Flashlights

Best Headlamp for Backpacking: Top 5 Picks

headlamp for backpackingIt often happens that backpackers forget about the headlamp when making their list of equipment. This is a big mistake because the headlamp is something much needed for camping.

You will not find artificial light in the mountains or in the forest, and the stars and the moon are not very bright light sources. The same can be said about the fire – when you move from it for a few meters, you will hardly see anything.

The headlamp will be your “life saver” when it is necessary to find something in the tent or to light your way at night. In this case, the backpacking headlamp will be the best option because you will have hands free.

Click here for the Top Headlamp for Backpacking available in 2020!

Searching the best headlamp for backpacking is not an easy task. The market is packed with a variety of headlamps, so you may be confused which one is the best backpacking headlamp for you. So if you have the question “What is the best headlamp for backpacking?”, continue reading this article to find the answer.

We have picked the best backpacking headlamps available on the market. To make our solution, we have also taken into consideration the backpacking headlamp reviews. So here is our list.

Petzl Tikka

Petzl Tikkag

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from 34 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Petzl Tikka is an easy-to-use and compact headlamp that can be found in many backpacking headlamp reviews. This headlamp has already won the admiration of many users. And there are quite a few reasons for this high estimation. The headlamp comes with the most important features that you may need for backpacking. Here are the key features of the Petzl Tikka:

  • Weight: 85 g;
  • Maximum brightness: 100 lumens;
  • Beam type: Flood;
  • Max beam distance: 55 meters;
  • Standard lighting technology;
  • 2 lighting modes: mode favoring burn time and mode favoring brightness;
  • Batteries: 3 AAA / LR03 batteries (included);
  • Battery compatibility: rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium;
  • Burn time: from 120 hours (high mode) to 180 hours (low mode);
  • Watertightness: IPX4 rating (water-resistant).

The Petzl Tikka weighs 85 grams, so it’s perfect for backpacking as you will not be tired of wearing it for many hours. The headband is elastic and fits comfortably on the head. It is pretty easy to use this headlamp thanks to the large push-button operation. You can press the button even when wearing gloves.

The Petzl Tikka offers 100 lumens brightness and a wide beam for proximity lighting and some movement. Phosphorescent reflector helps you find the trail in the dark. The headlamp uses a standard lighting technology to ensure the maximum brightness that gradually decreases as the battery drains. The Tikka has 2 lighting mode and you can prioritize what you need most of all – to save the battery life or better brightness. So you can switch between the mode favoring burn time and the mode favoring brightness. The proximity mode throws 20 lumens to a distance of 25 meters while the movement mode provides a beam that shines up to 55 meters with 100 lumens of light output.

The Tikka comes with 3 AAA batteries but it’s also compatible with rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium batteries, so you can choose what you prefer. The   burn time depends on mode and the headlamp runs for 120 hours in high mode (movement mode) and up to 180 hours in low mode (proximity mode). It’s a very decent burn time and not so many headlamps can boast to have such a long battery life.

In addition, the Petzl Tikka has the IPX4 rating, so it’s water-resistant and you should worry about wearing it in the rainy weather.

We have also found lots of reviews where this headlamp is called as one of the most durable and reliable. So if you want something easy-to-use, compact, lightweight and reliable, consider the Petzl Tikka. It’s worth the money.

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nyteBright T6 Headlamp

nyteBright T6 Headlamp

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars from 347 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The nyteBrigh T6 headlamp is one of the most powerful headlamps for backpacking. It offers a wide range of features that you can find in more expensive headlamps. The nyteBright T6 has an adjustable elastic strap that is very comfortable to wear. This lightweight and durable headlamp will be great not only for backpacking but also for other outdoor activities. Let’s take a look at the features of the nyteBright T6 headlamp:

