Alpkit Gamma Headtorch

I am a bit of a head torch addict. Over the years I have had a number of different ones - mostly from Petzl. These include the original Petzl Zoom, which used the old flat batteries and an updated version which used AA batteries. These accompanied me on many Alpine and Scottish winter trips. However, the battery life was limited, which meant carrying heavy spares. In the case of the original Zoom the connections could often be a bit dodgy, which meant disassembling the torch in the dark in freezing cold to get it working again.

Fast forward 20 years or so and most head torches have LED lights. They may not be quite as bright as the original torches, but they run off AAA batteries, which means carrying spare batteries doesn't have a significant weight penalty. Battery life is much greater than the original Petzl Zoom and reliability seems significantly better.

I already have a Petzl eLite, which lives in the car. Last year I bought a Petzl ???. One reason for choosing this particular torch is the red LED. This is useful outside when I don't want to destroy my night vision. I also use the red LED at home, or on holiday. I tend to get up much earlier than the rest of the family and I can switch on the torch to see what I am doing without disturbing anyone else.

However, it's usually in the wrong place. I use it at night when I go outside to find the cats, or check on the buildings, but I also keep it in the bedroom when I am asleep. Thus it's usually downstairs when I want it upstairs or vice-versa. The obvious solution was to buy yet another head torch, keeping one upstairs and one downstairs. However, Petzl head torches are not cheap. Luckily I discovered the Alpkit Gamma . I have bought a few things from Alpkit and been very happy with their products and service. The Gamma has white, green and red LED's with a strobe mode for emergencies. There is another red LED at the back of the battery box, which can also be set to strobe. All this is an amazing £12.50 delivered, including three Duracell AAA batteries.

I bought one just before Christmas and am delighted with it. I have used the main beam when cycling, with the rear LED in flashing mode a couple of times and at the speed I go there is plenty of illumination on dark country lanes. It doesn't have the sliding filter over the lens to switch between spot and flood modes that the Petzl has, but i don't miss this. In fact I generally prefer it to my Petzl.

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