Upgrading your hiking activity is as simple as upgrading your gear. With the right tools, you can turn short day trips into overnight journeys, and one key thing that you will need when making this transition is the best hiking headlamp.
A headlamp is great for more than just night time use. If you end up in a dark area, need to find something around the campsite, or get stuck out later than expected, a headlamp can make all the difference in what kind of experience you will have.
Therefore, we’ve gathered up the best hiking headlamp options on the market for you to see which one will work best for you.
If you don’t have time to look through the full list and just want to know favorite option, if we were to pick one which was ahead of the others, it would be the Black Diamond Storm 400.
So, without further ado, let’s get on and get a look at the best hiking headlamps: The Contenders!
1. Black Diamond Storm 400
- Secure fit
- Easy to adjust and use
- Multiple colors available
- Resistant to water splashes and dust
- Full brightness uses up battery power quickly
- Tapping through the various lights can be hard while wearing gloves
Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp Features Summary:
- Emits up to 400 lumens on max setting
- 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 without reverting back to full power
- Regulated for constant light output
- Compact, low-profile design uses four AAA batteries
- Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red, green and blue night-vision, and lock mode
- Multifaceted optical lens design
- Waterproof and dustproof: Sealed housing withstands immersion over 1m for 30 minutes (IPX67)
Available in aluminum, dark olive, octane, matte black, and nightshade colors, the Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp is one of the top hiking headlamps on the market because of its price, size, power, and durability. Let’s learn more about it.
One of the great things about the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is that it has a simple strap that can be adjusted to tightly but comfortably fit your head, so that the lamp doesn’t slide around or fall off while you are crossing various types of terrain.
Another thing worth noting is the fact that the LED light produces up to 250 lumens of light, so a powerful light is produced from this lamp.
There are also integrated green and red LED lights that you can use when it is dark or during nighttime, these lights are typically useful for hunting as to the best of our knowledge, they do not spook animals.
Decreasing and increasing the brightness of the lamp to save battery power or make sure that you use an intensity that is ideal for you and your companions will also not be much of a hassle since the product is equipped with easy to use buttons to adjust the strength of the beam.
The lamp also features Power Tap Technology, which enables you to simply tap the lamp and the headlamp will come on at the level of beam and the type of beam etc. you have previously used and saved.
Enclosing the light bulbs is a tightly sealed, dust-proof, and IP67 waterproofed casing with a sturdy latch. Black Diamond also made sure that you would know how much battery energy is left by incorporating a three-level power meter.
This will light up for three seconds once you switch the headlamp on and is very handy to see how much power you have left before you need to add new batteries.
All in all, the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp stands out for its simple yet necessary features. No matter what type of hiking activity you will need a lamp for, this headlamp is sure to fit the bill.
2. Black Diamond Spot 325
- Great spotlight function
- Secure fit
- Easy to adjust and use
- Multiple colors available
- Resistant to water splashes and dust
- Battery life isn’t as long as it is claimed to be
Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp Features Summary:
- “PowerTap™ Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
- Compact, low-profile design uses three AAA batteries, included
- Brightness Memory allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness without reverting back to full or mid-power
- Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision and lock mode
- Multifaceted optical lens design
- IPX8: Waterproof-Tested to operate at least 1.1 meters underwater for 30 minutes. If submerged, water may enter the battery compartment and it will still operate; it should be completely dried out after use in wet conditions.”
The Spot 325 comes in an efficient and functional design at an accessible price. It has all the quality you would expect from Black Diamond with all the capability you need for treks and hikes when the sun goes down. Let’s find out what else this product has to offer.
The Spot works using 3 AAA batteries. This lends itself to its low profile design and shape. The battery life isn’t bad, but this is one area we think there could be some improvements in.
One of the nice things about this headlamp is the way that you adjust it to fit your head. It has an adjustable strap which is easy to use and holds the headlamp firmly in place. Overall, it is very comfortable to wear and easy to adjust.
This enables you to make sure that it fits on your head, over any hats, etc.; therefore, a snug fit is possible no matter how you are trying to wear the headlamp.
The Spot 325 has an excellent level of brightness at 325 lumens. It will work great for any hiker and all the activities they would typically need it for, for example, to find a trail head, for you to see your way around a campsite, etc.
This headlamp offers excellent peripheral lighting for close-range activities like sorting through your backpack, cooking on a stove, reading in your tent, etc.
The headlamp is also waterproof sporting an IPX8 (industry standard) waterproof housing. While this works well, we think there is still room for it to be built even sturdier.
The headlamp has a nice brightness memory feature which allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness, without reverting back to the default.
The Spot 325 also comes with Black Diamonds PowerTap Technology, which means that at a tap, you can get instant brightness adjustments without having to dig into the settings. This is feature is cool, but you need to use your bare hands, forget about using it with gloves.
With an intelligent design, a comfortable head strap, plus the freedom to choose between multiple sets, this kit is the perfect choice for any solo, duo, or group hoping to start exploring trails at night.
The Spot 325 is also a really popular headlamp with loads of really happy customers, so there is no doubt that it does this specific job very well!
So, if you plan to be doing a lot of night hiking, the spot 325 is an excellent option that is also wallet friendly.
