright light for walking and canoeing at night yet like everyone I don’t want to pay too much for it. Here is where our friends at ALPKIT come in. I have often been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the products offered.
Mountain Marathons, evening orienteering, slightly misguided 24 climbing challenges… Some adventures don’t end when night falls, in fact it’s at nightfall that they really get going!
Manta has an 11 hour burn time on full power mode (300 lumens), which increases to 90 hours on its lowest setting (30 lumens). This makes it ideal for anything from pushing on into the darkness on a Mountain Marathons, to adventures in remote places where opportunities to charge your light are few and far between. Manta charges with a micro USB, so when it comes to recharging you can simply plug it into your solar panel/car/battery pack/laptop/plug socket.
Size: Headlight: 79 x 44 x 36 mm; Battery case: 102 x 38 x 35 mm
Light: 300 lumens
Bulb: XP-G2 Cree White LED
Energy: 1 x 3.7 V 2600 mAh 18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery (500 battery cycles)
Water resistance: IP64 – Protected from total dust ingress. Protected from water spray (rain) from any direction.
I have been using the Manta now for about 3 months. It has been used canoeing and hill walking in Wales. I have used it pretty much daily since I received it. The LED casts a nice white light that doesn’t affect your view of an OS map. Some torches I have found bleach out contour lines and make it hard to do simple camp chores. The bezel focus is a handy feature. I usually keep the torch on its widest angle. If I need a focused beam for longer navigation a quick twist and the Manta throws an impressive amount of light. Easily bright enough to locate a lost hammock in the woods.
I don’t tend to use the red rear light unless I’m using the headtorch on a bike ride. Then I want as many lights as possible to give motorists a fighting chance to avoid me. So far the Manta has not let me down.
The advertised run time is fairly accurate. I haven’t had an issue with using the headtorch running a 3 day first aid course. It illuminates a Bothy Bag beautifully. The headtorch isn’t fully waterproof so probably wouldn’t survive a canoe capsize. Fortunately I don’t tend to paddle rivers that I’m likely to fall in at night. I have a spare Black Diamond headtorch for that. I have used the torch during prolonged heavy rain and it has coped. Although I was a bit worried about it. The headtorch is a little heavier than other models I have used in the past. I was worried this would be an issue when using it on longer night hikes. I shouldn’t have worried because the strap adjusts well even for my big head I have found the Manta to be comfortable. Some headtorch straps tend to stretch over time and become loose. This is really frustrating so it’s a pleasant surprise that the Manta stays put.
The one issue I would change with the Manta is its lack of warning when the battery level drops. My torch went from super bright to slightly dim to off in the time it took to erect a parachute leaving me completing the job using my Iphone torch. Not ideal but then it was more my fault as I have been using the torch a lot to see how long the battery would last. On expedition I would top the battery up more regularly with the supplied USB cable.
- Bright 300 lumens
- Simple Single switch
- Adjustable straps
- Focus Ring.
- Slightly Heavy
- On starts on the brightest setting.
- No low level indicator.
- Not Fully Waterproof
Whilst not the most stylish headtorch on the market. It does exactly what I want from a torch. A quick press of the button and night is turned into day. I can perform complex tasks by the light of the torch. It’s comfortable to wear for a few hours walking in the hill. It’s rechargeable so running costs are low. I hate having to carry a number of different batteries. I always have a RAV Power battery bank with me for my other devices so it’s no hardship topping up the charge.
If I lost it or broke it would I buy another? Yes. You can’t ask more than that. ALPKIT have produced another top product at an excellent price.
- Ratings are out of 5, 1 being bad and 5 being the best
- Fit for Purpose – 5/5
- Versatility – 4/5
- Durability – 5/5
- Value for money – 5/5
- Overall – 5/5
Wayne is never happier than when outside sharing skills from Bow Making and Greenwood crafts to leading Bushcraft and canoeing expeditions. Bushcraft is more than just a hobby it’s a way of life. Everyday brings a new opportunity to discover something new and challenge ones skills.
You can contact Wayne on the forums or through his excellent Bushcraft School – Forest Knights