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Headtorch Buying Guide

Whether you’re trail running, mountaineering or just want to read in your tent, a headtorch is an essential accessory for most adventures, especially in winter. There are lots of factors to consider when choosing the headtorch that’s right for you, so here's our expert guide to help you get started.

Lumens

Lumens measure the brightness of the headtorch: the higher the number, the brighter the torch. The brightness of the torch is not only important for how well the wearer can see, but also how well they can be seen by others. A brighter torch, of around 300 lumens or more, will be needed for mountaineering as it will need to light a wider space, and greater visibility will be needed on unpredictable terrain.

Maximum distance

Consider how far ahead you will need to see. A greater distance is usually a good option to have, especially for mountain pursuits, but usually involves a trade-off with weight. 

Maximum battery life

The settings of the headtorch will affect the actual battery life, but the consideration should be how long the battery will last at the maximum number of lumens. Remember: as batteries run out, the torch will gradually become less bright before eventually running out of power. Bear in mind also that a shorter battery life will mean you need to carry spare batteries or a solar panel to recharge, so if you’re trying to pack light for your adventure, a longer battery life will be key.  

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Weight

A brighter torch or longer battery life will both affect the weight. The headtorch’s weight is important relative to how long you’ll be wearing it for, as it will obviously become uncomfortable if it’s too heavy.

Waterproofing

A torch’s waterproofness is measured using an IPX rating, from IPX1 to IPX8, with a higher number representing a higher waterproof level. As a general rule, IPX4 will protect your headtorch from splashes so will be enough for everyday use, but you should consider the conditions in which you’ll be using the torch to make sure it’s waterproof enough. 

Red light

A red light setting on your headtorch is useful for reading maps or GPS at night.

Number of light settings

If you plan to use your headtorch for a range of activities, then it may be useful to have different light settings, so you can save battery life where possible.

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