Moonlight Mountain Gear ‘Bright as Day’ Headlamp Reviews

The tagline, ‘Darkness is not an excuse anymore’ most certainly rings true with the head torches from Norwegian brand, Moonlight Mountain Gear.

Based in Burtfjord, Northern Norway, Moonlight have a great opportunity to test and build head torches to survive the cold and relentless darkness of Norwegian winters. It’s with that in mind that the ‘Bright as Day’ (BAD) products were created.

Read a guide on headlamps HERE

Quite simply, the engineers wanted to ski at any time, regardless of conditions. They have products that provide 3200, 6000 and 12.000 lumen.

There is a head torch for everyone and the ability to interchange components for increased flexibility.

BAD 2000

I have recently been testing both the BAD 700 and BAD 2000 lumen products, for mountain, ultra and trail running, these two products work perfectly. The beefier and more powerful BAD 3200 is better suited to skiing, mountain biking and sports that are taken at a faster pace and when visibility and response time is crucial.

BAD 2000

The 2000 is a new product, updated from the previous 1800 lumen version. In addition to 200 extra lumens, electronics have been upgraded and the cooling system allows the torch to deliver a full 2000 for the battery life. Covering 15-30 degrees the torch will last 1.5 hours on full power, 3 hours on 50%, 6 hours on 25% and 20 hours at 5% all provided by a rechargeable Li-ion 2 cell 9600mAh 3.7v battery that has a life go 500 cycles. Charge time is 3.5 hours. 

Lamp on GoPro attachment

One of the unique design USP’s is that the lamp head attachment system is compatible with GoPro QuickClip, therefore, as way of an example, you may have a GoPro attachment on a helmet for action filming, this attachment also takes the head lamp. Equally, head straps and other similar products from the GoPro range are compatible.

With an IP 67 waterproof rating, the head torch will function in heavy rain and humidity.

An LED inside the light housing indicates battery level, blue 80-100%, flashing blue 50-80%, red 30-50% and flashing red is less than 30%. When the torch reaches 10% or lower, the lamp head will flash three times and then drop to the lowest power setting. This is a feature that acts as a warning allowing you to reduce pace (for safety) and make adequate decisions so that you can return home OR change the battery with a spare.

Charging is via USB cable and the battery is USB C.

Interchangeable battery

The Moonlight batteries are interchangeable between all the lamp heads and importantly can be used on or off the head strap. A 1-meter extension cable is provided. This is really important in subzero temperatures.

Extension cable for off-head battery storage

The facility to store the battery inside a jacket and keeping it warm will ensure a longer life. Also, when running, the ability to use a heavier battery without it adding weight to the head area is a key feature. A spare battery in 999 Krone which equates to £80.00

The head torch in not cheap, 2299 Krone if £185.00.

In Use

I am not a fan of the headbands that come over the top of the head and around the head. However, if using the battery on the headband for the 2000, the middle strap is important to help distribute the weight and stop any movement. It’s a problem if you want to use a peaked cap but no issue if wearing a beanie, Buff or headband.

The weight (298g) is at the manageable end of comfort for a torch that provides such brightness. But as a preference, for running, I have preferred to store the battery in my run pack. It is much more comfortable, and it also means that I can adapt the headband and not use the elastic that goes over my head, just the strap that goes around.

Brightness and spread of light are superb. In all honesty, the 2000 lumen setting is not really required for running, it’s almost too bright. The only time I used at this power was on technical sections when I really needed to see what lay ahead, even then, with reduced pace, 50% power or less was more than adequate. You need to ask do you really need 2000 lumen head torch, if not, the BAD 700 is the way to go…

The 2000 is a brilliant light for fast trail runners who really need to see everything and react in a split second, but for me, it’s better suited to mountain bikers and skiers.

BAD 700

BAD 700

Keeping in mind that the BAD 700 is 1199 Krone (£100), a considerable £85.00 cheaper than the BAD 2000, you really need to ask yourself as runner, do I need more lumen than 700?

Personally speaking, I think not.

