Never Camp In The Dark: 5 Best Camping Headlamps Of 2021

Everything is darker on those backcountry camping trips and everything is more dangerous.

Visibility is key for hikers, which is why you need quality light sources for your entire campsite.

Camping headlamps also serve as personal, hands-free lighting devices. Find a better way to light up the night with the top headlamps that we’ve reviewed.

First, let’s start with the highest on our list.

In A Rush? Here's Our Top Camping Headlamp

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

Why is it better than the rest?

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

5 Best Camping Headlamps

With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.

TOP PICK
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp, Black, One Size
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RUNNER UP
Headlamp, Rechargeable Headlamp for Adults, Waterproof Headlamps Flashlight, Lightweight Led Work Light for Camping, Hiking, Working, Battery Included
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Headlamp,Cobiz Brightest High 6000 Lumen LED Work Headlight,18650 USB Rechargeable IPX4 Waterproof Flashlight with Zoomable Light,Head Lights for Camping, Hiking, Outdoors,Best Gifts
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Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp - Smoke Blue
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BEST BUDGET
EverBrite 2-Pack Headlamp Flashlight for Running, Camping, Reading, Fishing, Hunting, Walking, Jogging Head Light Durable, Lightweight Batteries Included
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Let’s dive into the specifics and review each camping headlight individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models, or you can read along and go through all the information.

Best Overall: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

This is an impressive little headlight, but one that you might overlook at first because of its simplistic design.

In reality, this just might be the best headlamp for campers.

The Spot is an extremely capable model that has a no-frills appearance combined with some high-tech components.

The Spot is outfitted with one Quad Power LED and one Double Power LED, which emit a total of 300 lumens.

You also have the option to dim the Spot for when you don’t need as much brightness. This conserves battery life and will raise the 30 hour burn time (on Full) to an impressive 175 hours.

Any camper that is looking for a moderately bright, waterproof headlight with long-lasting battery life, and that offers a range of different modes and is priced for $30 or less can pick this jewel up.

This would be an excellent first—or a seasoned camper’s extra—headlamp to keep on hand.

Its compact size also places it as the best backpacking headlight.

PROS

  • Estimated 350 lumen brightness for all lights
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (wall or USB)
  • Additional overhead strap for support

CONS

  • Fairly heavy and bulky for a headlamp
  • No red light option

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Full headband adjustability
  • Light modes – Full, Dim, Strobe, and Red/Night-Vision
  • Additional proximity and distances modes
  • Waterproof housing
  • Four different color options – Black, Octane, Aluminum, Dark Olive, and Denim

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Power: 300 Lumen QuadPower LED
  • Battery: 3x AA
  • Burntime: 175 hours
  • Weight: 88 grams
  • Dimensions: 2.3″ x 1″ x 1.5″

Runner Up: HG Headlamp

Although it wasn’t able to beat the Black Diamond Spot, we feel that the HG Headlamp is worthy of an honorable mention.

The HG Headlamp’s official name on Amazon is a bit of a mouthful, but it’s quite a well-designed headlight for general use.

Its overall design is more complicated than standard LED headlamps, which might appeal to campers that like “techy” gear.

The “4 Lighting Models” in the HG Headlamp’s name refer to the 4 light modes it offers.

These modes include Main Light, Side Lights, All Lights (a kind of floodlight mode), and Strobe. The lights themselves include four smaller sidelights surrounding one main white light.

Campers that want a heavy-duty headlight, priced under $30, that has a unique design.

This model has an intriguing look but be warned that it’s pretty heavy and you may tire from carrying it for long periods.

PROS

  • Estimated 350 lumen brightness for all lights
  • Rechargeable batteries (Li-ion; wall or USB)
  • Additional overhead strap for support

CONS

  • Fairly heavy and bulky for a headlamp
  • No red light option

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Built-in charging/discharging safety microchip to prevent overcharging batteries
  • USB charger allows easy recharging at camp with a power bank
  • Easy to press on and off button
  • Red safety flow button on back of headlight
  • 90 degree light rotation

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Power: 350 lumens
  • Battery: 3 x AAA
  • Burntime: 6 hours
  • Weight: 340 grams

Best High Lumen: Cobiz Brightest

When you need the brightest headlamp possible, that’s still easy to wear and use, our choice is the Cobiz Brightest High 6000 Lumen LED Headlamp.

