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Best Headlamp for Hiking, Camping and Backpacking in 2024

How to choose the best headlamp for hiking, camping and backpacking? There are a few things to consider before buying a headlamp.

Modern LED technology has made headlamps more powerful than ever before. Also the battery performance has improved dramatically. You can get a good headlamp for as low as $20.

To compare headlamps you will need to know how many lumens will you need for your use. Lighting modes will allow you to save battery, and use the headlamp on different situations. Headlamps have also some additional features like red light mode, which is great when only a small amount of light is needed, and you don’t want to blind your friends.

The activities you are using the headlamp on set the requirements for the headlamp. For running and other fast-paced activities you will need more lighting power than for example just walking. If you are planning to use the same headlamp for mountain biking you will need more powerful lamp.

Headlamps work either with batteries (usually AAA or AA sized) or rechargeable battery. There are some models which support both batteries, and a rechargeable battery as well.

With accessories some headlamps can be used as bike light in addition to hiking, camping and backpacking. So if you need a light for your bicycle this is something you should keep in mind.

If you are planning to use the headlamp for running you should pay attention to weight of the headlamp.

Water resistance is also something to keep in mind. There are models which do not stand water at all which can make them a poor choice for everyday usage.

Name Price Weight Batteries Max Lumens Average Run Time
Petzl NAO RL Petzl NAO RL 5.1 oz 3200 mAh Li-ion 1500 High: 2 hrs.; medium: 5 hrs.; low: 10 hrs.
Petzl IKO Core Petzl IKO Core 2.8 oz 1250 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery (included); also compatible with 3 AAA (not included) 500 High: 2.5 hours / Standard: 9 hours / low: 100 hours
Fenix HM65R Rechargeable Fenix HM65R Rechargeable 5 oz Single 18650 1400 Spot turbo: 4 hrs.; spot high: 22 hrs.; spot medium: 42 hrs.; spot low: 90 hrs.; flood high: 20 hrs.; flood medium; 48 hrs.; flood low: 280 hrs.
BioLite HeadLamp 800 Pro BioLite HeadLamp 800 Pro 5.3 oz 3000 mAh Li-ion 800 High: 7 hrs.; med: 8.5 hrs.; low: 150 hrs.
Petzl Swift RL Petzl Swift RL 3.5 oz 2350 mAh lithium ion 900 High reactive: 2-30 hrs.; high standard: 2 hrs.; medium reactive: 5-40 hrs.; medium standard: 5 hrs.; low reactive: 10-50 hrs.; low standard: 100 hrs.
Petzl Actik Core Petzl Actik Core 3.1 oz 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable battery (included); also compatible with 3 standard AAA batteries (not included) 600 High: 2 hrs.; medium: 7 hrs.; low: 100 hrs.
BioLite HeadLamp 750 BioLite HeadLamp 750 5.3 oz USB-rechargeable 3000 mAh lithium ion 750 Constant mode high: 2 hrs.; regulated mode high: 7 hrs.; constant mode medium: 4 hrs.; regulated mode medium: 8.5 hrs.; constant/regulated mode low: 150 hrs.
Last update: December 7, 2020

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