5 Amazing LED Headlamps to Light the Way

best led headlamps hiking camping

One of the most essential pieces of equipment you can have in your bag while hiking or camping is a great LED headlamp. A well-made LED headlamp will free your hands so that you can focus on each step without having to hold on to a traditional flashlight to light the way. Even if you’re just out for a leisurely stroll or walking the dog at night, having a headlamp is a great way to keep yourself safe and allow you to react quickly if the need arises.

Knowing you should have an LED headlamp is one thing, but choosing which LED headlamp to purchase can be a daunting process. There are several different brands available that offer different features, specs, and prices, but which one do you choose?

In this article we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite LED headlamps and talk about why we love each of them. We’ll explain what the different features mean, in what situations they might be useful, and what you should look for, overall, when deciding which LED headlamp to purchase.

Even if you don’t plan on using a headlamp in the near future, it’s always nice to have one accessible just in case you might need it. It’s hard to read a book when the power goes out if you’re holding on to a flashlight with one hand…

With that said, let’s get into some of our favorite LED headlamps that will help light your way through the darkness.

Related: Find the Best EDC Flashlight

5 of Our Favorite LED Headlamps

The LED headlamps featured below are some of the favorite headlamps we’ve used or tested. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but if you’re looking for a solid headlamp, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices.

Petzl Actik Core w/ CORE Battery

Petzl Actik Full Specifications

Beam Distance: 90 meters
Lumens: 450
Waterproof Rating: IPX4
Battery Type: Rechargeable and 3x AAA

Weight: 2.65 oz
Strobe: Yes
Lowest Price: Check Now

The Petzl Actik Core headlamp is a great headlamp for the price. It offers about 130 hours’ worth of light time on low and about 2 hours on high, but has a CORE battery built in for easy recharging. If you find yourself caught somewhere without the ability to charge the battery, this headlamp will also function on 3 AAA batteries, making it one of our favorite headlamps for hiking and camping. It’s extremely easy to use with its single button design, and 3 different light level settings… as well as a red light option.

The Petzl Actik Core headlamp tops out at 450 lumens so it’s sure to light up the way while camping, hiking, or trying to work in the dark.

If you’re looking for an overall great headlamp for all occasions, this would be our top recommendation.

PETZL, ACTIK CORE Rechargeable Headlamp
$68.95

READY FOR THE TRAIL: Rechargeable and powerful, the ACTIK CORE is a great headlamp for mountaineering, running, hiking and backpacking; Weighs just 75 g and features an IPX4 protection rating


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10/21/2021 10:13 pm GMT

Fenix HM65R

Fenix HM65R Full Specifications

Beam Distance: 178 yards
Lumens: 1,400
Charge Type: USB-C Charging Cable
Waterproof Rating: IP68
Mode of Operation: Dual Switch

Weight: 3.42 oz
Body Material: Magnesium Alloy
Strobe: No
Lowest Price: Check Now

If you’re looking for a little more power and light out of your headlamp, then look no further than the Fenix HM65R. This LED headlamp has a max power output of 1400 lumens and includes both a spotlight and a flood light. The spotlight is capable of lighting up about 178 yards at 1000 lumen, while the flood light will light up about 60 yards using 400 lumens. This dual beam headlight setup is great to have when outdoors. It allows you to see extremely far, but also light up your immediate area with a large flood of light.

The Fenix HM65R also features a rechargeable battery that can last for up to 280 hours on a single charge, and is easily rechargeable via the USB-C cable included with the headlamp. And just in case you don’t have any way to charge the headlamp, it will also run off of 2 CR123R batteries.

The headlamp is IP68 waterproof and impact resistant up to 2 meters, so it can take a little bit of a beating while still being reliable. This headlamp is a little bit more expensive than the Petzl Actik Core, but we really like this headlamp.

Fenix HM65R LED Headlamp
$113.01

The HM65R has a max output of 1400 lumens. The spotlight reaches out to 178 yards, great for long-range applications. The floodlight can reach 60 yards at a wide-angle making it great for exploration.

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10/21/2021 10:13 pm GMT

Black Diamond Storm 400

Black Diamond Storm 400 Full Specifications

Beam Distance: 100 m
Lumens: 400
Charge Type: 4x AAA Batteries
Waterproof Rating: IP67
Mode of Operation: PowerTap Technology

Weight: 5.6 oz
Made In: China
Strobe: Yes
Lowest Price: Check Now

Don’t care about rechargeable batteries, but looking for a solid headlamp at a great price? Look no further than the Black Diamond Storm 400. This LED headlamp comes in a variety of different colors and emits up to 400 lumens on its maximum setting. The light will travel up to 100 meters on high and about 9 meters on low, with 400 lumens at max and 8 on low.

