Headtorches

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Headtorches

Postby woyapp1 » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 8:29 am

Hi all

I'm after quite a specific set of features in my head torch and thought I'd ask for others' experiences. It's not the kind of thing I feel capable of figuring out on my own!

I'd ideally like to be able to read by head torch, but with a red filter on. I'd also like it to not be too bright so I don't bother other people (in a tent for example). So, I suppose either a head torch that has a red-light filter that can be applied to all the options (including the lower lumen ones), or a head torch that just is lower in lumens, but still bright enough for everything else I'd need it for.

Enlighten me! (pun intended :D)
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 8:53 am

Battery or USB rechargeable?
What popped into the front of my mind was the rear bike light that gets sold at ALDI on occasion, red and bright enough to read by, comes with two brightness levels.
I use them as adjuncts on my big headlamp in winter. When walking on the road between falls Creek and where I park my car I set the red one to the back of my head and switch it to flash. K-Mart sell a couple similar, [ or at least did last year] one of them was USB the other took AAA batteries.
They do double duty as SOS beacons if disabled by an accident so I tend to carry one when ski touring
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Re: Headtorches

Postby ChrisJHC » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 9:08 am

An alternative is to look at a Kindle with back lighting.
I note the new ones are waterproof as well.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Warin » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 9:41 am

A 'red filter' will reduce the efficiency of the light.
Better to use a LED that emits red light - no filter.

Some of the headlights have 2 or more separate led lights, one of them a red light.
Some of the headlights have variable light output - from bright to dim, so you can set it to where you like.

I would recommend one that has both a reed led and a white led with variable output.
The choices are then;
Battery or usb recharge?
How bright? Enough to hike/ski by at night? Or enought to cook by/set up the tent at night?
How long should the light last?
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Re: Headtorches

Postby woyapp1 » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 9:43 am

ChrisJHC wrote:An alternative is to look at a Kindle with back lighting.
I note the new ones are waterproof as well.


I have a Kindle already, that isn't backlit, I'm keen to hold onto it for now. But as soon as I can justify replacing it, I'll likely get a backlit one.

Moondog55 wrote:Battery or USB rechargeable?
What popped into the front of my mind was the rear bike light that gets sold at ALDI on occasion, red and bright enough to read by, comes with two brightness levels.
I use them as adjuncts on my big headlamp in winter. When walking on the road between falls Creek and where I park my car I set the red one to the back of my head and switch it to flash. K-Mart sell a couple similar, [ or at least did last year] one of them was USB the other took AAA batteries.
They do double duty as SOS beacons if disabled by an accident so I tend to carry one when ski touring


This is a great idea, thanks! I already have one of the red bike lights, so I might test it out. I still need a new headtorch though.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby woyapp1 » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 9:45 am

Warin wrote:A 'red filter' will reduce the efficiency of the light.
Better to use a LED that emits red light - no filter.

Some of the headlights have 2 or more separate led lights, one of them a red light.
Some of the headlights have variable light output - from bright to dim, so you can set it to where you like.

I would recommend one that has both a reed led and a white led with variable output.
The choices are then;
Battery or usb recharge?
How bright? Enough to hike/ski by at night? Or enought to cook by/set up the tent at night?
How long should the light last?


Good point, thanks.

I'm not too bothered, but would probably prefer usb recharge.
Bright enough to cook/set up tent at night.
I'm taking it on the OLT so ideally it would last long enough to potentially be used daily for 6-8 days. Is that standard? I don't know much about head torches!
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Lamont » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 9:50 am

