Head Torches

After many winter nights running in the dark, tripping over branches and stones and almost going over on my ankle I decided it was time to do something about it. I wanted to see and to be seen.

I started off doing a lot of research on head torches as they can be quite an expensive piece of kit. I researched prices and reviews and asked around for personal reviews and the general consensus was to go for a Unilite head torch. I personally, at the time, couldn’t justify the price.

I decided on an Alpkit Gamma. Currently selling (May 2015) for £17 including free delivery and batteries. I didn’t feel like I was splurging out too much money on a product that if it wasn’t going to work for me then I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I ordered the Fire colour, it comes in a couple of other colours. It arrived very quickly after ordering and I was very impressed with how light it was on my head and how comfortable it felt. The light was really bright and the pivotable head made changing direction of the light easy.

Alpkit Gamma Specifications

  •  Powered by 3xAAA batteries (included) to deliver 9-80 hrs of battery life
  •  XP-C Cree White LED, provides 88 lumens of trail lighting illumination
  •  Green LED - perfect for night navigation / map reading
  •  Red LED - great for maintaining night vision 
  •  White flood LED - broad beam and increased battery life when you don’t need full power
  •  Water resistant, IPX4 (not submersible)
  •  Low weight, just 118 g
  •  Compact design, 65 mm x 40 mm x 60 mm
  •  Comfortable adjustable strap system with free additional top strap
  •  Pivotable head unit directs the light where you need it
  •  They do not recommend using any type of re-chargeable battery in their lights and this will invalidate the warranty.

Shortly after receiving the Alpkit and testing it out on a few runs I was lucky ebough to win a Unilite PS-H8 head torch in a UKrunchat competition. You can pick up a PS-H8 for under £50 (as checked May 2015). I was eager to try out the Unilite and compare it. Although much heavier than the Alpkit it was obvious that the light was far brighter. It had a greater range of options for the light such as strobe, flashing and constant light. The fit wasn’t quite as comfortable as the Alpkit but I think this was due to its much bulkier and heavier shape and size. It too came with batteries included.

 

On my first run out with the unilite I couldn’t work out why I couldn’t manage to tilt the rotational head down to the ground. When I got home I realised that somehow I had managed to put the head torch on upside down. My second outing was much more successful, this was when I realised that I really loved this head torch. The pivotable head pivots so you can illuminate right in front of you, not just a few metres away. The Alpkit’s head is limited in that it only pivots so far. I like to see what is right in front of me as I need to know what is trip a hazard. I found when I was running with the Alpkit I was having to run head down to illuminate where I wanted to see.

 

Unilte PS-HB Specifications

  • 250 Lumen White Luxeon Rebel LED
  • One handed speed focus slider
  • Impact resistant to 1 metre
  • 4 stage dimming electronic switch
  • 90° rotational head
  • Defence strobe
  • Red rear battery pack light for extra visibility
  • Rubberised non-slip headbands
  • 3M reflective strips for greater visibility
  • Protection Class: IPX4 water resistant 
  • Beam Range: 140 metres
  • Runtime: 10 – 160 hours
  • Battery Type: 3 x 1.5v AA Duracell batteries (included)
  • Weight: 198 grams with the batteries
  • Size: headlight – 73mm x 54mm x 38mm, battery pack – 82mm x 52mm x 28mm

In Conclusion

They are both great pieces of kit.

The Alpkit Gamma is comfortable and inexpensive but the pivotable head is limited in how far you can see in front of you. It’s got brilliant reviews online and is only £17 with batteries included and free postage. (May 2015).

The Unilite PS-H8 has a super bright beam (can be dimmed) and illuminates the path right in front of your feet but is heavy on the head and is almost triple the price (Seen online around £45 May 2015). It does come with batteries.