Silva Trail Runner Free H Review

When you find the perfect running headlamp you will forget that you even have it on. While lighting performance is definitely important when choosing the right headlamp, how it feels is top priority in my book, if it is too heavy or uncomfortable it becomes a loathsome irritation instead of a valuable implement. The key to finding the ideal headlamp is to find one that feels like an extension of yourself, one that is lightweight, well balanced and has a comfortable fit. The Silva Trail Runner Free H hits those marks with one very small exception.

Silva has released a new string of running headlamps aptly named the Trail Runner Free series. These headlamps are designed specifically for running and feature a new kind of technology where the power cord is integrated into the headband. This in combination with soft textile details delivers a uniquely comfortable run lighting experience.

Comfort of the Silva Trail Runner Free H

There are many headlamps on the market without cords, but that has always implied batteries integrated into the actual headlamp, resulting in uneven weight distribution and unergonomic movement. With Silva’s Free Technology all cords and cables have been woven into the headband, enabling perfect weight distribution and the most ergonomic placement of the headlamp in front and the battery on the back of the head, without any distracting cords between the headlamp and the battery. This brings a comfortable and lightweight experience, no matter if you are running an ultra marathon or simply hitting the road for a quick pre-Sunrise run.

Apart from being perfectly balanced and lightweight, the Trail Runner Free H headlamp feature soft textile details. The headband is cushy, yet firm enough, with a silicone string on the inside of the band that stays in place. And the extension cords, that enable the battery to be moved from the headband to a pocket or a backpack, are flat and covered with a material similar to a shoelace.

Every part of the Trail Runner Free H has been compressed and the unit only weighs 55 gram excluding the batteries. Even if you were to use Silva’s biggest long distance battery, included with Trail Runner Free Ultra, the entire headlamp would still only weigh 141 grams. If that is too much to don on the head, it is easy enough to use the included extension cord and put the battery in a pocket or running pack.

Lights on the Silva Trail Runner Free H

The Trail Runner Free H features Silva’s Intelligent Light. Which means there is a double light beam in the headlamp consisting of a spotlight and a floodlight, with light setting options that are ideal for running. The unique combination of the long reach spotlight and the close floodlight result in less head movement, better control and the ability to tackle technical trails at a higher speeds. The headlamp also features a rear red safety light on the Hybrid Battery Case that can be set to Off, On or Strobe mode making it perfect for visibility during road runs.

Hybrid Battery Case

The versatile battery case that comes with the Trail Runner Free H, called the Hybrid Battery Case, enables the use of both rechargeable and alkaline batteries when using the headlamp for those longer runs or ultras. The Hybrid Battery that is included with the Trail Runner Free H is slim, lightweight and easy to recharge via USB. While I have not done anything over a three hour run in the dark, the Hybrid battery has been more than sufficient on Max and Med modes for such runs.

Pros of the Silva Trail Runner Free H

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Interchangeable Batteries – Rechargeable and Alkaline
  • No Slip Fit
  • Bright – Plenty of Lumens to light up technical trails

Cons of the Silva Trail Runner Free H

  • As I mentioned in the opening paragraph there is one very small exception to the Trail Runner Free H, which is mainly due to the fact that I have become accustomed to straight center aligned forehead mounted headlamps. The main contact point (see picture below – the foam piece) for the Trail Runner Free sits slightly off center on the forehead, giving an out of alignment feel – this off kilter feeling does fade over time, but can be an annoyance on the first few runs.

Specification of the Silva Trail Runner Free H

  • Lumens (Max mode) – 400
  • Lumens (Medium mode) – 200
  • Lumens (Minimum mode) – 50
  • Light modes – Max, Med, Min, Blink
  • Weight – 55g w/o batteries, 119g w/ batteries
  • 1.15Ah rechargeable battery or 3x AAA batteries
  • IPX5 Water Resistant
  • MSRP $109.99

Final Thoughts on the Silva Trail Runner Free H

The Silva Trail Runner Free H is a comfortable and lightweight headlamp for anyone who finds themselves running in the dark. The features and light beam are perfect for trail runners and road runners alike. The combination of the long reach spotlight and the close floodlight will light up any technical trail and thanks to the addition of the red safety light, road runners will be visible to any motorist. The Trail Runner Free H has become my go to for all of my early morning road runs and has become my reliable backup for my long pre-dawn trail excursions. If you are someone who finds themselves running before the Sun or after dusk the Silva Trail Runner series is worth your consideration. The series is available in three different versions, the Trail Runner Free, the Trail Runner Free H and the Trail Runner Free Ultra. They all carry the same light unit and features, the difference lies in the batteries. For more information on the Trail Runner Free H and other Silva products visit silva-usa.com

Mark Ranum: Mark is an outdoor adventure seeker, living in the beautiful state of Michigan. He loves trekking hundreds of miles through the wilderness, whether on two feet or two wheels, always looking for the next new trail or road to see where it will take him.
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