The Fenix HM65R Head Torch has become an accessory that is always in my bag or backpack. Be it for camping or be it for hiking during dark hours.
I have done many a trek or expedition that involves the need of a head torch but this little bit of kit is underestimated when buying all our outdoor gear. Try finding your way around at night on a campsite or wild camping and navigating without good hands free light.
Earlier this year I got hold of the Fenix HM65R and have used it extensively. Even more so now the nights are getting earlier. I can say that many off the shelf head torches I have bought in the past have been like disposable products to me. Cheap to buy, low battery life, not enough light, cheap casings that fall apart.
This one does the job and then some with lots of extras I didn’t know I needed from a head torch.
The Uses of Head Torches
Head torches are simply that, a torch that sits on your forehead so that not only can you work hands free but you can navigate in the dark better, see what you are doing better and have a light to hand at all times.
Take arriving at a campsite at night for example. I have sat and watched many a family struggle. Not literally with the tent but the fact they are holding a standard light or torch in one hand or can’t see properly if they have to put that down to use 2 hands. Or they annoy the whole campsite by having to use their car lights to see what they are doing. A head torch points where you look and with the Fenix there are different modes as I shall explain shortly.
Or maybe you are walking and it is now dark. You need to see where you are stepping on a rocky terrain or within woods. You are afraid of using the phones torch for battery or a normal torch is cumbersome. A head torch would alleviate all those problems.
Why, I use mine daily on the early morning dog walk. No waiting till it gets light. Hands free walking yet seeing where I am going as well as seeing where the dogs are.
Now then let us delve deeper into this particular head torch.
Brightness and Modes
As you can see in the photos, the Fenix HM65R has 2 LED headlamps on the front. This enables 2 modes and the brightness for what you need at that moment.
First we need to talk lumens. Without going all scientific, lumens is the measurement of light and brightness that is given out from the source.
When buying lights and bulbs we often think of watts, but it is the amount of lumens that is the measurement for how much light is given off.
To put the following review into perspective, remember the average 60w lightbulb gives off around 800 lumens.
The main big light on this head torch is your spotlight and that gives out 1000 lumens. That is a lot of light I can assure you for a headtorch spotlight.
This spotlight reaches over 160 metres which is fantastic for looking at something ahead.
One of the great things I have found too is that you are not fixed at 1000 lumens with the spotlight. Feeling like a lighthouse in certain situations.
You can toggle through and lower to 400, 130 and 50 lumens. Even the 50 gives you a spotlight over 30 metres and perfect for concentrating on what you are doing, eg putting up a tent. As well as using the battery well.
The smaller headlamp is your floodlight. This is for shining the light over the whole area in front of you. The scenario if you are hiking in the dark or walking through a camp site.
This light goes up to 400 lumens and with a distance of 55 metres this is more than enough to see where you are going.
Both at Once
Yes, you can have both lights on at once! This combines to give you 1400 lumens. This is bright, very bright. Consider the average head torch that many buy cheaper off the shelf goes to around 200-300 lumens.
Another annoyance I have had in the past is the amount of batteries I have to carry around when using a head torch with extended use. Disposable AAA or AA batteries for when you never know the batteries will run out.
The Fenix HM65R has answered this problem by having a big rechargeable battery. Not only rechargeable but you can remove and replace too.
The battery is a whopping 3500 (18650) mAh lithium-ion and you can charge the headtorch with the battery within it via USB-C. You can charge at home or recharge with a power pack on the go. Remember you can always buy a second battery too.
How long does the power last?
OK, I tried to test this in the wild on a long weekend camping trip (5 days) and I got nowhere near using up one charge at all.
Sitting out of the tent reading, walking with the dogs early and late, getting cooking equipment set up in the dark. I used it often but the power kept in giving.
The book says that if you use at lowest settings it can last 300 hours. I would say that if you use it for spotlight and floodlight and never need full beam, which is most cases, then you can easily get 100 hours out of one charge.
Oh, and another thing with power. If you start to run low really on power it will enter power save mode. Keep you with light longer by lowering the lumens per mode.
Ease of Use
The buttons on top of the torch are easy to use and not fiddly at all. You can feel them with ease without having to fumble around trying to locate the right button.
You can have the head torch pointing straight out ahead or you can swivel it downwards to point at your feet. The solidity enable it to click in each position as you move it.
One thing I do appreciate is the memory of where you left off. What I mean is that it remembers what setting you had on when you switch it off, and comes on with that. Not start from scratch toggling through torch level settings each time you switch it on.
This head torch was built to last a lot longer than your average that is for sure. Built using magnesium materials that not only makes it rugged but lighter than other materials too.
It has an IP68 waterproof rating that allows it to accidentally submerge in water up to 2 metres plus it is dust and dirt resistant. What you need in the outdoors for sure.
I have been guilty myself in the past of using basic head torches and going through them every season. With the Fenix HM65R I now have a long lasting, durable, very usable head torch that will last me years.
I use it now all the time for walking, hiking, dog walks, camping both wild and at camp sites. Something that lives in my back pack.
Plus, just because you intend to do a big day walk you never know what could happen and you could end up out in the dark. Better to be safe than sorry.
Where to Buy
The best place to buy the Fenix HM65R from is direct from the Fenix store. As with all these things, warranties and knowing where you are buying from makes a huge difference.