A headlamp is an essential piece of safety equipment for the walker.
Staying as safe as possible when out walking at night or in low light conditions is important.
Unlike a traditional handheld torch, a headlamp allows you to keep you hands free for either reading your map or perhaps allowing you to use walking poles unhindered in dark or low light conditions.
There are many different types of headlamps available to the walker ranging from the basic lamps through to super-featured units that offer many functions and prices can vary widely. In this review we have chosen a headlamp that comes in at a budget friendly price of only £5.99.
Linkax LED Headlamp
The Walk Fife team hadn’t heard of Linkax before being more familiar with brands like Petzl, Black Diamond etc and when Jim turned up to a rainy evening walk with this headlamp we were all curious about it.
Jim had left his trusty climbing headlamp at a friend’s cottage on Skye so until he managed to retrieve it he headed to Amazon and grabbed a cheap headlamp to allow him to get out for a few nights. Over the past year we have each taken the headlamp with us on our travels to see how it compares to the models available from the well known outdoor brands.
Design & build
The Linkax LED is a fairly compact headlamp made from a grey moulded ABS plastic. The quality of construction is fairly good although it does feel a little flimsy in some areas so this isn’t a headlamp you would want to drop too often.
The casing is mounted on a comfortable soft elastic head band which seems to be comparable in quality to many of the headlamps available on the high street. The angle of the unit can be adjusted to five positions across 60 degrees enabling the wearer to easily set the light to illuminate their activity.
The unit is powered by three AAA batteries which are supplied with the headlamp. The battery compartment is solid and rattle free and has a thin rubber seal running around the sealing edge. This seal isn’t 100% waterproof but does help to make the unit splash or light rain resistant (IPX4).
The power / mode switch is located on top of the unit and is a simple orange silicon press button which can be easily found and operated even when wearing gloves.
The headlamp has four modes of operation – high, low, red and flashing red – these can be selected by pushing the power / mode switch to cycle through the modes.
The high mode provides approximately 110 lumens of bright white light with a fairly wide spread making it usable when checking the terrain ahead when walking at night. The manufacturer claims that this mode can reach up to 80m but in our experience it only reached out to perhaps 35m at the most but this is still more than adequate. While on high mode the battery life is approximately 3 hours before slowly dimming down as the batteries are exhausted of their power although some of us managed to get this nearer to 4 hours using premium batteries.
The low mode is around 50 lumens in strength. It again has a fairly wide spread and is effective for most walkers just wanting illuminate the path ahead. While on low mode the battery life is approximately 7-8 hours although this seemed to lower to 5-6 hours in cooler temperatures.
The red light is really bright and little too harsh especially when compared to the bigger brands. The purpose of a red light is to prevent the loss of night vision so it important that it isn’t too dazzling. The red light consists of 2 LED sources mounted to each side of the main lamp with each providing a spread of around 3-4 metres. It also has a red flashing mode for signalling purposes which is handy to have but not essential. While in red mode the battery life is approximately 5-6 hours and 6-7 when flashing.
The Linkax LED Headlamp has surprised us all. This budget headlamp performs well and allows the walker to easily illuminate their way.
Yes there are some issues such as the harshness of the red light, yes it may not be as powerful as it’s manufacturer claims and yes there are some parts that are a little flimsy in construction and it may not last many knocks but for a price of £5.99 complete with batteries this little unit is a bargain solution for the walker on a budget.