Author Topic: Head torch opinions  (Read 2165 times)

Offline Keris82

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Head torch opinions
« on: May 08, 2019, 05:29:04 pm »
I know this is a common topic but I want some opinions please.

I had to return my fenix HL55 recently because the contacts got loose and the torch stopped working - bad design flaw!  :(

I have been looking at buying a black diamond revolt lamp. Has anyone got one and how do you find it? I have a backup black diamond storm torch which is ok but it's not totally waterproof so may not be suitable for very wet caving. Also the light it gives is more of a spot than giving a wide beam. I wonder if the Revolt is the same?  :-\

Online droid

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 05:39:37 pm »
Roy Fellows on here makes excellent lamps
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Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2019, 06:24:40 pm »
Roy Fellows on here makes excellent lamps

I think I have heard of him...

Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2019, 06:47:43 pm »
I've seen a petzl ultra vario on inglesport. Has anyone got one?

Online aricooperdavis

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2019, 07:31:44 pm »
The revolt is a nice headtorch, but for me it's a camping/walking torch rather than a caving headtorch. It doesn't have an incredibly robust feel due to its size and plastic construction, and whilst it's bright enough the AAA batteries that it uses really lets it down on runtime. If you want to go with Black Diamond then I loved my Icon for caving. It's powered by 4x AA batteries giving it a reasonable brightness and runtime, and it's next to bombproof. It's also supported by the excellent black diamond warranty.

That being said, I think it's worth going for a torch powered by Li-Ion batteries these days, as the newer technology provides better runtimes and brightnesses, although you have to look after the batteries a bit more carefully as they have impressive energy densities. There are lots of manufacturers producing little torches that run on 18650 Li-Ions (look for reputable brands like Fenix, LedLenser, Olight, Zebra, Nitecore) with good beam colours and shapes. Some have the lens pointing out from the side of the body of the torch such that it can easily be strapped on the front of a helmet (e.g.), whilst others have the lens at the end of the torch so that they can be side-mounted on a helmet (e.g.). Loads of choice!

One thing to watch out for:- if you want to do any surveying try and avoid magnetic end pieces (which seem weirdly popular in these little torches from cheaper manufacturers) - they're a gimmick that you'll very rarely use and will muck up your compass readings!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 07:40:08 pm by aricooperdavis »

Online droid

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2019, 11:01:58 pm »
I've got the Nitecore torch you reference. It's a good bit of kit.
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Offline Mike Hopley

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 10:14:08 am »
I've seen a petzl ultra vario on inglesport. Has anyone got one?

I use an Ultra Vario. It's fairly bright with a nice wide flood, and weighs less than a Scurion.

At one point the light died, due to water getting inside. Petzl replaced it for free.

The Inglesport price is a good deal. They are selling it cheap because it's old stock and Petzl have replaced it with the new Duo S, which is brighter and more expensive.

Incidentally it is compatible with most of the accessories, so for example you can use those plastic bracket helmet mounts for Duos. Haven't actually used a new Duo battery with it, but fairly sure they would still work.

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 02:05:59 pm »
I use an old Duo with Custom Duo inserts.  Very good value, although people tell me it will start to fail for a multitude of reasons I've yet to experience.

Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2019, 02:06:18 pm »

I use an Ultra Vario. It's fairly bright with a nice wide flood, and weighs less than a Scurion.

Incidentally it is compatible with most of the accessories, so for example you can use those plastic bracket helmet mounts for Duos. Haven't actually used a new Duo battery with it, but fairly sure they would still work.

It puts me off a bit that you can't use a battery pack that takes standard batteries, as the battery pack for the ultra vario is about £60 :(

Offline Mike Hopley

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2019, 03:26:21 pm »
It puts me off a bit that you can't use a battery pack that takes standard batteries, as the battery pack for the ultra vario is about £60 :(

Yeah, this is generally an issue with fancy modern lights, although some (like the Scurion, I think?) at least give you the option to use AAs and take a performance hit.

Offline rhyst

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2019, 03:52:15 pm »
For someone on a budget:

https://www.fasttech.com/p/1319109

Perfect for strapping to the side of the helmet, extremely bright, cheap, takes 18650s. They have low, medium and high modes, plus some flashing modes but there is a mode where it will only cycle through the solid modes (this is the 3/5 mode thing).

I've got two, and they have survived a lot of caving and some canyoning (so they're somewhat waterproof).

They're quite focused so if you want a more flood-ish light you can combine with the light condom accessory: https://www.fasttech.com/p/1140010

Offline Madness

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2019, 04:16:15 pm »
If you want a Convoy torch for the side of your helmet then the Official Convoy shop on Aliexpress is the best place to buy. Buy one that has the new Biscotti firmware and you can select from a wide range of mode options.

You can also buy optics to replace the reflector to change the beam shape.


Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2019, 06:06:05 pm »
 I'm still hunting for a light at a reasonable price. How does Roy Fellows lamps measure up against the scurions? I've heard good things about them and the price is much more attractive.

Offline Commers

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2019, 02:02:34 pm »
I'm returning to caving after a break and am also looking for a light. I was looking at the Roy Fellows Lynx Basic. I think his lights measure up well against Scurions, they're just spartan on features ie less programs, and they look more 'homebrew' which is not a bad thing.

