While a competent waterproof flashlight can be an indispensable source of lighting, a more convenient source is a head torch. It frees the hands, is helpful in directing light to where its user is looking at and is consistently out of the way and within reach at the same time.
When looking for the best head torch for kayaking, always keep in mind the kind of situations you’ll be needing the light for when out kayaking. The important things to remember are to choose the right boat, carry a change of clothes and have one of the best headlamps on the below to avoid being caught out with a weather change or tipping over.
A head torch is also a great tool for keeping yourself visible to other people while out on the water. Users can decide to use blinking interludes of white light or a flashing red light as a signal to ensure a flotilla of paddlers or kayakers is kept within close proximity of each other.
For those people who have to put on glasses when they paddle, some of the models have been designed in such a way that when the light is tilted, there is usually a back glare that comes from the part of the light that reflects off the inside of lenses, thereby creating a small but persistent visual annoyance. So, this should be considered when getting one.
With that in mind, we’ll now look at the best head torches for kayaking that are available on the market.
Petzl Unisex Nao+ Headlamp
This might just be the best head torch for anyone looking for a perfect combination of battery life, brightness, weight and price. This head torch has over 750 lumens of power. However, unlike the cheaper torches, this one can output reliable levels of light throughout its battery life.
This head torch has reactive lighting technology that will automatically adapt its light intensity to suit the needs of the user and the surrounding environment. By virtue of the MyPetzl Light app, this torch is even programmable.
It offers two brightness settings – with the higher setting lighting up a significant area in front of the user and the lower setting giving out enough light for slower movement. The smart lighting will also adjust so that whenever the user looks at distant objects or close objects, NAO’s output will adjust accordingly.
Unlike torches that have small buttons, this head torch has a large button that can be controlled even with thick gloves. Charging the battery usually takes about four to five hours if it is completely flat.
While on full power, this torch’s run time is about 1 hour 30 minutes which is actually impressive. If on low brightness, the battery can last for 7 and a half hours.
Ledlenser SEO5-RD LED Head Torch
Relatively lightweight, this stylish head torch is packed with a lot of high-tech features. The SEO5 head torch was manufactured to perform efficiently – while looking distinct at the same time. Not a lot of torches with this price range can offer Smart Light Technology – including the provision of signal light, power and low power options. However, this particular head torch does.
The SEO5 makes use of a light chip which delivers as much as 180 lumens from a total of three AAA batteries. The Smart Light Technology is controlled by the micro-chip and enables dim lighting, signal light or power brightness options to be chosen depending on the environment. This also helps to preserve the battery.
Users or this head torch also have the option of either a focused beam (that uses a lens and reflector combination for distances) or flood beam (for close objects). It has three key light functions which are defence strobe, power and low power.
It also offers a red LED that is glare-free and helps to protect the night vision of users. The head torch can equally be zoomed with the help of a twisting motion – which is great for users who need to switch between far and close distances.
The torch can be tilted without needing to adjust the whole unit, which allows it to sit comfortably on the head. As for its battery, it can last between one and three hours depending on the setting used. It is also IPX5 water-resistant which means it can withstand splashes. This is one of the reasons why it is suitable for kayaking.
Elwis H2-R Head Torch
The Elwis H2-R Head Torch is a decent versatile headlamp option that comes with a combination of good features. Decent battery life, easy to use controls and impressive light output help to make it well worth your money and investment.
Designed to be ‘Ultra tough and ultra bright ‘, it comes with a high power 420 lumens 5W CREE LED power output. The lights can be wide-angled to provide peripheral vision with Focus Optical Lens technology while the other one provides a bright spotlight meant for distance vision – which was definitely designed with movement as a factor.
The main beams offer a penetrating and wide field of light and decreasing the tunnel vision effect that is found in cheaper torches. Even though the floodlight isn’t as good as those of other head torches, it offers the best of both worlds without a need to constantly switch between the two modes. This can easily be counteracted by switching it to high brightness mode – thereby sacrificing a bit of battery life in the process.
This head torch has three different modes: wide only (activated by a quick press two times), wide and spot (quick press) and strobe (long press). Switching the setting to wide only is quite simple to avoid blinding oncoming run, river or trail users – almost like dipping headlights on a car. It also has a built-in red light for the outdoor enthusiast, the torch’s battery pack possesses a little slot for a flashing red light when needed.
The user experience of this headlamp is pretty much seamless – with an easily operated button placed on the side of the lamp. It can be operated at any time – even inside cold weather while its user is wearing gloves. The torch also comes with remote battery options that are cold weather-friendly. Switching it off just requires a long click which in turn reduces chances of accidentally putting it off while on the move.
