Following in the theme of our “reviews” only being for truely stand out products, here is another essential bit of kit in our camping box.
So like everyone, we have all bought the $5 LED torch at the counter of BCF or the local hardware, right? (go on, admit it). Well, how long did it last? How long did the batteries last? Oh, and here’s a good question, did it actually put out ANY light??
Ok, so after swallowing your pride and realising a $5 torch is actually worth about -$50 (time to buy new batteries, time spent banging it on the side to make it work, time plastering your shin from that half wall you fell down because you couldn’t see jack whilst using it) you splash out and buy a $30 torch. Things are great, life is grand, and you can see on the “bright” side again, yeah for you……. So you put that torch back in the camp box only to pull it out again 6 months later on your next camp, only to realise the batteries are flat, they have leaked everywhere inside the torch, and you are now 7 hrs from the nearest store.
Enter, the SEO7R.
Obviously a headlamp (why hand held torches haven’t been outlawed I don’t know, obviously people without children still use them, I mean come on, who can cook dinner, open a can, change a nappy and drink a beer with only one hand?) But this is a rechargeable headlamp, and not a set of rechargeable AA’s (that I have actually seen a person, running a 350W puresinewave inverter to use a 240V AA battery charger to charge, seriously, you might as well have just left your 120W LED Spot lights on and at least had some decent light!), this has a built in rechargeable battery, with a micro usb plug so you can charge it, along with every other device known to man these days, all from USB. But here is the kicker, if for some reason, you cannot use the rechargeable battery pack, but you happen to have a set of AAA batteries lying around, it will take standard AAA’s as well!
So that takes care of the biggest problem with torches, the fact that every time you go to use them they are flat, now lets talk light. I’m not going to talk Lumens and Lux, lets talk “yes dear, that is the mainland over there”. These babies are bright, in fact, anyone that wants any more light then this out of their headlamp is either a professional night time down hill mountain biker, or something else that rhymes with biker. There is no need for any more light then this.
There are a bunch of settings, and the user manual is 100 pages long, but lets get down to brass tacks, there are only 2 settings you need to know, single button press is on with full intensity, or 3 button presses is the very cool adaptive mode. this uses the light sensor in the front to detect how much light is being reflected back (i.e. into your eyes) and it automatically adjusts the light output accordingly. I ONLY use this setting and it is great, from reading in bed to walking around finding a suitable tree at 3am, the light output is always exactly what you want it to be.
Added to this is has a very easy focus system, just twist the lens left to right for spot beam or spread, and tilt it up or down for distance or to point directly at your nose.
If there was one thing I had to be picky about would be the battery life. Its a bit like your smartphone, just get in the habit of putting it on charge each night before you go to bed. Realistically if you only used it when needed (rather then for 3 hours of playing spot light with visiting cousins) you will get 4-5 nights out of it.
RRP is $199, I found it on Catch Of The Day as a member only deal for $79 each. I happened to jag it during a “power hour” or something where everything was 10% off, plus, because I had just signed up as a COTD member, I received a $20 voucher plus free postage, all up we paid about $50ea.
Money well spent for sure.