TGO Challenge feature

Alex Roddie has written a feature for the TGO Magazine website on the experiences of six Challengers. I was part of the group asked to share our experiences and you can read the article here: https://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/news/digital-feature-what-makes-the-tgo-challenge-special/

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Well done Olight

Readers will remember Geoff Crowther had a problem with his Olight torch burning a hole in his groundsheet.

Olight have agreed to replace Geoff’s tent, which I think is excellent service from them and gives confidence that any problems will be dealt with properly by Olight. Read Geoff’s post here

Olight H2R torch: a warning

Photo: Geoff Crowther

This is not about the Olight H1 torch that I reviewed but about its big brother, the H2R torch. Geoff Crowther was given one to review. While he was positive about the torch overall, he made an unpleasant, potentially dangerous discovery. He briefly placed the torch face down on the floor of the tent and such was the heat and intensity of the light that it burned a hole in the groundsheet of his tent (pictured above). Read about it here.

There are no warnings in the instructions about this, so I feel it’s important to draw the attention of readers to this issue. Now, the highest setting on the H2R torch is an incredible 2,300 lumens. By way of comparison, the maximum on my Zebralight H600W Mk3 is 1,126 lumens and only 500 lumens on the Olight H1.

I’ve run both my torches for a few minutes on a high setting to see how hot they get. The Olight H1 doesn’t appear to get anywhere near hot enough to cause a problem. You can put your finger on the bulb without discomfort. The Zebralight is a fair bit hotter, but still touchable but quite hot. I wouldn’t have any qualms about the H1, but I think I’d exercise a bit of caution on the Zebralight.

I’m guessing that other high output torches are going to start appearing on the market, so the Olight H2R may not be the only one to be careful with. In my view, the Olight H1 Nova is plenty bright enough for backpacking at 500 lumens for the maximum setting. The lower settings are more than adequate. Indeed, second lowest mode is fine for around camp. So, I’m very happy to still recommend the H1 Nova as a backpacking torch/headtorch.

Olight H1 Nova torch

I hardly ever get offered free samples these days. I’m not that bothered as most stuff on offer doesn’t interest me. However, I was contacted by Olight via a friend to see if I was interested in reviewing one of their extensive range of torches.

My interest was piqued by the Olight H1 Nova, which looks like a mini version of a Zebralight. A few emails later and I received an H1 Nova to review just in time to take to Scotland. While you don’t really need such a powerful headtorch for Scotland in May, it gave me a chance to test it.

The H1 Nova comes in a neat little case with a battery, head band and a clip for attaching to a strap. There’s an instruction manual and a leaflet on other products. It looks and feels very well made. Weight is 39g for the torch and 29g for the headband. It uses widely available CR123A batteries and has a maximum light intensity of 500 lumens. There are five lighting modes plus an SOS feature, which flashes a distress signal (details below).

It’s easy to locate the torch into the headband. It’s held firmly in place by some bands and the angle of tilt can be adjusted. The on/off switch is at the bulb end . The various modes are relatively easy to select and explained in the manual. I found it easier to play about and select the modes on the Olight than my Zebralight. Although not as intense as the Zebralight, the highest setting was almost like a searchlight. I found Mode 4 (15 lumens) and Mode 3 (60 lumens) to be the most useful.It was very comfortable to wear as a headtorch and to use as a stand alone torch.

The body is metal and it has a Cree XM-L2 LED bulb. It’s worth mentioning that it is also waterproof to IPX8, (1-3m sustained immersion), so should be plenty good enough for backpacking. The base is magnetic so you can attach it to a suitable metal surface. One caveat for backpackers is that the magnet is quite strong, so you want to keep it well away from your compass!   I am impressed by the build quality.

I did a quick comparison with my Zebralight H600W Mk3 and Petzl Tikka XP at home. On its highest setting, the Zebralight is over twice as bright at 1,126 Lm, but overkill for most purposes. On its second brightest setting, it’s about the same as the Nova. As you can see from the picture, it’s about twice the size.

It weighs 86g for the torch and the headband is 40g. Used as a headtorch, the Nova feels less bulky and cumbersome (not that the Zebralight is at all bad!). The Zebralight uses 18650 batteries (I’ve got rechargeable ones), which are less widely available than the ones used in the Nova. Selecting the various modes on the Nova is easier than the Zebralight too. I still think the Zebralight is a great torch BTW.

My Petzl Tikka XP is the old version. It weighs slightly more than the Nova at 75g (all weights include batteries). It has a maximum brightness of 60 Lm. It’s a great headtorch but it’s definitely been left behind by the Nova, which is lighter, brighter and has more modes.

