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Walking Equipment and Accessories

Alpkit Viper And Indigo Head Torches | First Look

First Looks: Alpkit Viper And Indigo Headtorches

Alpkit’s long-standing Gamma and more recent Manta headtorches have been joined by two new, affordable lighting options in the shape of the Viper, a mountaineering-orientated touch with a choice of 100-lumen spot or lower intensity side lighting and the Indigo, a lightweight, lower-powered torch aimed at camping and general use.

Both are single-unit designs with the AAA batteries housed in the pivoting light head and both look like excellent value with water-resistant housings, easy to use switches and clean, contemporary looks.

Basics

Alpkit Viper – £12.50 / 94g

  • 3 AAA batteries (supplied)
  •  40 – 190 hrs of battery life
  • 1 x XP-C Cree focussed LED 100-lumen spot
  • 2 x regulated LEDs close-up 15-lumen side beam
  • Water resistant to IPX6 standard
  • 56 mm x 41 mm x 35 mm
  • Pivotable head
  • Adjustable and removable elasticated head-strap

Alpkit Indigo – £10 / 68g

  • 2AAA batteries supplied
  • 7-13 hours of battery life
  • 3 Bright white LEDs with up to 30 lumens
  • Water resistant to IPX6 standard
  • 58 mm x 34 mm x 32 mm
  • Adjustable and removable elasticated head-strap

Performance

We used both the torches for general bumbling around on a recent two-week trip to the Alps and the first thing that struck us was what brilliant value for money they are – you could easily mistake them for lights costing twice as much. They have a reassuringly solid feel to them and are reassuringly water resistant to IPX7 spec. That’s not submersible, but should cope with normal use in wet weather.

The more expensive of the two is the £12.50 Viper which features a central 100-lumen spot beam with three settings plus flash. Tope-end headtorches these days put out a lot more light, but we found that focussed main beam surprisingly effective for picking out more distant features and general walking and hill use. The third, low setting also works well around camp and is actually pretty subdued, but still quite a directional beam.

You also have the option of switching to the peripheral, lower-powerd LEDs with a long press of the big, green top-mounted switch which gives a wider beam pattern well suited to bimbly walking use and again with a choice of light levels. We found the Viper secure and comfortable in use and while Alpkit says its original Gamma with separate battery box is better suited for runners, the Viper will do the job too.

Alpkit claims from 40 to 190 hours of burn time from the three AAA batteries – easily accessed – and so far our torch is still going strong. One point if you’re heading off somewhere properly remote is that AAA cells can be harder to find than the more common AAs, so you may want to carry spares rather than rely on being able to buy them.

The lighter, smaller Indigo is both £2.50 cheaper and 26g lighter than its big bro and is a no-nonsense, light and compact unit running on 2 AAA batteries and aimed at walkers and campers. It has three low-powered LEDs that give enough light for cooking, pitching tents and general walking use when you’re say, on an easy-to-follow path and don’t need any wider reference point.

And like the Viper it feels decently made, comfortable and secure in use and pivots on a ratchet to optimise beam angles.

Verdict

Two more affordable but very effective headtorches from Alpkit. The Viper’s a cracking budget all-round mountain torch, that should work for climbing and mountaineering and night navigation as well as bumbling around camp and on defined paths, while the Indigo is a no-nonsense emergency come general use light for camping and walking use.

They may be most notable for being great value, but neither feels cheap and nasty and neither has let us down so far. You can, of course, buy brighter and cleverer, but you’ll almost certainly be paying a lot more for it and for most of us, most of the time, torches like this will do just fine.

More Information

Details of both torches plus the Manta and Gamma at www.alpkit.com/lighting.

Alpkit Viper – central main LED gives a neat spot beam of 100 lumens. Side lights work for closer-range stuff.

Three AAA cells live in an easy to open compartment with reassuring O-ring seal.

Alpkit Indigo is smaller, lighter and fine around camp or for less demanding walking.

Two LEDs this time with the same IPX6 water resistant rating.

Light units pivot on a ratchet for optimum angle. Enough friction to stay securely in place in normal use so far.

Textured, top-mounted switches are easy to use even with gloves.

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