Alpkit Viper headlamp review: great value and lots of light modes

The highly waterproof Alpkit Viper headlamp has a light sensor mode that auto-adjusts brightness levels

Alpkit Viper headlamp
(Image: © Claire Maxted)

Advnture Verdict

A super great-value headlamp from an eco-conscious company, bright enough for a good burn time but a tiny bit on the heavy side.

Pros

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    Great value

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    Good beam length

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    Long burn time

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    Optional auto-adjust brightness sensor

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    Comfortable overhead strap

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    Waterproof (IPX6)

Cons

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    Slightly heavy

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    Plastic backing can be sweaty against head

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    3 x AAA batteries only

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Alpkit Viper headlamp: first impressions

With a list price of just $30 / £25, the Alpkit Viper headlamp is excellent value. At 106g it weighs slightly on the heavy side compared to most of the lamps in our best headlamps buying guide, but it has the addition of an overhead strap for extra security.

Specifications

• List price: $30 (US) / £25 (UK)
• Weight: 106g / 3.7oz
• Max lumens / beam length / burn time: 240 lu / 115m / 5hrs
• Light modes: High, medium, low, 5mm, strobe, brightness sensor
• Water resistance: IPX6
• Batteries: 3 x AAA
• Compatibility: Easy trails for medium-distance, rainy night runs

It’s comfortable to wear and easy to adjust, but the plastic against the forehead could get a bit sweaty in hot weather.

It’s waterproof to IPX6 – perfect for heavy rain. The max lumens is 240 lumens over 115m for five hours which is great, and the medium setting of 105 lumens is a useful backup for easier paths and roads. Then there’s a low mode of 20 lumens, plus a strobe mode.

The Alpkit Viper (opens in new tab) also boasts a light sensor mode which automatically adjusts the brightness level according to how dark your surroundings are; so you get the main beam in the very dark and this side light in brighter conditions. This is great, but the sensor might not get it right 100% of the time, so in these situations you can simply turn that feature off. 

Power comes from three AAA batteries. Alpkit are B-Corp certified, Living Wage Employers and part of 1% percent for the Planet (opens in new tab).

Alpkit Viper headlamp

The Alpkit Viper headlamp fits snugly under a hood (Image credit: Alpkit)

Alpkit Viper headlamp: on the roads and trails

This is a good headlamp for running and walking in the dark, with 240 lumens being sufficient for longer night adventures on easy trails, tracks and roads and that 105-lumen middle setting a really great battery-saving option for roads with street lighting and clear nights with a full moon beaming extra light down on the world. (For more advice about nocturnal adventures see our full moon hiking and guide to running safely at night articles.) 

The automatic light sensor is also good for saving battery life, making the light brighter if your surroundings are darker, such as when you’re making your way through a moonlit forest and light levels vary. However, if you hike or run with others with brighter headlamps or near traffic, it thinks you need less light, which is not the case, so having the option to turn this mode on and off is welcome. 

The plastic headlamp backing against the forehead rather than strap material is also less comfortable and makes it sweatier than some other models. However, $30 / £25 is a very good price for a highly waterproof head torch from a brand with good ethical and environmental credentials. 

Alpkit have a good sense of their impact on the planet, urging people to take good care of this headlamp so they can pass it on or sell it when they’ve finished with it. In their stores they have a repair service and there are more ideas about extending the life of your outdoor kit with their Continuum Project (opens in new tab).

Claire Maxted

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.