Ledlenser SEO7R Rechargeable Headlamp
Having used such products for many years in one day Ultra races and seven day stage races I have come to appreciate a good torch and this one has become one of my favourites for my activities. They make a range of headlamps and torches but for now I will focus on the 'blue' one. It's in a package with a picture of a 'beardy bloke' on it and comes with a charging cable (for the mains) and a rechargeable battery. The torch can take either this battery or three AAA batteries. For me this is important. At home I can use the recharging facility and also in motels or campsites but in races I swap to batteries. It's all round a good interchangeable system. Saves wasting and buying batteries also.
Of course many different torches can be found... more powerful, bigger, lighter etc but again for me I want a light which weighs as little as possible, is powerful enough to run by in a desert race alone at night and is reliable in rain and for months of training. This light is only 93gms, pretty small, sits comfortably on my noggin and belts out an admirable 220 lumens. I don't really care much about the light number apart from the fact that some races demand 200 lumens minimum and it's plenty to search your pack in the early morning and great to run by. It is unaffected by rain (IPX6 is the actual waterproof rating) and is pretty durable- I have dropped mine a few times and it's not in any way ever had a problem. The only minor issue they need to work on is the plastic clip used to open the back. It's fine in the light with warm fingers but when you are shivering and it's wet the back is smooth and difficult to open, you will want to avoid too much pressure on the clip which could break. Still, relatively minor for a light which ticks most boxes. I am demanding on my gear so I would also love them to do a colour coding or arrow on the battery so it matches the housing... would make it idiot proof when slotting in the battery unit right every time.
I charge mine after each training run and it takes about two hours after a two hour run on full power however it takes about 3-4 hours when depleted completely after approximately 5 hours. Charging is easy, plug in to the wall mains and it's a red light, turns green when ready. It's very very obvious and I have often woken up in the night to see my light is now green from right across the room. Again, maybe they could colour code it so it's easy to see which way up your connector goes into the battery but again maybe I am fussy. It would stop me trying to push the unit in the wrong way up though. You could take the battery out to charge it or, like me leave it in the light and just plug it in like that. The light is so light it never falls away from the battery. Then all you do is pull the lead out and snap the case back over.
I love this light as it's simple to use and not too complicated by features I do not need. The white light is on full or on economy or on flashing (never used the flashing one) and also can be put onto red light to save night vision (for example you want to stop and examine a map but not destroy your vision straight after). The elastic is wide, washable and easy to make tighter and the unit is easy to tilt up or down and also a bezel allows very easy focus from wide to tight beam. There is a technical feature which allows it to analyse the light and adjust to save power but don't ask me how it works, luckily it's automatic.
I have settled on it now as my best light. Takes all my training and race knocks, good battery life (just under five hrs with full batteries). At high altitude this battery life is diminished so plan accordingly with spares. I have found over the years people mess up changing their batteries at night on the run. In a race you should be able to change them blindfolded so practice it in the dark at home. I tape batteries together in the correct order with a bit of insulation tape (fold the end over so you can pull it off easily) so you can feel easily which way up the whole lot will go in, peel off the tape and slip them in easy. I cannot believe how many people search around for individual batteries in their packs at midnight. The lights headstrap folds up easily and comes with a carabiner on it so you can clip it to your pack etc, mostly mine lives in a waist pocket or similar within easy reach.
Cost is about $179.99 (NZ) and they have a good product guarantee. It's been with me for many years and performed consistently in lots of races now and is a favourite bit of race kit. 8 out of 10 and with a few tiny changes it could easily go higher. Well worth it.