|The feather weight e+Lite|
To be so light the e+Lite has a small body, thin strap and uses 2 of the flat disk CR2032 batteries. What I found with this was that running along the road you hardly knew you had it on, there was no bounce at all. On a technical decent on a trail however I did find it bounced, and tightening the strap made no difference, but this wasn’t so bad as to have too much of a negative effect on one’s ability to see where you were going. The thin strap, whilst effectively holding the lamp well on your head, it does mean that when you adjust the angle or setting of the lamp you do need two hands to avoid it sliding off your head. Again not a big drama, but if you have a handheld water bottle, or have a hand torch, this could be a nuisance.
|Cap clip, and ball and socket angling|
The other nice touch is that the clasp on the head strap is also a whistle, an item which is becoming more common on the mandatory gear lists for trail ultras.
The XP2 is a different animal to look at. It has a wide headband, and the lamp itself has a wider “footprint” making it far more stable. I experienced no bounce at all on any surface, and it has easy to adjust angle settings which click in place easily using one hand. This is also the case when changing between light settings as you scroll through each function at the click of a button.
|Who are you calling "Big Nose"|
What really matters with a head lamp is of course how well they illuminate your path. Both torches have the same functions, maximum beam, economy beam and flashing, as well as infrared beam and flashing. The infrared is great for being able to read your watch, looking at the ground 2 metres in front of you and road signs at 50ms, but other than that it’s not a function you’ll get much benefit from whilst running. Certainly if walking it would be a nice feature to use.
So let’s look at the battery and range stats:
Economy – 45 hours
Maximum – 35hours (19m range)
Economy – 120 hours
Maximum – 55 hours (35m range)
|XP2 Light diffuser slides up over the lens|
The standout memory of this test for me was when running along a straight stretch of road wearing the e+Lite. The lamp was picking out the road side reflectors at over 120m distance (I’m sure the XP2 would have been as good if not better). For the night time sections of TNF 100 the track is marked with reflective tape, so being able to pick them out from over 100m is comforting and shows that it is a very effective torch.
So both headlamps have their good and less good points. Which will I be using for next week? Well I’ll probably go with the XP2 for my head and may use the e+Lite on my waistband, or I may still go with the handheld. Don’t get me wrong the e+Lite is a great head lamp which I would recommend to anyone, and being waterproof with a 10 year guarantee would be a really good investment for a trail runner. I do prefer the one hand operation of the XP2, and the wider beam function and that has been the clincher for me. It is so light though that I’ll keep it in my bag as a wet weather option if it’s raining.
Good luck to all heading out on the trails this weekend.
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