  • Weight: 90 g;
  • Maximum brightness: 168 lumens;
  • Beam type: Flood / Spot;
  • Max beam distance: 110 meters;
  • CREE-XP-E LED technology;
  • 2 separate easy to press buttons for white and red lights;
  • 6 lighting modes: 4 white light modes (high, med, low, including SOS for emergencies), and 2 red light modes (flood mode and strobe mode);
  • Batteries: 3 AAA Energizer batteries (included);
  • Burn time: 30 hours in high mode, 55 hours in med mode, and 120 hours in low mode;
  • Watertightness: IPX6 rating (water-resistant);
  • 100% satisfaction or 60 days money back guarantee + complete lifetime warranty for repair or exchange.

The nyteBright T6 headlamp is very easy to use. There are 2 buttons which you need to press in order to change the lighting mode. One button is for white light and the other is for the red light. The white light has 4 modes to maximize the battery life (high, medium, low, and flashing). The red function is great for reading and preserving night vision, or not disturbing others. Red LED also has the strobe or flashing mode to ensure being seen by others in case of emergency.

Despite our worries about the cheap price, the nyteBright throws a 169-lumen beam for a spot light up to 110 meters. The beam angle is 45⁰ adjustable and it’s also a benefit.

The headlamp has long lasting battery life. It is powered by 3 AAA Energizer batteries that are included. The maximum run time is up to 120 hours in low mode and the minimum run time claimed by the manufacturer is 30 hours. Since the headlamp requires standard AAA batteries, you will never have a trouble to find them.

To make the headlamp more durable and reliable, the manufacturer designed it with the IPX6 rating, so it is water resistant and you can use it in any weather.

Taking into account the functionality, performance, and rather a reasonable price, the nyteBright T6 headlamp should be regarded as one of the best backpacking headlamps.

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Black Diamond Gizmo

Black Diamond Gizmo

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from 26 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Black Diamond Gizmo is a powerful, no-frills lamp that provides plenty of light for backpacking. This model was upgraded in 2016 offering 90 lumens instead of 60 lumens of the previous version and the strobe mode. Due to its compact size, lightweight designed and lighting settings, this headlamp will be an excellent all-purpose pack companion. Though this headlamp doesn’t offer the super set of functions like red light, it has all you need for backpacking. Here are some details about this headlamp:

  • Weight: 84 g;
  • Maximum brightness: 90 lumens;
  • Beam type: Flood / Spot;
  • Max beam distance: 30 meters;
  • 1 Double Power LED;
  • 3 lighting modes: full strength, dimming, and strobe;
  • Batteries: 3 AAA batteries (included);
  • Burn time: from 30 hours in high mode to 110 hours in low mode;
  • Watertightness: IPX4 rating (water-resistant).

The Black Diamond Gizmo weighs just 84 grams and it’s light and comfy to wear. Its Double Power LED emits 90 lumens. The headlamp casts even beam up to 30 meters. You can also adjust the headlamp for close proximity use when needed, so you will not blind other people. There is also a strobe mode that is good for signaling in case of emergency.

The Gizmo runs on 3 AAA batteries. The run time depends on the mode: the headlamp shines up to 110 hours in low mode and up to 30 hours in high mode. It’s quite a decent battery life. Anyway, you can always change the batteries and it’s not a problem to find them.

Thanks to the IPX4 rating, you can use the Gizmo in bad weather conditions. However, it’s not allowed to submerge it.

To sum up, the Black Diamond Gizmo is a good combination of price and quality. The features that it offers are perfect for backpacking.

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Petzl Tikkina

Petzl Tikkina

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from 269 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Tikkina is another headlamp from Petzl in our review. We have included it in the list of the best headlamps for backpacking because it’s a compact, simple and ideal headlamp for backpackers. It’s not as powerful as the Petzl Tikka, but it provides quite a good illumination for backpacking needs. Here are the features of the Petzl Tikkina:

  • Weight: 85 g;
  • Maximum brightness: 80 lumens;
  • Beam type: Flood;
  • Max beam distance: 35 meters;
  • Standard lighting technology;
  • 2 lighting modes: mode favoring burn time and mode favoring brightness;
  • Batteries: 3 AAA / LR03 batteries (included);
  • Battery compatibility: rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium;
  • Burn time: from 120 hours (high mode) to 180 hours (low mode);
  • Watertightness: IPX4 rating (water-resistant).