This headlamp does not use rechargeable batteries, but instead takes 4 AAA batteries, which are included in the package. These batteries will last about 5 hours on the highest setting and up to 150 hours on the low setting.

Included with the traditional light are red, green and blue night vision lights to help you see in those dark areas. It’s also IPX67 rated for up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

In terms of price, this headlamp comes right where we would expect it to. It’s not as expensive as the two headlamps above, but there are cheaper options out there, but you get what you pay for.

This is a great headlamp if you just have to have something handy and reliable just in case you need it.

Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp
$49.95 ($49.95 / Count)

The Storm 400 is engineered for epics in all conditions, featuring a robust waterproof/dustproof housing and 400 lumens of bright light.

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10/21/2021 10:14 pm GMT

BioLite Headlamp 330

BioLite Headlamp 330 Full Specifications

Beam Distance: 75 m
Lumens: 330
Charge Type: Micro USB Charging Cable
Waterproof Rating: IPX4
Mode of Operation: Top Switch

Weight: 2.43 oz
Body Material: Moisture-wicking Fabric
Strobe: Yes
Lowest Price: Check Now

The BioLite Headlamp 330 comes in right around the same price as the Black Diamond Storm, maybe a little bit more, but the ultrathin 3D molded housing that holds the lamps feels great on your forehead. This headlamp has integrated the electronic elements into the fabric so that they can keep the lamp as small and thin as possible. This also means though, that the battery pack is on the back of your head, which means that the back of the headlamp does have a little weight to it when compared to other options.

With a max output of 330 lumens, this LED headlamp will last about 3.5 hours on the high setting and about 40 hours on the low setting. The downside to this headlamp is that there is no option to use normal batteries, only the included rechargeable batter which is housed within the casing. We don’t usually like a rechargeable only option just for the fact that if you’re out hiking or camping and your run out of batteries, you don’t always have the ability to charge. We like having the option to throw a few normal batteries in our pack and use them if our light starts to run out.

The reason we like this headlamp is because it’s got a super low profile, is lightweight and bright enough for everyday use. If you’re planning long, extensive, expeditions we might suggest one of our other ones, but for the weekend camping trip or fiddling with your car, this is a great headlamp to have around the house.

BioLite HeadLamp 330
$59.95

Experience top-tier performance with a fit unlike any headlamp you’ve experienced thanks to our proprietary 3D SlimFit Construction. With a front profile of only 9mm and weighing only 69g, the headlamp sits flush on the forehead without worry of bounce or slippage.

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10/21/2021 10:14 pm GMT

Surefire Minimus

Surefire Minimus Full Specifications

Beam Distance: 66 m
Lumens: 300
Charge Type: 1x 123A Lithium Battery
Waterproof Rating: IPX7
Mode of Operation: Push Button

Weight: 4 oz
Body Material: Hard-Anodized Aerospace Aluminum
Strobe: Yes
Lowest Price: Check Now

If you’re serious about hiking, camping, caving, and just being outdoors in general, we highly recommend the Surefire Minimus LED Headlamp. This one is a bit pricier than other ones on our list, but it’s the most reliable and most durable headlamp we’ve encountered over the years.

This headlamp offers 13 different levels of light with a max output of 300 lumens, all the way down to 5 lumens. Using Surefire’s MaxVision faceted LED reflector, this lamp creates an incredibly smooth beam of light that encompasses your whole field of vision.

As we said, this headlamp is extremely durable, but with that durability comes a little bit more weight. So don’t expect this to be super light like some of the other ones above, but it fits extremely well against your head with or without a helmet.

In terms of battery life, the Surefire Minimus clocks it at around 1.5 hours on high output and 75 hours on low. It runs off of 1 123A lithium battery, which is included, and is rated IPX7 for waterproofing.

We can’t say enough good things about this headlamp and it’s one of our absolute favorites. It is a bit more expensive than other options out there, so if you’re not committed to the outdoors this may be a little overkill, but we definitely recommend this one.

SureFire Minimus Variable Output LED Headlamp
$179.00
  • High-performance LED with faceted reflector produces a wide, smooth beam optimized to your field of vision
  • Push button on/off switch and 13 position variable-light output Dial permits one-handed adjustment from 5 to 300 lumens


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10/21/2021 10:14 pm GMT

There are thousands of different brands of LED headlamps available today, but we feel that choosing any one of the ones on our list above will leave you happy. Just like a flashlight, it’s always nice to have a reliable headlamp around the house just in case you might need one.

Zach Belmont has been working in the outdoor apparel industry in one form or another for over 20 years. During his career, he has worked at some of the most well-known adventure brands including Patagonia and The North Face in marketing, operations and product development. Zach currently lives in Wyoming with his wife and 2 kids.

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