Alpkit Lighting, Gamma and Bulb reviews

I’ve had these on test for a few months now. The Bulb has been on every ovenighter since it arrived, and the Gamma has been a regular pack essential, getting just the occasional chance to shine. But isn’t that a headtorch’s function? Sitting there until you need it and then has to work like a charm.
The detail is well covered on the Alpkit website, as ever all I want to know is what it’s like on the hill.

The bulb is a chunky wee thing, it looks a bit like an old miners lamp. It has a button on the side with a tiny dull green LED, which as advertised does indeed make it easier to find in the dark. The button is quite sensitive so pack it carefully or you’ll think that your rucksack is like your fridge and the light comes on when you open the door. Except your battery will be getting flat.
It’s nice and bright, it makes the tent cheery when it’s dismal outside. It’s good to have ordinary light, rather than a headtorch beam as well as you can use your peripheral vision and find stuff quicker. When going on night excursions it lights up the tent like a beacon and you can see it from a huge distance on a dark mountain.

It’s a bit heavy, but I don’t give a shit, it’s a cracking wee thing.

The Gamma is another bargain wonder with some differences to the standard. The various high/low/flashing settings mean it cover all the usual bases, but the addition of the small colourd LED’s make it something different. The red LED is great for maintaining night vision and is ideal for camp, nipping out for a pee and the like withouit bedazzling yourself. The green LED is more usuable on the tral as it’s brighter and defines the terrain better, you can even see some of the detail on a map. Walking through pitch dark woodland with the green LED is brilliant fun. Yes, yes, it’s a piece of functional safety equipment, but it’s also fun to go out and play with it. It’s nice and stable on the napper, so much so that I took the centre strap off as you don’t need it unless you’re running with it.

In these days of marketing placing the prospective purchaser in various extreme scenarios and then kitting them out for this imaginary world, it’s nice to get some kit sent in that makes me smile as well doing its job.

20 thoughts on “Alpkit Lighting, Gamma and Bulb reviews”

  1. I’ve owned (no, still own) so many headtorches, but for the price the Gamma had to be bought out of sheer curiosity! :)

    It’s a great bit of kit. It seems to me the only place where they can have traded off performance against cost is in the battery life, but for what it is (and the batteries it takes) that’s hardly a quibble.

    A great ‘walking back from the pub’ light too, with the red LED on the battery box! :O)

  2. Shite, I forgot to mention that bit!

    We’re doing a team-handed night hike this week, I’ll need to stick the Gamma on someone else so I can see how that rear light looks.

  3. Is that a brake light on the Gamma then? I’ve always thought a brake light would be really useful for walkers.

  4. I’ve had the Gamma for a while and swear by it. Used it when car camping, wild camping, looking in the cupboard with no light, blinding friends and colleagues and generally being a twerp. Certainly one of the best buys of all my backpacking gear. Ronseal style.

  5. I’ve got a ‘Bulb’ in the cupboard with the fuse-box,in case of electrical failure,it’s incredibly bright, enough to light a room with in a power-cut.
    Alpkit released the ‘Gamma’ the day after I got my TakTikka XP, so it must therefore be inferior to the Petzl, and the difference in price will be obvious to see in the quality……I hope :(

  6. They’re nice bits of kit. Alpkit are definitley trying, and with new products as well and the branded/sourced stuff (more on that soon).

    Petzl slipped a bit, and they’re catching up again this season. Last summer my favourite torch was a Silva L4, it definitely pays to look around and sometimes take a gamble on an unknown.

  7. This looks very good. I love my PT Apex for winter with its lithium batteries and waterproof construction, but the Gamma looks great for summer backpacks. So two questions – how water proof/resistant is it and does the switch ever get pressed on ‘by mistake’ in your pack like the Bulb?

  8. i got te first alpkit headtorch for free by signing up to a review site ages ago (along with a few quid for every review i did…which soon added up)

    been thinkining about getting the gamma when it comes back in stock as its always worth having a couple of lights ;o)

  9. Petzl lost out I think when they stated that lithium batteries were a no, no imo. I’ve moved to a Hope system, which is brilliant but a little heavy, but I also use it for mountain biking. I still carry a Zipka, and a e-lite lives in the pack, and the old Tikka XP also sees service, but at the price of the alpkit, it makes me wonder what are you getting from Petzl?

  10. The Alpkit Gamma has been bright enough for me to be road running all winter and the wee flashy red LED on the rear gives me more confidence that traffic will spot me. Its also surprisingly stable on the head too.

    At that price I also dont give a hoot how smelly the headband gets from constantly sweating into it.

  11. More-On, the button on the Gamma isn’t as exposed so it hasn’t switched itself on. It’s a smaller torch than it looks on the website, so it packs away well.

    DNF, I’m due to see the new Petzl range imminently, I’ve just had some press stuff through and it looks like they’ve really pulled their finger out if the bumff is to be believed.
    My Myo XP has been a constant during these longer nights it’s a great torch.
    I’m away on a night hike tomorrow with the Silva L1 & remote battery pack which I never got around to using yet. I’ll report back on that.

    Those Black Diamond lights look neat Johnny, I’ll need to see if I can get a hold of one. The BD lighting is good in general, in fact I’ve never used a lot of their stuff but when I do get it it’s always impressive. It’s a shame that the tent I reviewed was in EPIC fabric, in eVent or Gore it would have been a winner as the design is ace.

    BBF, you can wash it you know…

    As Moggy points out, stock is always Alpkit’s banana skin.

  12. “It’s a smaller torch than it looks on the website, so it packs away well.”

    Indeed, mine fits into the smallest Aloksac with a spare set of batteries. The whole thing lives in the lid of my pac in the winter. Once I’ve had the button go on but the lid pocket was jammed full and to be honest I think I was just unlucky.

    Another feature I like is that the main beam starts to pulse or flicker when your batteries are getting low(discovered this on the WHW). Handy because when you flick it on in the house for a second to check the battery level it isnt always apparrent. I’ve been caught with an old petzl that died away to uselessness after a short time in use.

  13. Funnily enough an e+lite lives in my firstaid kit all year round.

    That last anecdote could easily be cross referenced with the bit about learning from experiences on the hill the other day…

  14. Very true.
    We’re always learning new stuff, I like that.

    That point actually goes back to the lightweight thing, it wasn’t “I must have this new thing” it was “What am I carrying all this bollocks for, and why do my feet hurt?”.
    It wasn’t a lifestyle choice, it was kinda logical and led by experience.

    Why all the fuss when you mention it in a public arena it I’ll never know.

  15. I got a Gamma just after they came out and it is an amazing wee torch for the money. Love it. Mind you, worked a bit of OT recently and its going on gadgetry and lightweight clothing, so I’ve got a Petzl e-lite winging its way to me for the summer nights when the torch is a ‘just-in-case’ item.

  16. It’s surprisng how usable it is. I’ve got one in my pocket every day for work and play.
    Wouldn’t have managed that with my old Zoom!

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