I really like the Olight H1 Nova and it worked well in Scotland. It combines much of the functionality and brightness of a Zebralight and is lighter than a Petzl Tikka XP. The build quality is high and there’s nothing to fault. My only caveat is the magnetic base. Don’t put it near a compass! To make it perfect, Olight could include a non-magnetic base cap to prevent any accidents.

If you’re interested in buying one, they are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7UWGVK . This is not an affiliate link and I receive no money for this link.

Disclosure: I was given the H1 Nova free of charge on the understanding that I have full editorial control over the review and was under no obligation to Olight. I have no commercial or financial relationship with Olight. I never accept payment for reviews and always retain full editorial discretion.

 

TGO Challenge 2018 stories

We are starting to see trip reports from various TGO Challengers on blogs and forums. They are always fun to read. This year was blessed with particularly good weather after the first day.

Alex Roddie, TGO magazine’s social media coordinator will be highlighting blog accounts as they appear over the next few weeks on the TGO Blogger Network page. Sneakily, my “Not The TGO Challenge” account has been slipped in.

I’m looking forward to more from Judith, who has started her day by day posts, although she actually did a few while on the Challenge. Great fun, and well worth a read. https://aroundthehills.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/tgoc2018-a-photo-a-day-day-0-anticipation/

JJ walked most of his Challenge in a “Sports Kilt”. Rather him than me! http://adventures-with-jj.blogspot.com

Matthew started at Oban and I’m looking forward to reading more about his crossing. Apart from being an entertaining blogger he’s also a talented artist. https://backpackartist.com/2018/06/02/tgo-challenge-2018-day-1-oban-to-loch-etive/

André from Sweden is publishing a series of videos on YouTube. Here’s a link to a thread on the Trek Lite forum with his videos http://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/tgo-challenge-2018-shiel-bridge-to-dunnottar-castle.4645/

Neil has also published an account of his crossing on Trek Lite, which is well worth a read http://www.trek-lite.com/index.php?threads/tgo-mallaig-to-st-cyrus-part-1.4650/#post-93269

Those are ones I’ve spotted so far. I’m waiting with some trepidation for Alan Sloman’s account 🤪

Not The TGO Challenge Gear Feedback

Overall I was pleased with my gear choices for this trip. In particular I was glad that I use my Lightwave Ultrahike as it carried the extra weight well and definitely the right choice. I managed to do without the Inov-8 belt pack for the majority of the time and should’ve left it behind. The Tread Lite shoulder strap camera pouch was excellent and compensated for no hip pockets.

The Tramplite shelter was fine, coping with the strong winds on Saturday night/Sunday morning really well. For choice, it’s a little cramped inside and if weight had not been a major consideration, I would’ve taken my Scarp. However, the Tramplite is half the weight. My sleeping system of As Tucas down quilt and Thermarest X Lite short was perfect. The new Sea to Summit Aeros UL pillow was comfortable, especially if slightly under inflated.

In terms of clothing, I loved the Rab Interval T. The thin material evaporates sweat quickly and didn’t smell even wearing it for four days in a row. Even though it wasn’t that cold, I was glad of the As Tucas Sestrals insulated trousers in the evening. The Berghaus Furnace jacket was about right, but if it had been colder, I would’ve preferred my PHD Minimus jacket. I slept in my Helley Hansen Lifa long sleeve polo shirt. It wasn’t as warm as I thought it would be and I think I’d take a warmer layer for this kind of trip in future. The Paramo 3rd Element jacket worked well and I appreciated the flexibility of being able to use it as a gilet. I really liked my new Outdoor Research Swift cap. The partial mesh kept me cool and largely sweat free, while the solid crown gave me adequate sun protection. The one thing I wish I’d taken was my Montane Featherlite windproof smock. At 88g, it weighs virtually nothing and I should’ve taken it.

I didn’t need my waders, but they are good insurance. I left my umbrella behind, but I didn’t have any occasion where I could’ve used it. I was pleased with my Olight Nova H1 headtorch and I will do a separate review. I had a new Tread Lite USB lantern, which was excellent. I used an Anker Power Core 10000 battery charging pack for my iPhone, which not only carried enough power to charge my iPhone most days with plenty to spare, it was also quick to charge and very light for its capacity at 177g. I should also mention my Bioskin neoprene knee support which was a real life saver when I tweaked a knee ligament on the first day.

If I go on next year’s Challenge, I would probably swap out the Ultrahike for the Tramplite Pack as I wouldn’t be carrying so much food. I’d take a warmer sleeping base layer top, a windproof smock or jacket and probably a warmer down jacket. Beyond that, my gear wouldn’t be much different.

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