Illuminating our Head Torch Development

By Rowan

Head torches have always been one of our key products, and we were early adopters of cost-effective, efficient and lightweight LEDs.

Improvements in lighting technology have allowed us to keep innovating and updating our head torches. This means our range has evolved over time, with some products coming and going while others have stood the test of time. The Gamma (now in its third iteration) is still one of our most popular bits of kit, receiving an overwhelmingly positive reception.

We get a lot of feedback on our head torches – perhaps because we rely on them so much that we really notice when they don’t perform. We spent the summer of 2018 developing a new range of head torches ready for when the evenings get shorter and we turn to our lights to keep us going. This need for reliability has been the focal point for our new range.


Muon compact camping head torch
Qark super bright rechargeable head torch

A range of specialists

As well as all the product-specific feedback, we often get asked “which head torch should I get?” Finding the perfect balance between brightness and burn time for your needs is difficult when every torch is labelled ‘multi-use’. The new range aims to clear the confusion.

Want a dependable, go anywhere, adventure torch? Choose the Prism. Need a torch that will last the whole night on your ultramarathon? Choose the Manta. Choosing the right head torch doesn’t need to be difficult, so we’ve tried to keep it simple.


turning on the Muon head torch with thick gloves on
adjusting the overhead strap of the Viper head torch

Drawing from your experiences

Customer feedback was integral to the development of our latest range. It meant that we didn’t need to start with a blank piece of paper; we could actually recall people's experiences and use this as the focus in our development. However, the most difficult part of this process was deciding which feedback to use: we couldn’t produce a head torch that answered every question or we'd have about 50 different lights!

This also allowed us to further refine existing head torches in our range to make them more user friendly. For instance, we decided to swap the button location on the Viper from the bottom to the top as your feedback suggested that operating the button with your thumb is more difficult than your forefinger. We agreed and made the switch.

Developing a whole range

Developing a whole new range has its benefits and disadvantages. By creating a whole range, we were able to offer something for everyone, whether you run, hike, climb or camp. This means you can find a head torch that works for you, rather than having to opt for a  multi-purpose light thats a jack of all trades and a master of none. On the down side, it meant 5 times more work whittling down the options.


three people walking down a mountain at night with head torches on in the Slovenian alps
three people walking down a mountain in the pitch black with head torches on

Range features

You’ll find more detail about the features of each individual head torch on the product pages, but we've made lots of general improvements to how the range itself was structured.

To begin with, we’ve added more rechargeable options (the Qark, Prism and Manta) as this has now become much more common with improvements in technology. That said, simple and reliable Alkaline batteries are still popular and effective – that's why the Muon and Viper still use traditional AAAs as a power source. The Qark offers both the rechargeable battery pack and compatibility with Alkaline batteries, for those who want the option or need to carry spares.We’ve also made the move to offer overhead straps on all the torches. Overhead straps offer more stability and reduce the chances of them slipping down your face mid-activity. But some people find them uncomfortable or difficult to fit to climbing helmets so we've made them fully removable too.

The final note is that we’ve looked at improving usability across the range. Whilst fancy features like hands-free operation look good on paper, they actually add complications and can easily cause frustrations. Sometimes what you need most is guaranteed reliability. Physical buttons might be old hat, but we all know how to use them and they very rarely fail. Next time you click the torch on in a panic at night, you’ll be relieved to have a simple and reliable torch!


Alpkit Head Torches

Prism head torch overhead strap
Fit

Removable overhead straps for a more balanced, stable and comfortable fit during dynamic activities

Manta head torch adjustable beam
Specialist features

A range designed for specific activities. The best head torch for the job, not just any old head torch

Alpkit Prism waterproof head torch
Durable Design

Centred around being usable and durable. Functional designs with minimal scope for things to go wrong

Manta rechargeable long battery life head torch with rear battery pack and safety light
Energy source

Rechargeable, AAA batteries, or compatible with both. More choice in how you power your head torch

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