A great value option for a highly waterproof, good quality bright light with an SOS emergency setting.
Good beam length
Long burn time
Highly waterproof IPX6
SOS flash mode
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Lifesystems Intensity 280 LED Head Torch: first impressions
The Lifesystems Intensity 280 LED Head Torch is really good value at $35 / £30 and very light at 89g. Like all the best headlamps, it’s comfy on the forehead with the fabric of the strap against the skin, easy to adjust and impressively waterproof, with an IPX6 rating – good for torrential rain.
• List price: $35 (US) / £30 (UK)
• Weight: 89g / 3.1oz
• Max lumens: 280
• Max beam length: 90m
• Burn time: 5.5hrs
• Light modes: White: mid / high / low / SOS; Red: constant / strobe / SOS
• Water resistance: IPX6
• Batteries: Rechargeable
• Compatibility: Easy trails for medium-distance, rainy night runs
The on/off button is large and easy to use with gloves and cold hands. The max setting is a very useable 280 lumens, projecting a beam over 90m for a nice, long 5.5 hours. It also has an 80-lumen medium setting, with a range of 47m and burn time of up to 11 hours, which is very useable for running slowly or walking on easy trails. The six-lumen emergency setting with 13m beam is not very bright, but lasts for nearly sixdays.
There’s also a red light and a strobe option too, handy for running safely at night on roads. The Intensity 280 has an SOS setting in morse code (so three long flashes, three short, three long), which could save your life one day.
The battery is rechargeable only and you can charge it while the light is on, using a portable charger and charging cable if needed. There’s also a handy charging status light on the side.
Lifesystems Intensity 280 LED Head Torch: on the trails
The Lifesystems Intensity 280 just very quietly does it all with no gimmicks or features you don’t need. It’s slightly less bright than other headlamps we’ve tested, but you don’t really notice that with its higher beam length of 90m, which sweeps nicely across the star-topped countryside to light up your way across the trails.
The medium setting of 80 lumens is useful for dark pavements with intermittent street lighting too, and the six-lumen setting will do you for a spot of reading when you’re snuggled down in your sleeping bag. Let’s hope you don’t need to use that emergency SOS flashing setting but it’s a nice touch for peace of mind, available in both white and red lights.
It doesn’t matter how much it rains with that IPX6 waterproof rating and the whole headlamp feels pretty bombproof, good quality and easy to use. The only downside would be that you have to charge with USB and can’t swap in regular batteries. However, the light does stay on when you plug in a portable charger so that’s an option if you want the light to last all the way through the night.
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.