700 lumens really are very powerful on the trail. When one considers night running pace, 700 lumen power really illuminates the trail to show you everything that you need to see, and it allows you enough light to react and change direction.

All the features of the 2000 or in the 700 including GoPro compatibility, 15-30 degree light scattering, guaranteed light consistency and so on. Weighing in at 180g with battery (head lamp 40g) is 118g lighter than the 2000, that is significant when running!

As with the 2000, an LED inside the light housing indicates battery level, blue 80-100%, flashing blue 50-80%, red 30-50% and flashing red is less than 30%. When the torch reaches 10% or lower, the lamp head will flash three times and then drop to the lowest power setting. This is a feature that acts as a warning allowing you to reduce pace (for safety) and make adequate decisions so that you can return home OR change the battery with a spare.

One of the plus sides of the 700 is that it is compatible with other batteries in the Moonlight range. By way of example, you could purchase the 1800/2000 Im 3.7v battery (which powers the 2000) and use it with the 700 head. This would extend the full power autonomy from 1.5 hours to 4.5 hours and at the lowest setting, you would get a whopping 60 hours!

Like the 2000, the battery can be stored on or off the headband and a 1m extension cable is provided.

The flexibility with GoPro fittings is superb and allows multiple options for attaching and fixing.

Charging is via USB cable and the battery is USB C.

In Use

For running, the 700 is perfect for me and if the battery is mounted on the headband, preferable to the 2000. The weight balance is ideal when running, whereas, the 2000 battery on the head feels a little too heavy.

The beam is perfect and consistent which is extremely important and for most, 50% or 25% would be enough for most runs, this provides 3 to 6 hours of life. If you occasionally go to full beam, then you can estimate 2 to 5 hours.

A spare battery is 799 Krone which equates to £65 and this would be a good purchase so that you can alternate batteries or carry a spare on the trail.

Easy to use, consistent power and great durability make this a ‘go-to’ product that really withstands harsh weather.

Conclusions

The head torch market has a plethora of options out there and it’s extremely competitive. It’s possible to purchase budget products that kind of ‘do the job’ but one always feels a little compromised. There also products out there can adjust power automatically – I have yet to have one work correctly! Some connect to your phone via an app, others state a really long life only for you to find that burn time is a fraction of what is stated.

Moonlight is lacking in frills. They have great design, awesome products that does what the manufacturer says. They burn for the length of time expected and without losing brightness as the battery loses its power. The removable battery, extension cable, interchangeability and the GoPro mount flexibility make them an excellent choice.

The BAD 700 is the way to go for runners, however, some of you out there may well need that 2000 blast, only you will know that!

Although not cheap, you get what you pay for and one thing is for sure, they will last.

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Who is Karl Egloff? – Part one

CAF_3060Many of you will be familiar with the mountain Aconcagua, primarily because of Kilian Jornet and his recent record set in December. Well recently Karl Egloff, 33 from Ecuador has broke Kilian Jornet’s record with a time of 11:52 (57-minutes quicker than Kilian) I like many others wondered, who is Karl Egloff?

READ HERE

I caught up with Karl just days after his impressive record on Aconcagua. I discussed in-depth his background, home life, sporting background and how he may now be considered a speed-climbing phenomenon.

This week we bring you part one of this two-part interview

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KE: I’m so happy I just came back a couple of days ago from Argentina, I feel good and I’m happy, there are a lot of things going around right now and I’m happy to talk to you guys.

IC: It’s great to have you here and I really do appreciate you finding the time to talk to us. Before we talk to you about Aconcagua, a lot of people all around the world are saying who is Karl? Who is he? What his background? I said that you are 33 and you were born in Ecuador. Your father was a mounting guide if I’m correct?

KE: Yes he is and yes, I’m 33. I was born here in Quito, its very high here actually 2000+ metres. My mother was half Ecuadorian half Swiss, she met my father during studies and they made the decision to move to Ecuador and make their lives here, we three kids where all born here. My father is a mountain guide and he took me to the mountains at a very early age. He even took me as a baby in a large backpack.

