Top 5 Headlamps for Camping -Essential Camping Gadget
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So why a headlamp? Why not just buy a traditional flashlight? Well flashlights are great and I always suggest having one on any camping trip. That being said a headlamp allows the user to be completely hands free. This makes it much easier when forced to do camping chores like collecting wood, digging a latrine, or simply connecting an RV.
A headlamp offers a hand free option for a flashlight and should be included in your list of must have cool camping gadgets. The headlamp makes it extremely handy when camping. A hands free option relieves a lot of headache when you wake up early in the morning, before the sun is out, to catch up on that morning run.
Headlamps should be tough, water resistant, and long lasting. Of course one shouldn’t toss their light around, and neglect to carry extra batteries, but the lamp should do it’s part if you are doing yours. This run down is my top five favorite headlamps, with their pros and cons.
1.Black Diamond Storm
The Storm by Black Diamond is a multiple LED headlamp with a single elastic band for retention. These multiple LEDs provide different LED settings in terms of brightness and light. The Black Diamond Storm has 5 LED lights, 3 white, and 2 red leds. There is 2 single power white LEDs, and 1 one quad power white LED. The Red LEDs are both single power. The total lumens is a hundred and sixty total. The Black Diamond Storm is designed for heavy outdoor use, and even the battery compartment is sealed from moisture.
The design is completely waterproof, and sealed. This design is both rain proof, humidity proof, and completely submersible. You can switch between different light settings with ease, all it takes is a light tap to swap the settings. You can effortlessly swap bright and low settings in the blink of an eye. In flood mode the light is spread incredibly even, and spread all the way outwards. In a foggy setting, or deep brush this setting is perfect since it focuses the light in line with your direct eyesight. This makes focusing on an object automatic rather than reactive and straining.
The Storm’s 160 lumens is incredibly bright and powerful enough for most uses outside of a genuine spotlight. The light is bright enough I’d say it would make an excellent light in bad weather, or foggy situations.The Storm is quite solid in terms of construction and has a solid service life. The red light is excellent for when you need minimal light, and for mostly close range work. The red light is perfect for use in a tent without disturbing your tent mate or when hunting to avoid scaring game. The red LEDs also have a strobe effect to silently get the attention of another person. These red blinking lights can be used for numerous signaling tasks.
Lumens 160 combined total
Batteries Four triple AAAs. 6 hours of use at brightest setting.
Pros: Incredibly bright white light. Easy to change light settings. The inclusion of red and subdued white lights for low light situations. Water proof construction. Excellent price point. Comfortable, tough elastic strap. Submersible.
Cons: Heavy, and can be uncomfortable when moving fast. Low run time for so many batteries. Weight is amplified by 4 triples As.
2.Petzyl Tikka RXP Headlamp
The Petzyl Tikka RXP is both a mouthful to say and a high tech headlamp.The design and outside appearance oozes futurist lines and curves. The RXP’s colors are a mix of white and black that give the headlamp a sterile influence that matches the latest IPhone, or Ipad. The RXP just looks awesome, and it’s looks are backed by it’s function and innovation.
The RXP provides runners with a variety of light settings from ultra bright to incredibly dim. The most incredible and high tech function of the Petzyl Tikka RXP is it’s automatic adjusting function. The RXP adjusts its brightness and reach to become brighter when you’re looking at objects farther away, and dims when the object is closer. They call this the reactive lighting systems and it works extremely well.
The RXP is capable of adjusting from 7 to 215 lumens depending on distance of the item, which is capable of picking up objects anywhere from 2 to 110 meters. This feature is absolutely amazing. Imagine doing a camping chores and hearing a noise or needing to check something out, you don’t even need to set your tools down. For hunters it’s a dream come true, no need to remove your hand from your weapon to adjust the lamp.
The Tikka RXP is incredibly bright at his brightest setting and capable of being quite blinding. The Tikka RXP doesn’t use traditional batteries, but functions off a completely rechargeable battery installed in the light. The battery is actually charged by a USB cable, so it can share wall and car chargers with most smartphones. The battery is only capable of about 3.5 hours on full blast but is easy to recharge.
The Tikka RXP is water resistant as well, not submersible, but capable of resisting high humidity, rain and splashes. The RXP is a quality product and even just in your hand it feels strong. The Tikka RXP is a tough lamp, and can take some abuse, it can be dropped, mishandled and packed away without worry.
Battery; Internal rechargeable. 3.5 hours of run time on brightest setting.
Lumens; Adjustable from 7 to 215 lumens. 215 is quite staggering for small headlamp
Pros; Elegant, futuristic looking. Bright as a star. Rechargeable battery compatible with a common charger. The adjustable reactive lighting technology is wonderful. Brilliant hands free design. Perfect for camping and hunting.
Cons; Low battery life. Cannot switch batteries when off the grid. Heavy, but features extra support strap. Not submersible.
