July 17, 2021

7 Best Headlamps For Outdoor Use

July 17, 2021

7 Best Headlamps For Outdoor Use

The best headlamps offer a plethora of benefits to their users. Essentially, these tools provide hassle-free illumination, especially if you need both your hands during a night hike. In fact, I always think that a headlamp is a vital tool in your trips and adventures--even if you have a reliable survival flashlight already.

Of course, picking the right one can be a tricky process, as there is a gamut of selection when it comes to these headlamps. If you want the best ones to shine for you, check the following rundown. 

7 Best Headlamps 

 BrightnessRuntime (Max Output)
Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp Up to 350 lumensUp to 3 hours
Petzl Tikkina Headlamp Up to 250 lumensUp to 2 hours
Black Diamond Astro 250 Headlamp Up to 250 lumensUp to 4.5 hours
BioLite HeadLamp 330 Up to 330 lumensUp to 3.5 hours
Black Diamond Cosmo 300 Headlamp Up to 300 lumensUp to 4 hours
LIGHTBAR LED Headlamp Up to 300 lumensUp to 5.5 hours
SLONIK CREE LED Headlamp Up to 1000 lumensUp to 3.5 hours

1. Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp

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With its new design, the Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp has become a staple amenity of many outdoor goers. Specifically, the device features a compact construction. Its interface has been updated to be more user-friendly; at the same time, it has been integrated with a multifaceted optical lens that is nowhere near being power-hungry. Hence, it is a battery-saver that provides you more runtime than most of its counterparts. 

In fact, you can always track its battery life using its 6-setting LED battery meter. The headlamp also generates up to 350 lumens of brightness on its maximum setting. Using its PowerTap Technology, you will be able to instantly adjust its brightness from dim to full (and vice versa) with a simple tap. A smart memory function lets you retain the previous setting even after turning the headlamp. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 350 lumens
  • Beam distance - 85 meters
  • Beam type - Spot/flood
  • Brightness levels - Variable
  • Runtime - Up to 3 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 3 AAA
  • Water-resistance - IPX8 
  • Weight - 3 ounces 

2. Petzl Tikkina Headlamp

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The Petzl Tikkina Headlamp is also excellent for a camping headlight. It generates up to 250 lumens of illumination so that you can easily see what's in front of you. This unit has battery inclusions (3 AAA/LR03). At the same time, it works with Ni-MH and alkaline batteries. The headlamp has three lighting settings: distance, proximity, and movement. You can switch between these configurations through a single-button adjustment. 

You'll also find convenience in cleaning its strap since it is detachable; you are free to wash it, too, without worries that it will get damaged. This CE-certified headlamp has an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means that it can handle water splashes. Interestingly, you can also purchase mounting accessories for this unit so that you can attach it to bicycle helmets. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 250 lumens
  • Beam distance - 60 meters
  • Beam type - Flood
  • Brightness levels - 3
  • Runtime - Up to 2 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 3 AAA
  • Water-resistance - IPX4
  • Weight - 3 ounces 

3. Black Diamond Astro 250 Headlamp

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Similar to the Petzl Tikkina Headlamp, the Black Diamond Astro 250 Headlamp also produces 250 lumens of illumination. This one features an innovative optical design for efficiency in operation. At the same time, it remains compact, rugged and resistant against the headlamps. As a result, many off-the-grid folks opt for this lamp on their nightly adventures. The device features variable adjustments for its brightness; it also has a strobe function to accommodate various lighting needs. 

Furthermore, the device has a memory function that retains the previous setting after you switched it off. Once you turn the headlamp on, it still uses the same configuration, eliminating the need for continuous adjustments. You'll also find a digital lockout feature on the Astro 250; this one prevents the accidental activation of the headlamp when you stash it in your pocket or bag. It can also withstand rainwater, thanks to IPX4 construction.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 250 lumens
  • Beam distance - 35 meters
  • Beam type - Flood/adjustable
  • Brightness levels - Variable
  • Runtime - Up to 4.5 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 3 AAA
  • Water-resistance - IPX4
  • Weight - 2 ounces 

4. BioLite HeadLamp 330

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With the BioLite HeadLamp 330, you can have a ready-access illumination whenever you need it to. It has a rugged construction, ensuring that it can tackle all the ordeals of the outdoors. Fitting it to your head is not a problem, thanks to proprietary 3D SlimFit architecture on its headband. Such a design eliminates unnecessary wobbles and bounces of the lamp while you are on the move. You don't need to be conservative anymore in each of your steps. And even if your head gets sweaty, the band won't slip at all.

Quality-wise, the headlamp is one of the best in the entire block. It generates 330 lumens of light and is capable of running up to 450 hours on its lowest setting. When cranked to the maximum output, this one lasts for 3.5 hours straight. Moreover, it offers multiple lighting modes: flood, red night vision, strobe, dimmable, and spot/flood. Regardless of your lighting needs, the BioLite HeadLamp 330 is there to give them. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 330 lumens
  • Beam distance - 75 meters
  • Beam type - Spot/flood
  • Brightness levels - 3
  • Runtime - Up to 3.5 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 3 AAA
  • Water-resistance - IPX4
  • Weight - 2.43 ounces 

5. Black Diamond Cosmo 300 Headlamp

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Diamond Cosmo is probably one of the finest opuses of Black Diamond. It boasts a water-tight and compact construction, enabling it to provide a snug and slip-free fit to its users. The device also has a multifaceted lens that doesn't exhaust its battery life and runtime. With its new user interface, you'll get a second switch that lets you adjust the following lens settings: red night vision, strobe, proximity modes, and digital lock. It gives you the convenience of configuring the lamp based on your needs and preferences. 

