Published on November 12, 2013
Silva Trail Speed Headlamp
Running in the dark is no fun. Correction: actually it’s lots of fun – but having the right kit is what ensures ‘lots of fun’ doesn’t end up equating to ‘lots of lacerations.’ Time for RunningMonkey to gear-up and put the Silva Trail Speed Headlamp to the test…
The Silva Trail Speed Headlamp is a really serious looking piece of kit; the box of full of little clips and extension cables and the kind of minimalist instructions that Apple favour; but at its heart (head) is the tiny lamp unit weighing in at less than 40g. How so small? Simple answer: the batteries are housed in a separate unit (a further 180g) for stowing in a pocket or backpack.
There are pros and cons to spate elements. Separates do keep much of the bulk and weight off the head and, with weight shifted elsewhere, the beam is more stable with less noticeable bounce. But – and it can be a big ‘but’ with ultra-runners – it does make things more complex and fiddly when what you really want to do is concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. As an example of this on the Silva Trail Speed the coil cable is too close to the lamp unit so that when clipping the rest of the wire out of the way it sits too close to the forehead and remains in the periphery vision.
RunningMonkey can understand why Silva have located the coil cable where they have: this is intended as a multi-sport unit so everything can be re-rigged (very quickly) from headband to bike or cycle/snow helmet with the supplied clips. For multidiscipline events and adventure racing this is a great idea and the Silva has very much to recommend it, but if you’re looking purely for a running headlamp it’s simply not dedicated enough and the flexibility becomes its Achilles heel.
Okay, so here’s what we did love about the Silva Trail Speed: it has a large, obvious and simply on/off/function button, the headband is comfortable with an additional rubberised band inside for extra stability. But above all else we loved the superb light quality – clean and crisp with up to 400 lumen across a maximum of 85m and fantastic periphery lighting, which extends the ‘bubble’ that night-time runners find themselves existing in. The batteries (4xAA) promise up to 15hours, but on full setting this is dramatically reduced with a falloff in performance in less than two – learning to economise light requirements is essential here.
If we were looking for a run-only headlamp our heart (probably) still belongs to the likes of the Petzl Ultra Rush, but for multi-sports versatility the Silva Trail Speed proved itself to be every bit as serious as it looked.
Silva Trail Speed Headlamp retails at £179.99 – further details – including the run-specific Silva Trail Runner II – at silva.se