Having recently got back into running, Tony decided to test some head torches for night runs and has found one that has the edge.
After testing a number of different head torches from various brands, I decided to give the new Olight H15S Wave 'gesture controlled' LED head torch a go for night running. This headlamp is the rechargeable model in the 'Wave' series. It's quite a bit different from the standard H15 Wave, which takes 4x AAA batteries, is less bright and has a function to change the modes by waving your hand in front of it. The new H15 'S' model is much simpler; it uses a small and lightweight lithium battery, which can be charged directly from a USB port and powers a brighter XM-L2 LED that outputs 250 lumens. Three modes can be selected via a big red button on the top; then you can switch it off and on with a simple hand wave in front of the lens.
Once the H15S battery had charged, I unplugged it from my laptop, slotted it into the battery compartment and took the H15S Wave out for an evening run in the rain (wearing the new running shoes* shown in the photo). Immediately I noticed how light it felt and how comfortable it was on my head - some models of headtorch can feel heavy and unstable when running, whereas I hardly noticed the H15S. While running I was able to easily locate the mode button and set it to high mode for maximum illumination.
The beginning of the run was on a well-lit street, so a quick wave in front of the lens switched the light off. On passing the last street light onto a dark country road, I quickly swiped my hand in front of the H15S, which activated the light instantly. The transition from darkness to a well-lit path was impressive and I could see a good distance ahead even in the driving rain. Turning the head torch downwards allowed me to illuminate a wide area in front - including where my feet were landing and where I needed to go. This was with the diffuser cap down. Flip the diffuser up and you can see further, but lose some peripheral light. I preferred using the diffuser, especially as I entered the woodland, with trees either side of me.
Nearing a muddy, rocky descent, I decided to tilt the light further down to allow me to negotiate a way through the mud and rocks - trying not to trip or go over on an ankle. Once through the woodland, I was back onto a well-lit road and on the final section of my run, so gave the H15S a wave to switch it off. The ability to quickly switch on and off is very useful, as are the multiple modes; I may only use high mode for night runs, but the low and medium mode will be handy for other applications.
So far I have been out for three quite wet 45 minute runs with the H15S Wave on a single charge. According to the manual, and the way I use it (switching off on sections of the run), I think I could probably get another two runs out of the first charge. But the convenience of being able to charge from a USB port means I should never be caught short with a flat battery. Although, if I did forget to charge it, the battery compartment can take 4x AAA batteries instead, making it a versatile head torch for running. I'm sure the H15S will be great for many outdoor activities, but for now it is an essential part of my night running kit.
The Olight H15S Wave rechargeable head torch is available from TacLight for £52.95. Please read more about it on the H15S Wave product page.
*I was wearing a new pair of Adidas Kanadia 5TR M (shown in the photo), which had been recommended by, and bought from, Tim Agar at the Complete Runner shop in Ilkley. Since a lot of the route involved muddy woodland paths, I needed a shoe that offered better grip and wouldn't hold the mud.