Develop - what's new from the Alpkit Design Team
Illuminating our Head Torch Development
26, Sep, 2018
We're on a mission to extend the summer. Step 1: develop a new range of head torches to brighten up the evenings. Rowan from the design team tells us more.
Head torches have always been one of our key products, and we were early adopters of cost effective, lightweight LEDs.
Improvements in technology have always kept us innovating and updating. So our range has evolved over time, with some products coming and going whilst others have stood the test of time. The Gamma (now in its third iteration) is still one of our most popular bits of kit, still getting an overwhelmingly positive reception.
We receive a lot of feedback on our torches, perhaps because we rely on them so much that we really notice when they don’t perform. We spent the summer developing a new range of head torches ready for when the evenings begin to get shorter and we turn to our torches to keep us going. This need for reliability has been the focal point for our new range.
A range of specialists
In addition to feedback, we often get asked “which head torch should I get?”.
Finding the perfect balance between brightness and burn time for your needs is difficult when every torch is labelled ‘multi-use’. The new range aims to clear the confusion – want a dependable, go anywhere, adventure torch? Choose the Prism. Need a torch that will last the whole night on your ultramarathon? Choose the Manta. Choosing the right torch doesn’t need to be difficult, so we’ve tried to keep it simple.
Drawing from your experiences
Customer feedback was integral to the development of our latest range. It meant we didn’t need to start with a blank piece of paper, we could recall the experiences of many and use this as the focus in the development of a range.
Naturally, the most difficult part of this process was deciding which feedback to use: we couldn’t produce a torch that answered every question. For instance, we decided to swap the button location on the Viper from the bottom to the top as your feedback suggested operating the button with your thumb is more difficult than your forefinger. We agreed and made the switch.
Developing a whole range
Developing a new range has its benefits and disadvantages. By creating a whole range, we were able to offer something for everyone. Whether you run, hike, climb or camp, you’ll find a torch that works for you rather than having to opt for a dual purpose torch which do neither particularly well. On the flip side, it meant 5 times more work whittling down the options.
You’ll find more detail about individual features on the product pages, but we made general improvements to how the range itself was structured.
To begin with we’ve added more rechargeable options (Gamma, Prism and the Manta) as, with improvements in technology, this has now become more and more common. Nevertheless, the simplicity and reliability of Alkaline batteries is still popular and effective – hence the Muon and Viper remain traditional. The Qark offers both the rechargeable battery pack and compatibility with Alkaline batteries, for those who need the option.
We’ve also made the move to offer overhead straps on all the torches. Don’t worry they are all removable, but offer greater security if necessary.
The final note is that we’ve tried to improve usability. Whilst fancy features like hands-free operation look good on paper, they actually add complications and cause frustration when what you need most is reliability. Physical buttons might be old hat, but we all know how to use them and they very rarely fail. Next time you click the torch on in a panic to find your car keys, you’ll be relieved to have a usable and reliable torch!
MuonLight and compact 450 lumen head torch with 2 hours burn time for done-in-an-evening adventures, early mornings at camp and crag escapes£15.99
Viper240 lumen rainproof head torch with reactive lighting mode that strikes the balance between brightness and burn time. Compact, light, and handy for all-manner of adventures£23.99
Gamma IIIRunning head torch with 180 lumen white, red and green LEDs, a rear battery pack, and a rear red caution light.£25.99
Qark580 lumen rechargeable head torch. Compatible with AAA batteries for when you’re recharging your battery pack, it’s perfect for climbing, trekking, mountaineering, and multi-day adventures£32.99
PrismUSB rechargeable waterproof and drop proof head torch with 400 lumen boost mode that can cope with whatever you throw at it, ideal for adverse conditions and remote places£39.99