Alpkit Viper II (2017)

Features

The Alpkit Viper II’s power output is very high for such a low-priced item, but the burn times are relatively short. The 280 lumens is only available for a short burst and the useful 160 lumens drops off after 2½ hours. The 3xAAA batteries can be changed easily though. Operation is via two buttons for basic but simple functionality. The head has a good ratchet tilt. All that for 96g is very good. 4/5

Design

The front housing has a main white LED plus two small red LEDs. The battery housing opens easily and neatly to take the three AAAs. The operation is via two very small buttons on the base of the housing, which offer precise control; but bigger buttons would be better for use with gloves. The wide headband adjusts easily. 4/5

Comfort

The Alpkit Viper II is very light and compact, so it feels good on the head – and I found it comfier against the forehead than other low-priced options due to good curvature of the housing and a relatively thick headband. When tilting the head that comfort is not impaired. Higher-priced options have even more padding though. 4/5

In use

The weight and size make the Alpkit Viper II ideal for stashing in a pack. Operation is a bit fiddly but plenty good enough. The functions are primarily about high power, making this ideal for night descents, but burn times are short, so you may need to change the batteries on the hill, which is not great. The head tilts well though, and this is certainly a workable option. 4/5

Value

The price is excellent for the power on offer, but you can only buy this headtorch direct from the manufacturer. 5/5

Verdict

The power and short burn times on offer make the Alpkit Viper II best for occasional short night action, but the price is excellent. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2017