3. Coast FL85
- Very bright beam
- Easily adjustable from wide to spot
- Can be tilted up and down
- Read and white beams
- Short enough battery life
- Some users expressed concerns over durability
Coast FL85 Headlamp Features Summary:
- Twist Focusing system goes from an Ultra View Flood Beam to Bulls-Eye Spot Beam
- White and red LED light options
- Reflective strap for added visibility
- Hinged beam light adjustment, and hard hat compatibility (clips included)
- SPECS: Light Output: 615 lumens (high), 330 lumens (med), 96 lumens (low). Runtime: 2.15 hours (high), 3.45 hours (med), 13 hours (low). Beam Distance: 183 meters (high), 139 meters (med), 77 meters (low)
- IPX4 rated design for water resistance and 1-meter drop protection
- Backed by the COAST Lifetime Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship
With a rating of 615 lumens, this headlamp is a beast in the brightness department! It’s very powerful in terms of brightness and the twist focus spot beam is cool. There are lots of excellent user ratings and positive feedback about the headlamp too.
We feel it is likely more of a headlamp for working e.g. a mechanic focusing in on an engine, but it works great on the trail too, so all good.
The brightness of this headlamp is the standout feature in the Coast FL85, getting up to 615 lumens, which is really bright. It has three brightness levels, high, medium and low.
What we really love about this headlamp, is the twist to focus beam. Basically, the light focuses in from a peripheral view to a spotlight focus as you twist the casing. Really easy to use and very cool!
The claimed distance of the beam is an impressive 600 feet / 183 meters when in high mode. That is a serious level of sight in the night!
It’s a light enough headlamp and it comes with an easily adjustable strap to get a good fit. The design of the headlamp is functional and looks good, and it requires three AAA batteries to power it. It is also IPX4 compliant, so it has good waterproof protection and can be dropped from one meter.
This headlamp is a really nice option for a hiker. It has a very powerful beam and works great, and it comes at a reasonable price. The only downside may be the battery life, it won’t last as long on high mode. However, even at low mode you get 77 meters, so you won’t go too far wrong and a balance can definitely be struck.
This is an excellent option for the trail which has the added bonus of being very useful for other practical tasks. For example, if you like to tinker with your car and so on, it easily has the juice to help you see into tight spots like that.
Our favorite thing about the Coast FL85 is the twist spot feature, it’s pretty neat and very powerful!
This headlamp is definitely a viable option for the trail, that can competently take on a whole range of other jobs too.
4. Energizer LED
- Decent level of brightness
- Takes 2AA batteries
- Very wallet friendly
- Doesn’t sit on a pivot so can’t adjust
- Not water resistant
Energizer LED Headlamp Features Summary:
- Bright at 100 lumens for camping, running, hiking, outdoors, etc
- Powerful light beam reaches up to 35 meters and toggles between high or low light modes
- Comfortable, washable band that is easily adjustable
- Durable headlamp resists damage from drops up to 1 meter high
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Comes with Energizer max batteries included
- Simple, easy to use, durable, and portable
With a light rating of 100 lumens, this headlamp is not as powerful in terms of brightness as the preceding options. However, it is another really popular choice with folks, with very good user reviews and ratings. We think it ticks the basic boxes for a hiker. However, it doesn’t tick all the boxes we think it should.
The brightness of this headlamp has only two levels, high and low. The beam works pretty well with it reaching to a claimed distance of 35 meters. However, although not the end of the world, this is pretty limited.
It’s a lightweight piece of kit, no doubt about that and it comes with an easily adjustable strap to get a good fit for your head.
The headband can be easily removed and is washable which is nice to have. The design of the headlamp is pretty sleek and it requires two AA batteries to power it.
One of the major downsides of this lamp is that the light is stationary, it does not sit on a pivot. So you have basically one beam out directly in front. This isn’t ideal for a hiker, say you want to look at a map, you can’t pivot the lamp to face the map, so you will need to raise the map, or take the headlamp off. That is a pain!
However, as an emergency headlamp with basic functionality, it does the job. You get that for a very, very wallet friendly outlay! So, there’s the trade-off in a nutshell.
The Energizer LED is a basic headlamp that will work fine in an emergency situation e.g. you get held up on the trail and you don’t get back to your car before the sun comes down. It has a lot of really good user reviews too, so it is certainly a decent option to consider in that context.
However, if you are planning to hike into the hills at night, all night, then this is not the best option to run with, and one of the previous models would do the job much better.
We’ve presented you with four of the best hiking headlamp options, but which one will be best for your situation?
Most will find that the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp offers the perfect combination of bright light, light weight, and accessibility. As compared to other headlamps, this one seems perfectly built for the most hikers or those who just intend to use a headlamp during camping activities.
However, if you are a hiker who cares more about brightness than the heavy weight on your head, then, the Coast FL85 is the ticket as it offers the brightest light of any of these three models.
If budget is your main concern but you still want a reliable emergency headlamp, the Energizer LED Headlamp is a great option to consider.
We hope you found this article on the best hiking headlamps useful. These are our top picks for now but we will be reviewing this on an ongoing basis and possibly adding more options to choose from that catch our eye.
A headlamp is a key part of your day hiking checklist. Even if you don’t intend to hike at night, you just never know when you might it if you get lost or held up in some way on the trail, and get caught stuck out on the side of a mountain with the sun going down and darkness on its way.
It’s not only a really practical and useful tool, but also an essential safety item! If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please share it out with your networks, as always, we would be really grateful if you did 🙂