What Running Head Torch Do I Need? | Head Torches at NorthernRunner.com
As headtorches have improved, becoming brighter and lighter in weight, they have transformed night-time running and are a must have for the winter. If you are running on country roads in the winter evenings then a headtorch is an essential piece of kit. Certain models are now good enough to allow you to explore off-road at night, which is particularly dangerous without the right vision. Running at night over fields and through woods give you a whole new sensory experience. It also builds in a feeling of adventure as the weather changes with the landscape and conditions underfoot. You just need the right torch to add this extra enjoyment to your running.
There is a vast array of headtorches available. If you’re not used to the terminology it can be difficult to work out which one will do the job for you. If you are running on the streets or country roads a smaller and less powerful torch will work just fine. If you are heading into tricky terrain or up into the hills then you need something with a bit more visibility to see rocks, tree routes and avoid low branches.
Key Technical Terms
This is a measurement of light strength. The bigger the number the more light you get from the torch.
‘(Battery) Burn Time’
How long your battery will last. This depends on the settings you use and the temperature. Lots of batteries struggle to hold charger once the temperature drops to around zero. They won’t last as long as they would do at, say, 10 degrees.
Distance or Length of Beam
Most torches have a few settings. You can run in a bubble of light with a beam length of 10-20 metres, which is good for running around the streets. Then there will often be a setting to have a longer, narrower beam. This is handy while running off road as it helps you see obstacles that you are running towards so you can avoid them if necessary!
How powerful do you need the light to be? 30-100 Lumen’s is a good level of light for around town or country lanes. You’ll need more than this if you think you might venture out onto the trails.
How bright do you want the beam to be? This is back to Lumen’s again. In town you don’t want to be blinding fellow road users as you run down the road. The more powerful torches can be adjusted to be less bright with a few settings.
How long do you need the beam to be? If you are running in an urban setting them a bubble of light is enough and a nicer experience than a long beam of light. You see more as you are running along. A long beam is better when you are running off road as you can then see what the trail has instore for you ahead of time.
What type of battery? If you are running regularly then a re-chargeable battery is better as it cuts down the overall cost of replacing the AAA batteries (in some models). If you are looking for a torch to use as part of your safety kit for a long Ultramarathon, then you need to consider the requirements. Some races ask you to carry spare batteries. Although you can get spare re-chargeable batteries, which are expensive and heavy, some head torches allow for either the included rechargeable batteries or regular ones. The LEDlenser MH5 for example gives you that option.
Weight. The lighter the torch, the less there is to carry on your head so the more comfortable it is. The less powerful torches tend to be lighter so despite the temptation, I don’t recommend buying a torch with more power than you are going to use. I find that it’s more comfortable to put them over a hat or headband than to wear them directly on my head, especially when out for an hour or more.
Most headtorches are easy to use but it’s worth making sure you can adjust the settings with and without your gloves!
BE SAFE and make sure you wear something that makes you visible from behind too, especially if you are running on the road. If you are heading off-road, exploring new ground then make sure to let someone know where you are going.
LEDLenser Range Summary
Similar in all qualities to the NEO4, but rechargeable with a USB cable. Also comes with a chest strap to hold the torch at chest level, reducing mutual glare in group situations.
• Lumens: 120 – 750
• Battery burn time: 8 – 15 hours depending on settings
• Approx. distance: Up to 40 metres
• Weight: 95 grams
The Ledlensor NEO4 is a lightweight, well-priced entry-level torch. With a maximum 250 lumens it is fine for urban running and also for trails that are not too technical in nature.
The NEO4 also has a small flashing red light at the rear set on the outside of the battery pack.
• Lumens: 150-240 depending on settings
• Battery burn time: up to 40 hours depending on settings
• Approx distance: up to 30metres (3 Variable settings)
• Weight: 100 grams inc batteries
Ledlensors’s top performer, for serious nighttime, off-road running. The torch gives up to 600 lumens of light and up to 150 metres beam length at maximum settings. Swivel mounted housing to adjust angle of the beam.
• Lumens: Max 600
• Max burn time: Up to 100 hours depending on settings
• Approx distance: Up to 150 metres depending on settings
• Weight: 179 grams
LEDLenser MH5 and LEDLender MH7
The LEDLenser MH5 is a high quality, lightweight headtorch with simple functionality but plenty on offer. The MH7 is a beefed up version with higher lumens, bean distance and even a red reading light (better for preparing for sleep). The MH7 gets the extra power from an extra battery and therefore has a strap for the top of the head.
- Lumens: Max: 400, Min: 20
- Light Functions: Power, low power
- Beam Distance: Max: 180m, Min: 40m
- Burn Time: Max: 35h, Min: 4h
- Battery: 1 x rechargeable L-ion
- Weight: 92g
MH5 (above) MH7 (below)
- Lumens: Max: 600, Min: 20
- Light Functions: Boost, Power, Mid Power, Low Power
- Beam Distance: Max: 200m, Min: 20m
- Burn Time: Max: 60h, Min: 3.5h
- Additional Features: Dimmable, red reading light, transportation lock
- Battery: 2 x 14500 battery pack 3.7v
- Weight: 309g
We also stock Silverpoint headtorches, including a few basic torches under with minimal features under £30.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle