Coleman CXS+ 250 LED head torch

Coleman torch 4 stars

Fully featured head torch saves batteries when not in use.

The 250 in the name refers to the lumens, or light output from the torch. 250 isn’t huge (equivalent to a 20w bulb for example), but the focused beam still lights your way in the dark. There are higher lumens lamps in the range, but I found this suitable for camping and even trail running.

First impressions
The head lamp is not too bulky and has a tactile, rubbery feel. There is an elasticated headband which is really easy to adjust – without having to loosen buckles or anything. You can do it with two hands while it is on your head. The lamp pivots too, so you can angle it towards the ground, and there is just one button on the top, which you press multiple times to get the desired light. The main difference from other torches is that you can pull the case slightly apart when not in use. This disengages the batteries from the contacts, and so there is no drain on them. This means that when you come to use the torch, the batteries will be as good as they were when you left it. We’ve all done it – left batteries in an appliance, and then returned to it a year or so later to find the batteries are dud, or have leaked. It’s because they are always in contact, and so there is a very slight drain on them. Coleman’s patented BatteryLock torches mean that the batteries remain fresh. Another innovation is the fact you can adjust the light by using hand gestures – more on that later.

On test
As said previously, the strap is a dream to adjust, unlike some other head torches I own, plus it is good and wide, so is quite comfortable. You engage the batteries by snapping the casing shut – concealing the red line – and away you go. I have to admit though, I didn’t actually know that the torch beams could be adjusted by hand gestures, so at first I thought it was broken! I would go out on a trail run and when I took the torch off, the light was on a different setting than when I began! I can see this would be useful if you were cycling or were wearing thick gloves – but because you have the torch on your head, you can’t really tell whether you’ve selected the desired beam or not. I was able to run in difficult, dark conditions without any worry, but I feel the claim of a beam of 40m might be a bit ambitious.

Anyway, there are four different white light beams – 20, 70, 150 or 250 lumens, from two LEDs either side, and there is a red light mode too, which is good for when you are chatting with friends and you don’t want to blind them. You can toggle through these by pressing the on/off button till you get what you want. Personally, I wish you could disable the hands free function, as I noticed if I went past a branch or put my hand up accidentally, the light would alter. It took a bit of getting used to. Swiping your hand across the sensor has the same effect as pressing the on/off button until you get the light you want.

There is another function too – REAX – which cleverly allows the light to adapt to the environment you are in. So dimming when there is more light available, and getting brighter when there is less. Again, this was a bit hit and miss for me, but at least the function has to be activated (by depressing the on/off button for more than four seconds).

It is very comfortable to wear – there is an absorbent pad at the front, and it didn’t move even when I was trail running. It’s shock and water resistant to a point, and it runs on three AAA batteries, which have lasted me a good few months. If you need the hands-free ability, then it is worth investigating.

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