A lot of things are better in the dark, but without a good headlamp it’s going to be tough tackling your nocturnal adventures. I recently had a look at the Extreme Lights XPh Headlamp on some of my night-time training sessions and wanted to share my experiences with it.
Extreme Lights is a local adventure light manufacturer based in Stellenbosch. They’ve developed a loyal following thanks to their high quality products with many swearing by their bike and running lights. Even Landie and Christiaan Greyling gave their stamp of approval and appear on the box of the XPh Headlamp.
So let’s get into it…
The XPh Headlamp is a rechargeable unit and is constructed with the lamp on the front and the battery pack at the back. At first sight, I expected it to be heavy. However, I was completely mistaken and it was really comfortable – you don’t even notice the battery pack at all.
Battery housing at the back
Connector between lamp and battery
It charged pretty quickly and comes with a spare battery cartridge for a back-up set of alkaline batteries when you are out for long periods of time. I went on about four missions in the mountains and it showed no signs of letting up, but I charged it again just for peace of mind after the fourth training session – safety first!
A sunset hike with some the cave exploration on Lion’s Head was my first test of the product. It fit comfortably over my trucker cap even while running. When the sun went down is when we got into the real testing.
The XPh Headlamp makes use of synergy drive technology which changes the apparent brightness of the lamp. It’s not very noticeable (which is a good sign) and results in really comfortable wear. You can read more about synergy drive here.
With three levels of brightness (Low, Mid and Boost) you can get up to 670 lumens which shines warm white. The Mid setting is fine for almost all sporting activities. Be warned that the Boost level can catch you off guard with its bright spotlight effect – so try not to blind fellow hikers
The Boost setting probably really comes in handy if you’ve dropped something in the dark, but you might also find things you weren’t necessarily looking for either – like the big spider I ran into while descending Platteklip Gorge one evening!!!
The only negative I have on the light is my experience while running. The XPh Headlamp uses a single Cree XP-L LED bulb in the lamp. I’ve become used to other brands which use multiple LEDs in the lamp unit and find that with more bulbs the broader the area which was lit up.
Single bulb construction
Multiple LED construction from other brands
For trail running, I found this was the one area where the XPh Headlamp fell short. I found myself not getting enough information about the surrounds due to the smaller area of focus to comfortably run as fast as I wanted – especially when trying to run on anything other than jeep track. Adding a few more bulbs to broaden the area of focus is the only thing that I would change about the lamp.
Platteklip training session using the XPh Headlamp
I think the XPh Headlamp is a great product especially for hiking, fishing, camping, caving, cycling, you name it. It is waterproof and shines brightly for hours and hours without any sign of giving up – with a competitive price point as well.
Besides the issue I had with running, I definitely understand why so many have vouched for it.
If I have left out anything in particular that you may think is a critical feature/experience that you’ve had with the XPh Headlamp, please feel free to comment below.