Going overnight camping while bringing those heavy flashlights powered by 3 to 4-D batteries can be inconvenient. Gone were the days when campers would bring these enormous flashlights and propane lanterns.

By the 1980s, camping flashlights started to make their way into the marketplace. Right now, you will see several choices for headlamps with cool features. These were even developed to become lightweight and weigh as little as half a pound!

We compiled a list of factors to consider when buying a headlamp and added some recommendations to make your shopping experience hassle-free.

Top 5 headlamps for your next camp trip

Here are our top picks for a feature and budget-wise headlamps you could purchase for your next camping trip.

Petzl actik core headlamp 350 lumens

Sale
Actik - Head Flashlight 350 Lumens Petzl
  • This product requires 3 lr44 batteries/batteries, which are already included
  • Compact and versatile Headlight with red lighting, 350 Lumens
  • Two light beam patterns (wide or mixed) and various lighting modes, ideal for...

This is the best option for you if you are looking for a versatile and durable headlamp. It can last several years and work well under varying weather conditions. If there is no electric source to plug the rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, you can definitely use a triple-A battery. It can withstand mild rain showers because of its IP X4 water resistance rating.

Pros

  • Light and very portable
  • Comes with a built-in whistle for emergency purposes
  • With a multi-sourced beam great for night jogging and hiking
  • With a rechargeable core battery capable of producing up to 350 lumens

Cons

  • Not affordable
  • Burn time needs improvement
  • Its waterproof level cannot withstand swimming and other strong rain

Black diamond spot 325 headlamp

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Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp (Aluminum)
  • "PowerTap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
  • Brightness Memory allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness...
  • Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe,...

This product is the best choice for people who love a lightweight headlamp that can blend in with one’s gear. With its 3.1 ounces weight, even with 3 AAA batteries installed, this headlamp is the winner in portability and wearability. Its lightweight did not compromise its quality of producing more than 300 lumens. Considering its features, it gives value to your money.

Pros

  • Very light and wearable
  • With a single control button for ease of use
  • Highly water resistant and can even survive a puddle drop

Cons

  • Has a minimal learning curve for the various modes

Biolite headlamp 330 lumens

With only 4 ounces, this headlamp is 1/3 of the weight of the usual headlamps in the market. This makes it one of the winners in the area of wearability. Aside from its edge in the weight area, it also has cool features such as the red night light. This enables you to see well at night without shocking the woodland creatures.

Pros

  • Has a rechargeable battery
  • Can illuminate the trail at 330 lumens
  • With a micro USB cord for easier charging
  • With a band of stretchable and twistable “smart fabric” that is comfortable for the forehead

Cons

  • Battery life is relatively short
  • Does not fit well when worn with a helmet

Petzl tikkina 150 lumens headlamp

Petzl - TIKKINA Headlamp, 150 Lumens, Standard Lighting
  • HAVE A LIT ADVENTURE: With its easy-to-use design, the TIKKINA is perfect for...
  • BRILLIANT BEAMS: Features a wide beam. This close range light is ideal for...
  • CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT: Features a single on/off button, which easily selects the...

For those campers who prioritize comfort, this is the best choice. This Petzl tikka only weighs less than half a pound. Additionally, it has a stretchy and wide band that can gently hold into your forehead, saving you from the hassle of constant adjustments.

Pros

  • Brightness at 150 lumens
  • Powered by AAA batteries that can run for more than 200 hours
  • Made from high-impact plastic without compromising its lightness

Cons

  • Lacks locking feature
  • Does not have a strobe
  • Does not have a red light option
  • Waterproofing needs improvement
  • 150 lumens output is inferior to other models

Black diamond spot lite 160

Black Diamond Spotlite Headlamp 160 Lumen (New 2019)
  • Emits up to 160 lumens on max setting
  • Multi-faceted optical lens design runs on two AAA alkaline, rechargeable, or...
  • Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe,...

This lightweight headlamp is the simplified version of the spot 325 and is the best choice for those who prioritize features rather than all-out power. True to its name, it emits 160 lumens compared to the spot’s 325 lumens. These two products are almost the same in terms of quality and texture. Because of its lesser output, it is 13 dollars cheaper than its superior counterpart.

Pros

  • Weighs 1.9 oz
  • Has a red-light option
  • Has dimming capabilities
  • Powered by 2 AAA batteries
  • Highly waterproof, with an IPX8 waterproof rating

Cons

  • Has a low power output

Factors to consider when buying a headlamp

Affordability

Do not just consider the cheapest option. Doing so will only lead to a purchase of a lower initial price while compromising the features and quality. Be budget-wise but remember to choose a headlamp that gets the job done, is durable and efficient, and will last longer.

Lumen and beam distance

It is important to consider the brightness of your headlamp. The two indicators for this are the lumen and the beam distance. A longer beam distance and higher lumen count are best for those who frequently hike and trail at night. If you use it for simple tasks like dog walking, you may settle for models with lower lumens.

Type of battery

It all boils down to whether you want a rechargeable or non-rechargeable battery. Each has its pros and cons. Non-rechargeable ones typically last longer than their rechargeable counterparts but at the expense of producing more ecological waste. The opposite is true for the rechargeable variants. These do not last long but are more eco-friendly as you won’t have to throw away batteries every now and then. Lithium batteries are your best non-rechargeable choice as these are not heavy. For rechargeable variants, you can opt for Eneloop AAAs.

Bottomline

With the wide array of choices of headlamps in the market nowadays, it is just a matter of choosing what your priority features and characteristics are. Do you value portability? Do you love the ones with the brightest and highest possible lumen output? Do you prioritize budget? Or is durability the number one on your checklist? No matter what your priorities are, just remember to strike a balance between features, price, and durability. 

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