SURVIVAL LIGHTING : Part 3 of 6 – Head Torches.

What is a HeadTorch?

A Headtorch (a.k.a.Headlamp) is a device that is attached to a headband , the latter generally being elastic , for optimal comfort. The user places this band around his head in order to be able to light up in front of him and move around in the dark, while keeping his hands completely free to do tasks.

This type of lamp can be fitted with batteries or else with a rechargeable battery , in order for the device to be able to benefit from sufficient autonomy. In addition, its light beam must be powerful enough to allow the user to see several meters in front of him/her. Everyone should own a headtorch.

Whether you’re going on a backpacking trip, walking the dog in the evening, or car camping with friends, a hands-free light is an essential tool and is sure to become one of your favorite gadgets, especially for impromptu events which require important repair work to be done – as can happen during power outages.

With all the technical data to sift through and seemingly endless choices on the market, it can be a real challenge to figure out what to buy.

So how do you go about discovering the ‘Best’ Headtorch for your normal as well as survival requirements ?

First of all, let’s first briefly consider the benefits of Head Torches :

The head torch/lamp has several advantages:
– It is ideal for working with your hands free and illuminating a specific place .
– It allows you to move around freely and in safety, in places where there is no lighting.
– It is often provided with an elastic band, which allows it to be adjusted to all head sizes and to keep it in place.
– Most headlamp models work with LEDs. 
– Some can be equipped with a night signaling option (red LED), a waterproof option or even have a swivel and detachable head.
– Can be utilized whilst wearing a helmet.

During a crisis / emergency situation, your head torch will be an essential piece of equipment not least in many night time activities but also for important / urgent household or DIY tasks. Consequently, the power, ergonomics, autonomy or even range are among the selection criteria for your future headlamp.


The Power Must be selected first and foremost according to the nature of your activities in order to have the optimal brightness. This will guarantee both comfort and safety during your usages. It is advisable to opt for a model equipped with a light intensity adjustment. Thus, you will preserve the autonomy of its battery. You will also avoid eye damage to yourself when reading or viewing nearby objects.
The Weight and Ease of UseThe lighter of the equipment will give you optimal comfort, especially during prolonged use. 
It should be noted that the size and weight directly depend on the power of the device. 
You will then have to find the right compromise between these elements depending on the nature of your requirements.
When it comes to handling, make sure you choose a model that won’t get you in trouble while selecting options. 
The control buttons must be easily accessible, and this under all conditions. 
On the market, you will also find specimens to connect with your smartphone. 
Using a specific application, you can access the various functions of the lamp with a simple swipe of your finger on your device.
Autonomy & Power SupplyManufacturers usually display the maximum active time of their products IN A LOW INTENSITY LIGHTING MODE (Note Well !). Power supply is usually one of two battery types : (1) They generally work with conventional accessories of category AA or AAA. The principal advantage being the ready availability of these batteries is easy to buy them from numerous outlets. This is particularly important where you know the supply of electricity will be limited or not consistent. That being said, they have limited autonomy / life and this penalizes their use. On the other hand (2) Re-Chargeable batteries utilized by other headlamps makes these lighting devices far more expensive. They are relatively more expensive to buy, but last much longer and have performance adaptable to many situations. 
If you have decided to get buy a head torch using this type of battery, seriously consider buying a spare type/s that you can easily replace them if damage occurs.
Width of Light BeamFor obvious reasons, a wide beam feature of a head torch will give you a wide field of view BUT limited range. Likewise, the converse is also applicable. Therefore from a buying perspective, look for headlamps that allow the user to adjust this feature and also the intensity of the light beam.
Waterproof PropertyA  waterproof feature of a head torch will in many ways determine the longevity of the device since you may be confronted with humid/wet weather is always best to inspect the waterproof rating of your next model. 
This level of resistance to water and humidity varies according to the devices offered by the brands, but we can distinguish the devices with a value greater than IPX = 6 as the most interesting for waterproof capabilities.

[  IPX ratings describe the level of protection of a certain device against water ingress. In layman’s terms, it describes the waterproofness or water-resistance of a device. The IPX mark is followed by a number 0-8 (0 – no protection at all, 8 – fully waterproof and submersible in water of up to 3m/9ft depth) ].


Q1: Headtorch/lamp battery or compatible battery ?

In general, the best choice will depend on the nature of use and the level of comfort sought by the consumer. Battery-powered headlamp models remain more affordable in terms of price. Replacing the batteries is also easy. It is easy to find it on the market. However, power and range limit these types of equipment. The duration of activity greatly favors specimens with rechargeable batteries. In addition, the latter offer a much more interesting range of the light beam

Q2: How many lumens for a headtorch?

