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Have you ever wandered through a trail or attempted to set up a campsite with a torch or the light on your phone? It is not the easiest thing in the world to do, am I right? Well, swap out the phone light or torch for a headlamp. Fully hands-free so you'll have both hands ready for anything when the sun goes down. However, with sooo many brands, styles and lumen variations, it can be mission impossible to pick the right one. Don't stress, we here at Wild Earth have made the perfect list of the best headlamps in every category to make it easier for you.
Max Output (Lumens): 400
Battery: AAA/ Rechargeable
The Black Diamond Spot 400 headlamp is ideal for a technical user who expects all-around performance and features out of their headlamp but still values a small size and compact package. Finding yourself caught away from a power source for a long expedition is stress-free with the Spot 400 and its Dual-Fuel system, allowing you to use AAA batteries or a rechargeable lithium Ion BD 1500 battery and with an integrated battery meter showing your % of power remaining, you'll always know when it's time to swap out the batteries. Unfortunately, this model does not include the rechargeable battery, only the Alkaline AAA cells. The super convenient PowerTap technology allows you to instantly adjust between max output and dimmed power with the tap of a button. The settings include proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red LED night-vision, and lock mode to safely store your headlamp without it accidentally turning on without you knowing. The Brightness Memory function allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness so you don't have to cycle all modes to find the one you need. Lastly, the Black Diamond Spot 400 is waterproof tested to operate at 1.1m underwater for 30 minutes. If it is fully submerged water will get into the battery compartment but it will still operate, but be sure to completely dry it out when you get your first chance to do so.
Max Output (Lumens): 450
Battery: AAA/ Rechargeable
Rechargeable, compact multi-beam headlamp with red lighting, designed for outdoor activities. The rechargeable Petzl ACTIK CORE headlamp offers 450 lumens of power, which, along with its multi-beam design, makes it ideal for dynamic outdoor activities like mountaineering, running, hiking and backpacking. Red lighting preserves night vision and prevents members of a group from blinding each other. The reflective headband provides night visibility. The ACTIK CORE comes with the CORE rechargeable battery that charges via a micro USB port and is also compatible with three AAA/LR03 batteries (not included), thanks to the HYBRID CONCEPT design. Mounting accessories allow the lamp to be attached to any kind of helmet, or to a bicycle with a detachable/ washable headband. The single button allows you to quickly and easily select the brightness and light colours with a lock function to avoid accidentally turning on during storage.
Max Output (Lumens): 200
Don’t be fooled by its size! Smaller and lighter than the Axis, Remix, Sync and Refuel, the Princeton Tec Byte has always packed a powerful punch in a compact package. The Byte now features a new LED globe that generates a solid 200 lumens on high, making this the brightest 2xAAA light in the line. At only 64g this is the perfect backup light or sole source for the gram counters out there.
Max Output (Lumens): 300
Battery: AAA/ Rechargeable
The Black Diamond Astro 300 is a simple yet versatile one lens and one switch headlamp for the user that doesn't need any bells or whistles and just wants a simple light. This headlamp has the option to run 3 AAA Alkaline battery cells (included) or a rechargeable BD1500 Li-ion battery and charger (sold separately) for maximum flexibility. With 3 settings including full strength, dimming and strobe there is no mucking around and a brightness memory so the headlamp stays at the brightness you turned it off at. The IPX4 stormproof withstands rain and sleet from any angle for your confidence when the weather turns on you.
Max Output (Lumens): 330
Experience top-tier performance with a fit unlike any headlamp you've experienced thanks to BioLite’s proprietary 3D SlimFit Construction on the BioLite Headlamp 330 No-Bounce. With a front profile of only 9mm and weighing only 69g, this headlamp sits flush on the forehead without the worry of bounce or slippage. Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry for any activity and the rechargeable battery means you can leave the alkalines behind. The On/Off/Lock button allows you to switch between modes and lock the mode to prevent accidental contact changing your settings. The Flood lens is perfect for wide-angle light and the spot lens is great task lighting and illuminating your path. The front panel tilts down so you can angle your light wherever you need it. And, for that added safety, a reflective strip that enhances your visibility from behind.
Max Output (Lumens): 3500
The Led Lenser H19R Core is the ultimate in portable light innovation and engineering. The unique Fusion Beam light pattern combines the power of two lenses and enables individually controllable flood and spotlight with intuitive operation. The H19R Core features a red light to preserve night vision, a swiveling lamp head and removable battery with magnetic charging. By using rechargeable batteries, you're not just protecting your wallet, but also the environment. Regular batteries, after all, require up to 500 times more electricity to produce than they can release themselves. Combined with the energy consumption for transport and storage, the CO2 emissions are huge. This headlamp is well protected against dust and water, a perfect match for any challenge. For home and life. Designed for a wide range of applications for everyday or on the job use. Equipped with Ledlenser's latest technologies and great functionality, the Core Series gives people the opportunity to experience the best parts of our lighting products in everyday life.
