best headlamps

Best Headlamps for Outdoor Adventures

Gone are the days of adventurers fumbling around in the dark with torches. Thankfully those days have gone with headlamps becoming a must-have for the outdoors.

With many different types and brands on the market, we have performed a review of the best headlamps for outdoor adventures.

Our Review

For this article we spoke with seasoned outdoors people, read many reviews and testimonials. From there we narrowed down to 5 best headlamps. See our review below of the 5 Best Headlamps for outdoor adventures.

5 Best Headlamps for Outdoor Adventures

Black Diamond Spot 325

Amazon Price $39

Weight 3 oz

Max Lumens 325

Batteries AAA x 3

Run Time 3 hours

Claimed Distance 8Om

Our verdict

The Black Diamond Spot 325 is a well-designed product that projects a strong 325-lumen beam with differing lighting choices of long-range dual LED to softer proximity LED and red LED for use around camp.

The “PowerTapƒ”, Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power. After turning it off, the lamp remembers its most-recent brightness, so you don’t need to reset it every time. In case you get caught out in a downpour the Black Diamond Spot 325 is waterproof, providing you with comfort that you still have nighttime visibility. Priced at $40 the Black Diamond Spot 325 is the value of money

black diamond spot 325 best headlamp 

best Headlamps for Outdoor Adventures
Black Diamond 325

Petzl Tikkina

Amazon Price $20

Weight 3 oz

Max Lumens 250

Batteries AAA x3

Run Time 60 hours

Claimed Distance 55m

Our verdict

The Petzl Tikkina is our pick for overall performance. It is easy to use, offering a single broad beam for cooking dinner at night. If you are after multi beams of light at a similar price range check out the Black Diamond 325 review above.

For overall use, the Petzl Tikkina product will meet most people’s needs at an affordable price of $20.

pretzel tikkina best headlamp
Petzl Tikkina

Petzl ACTIK CORE

Amazon Price $70

Weight 2.8 oz

Max Lumens 350

Batteries; Rechargeable

Run Time 60 hours

Claimed Distance 90m

Our verdict

With rechargeable batteries, the Petzl ACTIK CORE offers a very good beam of light. The Petzl Actik CORE is more expensive at $79 than its brother Actikt’s AAA-powered headlamp priced at $40.

Petzl ACTIK CORE offers two beam patterns (wide and mixed) to meet your need for high-performance lighting for outdoor activities. It also offers a red lighting preserves night vision and prevents blinding other members of the group.

petzl actin core best headlamp
Petzl Actik Core

Black Diamond Storm

Amazon Price $40

Weight 4oz

Max Lumens 350

Batteries AAA x 4

Run Time 40 hours

Claimed Distance 80m

Our verdict

Black Diamond Storm is a quality lamp that comes with many features. The lamp comes with both a broad stream of light and also a close stream light for work around the campsite or for finding the trail at night. What we were also impressed with was the light settings included strobe, red, green, and blue night-vision. This is useful for trekking at night or around the campsite.

If you do get caught out in a downpour, the Black Diamond Storm is waterproof and dustproof: Sealed housing withstands immersion up to 1m for 30 minutes. The Storm requires 4 x AAAA to operate. Adds slightly more weight but didn’t find this to be an issue.

Overall, we were very impressed with the Storm. It’s a lamp we would be comfortable recommending to friends. We can also recommend this lamp over higher price alternatives in the marketplace.

black diamond storm best headlamp
Black Diamond Storm

Zebralight H600w

Amazon Price $90

Weight 4.5 oz

Max Lumens 1400 lumens

Batteries 18650 battery (rechargeable)

Run Time 3 hours

Claimed Distance 121 m

Our verdict

The robust Zebralight H600w functionality is suitable for hikers, rescuers, trail runners, and just about anyone requiring a strong beam of white light. The Zebra does not come with Red mode.

The Zebra does come with a heft price tag of $90, just of the lamp. To light, it up requires a rechargeable 18650 battery valued at $15 and the XTAR VC2 Plus which is not listed on their website (valued at $30).

If caught out in a storm the Zebra is waterproof to IPX8 (2 meters, 30 minutes).

Unless you have a requirement for a strong beam of light, at $90 this lamp is probably not for you. We did struggle to use it around the campsite without blinding each other but for strong white beam can’t go past the Zebra.

best-headlamps-for-outdoor-adventures
Zebralight H600w

Considerations

Lumens

When talking headlamp, lumens are always discussed. Lumens are a measure of the total “amount” of visible light in some defined beam or angle or emitted from some source. 

In most cases but not always, the higher the Lumens the brighter light. If you are wanting the brightest light buy a lamp with high Lumens 

Headlamps generally vary in brightness from between about 12 lumens, to 200 lumens, with some specialist models outputting over 500 lumens (but you pay for it). 

Naturally the brighter the light, the better you can see around you at night, but don’t make the mistake of just buying the brightest lamp you can find if you don’t need it. 

For caving, we suggest 10 to 35 lumens is all you need. 

After trying many different types of lamps, Lumens is not a reliable way to compare the emitted amount of light. We suggest using Beam Distance as a more reliable measure. Manufacturers will display beam distance on the headlamp. So use both Lumens and Beam distance as the measurement of light. 

Trail running

Comfort and lightweight are important considerations when selecting headlamps for trail running.  We recommend a minimum of 100 to 120 lumens for a trailrunning headlamp.

A headlight around the campsite

A headlamp around the campsite can be very helpful when preparing food or setting up a campsite. For this purpose, not wanting to blind fellow campers or yourself through reflective light. suggest buying a head lamp with soft light. 

how to choose the best headlamp

Headlamp brightness levels/modes

Some headlamps offer a series of modes or at least a high and low mode. Others may offer more modes.

Flood or wide-angle is good for providing a wide amount of light, lighting up the immediate surrounding good for hiking, bike riding, or setting up a campsite. 

Strobe (or Flash) mode acts as an emergency blinker. A few models even offer a choice of flash rates: slow and fast.

Low is the standard model used for most tasks such as camp chores or walking along an easy trail at night. A good option for not blinding other campers.

Mid is provided on some models simply to give people more choices.

High (or Max) is a good option for situations where you are wanting to focus on an object or animal in the distance. Not suitable around the campsite unless you are wanting to blind your fellow campers. Note; high/max beam will reduce the battery life. 

Boost or Zoom  Some lights offer a Boost or Zoom option that sends out 20-30 seconds of light. Useful for trying to see what animal is rustling in bushes. 

Final Thoughts

Each year headlamps get better and better. They become lighter and brighter with more functionality. This is good for hikers, trekkers, fishing people, trail runners, campers, or anyone requiring the use of a headlamp.

We hope you have enjoyed this review, hoping it has made your decision of choosing a headlamp easier.

More Information

If you have enjoyed this review, you will enjoy our other reviews. Below are some of our other gear reviews and popular resources;

How to choose Sleeping Bag for Trekking or Hiking

The Best Trekking/Hiking Poles

How to Choose Trekking Poles (with tutorials)

 

Leave a Comment