The lumen is the manifestation of the power of any lighting system. When choosing a headlamp, checking this feature is one of the first steps to take before making a purchase. However, it is necessary to carefully select this value according to the nature of your future uses. If you’re wondering what headlamp you pay for short hikes camping, reading, or DIY jobs, a model under 150 lumens will do. For moderate-speed mountaineering and running, hunting or fishing, specimens between 150 and 300 lumens are right for you. For lovers of mountain biking, running, ultra-trail, devices with more than 300 lumens are recommended by experts.

Q3: A red light headtorch, good or bad ?

What is the red light used for on a headlamp? Primarily, the red light is used to preserve your night vision while still allowing you to see in complete darkness. Red light also preserves your stealth which can be extremely useful in tactical environments or situations where you do not want to hamper others.

Red light is used in dark rooms for photography, military missions, submarines, ships, and anywhere that needs enough light for humans to get around or operate in without giving location away as easily or potentially affecting a process (photography) as with white light!

The red light on a headlamp is GOOD for :

  • Using in a small dark space where there may be others such as a tent in that you won’t disturb their eyes
  • Using your peripherals at night while illuminating your path
  • Providing a source of light from which your eyes can quickly adjust when off
  • Keeping insects less interested in being around you
  • Safety: most headlamps come with a strobe mode for the red light and this color of light, as you know, is used to quickly grab others’ attention such as in Traffic lights, cars, bicycles and so on.

The red light on a headlamp is BAD for :

  • Most things unless reading a map or document IF IT HAS FLOOD BEAM. Spot beams are great in a red light because they allow you to see farther away. Flood beams will keep things covered in close up applications.
  • Illuminating a large area because of its characteristics making it a short-range light
  • Combining with a white light. If you are in a group and are the only one using red light this is a good time to give into peer pressure as your light is rendered useless thanks to the mechanics of your eyes.
  • Hunting at night. Green light is superior for this activity again due to the way our eyes perceive color and light.

We shall now consider a series of HeadTorch Models beginning with the professional ‘top-of-the-range’ devices (Group 1). Following this, some low budget, highly efficient models will be reviewed (Group 2). Lastly, a total of 4 headtorches suitable for kids and teens will be discussed (Group 3).

GROUP [ 1 ]