https://www.liteshop.com.au/content/nit ... gKcdPD_BwE

Nitecore NU25
USB recharge Red light etc
I have the NU20. Which is the slightly more basic version of this i.e.less features than this one. It's very good. Very comfy to wear. A great size -not too small but hardly noticeable when it's on. Were I to replace the NU20 it would likely be this one the NU25.
There are fakes of this (and the NU20-I got a fake/dud) due to it's popularity so should this tickle your fancy I'd think of an Oz or established vendor such as the one above. I know of some people buying 'this' (supposedly) off AlieE and getting fakes.
Can be charged and used at the same time. Two hours full charge from dead. 28 grams is the weight of the unit alone -the headband is nicely wide (though I replaced mine with some 2mm hat elastic) and the whole thing weighs about 70gms I think? A good size for cold/clumsy fingers.
Importantly it has a very good/proper lock feature so accidental operation-'turn on' is easily avoided.
Has an effective LED light indicator to show charge level.
This headtorch for what it's worth is well established, trusted and beloved in the UL world. Though whether it's the best I don't know.
Headband mod.if you want to make it weigh nothing at all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdK7BXsX8_Q
No affiliation whatsoever to the above seller.
There is also the other one with the battery and the lever but I'll be damned if I can think of the brand? Zapruda referred it a while back-tiny, circular, has a red light, but needs a battery? Anyone?
Last edited by Lamont on Sat 08 Aug, 2020 4:43 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 9:56 am

Headlamp for walking in the dark on badly marked tracks or for around camp?
Sometimes expensive isn't worth it and cheap and simple is a better option. I have the BD Icon for winter snow trips but at other times I take a simple Energiser from Safeway
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Re: Headtorches

Postby ofuros » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 10:22 am

As Lamont has already mentioned, the NU 25 is a good little unit...yellow version, it's easier to find. Tiltable head. Lightweight. 3white light settings + flashing white, 2 red light setting + a flashing red. USB recharge.

My youngster has one for frog hunting & locking the chickens up in the evenings... & surprisingly he hasn't broke or lost it yet. :shock:
Last edited by ofuros on Sat 08 Aug, 2020 11:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Petew » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 10:39 am

I also reccomend the NU25. It's a good unit.

The lowest setting is very handy for bumbling about without disturbing others.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Bam » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 11:37 am

I own a NU25 & as others have already stated it really is a fantastic little head torch, highly recommended.

I also have & use a Fenix CL09 (https://fenixlight.com.au/product/fenix ... iron-grey/) which is another very useful light to own when hiking & camping.
It is lightweight, has a USB rechargeable CR123A battery which will power it for many hours off a single charge & is fully weatherproof.
The white light that it produces is very neutral & spreads over a large area perfect for illuminating the inside of a tent or over a cooking area, it also has a combination of red & green light options as well.
Like most well made items, it isn’t cheap but, IMO, is well worth the money.
For all of the fathers out there, it would make a really good Father’s Day present if your kids are looking for suggestions!
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Re: Headtorches

Postby commando » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 1:05 pm

I used to carry a stripped down solar garden light mounted on top of the pack which charged batteries all day
for a non intrusive tent light 4-6 hours continuous.
I also used a torch 4 hours a day and used every battery type and proved Duracell Copper Top
always lasted the longest. That would be my choice AA batteries which will go a week used every day.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Al M » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 4:19 pm

Here’s a good review of 2020 headlights you might have seen https://www.cleverhiker.com/headlamps

The Petzels I’ve used have been good though not fully waterproof, with Standard AAA batteries easy to find and replace as spares on trips vs USB recharge. One doesn’t often need waterproofing unless in extreme conditions for reliability in case of emergency night walk out in rain. My 3 AAA battery Petzel has about 140 hours use on one charge so quite long compared to others and has lasted on 3 week treks.

One issue with torches is they can sometimes be turned on accidentally in the backpack and the charge runout so spares or USB recharge from power bank is needed as backup.

Perhaps best to visit a shop and try out various models that suit your needs and budget.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Eremophila » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 8:29 pm

The NU25’s features include the statement “Lockout feature prevents accidental activation”.

I do like the look of that one. Partner has recently started using his headtorch for early morning work starts, meaning I need to buy my own. The cheek of him!
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Echotech » Sat 08 Aug, 2020 10:59 pm

I recently bought a Knog (knog.com) Bilby, they’re based in Melbourne (I’m not affiliated in any way) fantastic headlamp and think it might be worth a look from what you’re asking for.
(My first post :) on this forum )


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Re: Headtorches

Postby Al M » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 1:01 am

Eremophila wrote:The NU25’s features include the statement “Lockout feature prevents accidental activation”.

