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Using quality headlamps for camping is an essential part of enjoying an outdoor adventure. Read more about some of the top headlamps on the market here.
Sleeping under the stars makes for an incredible experience. But the stars won’t offer you the kind of light you need for finding a good camping spot or navigating your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. This is why effective and reliable illumination tools are a must for anyone who’s serious about camping.
For many people, this means investing in a quality flashlight for camping. And with good reason. A flashlight will always come in handy when you’re exploring the great outdoors after dark.
But, while flashlights are useful, headlamps for camping have the added advantage of hands-free illumination. With a headlamp, you’ll have a clear view of what you’re doing even while your hands are occupied shoveling dirt, sand, or snow, erecting your tent, or collecting firewood. Or indeed, any of the other million and one tasks you’ll often find yourself doing to prepare for a night in the wilderness.
So, whether you’re looking to buy a headlamp or you’re still not quite convinced about how great they are, we’re here to help! Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of using a headlamp as well as our pick of the top models on the market.
The Best Headlamps for Camping
Convinced that your camping equipment is incomplete without a high-quality camping headlight? Great! Now we can take you through some of the best headlamp models to consider investing in:
Weight: 2.65 ounces
Power: AAA batteries/USB rechargeable battery
This lightweight, versatile, and innovative headlamp is one of the best on the market right now.
Made by Petzl, a leader in outdoor and camping gear, this headlamp really hits the mark when it comes to lighting up your next adventure. This Actik Core model is also lightweight, coming in at 2.65 ounces (75 grams), and offers both flood and spotlighting with two different levels of white brightness.
Although you’ll find that dual lighting beams are pretty standard for most of the headlamps around today, one feature that isn’t typical is the additional red light. Red light is great for keeping away the insects that can bother you when you’re hiking or camping in the summer, especially near lakes and rivers. What’s more, if you’re partial to a bestseller before bedtime but don’t want to strain your eyes, red light is well-suited to reading in your tent.
While the Petzl Actik Core is compatible with AAA batteries, it also comes with a USB rechargeable battery that takes under three hours to charge. And, as if all that weren’t enough, this fantastic all-rounder is also water-resistant. This doesn’t mean that you can submerge it in water, but it can withstand splashing and even the heaviest downpours.
- Price: $44.95
- Weight: 1.75 ounces
- Lumens: 200
- Power: USB rechargeable battery
When you consider that some headlamps can weigh over six ounces, it’s clear that the real appeal of this ultra-light yet super-bright headlamp is the fact that it comes in at a mere 1.75 ounces (50 grams).
If you’re looking to cut some weight from your pack on a hike or want a headlamp that’s lightweight enough to wear for long periods on night hikes, this is the model for you. You won’t need to pack this away when you’re not using it as it’s light enough to strap to your head all day. You won’t even notice it’s there – until you turn it on of course!
That’s not to say, however, that this model isn’t without its disadvantages. The lightweight design means that it does offer a little less durability than some other weightier headlamps. But, while this BioLite headlamp takes this back to basics when it comes to weight, there’s no sign of sacrifice with the brightness.
With four light modes, you’ll be able to navigate your way through even the darkest caves and midnight routes. And, like the Petzl Actik Core, this model also comes with red light capabilities to ensure insects don’t drive you crazy while you’re setting up your tent or cooking.
- Price: $26.95
- Weight: 1.9 Ounces
- Lumens: 160
- Power: AAA batteries
With standard industry features such as a competitive price point, decent brightness, and reasonable weight, this headlamp doesn’t seem like anything special or out of the ordinary. Until that is, you hear about its durability.
If the IPX8 rating doesn’t mean anything to you, let us explain. It means that this is one sturdy headlamp! With a resiliency rating as high as this, you can expect to take the Black Diamond 160 Spotlight with you on one adventure after another, no matter where you go or how adventurous you choose to be, both on land or in water.
That’s right – the guarantee states that this headlamp will withstand water up to three feet deep for up to 30 minutes. So, even if you’re planning on taking your headlamp black water rafting, caving, or canyoning, this bad boy can take it! And with that kind of resilience and versatility, this headlamp is more than worth its affordable price tag.
- Price: $14.95
- Weight: 1.8 Ounces
- Lumens: 200
- Power: AAA batteries
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this Vont SPARK headlamp is the one for you.