I went up to the huts of our big mountains here in Ecuador and if he was climbing with a client up to around 1000 metres, I would go too… I got a in the mountains pretty young and as soon as I could talk I would just discuss mountains about mountaineering. My mother was not very happy about that, she was always telling me not to choose the mountain guide career; she was a little bit worried about it. She said it’s very difficult to be at home and to have a family, its difficult because it has the seasons. She was always telling me about other professions, but it’s kind of impossible being a son of a mountain guide. I had homework about beautiful mountains all over the world and I was always asking so much he used to say please Karl stop asking me.

DCIM999GOPRO

When I was 15 I got the chance for the first time to climb with him the first glacier here in Ecuador. My father told me, “when you are 15 I will take you because you are at an age where you can realise what you’re doing.” Finally when I did it I was standing up on the summit and he said,

“Son, you have really a lot of energy so I think you should help me with guiding from now on.”

I guess that when things really started for me, I was guiding with him almost every weekend up to 6000 ft.

Unfortunately my mother died when I was 17, so us three kids decided to go study, I went to Switzerland. I was living in Zurich for around 8-years and during my studies I went up to the mountains every time I could; to snowboard, to go jogging and to go trekking.

I finally returned to Ecuador at 26-years old, I actually tried to be a professional football player because here in Ecuador you grow up with football, it’s much more of ‘the’ sport it’s like in the UK. Football is a religion. .

IC: Before you tell me about your football, let’s go back a little bit and talk about your father being a mountain guide and the way that you were brought up, your story is so similar to Kilian Jornet. His father worked in the mountains, his father and his family lived at a refuge, and really from babies they were just born and bred on the mountains, and of course it’s that lifestyle, that permanent lifestyle that adapts you to be maybe an athlete that not only performs exceptionally well in many sports but particular high altitude sports.

KE: I read Kilian’s book and when I was reading it, it seemed like I was reading my story and especially regarding the altitude he was at, I was living at the 2400 metres and we used to go up with my father into the mountains and down into the valley, While reading I found a similarity when Kilian said he used to go out at night without the lights and sit with the nature. I did those things with my father too. I was with nature a great deal. I was always following the paths of different animals and I constantly asked many questions to my father.

When I got bored and the clients were tired I would go to my father at night and ask, “Why isn’t the sun up already/” I was impatient but he told me,

“It’s dangerous on the mountains and you can die up there.”

I would say no, no everything is ok…

When I got older my father used to give me some slack. I could go up to the summit or climb the path for the next days trek. I had already climbed the mountains. My father would just followed me with binoculars and show me whether to go, to the left or right with his hands. So yes pretty similar as Kilian.

IC: Yeah very similar. And of course Kilian a little bit like yourself didn’t start out as a trail runner or an alpinist, he started out in ski mountaineering and skiing and you were just telling us that football was a passion for you.

KE: Yes, definitely. Football is like a religion in Ecuador, you do nothing else but soccer at school, everyone is asking for the teams. No other sport exists. So actually for me the way I feel free is to do sports; it’s like a drug That is why I used to do my homework quickly so in the afternoon I had enough time to organise another soccer game or another competition at home and so yes definitely football for me became everything. When my mother asked me what I want to do when I leave school I said, ‘I want to be a professional football player,’ and she said forget it, sports won’t get you anywhere.

My coaches said have the energy and the talent, but my mother being from South America was very conservative. Before she died she said I don’t care what you do just don’t become a mountain guide or a sportsman, now here I am, 10-years later and I am both. I tried really hard to please my mother, so I started academics. I started in Switzerland, I tried to work in other places too but I was never happy, this is the most important thing; you must follow your happiness! When I returned back to Ecuador I really had to have a year off before starting a new business and starting my new tourism agency and in those days I started to go biking.

I used my bike to go to and from the gym. There is a very funny story where a guy said to me, ‘I heard you have a lot of energy Karl, would you like to join me as a bike partner in the most important mountain bike race in Ecuador?’ I said, yes but I didn’t have any experience in competing on the bike, I lacked the technique. He just said, ‘Don’t worry come with us.’