I do like the look of that one. Partner has recently started using his headtorch for early morning work starts, meaning I need to buy my own. The cheek of him!


Good head torches often end up in the wrong hands, so they need to be stashed away from others.

That one looks good with some drawbacks from the review which the OP was trying to avoid annoying other campers from the wide beam.

Many torches seem to have the switch lockout feature plus water proofing, very handy. The ones with longer burn time on high setting may be worth aiming for in case of emergency walkout at night beyond typical 2 hour times as low setting may not offer enough detailed light to see tracks well enough ahead.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Eremophila » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 8:44 am

I tend to carry a torch and a lantern for in-tent use, doubling up I know, but I like having a lantern for ambient light. Also nice to have whilst cooking/eating/whatever.

My favourite is the Coleman Micropacker which is great value at $15 but it's around 200g so I've recently bought a Black Diamond Moji which is dimmable. The switch seems a little fiddly though.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby north-north-west » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 1:05 pm

Echotech wrote:I recently bought a Knog (knog.com) Bilby, they’re based in Melbourne (I’m not affiliated in any way) fantastic headlamp and think it might be worth a look from what you’re asking for.


Bilby is pricey. Bandicoot is much cheaper and also a neat unit. Tempting . . . but I don''t need any more headlamps!!
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Echotech » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 4:32 pm

north-north-west wrote:
Echotech wrote:I recently bought a Knog (knog.com) Bilby, they’re based in Melbourne (I’m not affiliated in any way) fantastic headlamp and think it might be worth a look from what you’re asking for.


Bilby is pricey. Bandicoot is much cheaper and also a neat unit. Tempting . . . but I don''t need any more headlamps!!
I was very tempted by the Bandicoot but in my case my only other headlamp is pretty old so thought I’d splash, agree its a bit pricey


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Re: Headtorches

Postby matagi » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 7:45 pm

Petzl Actik - white led with 2 intensity settings plus red and red flashing. Comes as replaceable battery and rechargeable versions.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby CraigVIC » Sun 09 Aug, 2020 8:52 pm

If the everything else of the original question is cooking, going to the toilet, camp chores then Kmart sell very cheap headlamps with a red setting that work absolutely fine.

I have Actik too (previous model) which does all the same but the brightest setting is very bright and suitable for using to walk.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby mikeRsyd » Mon 10 Aug, 2020 8:13 am

Another vote for the nitecore nu25. Since I bought it I've been carrying it everywhere and it's been on every trip I've taken since including overseas holidays. I use it every few days for something. 4 white levels 2 red levels and Cree ( natural colour) flood light that works well at illuminating things up close, cooking by Cree is good. It's one of the best things I've ever bought. I got my mine from ryda in Sydney I was able to see it before I bought it (no affiliation) rechargeable via mini usb and a battery bank if you need to.

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Re: Headtorches

Postby Huntsman247 » Mon 10 Aug, 2020 11:54 am

I'm pretty happy with my black diamond storm. Really good brightness control once you get familiar with it and it has good light distribution modes. For working close up and seeing far.
On its lowest 'close setting' it does not seem to bother other people. It also as separate leds including a red one that are dimable as well.
But on the heftier side but ideal for extended trips or when you plan to walk in the dark a lot.

I've got a Petzl bindi which I use for trail running. It also has a red led that has brightness modes. But it is rechargeable only and doesn't last that long on full power. But for shorter stints it'll work.
Funnily I've noticed that even on a lower setting you have better 'clarity of vision' if that's the right term and depth perception with the bindi over the storm with closer objects, particularly noticeable when bush wacking in the dark.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby woyapp1 » Tue 11 Aug, 2020 7:56 am

Echotech wrote:I recently bought a Knog (knog.com) Bilby, they’re based in Melbourne (I’m not affiliated in any way) fantastic headlamp and think it might be worth a look from what you’re asking for.
(My first post :) on this forum )


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Thanks, I love knog products and have one of their bells. I hadn't thought of them! I'll take a look.

