The Bright As Day 800 headtorch from Moonlight Mountain Gear is a powerful, versatile torch. Here I take a look at its features and discuss who might use it.
For some types of running you can get away with a head torch that offers moderate levels of brightness and short battery life. However there are times when you need something significantly more powerful and with a battery that can see you through an extended outing. The Bright As Day 800 falls into the second category.
As soon as you see the B.A.D. 800 you can tell it is a quality product. From the sleek, black, aluminium design of the torch unit to the simple yet sturdy battery pack with its thick connecting cable, the torch gives the impression that it is built to last. There is no cheap, flimsy plastic that is likely to crack or break after a few uses. It simply looks great!
Obviously the use of aluminium rather than plastic, and a battery with enough juice to last all night is going to come with a weight penalty. When you pick the torch up you can tell that it is heavier than some others, but this feels reassuring rather than a burden. The soft, zippered carrying pouch with its Moonlight Mountain Gear logo rounds off the quality vibes.
The Bright As Day 800 is very easy to operate. It has 4 brightness settings activated by a single large button on top of the head unit. One press switches the torch on in its lowest setting of 40 lumens. A second press gives 200 lumens, another press gives 400 lumens and a fourth press switches to the brightest setting of 800 lumens – hence the name of the torch. A double press whilst the torch is on takes you to flashing strobe mode. A long press switches the torch off. The torch unit has dual beams, both of which illuminate together giving a mix of floodlight and spotlight combined.
The battery is a powerful 4700 mAh Li-ion unit with an external USB – C charging port (a charging cable is supplied). This makes recharging really simple so there’s no excuse for setting off with a half charged battery! A red light shows that the battery is charging and this turns to blue when fully charged. The battery affixes easily to the rear of the headband and is secured with a wide velcro type strap. The B.A.D. 800 is versatile in that it comes supplied with a one metre extension cable that allows the battery to be removed from the headband and carried in a pocket or bumbag / backpack. This is worth considering in very cold conditions where protecting the battery from the cold will help preserve battery life. The off-the-head battery option also gives flexibility if wearing a helmet, (what do you mean you don’t wear a helmet for running!) useful for cyclists for example. It is also good to have that option as some people find batteries worn on the rear of their head to be uncomfortable. The torch and battery combined weigh 248g of which 100g is the battery, the actual torch unit only weighs 55g with the head strap and cable accounting for the rest.
A further feature that adds to the multi sport use of the torch is the GoPro compatible mount. A large knurled knob allows the torch unit to be completely removed from the head band and it can be re-mounted onto a GoPro mount on a chest strap, helmet or handlebars.
I’ve been using the B.A.D. 800 on night runs in the Peak District for the last 6 weeks. One of the first things I consider when using a head torch is ease of operation. Some torches have lots of settings but use two buttons and multiple sequences of presses to scroll through the settings. I find it really frustrating if it’s a complicated process to get to the required setting! The Bright As Day doesn’t suffer from this problem, scrolling through the brightness settings is very intuitive. Another thing to consider is how easy the torch is to operate whilst wearing gloves. If you are running in the dark in winter there’s a high chance that you will be wearing gloves, maybe thick ones or even mittens. I found that the single large button on top of the torch could easily be pressed even when I was wearing mittens.
Battery life is obviously important. Have you ever been out on a run and had your torch die on you? No? Just me then! I’m always quite sceptical about manufacturers’ claims regarding battery life so I tested the torch against Moonlight Mountain Gear’s claims. They claim 4hrs on full power of 800 lumens. I fully charged the torch then left it switched on on maximum setting. It lasted 3 hours 50 minutes before it flashed and went to low power mode. At least it doesn’t go out completely and leave you in the dark! I got another 20 minutes before it switched off completely. I did this test at home in a warm room so you may get slightly less in cold conditions.
I found that I was able to do lots of running and fast paced walking on setting #2 which would probably give over 7 hours of battery life. I upped the power to 400 lumens for some faster paced running and if I wanted to see further ahead. I did use the torch on full power just for the sake of it and it is very impressive! However I found that the highest setting was overkill for running and I’d really just use it occasionally, to pick out a distant trig point or dry stone wall for example.
The torch comes with a head strap that allows you to remove the over-the-head section and just wear a single band around the head. I tried both ways and didn’t find that I needed the over-the-top strap. The head band has a silicone coating on the inside to help with grip. I used it mainly whilst also wearing a hat or buff and found that it always stayed in place. I did find it a bit tricky to adjust the fit of the head band. I’d got it a bit too tight on the first outing and it took a while to slacken it off – I had to take my gloves off to do so. As such it isn’t ideal to swap between users with different sized heads or if you need to adjust it on the go if putting a hat off or on for example.
The Moonlight Mountain Gear Bright As Day 800 isn’t in the category of lightweight head torches and it isn’t cheap. However it is powerful with great battery life and is simple to operate. The GoPro mount and battery extension lead make it a versatile torch for multi sport use. If you want a torch for short runs on easy terrain you don’t need this one. However if you want a robust torch that will give you a long battery life and plenty of power this would be a great choice. I’d happily use the B.A.D. 800 for a Bob Graham Round or similar mountain outing. It has gained a great reputation in Europe and the U.S. where it was worn by winners of the Hardrock 100, Western States 100 mile and UTMB races in 2022.
800 lumens, 4700mAh Li-ion USB-C.
Weight – 248g (head unit 55g)
RRP – £145
Moonlight Mountain Gear also make even brighter torches designed for faster paced activities such as mountain biking and skiing. Check their website for more details: https://moonlightmountaingear.com/collections/lighting/products/bright-as-day-800-headlamp