Name of Model Petzl Actik Core. LEDLENSER NEO6R BioLite headlamp 750 LED Headlamp. Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp.
Specifications - Brightness: 450 lumens (ANSI/PLATO FL 1) - Weight: 75 g. - Beam pattern: flood or mixed. - Energy: 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable battery (included) - Charging time: 3 h. - Battery compatibility: alkaline, lithium or Ni-MH rechargeable. - Waterproof = IPX4 (weather-resistant). - Weight: 95g - Lumens: Max: 240, Min: 20 - Light Functions: Power, low power, blink - Beam Distance: Max: 30m, Min: 10m - Burn Time: Max: 40, Min: 6h - IPX Rating: 7 i.e. protection against temporary submersion - Focus System: Advanced Focus System - Additional Features: Rear light ; transportation lock. - Battery: 1 x Polymer 3.7V - Charge Time: 4h - In The Box: NEO6R head torch, 1 x battery set, USB cable, chest belt. - Weight : 150g (5.3 ozs.) - Max. Brightness : 750 Lumens Max. Beam Distance : 130m - Light Modes : 8 of which seven are dimmable - Battery : 3000 mAh Li-ion USB Rechargeable - Waterproof: Yes ; IPX4 i.e. Ingress Protection Rating = Splash-proof. - Input : Micro-USB Charge In. - Bulb Type = LED - Red Light Mode = Yes - Beam Type = Flood / Spot - Max Light Output = 350 lumens Light Output = High: 350; low = 4 lumens - Max Beam Distance = 85 metres - Beam Distance : High = 85 m; low = 8 meters - Brightness Levels = Variable - Strobes = 2 - Average Run Time : High = 3 hrs. 45 min.; low = 200 hrs.; reserve: 36 hrs. - Recharge ability = Non-rechargeable - Batteries = 3 AAA - Water-Resistance Rating = IPX8 - Weight With Batteries = 3 oz (ounces).
Description. Ideal equipment for lovers of outdoor night activities - light, bright & long-lasting. - Despite its modest output of 350 lumens, however, it is able to light your way when you lack light. Initially equipped with a rechargeable battery, it also accommodates batteries if needed. - Thanks to a USB input for charging, you can connect it to various power sources. - For the beam, you can vary its size depending on the area to be illuminated using its 3 lighting options. Lightweight & compact, this headlamp offers 240 Lumens with wide beam technology. Re-charging is quick thanks to a micro-USB + a Lithium ion battery. This versatile headlamp can also be worn on the chest using the optional belt/straps (included). Rear red light + reflective headband allows the wearer to be seen from ALL directions. - Red Flood Lens - White Flood Lens - White Spot Lens - 4-Position Tilt Front Lens - On/Off/Lock Button - Moisture-Wicking Smart Fabric - Easy-Adjust Clips - Rear Red Visibility Light - Constant Mode Indicator - Battery Indicator LEDs - Red Rear Light Control - Burst Mode & Constant/Regulated Toggle Button. This latest version of the Spot headlamp features a more compact design, updated user interface and improved multifaceted optical lens design that saves battery. - Track battery life with updated, 6-setting 3 LED battery meter Emits up to 350 lumens on max power setting - Compact, low-profile design uses 3 AAA batteries (included). - Rated IPX = 8: waterproof-tested to operate at least 1.1 m underwater for 30 min.
PROS - Dual power supply mode: This Petzl light is equipped with a rechargeable battery and a slot for 3 LR30-AAA 1.5 V batteries. The latter will serve as a back-up option in the event of the first one running out. - Versatile charging mode: This model works with devices equipped with a USB port to ensure its recharging with energy. The choice remains vast. - Strong band: The elastic used as a support for this specimen, of a suitable thickness, effectively withstands intensive handling. - Multi-wear options: Headlamp or Chest light. - Battery status indicator - It has both a front light and rear red light built into it, as well as a reflective headband. - It has multiple modes to save energy for max power or max time. - the swivel-mounted design of this light. Ledlenser’s iconic round lights are simple to change up if you need to focus elsewhere. - Fit is excellent and there is no bounce when worn on the head. - 7 Year warranty. A hands-free light that packs serious lumens and rechargeable power into a compact, no-bounce profile, the BioLite HeadLamp 750 goes farther and stays brighter to match your own epic performance. - Excellent Battery Life : Constant mode high: 2 hrs.; regulated mode high: 7 hrs.; constant mode medium: 4 hrs.; regulated mode medium: 8.5 hrs.; constant/regulated mode low: 150 hrs. - Other big pluses on this lamp were definitely the fit and the light weight. For this level of illumination. Now housed in a smaller, lower-profile design with a wide array of brightness modes, the Black Diamond Spot 350 headlamp ensures you'll see what's ahead or right in front even in the darkest hours. - Red light option for use at night time.
CONS Battery clip. According to user feedback, this needs to be more robust so as to ensure a more secure fitting. - Ledlenser could do with improving the quality of the elasticated chest strap - it's too flimsy ! You need to get the strap tight. You need to turn off the light, then quickly double-tap the button to get back into a situation where you can cycle through the light modes. Confusing at first for first time users ! Only comment is the battery compartment is very hard to open but that is most likely to keep water out of it.
Overall Rating. website link. website link. website link. website link

GROUP [ 2 ]

