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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Head torches


Author: Simon Pipe
Posted: Fri 7th Apr 2017, 16:47
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Bristol & West
I've managed to lose both my Petzl head torches in the last month. I am fed up with staring at computer screens and looking at reviews etc.

If anyone's recently done the research on best buys I'd be most grateful if they could share their findings, especially if tested in the field.

Given my propensity for losing things, I'm looking at budget buys!

I'll also take a small hand-held torch. Tips also welcome.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Fri 29th May 2015, 17:35
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
For the Red Rose hundred Marshals' walk in early May I used both a Black Diamond head torch (cheap) and an old, powerful but heavy halogen bike light (expensive in its day) to which I attached a wrist cord. In the Diamond were two GP Recyko+, in the halogen four Aldi Activ Energy Super Alkaline (see below). Using both devices together and with the head torch on medium beam, I didn't need to replace batteries until the start of the (second!) night of 7-8 hours' darkness. The halogen did become dim towards (the first*) dawn but I was able to continue by switching on the bike light only when necessary.

This cheap but effective strategy came from Ken Falconer's advice on surviving a hundred (use head *and* hand torches, for the latter read Maglite not bikelight) and a media article on a survey by 'Which?' consumer guide magazine :


The results of a 2014 'Which?' study of disposable and re-chargeable AA and AAA batteries showed that though, in general, disposable lithiums performed better than disposable alkalines under high-drain conditions (e.g. torches on full-beam, cameras, handhelds with gps-on), there were exceptions.

For disposables, when both durability and cost were taken into account, some alkalines were as good as if not better in high-drain situations than some lithiums.

Which's top-scoring four disposable AA brands were:
Engergizer Ultimate Lithium (£7 for 4)
Maplin Extralonglife+ Lithium (£5.99 for 4)
Aerocell AA (Lidl) [alkaline] (£4 for 8)
Aldi Activ Energy Super Alkaline (£4 for 8).

Which's top-scoring four disposable AAA brands were:
Energizer Ultimate Lithium (£7 for 4)
Maplin Extralonglife+ Lithium (£5.99 for 4)
Varta High Energy [alkaline] (£4.98 for 4)
Aldi Activ Energy Super Alkaline (£4 for 8).

For re-chargeables, criteria included: percent capacity achieved, high-drain lifetime, time to charge, charge retention.

The top four re-chargeable AAs (all expensive) were:
Energizer Recharge Precision
Ansmann Digital NiMH
Maplin Extra High Capacity NO5BW
Sanyo High Capacity Eneloop XX.

The top four re-chargebable AAAs (only the first two notably expensive) were:
Sanyo High Capacity Eneloop XX AAA
7dayshop Good To Go Rechargeable (HR03/MN2400) NiMH
GP Recyko+
Varta Professional Accu.

For a summary of the results without brand names or scores, google for
which home-and-garden batteries
and try the third link. The full data (12-15 brands per test) costs just £1 for a trial Which subscription.

Iain.

* No data on the second dawn!
Author: John Pennifold
Posted: Fri 29th May 2015, 14:33
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
By the way, I use ordinary Duracell batteries.
Author: John Pennifold
Posted: Fri 29th May 2015, 14:32
Joined: 1996
Local Group: London
Helen Abbott, I have a Petzl Tikka XP. I don't know how much it differs from your Petzl Tikka Plus 2, but they can't be that different. I started the Saturday night with a set of batteries that I already had in the torch, but I didn't know how much use I'd already had. I carried a spare set of batteries with me & put another spare set in the breakfast bag. The XP has several brighness settings and whenever I could, I used the dimmest setting. Those batteries got me through the night with no problem. I even used the same set for another 2 to 3 hours on Sunday night, again on the lowest setting and it gave sufficient light to see me to the end.
Although the lowest setting is quite dim, I find that my eyes adjust to it quite well & that seems to maximise the battery life. The Petzl-supplied battery-life graphs show a much reduced battery life on the brighter settings, so I avoid those.
The one problem I have with the XP is the slightly recessed switch. I can never seem to find the correct area to press and often have to resort to taking it off in order to turn it on/off/change-brightness.
Author: Helen Abbott
Posted: Thu 28th May 2015, 15:09
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Thames Valley
I tried using Energizer Ultimate lithiums on my Petzl Tikka Plus 2 on the Red Rose 100 which had a worst-case 2 x 6 or so hours of night sections.
The user guide confirms that lithiums are aupported, "for a longer battery life in cold temperatures".

What I didn't expect was a shorter battery life. I had previously used the torch with Duracell Ultras which lasted up to 8.5 hours before noticeably dimming. But with the lithiums the maximum I got was about 5.5 hours before dimming with the low battery indicator flashing i.e. not even a full first night section even allowing for a couple of breaks at indoor checkpoints. Also unexpectedly (to me and other walkers I was with) when turning the torch back on the next night, it went back to normal brightness for about 5 minutes before dimming again. Long enough to make it look as if it was working properly without needing to change the batteries after all! A few tests after the event show the same behaviour with these and my spare battery set. Next night walk I will go back to at least one set of Duracell but am still interested in the explanation so may try contacting Petzl.
Author: Neil Bromley
Posted: Tue 12th May 2015, 10:24
Joined: 2002
Local Group: Heart of England
Armorel

If you haven't already done so, invest in some Lithium batteries. Expensive, but last much longer with LED lights (and digital cameras etc.) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Energizer-Ultimate-626264-Lithium-Batteries/dp/B000IWW1G6

Neil
Author: Armorel Young
Posted: Mon 11th May 2015, 11:29
Joined: 1999
Local Group: Sherwood
Thanks to everyone for helpful suggestions.

Something else I hadn't previously taken into account but which I have discovered while looking into head torches in general is how much the brightness declines long before the batteries are actually exhausted - there is an interesting graph of this for the Petzl Tikka Plus2 at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/petzl_tikka_xp2_plus2_led_headlamp_reviews.html#.VVCDhZNBkwc. The lesson I take away from this is that my existing Petzl Tikka Plus will perform a lot better if I change the batteries more often.
Author: Nick Vanson
Posted: Thu 30th Apr 2015, 9:07
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Thames Valley
I have been using the Black Diamond Spot 130 for a few years now and I can stongly recommend it. It is very light weight, easy to use with a number of useful functions and outshines the Petzl I have used in the past. Here's the link to the torch available from Cotswolds: http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/black-diamond-spot-130-headtorch-ac210110
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Wed 29th Apr 2015, 23:25
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
You may want to have a look at one of these: https://www.alpkit.com/lighting

I use one of their previous models which has done me well, including last years 100, these new ones are probably slightly improved specs. Their torches are cheap at around £17, so obviously don't match up to an alternative £150 model, but I don't worry too much about treading on it or dropping in a river!
Probably the best value for money on the market.

My old one out performs my old Petzl myoxp.
Author: Michael Headley
Posted: Wed 29th Apr 2015, 14:30
Joined: 2008
Local Group: Kent
I like my Petzl Tikka+ Head Torch. Wiggle have a good price at the moment - http://www.wiggle.co.uk/petzl-tikka-head-torch-1/
Author: Armorel Young
Posted: Wed 29th Apr 2015, 10:03
Joined: 1999
Local Group: Sherwood
Can anyone recommend a good head torch? It needs to be a) bright, b) have long battery life, c) lightweight and d) not complicated to operate. My present Petzl Tikka is disappointingly dim; other head torches I have had in the past have been uncomfortably heavy to wear or have needed frequent battery changes and I'd like to acquire something better.

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