Monday, 24 October 2011

head torch

So I just took delivery of an LED Lenser H7R. I did a fair bit of interweb research following the frustration of finding that my otherwise ideal Alpkit Gamma doesn't run with rechargeable batteries, which for those of us who use headtorches regularly (me for my cycle commute) is a bit limiting. [Come on alpkit, sort out a rechargeable version!]

Knowing that for the cost of replacement batteries I could justify spending a bit extra than the - otherwise amazing - £12 for the Gamma, gave me more options for a suitable headtorch. It came down to two in the end, the Lenser and the Petzl Myo xp and it was the former that seemed like the better value option at £44. Even for 4400 of her Majesties' pennies, I have to say that from a neccesity vs cost point of view, head torches are fantastic value when it comes to equipment for the outdoors. I can't be without one!

LED Lenser H7R

The (R) stands for rechargeable, meaning that the batteries are charged directly from the mains whilst in the battery unit. They are standard AAA rechargeables, so it is possible to use other batteries. I understood that use of rechargeables with the H7(not R) was also possible and I would probably have bought the non 'R' had I not found such a good deal. Since buying though, I am happy with my decision, because it seems that reviews more consistently quote the higher lumen measure of 170 when refering to the 'R', otherwise, for the H7, the figures were anywhere between 140-170. Furthermore reading that the 'R' models were only launched in March of 2011, gives me more confidence that they are more up-to-date tech wise.

Anyway, early impressions are good as I have only just taken delivery. The Cree LED technology seems fantastically bright, with a good quality white light and consistent spread, and despite my worries around stability without the second strap over the top of the head, it seems that the lightness of the whole unit, negates the requirement for this extra security. I shall report back on the strap issue, after some good commuting use and the proper tests - night time running and mtb. In researching, it seemed to me that the Lenser brand had many links with the fishing fraternity so I suppose it would have to be a pretty fighty carp for the user to require a top strap! Comfort seems good, again on initial impressions. The dimmer slider on the battery unit is useful and the focus slider below the lens is satisfyingly solid in action. All good so far!

Awesome brightness and spread of focused beam

I have to say I am very excited to use this torch for night time mountain biking. One of my Mtb buds and I were recently discussing light systems; bar mounted and head mounted combinations. This little head torch being so good, I could almost convince myself that I could do without a bar mounted unit altogether. Would certainly save me a bit of cash!

At the risk of overdoing this post, I have to make special mention of my old Petzl head torch which I have had for over 10 years now. I bought it for an expedition to Guyana (South America) with my school and it served me superbly over there. Having had to finally replace the bulb on the old timer, (with the 10 year old replacement bulb attached to the torch), you can barely call it a torch. Still, it valiantly tries to fight on - likeSir Richard the knight in 'Indiana Jones and The last Crusade'. I now have it by the back door should I need to go the shed or put the bins out... and I have mislayed the Gamma, or just feel a bit nostaglic. I am very fond of it!..and so I am going to do a bit of a headtorch comparison soon, as a bit of fun and out of interest. Watch this space!


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