Name of Model BioLite Headlamp 330 Foxelli LED MX20 Headlamp Flashlight. PETZL TIKKINA Outdoor Headlamp. Black Diamond Equipment - SpotLite 200 Headlamp.
Specifications. - Dimensions ‏4.57 x 3.23 x 2.76 inches -Weight =0.71 oz = 68g - No. of Brightness settings = 5 - Max. Lumens = 330 - IPX waterproof rating IPX4 - Wide range of light modes - Maximum 165LM up to 50 meters - Average 80LM up to 35 meters - Minimum 40LM up to 15 meters - Red Light + SOS modes - Constructed of tough, high-quality, lightweight materials - Weighs only 3.2 ounces, making it a perfect running headlamp - Water Resistance rating of IPX5 (protection from 6.3mm spray of water in any direction for at least 3 minutes - does not include salt spray or high alkalinity fluids) - Cold and impact resistant - IPX5, CE, Rohs certified. - Weight : 84g approx. - Max Lumens (Light Output) : 150Lm - Light modes : Low, High & Medium - Max Beam Distance : 180m - Battery type : AAA or rechargeable CORE battery. ( Takes 3 AAA batteries, or the CORE rechargeable kit that works with many new Petzl headlamps. CORE is sold separately.). - Battery times : 60 hours (High) ; 220 hours (Low). - Water resistance : IPX4 i.e. Protected against water spraying the headlamp, but not submersion. - Beam type : Flood (wide) - Light modes : 5 modes - Beam distance - low 3m - Beam distance - high 62m Light source : 1 LED ; 1 red LED - Burn time - low: 60 h - Burn time - high: 1.5 h - Max light output : 200 lumens - Beam pattern : Wide - IPX rating : 8 Rechargeability - Non-rechargeable - Flash mode: Yes Red light mode: Yes - Regulated output: No - Batteries: 2 AAA (included)
Description. The Biolite Headlamp 330 has the smallest light of all the head torches we tested, although at 330 claimed lumen it should still be brighter than many competitors with bigger lights. Its size could also appeal to runners if it doesn't bounce around too much when you're on the move. For Adults & Kids. Head Lamp with White & Red. Lightweight Waterproof Headlight with Comfortable Headband, 3 AAA Batteries Included. This is a highly-rated budget headlamp. For use around the house, a simple headlamp like the Petzl Tikkina is a fine choice. - Features include 250 lumens of maximum output from a single white LED. - Comfortable 2-band type headband which is washable. The BLACK DIAMOND SPOT LITE 200 is the lightest , smallest and most compact headlamp in the range, making it a compact and reliable headlamp to take on any adventure. With a maximum light output of 200 lumens , this lamp has a small, ergonomic and waterproof housing with IPX8 certification and multiple settings such as dimmer, flashing and red night vision modes . As functional as a larger lamp, it has the advantage of being discreet and light so that it is always there when you need it. This BD spot features white light / red light switch & uses a single button for dim, on/off, blink. Locking is achieved with dual button press. This light is very useful in any dark situation that requires light, from outdoor activity, car maintenance, reading,.
PROS Tiltable, red light setting, strobe setting, charge indicator, reflective material. The BioLite HeadLamp 330 can be charged from any powered USB source. 4 Colour choice. - Built-in USB port makes it chargeable from anywhere - Equipped with a waterproof build that prevents damage from rain and water - Ergonomically designed elastic headband makes it ideal when moving / running in a hurry. - " You want a headlight that lights your way when outdoors this is it. It's simple. No fancy bells or whistles. No flashing lights to tactically fight off assailants just the simple straightforward light that you've always wanted and could never find ". - Plenty of model colour options to choose from. - Excellent battery life for such a small device. - Decent illumination capability for a flood-type beam - .The controls are easy to learn and use. The dimmer and red light features are very useful. It's lightweight and small and the batteries are a convenient size. - Smooth dimming feature lets you dial in the perfect brightness. - Red lighting modes help preserve night vision, which is great for early-morning activities. - Lock-out mode prevents accidental activation, so you don’t pull out a dead headlamp just when you need it - " This is one of those items that you'll want to have within reach in your backpack, car, kitchen, bedroom, garage, etc. It makes simple tasks that much easier ".
CONS First, it has a very uneven lighting pattern: it casts a beam that's bright in the middle and falls off rapidly toward the edges. That's particularly annoying in a headlamp. Controls are tiny. Exhibits the same 'phantom current drain phenomenon' i.e. if you leave batteries in the device, they will end up dead. Therefore, for emergencies, it's best to leave the batteries outside but near this headlamp/flashlight. - No Red or Green light features, just the White light. - No dimming capabilities. Only complaint so far is that it's a little uncomfortable to wear for long periods, since there's hard plastic in contact with the wearer's forehead.
Overall Rating website link website link website link website link NA.

GROUP [ 3 ]

Before actually reading our reviews, let’s discuss how to choose a child’s headtorch. Bear in mind that anti-glare, anti-choke/strangulation, difficult access to batteries are some of the most important criteria to take into consideration before purchasing your child’s headlamp. Below is our concise advice :

Brightness Classic headtorches are more and more powerful today. The lamps for the trail can even present a power of more than 1000 lumens. 
Letting your toddler play with it means taking the risk that they will be dazzled and injured even with a more classic 100 lumen headlamp.
Thus, the optics of the children’s headlamps that we suggest are suitable for the delicate eyes of young children & teenagers.

