best headlamps
Headlamps, Hiking Gear

The 10 Best Headlamps

Hiking and trekking are all about risk and adventures.

You never know when you may have to camp at night or start the journey even before the first rays of the sun have hit the grounds.

Therefore, it is crucial for you to always have a source of light while travelling.

The problem with using flashlight is that since one of your hands will get occupied, it becomes very difficult to try to accomplish tasks using the one free hand.

Even the simplest tasks such as lighting a matchstick to kindle a fire or taking your maps out from your backpack become an ordeal.

Therefore, it is time to toss away the torchlight- well don’t toss it away for real because it comes in handy, but you know what I mean- and get a headlamp.

Since headlamps are strapped on your forehead, both of your hands are free and you will be able to carry out your tasks with ease.

Headlamps are very convenient and useful. They are also in great trend right now.

I think headlamps are a must gear for trekking and hikes.

Best Headlamps for Hiking in 2018 (Top 10)

Why do we Need Headlamps?

Headlamps are so much better and practical than normal flashlights.

As stated above, the best trait of headlamps is that they allow both your hands to be unoccupied. And we all know how important it is to have both our hands free and available when in a hike or even during normal travels.

Another great quality of headlamps is that some headlamps are even waterproof and snow proof. They are lightweight and portable as well.

Headlamps today have red light mode in them. As a result, the light illuminated from these do not cause our pupils to shrink. This feature is great for nighttime as we will be able to see clearly.

Headlamps provide steady brightness and illuminate the path which makes it easier to see the path ahead and walk without falling down.

Headlamps are great for home usage as well. They come extremely handy when you need to search something in the attic or even just go out of the house during night time.

How to Choose a Headlamp?

Headlamps are all about their performance and convenience. So while choosing a headlamp, you will need to keep the following factors into consideration which will help you in purchasing the best lamp from the available options.

1. Battery and Battery Life

The first thing you will have to look in a headlamp is its battery and the battery life. You can buy headlamps with either rechargeable or changeable batteries, depending on which one suits your need the best. If the battery life of your headlamp is short and you have to constantly recharge the battery, your whole trip is bound to get tedious and irksome. It is fatiguing to even imagine charging your headlamp every few hours. So go for the headlamp which will run for at least 12 hours without having to charge it.

2. Brightness

As I have aforementioned, your headlamp must provide steady brightness. The brightness of the headlamp must reach at least 60 meters ahead and you should be able to see everything clearly inside this radius. Go for the headlamp which has at least 100 lumens brightness.

3. Weight

Headlamps are worn on the head. So choose a headlamp which is lightweight and portable. You should not get a headache by wearing the headlamp. Thus I highly recommend refraining from heavy weight headlamps.

4. Water and Weather Resistant

You never know when the weather will change and it will start raining or snowing. Despite the harsh climatic conditions, we do not stop our journey. So why should our headlamps stop their work? There are numerous headlamps available in the market which are wind, water and snow resistant. It is always a good idea to stick to the non-risky side and go for a headlamp which will be able to withstand rain and snow.

The 10 Best Headlamps

For this article, I wanted to choose as many varieties of headlamps as possible. This is so that people with different needs and wants will be able to fish through the list and find the headlamps which suit them the best.
So here I present you all with my ten favorite headlamps- ranging from the simplest ones to the most sophisticated ones- which I have tested and reviewed for you all. Enjoy!

1. Petzl Tikka RXP

The Petzl Tikka RXP is a very powerful headlamp which is great for adventure and outdoorsman ship. It features a rechargeable battery of 1800 mAh. It offers 215 lumes of brightness.

The Petzl Tikka RXP has three battery modes. The first one is Max Power in which the approximate battery life is 3.5 hours. The approximate battery life in the Standard mode is 6 hours and in Max Autonomy is 12 hours.

It takes an approximate of 4.5 hours for the battery to recharge. You can recharge the battery using a micro USB cable. If you have the OS Petzl software in your laptop or computer, you can charge this headlamp directly from your computer.