Brightest isn’t always best for every situation, but for campers wanting maximum illumination, the Cobiz is a definite winner.

There aren’t many headlamps that have 6000 lumens – or even close to it – which makes the Cobiz look more like a tiny spotlight on your head than a standard headlight.

Despite its intensive lumen level, the Cobiz is fairly compact and comfortable to wear.

The design of this headlight includes a total of three LED lights, with one main light and two sidelights.

There are four light modes, which include High Beam (main light i.e. the flood beam), Low Beam (side lights), All Bright (all lights), and Strobe (all lights flashing).

Although it’s probably far too bright for inside tents or if you’re not trying to wake up fellow campers, it’s ideal for activities like night hiking, gathering wood, setting up shelter, etc.

Anyone that values having the brightest headlamp possible will enjoy the Cobiz. The light output on this thing is outrageous.

PROS

  • 6000 lumen brightness is hard to find
  • Rechargeable design saved batteries
  • Zooms in and out
  • 4-6 hour average burn time
  • Full charge within 8 hours
  • IPX4 waterproof housing

CONS

  • Beam may still be too bright for some uses (i.e. lighting a tent)
  • No red light

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Indicator charging lights and safety light on battery pack housing
  • Comes with 2 lithium-ion batteries, USB charging cable (micro USB), and portable case

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Power: 6000 lumens
  • Battery: 2 lithium-ion
  • Burntime: 4-6 hours
  • Weight: 291 grams

Best For High Activity: Black Diamond Sprinter

When camping trips also involve high-movement activities like fishing, trail running, hiking, and more, we think this headlight will suit you well.

Black Diamond made our list again with the Sprinter Rechargeable Headlamp.

The Sprinter is similar to the Spot but has a few key characteristics that make it perfect for all different types of activities.

The Sprinter has a single TriplePower LED which puts out 200 lumens on the max light setting.

Since it was originally designed with runners in mind, the light projects outwards in front with an oval beam.

Located on the back of the Sprinter is another LED housing with a red strobe tail light. This improves runner visibility and will also help with safety for campers.

BD also added an overhead strap to this headlamp to ensure that it stays in place while moving around.

This is an important feature when you’re looking for a lightweight headlight that can handle bouncing around without sliding.

Campers that will be doing a lot of physical activity on their trip will find the Sprinter to be a great choice.

This headlamp would naturally be the best headlight for night running or jogging, which is something campers may keep in mind if they do those activities at home.

Its impressive 5-hour quick charge also makes it the best rechargeable headlamp.

PROS

  • Minimalistic design isn’t distracting
  • Rechargeable lithium-polymer battery 
  • Quick 5 hour charge time
  • IPX4 water resistance
  • Full charge within 8 hours
  • 42-hour burn time on Low settings

CONS

  • Higher price than competitors
  • Low lumen power vs price

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Three setting options – Full, Dimming, and Strobe
  • Designed to withstand exposure to rain and sleet
  • Ability to turn off red taillight
  • Front light can be angled

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Power: 200 lumens
  • Battery: Lithium polymer battery
  • Burntime: 42 hours
  • Weight: N/A

Best Budget: EverBrite 2-Pack Headlamp

New campers or campers that need backup headlights will get the most use from these headlamps.

Since they are incredibly budget-friendly, they’re an easy choice for campers that aren’t yet sure how much use their headlamp will get.

They are great to have in your car, RV, and around your home for emergencies as well.

Quality camping headlights don’t have to cost a lot to be useful for all levels of campers. If you’re on a budget, we recommend the:

Finding a well-designed headlamp that’s under $20 can be tough. But not only did we find a worthy model that’s less than $11 – it also comes in a 2 pack!

