If you’re out and about at after dark and want to make sure you spot anything that goes bump in the night before you bump into it, then having a super bright LED Headlamp is your way to go!Vital for just about any hiker who finds themselves outside when the sun goes down; headlights come in all shapes and sizes. The first and probably one of the most important aspects that you need to remember when it comes to head lamps is the fact that manufacturers tend to give you a lot of misleading information about the headlamp; just to get you hyped enough to buy it.
The first and most important thing you need to know and keep in mind when it comes to LED headlamps is that what’s great today, might not be on-top tomorrow. The ever-changing technology and advances in the quality make it almost impossible to settle on one singular product and stick to it.The best we can do is to advise you what LED’s are all about and why you should choose them, and of course, recommend one or two that we love at the moment. That being said, the most obvious choice for a headlamp these days is the LED version, simply because it’s the brightest light available and uses the least amount of battery life when compared to something like halogen.
You need something super bright, in order to ensure you can see perfectly the world around you. You also need something that’s small and durable and well as comfortable to wear!If you can really get your hands on a headlamp that maintains brightness through the runtime AND deliver a great beam distance performance, then heck, you’ve found yourself the real deal!
LED Headlamps come in all shapes and sizes and their prices range from suitable for every pocket to downright ridiculous. As with most other outdoor gear, choosing one that’s right for you all depends on WHAT exactly you’ll be using your headlamp for.
So what are the brightest LED headlamps?
Once again the idea that manufacturers can and very well DO overstate the output powers of their headlamps should always be at the back of your mind. The most powerful claims on the market out there today seems to be around 5000 lumens, but some lamps that were labeled this way, barely reached 1800 lumen.
All LED headlamps are essentially super bright, because frankly, their LED’s!
The List of Best Headlamp Reviews
Extreme Bright Multimode LED Headlamp Review
Its super bright, it is durable and one of the most reliable hands-free lights out there. The Extreme Bright Headlamp is water resistant and will fit just about anyone, with its adjustable head strap that’s durable and secures the light source. It has an incredibly powerful zoomable light with multiple settings, and what’s best is that it comes with a Lifetime Guarantee! It’s a heavy duty, super bright LED Headlamp that has advanced focus systems (such as the fish eye lens) that help to keep your focus clear and bright at all times. It comes with a low, high and flashlight mode which gives you versatility for under $30!
Vitchelo IPX6 Waterproof LED Headlamp
The White Cree light produces around 168 Lumens and a beaming distance of up to 110 meters in super bright mode, which makes this one of the brightest LED headlamps out there. The Vitchelo also comes with 2 Red lights which can be used in either flashing or steady mode, perfect for either survival or alternatively star gazing. Switching between modes is super easy and is done via the 2 separated press buttons. As the name implies, this headlamp is waterproof for up to IPX6 and has a battery life time of up to 120 hours. The Vitchelo comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
Foxelli MX500 L LED Headlamp
This is a high-tech, ultra-powerful, USB rechargeable headlamp definitely made with optimum nighttime lighting in mind! It has a fully adjustable lens which offers you the ability to switch between focus
ed and wide beam effortlessly. The body of the head lamp tilts up to 90 degrees, so this means you really get to focus the light where YOU need it. It comes with an ultra-bright mode which puts out 280 Lumens up to 120 meters, a bright mode that does 200 Lumens up to 80 meters and an average mode which does 95 lumens up to 40 meters. Other than that it also has a minimum mode that puts out 12 lumens ranging up to 10 meters. AS if that isn’t enough variety it also has an emergency flashing mode which is great for SOS situations. The MX500 is constructed from tough, high quality yet lightweight materials and weighs in at only 4 ounces. It has a water resistance rating of a whopping IPX7 as well as cold impact resistance.
This little hard working headlamp offers you almost perfect optical clarity and a bright, even lit beam that is comfortably wide. Walking down a trail really becomes effortless due to this wider beam that lights up your surroundings without you having to turn your head around the whole time. What we really LOVE about the NAO is its awesome Reactive mode, which intensifies the light beam when you look at something at a distance, but then to save battery, dims down the light when you’re focusing on a closer proximity.
