Lighthouse elite LED Multifunction Headlight: first impressions
Lighthouse originally made their headlamps and flashlights for construction workers, so they understand the architecture of a durable product. In this headlamp they’ve catered to those of us whose gear takes a lot of hard wear, whether that’s bashing around next your tent poles in your backpack, accidentally dropping it on a rocky climb or weathering a shower. We tested this lightweight, multi-function out on wet weather camping and backpacking trips and were impressed with how much we got for such a small investment.
• List price: £21.28
• Weight: 3.17 oz / 90g (with batteries)
• Max light output: 300 lumens
• Battery: 3 x AAA
• Run time: up to 5 hours
• Max beam distance: Up to 100M
• Water resistance: IPX6
• Best use: Hiking, camping
With 300 lumens and up to 100 meters beam distance, we get all the light we need on a dark trail or when it comes time to put the campfire out and go to bed. Though the multiple functions are a bit fiddly to get the hang of at first, we liked having the various options and found the tilt effective and easy to use. The red light function doesn’t seem like it will be bright enough when you test it indoors, it’s actually plenty for reading in a dark tent. The plastic backing looks more uncomfortable than it is, but gets a little old with long term usage.
With IPX6 water resistance, it should be able to handle heavy rain, which we’ve verified on a long, rainy hike up a Munro. Though a rechargeable headlamp may be more eco-friendly, it’s easy to change the batteries and our informal lab test delivered nearly 11 hours of light, far more than advertised.
Lighthouse elite LED Multifunction Headlight: in the field
I met the Lighthouse folks earlier this year at the Outdoor Trade Show and they explained that the company started out providing headlamps and torches to construction workers, so I was instantly intrigued as I figured they’d really understand the durability required for hikers and campers – and then some. Though our nights are fleeting here in Scotland in the summer, I’ve taken it with me on all my adventures this season.
Here’s how it performed:
Weight and comfort
This headlamp is one of the lighter headlamps we’ve tested at Advnture, and it’s even lighter than some of the best running headlamps. It’s exactly the same weight as my Petzl, and less bulky, so I’m happy to wear it all evening.
I was worried that it would be uncomfortable, since it has a plastic backing instead of the strap against my forehead, and it’s actually fine when I first put it on, though it's definitely not as comfortable as my more expensive headlamp and after a couple of hours it might start to rub a bit so I might wear a different one for a night hike or multi pitch climb. Obviously when I’m wearing it over a beanie I don't even think about it. The adjustable strap should fit all heads pretty comfortably.
Battery life and ease of use
This headlamp isn’t rechargeable, it’s dependent on three AAA batteries, which means I need to make sure to always carry extras. However, I left it on high beam at home as a test, and got nearly 11 hours out of it, even though it's advertised as having a five hour maximum battery life.
The batteries are easy to change, but I found all the light settings a little complicated at first. One button controls the high, medium and low main beam, while another button controls a smaller beam that seems to have a high, low, red and flashing red setting. You’re able to have both lights on at once, or just one. I like all the functions for battery lifespan and not blinding my friends, but it all took me a few goes to get used to.
The tilt is easy to adjust and works well.
Brightness and beam
LED technology has really come a long way. For everything I want to do outdoors in the dark, 300 lumens is ample and this has a nice long beam for peering down the trail. I’m glad for the medium and low settings and tend to use them more, but it’s nice to know I can power up if I want to check out some rustling in the bushes.
Durability and value
As I said, the designers behind this headlamp are used to building gear meant for construction sites, and the rubberized casing means this bounces when dropped, even on hard rock surfaces, plus the waterproofing was ample for a long, wet climb up a mountain recently. Also, the folding hang hook seemed a little flimsy and unnecessary at first, but I can see how it will help to maintain the elasticity of the strap, which I usually use for hanging.
As for value, I can’t believe the price of this headlamp. They might not have the reputation among hikers and campers of other headlamp brands, but it’s an excellent product at a very reasonable price.