Huntsman247 wrote:I'm pretty happy with my black diamond storm. Really good brightness control once you get familiar with it and it has good light distribution modes. For working close up and seeing far.
On its lowest 'close setting' it does not seem to bother other people. It also as separate leds including a red one that are dimable as well.
But on the heftier side but ideal for extended trips or when you plan to walk in the dark a lot.

I've got a Petzl bindi which I use for trail running. It also has a red led that has brightness modes. But it is rechargeable only and doesn't last that long on full power. But for shorter stints it'll work.
Funnily I've noticed that even on a lower setting you have better 'clarity of vision' if that's the right term and depth perception with the bindi over the storm with closer objects, particularly noticeable when bush wacking in the dark.


I've gone off Black Diamond a bit after a few bad experiences with their head-torches. Had one fail on me in a lave tube in Hawaii, wasn't pretty (I didn't like the dark and got a bit claustrophobic...) I think that's scarred me for life!
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Re: Headtorches

Postby wallwombat » Sat 15 Aug, 2020 8:08 am

Another Nitecore NU25 fan here. It's a great little unit.

I also have an older model Black Diamond Spot and a Petzl Tikkinna. They are both solid head lamps too but I love the Nitecore.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby stry » Sat 15 Aug, 2020 9:07 am

Lamont wrote:https://www.liteshop.com.au/content/nitecore-nu25-multi-light-360-lumen-lightweight-rechargeable-led-headlamp/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz-yVz6GK6wIVz9eWCh34mA21EAAYASAAEgKcdPD_BwE

There is also the other one with the battery and the lever but I'll be damned if I can think of the brand? Zapruda referred it a while back-tiny, circular, has a red light, but needs a battery? Anyone?


That description fits a Petzl offering. I can't remember the model details, but I carry one as a spare. Tiny and weighs next to nothing.

BTW - Always have two lights. When the one being used goes out without warning, finding and fitting the spare batteries can be very challenging.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 15 Aug, 2020 9:23 am

Just something else to keep in mind.
More important in snow conditions perhaps but I prefer to have all my portable devices using the same battery type.
If possible.
The BD Icon uses AA lithiums but the cheap Energizer uses AAA so that would mean taking 2 types of batteries. As Stry says changing batteries under storm conditions in the dark can be a hazard to life and a second torch/headlamp as backup is what I do as a matter of SOP
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Lamont » Sat 15 Aug, 2020 11:19 am

stry wrote:
Lamont wrote:https://www.liteshop.com.au/content/nitecore-nu25-multi-light-360-lumen-lightweight-rechargeable-led-headlamp/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz-yVz6GK6wIVz9eWCh34mA21EAAYASAAEgKcdPD_BwE

There is also the other one with the battery and the lever but I'll be damned if I can think of the brand? Zapruda referred it a while back-tiny, circular, has a red light, but needs a battery? Anyone?


That description fits a Petzl offering. I can't remember the model details, but I carry one as a spare. Tiny and weighs next to nothing.

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Re: Headtorches

Postby Al M » Sat 15 Aug, 2020 11:45 am

stry wrote:
Lamont wrote:https://www.liteshop.com.au/content/nitecore-nu25-multi-light-360-lumen-lightweight-rechargeable-led-headlamp/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz-yVz6GK6wIVz9eWCh34mA21EAAYASAAEgKcdPD_BwE

BTW - Always have two lights. When the one being used goes out without warning, finding and fitting the spare batteries can be very challenging.


Never had a head torch fail in all the many years of hiking and backpacking travel, especially good quality lights with modern reliability, bulbs that rarely burn out. Having two lights is really unnecessary and adds to gear list and complexity.

As backup there is always the mobile phone light, another reason not to double up.
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Re: Headtorches

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 15 Aug, 2020 1:15 pm

I've had several headlamps die over the decades, the last one due to exploding Lithium batteries, covered by warranty because the batteries were faulty but it does happen and remember Murphy reigns supreme. summer not so bad, winter with wind and snow a failed lamp can get you dead fast.
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