Black Diamond Icon Headlamp
The Icon is lightweight and super durable. It’s also very bright, but nothing like the Fenix though. The Icon comes in in our middle section because it’s a-little-above-average headlamp which will cost you just enough and still give great working results, time after time. It’s small and comfortable to wear and is the perfect go-to option for when you’re assembling your hiking backpack.
The Fenix has a narrower light, so this one is better for trekking through terrain that you’ll need to scout out meters in advance. The Fenix is the BRIGHTEST of the three we have on our list, which is great if you really need a lot of light. The really great thing about the Fenix is the fact that it also has a great low beam light that will run for days on end.
Lighting Ever LED Headlamp
For cheap, you can pick up this great little LED Head lamp. It’s bright enough to make your way around the dark and the head strap is secure plus you get the adjustable light which allows you to manually change where the light focuses. It has 18 super bright LED’s ad 2 Red LED’s which gives you a little versatility.
Divine LED’s XE Series Ultra Bright LED Headlamp
So the headlamp from Divine LED’s might be a little more of a financial investment, but definitely worth the few extra dollars. The super bright headlamp illuminates even the darkest areas. It boasts an adjustable dimmer with 5 modes so you can choose just the right amount of light according to your requirements. It has a super comfortable wear and because it’s made of military grade metal, the XE Series headlamp was built with durability in mind. What’s really cool is the fact that it’s also totally water resistant. This headlamp is great for camping, hiking, boating, running and home improvement projects, really making it an all-around multi-purpose headlamp. It also comes with a LIFETIME warranty against defects as well as a satisfaction guarantee. The XE Series is perfect for all your focused-beam illumination needs.
Yalumi Spark LED Headlamp
The Spark Headlamp from Yalumi uses a sophisticated optical lens that gives you enhances beam and light efficiency and has 3 different modes; economic (great for power saving), high brightness (for lighting up even the darkest of areas) and strobe (for emergency situations). The white LED with its 105 Lumen light output covers an area of 90 meters with its light beam and can run for around 187 hours in the economy mode and around 95 hours on the super bright mode. This headlamp is great because it gives you a bright, uniform and narrow focused spotlight beam pattern. We love the fact that its super comfortable to wear, has an adjustable head strap and a lap illumination angle tilt and lock mode (which is great for preventing the lamp from accidentally switching on in your backpack and running out before you get the opportunity to use it). It’s compact. Its lightweight and it’s been designed with durability and flexibility in mind – it’s even water resistant!
2720 LED Headlamp
The 2720 is definitely a headlamp you will be excited to open. There are many reasons for excitement, but the top one might be the gesture activation controls. This is a light you can turn on without slipping on the switch with greasy hands. By waving your hand in front of the sensor, the light illuminates to its full extent.
Pressing and holding the power button will gradually decrease the lumen output from the maximum at 80 lumens, to the minimum at 5 lumens. Another press of the power button will bring on the red LEDs. These are ideal for working at night with night vision goggles, providing just enough additional light. This light has an incredible amount of versatility!
Headlamps can often be uncomfortable to wear for the long haul, but pelican has addressed this issue. There is significant padding on the back of the light itself, so there is no unnecessary pressure against your forehead. 2720 comes with two straps, one fabric option for regular use and one rubber option for use with a hard hat without slippage. The light itself pivots up to a 90-degree angle, so it can easily be manipulated for use with a hard hat without light obstruction from the brim. All in, this is an excellent choice for a reliable headlamp.
The Petzl e+LITE
What a true gem this is! It weighs in at only 30 grams so it’s just about the ideal headlamp to throw into your bug out bag, resting assured that you’ll be covered come nightfall! It’s light and it does what it’s supposed to do, really quickly too! What’s great about the Petzl is the fact that it basically fits in the palm of your hand and provides you with enough light to get cracking around the campsite as well as inside of your tent.
It has a low mode which is perfect for holding up battery life for extended periods of time. It’s also a little life saver! It has a built-in Flashing Red LED to emergency situations, which will notify observers that you’re in need of help, and the beacon lasts for days at that!
We love the fact that the retractable zip-line headband also wears super comfortably, due to the fact that this little guy is so super lightweight, but just because it’s lightweight doesn’t mean it’s not durable. This headlamp is robust and waterproof for up to one meter.