With a power of between 20 and 40 lumens, the junior headtorches allow a varied use, from the simple night light for reassurance, to the lighting of tents.
The glass in children’s headtorches should also be designed to diffuse the light beam and thus reduce any risk of glare, even if the young user is staring at it directly. Hence manufacturers make a frosted glass or a diffuser glass.
Limited Battery Access for Toddlers.The battery compartment must still be able to withstand your toddler’s agility & perseverance so as to rule out access and the risk that he/she ingests them.
So, junior headlamp models, the battery compartment must be secure and should only be opened with the help of a small tool and a lot of force – a scenario difficult for a child to overcome.
Anti-Choke SafetyWe also advise you to choose a model with a detachable strap buckle.
Designed to limit any risk of strangulation, the strap buckle will allow the headband to open in the event of resistance.
Consequently, if your child puts their lamp around their neck to play and gets stuck ,it will automatically open so they can free themselves.
WeightMost headtorches are light. After all,you would not want your kid to wear something that is uncomfortable. The idea with these headlamps is to be worn on the head by kids as they engage their hands in other activities and/or tasks. It should be something light and small so that the young user to enjoy/concentrate on whatever they are doing.
Battery & DurationThis can also be used to separate different headtorches. There are some lamps which can use the batteries while others do not.
Some can use one, two, or three batteries that will provide power for good lighting.

Others can have rechargeable batteries that can last for long. Other headlamps can be fitted with the non-rechargeable batteries that have to be replaced when exhausted.
Nobody wants to be out there, especially when hiking or camping when the headtorch dies. There are a lot of headtorches with different runtime for the battery to go off.
It is always better to buy a headlamp that has a battery that will last for long. Some headlamps have batteries that can last for 90 hours, while others can last for no more than 5-6 hours.
WaterproofChildren & Teens are regularly involved with water activities and/or being caught up in unexpected bad weather conditions. So,it makes sense to equip them with a headtorch device which has good waterproof / water resistant properties.

We begin our Children’s Headtorches review with a model more than ideal as a ‘starter / entry level’ for 3 year olds and over :

This kid’s headlamp is designed for effective functioning with kids. The lamp is equipped with two CR2032 batteries that ensure its proper lighting. The batteries can provide light for long period ensuring your kids have adequate lighting for any activity / task they are engaging.
- The light from this lamp is not too bright to affect your kid’s eyes. It is super great for use playing both inside and outside the house. Two color face plates can be changed. The kid gets to decide the perfect color according to their mood.
- Your kid can wear the lamp in the head as he/she likes. The headband can be removed, and it is washable; hence it cannot collect dirt. It is built simply to make it easy for kids to use, and with a press of a button, you can put it on OR take it off.

- It is simple and easy to use.
- It is bright enough for use in doing any activity.
- No brightness control settings available.
Name of Model PETZL TIKKID Headlamp. BLACK DIAMOND WIZ Headlamp. FOXELLI USB Rechargeable Headlamp
Specs./Description A model particularly suitable for young children, while retaining its manufacturer's technical expertise! Their model of children's headlamp TIKKID can also be powered by a rechargeable battery to allow you to save the batteries often quickly used up by children. - Compact model ; Weight = 80g - Max.Brightness = 20 lumens - Battery duration (max) = 100 hours. The Black Diamond Wiz headlamp is virtually kid-proof by addressing all things that happen: It works right-side up or down, shuts off after 2 hrs. and has a child-safe closure and breakaway strap. -Weight w/ batteries = 2.4 ozs - Max. light output = 30 lumens - Max.beam distance = 20 metres. - Average run time = 120 hours - Waterproof rating : IPX = 4 i.e. it's protected against splashing or sprayed water from any angle. Is perfect for adults and kids alike. It has both white and red lights with 5 spotlight modes and a 60 degree tilt-able body. - Lightweight, weighing only 2.4 ozs. - The headlamp is ergonomically designed and durable. - The IPX = 5 rating protects it from water sprays and splashes. - The USB rechargeable 1200Mah Lithium battery can be fully charged in 4 hours and last for up to 30 hours. - The headlamp is also dust proof, sand proof, snow proof & shockproof.
PROS / CONS PROS: - Excellent battery life - low lumens to protect the sensitive eyes of kids - The single button is easy to use and the battery pack is protected by a flat screw-head, so that kids don’t open it by mistake. - Can ALSO use standard batteries - It’s the best headlight for kids as the phosphorescent reflector helps you keep an eye on them when they’re out of site at night time. - Powers off after 2 hrs. to avoid accidental battery drain. - Non-Recharge-ability headlamp. The headlamp is also dust proof, sand proof, snow proof & shockproof.
Overall Rating website link (CLICK IMAGE). website link. (CLICK IMAGE) website link (CLICK IMAGE) website link (CLICK IMAGE)

We now move onto Part 4 of this Survival Lighting topic in order to discuss LED Lanterns which as you will come to appreciate can serve as a lighting source not only outdoors but at home especially during a Power Outage /’Black-Out’ situation.

Return to the main menu above OR CLICK THIS LINK to get access to PART 4.




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