There are some really cool new headtorches on the market, chief among them are flashlights made by a company called Olight. Back in Spring 2018 I was fortunate to be sent two of their headtorches to try out: the Olight H1R and H2R Nova. With rechargable batteries, high levels of brightness and a delightful build quality they go way beyond the simple plastic triple A battery headtorches I’ve been using for years. I’ve been so impressed with them I’ve partnered up with Olight to sell them through the Apsen website. Have read of my review and if you’d like to get one click on the links through to the Olight store (H1R , H2R).
Here’s a summary of the technical specs of each headtorch:
|HR2 headtorch||HR1 headtorch|
|Weight and size||Baton shaped flashlight is 110mm long and 100g in weight||Baton shaped flashlight is 61.5mm long and 51.5g in weight|
|Head strap||The head torch comes with a head strap with a magnetic mount. The flashlight and be detached from the magnetic mount by unclipping a silicon strap.|
|Clip||Dual-sided metal clip for attachment on rucksack or garments||Single-sided clip for attachment on rucksack or garments|
|Rechargable battery||3000mAh rechargable battery giving illumination for up to 45 days in moonlight mode.||650mAh rechargable battery giving illumination for up to 6 days in moonlight mode.|
|Tailclip||The flashlight has a magnetic USB charging cable that attaches to a magnetic tail clip at the bottom of the baton. A small light on the cable turns from red to green to indicate that the battery is fully charged.|
|Illumination||Moonlight (1 lumens, lasting 45 days);Low (30 lumens, lasting 50 hours);Medium (150 lumens, lasting 10 hours);High (600 lumens, lasting 2.5 hours); Turbo (2300 lumens decreasing to 750 lumens over 1 hour 50min)||Moonlight (1 lumens, lasting 6 days);Low (15 lumens, lasting 20 hours);Medium (60 lumens, lasting 5 hours);High (180 lumens, lasting 1 hr 40 min);Turbo (600 lumens decreasing to 180 lumens over 1 hour 20min)|
|SOS||The flashlight can be switched to a SOS setting|
|Lockout||The flashlight can be set to lockout mode which means that, should the end button be accidentally depressed inside your rucksack it won’t come on and drain the battery.|
|Waterproof||The flashlight has a waterproof rating of IPX8 (immersion in 1m of water)|
Here are the features I like best about the headtorches:
Build Quality: The aluminium casing of the flashlights is tough, robust and waterproof. The headtorches also come with a five year guarantee. The HR1 is delightfully small and compact at only 61.5mm long and 51.5g. The HR2 is twice the weight but you benefit from a longer battery light and more illumination.
Rechargable battery: No more throwing away single use batteries. For a few hours of night time walking the batteries have plenty of power to last and if you set the illumination to a low level the recharable battery will last through a multiday camping or bothy trip. Should the battery level get low the flashlight forewarns you and begins to blink. With its USB charging cable it can also be recharged in the field using a powerbank. I also like the lockout mode which prevents the battery being drained if it gets switched on by accident in your rucksack.
Variable illumination: The brightness level goes from 1 lumens to 600 and 2300 lumens respectively for the H1R and H2R. I have never had a flashlight with a brightness of more than 30 lumens and I was sceptical at first whether I would find it useful. Within a short time of using them however the benefits of being able to illuminate a campsite or bothy you’ve been navigating to at night have been very evident. The bright settings have also come in useful when illuminating some of the ancient monuments I take clients to: like the dark passageways of brochs and chambered cairns in Orkney and Shetland. The low light settings, like the Olight’s 1 lumen moonlight mode, are equally important when navigating, helping to reduce glare when reading a map and prevent dazzling your hiking buddies.
Things to watch out for…
There aren’t many downsides to these headtorches but there are a few things to watch out for. The base of the baton flashlight and the headstrap mount arte magnetic. Be mindful that you shouldn’t place your compass anywhere near these magnets: there is a risk that you could reverse the polarity of your compass. It is also important to remember to switch the flashlight to lockout mode before storing it away in your rucksack. If you don’t there is a risk that the on button will get knocked on and the torch leading to the battery draining and also melting the lense of the flashlight. Lastly do take care because these head torches are very very bright and will easily dazzle people around you.
How to buy one…