Sometimes, you don’t want to ask for help – you want to rig up your tent for the night on your own. It’s times like this when you’ll appreciate the hands-free lighting convenience from a headlamp.
Instead of having to move a lantern around, you’ve got dedicated light right at the place it’s needed. The ability to use both hands is a huge advantage over carrying a lantern. Certainly, if you need to be clamouring around, or climbing in the dark, hands-free is imperative.
A Long Beam of Light to Light the Track Ahead
With just a tilt of your head in the right direction, you have immediate light. Another advantage with a headlamp for hiking is that unlike with a lantern, you get an impressive long beam ahead of you to light up the way forward. You can change the type of beam you need from long distance viewing to a flood or wide beam which is useful for general camp tasks.
A headlamp’s main purpose is to channel light to a target area. Most headlamps with their batteries weigh in at about 7 ounces. Some have top straps, some are intended for specific needs and most offer at least a high and low mode. Some models offer slow and fast flash rates. Others offer a red-light mode which is particularly good for night-time hiking while others are water resistant.
Those designed to work with lithium batteries are a wise choice when hiking in cold-weather as they can outperform alkaline batteries in icy conditions.
Headlamps are relatively inexpensive so you can have more than one – one for your car, two for your backpacking adventures and camping trips and one for home.
We look at some useful headlamps that can help you select the right one for your unique needs:
1. Coast HL7
This headlamp is an excellent help in your darkest hour and includes a clip for hardhat compatibility. The headlamp offers a 131-meter beam distance. The battery pack is found at the back of the head. Battery life when the light is on full isn’t particularly good, but turning down the brightness when it’s not necessary extends the life of the 3 AAA batteries.
Users of headlamps appreciate that Coast produces technologically advanced products backed by a lifetime warranty.
2. Black Diamond Revolt
The Black Diamond Revolt is regarded as the best rechargeable headlamp, by far. Users will say you should get this headlamp if your top priority is to avoid constantly replacing batteries while using a headlamp in extreme situations. The ReVolt can also charge off just about anything with a USB adapter, car cigarette lighter or laptop, for instance.
This powerful, rechargeable headlamp for outdoor activities has 130 lumens of power, a dimming feature, plus a 3-level power meter that prevents you being caught off guard with dead batteries. The ReVolt runs on standard AAA batteries with the included rechargeable batteries.
This IPX6 water-resistant headlight is perfect for your hiking trip and all your outdoor adventures. With its 160 Lumens, white and red LEDs and 5 lighting modes, your path will be well lit night and day as it provides a 262ft range.
The headlamp comes with an adjustable strap and batteries are included. The headlamp takes 3 AAA alkaline batteries. You can pivot the angle of the light with ease, too.
4. Shining Buddy LED Headlamp
This headlamp is excellent for hiking and camping with its non-slip strap. It’s a lightweight headlamp – one of the lightest ─ weighing just 2.6 oz. It is also water and shock resistant with a red strobe. It shines brightly for you, offering 160 lumens. The Shining Buddy has 2 switches and 5 settings – high and low beam, White Strobe, Red Beam and Red Flashing. The headlamp requires 3 AAA batteries and 3 Duracell batteries are included. It has a bright, comfy and easy-to-wear design.
5. Petzl – ACTIK Headlamp
This 300 lumens headlamp with adjustable elastic headband comes with 3 standard batteries and is also compatible with the CORE rechargeable battery. The headband is also reflective. This multi-beam headlamp is the ideal tool for mountaineering, hiking and backpacking. It comes with red lighting which is particularly sought after for night vision.
It comes with a variety of lighting modes ─ Strobe, Max Autonomy, Standard, Max Powder and Proximity. An attractive feature is that it has an emergency whistle at the back. Petzl’s mission is to provide products which make a real difference in the lives of outdoor enthusiasts in terms of performance and reliability.
6. Princeton Tec Apex
This LED Headlamp with a rear mounted battery pack offers 350 Lumens. The headlamp is made in the USA and the center Maxbright LED provides a powerful beam of light with 2 brightness levels. There are also 2 ultrabright LEDs for wide flood lighting. The headlamp offers 4 brightness modes plus a battery power meter, safety flashing and heat sink technology.
The Princeton runs on 4 AA Alkaline batteries but is compatible with lithium or rechargeable Nicad or NiMH batteries. The impact resistant headlamp is submersible to 1 meter but isn’t dive rated. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
7. Black Diamond Icon Polar
This awesome, powerful headlamp’s illumination is achieved by 1 Quadpower and 2 SinglePower LEDS. It can provide up to 320 lumens, is perfect for hunting, mountaineering, military use and for hiking. It is designed to cope with extremely harsh, cold conditions. It comes with a detachable battery compartment for its 4 non-rechargeable AA batteries.
The headlamp is equipped with a 3-level power indicator which will alert you as to when the battery is running out. The headlamp offers dimming, strobe, red and lock mode. It’s a rugged headlamp and its waterproof construction makes this all-season headlamp a must for all your most strenuous hikes.
Who can believe that such a small hiking gadget as a headlamp can have so many variations. The headlamps we’ve mentioned here are all, in one way or another, worthy for your hiking trip and outdoor adventures.
There are excellent headlamp brands available and we’ve covered the top ones here. Their headlamps for hiking can be cheap or expensive but each one is efficient in their own way for your hikes. Check out the lumen or brightness of the headlamp, its night hiking features, such as red-light mode, the batteries it uses, its lighting modes, and beam distance. The right headlamp for hiking will simply spur you on to more adventures.