It has to be indicated that you can activate the strobe and red night-vision without having to go over the standard white modes. It's an appealing choice for individuals who require speed and precision when it comes to lighting. Of course, its IPX8 waterproof rating indulges you in the fact that you can submerge it underwater without incurring any damages. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 300 lumens
  • Beam distance - 75 meters
  • Beam type - Spot/flood
  • Brightness levels - Variable
  • Runtime - Up to 4 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 3 AAA
  • Water-resistance - IPX8
  • Weight - 3 ounces 

6. LIGHTBAR LED Headlamp

PRODUCT LINK

The LIGHTBAR LED Headlamp is packed with impeccably manufactured LED lights, making it a lot brighter than its counterparts. It contains sixteen SMD 5050 LEDs that can shine up to 300 lumens of illumination around you. It also has six brightness levels, enabling you to find the right configuration for your applications. It also comes with a red light mode if you don't want to get blinded while doing some minor stuff inside your tent.

Moreover, this equipment boasts its durability. The strap is removable and safe to be washed or upgraded. Furthermore, the band is also elastic, ensuring that it can give you a snug and comfortable fit. When set on its highest output, the lamp can offer up to 5.5 hours of runtime. Since its battery pack is expendable, you can buy a compatible battery for it. This will allow you to extend its operational hours. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 300 lumens
  • Beam distance - 80 meters
  • Beam type - Spot/flood
  • Brightness levels - 6
  • Runtime - Up to 5.5 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 3 AAA
  • Water-resistance - IPX4
  • Weight - 2 ounces 

7. SLONIK CREE LED Headlamp

PRODUCT LINK

This ultra-bright headlamp is definitely a good choice for applications where light intensity matters. After all, this unit generates up to 1000 lumens of output, making it one of the brightest headlamps in the market today. In fact, its beam distance extends up to 600 feet. You'll never get any blind spots with this unit. Surprisingly enough, the lamp only weighs four ounces, even with the inclusion of its battery. 

On its highest setting, the SLONIK CREE LED Headlamp can last up to 3.5 hours. Since its battery is rechargeable, you'll only need two hours of waiting time before it's fully loaded again. The quality of its hardware is impressive, too. It's constructed from aero-grade aluminum alloy, which enables it to withstand harsh atmospheric conditions. Moreover, its IPX8 rating simply signifies that this device is impenetrable by water and dust. Fitting is not a problem either, as it features an adjustable nylon band. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS

  • Maximum output - 1000 lumens
  • Beam distance - 180 meters
  • Beam type - Flood
  • Brightness levels - 2
  • Runtime - Up to 3.5 hours (max setting)
  • Batteries - 1 18650 2200mAh battery
  • Water-resistance - IPX8
  • Weight - 4 ounces 

How To Choose The Best Headlamps

When it comes to headlamps, you should never settle for less. After all, these devices aren't that expensive. At the same time, they offer a plethora of functions to you. For instance, if you typically go to multi-night hikes or overnight backpacking trips, you'll need these headlamps. 

Of course, you may say that flashlights are enough. Well, that could be true to some degree. However, there are cases where your hands will be occupied with something, and you'll have no other choice but to drop the rod. Headlamps give you a hassle-free illumination since you don't need to hold them at all.

In choosing headlamps, the following considerations should be taken into account.

Brightness

Brightness is usually the quantity of light that a particular source can generate. In technical terms, this is measured in lumens. And the latter is not similar to wattage, as it is described as the energy needed to power up devices. 

Headlamps can generate from 20 watts to 600 lumens, depending on the model that you have. But generally, 100 to 200 lumens should be enough for camping and recreational activities, since you don't want to disturb other people. Meanwhile, for other technical expeditions, go for units with higher outputs.

Beam Modes

There are two beam modes used in headlamps: spot and floodlight. Other models let you switch between these two. But it is completely alright if the headlamp has just a single beam type.  

There are also other lighting modes that a headlamp can offer. Strobe is the most popular one, as you can use it for emergencies. Meanwhile, it lets the headlamp flash extremely bright light momentarily. Variable brightness adjustments are also useful if you want a specific level of lighting brightness. 

If you go with the red night vision, you'll be able to illuminate your tent without disturbing others who are viewing their scenery. 

Reach

When it comes to light sources such as headlamps and flashlights, beam distance is critical. You would want to know how far the light can reach. If you are hiking or cycling, you would want a headlamp that offers decent beam distance. But keep in mind that the farther the distance, the more the flashlight consumes its batteries. 

Runtime 

The runtime is a measurement of how long a light source can generate illumination for two meters. Keep in mind that we are talking about "usable" light here. If the light is faint already, that's not counted on the runtime. Most of the tests conducted by manufacturers are rated on the lowest setting of the headlamp or flashlights. If you see a runtime of 200 hours, that's on its lowest output. Usually, the highest lumen consumes a lot of batteries. Hence, it is not a surprise that the maximum runtime of headlamps on their highest setting is 4 hours on average. 

Water Resistance

Of course, we would want to talk about water resistance here, as you are going to use the headlamps on the outside world. In this matter, the IPX standards set the rule when it comes to measuring the durability of light sources against water and moisture. An IPX0 headlamp means that it doesn't contain any water defense; it is not safe to be used outdoors. Meanwhile, most headlamps offer at least IPX4--a rating that tells that the flashlight can handle water splashes at any angle. IPX7 to IPX 8 signifies that you can submerge the device safely for a given period. 

In Summary

The best headlamps provide reliable illumination wherever your feet take you. Just remember to follow the guidelines I've set in choosing one. In this way, you will get a lamp that suits your requirements and preferences. 

Feel free to get in touch if you have other related inquiries!

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