Headlamps are one of the most important items in your camping or hiking backpack. No matter how long your trip, how far out in the wild you are or how much wilderness experience you have, you’ll need a reliable headlamp to light up the night.
When picking a headlamp, there are a few important features to note. Brightness (measured in lumens) can vary depending on your environment and needs. If you’re actually on the trail in the dark, you’ll want a brighter lamp, but if you’re just pitching a tent or cooking at the campsite, brightness isn’t as important.
You’ll also have to choose between rechargeable or battery-powered. Rechargeable headlamps save you some money on batteries and reduce waste, but if you’re on a camping trip, finding a place to charge your lamp can be tricky to impossible. Therefore, we recommend battery-powered if you’re on longer trips and rechargeable if you’re just doing night hikes or short trips.
Other features to consider are burn time (battery life), features like red-light or strobe, and (obviously) price. But whatever your needs or budget, there’s a headlamp for you.
Check out our top picks for the best headlamps below before embarking on your next hike or camping trip.
1. Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp
For one of the best headlamps for most people, go for the Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp. The three AAA battery-powered headlamp offers 400 lumens on its highest setting, casting light 100 meters for a max burn of five hours, and 8 lumens on its lowest setting, casting light 9 meters for an impressive max burn of 200 hours.
Perhaps most useful and not common on headlamps, Black Diamond uses what it calls PowerTap technology to make changing light settings as easy as tapping your finger. Nothing’s more frustrating than having to yank off gloves to adjust your headlamp and Black Diamond’s gone ahead and actually solved that problem for you.
The headlamp also remembers the most recent light setting it was set on, which is a major win for convenience. We’ve all clicked off our headlamps and then remembered that one last thing we had to do and frustratingly had to cycle through the light settings again, so this is a small but really thoughtful feature we’re certain you’ll immediately love.
2. Petzl Duo S Headlamp
We know most people aren’t inclined to drop almost $500 on the best camping headlamps, which is the main reason the Petzl Duo S Headlamp isn’t the top pick. But if you’re regularly finding yourself outdoors, walking through nature when the sun’s down, exploring caves or — God help you — going on the water when it’s dark out, you’re going to want a durable, extremely bright headlamp to safely undertake all your adventures.
The Petzl Duo S has just about every feature you could possibly want in the best headlamps. The headlamp has a brag-worthy 1100 lumens that can light the way up to almost 600 feet. The headlamp also offers five different lighting modes: a low-intensity flood beam for help stretching your battery to the max, a mixed light beam meant for things in close proximity, a focused beam to catch movement, a powerful beam for scanning the distance when you’re moving quickly and a high-focus long-distance beam to see far away.
But that’s not all. It’s also water-resistant up to about 3.3 feet for 30 minutes and impact resistant so it can survive the pack life. In even more premium features, the battery recharges in four hours and the light won’t blind your friends due to Petzl’s anti-glare Face2Face technology, which automatically dims the light when it crosses another beam.
Overall, the Petzl Duo S Headlamp is an over-the-top high-quality headlamp and definitely one of the best camping headlamps out there.
3. L.L.Bean Trailblazer Snap 300 Combo Headlamp
The L.L. Bean Trailblazer Snap 300 Combo Headlamp delivers exactly what you expect from L.L. Bean: a high-quality, versatile, overall great headlamp.
It boasts a burn time of 130 hours on three AAA batteries. While it’s nice to have a rechargeable battery, there’s something to be said for the easy replaceability of disposable batteries that makes sense when you’re going places without outlets.
The headlamp’s 300 lumens will light the way enough for you to easily see where you’re going and the lamp itself features big, easy-to-find buttons so you can turn the beam on or manually dim it with ease.
The head unit can also be removed to function as a flashlight, bike light or a magnetic area light, so even if you aren’t camping as frequently as you’d like you’ll still find uses for the lamp around the house.
4. Lighting Ever LED Headlamp
While good headlamps can get pricey, you don’t need to spend much to get a decent light. The battery-powered Lighting Ever LED Headlamp costs well under $10 and offers some solid features too. It has adjustable brightness, a red mode and the ability to tilt up to 90 degrees, helping you to find your footing when traversing treacherous terrain.
The brightest setting gets you a max of 78 lumens, which gets you about 20 feet of visibility. Depending on the brightness setting, you can expect 18 to 32 hours of burn time.
Thankfully this headlamp comes very highly rated with over 9,000 reviews, so you can buy assured that it’ll hold up and perform despite the budget price.
5. BioLite Headlamp 750
We know we already included a very high-quality option as the runner-up pick, but consider the BioLite Headlamp 750 as an affordable premium pick.
This headlamp offers a max of 750 lumens for extraordinary vision with a two-hour burn time. At its lowest setting, you’ll get up to 150 hours of constant burn. Beyond the basic light features and burn times, you can count on eight different lighting modes, plus dimming on each, to get you through your adventures intact, slim construction for maximum comfort and utility and the ever-important front panel tilt so you don’t have to point your head to point the light. Plus in a neat feature, you can connect the headlamp to a power bank while using it for extended usage.
6. Petzl Actik Headlamp
LONG BURN TIME
What really caught our attention with the Petzl Actik Headlamp is its extended burn time. Because it’s so compact, it’s able to offer relatively strong burn times. Though the headlamp’s 60-hour burn time for 45 meters of white light isn’t the best, the red strobe lighting mode can burn for 400 hours. That can feel like a real security blanket when you’re out in the wilderness, far away from replacement AAA batteries, and want to be certain you’ll always have access to light, even if it’s not a consistent huge blast of white light.
