If your hiking runs a little late and you end up having to cover ground in the dark it pays to have a hiking headlamp with you. If you don’t you might be slowed down to a crawl by the darkness, and you’re also at much greater risk for getting lost or hurting yourself. Fortunately, it’s easy to stuff a hiking headlamp in to your backpack and forget about it. And then, when you really need it you can pull it out and have it at your disposal.
Hiking HeadlampWhat you want to look for when you're looking for a hiking headlamp.
- Power Settings – It’s best if your hiking headlamp has more than one power setting. That way, when you’re covering ground at night you can turn it up so that every rock and root is completely illuminated. And when you want to conserve batteries you can turn the power down and make do with a fraction of the light.
- Red LED – When you turn your headlamp or flashlight off at night there is that time when you have to let your eyes adjust to the darkness. But with red light there’s no adjustment period, because red light doesn’t ruin your night vision. So a hiking headlamp with either red LEDs or a red lens for the white LEDs is a useful thing to have when out hiking.
Best Hiking HeadlampA select few of the best hiking headlamps for your consideration.
- Petzl Ultra Headlamp - If you plan to be moving fast while hiking at night and want as much light as possible, then the Ultra is a great choice. It puts out a very impressive 350 lumens, which is enough to illuminate 120 meters of space in front of you. Of course 350 lumens of light takes quite a bit of battery power, and at that high setting the Ultra will only last for 2 hours. Even at the lowest power setting, you can only expect 17 hours of light. This is a headlamp designed for one thing, and that's brightness. It also does not have a red light mode, and weighs 12.1 ounces, or 346 grams.
- Black Diamond Storm Headlamp - The Storm is designed for what the name suggests, a storm. It's the headlamp you want when the rain starts falling, since it's completely waterproof. It also includes 2 red LEDs, so red light mode actually becomes a legitimate lighting mode. On the highest power setting you can expect approximately 100 lumens of light, and approximately 200 hours of light on the lowest power setting. And it weighs a very reasonable 3.7 ounces, or 104 grams with the batteries in.
- Petzl Zipka Plus 2 Headlamp - If you want lightweight, then the Zipka is perfect. Part of what makes it such a small and lightweight choice is a retractable headband, which makes the Zipka small enough to throw in a pocket when you're not using it. It puts out 70 lumens on the highest setting, while you can expect approximately 155 hours on the lowest power setting. It also includes a red LED. And you get all that for just 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams with the batteries in. An excellent hiking headlamp in a very small package.