A headlamp is a very useful piece of gear to have along when you’re backpacking, hiking, camping or anything else outdoors at night. But some headlamps can get rather heavy, and when weight is a concern, as it is when backpacking, for instance, ultralight headlamps are worth considering, to help you save on weight. Fortunately, headlamp technology has come a long way, and you don’t need to make too many sacrifices to get a headlamp that wont weigh much.
What to look for when reviewing ultralight headlamps.
Lumens – The more light your headlamp can put out, the heavier your headlamp is going to be, all other things being equal. So while you might need a certain amount of light for whatever you’re doing, you should also not get a headlamp that has a unnecessarily high power output, if you want an ultralight headlamp.
Extras – Some headlamps come packed with a lot of extras that you might not need. For instance, you might want to try and avoid headlamps with a top strap, because that strap weighs something, and is usually indicative of a headlamp that weighs enough to need that strap. You might also want to avoid headlamps with features like an external battery pack.
Best Ultralight Headlamps
Some of the very best choices for ultralight headlamps.
SureFire Saint Minimus - The Minimus is a great little headlamp. It weighs in at 3.3 ounces, which is 93 grams, and that's with the battery. What makes the Minimus unique is that it's just one LED, but it has a dimmer switch, so you start out with a maximum of 100 lumens, and then can dim the light down to anything below that, depending on what your needs are. On the lowest settings you will get about 50 hours of battey life, while on 100 it's quite a bit less. So a unique and ultralight headlamp.
Mammut Lucido S-Lite - The S-Lite is a great example of minimalism in design. It has three different LEDs, each of which offers 3 different amounts of light. The maximum is just 20 lumens, which isn't super bright, but it's enough to see about 60 feet, which is enough for most people. It will last about about 60 hours on a single AA battery on the lowest power setting, and weighs in at just 1.7 ounces, or 48 grams with the battery.
Petzl Zipka Plus 2 - The Zipka is a very popular ultralight headlamp. It has a retracting headband, so it's tiny enough to fit in to a pocket when not in use. And despite being just 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams with battery it gives you 70 lumens to work with, and a very impressive 150 hours of battery life on the lowest setting, which is a red LED that will save your night vision. So a solid, feature rich ultralight headlamp.