The EverBright 2-Pack Headlamp is loaded with features and even comes with a 12-month warranty to back it.

We’ve found that these headlamps are surprisingly tough and easy to use, while still being lightweight and fully-adjustable.

EveryBright decided to use 30 lumen LEDs for these headlights, and though that may seem very low, it’s perfect for up-close activities (cooking or reading a map) and to use inside tents.

There are a total of 8 LED bulbs inside the housing with 4 different lighting modes.

Brightness modes include Low (2 bulbs), Medium (4 bulbs), High (all 8 bulbs for maximum brightness), and Strobe.

These headlamps use 3 AAA alkaline batteries which offer 5 hours of run time. The overall lifespan of the bulbs is 100,000 hours.

PROS

  • Light, comfortable, and adjustable down to kid’s sizes
  • Basic single button light control
  • 90 degree light swivel and rotation
  • Great for camping and at-home/emergency use

CONS

  • Not designed for heavy-duty use
  • Low lumen limits usability

EXTRA FEATURES

  • 20-meter beam distance
  • Comes with 6 AAA batteries (3 inside)
  • Overhead strap
  • Weight Per Headlamp – 4.4 oz /  125 grams

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Power: 3 x 30 Lumens (LED)
  • Battery: 3 AAA
  • Burn time: 5 hours
  • Weight: 125 grams
Table of Contents

How To Choose A Headlamp For Camping?

Camping Headlamps

Choosing a headlamp can be as straightforward as just buying the first one you see, but we recommend you do a little research.

Just as you wouldn’t buy a tent without brushing up on the basics, spending a little time learning about headlight options is a good idea.

Size

As far as size goes, headlamps aren’t categorized strictly, but the activity the headlight was designed for will generally play role in how big or small it is.

Headlamps designed for backpackers will be the most compact and lightweight, even more so than headlamps designed strictly for casual campers. The reason being that backpackers need to conserve weight as much as possible.

Headlamps designed for at-home use, car work, construction, and similar uses tend to be larger overall in terms of bulk and weight. Depending on what you plan on doing while wearing your headlamp camping, these options might be a bit overboard in terms of size.

Most campers will do best with compact headlights with smaller-sized lighting housing.

Brightness

High Lumen Headlamp

Headlamps for camping are almost always designed with LED bulbs.

LED bulb brightness is measured in lumens, which is a term used to describe the amount of light the bulbs emit. The higher the lumen level, the brighter the light.

How much brightness you need is a personal choice, but take into consideration that the brightest headlamp isn’t always the best.

While you’re camping you’ll likely be using your headlight for up-close tasks, such as meal prep, cooking, reading, and similar activities.

Too bright of a headlamp can make it quite impossible to easily view what’s right in front of your face.

Super bright headlamps can also be an annoyance for your fellow campers.

Being abruptly woken up with a harsh light in your tent because your partner needing to make a trip to the bathroom isn’t pleasant for anyone.

For general use, stick with a lumen level that’s between 100 to 300 and look for headlamps that allow dimming.

Durability

Durability is important for any piece of gear you take out camping and headlights are no exception.

You should select a headlamp that is strong enough to handle accidental drops, with either a metal or strong plastic housing.

The acrylic barrier directly in front of the LED bulbs should also be crack-resistant.

Although it isn’t an absolute must, we strongly recommend selecting a water-resistant headlamp. That way a surprise rainfall or an accidental drop in a puddle or creek won’t mean the end of your headlight.

Adjustability

Night Running With Headlamp

The overall adjustability of a headlamp includes a few different factors.

Firstly, the adjustability of the straps will be important, particularly for petite women and kids.

The majority of headlamps use elastic straps to help get a snug, but comfortable fit on your head. What you want to double-check before purchasing is how well those straps adjust.

Secondly, the adjustability of the brightness levels. As mentioned earlier, if you go with a high lumen headlight you’re going to need to be able to dim it.