So eventually I went with him to the mountain bike race and when I waited on the start I asked him about all the cyclists who looked so professional? His reply was so funny, ‘Professionals? Yes, this is the most important race here in Ecuador and all the international professional mountain bike racers are here.’

I was too eager but I had a great race. After a sponsor came and said, ‘Karl we want to sponsor you.’ It was great news, it was my first race and I felt under qualified but they told me not to worry and come to the office on Monday!

IC: Wow perfect, that’s nice!

KE: Yeah it was, I was 26 and I said ok, So I started to train and train and train and after 2 years I started to travel with the national team to different competitions and to championships and then finally I qualified for the world cup in 2011 in Italy as the first Columbian mountain biker. A year later I qualified for the next world cup in France and then I got invited to the professional team. I started actually to be a good biker…

IC: So it was a really exciting time to just test yourself in sport but while this was going on while you were involved in mountain biking were you still mountain guiding?

DCIM999GOPRO

KE: I was yes, exactly. I started in 2007 at my first agency and then 5-years later I started my own company. Biking was also a big part of my life, I was really happy with biking but there is a point where it costs a lot of money, you have to go for International championships and you need to live somewhere else. So we had a family decision, we sat down and discussed my options. I was 31-years old, which is relatively old in mountain biking, so I decided to quit!

IC: It’s interesting that you say at the age of 31 there’s no future for you in biking, you were obviously very good at it and carried over fitness and strength from trekking and as a tour leader. 31 is quite young to think that there’s no possible future. Do you think back now with your running success and think you made the wrong decision?

KE: Yes of course, I think the main point here is that we live in a very conservative country were sports is not a future, you don’t grow up here with your parents saying yeah go play tennis… become professional and so on. I was criticised by my family, they said sports would not get me anywhere. I had an opportunity to work for a Swiss mountain guide company and they gave me the chance to work as a mountain guide in Kilimanjaro and a few other places. It was a great opportunity, I was getting a salary but they wanted me to focus on the job so I could manage all business here in Ecuador.

IC: So it was a career decision, a business decision and family ties to the mountain. I guess it didn’t really feel like you were giving up sport but just changing disciplines.

KE: Exactly, I was always jogging I was always training but I never competed as I never saw it as a competition. Nobody thought about running here before but now it’s the second biggest sport after football. In 2012 I quit the biking and focused on the job and in 2013 really focused on guiding and a lot of doors opened for me. I was in Nepal and other countries and I was earning for the first time in my life. For me it was like, oh finally I have money I can get a car and grow up with the company; this is why I slowed down but I never stopped completely.

IC: Cool so let me come to Kilimanjaro. That is when I first became aware of your name and funnily even though you broke kilian’s record on Kilimanjaro it still didn’t really get much recognition. It was reported in several places but it didn’t get worldwide exposure, it was a bit under the radar. But I can see now knowing your history why you would make an attempt on Kilimanjaro. With your background is the seven summits now on your mind?

KE: Exactly it all started in 2012. My friend Nicolas who is now part of my team asked me to’ rabbit’ him up to a summit; actually one of the highest mountains we have here in Ecuador. It is almost the same altitude as Kilimanjaro. We were stood in the car park and he said to me, let’s go for the record! It’s funny, I had never run on the mountain and he said that’s why I have brought you here to help me on the mountain and make you faster. I wondered if I was fast enough or if I was any good? When I reached the summit I realised I had broke the record by 25-minutes. On the way down I met Nicola and I said I was sorry for leaving him behind but he just laughed and said, ‘Don’t worry, this was the only way I could get you to realise how good you are at this.’

I continued down and broke the world record and it became big news here in Ecuador. A lot of people criticised as they said the mountain was dangerous and that people can die on the mountain. But I am a mountain guide so I know how dangerous it is.

DCIM999GOPRO

*****

Tune in next week for part two.

How does Karl prove and verify his records?

Read about Karl’s Kilimanjaro record and read how he managed to knock 57-minutes off Kilian Jornet’s Aconcagua record.

all images provided by Karl Egloff ©

You can ‘HEAR’ the full interview on episode 82 of TALK ULTRA published on iTunes March 6th. The show is available for free – please subscribe!