“ Manufacturer: Petzl / Protective Equipment „
I have a few different bike lights but my favourite one has to be my head lamp. I find that with using a head lamp as opposed to using traditional bike lights I can actually control where the light is shining which makes it easier to bike in the dark. I also recently used it on a camping trip and I found it to be so useful that I wouldn't consider going camping again without it.
You can get loads of different brands but the one that I have is made by a company called Petzl and it is the Tactikka 3 model which I bought on ebay for £19.99. The usual retail price seems to be around about £25 which I still think is a really good price for it.
The head lamp is attached to an elastic band which is easy to tighten to make sure it is secure on your head and once it is on it feels really lightweight and isn't uncomfortable after you have had it on a few minutes and have got used to the feeling of having something attached to your head.
The torch has three LED lights in it which give off a surprisingly powerful beam of light from them. The light is more than adequate to see several feet in front of me and to light up the darkest of areas. There is a red filter which you just need to flip over the white light to change the light omitted from the head lamp to a more muted red colour. The red light is nowhere near as bright as the white light but it also gives off enough light to be able to see where you are going for example I used it when camping when needing to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and it helped me see where I was going fine without being too strong and disturbing the people I was camping with. I wouldn't recommend that you use it for biking in the dark though as I don't think it would be particularly safe especially when the white light is much more powerful and can be seen from such a good distance away.
To power the head lamp it uses AAA batteries with come supplied with the head torch but I found them to be useless and the torch started to dim within a couple of weeks of using it. After I swapped the batteries for some better quality ones I am getting a few months of quite heavy use before I have to put new ones in.
I also really like the design of this head lamp compared so the boring black you see on others. I like camouflage and I just think that it makes it look a bit different and funkier than the other more 'professional' ones although the fact that this is a cheaper version than some shouldn't let it put you off as it really is a good head lamp and does the job it is supposed to and does it well.
Having bought numerous cheaper head torches over the years only to find them break in various ways, I decided to do a bit of research and fork out for a good quality head torch.
(N.B. This unit comes in black or green camouflage colours - picture shows on the green one, but mine is black.)
WHY A HEADTORCH? I have always needed one for travelling and it's invaluable when in places with no electricity/blackouts, camping, reading on buses, casual exploration of a chanced upon cave or ruin (not serious caving). I know other people who use them for fixing their car, reading in bed without disturbing their partner, etc - anything where you need free hands and light! (I first got one as we were camping without facilities and spending a penny (ladies) in the dark / with torch in my teeth was quite tricky!)
PETZL. From my research, Petzl seem firmly established as a brand leader and get great reviews in terms of compact size, beam, robustness and battery life. Certainly my new torch conpares very favourably with other (cheaper) ones I have had over the years.
LIGHT. This model has 3 LED lights. The standard beam is white but there is a flip down red transparent cover which converts the light into a duller red beam. The main beam is very strong - sufficient for lighting up my entire room at home, and all the uses listed above. A friend has a (more expensive) 4 light LED and suggested it might be too bright sometimes. The red flip cover is extremely useful - this allows you to be more unobtrusive e.g. reading on a bus or in bed when others are sleeping. Some emergency Petzl models have various flashing SOS modes but I haven't found this necessary for me.
BATTERIES. It takes 3 AAA batteries (which were included in the unit I bought). This is useful to me as I can buy these on the road in other countries more easily than odd disc-shaped batteries (and I believe the 3 AA batteries last longer too). The batteries so far haven't died on me and I have read favourably about the battery life.
BUILD. The best bit for me, is the build. The beam is as powerful as other torches I have owned which have been far larger and bulkier. Despite taking AAA batteries, the unit is still slim and compact, fitting both nicely on the head and packing easily into a crammed bag. The beam angle can be adjusted and this is built very sturdily (helped by the shape/design which doesn't get caught on things in your bag). This has broken in other torches I have had, leaving the beam dangling to my feet and useless worn on the head. The battery clip is also extremely firm and impossible to accidentally catch - you have to push a narrow release button using a key/coin or similar (there's a picture of how to do this in the instructions). I think this torch is worth the money because it will last for ages.
HEADSTRAP. There is a single wide elasticated strap around the head which was very comfortable - other torches have been too tight or a plastic part has dug into my head. The slim, lightweight torch bit means it doesn't droop forward on your forehead. The strap is easy to adjust for size, and has impressive grippy "teeth" on the plastic adjuster so it doesn't come loose while wearing.
EXTRAS. The torch does not come in a carry case, but I don't think that's a problem as it seems small and robust enough to stand my normal packing routine.
PRICE. I'm sure the price will change newer models come out, but overall I think this is excellent value for money. The quality and build will mean it outlasts cheaper torches, so better value in the long run. Although I can't directly compare, I don't think I needed the extra LED on the more expensive models. This one was just right.