I quite like outdoor gear made in China.
I’ve got a number of reasons for that, which I will save for another article but simply, gear purchased directly from China, is quite simply, affordable. And for me that is hugely appealing.
Nitecore is no exception.
I discovered this brand after hunting for a new headtorch. I know most headtorches are made in China – probably all of them.
First I looked at Alpkits range. Out of stock, and the one I was replacing was Alpkit and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with it.
I couldn’t justify a Petzl. I don’t have £80.00 to burn on a light.
And everything else I looked at on Amazon was questionable.
Then I thought – what do long distance hikers in South East Aisa use? That’s when I came across Nitecore, only to find out, it’s got quite a following here.
Nitcore do a number of torches, from heavyweight ones designed for caving and rescue, to lights designed to be positioned on top of a gun to see the people you are shooting.
So if it’s good enough for shooting people, it’s good enough for use on the trail or around the campsite.
I dug deeper into the extensive product range and discovered the Nitecore NU25 – An ultralight headtorch that packs a reasonable punch considering its size and weight.
This is what the review will be about. The nifty little Nitecore NU25, is your new best friend at night, while on the trail, or setting up camp.
Ultralight hikers, take heed, this one is for you.
Weight: 28 g without headband, 51g with headband.
Dimensions: 2.19″ x 1.36″ x 0.91″ (its really small!)
Built in power indicator (more about that shortly)
Three colours to choose from (I went for black 🦇)
Nitecore NU25 Brightness Levels
Nitecore publish the following brightness levels for the torch
Turbo: 360 lumens – 30 mins runtime
High: 190 lumens – 5 hrs runtime
Mid: 38 lumens – 8 hrs runtime
Low: 1 lumen – 160 hrs runtime
High CRI White Light: 20 lumens – 6 hrs 15 mins runtime
Red Light High: 13 lumens – 7 hrs 45 mins runtime
Red Light Low: 0.9 lumens – 68 hrs runtime
Red Light Caution: 13 lumens – 13 hrs runtime
For the purpose of this review, I wanted to test the Turbo to see if it ran for 30 minutes, from new as suggested. Given the nature of lithium-ion batteries which pretty much all modern electronics use, these times will reduce with use.
Upon testing the torch on Turbo it ran for 40 minutes. I expect that to reduce over time.
Turbo has more than enough power for a spot of Nav, and actually isn’t that much brighter than High, which offers 5 hrs of runtime.
Nitecore NU25 Review
Honestly, I am impressed with this torch.
For the price it’s a bargain, and it performs remarkably well, by that I mean it has a good focus of light, without being too directional, or too spread out.
Some head torches can be very spread out making them great for lighting up a whole tent, but awful for navigation or use in the hills.
The Nitecore NU25 is a good compromise. It reaches ahead by about 20-30 meters on Turbo and 15 meters on High making it good enough for a bit of night Nav, but perhaps not suitable if you are planning to walk in difficult terrain over bad weather during the night.
The headtorch is very ergonomic despite the size. It features a single rubbery button on the top. Hit the right of the button as many times as you need to select the brightness of the main light, or hit the left side for the red light.
In addition, it rocks back and forth on its frame, so positioning is easy, and without much friction.
The torch can be charged via the Micro USB slot, which is hidden under a water-resistant flap at the bottom of the torch. The slot is well made, with the rubber flap being quite substantial and unlike some Micro USB slots isn’t difficult to put a cable into, or isn’t too loose either.
I would however have preferred a USB C slot, which I find more durable in the long run and as they are double-sided, you don’t need to faf around trying to get the plug into the jack.
The headstrap is also well designed. It’s not just a simple elasticated strap. Instead, it features raised rubber ridges to allow for better friction against your head or headwear. It’s easily adjusted, and due to the low weight of the torch, doesn’t need to be overtightened as it really doesn’t pull down at all, unlike some heavier torches.
The torch itself is very light. This will appeal to the ultralight hikers here. Its held together in a robust plastic shell, which doesn’t seem to have any give on it or any points where it can be pressed in or easily crushed in a bag or by stepping on it. Overall the durability is on point with the Nitecore NU25.
Product name – the bad
Honestly, other than the poor choice of USB connection, I’m struggling to figure out what I don’t like about this headtorch.
As with any product from China, don’t expect aftersales. I’m not speaking from experience with this particular product, but I am aware that you are unlikely to find any warranty or guarantee on most products sourced from China.
Product name – the good
I love the low weight of this headtorch, and of course the price, given the quality of the item, especially when compared with other headtorches of a similar specification.
I also really like the look of it. It’s low profile, not looking like a cheap headtorch with a sticking-out lamp or any nonsense that shouldn’t be there. It looks great and most importantly its practical.
Overall thoughts on Product Name
Frankly, if you are in need of a half-decent headtorch that is affordable then I think the Nitecore should be on your shortlist of purchases. You could buy a Black Diamond or Petzl, but expect to pay 2-3 times the price for the same level of performance and durability.
An excellent headtorch for the ultralight enthusiast, novice, and expert alike who don’t want to buy into ‘big brands’ yet want the performance. You cannot really go too far wrong here.
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