HEAD TORCH REVIEW: Pathfinder 21 LED Headlamp

You’re out in the hills, the walk has taken longer than anticipated and the light is fading fast. The sun is setting over the skyline to the west and its getting harder to see clearly. You are struggling to ready your map in the gloom and your footing is becoming un-sure. Its time to reach into the bag and pull out the headtorch. Which model do you pull out?

Let’s face it we have all been there, and your choice of head torch is really important to ensure you can continue to be safe as it gets darker. With the lack of ambient light in most wild places, this can happen quite quickly and if you are unprepared you will get caught out. Not only is it important to carry a head torch on every walk (see my post on a rough packing list for a hill day here) but also spare batteries for that torch. You just never know when things are going to take longer than you think and you will be caught in the falling dusk.

I have used a Petzl headtorch for quite some time, and I’ve been quite happy with it overall. However, I was gifted a new headtorch recently and now I have had a chance to use it, I thought I would review it for you all to give you my opinion.

Pathfinder Head Torch 21 LED Packshot
The Pathfinder 21 LED headtorch

Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5. Buy your Pathfinder Head torch here.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – Packaging

At first look, the Pathfinder Head Torch comes well packed in informative and kind of cool looking packaging. The front of the packet refers to the 21 LEDs, 100,000 hour lifetime (I have not tested this claim…), adjustments that can be made, light modes and water resistance.

The rear of the packet has more the more technical information, battery operation and changing procedure. The torch itself comes in the really hard to open blister packaging that I find incredibly frustrating. Not to say that this impacts on the torch itself at all, but hey, you wanted my opinion. Overall, the packaging is solid, preventing damage and informative.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – First Look

On opening the packet (the less said about that the better), the first impression I had is of its weight. Its a bit lighter than I anticipated. There was no battery in it at this point, so I will have to factor that in, but it was still lighter than I was expecting. The torch face is nice and big and the straps look comfy.

I have read a few online reviews for this product that say that the straps are useless and come apart really easily. I cant see any evidence of this and now also having used it, I can say that I have had no real issues with the straps at all. Once, did one strap escape its clip, but it was easily sorted in a matter of moments. They are wide, comfy and easy to get a good fit. I had a bit of a play with the straps and the adjustable angle on the torch itself, everything looks as you would expect. One thing I have found in the past with previous head torches is that the battery compartment is really difficult to open – this one is very easy, a quick twist of the shaped bevel and it pops right open.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – Usability

Whilst the opening of the battery compartment is quote easy, putting it back together is quite fiddly. I can imagine that with cold fingers, this could be quite challenging. Just something to bear in mind if you plan to use the torch a lot in winter (and lets be honest, with the length of the days in summer, we rarely need head torches here in Scotland).

Wearing the head torch is as comfortable as the first look suggested. I did find that the horizontal strap twisted itself when pulled tight, but it is easy to sort out to avoid any discomfort when wearing the torch for long periods. Tightening and loosening the straps is easy both on and off your head so you can adjust as you go and make changes on the fly.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – In Use

Lastly, the road test. The torch functions well, the low light setting is perfect for around a camp site or in a tent if you are camping out and want to avoid glare. I’m not sure why the medium and high light settings are set differently, I think I would have been enough to have a low abs a high light setting, but both perform well for those high powered tasks such as looking for a navigation point or a feature in the dark. It would also help being spotted or finding your way in foggy conditions.

The flashing light setting would be great for attracting attention if the need arose too. It’s high powered enough to be seen from quite a distance. The on/off/toggle button is easy to reach whilst on your head, so if you needed to switch functions on the go this would be easy to do. It is placed on the right hand side, so perfect for a right handed person like me. Potential to cause some issues if you are left handed, but I cannot test that being a righty.

When I have been using the head torch, I have not needed to switch settings quickly, but the low light setting and the high powered setting have definitely worked for me. It’s comfy, I’ve worn it for about 2 hours straight with no issues. It provides light where I need it, the adjustable angle feature makes it easy to point the beam where I want it to complete whatever task I’m doing at the time.

One point to note that on one walk, I took the head torch out of my pocket and one of the straps had come loose from its clip. It’s was easy to fix, not a bother at all, but worth noting that it is possible for this to happen when it’s kept in a bag or pocket for a period of time.

Pathfinder Head Torch Review – Scoring

So to score this product, I am going to take a little bit off for the packaging as they could do better with that, let’s take off -0.1.

I’m also going to deduct points for the battery changing procedure as it is a bit fiddly and I think that could cause issues when it’s really cold out. -0.7 for that as, I think, with practice it will get easier but the design does not lend itself to easy operation.

Apart from those points, I cannot really fault this head torch, so the overall score for the Pathfinder Head Torch is 4.2 from a possible 5.

To bag yourself a Pathfinder Head Torch, click the link below.

Buy your Pathfinder Head Torch.

That’s some face…

This page contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. However, I have not been paid to promote any product above any other, so opinions are my own and un-baised.

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