As you can see, the Petzl Tikkina has very similar features to the Tikka. It has an adjustable headband that comfortably stays on the head and doesn’t slip. Taking into account the weight (just 85 grams with batteries), you can be sure that you will not be tired of wearing it for many hours.

As for the brightness, the headlamp projects a wide beam of 80 lumens up to 35 meters. The beam is quite bright and even. So it will be perfect for proximity lighting, but not if you intend to use it also for trail finding, we would recommend choosing the headlamp with better beam distance.

The Petzl Tikkina uses the standard lighting technology that features ambient and proximity lighting modes. The ambient lighting mode allows you to illuminate your way up to 20 meters and in this mode the headlamp runs up to 180 hours. The proximity lighting mode throws a beam up to 35 meters and the burn time is up to 120 hours. So the battery life of this headlamp is great.

The headlamp runs on 3 AAA batteries, but it’s also compatible with rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium batteries. So you can choose the batteries which you prefer. However, the rechargeable batteries have shorter burn time.

The Petzl Tikkina has the IPX4 rating for water resistance. So you can wear in bad weather.

All in all, the Petzl Tikkina is one of the best backpacking headlamps for its value. If you decide to purchase this headlamp, you will hardly ever regret (of course if it is expected to be used only for backpacking and not for more advanced activities). It’s also one of the best headlamps under $20.

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Black Diamond Cosmo

Black Diamond Cosmo

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars from 59 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Black Diamond Cosmo is a powerful headlamp for backpacking. This headlamp is comfortable to wear, easy to use, durable and waterproof. So there were no doubts that it should be included in the list. Let’s take a look at the features:

  • Weight: 87 g;
  • Maximum brightness: 160 lumens;
  • Beam type: Flood / Spot;
  • Max beam distance: 60 meters;
  • 1 Triple Power LED, 1 Double Power LED, and 1 Double Power red LED;
  • Settings include proximity and distance mode, dimming, strobe, and red night vision;
  • Lock mode to prevent accidentally turning the headlamp on;
  • Batteries: 3 AAA batteries (included);
  • Burn time: from 200 hours (Double Power) to 250 hours (Single Power);
  • Watertightness: IPX4 rating (water-resistant).

The Black Diamond Cosmo performs really well. It throws a bright beam of 160 lumens up to 60 meters. The headlamp features 6 different lighting modes. With a single push-button switch, you can choose the distance or proximity mode, dimming mode, strobe mode or red night vision mode. The red night vision mode has proximity and strobe settings and you can activate it without cycling through the white mode. There is also a lock mode, so you shouldn’t worry about turning on your headlamp when it’s stored in your pack or pocket.

This headlamp has amazing battery life. It is powered by 3 AAA batteries and can run from 200 to 250 hours.

The IPX4 rating means that the headlamp is water-resistant and can withstand rains or other weather conditions.

In a nutshell, the Black Diamond Cosmo is a great choice for backpacking. The price is very affordable and performance is high. We believe that this headlamp is worth your consideration.

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The Bottom Line

To make backpacking more enjoyable, you should think about some gear. The best backpacking headlamp is one of those things that are essential for every backpacker because it will make your adventures easier.

There is no need to buy expensive headlamps with super brightness and functionality because it’s not really necessary for backpacking. So we tried to make our picks very affordable for everyone. The headlamps in our review are highly appreciated by many people and have shown good results during our tests. So they are great for backpacking. We did our best to provide you with some essential information and we hope that you can find your best backpacking headlamp!

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