Today we will be reviewing the best headlamps for camping.
Having adequate light when camping is essential to both the safety and the comfort of your family.
As well as lanterns for around the campsite itself, it is important to have some good working flashlights for the entire family to use when walking around the campground after dark or in cases of night hiking or those short trips to the community bathrooms.
Both hand held flashlights and those that can be worn on your head come in handy no matter where or how you choose to camp.
Here are the best headlamps for camping we could find.
Best Headlamps for Camping and Night Hiking – Comparison Table
4 Best Headlamps for Camping and Night Hiking Reviews
#1. Shining Buddy LED Headlamp
LED Headlamp by Shining Buddy – Great for Camping, Hiking, Biking and Kids.The Shining Buddy LED Headlamp is a reasonably price light that offers hands free operation by allowing you to wear a “flashlight” on your head.
This headlamp has 4 setting; high, low, red bean and red flashing light.
The lamp swivels down to a 45 degree angle and runs on 3AAA Duracell batteries. It is light weight and comes with a money back guarantee.
Users really like the Shining Buddy LED headlamp and find that the elastic band of this light fits on their head or over a hat extremely well.
They like that the batteries are extremely long lasting and feel that this headlamp is well made.
#2. Luxolite LED Headlamp Flashlight with Red Light
LED Headlamp Flashlight with Red Light – Brightest Headlight for Camping, Hiking – WaterproofThis Luxolite LED Headlamp Flashlight comes in a variety of different colors and it is extremely easy to use.
It has two separate push buttons – one for the white light and the red light. This flashlight is light weight and has an adjustable elastic headband.
The Headmount tilts down to allow you to see things on the ground.
This headlamp is also water proof and runs on 3AAA batteries. It comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
Users state that this headlamp gives off a bright night light making it perfect for night hiking or fishing on your camping trip and that the headband is easy to adjust.
With 30 hours of battery life, this headlamp flashlight will last you for an entire weekend in the woods, mountains, or by the lake.
#3. Olidear LED Headlamp Torch Outdoor Rechargeable Headlamp
olidear LED Headlamp Torch Outdoor Rechargeable Headlight for Camping Hunting FishingThe Olidear LED Headlamp Torch is a T6 LED spotlight that provides lighting for distances as far as 2600 feet.
The light has both a high and low beam and rotates 0-90 degrees.
This headlamp opens a wide lamp cup for lighting a larger area than most flashlight/headlamps.
And the elastic headband makes it easy to fit this headlamp to various size heads or over a hat or helmet.
Users find this headlamp to be high quality and love that it lights up a large area so that you can not only see where you are going, but see the surrounding area as well.
#4. GRDE Super Bright 3 Beams 4 Modes Waterproof LED Headlamp
Super Bright 3 Beams 4 Modes Waterproof LED Headlamp with 2 Rechargeable 18650 BatteriesThis GRDE Super Bright 3 Headlamp takes a T6 bulb and offers up to 100 yards of clear visibility.
It is adjustable for up to 90 degrees and offers 4 lighting modes; high, low, mid, and strobe.
It has a water resistant design and offers 4-6 hours of life on a full charge.
There is also a green light on the back of this headlamp so if you are hiking with a group those behind you can easily keep track of you.
Users really like this headlamp and find it to fit well. And they feel that it works well for night use in all types of situations.
This headlamp is also durable and strong and designed for years of camping use.
Best Headlamps for Camping and Night Hiking Buyer’s Guide
For those of you who like to do your homework before you buy a product online, we’ve got this handy buying guide for you which walks you through some of the things that you might want to think about before you buy.
Any camping headlamp worth its salt uses LED lights, and there are several reasons for this.
- They’re extremely bright
- They make super-efficient use of the battery
- They don’t risk overheating
If you get yourself a headlamp with adjustable beams that can come in handy. A focused beam can be nice and bright, and allow you to see further into the distance. Whereas a more diffuse beam of light on the other hand can help you see in a wider area, but not as brightly.
Different colors can come in handy too. For example, red light is far more comfortable on the eyes, once your eyes have started to adjust to the relative darkness, and red light helps you to keep your night vision better too.
Strobe lighting is also something to think about. It’s a very effective way to draw attention to yourself in an emergency situation.
Light output is typically measured in lumens, and the more lumens, the further you can see in white light. That’s the general rule anyway.
But it’s certainly worth noting at this point that the number of lumens is not a measure of brightness per se. The brightness of a beam of light also depends on how focused that beam of light is. A more focused beam appears far brighter than a more diffuse light.
Sometimes when you’re shopping online for a headlamp, instead of giving you the number of lumens you’re instead given a number for the maximum distance you’ll be able to see in front of you, which is a much easier way to gauge whether it’s the right headlamp for your particular needs.
Unless you’re heading somewhere that doesn’t rain (wish I was there!), then you’re going to want to get yourself a waterproof headlamp. And we mean waterproof – not merely water-resistant.