Some other light adjustment features include strobe flashing, as well as a red light for night vision and proximity. You really can’t go wrong with having plenty of light adjustabilities.

Last is the adjustability of the light housing.

Some headlamps have a fixed light which can leave you having to position your head strangely or end up having to take it off and hold it like a flashlight, which clearly ruins the point of wearing a headlamp.

We recommend buying headlamps that have at least a 90-degree downward rotation option so you can see what’s in front of the feet or hands.

Camping Headlamps FAQ

Do you still have some questions about headlights for camping?

Here are four common questions that tend to pop up when you’re buying your first headlamp.

Headlights: Where To Use Them And Who Makes Them

Lumens Explained

There are many outdooring activities where you’ll find a headlight quite handy. Some examples of such are mountaineering, trail running, night hiking, biking, caving, camping, and just about anything where you need more light.

Some of the most well-known manufacturers of headlights (besides the one mentioned above) are Petzl, Biolite, Nitecore, Princeton Tec, Fenix, Rei, Ledlenser. You won’t go wrong if you pick a headlamp from these as well.

How Many Lumens Do I Need?

The lumen brightness you need directly correlates to how much bright you’d like for your headlamp to be.

Camping headlights tend to have lumen levels anywhere from 15 up to 500+, with even more impressive models going up into the thousands.

To put what these numbers mean into perspective, you can consider 10 lumens to be similar to candlelight.

Moving up to 200 to 300 lumens equates to the brightness of standard indoor lighting. That will give you a good indication of how bright a 500+ lumen output would be.

Campers only using headlamps for moving around a campsite will find that they don’t need much more than a 20 to 60 lumen headlight.

Campers that plan on going out hiking, running, and generally exploring at night should start with a minimum of 120 lumens.

How to Make a Camping Headlamp Dimmer?

How easily your headlamp dims has to do with its design. For versatility and to ensure you’re not blinding yourself, it’s a good idea to only purchase a headlight that has a dimmer or “low” setting.

This makes dimming very simple.

If your headlamp is still too bright, you don’t have many options. You could try dulling the brightness by placing a very thin cloth over the light housing.

This will work in a pinch if you’re using your headlamp to illuminate your tent.

But be forewarned that covered the lighting housing of any LED headlight could cause it to overheat! For safety reasons alone it’s not a bad idea to carry your main headlamp along with a low-lumen (15-20) backup.

How to Keep Your Headlamp Working After Camping?

Camping Headlamp Care

Taking care of your headlamp will ensure it functions properly for as long as possible.

After every camping trip, wipe down the light housing and do a quick inspection to make sure there is no damage or that if any of the bulbs have burnt out.

You can either wipe down the elastic straps as well or, if they are really dirty and sweaty, remove them and give them a good hand wash.

After your headlight is clean you can then recharge it to full and place it back in its storage case or some other safe location that’s out of the sun and extreme temps.

How Often to Recharge Your Camping Headlamp?

Rechargeable headlamps are super handy and will save you quite a bit in the long run by eliminating the replacement of batteries. Especially if they are USB-rechargeable, as this cuts on the hassle quite a bit.

Recharging your camping headlamp should be done after every camping trip, especially if you used it quite a bit and are unsure of how many hours it has left.

It also isn’t a bad idea to place your headlight back on the charger before your next trip if there is a big gap in time between the two. This is to double-check that your batteries still have a full charge.

Keep in mind that your camping headlamp should only be charged until full, then removed from the charger. This keeps your device and your batteries safe and working longer.

Final Thoughts

Headlamps are a universally useful tool and that means there are a dizzying number of different models and types to sort through to find the right one for you.

After reading this guide you will be ready to confidently purchase a quality camping headlamp for your future camping trips.

Even if you didn’t quite find the right model for your needs in our Top 5, you’ll still have come away with important knowledge on types of headlights and how to select one based on important features to help with your search.

Did our guide help you finally find the perfect camping headlamp? Perhaps you already have a favorite one that wasn’t featured in our guide?

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