A Guide to Head Torches
Don’t let the sun go down on me
The mornings are lighter now that day light savings has set in but our evening runs are now much darker and for some of us, this has caught us unaware especially if our running route is away from street lamps and lit areas.
The trails are dark, the rocks seem like mountains and the local suburban footpaths are just a law suit waiting to happen as tripping is not a matter of maybe but more so, when.
As runners and walkers, we are all now looking for a solution to having some sort of light to shine in front of us to a) keep us safe from harm by being more visible and b) to limit any superwoman flying across the ground that might result in a grazed knee, elbow or even worse, a trip to the dentist.
Light my way
There are quite a few options when it comes to equipment to help light your way; from headtorches to waist light belts these options can be a lot safer than holding a hand torch or even using your mobile phone (from a personal perspective, I have run down Mount Bogong with an iPhone torch and I do not recommend it).
There are numerous lightening options on the market and once you start looking, you will find more than one to suit both your needs and budget.
We all have our own requirements when it comes to what it is we are looking for, what we know is, the best head torches find the optimum balance between battery life (burn time) and brightness which depending on your requirements, is one of the most important factors outside of price.
Head torches are easy, convenient and super comfortable on the head; they are for everyone and there is now overkill when it comes to wearing a headtorch; they are the perfect set and forget accessory for your running, walking or hiking needs.
Brands to look out for include:
- LED Lenser
- Black Diamond
- Nite Core
- Ay Up
Features to consider
This is one feature that will more than likely influence your decision from the get go. How is brightness measured? Lumens = Light Output. Simply, lumens (denoted by lm) are a measure of the total amount of visible light (to the human eye). The brightness of a head torch influences both the battery life and weight, it takes more batteries to power a bright beam for long periods. Lumen ratings can be as low as 50 or reaching over 1000. Between 200-300 lumens for a head torch is average, this will balance brightness and battery life (+ weight) well.
Beam Width and Distance
Depending on the environment and your requirements, this can be a great feature to be able to change the width and distance of the beam to suit different environments in which you are training/racing in.
This feature adjusts the brightness of the torch’s beam based on how light or dark the surroundings are. Reactive lighting allows you to get the most out of the surroundings whilst using only the power that’s required, very useful when you are using a head torch over long periods of time.
Standard head torches on their highest output will last around 2-3 hours, whereas on their lowest setting they might run for over 100 hours. Usage of the settings of the head torch greatly influence the battery life/burn time.
Rechargeable or Replaceable Batteries
An alkaline powered head torch will go through a lot of batteries in its lifetime, and the environmental footprint can be heavy not to mention costly. The integrated lithium ion batteries are an economical and environmentally friendlier option.
- Red light mode
- Waterproof and dustproof ratings (IP ratings)
- Easily accessible dimming modes
What do we look for when it come to a head torch?
A head torch that has a solid battery life, brighter lumen output and a reactive beam; for our endurance adventure. The sole purpose of our head torch is to provide as much light as possible, for as long as possible.
We are currently using a Petzl Nao Headtorch with 700 lumens and a weight of 185g so not the lightest headtorch especially for everyday use.
The urban runner
If you are looking for an ultra-light weight lightening solution that can be worn both around the head and the neck then we recommend the Bindi 200
For the urban/trail runner who is venturing out into limited lit surrounding areas who just needs a bit more multi beam brightens and something lightweight then we recommend the Petzl Actik 350 or Actik Core 450.
We are fans
We have only tried & tested a few headlamps brands in our days and for us, the brand we cannot recommend highly enough is Petzl. The range is extensive, sure it can be confusing at times but this is where you need to think about what your requirements are and how you will be using the head lamp. Is it a multi-purpose tool used for walking, hiking, running, camping and fishing? Or just running? Adventuring? Camping?
Our features above will help narrow down your list of requirements and from here you will then we able to source the headlamp needed to suit your Planted Life.
See into the night
As the sun sets on your adventures and memorable day, be sure to have the right equipment to help light your way to more adventures; because the good times don’t stop once the sun goes down.