Holes need to be drilled to bolt it to a helmet though which is something I prefer to avoid where possible - my helmet has strap clips so I may end up getting one of the Petzl Ultra Varios from Inglesport.

Online Fulk

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2019, 02:12:45 pm »
Does anybody know if drilling a couple of small holes in a helmet really makes that much difference to its strength?

Offline mikem

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2019, 03:22:52 pm »
It doesn't for most impacts, but having bolts on the inside may cause more damage in a head on collision, & you may not be able to do it with modern foam helmets.

Offline royfellows

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2019, 03:44:19 pm »
I'm returning to caving after a break and am also looking for a light. I was looking at the Roy Fellows Lynx Basic. I think his lights measure up well against Scurions, they're just spartan on features ie less programs, and they look more 'homebrew' which is not a bad thing.


Fair assessment.
But for anyone who wants to pay the money for shear quality nothing will compete with Mr Biffs new Rude Nora.

Onto my own
The basic is a bit basic as I am meeting a £95 cost target. Generally people have been happy with them, the only issues have been mud with Derbyshire diggers causing the buttons to stick.
I have built more expensive lamps with a IP 68 5 metre, 8 Newtons pressure push button, they they cost!

Horses for courses?
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline Commers

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2019, 04:50:20 pm »
It doesn't for most impacts, but having bolts on the inside may cause more damage in a head on collision, & you may not be able to do it with modern foam helmets.
I like the idea of the light not being a hard bolted fixture - I've often thought that if the lamphead or battery box sustained a collision the strain on the bolts could possibly foul the helmet.

But for anyone who wants to pay the money for shear quality nothing will compete with Mr Biffs new Rude Nora.

Onto my own
The basic is a bit basic as I am meeting a £95 cost target. Generally people have been happy with them, the only issues have been mud with Derbyshire diggers causing the buttons to stick.
I have built more expensive lamps with a IP 68 5 metre, 8 Newtons pressure push button, they they cost!

Horses for courses?
Definitely. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend your lamps - as you say there's a price premium with the Rude Nora and I think anyone looking at that or the Scurion have already decided that's what they want.

Offline PaulW

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2019, 05:24:00 pm »
It doesn't for most impacts, but having bolts on the inside may cause more damage in a head on collision, & you may not be able to do it with modern foam helmets.

I have fitted and run internal cable on the new petzl Boreo helmet which has a large ploystyrene interior. Certainly this helmet you can completely dismantle for intalling and fixing the light

Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2019, 06:47:02 pm »
I have fitted and run internal cable on the new petzl Boreo helmet which has a large ploystyrene interior. Certainly this helmet you can completely dismantle for intalling and fixing the light

That was one of my concerns as I'm considering one of Roy's lights but my helmet has foam in it

Offline royfellows

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2019, 08:48:48 pm »
Nothing to stop anyone fitting bolts other way round, ie with the head on the inside.

My recommended fitting, cable wise is to run it round the rim and use a cable tie. You can actually mount a good backup (not an aspersion regarding my lamps!) such as a Fenix E11 on the cable. The cable is about 7mm of flexible natural rubber with 2 copper core, maybe a bit heavy for taking inside the helmet. Its also very important not to put any strain on it at the glands. The glands are top quality IP68 5 BAR with cable support, but if anything is put under a strain it will at some time fail.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2019, 08:57:26 pm »
Hi Roy. My concern is more about drilling my helmet as I'm not sure it's possible due to the foam

Offline mountainpenguin

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2019, 09:02:28 pm »
I used araldite (other glues are available) to glue the bracket onto one of my helmets.
Was still going strong a few years later.

Offline royfellows

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2019, 09:07:57 pm »
I use either an Ecrin Roc, or for working, and I do a lot of this, a Petzl Elios fitted with a Dragon and a Fenix E11 attached to the cable to shine forward. Last weekend I was at it 2 days and didn't take a spare power bank, good as gold it went out coming out on the Sunday and I used the E11 to find my way out.

The thought occurred that the place for spare lighting is on the head not a hand held torch. I mean this big time.

Both the helmet types I use have a sort of loose foam band inside that makes it easy to work between this and the helmet shell. I cant really comment on other helmets, I would have to see one. However my intelligence tells me that if a helmet is so constructed that you cant fit one of my lamps, you wont be able to fit anyone else's either unless you plan on sticking your lamp on. I believe that there is a tape product that does this but cant recall the name of it. I have seen a battery pack stuck on with it and the user had to literally tear it off to remove it. I would be dubious though, and not really trust this. I would want to see a lamp bolted on for piece of mind.

Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline Keris82

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Re: Head torch opinions
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2019, 09:25:03 pm »
Yes I would want to bolt on a lamp rather than glue it for security. I have a black diamond women's half dome helmet. Same as this one http://www.johncrossandsons.co.uk/black-diamond-half-dome-helmet-women-grey-2018-oeaorj-black-diamond-p-3176.html If you take a look at the pics I'm not sure how easy it is to remove the foam and drill it?