Headlamps have improved dramatically in recent years. No longer is there need to be weighed down with crippling heavy batteries that require so many straps and harnesses so you end up looking like a fighter pilot. And with the superior longevity of battery life on LED units there should never be a need to suffer that dreaded dying of light half way through a good session. Having suffered too many fading ‘light deaths’, I finally bit the bullet and binned my tired headlamp – weighty battery, strap knitting and all – in favour of a modern LED forehead adornment.
I have used many of the smaller cheap and cheerful multi-LED eBay lamps, and although they make excellent backups, they do not provide anything like enough light to safely navigate testing fishing environs such as rocks and cliff edges. And neither do they offer the serious angler the light he demands for routine night fishing in the absence of a degree of illumination from the likes of pier or promenade lighting, or where an additional static petrol or electric lamp is not used.
Recent developments at work involved me having to install high performance external LED light fittings, so I was acutely aware that away from these smaller cheap LED devices there was another world of LED technology emerging. I set upon scanning the internet for my new weapon of choice and after some consideration I eventually opted for the Silva LX which is the brightest of their L-series. To a tackle-tart like me, at a glance, it looked a stylish, lightweight but powerful headlamp boasting a single 5 Watt LED device.
Let there be light
The Silva LX headlamp utilises the latest 5 Watt high performance LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology. Based around the Luxeon K2 5 Watt high performance LED, the Silva LX boasts an impressive light output of a whopping 160 lumens, which is apparently something similar to the light generated in a small thermonuclear explosion, or similarly, that of a match held close to my rear after a strong curry! In fact when I first flicked the switch on the beach the word “lighthouse” was used more than once among those assembled.
The clarity and quality of light output is exceptional: I’d describe the light produced as a very clean, brilliant ‘white’. On the ‘ultra bright’ setting the LX gives a very impressive 75 metre beam from its single LED device. During a recent match I had to drop down the output setting to mark my score card as the reflection was almost blinding as it bounced off the white card. Even on the lowest ‘power save’ setting the output is more than enough for normal fishing conditions. And set thus you have up to 50 hours continuous use… just incredible!
The headlamp is mounted on a comfortable single adjustable band with the lamp itself being able to swivel on the vertical axis, while it weighs just 73g which is a mere 2½ ounces. It comes complete with charger which has charging indicator, an adjustable waist belt, a mesh carry bag and a compact 4.5Ah NiMH battery pack which weighs only 360g or 13 ounces inclusive of the carry-case and belt.
Also included are red and transparent wide beam lenses which clip on to the front of the lamp. An optional 9.0Ah NiMH battery is available, but to be honest I see no reason you could ever want this as bog standard battery life is between 15 and 50 hours dependant on the light setting.
The ability to operate safely is paramount when night fishing in what some might regard as precarious locations, and equipment performance and reliability is key. The Silva LX cuts it on both fronts, leaving my old lamp for dead. Wearing a headlamp all night no longer feels like a punishment. And the LX doesn’t take up much space in a tackle box or rucksack either.
Battery life: 50 hours on power save, 30 hours on bright and 15 hours on ultra bright.
Charge time: 4 hours.
Best price found at publication: £75 from Above and Beyond Ltd