Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

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Daker
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Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Daker »

I'm sure this has been done many times before but the latest threads I could find are a couple of years old so figured it was worth starting anew.

So, can anyone recommend a decent head torch which has a good throw of light, is waterproof, is not the size of a brick and not ridiculously expensive ?
(Ideally less than £50 or not hugely over.)

I've owned a number of ordinary LED ones which are splash proof (eg Petzyl, Alpkit) and they fair pretty well for general use but on a recent trip which involved a lot of fully dark caves they just do not project enough light to be any real use.

I also own some really powerful LED MTB lights which are amazing but far to heavy to wear on the head for any length of time, even with a remote battery pack.

I'm not a big fan of paddling at night with bright lights as it totally ruins any night vision so this is primarily for cave use and similar.

So, what have folk got ?
Thanks a lot.

Phizz4
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Phizz4 »

Fenix HL 55. They also do a slightly more expensive version with a built in USB charger. I do all of my caving with this light, waterproof, robust, various light levels with a superboost.

Daker
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Daker »

Thanks a lot.
Good to hear as that was the exact one I was looking at online earlier but wanted to see what came up in reply to the open question. ;-)

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by PlymouthDamo »

A significantly cheaper alternative: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rechargeable-B ... B073TRVJ7J

I've been using this one for a couple of years - very bright, long-lasting and completely robust. At the reduced Amazon price, it's a no-brainer, Only two mods you ought to do: (1) fix a big enough piece of foam somewhere on the strap so that if you drop it in the water it floats (2) make your own diffuser so you can use it as an all-round 'be seen' light. I used a plastic cap from a shaving oil bottle, which can be held in place with an elastic loop.

seawolf856
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by seawolf856 »

I use an Ledlenser SEO7R rechargeable.
220 lumens so very bright, very light and has a very small (rechargeable) battery built in, so no silly battery pack on the headband.
These were £80-£100 a few years ago but down to a reasonable price on Amazon now.
Fantastic for caves and camp. Has variable settings so battery life is great on low for around camp and then can be switched to high for cave work. The high setting will melt your eyeballs so be careful not to look at it.

palerider
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by palerider »

My wife and I use the decathlon Onnight 100 Trek Head Torch it defaults to red light which is good for preserving night vision and it's quite robust - I had to wade back into the surf to retrieve my wifes after an eventful night landing, it was easy to find underwater as it was still on.

Daker
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Daker »

Thanks for everyone's replies but my experience of 100 / 200 lumen lights is that they are great for close-up stuff and general use, for example in a campsite, but don't really provide a sufficient pool of light to be of much use in a cave or similar environment.

But please keep the suggestions coming.

andynormancx
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by andynormancx »

I was after something similar, I couldn't a single head torch that combined bright + waterproof + not too heavy, without also being extremely expensive.

In the end I decided to have two lamps to cover what I needed. If I'm out on a gentle night paddle with a big group, where I don't plan to get wet, I'll go with my very cheap, massively bright one:

https://amzn.to/2vcbQgK

But that isn't really waterproof (beyond the odd splash), so I'll always have one of these Black Diamonds with me as well:

https://amzn.to/2OD8uvo

I agree, 200-300 lumens is great for close up work or picking your way slowly along a path in the woods, on a river in the pitch dark I need a lot more light.

Now I've got a few of those 18650 lithium cells to go in my cheap headlight, I've also picked up some Anker torches that use the same cells. They appear to be just as bright/robust as the much more expensive Led Lenser torches I've used in the past (though the prismatic lenses on the Led Lensers are still the best):

https://amzn.to/2ABtqzY

I also ended up spending on a decent charger for the 18650 cells:

https://amzn.to/2vANUmL

You do need to make sure you buy the right 18650 cells, with the button tops. I've been buying these ones:

https://amzn.to/2veNS4G

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by PlymouthDamo »

Daker wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:27 pm
Thanks for everyone's replies but my experience of 100 / 200 lumen lights is that they are great for close-up stuff and general use, for example in a campsite, but don't really provide a sufficient pool of light to be of much use in a cave or similar environment.

But please keep the suggestions coming.
The torch I've linked to above is 500 lumens, and it's certainly good enough to strongly illuminate a cave. However, one of the main determinants of how well a torch performs, apart from the output, is the shape of the reflector/lens. Torches with a 'zoom' function (i.e. a moveable lens) often do a brilliant job in going from a long-distance tightly-focused spot to a close up floodlight. There are loads of these on the market, but the vast majority are junk: either not 100% watertight (so useless for kayaking), fitted with a silly magnetic switch (which will inevitably stop working and my electronic skills aren't up to repairing them) or they suffer from galvanic corrosion (typically where they've used steel and aluminium on the same torch.)

