Choosing the right Head Torch

 In Training and Kit

If you’re heading out in the dark or joining one of our Snowdon night walks or a challenge that involves being out in the early (or late) hours then a head torch is an essential piece of kit.

My mountain leader husband will say you should never go into the mountains without one just in case something happens and you are still out there at sunset for whatever reason.

Your Head Torch

A head torch will do its job, light the way for you while leaving your hands free. A ‘hand-held’ torch is not sufficient and neither is the light on your phone (yes, we have been asked this question!) however, this might be the one and only time you use this piece of kit so you don’t want to spend a fortune either. If you can borrow one then that’s great, but remember you will be wearing this for at least 5 or 6 hours so you want something that you can just put on and forget about.

So this is a brief introduction on what to look for when choosing a head torch and what you might get for your budget:

Lumens

The higher the lumens the brighter the light will appear. You should look for something with a minimum of 100 – 200 lumens. Some of them will also tell you what the ‘distance’ or ‘proximity’ of the beam might be but don’t worry too much about this. Most of them will light at least 20 metres ahead of you which is plenty.

Size

There are some really bulky head torches around and also some very small ones. Obviously the larger they are the heavier they are and these might not be comfortable to wear. The smaller ones may not give you enough light so go for something in between.

Strap

You need a strap which is adjustable and comfortable to wear. Some will have a triple strap which will go over the top of your head as well as around it. Personally, I don’t like these and prefer a comfortable wide-ish strap which fits round my head and can be adjusted depending on whether I’m wearing a hat or not.

Lights

You’ll need a white light of course. Some head torches will also have the option of a red, and maybe even a green light. Although this isn’t necessary for a night walk if you are thinking of using your head torch on a regular basis this can be useful for reading maps and helping your eyes adjust to the darkness. Also in the summer bugs aren’t as attracted to red or green light as they are to white.. 😉

Battery Life

Check the battery life on your head torch. You should look for something with a minimum of 10 hours and even then we recommend you bring spare batteries. Check that the batteries are easy to replace as you don’t want to be fiddling about on the side of a mountain in the dark!

Adjustable angle

It’s handy to have a head torch with an adjustable angle but not essential unless you are intending to use it for map- reading.

Water resistance

You should check your head torch has some water resistance and that the battery case is sealed in case it rains on your night walk.

Price

You should be able to get a decent head torch for less than £30. Outdoor shops such as Cotswold Outdoor will help you find the right one for you if you explain your budget and tell then what you need it for.

 

Head Torch Examples

Here are some examples of ones we liked the look of (these have not been tested by us)

Lifesystems Intensity 220l – £27

Petzl Tikka 100l – £18.90

Petzl Tikkina 150l – £20 

Black Diamond Cosmo 200l – £30

 

This is the one I use which I love but it’s a bit more expensive than the others:

Black Diamond Storm head TorchBlack Diamond Storm 350l – £50

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