As the nights draw in, it’s time to dig out the trusty head torches so we can still make the most of the trails. Over the years I’ve gathered a rather healthy collection, but the most recent addition has become my turn to light. Through the Trail Running Team I was supplied with the new SEO 5 from LED Lenser, I’ve now used it on countless training runs, and races including the Lakeland 50, UTMB-TDS and the Dusk til’ Dawn, without complaint.
When I’m picking a head torch for running, I’m looking for something that is light, bright and reliable, it most also be comfortable to wear, as it’s going to spend up 10 hours on the head during longer races. It must also be simple to use, and if battery changing is required, that needs to be straight forward.
The light beam is focusable by simply twisting the front housing, allowing you to zoom the light from a wide arch to a narrow spot which reaches a claimed 120 metres. It can also be tilted down to aim it closer to your feet for technical sections or map reading. I’ve found the ratchet system very secure, with no slipping unlike some “droopy” alternatives.
In use, I’ve found the SEO5 to be an almost perfect light. The high beam, is very good, with a nice clear white light which picks out details in technical terrain with ease. Low beam is sufficient for running on fire roads, and good paths or simple map reading. A quick press of the button scrolls between high beam, low beam and strobe, making for a no fuse approach to selecting your light output. A long press will switch between the red and light LED. Whilst the power button is relatively small I have had no issues switching light output when wearing gloves. I still find this light comfortable and easy to wear after 10 hours of running. The twisting focus is excellent, I tend to run with it set to flood mood most of the time, but being able to quickly twist it to spot for navigating or more technical ground is very handy.
Battery change is a breeze, once you’ve done it once or twice. I had to do it mid race during the night section of the TDS and once during the Dusk ’til Dawn. It can be done in the dark, but like everything is easier if you have a back up light to assist. I don’t consider this a problem as all races require you to carry a back up light anyway. I tape my batteries together, so it’s a simple matter of flicking the old ones out and pushing the new ones in. This makes battery changing with cold fingers less of a problem, means polarity is already sorted and you don’t lose loose batteries in the bottom of your pack.
So what’s not to like..? The battery life is on the short side, 7 hours at max output means in longer races that go into or through the night you will need a battery change. Comparing it to my Petzl Myo which kicks out only 140 lumina but lasts 53 hours, it’s a substantial difference. However the Myo weighs almost twice as much, is more expensive and uses heavier AA’s. Besides a spare set of batteries only weigh 35g. My white headband is starting to look a little grubby, but this is removable and washable, I’m just to lazy to do it. There is no safety switch, so the potential for the light to be knocked on in your bag when routing for other kit, the SEO5 is not alone in this and most head torches suffer in this regard.
LED Lenser SEO5 Features:
- Weight 105g
- Output 180 lumens
- Flashing mode
- Adjustable beam
- 3 AAA batteries
- Red light
- Battery life 7-25 hours
- Adjustable angle
- IPX4 Waterproof
- Washable headband
- Price RRP £49.99