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Top Picks

How we choose: The best headlamps highlighted here were selected based on 1,791 reviews of 162 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a headlamp that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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Ledlenser MH10

user rating: 5 of 5 (4 reviews)

I recently went camping at Desoto State Park in North Alabama and got to try out the Ledlenser MH10 in exchange for a review as a member of another site. Overall I was really happy with the headlamp and impressed with how powerful and easy to use it was. At the brightest level it puts out some serious light and when focused can shine long distances even in the darkest conditions. We used the light around the campground and had to actually keep it on a lower setting so it wouldn’t blind anyone. It is very easy to adjust the focus of the beam with a single-handed twist of the lens. The light also has a nice tilt mechanism that makes it easy to change where the beam is pointing whether it is being used for hiking or laying in your tent and reading. Overall, I would highly recommend this light for anyone looking for a powerful and comfortable headlamp with a useful set of features.

Reasons to Buy

  • Bright
  • Comfortable
  • Rechargeable
  • Adjustable focus
  • Durable
  • Low heat generation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive
  • External filters
  • Heavy

First off, this is an incredibly bright headlamp and in the focused beam position, you can see extremely far. We tried to test it out by shining it at the tops of the trees and could make out every leaf while it was pitch black outside. The headlamp also has the advantage that it can be adjusted to give a focused or diffuse beam with a simple single-handed twist of the lens. They have built in a special mechanism that makes this adjustment without even a full turn so it can be done very quickly.

Read more: Ledlenser MH10 reviews (4)

Princeton Tec Quad

user rating: 4 of 5 (10 reviews)

I have been very happy with this headlamp. It is bright enough for night hiking and the angle can be adjusted depending on what you need to see (or to keep from blinding your hiking partner when you turn toward them). The low-battery warning is a nice feature. I also like that this light is water resistant; this is important for a hiking headlamp because sometimes one ends up hiking in rain and it may happen to be dark out as well. My only complaint is that it is kind of hard to open the battery compartment. Maybe this part of the design is necessary for water resistance, but it does make battery changes a bit of a pain. The good news is that this light doesn't go through batteries very quickly.

Read more: Princeton Tec Quad reviews (10)

Princeton Tec EOS

user rating: 4 of 5 (13 reviews)

I currently have two of these headlamps. One is used for hiking and the other I wear on my hardhat at work. For the price, weight, and size, I am very pleased. The lamp I use for hiking is roughly 3 years old and is as good as new. It throws sufficient light for any task in the woods, and I have used it for many night hikes, especially in the winter. As others have noted, the tilt adjustment for the lamp seems a little weak. For the lamp I use hiking this is not yet an issue, even after 3 years, partly because it is not used heavily.

Read more: Princeton Tec EOS reviews (13)

Princeton Tec Apex Pro

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8 reviews)

Do your research! I bought this headlamp at REI and loved it, absolutely loved it, all throughout the first 4-day trip it took with me. Unfortunately, when I got home and started reading online about my new purchase I found many many reports of chronic cracking of the headlamp housing above the two screwholes which hold the housing shut (making it water resistant). Some even reported pieces of plastic falling off as a result. I looked at my housing and sure enough, after about 10 hours of use over the course of a 4-day trip, it was cracked.

Read more: Princeton Tec Apex Pro reviews (8)

Princeton Tec Yukon HL

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

This is a great lamp. It has a voltage regulator chip in it so you can use rechargable batteries so that you don't end up throwing away half-used batteries after overnight trips (most LED headlamps use resisters, which cut the voltage too much when using the lower-voltage rechargables), and because it uses AA batteries, battery life is great. The beam pattern is adjustable for "tight" to "scattered" by twisting the headlamp lens, and the headlamp pivots up and down to adjust for trailfinding.

Read more: Princeton Tec Yukon HL reviews (7)

Princeton Tec Fred

user rating: 4 of 5 (4 reviews)

A light, well-made headlamp with bright, focused beams, and a red light mode. An intelligent switching pattern becomes intuitive with use. Made in the USA.

Reasons to Buy

  • Has a red light mode
  • Intelligent switching
  • Bright, focused light
  • Lightweight
  • Made in the USA

Reasons to Avoid

  • Headband too small for some
  • Battery compartment hard to open

I've had a few headlamps before this one. In my first section of the Appalachian Trail, I took my Black Diamond Cosmo LED headlamp. It had two side LEDs for a flood effect, and one central 0.5-watt LED with a conical reflector to focus the beam. It was a fine unit except for one thing. It didn't have a red light mode. Now, many like red light to protect night vision. But if one's hiking the AT, and  turns on a white light inside a crowded shelter after dark, they are often called names, have their sanity questioned, and are generally ostracized from the community of hikers.

Read more: Princeton Tec Fred reviews (4)

Streamlight Septor

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Overview: The Septor is a headlamp manufactured by Streamlight. It is powered by 3AAA batteries and features 7 5mm LEDs with 3 levels of brightness.Construction: The Septor is constructed of a tough ABS polymer and has a polycarbonate one piece bezel/lens with a black rubber shroud. It has a racheting attachment to an elastic head strap. The light uses 3 AAA batteries which are inserted horizontally with a plastic battery carrier. The battery compartment is sealed with a black plastic cap, which is a push and turn bayonet type lock.

Read more: Streamlight Septor reviews (3)

Fox Outfitters Firefly

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Amazingly bright, low weight, long battery life—these are just some of the highlights of this light.

Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely bright light with adjustable aim
  • Multiple sequences and settings
  • Very good battery life

Reasons to Avoid

  • Honestly, I found no faults in this product

I received my Firefly headlamp today to test and review. Starting with the shipping, it was surprisingly fast. I had recently moved and even with the company shipping to the old address, I had product in hand in under a week. The packaging was very well done and the unit made it here with no issues whatsoever. The product's packaging is appealing to the eye, clean box, specs and information can be seen and understood with a glance. None of the information overload that many companies like to use to make a product seem like it's more than it is just to draw a purchase.

Read more: Fox Outfitters Firefly review (1)

Fenix HM70R

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Rugged, long run time, waterproof headlamp

Reasons to Buy

  • Multiple light output modes
  • Long run time
  • Rugged
  • Waterproof

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy for backpacking
  • Button press to turn on not immediately obvious for those not familiar with lamp

  When doing anything, especially when I will be away from civilization where potential help if is far away if needed, I like to be as prepared as possible.  You will notice that this headlamp is not light by any means at almost half a pound. Then again, its not marketed as a backpacking light. What you get for this weight though is serious ruggedness, waterproofness, various choices in light output along with run time.  You also get something where if you use it mindfully, you shouldn’t have to charge it again while out even on your longer trips.

Read more: Fenix HM70R review (1)

Petzl e+LITE

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17 reviews)

The Petzl e+LITE is a great lightweight headlamp that provides more then adequate light for helping you hike along the trail at night or digging something out of your pack in camp.

Reasons to Buy

  • More then adequate light for backpacking
  • Lightweight
  • Small compact size

Reasons to Avoid

  • Just an OK lock feature
  • Case can be difficult to open
  • Unknown battery manufacture

I have been working to reduce the weight of my pack for longer trips I take in the summer and have been going through my gear looking for where I can shave a few ounces and switching to the Petzl e+LITE shaved another two ounces! I can feel my pack getting lighter already! When I am backpacking my lighting needs are really not all that great and I primarily use a headlamp for getting around camp or digging through my pack at night. When I do hike at night I try and hike without a headlamp when I can, and if I do need a light I don't need all that  much to help me get down the trail.

Read more: Petzl e+LITE reviews (17)

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