But don’t go thinking that spending less money on your headlamp will net you fewer features. This model offers excellent brightness with seven different modes ranging from low to high beam, as well as SOS and strobe lights. And, even when it’s on the brightest setting, the battery can last up to three hours or eight hours in low mode. As such, even if you’re planning on hiking throughout the night, this model will light your way through the long, dark hours.
The Vont SPARK also comes in at a lightweight 1.8 ounces, is drop-resistant, and has an excellent IPX5 rating for resilience. All this makes it ideal for clumsy campers and those looking for an affordable, durable, and reliable headlamp to see them through their upcoming outdoor adventures.
One disadvantage with this headlamp is the lack of rechargeable battery options. It also needs six AAA batteries to power it, which makes it less than ideal for extensive camping trips or anyone keen to avoid the waste involved with single-use batteries.
- Price: $74.95
- Weight: 4.9 Ounces
- Lumens: 950
- Power: USB rechargeable battery
As you can tell by the lumens, this headlamp is the brightest of the bunch. Taking the main point of owning a headlamp and running with it, the Fenix HL60R headlight provides you what you need most of all out in the wilderness – light, and plenty of it. With six brightness levels from a low five lumens up to a blinding 950 lumens, this model can light up even the darkest caves or most treacherous nighttime routes.
And, if you’re looking to take your adventures underwater, that won’t be a problem either. You can submerge this headlamp up to six feet underwater. What’s more, this model’s sturdy aluminum frame makes it ideal for standing up to the toughest adventures in even the most full-on environments.
- Price: $29.95
- Weight: 3 Ounces
- Lumens: 300
- Power: AAA batteries
We weren’t exaggerating when we said that Petzl is a real leader in the headlamp game. As with the two others that made our list, this Petzl Tikka has it all when it comes to the best brightness-to-weight ratio. This also comes at an affordable price and with several innovative features.
As well as a good degree of resiliency, the Petzl Tikka headlamp features smart adaptation technology to readjust its brightness power. This means that you won’t see a reduction in brightness when the battery starts to drain, ensuring continuous illumination when you need it most. This model is also tough and water-resistant enough to withstand adventurous trips and adverse weather conditions. And, with SOS and strobe lighting features, you’ll also be able to use this headlamp for signaling in an emergency situation.
What Is a Headlamp?
To ensure that we’re all on the same page, it’s important for you to understand what headlamps are – and what they aren’t. If you have some image of a miners’ hard hat with light, this isn’t what we’re talking about at all. Nor are we talking about the kinds of lights you’d find on a motor vehicle.
Instead, a headlamp is a small, lightweight device combining a flashlight with a circular elasticated strap for wearing around your head. The elastic makes the device suitable for all head sizes, while you can wear the headlamp over a cap, hat, or helmet as well as on its own.
The Benefits of Using a Headlamp
Not ready to give up your trust flashlight just yet? You don’t need to! Camping flashlights are great for group hikes and provide a strong beam of light in precarious situations. But headlamps have many benefits that make them an essential part of your camping gear:
With a headlamp, you don’t need to hold onto a light source. This allows you to put your hands to better use while hiking and camping at night. In fact, high-quality camping headlights are so comfortable, you can easily wear them for long periods of time, freeing up your hands for reading a map, cooking up a campfire feast, or setting up your tent.
Having a light strapped to your head means that it will always illuminate wherever you’re looking. As a result, you won’t have to think about coordinating the beam with your focal point as you would with a flashlight, meaning less arm fatigue and less chance of errors.
Compact & Lightweight
Flashlights are powerful but they also tend to be bulky and heavy. Headlamps, in contrast, are both lightweight and compact enough to fit inside even the smallest backpacks. So, whether you’re carrying one during the day or wearing one at night, a headlamp ensures extra light without adding much extra weight or taking up much extra space.
Since you strap them to your head, headlamps also provide light in a more secure way. They rarely slip off or fall, even when running. As a result, you won’t have to worry about the headlamp falling and rolling away in the same way you would if you were carrying a flashlight.
Your Guide to the Best Camping Headlamps
Thanks to their small size, lightweight design, and the hands-free lighting they provide, headlamps are an essential piece of camping equipment for both beginners and experienced campers.
And, with this list of the best headlamps for camping to guide you, it’ll be a lot easier for you to navigate the many options available to you.
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