UKH

REVIEW: Head Torches / Head Lamps

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 UKC Gear 17 Dec 2013
Headtorch review montage, 2 kbIn this indepth review, we look at several top-of-the-range headtorches, some lightweight models, and some budget options. If you are looking for a new 'hands free lighting system' (does anyone outside of marketing actually say that!?) then this review could help you make a choice.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=5951
 Edvin m 17 Dec 2013
How about you actually test them side by side?

Set up a camera on manual settings, turn the lights on one by one and photograph the beam. Then turn them on together, see how long the batteries actually last...
 StuDoig 17 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Is there any actual info on burn times for the Tikka RXP? 10hrs "min" is really, really short compared to others on test, but there doesn't seem to any info in the article (or Petzl's website) on what type of burn times are achievable. Just that it can be customised and 10hrs is the minimum. 10 hrs wouldn't even manage a full weekends winter climbing / camping / bothying.

It makes it really hard to compare torches if there's no info on burn time. A shame as I quite like the idea of reactive lighting, but if burn life is that short.....

When testing the reactive lighting did you try it in rain / snow? A friend has a Nao and has found it can go a bit haywire in these conditions as it gets a lot of reflection from snow in particular. Similarly reflective clothing strips seemed to give it some trouble too. Wondering if the Tikka RXP is better? Easily over ridden by putting into manual mode for those occasions though.

Cheers!

Stuart
In reply to StuDoig:

Jack reviewed these and he did test them all in the snow, however he is currently in Patagonia and off line. I will try and get someone from Petzl to answer.

Cheers

Alan
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Good review. Thanks. Only one thing to add / request though... a few comments on the beam spread on flood mode. I find this particularly useful for running, though maybe not so important for climbing. For example, I have a fairly old BD Icon (not the model reviewed here). It's a nice torch for climbing, with an easy to use button with gloves. But with an uneven flood of light, its never my first choice for night running. My Petzl Myo RXP has a terrible button for use with climbing gloves but a very good, even flood of light for running. I invariably pick this up for night time trail running, as it does everything pretty well IMO.
 CurlyStevo 17 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:
No mention that the battery compartment of the Petzl Tikka XP2 is not waterproof (the other internals are protected by an O ring). You can actually see the batteries through gaps in the casing. Not only do I not want water running over the batteries and then on to my climbing kit potentially introducing it to a load of potentially harmful chemicals, but if you google you'll find people who've had problems with this head torch in very wet weather. I bought one of these and flogged it on and decided to keep my mark 1 tikka XP as although dimmer I think its a better design!
Post edited at 14:33
robatkinson 17 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

I'm surprised you didnt rate LED lenser, they are amazing!
 StuDoig 17 Dec 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Cheers Alan!

PS meant to add that the review was good, just missing that wee bit of info.

Stu
In reply to UKC Gear:

Good review. What stops these head torches from delivering the kind of perfomance for a 5/5 rating?


I have the Black Diamond Storm and the Alpkit Manta.
Storm is a bit better but more expensive so generally agree.
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> Good review. What stops these head torches from delivering the kind of perfomance for a 5/5 rating?

Perfection! Always leave room for improvement.

Alan
In reply to StuDoig:

> PS meant to add that the review was good, just missing that wee bit of info.

I have been in touch with Petzl and they are going to supply me with an answer.

Alan
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Fair enough. I was just wondering if you felt that current head torches are missing something?
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> Fair enough. I was just wondering if you felt that current head torches are missing something?

This was mainly Jack's review so I can't really comment I'm afraid. Jack is away until Jan 6th though.

Alan
 Nigel Modern 17 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:
The Alpkit Gamma battery compartment problem is very real but from my experience has an easy solution. It seems to be dependent on correct positioning of the +ve terminal of the middle battery...you just need to make sure it is centred and properly in contact when you put the batteries in.

A very nice, reliable torch and since we as a family seem to lose headtorches like there's no tomorrow...
Post edited at 17:36
In reply to UKC Gear: Thank you for the review article!
One mistake in the summary table found: Petzl Tikka XP 2 needs 3 AAA batteries.
http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/headlamps/universal/tikka-xp

In general white LEDs need a somewhat high voltage (3.5V ish at the minimum). Therefore you would need a good inverter to raise the input voltage if you want to make it work with only 2 batteries (AA or AAA). Whereas it is entirely possible, the energy loss in inverting would be considerable, that is, it would be energy-inefficient, plus extra engineering is required for the powerful inverter. That is my understanding and that explains why no manufacturer is making white-LED torches with 2 AAA (AA) batteries, where the running time is an important selling point for each device.
Masa
andyathome 17 Dec 2013
In reply to Nigel Modern:

The Gamma has suffered from a long term history of inexplicable failure. I've had one that was perfect and one that worked when it felt like it!

The manta is another animal. Way better main beam. For the cost it is the best headtorch I've ever used. But they could really, really dump the coloured LED stuff. I just don't need red, blue and green lighting. I just want a light!

Andy
 psaunders 17 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Energizer Pro 7 is a great light for £12. It may not a fashionable brand but it's better than both of the alpkit ones.
 Nigel Modern 19 Dec 2013
In reply to andyathome:

I think the 'works when it feels like it' issue is to do with the position of the middle battery...try it. If you've been having the same problem, once the battery is seated and the case closed and it works, then it works. Mind you, given my experience I wouldn't like to have to change batteries in a tricky situation...but then that's unlikely and they're cheap enought to have a spare torch back at base, which is what I do.

I always carry a spare super lightweight BD one anyway for emergencies. I would with any headtorch, no matter how reliable.

I hear what you say about the Manta tho'

In reply to UKC Gear:

Most important thing about head-torches is to carry at least 2 and have spare batteries.

It doesn't matter how good it is or how bright it is if it breaks.

At the end of the day, anything is better than nothing.

Build quality is more important than lumens.
 CurlyStevo 20 Dec 2013
In reply to 98%monkey:

"Build quality is more important than lumens"

+1

I also carry two head torches now, my spare one is one of these.

http://www.elitemountainsupplies.co.uk/product/918_petzl-e_lite-zip-new-2012.html

I also carry this torch when I'm nearly completely sure I won't need a head torch and if I do I won't need light for very long (for example climbing on the swanage sea cliffs where I may need to prussic up the rope in the dark if worst comes to worst)
 galpinos 20 Dec 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> I also carry this torch when I'm nearly completely sure I won't need a head torch and if I do I won't need light for very long (for example climbing on the swanage sea cliffs where I may need to prussic up the rope in the dark if worst comes to worst)

Like setting off on a two pitch route that's at the limit of your ability on a popular gritstone crag as darkness approaches and there's rain in the air?
 nastyned 20 Dec 2013
In reply to galpinos:

>

> Like setting off on a two pitch route that's at the limit of your ability on a popular gritstone crag as darkness approaches and there's rain in the air?

Surely you could just jump off if there was a problem?
 steven hunt 23 Dec 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Alpkit make some decent gear, unfortunately this does not inlcude the Gamma. I have two, both have packed up. I think their aftersales support has been OK so I may get them replaced. I'd give them to the kids to take camping but they won't go back in my rucksack, too unreliable.

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