Okay so it might be slightly more expensive than other low-end lights, and could use a little more battery power than many of its competitors but its size and weight remains unbeatable!
HL7 Focusing Headlamp
The HL7 definitely gives you a solid bang for your buck. For a headlamp, it is very powerful, providing 196 lumens, throwing a beam up to 109 meters lasting for five hours. When a less powerful beam is needed, the lowest setting provides 3 lumens, lasting for 76 hours! Similar to the HP7, the HL7 also as the Pure Beam Focusing Optic System, for easy transition between flood and spotlight.
The construction of the Coast HL7 is part of what sets it apart from other headlamps. It is very easy to operate, with a large power switch and an easy to grip focusing bezel. Many headbands are easily broken or fray with use, but the HL7 has Z cord within the headband to increase durability. This model comes with clips for easy attachment to hardhats, and is adjustable between four different angles for optimal light delivery. This is an excellent choice for those needing a bright, reliable headlamp.
So what type of light should your hiking headlamp have?
To be perfectly honest, the time where you had to really think about this question has come and gone. There used to be a battle between incandescent, halogen and LED, but in modern days where LED lights deliver extraordinary brightness and great energy efficiency, there isn’t really much of a race going on anymore.What you NEED to know is that there are literally THOUSANDS of good-enough headlamps out there that will do the job, and do it well. For something like camping, you’re probably not going to need some sort of extreme, uber lightweight headlamp, but rather just something that will withstand the elements and light up you after dark experience. DON’T feel overwhelmed by the (sometimes mind-numbing) amounts of available products out there, just stick to what it will be able to deliver you with.
In any great headlamp fit for the tough terrains that hiking comes hand-in-hand with, you’ll need a headlamp with the essential basic features. These include:
Spotlight mode – The spotlight beam shines brighter, but a little narrower, which makes it perfect for viewing objects in the distance, like for instance when you’re trying to navigate a trail that isn’t greatly defined. What’s important though is that you look for a lamp that comes with both a spotlight AND wide flood mode for closer proximity use. What the close proximity floodlight mode will do is cast a wide beam, with even lighting which is perfect for lighting up campsites when you finally get off the trail for the night.
Red Light – The red light is probably one of the most efficient in terms of battery life. What’s really great about this red light is the fact that it lights up your surroundings just enough, but doesn’t mess with your night vision. These lights are also perfect for SOS scenarios where you need someone to find you if you get into a tight situation.
Rechargeable batteries – batteries are expensive and the fact of making a once-off investment that will keep on going for even longer than regular batteries just makes sense!
Are all LED “bulbs” the same?
In short…NO. Some lights have rings and bright spots in the beam of light while others have uniform beams. This is mainly thanks to the WAY the lights get manufactured. If the location of the right source then it causes an ill-balanced beam. Lower quality plastic and molds also cause the lenses to perform badly.
Does the LED Illumination pattern matter?
Yes! How your LED’s are pointed makes a big difference in the amount of light they will create. Normally LED’s have a 20 degree spread to the light beam. If you want a brighter spot, then all the LED’s would have to be pointed in the same direction, but this does cause you to lose peripheral vision. Want a broader illumination? Get something that has the LED’s pointing slightly away from each other, but again, this makes you lose brightness.
So WHAT do you want from a good headlamp for camping?
- Essentially something that delivers an evenly lit beam for starters, but it should also give you a wider beam for lighting up the entire campsite area.
- You’ll want a headlamp that has a high-quality optical lens system – once again this basically contributes to the EVENLY LIT beam factor.
- You’ll need a headlamp that has a good quality beam distance as well, but this should not be your main consideration.
- When possible, avoid headlamps that have narrow light beams, the tunnel syndrome really isn’t going to help out the camping scenario.
So you can check best headlamp reviews above, With so many different headlamps on the market today, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and make an impulsive decision when making a purchase. Always keep in mind that when it comes to headlamps for camping, you need something that’s durable and built to last. You obviously don’t want anything that’s going to drag you down, and you should be able to wear it with ease and comfort, allowing you to be the light source of the camping site. There really isn’t a RIGHT or WRONG here; it’s all about the headlamp’s functionality and what it can do for YOU. Investing hundreds of dollars into a camping headlamp is not something we recommend by the way, but obviously, a cheap lamp will give you cheap results.