fenix HL30 head torch – gear review

fenix hl30
a nice, compact and lightweight little unit

fenix HL30

Until recently I used the cheapest head torch I could find for my night running. It got me by, but after a couple models broke, I was looking for something more durable for my longer runs. The last thing you want to do is get stranded in the middle of the night with no light. This has happened to me before. Fumbling your way in the dark for several hours is no joke.

I’m testing out a score with these reviews. I’ll be using a 100 point system. This will be totally subjective of course, so take it all with a grain of you know what.

function

The Fenix HL30 has a nice wide beam with 4 intensity modes. I find myself using mostly the 45 and 100 lumens options, switching between them depending on conditions. Technical single track with no moonlight and I’ll use 100. On dirt roads with moonlight I can get by with 45. I hardly ever use the 200 and 4 lumens options. There is no adaptive lighting system on this, but I don’t really see the need for it. I’m pretty good at adapting things myself with a push of a button.

The unit is easy to use, there’s not much to get confused over. The buttons are relatively quick to find. Perhaps slightly larger buttons would help when getting drowsy during a long night run.

Battery swapping is relatively easy once you get used to it. The lid tends to pop off when trying to close the unit. There’s some room for improvement here.

The strapping system is easy and comfortable. I use the over-head strap as well, this is optional and can be taken off.

At IPX-6, the unit is splash proof, not water proof. I’ve run with it in the rain several times with no issues.

The durability of the unit is somewhat in question. I’ve had it for a few months with no issues, but the plastic construction might become an issue down the road, especially the battery lid. We’ll see how it holds up after 50-100+ opening/closings. So far so good.

function score – (18/20)

weight/comfort

This was the number one feature I was looking for. I don’t want some heavy and clunky device on my head for 10 hours while running. I have a thing against feeling restricted. Perhaps it’s the memory of the heavy pre LED headlamps I used in the 90’s. They would always give me headaches. The Fenix just sits comfortably on my head, no need to strap the thing on tight to avoid bouncing. 3.1 ounces + batteries is pretty lightweight.

weight/comfort score – (20/20)

price

$40. It’s hard to beat the value of this unit. Headlamps can range from $20 all the way up to $200+ for the more expensive luxury units. The Fenix HL30 is very reasonably priced. The unit has been out for a couple years so there may be some even cheaper bargains out there.

price score – (20/20)

battery life

fenix hl30 battery
battery compartment

It’s hard if not impossible to go the whole night without changing the batteries, especially if using 100 or 200 lumens. This might be a deal breaker for some ultra runners, but not for me. I don’t mind swapping out the batteries once per night.

battery life score – (15/20)

style – (18/20)

Style is not very important on something that’s used in the dark I know. But I like aesthetically pleasing things, and the Fenix is above average in that department. It won’t win any design awards, but at least it’s not gaudy and loud.

style score – (18/20)
 
 
Final score: 91/100 = A

I purchased this device based on personal preference. (don’t we all) I was more concerned with weight than with being able to run all night on one charge. So it’s all about trade offs. So far there’s no model that is both super lightweight and can last through the night. Perhaps in a few years.

bonus mini review – Fenix LD12

I’m really digging on this little hand held unit. It’s tough and waterproof and a solid backup when having to change batteries on the headlamp or when your headlamp goes bust. Backups are a must on night running. Stay safe!

extra lighting clipped firmly to my pack