At a glance
Plusses: Ultra bright, robust, rechargeable, smart light features.
Minuses: Expensive, no low-light options, heavy.
Silva Trail Speed 4XT
$399.90, 160m range, 257g
Features: Three brightness settings provide 1200, 600 and 80 lumen options, though no red light. The battery ranges from five hours on high beam and 20hr on low. Silva’s intelligent ‘Flow Light’ technology switches between a wide beam when the light is angled down, and long when pointed straight ahead – no buttons need pressing. The detachable rechargeable battery has an LED battery level indicator, and reserve mode which dims the light when the battery drops to 10 per cent charge. Three attachment options allow the lamp and battery to shift between head, helmet and handlebars. At IPX5, it can withstand heavy rain. The battery pack can be carried on the headband or in your pack or jacket pocket.
Fit: A comfortable fit is easily achieved by adjusting the buckle, though with the weight, users may find the lamp needs fastening tightly to prevent slip.
Comfort: For its weight, the 4XT sits quite comfortably around the head, though I found the lamp plate is quite hard against the forehead. The battery makes up around two thirds the weight of the product, though bounce was minimal while walking.
In use: As a high performance headlamp, the Trail Speed 4XT is a beast. On high beam, its brightness turns night into day and for hunters or SAR, its power would be invaluable. Its weakness, however, is its absence of low and red light options. While 80 lumens is a fraction of the full 1200, it’s excessive for most hut or campsite activities, like reading and cooking. For cycling commutes or the aforementioned activities, I feel the headlamp would really come into its own.
Though heavier than most tramping headlamps, it rates well when compared with other high performance products. The lamp itself is light enough to wear without any bounce, and due to the weight of the battery pack, I preferred to keep it in my breast pocket, rather than attached to the headband.
The Flow Light mode is an excellent feature, and it’s very pleasing to need to only tilt the lamp down to alter the beam. It’s also handy to have battery indicators and a reserve mode, so you know when to start preserving power.
Value: Though expensive, this is a robust specialty product for those who need the extra power. It feels built to last and as such might justify the high price.
Verdict: Incredibly bright, intelligent, and robust, this won’t suit most trampers, but is perfect for those who need extra oomph.