The Petzl Tikka RXP is an advanced headlamp. It has red lightning feature which enables you to use this lamp as a night vision device as well.

The sensor in the Petzl Tikka RXP automatically adjusts the brightness and beam pattern for you by scrutinizing the surrounding light.

To ensure that the battery will not get drained if the headlamp gets operated without the knowledge of the user, the Petzl Tikka RXP is equipped with a lock feature.

Another great thing about this headlamp is that it is lightweight. This headlamp is also robust and durable.

The Petzl Tikka RXP is a great headlamp which is bound to become your holy grail. Even though it is quite pricey, it is worth all the money you can muster on it.

Features I like:

  • Powerful
  • Good brightness
  • Automatic adjustment of brightness and beam pattern
  • Has lock feature
  • Had red lighting feature
  • Lightweight
  • Durable


2. Black Diamond Revolt

If the Petzl Tikka RXP was a little too pricy for you then fear not because here is a lamp as advanced and as dynamic as the Petzl Tikka RXP but for half the amount.

The Black Diamond Revolt is a good performing headlamp which comes in a decent price. It is resistant to water and dirt.

It features a 3 AAA NiMH rechargeable battery which can be charged using a USB cable. A great feature is that these batteries can be replaced with 3 standard AAA alkaline batteries.

The Black Diamond Revolt has six modes: proximity, distance, dimming, strobe, red and lock. So you have the freedom to choose whichever mode you want. Also, you can choose the red vision mode without going through the white mode.

1 Triple Power LED, 2 Single Power white LEDs and 2 Single Power red LEDs release around 110 lumens of brightness in the Black Diamond Revolt. This headlamp has a three level power indicator to show the battery life.

Features I like:

  • Decent price
  • Has power indicator
  • Has the option to choose from six different modes
  • Good performance
  • Water and dirt resistant


3. Nite Ize Inova STS Headlamp

The Nite Ize Inova STS is a unique and innovative headlamp. It runs on 3AAAs alkaline replaceable batteries and emit 142 lumens of brightness. The approximate battery life of this headlamp is 255 hours.

The Nite Ize Inova STS is waterproof up to 1 meter. It has 2 red LEDs for night time usage.

The Nite Ize Inova STS is a well-designed headlamp. It has a perfect fit and hence the headlamp does not move out of place even while running.

There are total of five beam modes in this headlamp which work for both white and red LEDs. They are high, variable dim, medium, strobe and lockout.

The Nite Ize Inova STS has a simple touch activated user interface which is called Swipe-to-Shine. This feature allows the user to switch between modes with just a swipe. One direction swipe enables the white LED and the opposite direction swipe enables the red LED.

However, I found a slight issue with this feature of the Nite Ize Inova STS. The touch does not work properly if your hands are cold or sweaty, and works around only half the time.
Features I like:

  • Touch activated user interface
  • Night vision mode
  • Long battery life
  • Well-designed
  • Perfect fit


4. Black Diamond Spot

The Black Diamond Spot headlamp has one triple power LED, one single power white LED and a single power red LED which emit 200 lumens of brightness.

The Black Diamond Spot uses 3AAA batteries whose battery life is 200 hours which is remarkable. This headlamp has a three-level power meter to show the battery life.

The Black Diamond Spot is also waterproof up to 1 meter similar as the Nite Ize Inova STS headlamp.

The Black Diamond Spot has a red night vision which can be activated without having to cycle through the white mode. This red night vision mode comes with two settings of either proximity or strobe.

Features I like:

  • High battery life
  • Good brightness
  • Waterproof
  • Power meter shows the remaining battery life
  • Red vision mode


5. Princeton Tec Remix

If you are in search of a simple and effective headlamp but do not want to spend a lot of money then the Princeton Tec Remix is the best headlamp for you my friend.

