Setting up camp at dusk? Cooking after sunset? Hiking in the early morning or evening? Want to be safer in emergencies?
Then you need a headlamp!
Headlamps are an essential piece of hiking equipment, and I take one with me on every backpacking trip. I even take one on most day hikes…just in case!
And I definitely relied on my headlamp when I hiked Mt. Whitney and needed to start well before sunrise in order to make it to the summit and back in the same day!
Headlamp Shopping Tips
- Brightness. If a headlamp isn’t bright enough, then it really isn’t serving its purpose. I look for lamps that can illuminate the trail well, and also serve me well at the campsite. Brightness levels can differ greatly across brands and models. Check out my Headlamp Brightness Comparison to see the brightness of 3 popular headlamps.
- Weight. Most headlamps use 2 AA batteries or 3 AAAs. I like headlamps that are lightweight to help keep my pack weight down, but also to be more comfortable on more forehead.
- Tilting? Look for a headlamp that can be tilted or is already adjusted at a 45 degree angle. Most of the time you’ll likely have the headlamp pointed down, and you don’t want to strain your neck to get the beam to shine in that direction.
- Multiple settings. Headlamps should have a battery saving option so that you can use a dimmer light and conserve battery power. Additionally, a red light setting is nice so you can preserve your night vision around a campsite and enjoy some star gazing.
- Glove friendly on/off switch. Headlamps tend to be used at night. It is usually cold at night, and people wear gloves when they’re outside. Therefore, it makes sense to look for a headlamp that has an easy to access switch than can be operated with gloves on.
Hiking Lady’s Favorite Headlamps:
Pelican HeadsUp Lite 2610: Pelican HeadsUp Lite 2610 is a good value with a nice bright beam. This one has 2 settings, is lightweight, and even comes with a rubber strap in addition to the standard elastic cloth strap. That makes this a good choice for mountaineers and climbers. Full gear review: Pelican HeadsUp Lite 2610.
Energizer LED Trailfinder Headlamp: This headlamp has 4 settings, including a red light setting that is very helpful if you want to star gaze at night. This headlamp is extremely bright, and illuminates the trail better than most of the competition. However, it can be a bit bulky. Check out the full review of the Energizer LED Trailfinder.
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp: While this headlamp is easy to turn on and off due to the convenient switch that is glove friendly, it’s beam is a narrow spot light. I prefer a broader beam to illuminate more of the trail and the campsite. Check out the full review of the Black Diamond Spot headlamp.