3.Bright Medic Bonfire Vanguard
There is nothing wrong with a simple and easy to use design. The Bonfire Vanguard by Bright Medic is a very simple light, and easy to use. The design is simple and in simplicity one can find beauty and affordability. The Vanguard is priced at an excellent value, well below the normal price for high quality headlamps. In fact a quick search and I found models for under 40 bucks. This is a hard to beat price for a high quality lamp.
The Vanguard does have an incredibly bright center light capable of producing up to 220 lumens of white light. The Bonfire Vanguard actually features a total of four different settings. Center beam full power, center beam low power, side angle LED wide angle, and emergency flash. The center beam full power is capable of illuminating objects up to a hundred meters away. The low power wide angle setting allows the user to conserve battery power for hours and hours of use.
The Bonfire Vanguard’s two setting allow it to be used for general purpose work, as well as a powerful beam for hunters and night fishing activities like Florida lobstering. The Vanguard is surprisingly well built for it’s price point. The Bonfire Vanguard is built to IPX6 resistance specifications. If you’re not familiar with the IPX rating system it is a method of judging water resistance.
At IPX6 a device can take direct blasts from water and resist it. This means the Bonfire Vanguard isn’t submersible, but capable of being quite water resistant. This thing can take all the rain you can throw at it. The Bonfire Vanguard can be dropped in shallow puddles, resist heavy humidity, as well as run like a champ in any wet environment. The Bonfire Vanguard has a low battery life at only two and a half hours at full power and runs off three triple A batteries.
Lumens: An incredibly bright 220 lumens powers this affordable, high powered light
Batteries. A low 2.5 hours of battery life, powered by three triple A batteries.
Pros: Excellent price point. Well worth it’s cost and then some. Strong water resistance. Powerful for not only it’s price but for a head lamp. Multiple lighting options. Lightweight and comfortable.
Cons; Low battery life. No red light option. Not submersible. Stiff settings and on/off switch.
When it comes to headlamps sometimes smaller and lighter is better. Often there is a compromise between size and lumens that ultimately ends in a heavy bright light, or a weak lightweight lamp. The Princeton Remix changes the game and offers a small, lightweight headlamps for the most discerning customer.
If you’re not sure why weight is such a big deal for head lamps you may be wondering why I make such a big deal out of it. Heavy headlamps are fine if you don’t plan on moving fast, like running. Heavy headlamps tend to slip and fall when you are jostling a lot, and the only solution is to tighten it down. Eventually the lamp is going to be too tight and going to become uncomfortable.
A nice lightweight headlamp will stay put when jostled and be nice and comfortable. The Princeton Remix is very lightweight, and very sleek. It’s single strap headband is capable of securing it nice and tight, without digging in or becoming uncomfortable. The Princeton Remix is an attractive lightweight headlamp capable of producing a bright 125 lumens. The weight is a mere 81 grams with batteries. The Princeton Remix can produce these 125 lumens for a long 75 hours on it’s brightest setting. This is all accomplished with only three triple As. The Princeton Remix Pro utilizes the CR 123 battery which is more common for the military.
The Princeton Remix can utilize three bright white LEDs for it’s brightest setting. The Remix can be adjusted to a variety of different beams. The light can be narrow and focused or wide and more similar to a flood lamp style lamp. The Princeton Remix has a level 1 water resistance. This means the Remix can handle rain, splashed and quick dunkings. If the lamp is submerged long all one has to do is let it dry and replace the batteries. The Princeton Remix is a superb headlamp for camping, working on vehicles, running, hiking, and near anything else I didn’t mention.
Batteries; 3 Triples As. 75 hour run time. (Princeton Remix Pro uses CR 123 batteries.)
Lumens; Up to a 125
Pros; Excellent battery run time (125 Lumens for 75 hours). Extremely lightweight, but well built. Comfortable for wear for extended periods of time. Does not drop or fall when moving quickly, or over rough terrain.
Cons; Not completely waterproof.
5.StreamLight Pro Tac Head Lamp
When you need the biggest and the baddest of healdmaps StreamLight has you covered. The StreamLight Pro Tac is an odd looking headlamps that strikes out against the traditional light In fact it resembles some of StreamLight’s more popular TLR series flashlights plugged into a headlamp.
The StreamLight itself is a superbly bright light, capable of producing a blinding 543 lumens of power that can reach a stunning 172 meters. The lamp itself is heavy I won’t lie but is supported by a three sided head band. The body of the light is made from aircraft aluminum to give it an unbeatable strength of drop proof resistance from a meter high.
The Pro Tac is rated an IPX4 level four for water resistance, which is a bit low for such a high level of durability. The lamp is run from 2 CR 123A batteries, which are lightweight and short and helps the package being a little lighter. The headlamp is designed to function with three different settings, each programmable for an individual brightness setting. The Streamlight Tac Pro is incredibly easy to use, and it’s metal case makes it extremely durable.
Batteries; 2 CR123A batteries. (These batteries have a ten year shelf life)
Lumens; Up to 542 Lumens. This is absolutely stunning for a headlamp.
Pros; Incredibly bright. Tough as nails. Comfortable with three band strap.
Cons; Weak water resistance.