The Princeton Tec Remix is a very affordable headlamp which will do the work for you. It is also one of the lightest headlamps and hence is easy to carry around and wear without any discomfort.

The Princeton Tec Remix has 3 Ultra-bright LEDs and 1 Max-bright LED and emit 100 lumens of brightness. This headlamp operates via 3AAA batteries which are rechargeable. The battery life of this headlamp is 150 hours at an estimate.

The Princeton Tec Remix is water resistant. It is a durable and reliable headlamp.

Features I like:

  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Compact and Simple
  • Water resistant
  • Durable and reliable


6. Snow Peak SnowMiner Headlamp

The Snow Peak SnowMiner headlamp looks very elegant in its white color. It is a lightweight and comfortable headlamp which is very easy to use.

The Snow Peak SnowMiner has a bright white LED with a silicon diffuser fitted on top. This headlamp emits 80 lumens of light and runs for 140 hours. It uses 3AAA batteries.

Do you know that you can turn this headlamp into a lantern in just a couple of seconds? Yes, the Snow Peak SnowMiner can be converted from a headlamp to a lantern by popping out the silicon bulb.

The Snow Peak SnowMiner has four modes which are high, low, strobe and versatile. It has a battery indicator which flashes when it is time to replace the batteries.

Features I like:

  • Easy to use
  • Elegant looks
  • Can be converted into a lantern
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable to wear


7. Petzl Nao

Some features of the Petzl Nao are very similar to that of its sibling Petzl Tikka RXP. Just like its sibling, the Petzl Nao is a sophisticated, advanced and great performing headlamp.

The Petzl Nao’s best feature has to be its great brightness of 575 lumens. The brightness and beam pattern regulation and adjustment are automatic similar to that of the Petzl Tikka RXP and so is the lock feature.

The Petzl Nao uses rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries. You can use either lithium or alkaline batteries in this headlamp. The batteries take an approximate of 5 hours to recharge.

The battery life is 52 hours lifetime in the reactive lightning mode an 8 hours in the constant lighting mode. The battery compartment is detachable.

Last month, I accidently dropped my Petzl Nao headlamp. I noticed that the front plastic lens got some scratches because of the drop and this lens looks as though it cannot be replaced. So a shortcoming I found of the Petzl Nao is its abrasion vulnerable front lens.

Some people may also find the price of the Petzl Nao to be very high. Despite these drawbacks, the Petzl Nao is a very innovative and effective headlamp.

Features I like:

  • Great brightness
  • Automatic adjustment of brightness and beam pattern
  • Lock feature
  • Detachable battery compartment
  • Advanced, innovative and sophisticated headlamp


8. Black Diamond Storm

The Black Diamond Storm is another robust and great performing headlamp from the Black Diamond family. It is a dust and water proof headlamp which is simple and easy to use.

The Black Diamond Storm uses 1 Quad power LED and one Double power white LED to emit 250 lumens of light. It is equipped with red and green Single power LEDs for night vision mode.

The night vision mode of the Black Diamond Storm has dimming and strobe settings. To activate these, you will not have to go through the white mode.

The Black Diamond Storm uses 4AAA batteries. The battery life of this headlamp is 150 hours.

The power meter in the Black Diamond Storm shows the remaining battery life for three seconds after the headlamp is switched on.

A drawback of the Black Diamond Storm headlamp is that it is heavy which makes it less comfortable to wear. Also, this headlamp is quite expensive compared to other headlamps with similar features.

Features I like:

  • Dustproof
  • Waterproof
  • Night vision mode
  • Power meter shows the remaining battery life


9. Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen Headlamp

The Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen headlamp is one of the best headlamps available in the market. It runs on 3AAA batteries and can emit up to 285 lumens of light. Its battery life is 70 hours on low brightness and 1 and half hours in high brightness.

The Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen has a tight fit. Even though this ensures that the headlamp remains on place, it can become a little too tight and uncomfortable if you happen to have a larger head.

