How many lumens do I need for night trail running? (Read 293 times)



    I have an old black diamond headlamp, which is rated at 70 lumen and is adequate for running at night on roads, since roads are kinda flat and wide and sometimes have ambient light. It turned out to be almost useless when I used it at a recent trail race. It showed the outline of the single track but I couldn't make out the details of the trail surface at all while running, it was kind of scary not being able to judge depth. So I'm shopping for a new lamp, what brightness rating should I look for? I see some new ones that are up to 350 lumen, is that overkill? I'm worried about the weight of having 4AAA in those (my current one uses 3AAA and I have to keep the band really tight, which is a little uncomfortable after a while)


      Very subjective topic, but here's what I have, fwiw:


      fenix hl55 900 lumens (rechargeables)
      Petzl MYO RXP 140 lumens (3 AA)

      $15 Wal Mart special 50 lumens maybe (3 AAA)


      I feel quite confident on very technical trails (Massanuttens) with the Fenix on its medium setting. I can get by with the Petzl on technical trails and it performed well at Umstead last weekend. I use the cheapie for roads. I also have a few handhelds, all 100 lumens or less that I sometimes use to supplement any of the above, particularly if I want to be able to judge depth on very rocky trails.


      I do not think that 350 is overkill; you will be amazed at how much more confident you are. Just make sure you don't look directly in the awesome volunteers' faces when you come into an aid station.


      As far as weight is concerned, none of the above bother me, though I am usually moving so slow and weighed down with other crap that it doesn't really matter. I am quite happy to get it off my head when the sun comes up though.


        I wear glasses and sometimes struggle with depth perception, I've found that two sources of light help me more than anything.

        Generally, I use a black diamond revolt (130 lumens) on my head and then use a cheapo princeton tec (80 lumens) wrapped around my knuckles or mounted to the chest strap on my pack.


        When I'm out on trails I know well, I just use the Revolt.


        I think 110-130+ is more than adequate most of the time, at least it has been for me.


          I have a Petzl tikka+ Not sure what the lumens are but I never need high except on most difficult trails.

          It has a red light I like to use at night when the moon is full.

            This thread reminded me that I'm not quite confident enough with a Princeton Tec Remix at 125 lumens, so I just ordered the latest version of Petzl Tikka (200 lumens). Both are 3xAAA. Note, battery life becomes a serious problem as light output increases. I am expecting 4 hours tops for the new Tikka using NiMH.

            Joann Y

              Standard issue is probably fine.

                My Petzl Tikka RXP on standard mode is 130 lumens and works fine on wooded trails.  I've never felt the need to take advantage of the Max setting (215 lumens), but its there if I need it. Very dependable light. USB charging. I think the new Reactik is the same as my old RXP.


                  I am not quite sure about it.

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                    The Fennix is INSANELY bright!! My buddy has one we use to climb with at night.



                      I wear glasses and sometimes struggle with depth perception, I've found that two sources of light help me more than anything.


                      This. I use a headlamp and handheld for depth perception

                      You people have issues 


                        I just upgraded from 150 lumens when my Petzl broke to a 300 lumen Black Diamond; while 150 lumens is plenty, I really appreciate the 300 when I'm running on really tricky sections in unfamiliar areas.  I usually only have it on half strength, then it has an option for boost/max when I need it.  Works out perfect for me!!!

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                          I really love my Foxelli MX500 headlamp.   280 lumens and USB rechargeable.   2 hours recharge time, and 100 hours between charges.


                          Waterproof and weighs just 4.4 ounces.  And just $30 on Amazon.  4.5 stars and 2,100 reviews -- so it's pretty popular.



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                            The Inova STS is a great headlamp- they also have the same setup.as a bike light.  265 is the highest lumen rating I think.


                              If you're concerned about all that weight on your head, consider wearing it around your waist.  It puts the light closer to the ground, and weight is not such an issue.  I learned this from a more experienced trail runner when I first started to run trails at night.


                                I am not quite sure about it.