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.
Good beam length
Long burn time
Optional auto-adjust brightness sensor
Comfortable overhead strap
Plastic backing can be sweaty against head
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.
• 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 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.
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.
The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films about trail- and ultra-running advice, inspiration, races and gear reviews. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, Claire's first book, The Ultimate Trail Running Handbook (5k to 50k), is out now. Her second, The Ultimate Ultra Running Handbook (50k to 100 miles), is out Autumn 2024. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.