The low beam distance of this headlamp is 13 meters whereas the high beam distance is 119 meters.

The variable light control technology in this headlamp allows the user to adjust the light output with the control lever between the lowest and the highest, as per the requirement.

The LED of the Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen is tough. This headlamp is weather and impact resistant.

The Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen is a great value headlamp. Its best features are the incredible brightness and beam control with the major shortcoming being the short battery life.

Features I like:

  • Excellent brightness
  • Beam control
  • Great beam distance cover
  • Weather resistant
  • Impact resistant


10. Black Diamond Icon Polar

The Black Diamond Icon Polar is a robust and durable headlamp which is best fit to be used during the harshest of the climates or the toughest of the adventures.

320 lumens of light is emitted by 1 Quad Power LED Spotlight, 2 Single Power white LEDs and 2 Single Power red LEDs in the Black Diamond Icon Polar.

Similar to the Black Diamond Revolt headlamp, the Black Diamond Icon Polar lamp also has 6 modes, namely, proximity, distance, red, dimming, strobe and lock.

In this headlamp too you can directly use the red night vision mode without having to cycle through the white mode.

The Black Diamond Icon Polar has a detachable battery compartment. It uses 4 non- rechargeable AA batteries.

The battery life of the Black Diamond Icon Polar is exceptional with 250 hours in the proximity mode and 75 hours in the distance mode. The long battery life is probably the best feature in this lamp.

A shortcoming of the Black Diamond Icon Polar headlamp is that it is heavy which can be quite a challenge during long hikes.

Features I like:

  • Good brightness
  • Detachable battery compartment
  • Excellent battery life
  • Has 6 modes to choose from
  • Robust and durable headlamp


Comparison Table

Feature/Product Brightness (in lumens) Battery Battery Life (in hours)
Petzl Tikka RXP 215 1800 mAh 12
Black Diamond Revolt 110 3AAA NiMH 300
Nite Ize Inova STS Headlamp 142 3AAA 255
Black Diamond Spot 200 3AAA 200
Princeton Tec Remix 100 3AAA 150
Snow Peak SnowMiner Headlamp 80 3AAA 140
Petzl Nao 575 Lithium-ion batteries 52
Black Diamond Storm 250 4AAA 150
Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen Headlamp 285 3AAA 70 hours in low and 1.5 hours in high
Black Diamond Icon Polar 320 4AA 250

The Verdict

A year back, I used to own the Black Diamond Revolt and I loved it as if it were a piece of my heart.

But when it was time to replace this gear of mine, it was not in stock at the moment and I was in dire need of a headlamp.

So instead, I bought the Petzl Tikka RXP and let me tell you, it is now my new favorite headlamp.

I still love Black Diamond Revolt and think it is a great headlamp but for today’s verdict, the winner for me is the Petzl Tikka RXP.

I have already talked about all the wonders that the Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp is. Nonetheless I will provide a short overview about why I love this headlamp so much.

I prefer headlamps which have the best of all the worlds- i.e. headlamps which provide decent brightness, have many advanced features, look elegant and are simple to use- rather than having one great feature and zilch for the rest.

The Petzl Tikka RXP is powerful, provides great brightness, has many advanced features of automatic adjustment of brightness and beam distance as well as lock feature, can be used as a night time vision device and is rechargeable. It is durable, lightweight and comfortable as well.

You will just not be able to say no the Petzl Tikka RXP because it is truly a beauty in terms of performance.

That is why, today I choose the Petzl Tikka RXP for the triumph.

But more than my verdict, I want to know which headlamp you guys prefer and why.

Do tell me your view and we shall again meet in my next article.

Till then, bye-bye!

About Author

Neil Ferriss

Hey! I am Neil. Since I quit my job in 2015, I’ve traveled to several countries and have completed some thrilling items from my adventure bucket list. This blog is about sharing entertaining travel stories, useful travel tips and thrilling adventures with you from my non-stop adventure around the world.

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