Max Output (Lumens): 200
Petzl’s Bindi 200 is an ultra-light, rechargeable headlamp designed for everyday uses. 200 lumens of max output weighing in at only 35 g, the BINDI headlamp fits in the palm of your hand. With 3 lighting modes, it is ideal for everyday activities and regular training around town or in the mountains. Convenient charging via USB cable means you can leave the batteries at home. The thin headband adjusts easily and can also be worn around the neck making it a perfect added extra for when the sun goes down.
Max Output (Lumens): 360
Get ready for one of the most versatile and compact headlamps NITECORE offers. The NITECORE NU25 headlamp packages three outputs (white/high CRI and red) into an ultra-lightweight body you can wear comfortably for hours on end. A primary CREE XP-G2 S3 LED emits up to 360 lumens of light with up to 88 yards throw which can be used for running, cycling, setting up camp and so much more. For up-close tasks, reading and photography, there is a secondary high CRI LED which produces a warm 20-lumen beam and renders colors and details better than cool white outputs. Last but not least, the NU25 also features a secondary red LED for preserving night vision, map reading and hunting. There are even three special modes (red caution/SOS/Beacon) for emergencies and signaling! Easy Dual Switch Controls located conveniently on the top of the headlamp control white and red outputs separately and make it easy to switch between all three outputs so you always know what light you're accessing. The NU25 also features a lockout mode to prevent accidental button presses while stored in tight spaces. The NU25 comes with a built-in 610mAh li-ion battery that offers 30 minutes of runtime on Turbo and up to 160 hours on the lowest setting. Charging the NU25 is super simple with a built-in micro-USB charging port located on the underside of the unit. Use the included charging cable to plug the light into any USB source and a red indicator light under the control buttons will illuminate. Upon completion, the light will turn green. There's even a battery power indicator so you'll never be caught with a low battery again.
Max Output (Lumens): 1000
The powerful MH11, the rechargeable flagship of Led Lenser outdoor headlamps, helps you on your adventures with sensational technologies. With the "Led Lenser Connect" app you can connect the lamp to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can customize your settings at any time. Plus the MH11 features a Boost mode with up to 1000 lumens, magnetic charging cable, aluminum heat sink, RGB front light plus battery indicator. By using rechargeable batteries, you're not just protecting your wallet, but also the environment. Regular batteries, after all, require up to 500 times more electricity to produce than they can release themselves. Combined with the energy consumption for transport and storage, the CO2 emissions are huge. The IPX4 and IP5X protects the MH11 from dust and water splashing from every direction for your piece of mind. With multiple functions, this headlamp also has an S.O.S signal that emits light in morse code in case you find yourself in some trouble. And, lastly, the transportation lock allows you to store the MH11 without the worry of it turning on and draining the battery without you knowing.
Max Output (Lumens): 375
Battery: AAA/ Rechargeable
Developed after rigorous testing while night-climbing on the limestone walls of Mexico, the Onsight is Black Diamond’s purpose-built solution for climbers seeking additional climb time after the sun has set. A climber's desire for simplicity and robustness were built into every aspect of this light from the single button architecture to its fully submersible IP67 waterproof construction. You'll first notice the Onsight's dual-beam configuration, which provides the two main lighting modes climbers need most. The main Climbing Mode was optimized for illuminating the holds or trail directly in front of you with 300 lumens of wide evenly dispersed light that doesn't glare when you're looking for the next crimper or small foothold. The secondary Route-Finder Mode adds a powerful, narrow, long-distance beam and increases the total max output to 375 lumens allowing you to spot anchors or search for trails off in the distance. We've added dual PowerTap technology to easily toggle between Climbing and Route-Finder Modes by touching both the right side and left side of the front housing. Providing flexibility, the Onsight is Dual-Fuel compatible and can be powered with either our rechargeable BD 1800 Li-ion battery or with three standard AAA batteries. The front housing is ultra-thin and has extra articulation built into it allowing you to get close to the wall and still see everything you need to see around you. Finally, at the highest waterproof rating of IP67, this light is fully submersible and dustproof, meaning it's completely sealed and won't be phased if you're caught out in the rain.
Not sure what headlamp to get for your next adventure? Chat to our friendly team of Outdoor Gear Specialists in-store or online today and don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Instagram by tagging @wildearthaustralia and #mywildearth in your next post.
About the contributor:
Chris Anderson is the graphic artist for Wild Earth. When he isn't getting creative behind the computer screen he's behind the camera lens hunting for that next epic landscape shot. You'll often find him hitting the trails and chasing waterfalls or jetting off to new places around the globe to surf, snowboard and just searching those hard to reach places for unseen beauties.
Follow his adventures on Instagram.