Head torch review: The Bandit from Streamlight

Despite the power output this is a truly tiny lamp

Despite the power output this is a truly tiny lamp - Credit: Archant

The editor finds a really useful light for the darkening evenings

A single button controls the options

A single button controls the options - Credit: Archant

As the dark evenings are drawling in, I’ve dusted off my head torch recently and remembered just what a useful friend it is. There are so many times you need to have both hands free and enough light to see what you’re doing. If you’re a practical country person and you don’t own a head torch, you’re missing out on a really useful tool. Viking Arms recently sent me an ultra-compact, yet high performance head torch from Streamlight, a lighting company I’ve only come across now and then.

The Bandit is extremely small and light, which appeals to me as a light that could be carried unnoticed in a jacket pocket to be on hand every time it’s needed. The casing and strap are very minimal, as are the controls and options. A quick press of the button gives you 30 lumens of white light, whilst a further press increases that to 180 lumens, to light the path in front of your feet well enough to walk safely on rough ground. I was truly impressed with the even spread of the beam and the light’s colour rendition – a photographer’s way of saying ‘the colours of objects look like they do in daylight’. This made spotting shot rabbits in wet grass far easier than with lesser lamps.

Beautiful floodlight

The output is engineered as a flood pattern, not a long-range pencil beam for spotting rabbits across a paddock. There are plenty of head torches for that job, but they’re big, heavy and expensive and not what the Bandit was designed for. The Bandit’s output is almost spooky, in that it feels like somebody turning the light on in a room, so even is the output. I’ve never used anything like it.

It’s supplied with a narrow elastic head band, and a clip that allows it to be attached to the peak of a baseball cap. This also allows the angle to be changed which I though would be very useful. However, because the Bandit can do its ‘magic flood’ trick, changing the lamp’s angle makes little difference. The USB rechargable Li-Poly battery delivers a claimed 9½ hours on the low setting, and 2 hours at full power and the unit is weatherproof and shockproof, so will survive some proper outdoor use. I confess myself impressed and a little surprised. You see, I’ve used dozens of head torches in my life, but this great little unit is really something special and one I’d very happily use.

Visit the Viking Arms website.