I would say that a Head Torch is the number one, most crucial part of your hiking gear to get right. Not having a head torch is a nightmare when you start to realise what you need it for, and while having a general head torch is okay, having the best head torch makes such a difference.
A few weeks ago, we completed the Berwickshire Coastal Path from Cockburnspath in the Scottish Borders and followed Scotland’s eastern coastline to Berwick upon Tweed, just over the border in England. It’s about 50KM, but it’s flat, meaning we thought we could easily do it in two days.
Day one started early and finished late. We had no head torches and could not find the campsite. Once we had found the campsite, putting up the tent was difficult, cooking was annoying, and even eating food off our plate was frustratingly difficult. I would go as far as life, without a head torch, life was miserable.
Head torches are basically LED flashlights that you can wear on your head, so your path will be illuminated without you having to use one of your hands to hold a flashlight. Head torches are an excellent choice for any outdoor activities. It is also helpful to have if you ever need to do repairs in your home’s darker corners, like the attic or basement. Before we look at the best head torch, what makes one head torch better than another:
- Brightness: The most prominent feature you need to focus on is brightness. Brightness is measured in lumens, and the brighter a head torch is, the less time the battery will last, all other things being equal. Headlamps can vary in lumen rating from 50 to over 1,000. We would recommend finding a head torch that puts out about 200-300 lumens. That will give you enough light for most activities during the day and night. Generally, headlamps will allow you to change the brightness from low to high.
- Battery Life: Battery life is another important consideration, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time out in the wilderness and plan to use the headlamp frequently. A standard headlamp will last maybe a few hours at its highest output but can last up to 100 hours on the lowest setting. As time goes on, battery tech gets more advanced, and battery lives, in general, are getting longer. Most headlamps nowadays have rechargeable batteries, which are more efficient and better for the environment. However, several models still use replaceable AAA or AA batteries. It’s wise to consider your options.
- Reactive Lighting: This is a relatively new feature for headlamps. Reactive lighting allows your headlamp to adjust brightness automatically depending on how dark it is. It’s a similar mechanism to how your smartphone will change brightness. Reactive lighting is a good idea because it will save battery life, and you won’t have to stop and manually adjust light brightness depending on where you are. You can always turn off reactive lighting if you want to dial in the brightness manually.
- Durability & Design: Headlamps for outdoor use need to be durable. The best headlamps are made from tough ABS plastic and have a shatterproof lens protector. Headlamps for outdoor use should also be IPX-rated for being waterproof and dustproof. You should be able to wear your headlamp no matter the weather conditions. It would help if you also considered how it goes on your head. Most lamps have an adjustable elastic band that you can fit on your head. One other useful feature is large buttons that you can still use while wearing gloves during the winter.
Best Head Torch
So what’s the best head torch? In all honesty there is a lot of choice on the market. While this is one of those few times that could easily buy a cheap import, or even one from your local supermarket, I just want to know that it’s going to work, and battery will last.
For me the most important thing when buying a head torch is that it’s cheap. Sadly, I have lost a few over the seasons and therefore I like to know that they can be easily replaced. I also want to know that it’s going to work on command. As a result, my first choice is the Omerilled Head Torch. Its really cheap and uses AA Batteries. This is fine for me as I take AA batteries as part of my emergency kit, but if you would prefer a built in battery, then the Linkax is also very good.
Omerilled Head Torch
Up first on our list is the Omeril LED Head Torch. This head torch is an excellent choice for outdoor use due to its brightness, durability, and general comfortable design. This headlamp can be used for hiking, spelunking, running, fishing, and more. The Emeril uses COB advanced technology that produces a beam with a 180-degree spread and is rated to up to 100,000 hours of use. The Emeril also has a unique lighting base that you can adjust it up to 60 degrees to angle the light where you want.
The Emeril can be switched between 3 different brightness settings to ensure you get the exact level of brightness for what you need. You cycle through the brightness levels using the button on the top and can switch through different display modes, such as continuous light, SOS flashing mode, and more.
The Emeril weighs under 1/5th of a pound, and it is so lightweight that you will probably forget that you have it one sometimes. The elastic headband is soft and stretchy, and you can adjust the buckle to get a snug fit. The entire headlamp is IPX4 waterproof rated, so you can use it while it is raining outside. It runs on AAA batteries which are not rechargeable. Also, the manufacturers offer a very generous 2-year satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied, you can send it back and get a full refund of your money.
Linkax LED Head Torch
The next headlamp we are considering is the Linkax LED Head Torch. The Linkax has a handy, rechargeable design, so it’s perfect to use on the go and is very energy and environmentally-friendly. The Linikax features a powerful 1200mAh battery that can be charged using a standard USB cable. It has a maximum brightness of 150 lumens and can project light beams up to 00 meters away. The Linkax also has three white light modes (high, low, and flashing) along with two red light modes (steady, SOS), so you have a wide range of flexibility.
The headlamp is extremely durable and is IPX4-waterproof rated, which will protect it from splashing, dew, rain, and other sources of moisture. The elastic band is lightweight and can be adjusted to fit your head more correctly. This headlamp also has a unique motion sensor. Just wave your hand in front of the sensor, and the light will turn on and off.
Overall, the Linkax is an excellent headlamp that is perfect for most outdoor applications. It is weather-resistant, exceedingly durable, and has several lighting modes that are useful for any lighting condition. This headlamp is also very durable and will withstand impact and dropping. The battery is long-lasting and can be charged with a standard USB cord. It is also very affordable, so you can buy it without worrying about breaking the bank.