This headlamp uses a rechargeable battery pack that has a micro-USB slot eliminating the need to constantly buy replacement batteries. At just over 431 g, this unit is not the light headlamp on this list. Majority of the torch’s weight is concentrated on the battery pack that is situated at the back of the head and also balanced out by the torch situated at the front.
This headlamp is sturdy and well-crafted using high quality aircraft grade aluminium.
And for the ultimate kayaking experience, it is IP65 water resistance rated. This means that even though it will survive being dipped into water, will definitely hold its own in a rain shower. The torch’s headband has a silicone rubber strip that will reduce movement and will relieve any concentrated pressure so it can be worn for long periods of time without any discomfort.
Boruit LED Head Torch Headlamp
This torch’s brightness is around 3200 lumens. Rather than a single beam, this product has three T6 LEDs with a maximum output of 5000 lumens. However, this would steadily decrease as soon as the battery life starts to reduce. This torch has a lighting distance of up to 200 metres on full beam, meaning it would have ample time for runners and users looking to utilize the full-beam for one hour or less.
This head torch is a multi-functional one, with its manufacturers even going as far as claiming that it’s perfect for any kind of purpose or sport. We found out that it isn’t that great for running – especially for serious athletes and elite runners. However, it is great as a bike light due to its ability to be detached from the headband. It would also be perfect for camping since it has the ability to change between light levels and types. Users can press the button once for a mid LED, two times for four side LEDs, thrice for extra brightness with all LEDs and four times for a strobe setting.
It is quite easy to switch between the functions as there is only one button for all the controls. However, this makes switching from the first setting to the last a bit arduous. With provision for an adjustable base, users can focus the torch’s light on where it is needed the most.
This torch uses three 18650 rechargeable batteries. It takes about five hours to completely charge it while run time can last for up to two hours – depending on the brightness and mode selected. Even though it isn’t the lightest on the market, this head torch is very sturdy and it will come out unscathed after taking a few drops and knocks.
It is also IPX4 waterproof, meaning users will get enough protection from splashing water. It would also give its user enough time to escape a rain shower without spoiling the device.
Head Torch by Alien Scout
Even though the name of this head torch might sound funny, it is sturdy, easy to use, waterproof as well as shockproof. This ultra-bright and a lightweight head torch will serve its purpose for users engaging in cycling, kayaking, camping, dog walking, basic fishing, etc.
This torch has an impressive 168 lumens spotlight that was designed to churn out light for up to 100 metres. However, due to its low price, this torch’s design doesn’t match up to those of its competitors. Due to the manner in which the LEDs are placed, most of the light is in one spot and there’s really no way to differentiate between spotlighting and peripheral.
A downside of this head torch is that its switch button can be accidentally switched on inside a bag. However, this torch comes with a portable head case to prevent this. It also increases the longevity of the torch.
There are three main modes on this torch – red, white and the SOS mode. Within these modes, there’s red flashing, red night vision, white flashing and white ultra bright. This light can be switched off without a need to go through all the settings. This is because it can be turned off by pressing and holding the button.
It comes with Duracell batteries, but it would be advisable to invest in some rechargeable batteries so as to maximise efficiency. For those looking for a waterproof head torch, this is arguably the cheapest option available. It can survive in shallow waters if it has been briefly submerged.
This head torch can also be tilted so that it focuses on the river, slope or path that’s in front of you. This torch’s rotatable body is able to turn up to 70 degrees, while the strap can be tightened easily without fiddling around with complex clasps or straps.
Things to Consider when getting a Head Torch for Kayaking
Your torch will need to be able to hold its own in temperature changes and in circumstances where it falls or gets knocked over. It is important to note that the more durable head torches are usually the ones on the expensive side.
Head torches usually differ from 20 lumens to as much as 1000 lumens. Torches with higher lumens tend to consume battery than their counterparts with average or modest lumen outputs. Head torches offer three kinds of light outputs. Torches that are cheaper usually have unregulated light output, so this should be considered when getting a head torch.
Flowing from the above consideration, users may also need to factor in beam distance. Torches either have a powerful LED or several LEDs that are less powerful. Head torches with single LEDs produce longer distance focused beams that are better suited for people passing through unlit areas.
As you’ll be using your head torch in water, you need to ensure that it is waterproof or water-resistant at least. This is very important as you wouldn’t want your head torch to become faulty after it comes in contact with water. Ideally, your head torch needs to be at least an IPX4 which signifies that it is splash-proof.