Four runners pick best headlamps for Hong Kong night runs

Running lights must be bright enough, long-lasting, light and comfortable to wear. We talk to some experts about their favourite headlamps

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 5:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 5:29am

The one piece of gear you must have for night trail running is a good headlamp. Here, top trail runners share their favourites and offer tips to help you find yours. Factors to consider include light output (lumens), beam type, run time, weight and brightness modes.

Meet the Hong Kong athletes who enjoy a good night on the trails

Jeri Chua, top Singaporean ultrarunner

Her favourites: Led Lenser h7r.2 (HK$830) for longer races (multiple nights), which has a 300 lumen adjustable beam and uses AAA batteries (she likes Energizer Ultimate Lithiums) instead of rechargeables for convenience. For shorter races, she uses the Petzl Nao (HK$1,605) with 700 lumens and reactive lighting profiles which can be customised to suit a race course.

Her advice: get a headlamp with at least 150 lumens. Battery life is an important consideration – brighter beams and colder ambient temperatures will cause the battery life to diminish quicker.

Andy DuBois, Australia-based running coach with Mile27

His favourite: Ferei HL20 (HK$820), which gives 600 lumens at full brightness, and has a second setting that can be adjusted to your desired brightness level.

His advice: a good head torch is not something to compromise on – the brighter it is, the faster you will run and the less likely you’ll trip over. Some people use a second torch, which is either hand-held or strapped around the waist, to improve depth perception.

Janet Ng, top Hong Kong trail runner and organiser of the Hong Kong 100 ultratrail race

Her favourites: The Lupine Piko (HK$3,440) with 1,500 lumens and Black Diamond Icon (US$96, with 320 lumens.

Her advice: if it is a faster session and/or going along more technical terrain, I prefer to use both a headlamp and a hand torch at the same time. There are times when using rechargeable batteries is not practical, such as during multiday events that include a few nights out.

John Ellis, top Hong Kong trail runner and co-founder of sports shop Gone Running

His favourite: the best seller at Gone Running is the Ferei HL40 (HK$890), with 600 lumens in a simple but lightweight waterproof construction. There’s also the 700 lumen Lupine Neo (HK$1,920) with the best power-to-weight ratio and a beautiful, comfortable design. For a backup torch, the LED Lenser K1L flashlight (HK$79) has 13 lumens and weighs only 10 grams.

His advice: get something that’s around 500 to 700 lumens, weatherproof and lightweight, with a top head strap and rechargeable battery. On most trails, 200 to 300 lumens will suffice, but it’s good to have the option to crank up the light for the steep downhill sections or especially technical stages.

All headlamps (unless stated) available at Gone Running, 8B Trust Tower, 68 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3461 9792, Mon to Fri 12pm-8.30pm, Sat and Sun 12pm-6pm.