Aside from that, this headlamp doesn’t weigh much, wears comfortably and securely and is IPX4 certified so it’ll handle splashes and light rain no problem.
7. Nitecore HC60 Rechargeable LED Headlamp
LONGEST BURN TIME
If burn time is your only consideration and you just want a headlamp that will last as long as possible on a single charge, you might consider the Nitecore HC60 Rechargeable LED Headlamp. Though it claims a max lighting power of 1,000 lumens and a one-hour burn time, the real differentiator in this headlamp is the availability of an ultralow light setting. That light setting can run for a miraculous 680 hours, which is likely enough time for months of camping.
Of course, the headlamp can run for that long because the ultralow setting only puts out 1 lumen, which basically means you’ll only be able to see a few feet in front of you.
But if you don’t plan on leaving the campground, a few feet is all you’ll need.
So if extended battery life and usage are your top priority, the Nitecore HC60 is the best headlamp for you, by far.
8. BioLite Headlamp 330
BEST FOR RUNNING
For extreme hikers or night runners, we recommend the BioLite Headlamp 330. It’s very slim and features an ergonomic, no-bounce fit. This allows you to climb, run or jump with a steady light and no discomfort. Plus, the moisture-wicking fabric gets rid of sweat as you grind away.
Related: Best Running Headlamps
9. TVMXQ-PRO LED Rechargeable Headlamp
BRIGHTEST / MOST LUMENS
If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that the TVMXQ-PRO LED Rechargeable Headlamp doesn’t actually blast out 90,000 lumens. But if it can blast out even half that, you’re dealing with a massive flood of white light, perfect for nighttime fishing, lighting up an enclosed space or just feeling secure for hundreds of feet outside the campsite when it’s dark out.
Thankfully, this headlamp is rechargeable so you won’t be burning through batteries powering the big lamp and the headlamp features an LED power display so you can see when you’re running low on energy.
Lastly, this headlamp can be tilted 90 degrees up and down and it is IPX5 certified, meaning it’ll stand up to serious sprays of water, so you’ll be more than safe with them as long as you don’t submerge them in water.
10. Petzl e+LITE Emergency Headlamp
This minimalist headlamp from Petzl offers a great pick for simple trekking and makes a great backup headlamp to stash in your bag. It weighs just 26 grams, making it feel like nothing on your noggin. But don’t let the small size fool you; this is still a solid camping headlamp with 30 lumens, a burn time of up to 95 hours on the strobe setting, and it will illuminate distances up to 7 meters (approximately 23 feet).
Because of its light weight, it’s also a good pick for running, especially in the cold when you want to wear it over a beanie.
11. LHKNL Rechargeable Headlamp
There are almost no products that can be analyzed completely objectively, which is why we always look into the people’s favorites. The LHKNL Rechargeable Headlamp is one of the best-selling headlamps on Amazon and has complimentary reviews to support it too.
Users praised the range of features, such as the rechargeability, multiple lighting options, run times and brightness, and really just the reliable functionality of this headlamp. Plus, you’ll be getting two headlamps for far less than the price of one of the other best headlamps.
With the low risk and high reward, why go with the headlamp that thousands of people are actually buying and actually praising?
12. DanForce Rechargeable Headlamp
Though lots of purchases is one solid signal of reliability, that wouldn’t mean much if users weren’t praising the product in reviews. That’s one problem the DanForce Rechargeable Headlamp doesn’t have.
With 80% five-star reviews on over 5,500 ratings, that means over 4,400 people have taken the time to say “This product delivered for me exactly as promised.” Given what DanForce promises, namely a max lumens of 1080, multiple light modes, an adjustable and focusable lamp, IPX4 certification and two included rechargeable batteries, it’s clear that this headlamp has everything you need in a headlamp and won’t let you down. After all, if thousands of users have found their satisfaction, why wouldn’t you?
13. WOWTAC LED Headlamp Flashlight
BEST HEADLAMP / FLASHLIGHT
Headlamps with a removable flashlight can be very convenient. You get quick access for seeing into crevices, working at a campsite or providing light for someone else. We like this one from Wowtac because it’s not too expensive at $30 and the flashlight is compact yet powerful with 1,050 lumens.
14. EverBrite LED Headlamp
If you’re not big on wild adventures but love getting out to campsites on the reg, then you might want to consider a multipack of headlamps. Multipack options frequently include less-than-stellar headlamps, but they’re useful because you’ll either always have a backup headlamp or you can throw your headlamps in multiple places like your pack, your car or your tent bag to make sure you always have one. You can always throw one on the table next to your door for late-night jogging or dog-walking too.
The EverBrite LED Headlamp pack of five will make sure you’ve got light wherever you are. The lamps use 8 LED lights with four different lighting modes, so you always have just the right amount of light, and the maximum lighting mode will illuminate up to 60 feet. In a win for safety, one of the modes is a strobe light, so you can disorient anything threatening you.
Further, the lamp can swivel 90 degrees so you can read something or better illuminate the ground in front of you without having to bend your neck.
Lastly, these are battery-powered and also ship with batteries, a pleasant change from the all-too-common refrain “batteries not included.”
Of course, given these EverBrite headlamps are on the cheaper side you can’t expect more than about five hours of light with continuous use, but that’s more than enough to get you through weeks of camping if you’re just using them to get set up late at night.
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