When I heard that the Merrell Adventure Addicts (adventure racing team) were using these Extreme Lights, I immediately wanted to test one. I used it on a Search and Rescue mission on Table Mountain and needless to say, it worked FANTASTICALLY! So, the problem is, I’m not much of a racer and although I’ve used it on some night runs, running in the middle of the pack, I always had to use it on the dim setting! The light is brilliantly bright and you eventually end up lighting up the track for 2 more people in front of you! They’ll either thank you or let you pass
So, the next best plan was to get a racer to do the testing for me. Who best to do the testing than the winner and new record holder of the 2014 Bat Run, Martin Kleynhans. The Bat Run is a very popular race held at the end of February or early March here in Cape Town, South Africa. The event is held at night and you have to summitDevils Peak, Platteklip Gorge to Maclears and then Lion’s Head over 27km. Martin has put in an impressive performance earlier this year to win the race in a record time!
Gear review by Martin Kleynhans (Athlete profile coming soon):
When you first lay your hands on this torch your initial reaction will probably be that it is one heavy and larger than normal device. This is not a lightweight torch and when you put it on your head you do notice the weight compared to many other smaller and light torches. But because of the excellent design of the head straps it is actually remarkably comfortable and to my (pleasant) surprise I realised that it doesn’t take more than a minute before you have forgotten that its even there.
This is one powerful torch. In fact it is by far the brightest torch I have ever run with. I took it on a number of night runs up Lions Head and on Table Mountain on my normal mid-week after-work run routes, and with 750 lumen in maximum mode you can see for a very very long way like it is day. The beam consists of a bright spot area which from my head height was probably around 1 meter in diameter, surrounded by an area which is less bright with a wide diameter so that you can see the entire path and a lot of stuff in the periphery.
I found that it is really desirable to have a wide beam because what you see in the periphery really does help with running faster and more safely at night.
There are three settings: super bright 750 lumen, medium bright (which is still incredibly bright and brighter than most torches) and flash mode. I ran one of my runs on medium bright which is perfectly adequate for almost all trail runs, in fact probably for all trail runs. I ran the others on full bright and did not recharge the battery once. The battery by the way is a rechargeable one which you plug straight into the wall. Although the claimed battery life on full power is only 1.5 hours on full power, I ran quite a bit longer than that and had good light throughout.
One has to question whether 750 lumen is really just overkill. In my opinion I think it is unnecessary to have such a bright light for normal trail running as in my experience a 100 to 200 lumen torch will do just fine at a fraction of the weight. But if you are into adventure racing or any running where you need to navigate at night (think Sky Run for example or say your own trail running adventure – the best kind) then this torch will really come into its own. When I shone the torch on bright mode I was able to look at parts of Table Mountain from the path I was running on that were over 200 m away and see enough detail to be able to pick a line up the mountainside off the path that would have worked.
Besides the weight another downside of this torch is the battery setup, where you cannot replace the battery mid-run*(EL: We aren't sure why Martin feels it can't be done becuse it can. You will do it the same way you will replace any normal battery. All you need to do is have a spare set with you) . If you are on a very long run, say Sky Run, chances are you will need light for up to 12 hours and the only way to achieve this is to replace batteries during your run. But with this torch you can’t do this. This does limit the application of this torch but the battery life on the medium setting is very good and certainly sufficient for all but the longest, craziest runs.
To sum it up, for normal day to day trail running this torch may be a little bit of overkill but if you are into doing night-time exploratory missions, adventure racing or major night-time trail runs that require navigation then this may just be the torch for you!
[UPDATE] * Extreme lights do have some replacement batteries and ones that can last much longer than the batteries supplied with the headlight. It can be ordered separately.
The Li-ion battery pack can be charged after every use without any detrimental effect. This feature leaves one with no excuse of running out of power during your outdoor adventure.
Features * The head lamp is adjustable and can be tilted up and down. * 3 modes: High. low and fast strobe * Water proof design * Uses 2 x High Quality 18650 Sanyo 2600mAh li-ion cells * Balanced design and weighs only 278g * Charger and charge cable. 110-240ACV with Red and Green charging indicator (ZA adapter included)
Extreme 1000 head light review. Martin Kleynhans