To judge a headlamp’s water resistance, you need to check their IP rating. With an IP rating (IP stands for Ingress Protection), the first number represents protection against dust, while the second number or letter represents protection against rain or water.
The higher the numbers the better the resistance.
We recommend that you go for a headlamp with an IP rating of at least IP54.
When it comes to the headlamp’s power, you basically have two choices. You can either get yourself one with a rechargeable battery, which is great if you have a charging lead that will plug into your RV or car.
But if your camping in a tent somewhere with nowhere to plug it in, you may well prefer to get one powered by AA or AAA batteries.
AA and AAA batteries are very easy to come across, available just about anywhere, and they’re super easy to slip into your rucksack or even a fanny pack.
You should look into how long the headlamp will last when provided a full charge. If you need one that will work throughout the whole night, you may need one that will last many hours, depending on what time of year it is.
A light that lights up the way ahead is great for when you’re following a path or trail, but when you’re back to the campsite and you’re trying to look for something in your luggage, then it’s super handy to be able to rotate the headlamp slightly downward to see what you’re doing.
It’s not perhaps an essential feature but is certainly nice to have.
Size and weight
All the headlamps in our top 4 picks are all relatively lightweight, which is something you want to look out for in a headlamp since you’ll be carrying it around on your head.
Most headlamps are adjustable, which is great because we don’t all have the same size head. Headlamps are predominantly aimed at adults, which is fair enough.
But unfortunately, this means they are generally adult-sized, and to get it to fit on a kid, the kid may be best off wearing the headlamp over a hat.
Headband Material and Appearance
If you intend to take the whole family camping and you’re all going to be sharing the headlamp, then you’ll have to pick one that all members of the family are happy to wear. So a unisex look might be best.
Elastic is a good choice as far as comfort is concerned.
Headband vs Hat
Headlamps have traditionally mainly been available as LEDs on a headband that you strap around your head. But these days you can also get woolly hats that have a light embedded into them at the front.
These are great for keeping your ears warm when it’s cold. But ultimately, of course, the decision is yours.
You may or may not be pleased to hear that there isn’t one or two main brands dominating the bestseller lists with online retailers when it comes to headlamps.
It’s a very competitive market, where cheaper brands do just as well as the more expensive top-end counterparts.
It’s surprising just how much camping headlamps can vary in their cost. You can get them for as little as $12, or be asked to pay upwards of $30. It’s not for us to tell you how much to spend though.
Instead, you should first decide what you want from your headlamp in terms of brightness, comfort, etc, and then buy according to your preferences.
In our view, one of the best ways to assess a product online before you buy it is by looking into what other people have to say about it.
We’re not saying that you need to read every review out there. Or even to read as many as possible. But what we do recommend is using websites that enable customers to leave a review and/or a rating on a product that they’ve brought.
Amazon is quite good for this. You can expect the reviews to be more genuine than the ones you find on the manufacturer’s websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best headlamp for camping?
We would argue that the best headlamp for camping is our number 1 pick, the Shining Buddy LED Headlamp.
It has a nice unisex design. An adult would find the elastic comfy around their head, or a kid could wear it comfortably over a hat. There are 4 light settings, including a bright high setting and a flashing light for emergency signaling.
We also think the red light option is a nice touch. Once your eyes have adjusted to the dark, red light is far more comfortable on the eyes, and helps you to keep your night vision better.
And it’s powered by AAA batteries, which are very easy to come by and to pack in your luggage. Plus you can get the light to swivel downwards, which is super handy when you want to find something hidden away in your backpack.
And it comes with a money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose by buying it.
How many lumens do I need for a camping headlamp?
Lumens, as we mentioned earlier are one way of describing a headlamp’s light output, but it’s important to remember that the number of lumens is not an exact measure of light’s brightness, as this is also determined by how focused the light is. However, we do have some guidance on this for you.
How many lumens you need depends on the nature of your activities. For camping, say for making quick trips to community toilets, just 35-60 lumens should suffice.
If you go hiking at the night, however, we would recommend a higher lumen count, of say 100 to 200.
If you do go for one with a high-lumen output, make sure it has a low-light option to help save your battery life.
What batteries do headlamps use?
We like headlamps that run off AAA batteries (see the batteries section in our buying guide). But if you prefer you can get yourself a headlamp with a rechargeable lithium battery, such as the Energizer® Ultimate Lithium.
Of course, you could get the best of both worlds, and get yourself a pack of rechargeable AAA batteries complete with charger. Just be sure the batteries are fully charged before you go on your camping trip.
How long do headlamp batteries last?
We’re going to level with you here and say that there isn’t a universal length of time that your headlamp batteries will last.
It depends on the total light output of the headlamp.
What headlamps do the military use?
The military typically uses very compact headlamps, with PETZL and Black Diamond being some of the more preferred brands.
PETZL headlamps are available on Amazon, as are Black Diamond headlamps.
Anyone who camps on a regular basis will love the advantages of having a headlamp. So we hope one of the best headlamps for camping featured here meets your needs.
You may also want to check out our post on the best battery operated camping lights.