Deepthi Velkur reviews headlamps for runners who love to hit the trails.
Whether you’re running at an all-night ultra-race, honing your racing skills before the break of dawn or sneaking in a jog post a hard day’s work, it is inevitable that you as a trail / ultra-runner will have to run in the dark at some point.
Running at night is a different animal for sure and is a one-of-a-kind experience that challenges you mentally and physically. It can be daunting but with the right preparation and focus, you can make a night run one of the most fun things you can do.
To be fair, the challenges you face are pretty much the same as you would during the day, however, they are just amplified by the absence of ambient light. Another challenge is the perception of your environment as it is heavily distorted and it requires your eyes to focus harder to distinguish obstacles and analyse the terrain.
To help runners overcome the lack of visibility at night, there are a plethora of running headlamps available in the market that cater to every budget and style. These headlamps provide great visibility to runners on even the darkest trails and they come equipped with a wide range of features making night/dawn running an amazing experience.
So, how do you choose a good running headlamp?
Choosing a headlamp may not be as easy with the varied options to choose from and the latest features available out there making it all the more confusing for you to zero-in on the best one.
However, the few parameters to keep in mind would be to check for the fit of the headlamp, brightness of the lamp, focusable beam, weight and balance, easy control options, battery life, rechargeable and water resistant. Here are a couple of options:
Black Diamond Spot
The Spot is the most affordable option available but that doesn’t mean the product sacrifices on comfort and other necessary features. It is durable, lightweight and provides quality lighting and is definitely a popular choice for runners on their nightly runs. This headlamp casts 300lumens at full capacity that can be adjusted on the fly in any weather conditions. It uses the PowerTap technology to transition between light settings. It also boasts of an excellent spot light capability and a wide evenly lit flood beam making it perfect for route finding after dark.
There are a lot of features such as dimming, strobe, red night vision and lock mode that are packed into the little light and all these are controlled by a single button, hence accessing these features with press and hold button actions makes it hard to use. The brightness memory feature allows for a runner to switch the light on and off at a preferred brightness without going back to full power. The Red night vision mode has strobe settings and proximity and activates without cycling and the Red LED’s preserve your night vision and reduce the strain on your eyes. The main drawback would be the average battery life it possesses.
Weight With Batteries : 92 g (3.25 oz)
Max Distances : [High] 80 m; [Low] 11 m
IPX Rating : X8(Water resistant, submersion up to 1m of water for 30 min)
Bulb detail : 1 QuadPower, 1 DoublePower, 1 SinglePower LED
Average run time: High:25, low:180hrs
Batteries : 3 AAA (included)
This headlamp is priced at INR 3994 (available at a 57% discount at the moment) (www.amazon.in).
Petzl Tikka Headlamp
A classic time tested piece which is great go to for urban running. It’s a compact, lightweight and its elastic adjustable headband keeps the lamp secure minimizing slipping or bouncing around while running. It boasts of 200 lumens brightness and a wide uniform beam capability comfortable for close-range vision. A single push button makes it quick and easy to select the effective lighting modes for distance, proximity and movement. A bonus feature on this model is the glow in the dark locator that self-charges when not in use making it easy to locate in the dark which comes with an emergency whistle. The Tikka is a hybrid headlamp powered using standard batteries and is easily compatible with the Petzl CORE rechargeable battery. Couple all of these quality features with a 3-year manufacturer guarantee and you have yourself one hell of a headlamp.
Weight With Batteries : 85 g (3 oz)
Max Distances : [High] 60 m; [Low] 10 m
IPX Rating : X4(withstand little rain)
Bulb detail : White LED, Red LED
Average run time: High:60, low:240hrs
Batteries : 3 AAA or rechargeable Ni-MH
This headlamp is priced at INR 5340 (www.amazon.in) (available at a 23% discount at the moment)