Silva Trail Speed Elite head torch

Silva Trail Speed Elite Head Torch review

Silva’s new head torch sheds lots of light on night-time outdoor adventures

You will already know the Silva brand, most likely because you own a Silva compass. But in recent years, Silva has expanded its product range and some of the most impressive items are head torches.

Silva Runner Head TorchFor the last couple of years I have waxed lyrical about the Silva Runner head torch because it is so small, light and very bright. Now Silva has created a new version, the Silva Trail Speed Elite head torch.

On test

While head torches are generally quite small items of kit, the Silva head torches are super small. The torch itself is about the area of a 50p piece and only about 1cm thick. Pick it up on its own and you hardly feel as though you’re holding anything.

But this light and compact torch still punches above its weight in terms of brightness. Two powerful LED lightbulbs offer a mighty 600 lumens light output to brighten the way ahead so that runners, cyclists and even skiers can keep going after dark.

Already familiar with the 550 lumens of light offered by the Silva Runner head torch I am even more impressed by the extra 50 lumens provided by the Trail Speed Elite.

The Trail Speed Elite (as compared to the Runner) offers great versatility. Just like the Runner, it can be fixed to a soft headband and worn around the head for running on and off road.

Silva Trail Speed Elite HelmetIn addition, the Trail Speed Elite has changeable fixings so it can be attached to bike and ski helmets, or bike handlebars.

The head torch is so light that you hardly know it’s on your head, or attached to a helmet. The light has a large on/off button that is easy to operate even when wearing gloves.

It’s operated by rechargeable battery that is also fairly small (and definitely smaller than all other rechargeable head torch batteries I have come across). I have found the Silva battery can be easily hand-held or popped into a pocket in my running tights or jacket.

There are some head torch fans who tell me that they prefer a head torch without an attached battery. They like the torches powered by a couple of AA batteries fitted into the torch itself. However, I have yet to find a head torch that gives out anywhere near as much light as Silva’s Runner and Trail Speed Elite. In my opinion, carrying the required battery is a small inconvenience for a super-bright light.

The Silva Trail Speed Elite offers 2.5 hours of light on its brightest setting and 10 hours on a dimmed setting. Silva also boasts of its “Silva Intelligent Light” which “gives light where it is needed”. In other words, a strong, focused beam of light gives light straight down the trail so you can see far ahead, combined with a flood of light around your feet so you can see where to step.

In practice, this dual beam really does work. Whenever I have been out on trails or pavements at night I have felt as though I’m running or walking in my own private pool of daylight. Many sporty friends have commented on the amazing brightness of the head torch and if they are out with me they usually turn off their own head torch because the Silva is sufficient for two people.

I have walked and run with many head torches over the last two decades and never found one that combines such great lightness with brightness.

If there is a downside, it’s the cost. The Silva Trail Speed Elite retails at a rather hefty £200, although I have spotted it on-line for £188.99. When you can buy other head torches for as little as £10, this price tag does seem very high. But I still think it’s a good buy for all the above reasons. You rarely get owt for nowt.

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  1. […] From the River Clyde, many of the city’s normal noises are muted. It felt like our quiet paddle was a secret mission, although anyone walking the banks that night would have easily spotted our bright kayaking colours and head torches. […]

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