I've only ever had one zoom head-torch that was absolutely spot-on, and that's now sitting on the bottom of the River Tamar. I can't find this type for sale anymore. A few of us have tried this one, which was great while it was working, but seems to conk out within a year:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3500Lm-new-X ... wo6lWHM2P

A brief browse of eBay also threw up this one, which looks promising, although the zoom lens doesn't look like it moves in/out that far so I'm not sure how much effect it will have:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USB-Recharge ... LfhlRTetiA

(Not all cheap Chinese torches are junk - 6 years on, my £20 chinese diving torch is still out-performing my mates' branded torches which cost them the best part of a grand. You just need to avoid certain design pit-falls as mentioned above.)

Jonathan.
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Jonathan. »

Open Air in Cambridge have a great offer on Black Diamond's Spot headlamps which they reckon to work for 30 minutes under 1.1m of water, and cost £22.

I ordered online and mine has just arrived.

https://www.openair.co.uk/camping-c11/b ... lamp-p6358

Daker
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Daker »

Word of warning - - - - - the battery casing on the Spot is NOT water tight so the contacts will corrode very rapidly is used in salt water.
IPX8 apparently decrees that its ok for water to get into the battery compartment so long as it doesn't affect the light's operation, seemingly this only relates to fresh water though. :-O

However the BD Storm model is IPX67 so fully sealed and should fair a lot better, al be it a fair bit more expensive.

BD told me (when submitting a warranty claim on a Spot !) that the only possible concern with the Storm is that the hinge is not separated from water so could be susceptible to corrosion in salt water. For me it seems like a quick rinse after submersion should suffice but time will tell as I just got one - - - -

mcgruff
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by mcgruff »

For the past year I've been using a Thrunite TH10 v2 for camping trips. This thing is nuts. On the 2000 lumen turbo setting it's so bright that if you hold your hand in front of the light for more than a second or two you'll get burned. I'm not kidding.

At this setting, it has a huge throw. The claimed 300m is probably about right. Turbo burns down the battery very quickly but it's really nice to have if you need to pick up objects in the distance to get your bearings.

The TH10 is a spot beam but with a decent circle of light around the spot which makes it very usable, IMO. If keeping batteries charged is an issue, a more focused beam is more efficient. Wider beam lights may need to be run on a higher setting to get the same illumination where you need it. There's a very frugal "moonlight" mode which is bright enough to read by in a tent.

Also has a 600 lumen SOS setting which will run for about 4 hours on a full battery.

I haven't tested it in frequent salt water immersion. Manufacturer rating is IPX8 2m.
Have fun and don't die.

Beryl
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Beryl »

One thing is certain, anything you buy a year later at much the same price will be a lot better. Lumen claims mean nothing unless the provider has a reputation to lose. I’ve just bought a Lifesystems 235 for £19 that is is giving a clear view of something 80 feet away on its most powerful setting. In comparison the one PlymouthDamo mentioned two years ago a few posts back is now a shadow in comparison. It’s still used and is useful but things move quickly in the lighting world...
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Jonathan.
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Jonathan. »

Not sure how critical salt water resistance is for a headtorch.

If I were rolling or taking a swim, I’d be more worried about my torch getting lost than it leaking.

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by PlymouthDamo »

Jonathan. wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:16 am
Not sure how critical salt water resistance is for a headtorch.

If I were rolling or taking a swim, I’d be more worried about my torch getting lost than it leaking.
That's a really important point. I've already mentioned that my favourite ever headtorch is now at the bottom of the River Tamar. Since I made that post, another one has gone that way - even though I'd attached foam to it to ensure it was buoyant in fresh water. God knows why it decided to sink when it actually counted....

Now I attach lanyards to my headtorches and clip them off. Not too much of a faff if you've got a suitable plastic clip.

Beryl
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Re: Good Head Torch Recommendations ?

Post by Beryl »

Jonathan. wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:16 am
Not sure how critical salt water resistance is for a headtorch.

If I were rolling or taking a swim, I’d be more worried about my torch getting lost than it leaking.
Fair point, but often lamps are tucked away in unfriendly environments until you need them?

The OP has MTB lamps which are often blindingly good. Why not use those if you are particularly interested in caves?

A head torch for all seasons is probably still at the design stage....

I once spent an hour in darkness due to a miscalculation, heavy cloud cover didn’t help. There was a bit of wind chop. I’ve never been in thick fog or foam but I’m sure there maybe similarities. You either tried to dominate by taking aggressive action paddling strokes or tried to sort of feather stuff like when your travelling through Clapotis.
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