With only 4 months to go until the Spine Challenger race my thoughts have turned to the kit I will need for the race. Taking place in the north of England in January, one of the biggest factors will be the lack of daylight, with around 15 hours of each 24 hour period being spent in darkness. I have been thinking at length about a suitable headtorch for this race, so when I got the chance to try out the LED Lenser MH10 headtorch from their Outside series, it was perfect timing!
The MH10 is a powerful, rechargeable headtorch. It has three different modes:
There is one large switch (the green button in the above picture) which can be used to toggle through the power modes and you can also adjust the order in which these are activated. The switch can also be used to lock the torch so that it doesn’t accidentally turn on.
The MH10 uses LED Lenser’s Advanced Focus System, which means the front dial turns to give a focused or wider beam. It also has a rotatable head which can be directed to suit how far ahead you wish to look, as well as a rear red light, which is great for safety when running on the roads and a useful point to follow when running on trails in a group.
The head strap can be removed and washed and the MH10 also comes with red and green lens filters, not so relevant for running, but very useful for anyone wanting to use it in scenarios where you don’t want to destroy your night vision. LED Lenser quote a working temperature range for the MH10 of -20 to +40 degrees Celsius, which I hope means that it should be able to stand up to Pennine Way conditions in the depths of winter!
The MH10 uses a rechargeable lithium battery which sits on the back of the head, with a charge time of 6 hours via USB. It is also fairly lightweight for a torch of this power at 158g including the battery.
The Plus Points
The MH10 is really comfortable to wear and doesn’t bounce around at all when running. It is also very straightforward to use, with the switch and front dial both being easy to operate, even when wearing bulky gloves.
It is very easy to switch between the different lighting modes to suit the conditions and to flick to low power to avoid being blinded while reading a map! Although it doesn’t have the reactive lighting of some of its competitors, I personally prefer the simplicity of doing this manually with fewer components to go wrong!
It is extremely bright, allowing me to run fast on technical trails and clearly see any obstacles or uneven ground. I am planning to use it for some night orienteering this winter, as it is bright enough to allow technical navigation through trackless terrain.
It also has a great battery life for a torch of this power, getting 10 hours of run time at full power and 15 hours at 250 lumens. The 250 lumens setting is more than bright enough to run technical trails and with 15 hours of run time should allow me to go through a full night on the Spine without needing to change batteries (I’ll be testing this out over the coming months!).
Aspects to consider
The only area that I need to consider with this torch is that the MH10 runs on rechargeable batteries. While this is great from both an environmental and cost perspective for most of my running, it does add an additional factor to consider for long usage as I can’t just pop in some spare AAA batteries. While it has an extremely long run time and will not need charging in most situations, I will need to purchase a second battery as a back up and for longer fastpacking trips and multiday ultras. On the plus side, the USB connector means that it can easily be charged from a power pack on the go, which may be needed to get through two winter nights on the Spine Challenger.
So far I am very impressed by the LED Lenser MH10. It has a great balance of brightness, battery life and weight which should make it a great headtorch for the Spine Race and for other tough challenges in the future.
Disclaimer: I was given the MH10 headtorch to test by LED Lenser UK, but this is not a sponsored post and all words, photos and opinions are my own.