It’s inevitable that you may need a decent headlamp on your travels. Whether you’re trekking to Everest Base Camp, reading in your dorm bed, or just drunkenly trying to crack the combination to your padlock, a head flashlight will always come in handy. There’s a diverse range of headlamps for every purpose, but what is the best headlamp for travelling?
If you need a headlamp, chances are there’s probably no power, so a long lasting battery is a must. Don’t end up like me, trekking through the Cambodian jungle at night, with no battery left in my headlamp, trying to find my way back in the dark.
Your backpack is probably already heavy enough, so you don’t want to lug around a bulky headlamp that weighs a ton. The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s better to be safe than sorry & invest in something water resistant. Trust me, I’ve learnt the hard way.
The best headlamp always comes with more than one colour of light; insects can’t see red light which means they won’t fly straight into your face when you’re camping. I wish I knew this before I drove from the north to the south of Vietnam on a motorbike… Getting hit by a massive doom-cockroach at 50 miles an hour ain’t fun.
Imagine riding down a Vietnamese highway & within 5 minutes it’s dark. A plague of flying insects literally come out of nowhere. I slide my helmet visor down to see, without thinking I’ve opened my mouth & a million bugs fly inside. I was hungry, but I was kinda waiting until I arrived at the next town to eat dinner.
A young Vietnamese bloke drives past laughing, his bike lights are dimmed & he’s got his red best headlamp beaming bright. There are literally no bugs bothering him, all because of this bloody red light setting on his best headlamp.
Moral of the story, invest in the best headlamp with a red light setting, unless you like eating bugs for dinner.
Consider an LED head flashlight, these are by far the most power efficient & with technology advancing they’re smaller, lighter & brighter than ever. Find out what is the best overall LED headlight for travelling & best value for money headlamp.
Buying Headlamps- What to Consider?
The best headlamp should be as light as possible, especially since you’ll be carrying it around on your head. Nowadays there are plenty of ultra lightweight headlamps on the market.
The best headlamp for travelling will have a long battery life. Your headlamp should be able to last at least 10 hours minimum, regardless of the setting.
Some headlamps use disposable batteries and others can be recharged via USB port, power bank or a solar charger. Personally I’m a big fan of solar charging or hybrid headlamps, why use electricity when we have the sun.
Brightness & Beam
The best headlamps should have a decent lumen output, the higher it is the brighter your head-torch will be. The best LED headlights provide a good level of brightness & beam distance in diverse conditions. Good headlamps use proximity & movement modes to adapt light according to their surroundings.
The weather is so unpredictable, so it’s better to be prepared & invest in a water resistant headlamp. We use an IP rating system to determine exactly how water resistant your head light is. All head torches should be at least a little waterproof, whether you’re exploring a cave or trekking through snow, there’s bound to be a chance of water no matter where you are.
To determine a headlamps waterproof ability, we use an IPX scale. They typically range from IPX-1, which protects from dripping fluids to IPX-8, which can withstand over 3 feet of water. If you just want basic protection from splashing water from all directions, then a weather resistant rating of IPX- 4 is what you want.
5 Best Headlamps for Traveling
Product: Aennon Top-Pro-XS SmarterLife Ultra Internova Star Rider XL Petzl Tikka SunbowStar Solar
Weight: 70g 42g 70g 115g 134g
Max Battery Life: 30hrs 10-48hrs 30hrs 12-18hrs 5hrs
Waterproof: IPX4 IPX6 IPX3 IPX4 IPX6
Max Brightness: 220 Lumen 100 Lumen 200 lumens 160 Lumen 500 Lumen
Max Beam Distance: 150m 30m 30m 400m 200m
Price: $19.97 $17.97 $12.99 $31.95 $14.99
Best Headlamps for Travelling: Review
Headlamp 1. Internova Star Rider XL
The Internova Star Rider XL is the best headlamp because it’s USB rechargeable, so you’re able to charge it on the go if you have a power bank. About 4-6 hours of charge allows for up to 30 hours of light, so you don’t have to stress about your battery draining quickly.
It has a decent lumen output & you’re able to tilt the headlamp 60 degrees, enabling you to focus light where you need it. The headlamp includes multiple light modes for any situation which is perfect for travelling. See through dense terrain while trekking on high mode or star gaze without straining your eyes on red mode.
You can use this headlamp in all weather environments as its IPX-3 water resistant. Without a doubt, my favourite feature of the Internova Star Rider XL is the 5 year warrantee. I’m forever breaking things when travelling, so it’s a great peace of mind knowing that they’ll fix it, no questions asked.
Headlamp 2. SmarterLife LED Ultra
The Smarter Life LED Headlight is the lightest, brightest & best headlamp with this lumen output. It has the highest waterproof rating of IPX-6, plus it’s also dustproof & shock resistant. The battery can last up to 48hrs on the lowest setting & it only requires 1 AA battery, which is included in the price.
It has 6 different lighting modes to suit every landscape, including a red light used to maintain night vision & it stops the bugs flying into your mouth. You can manually set your headlight mode to suit your surroundings, without having to worry about the halo effect or flickering lights.
The SmarterLife headlamp is comfortable & tailored to fit everyone with it’d adjustable straps & curved forehead panel. It’s also super lightweight, so you won’t be adding much extra weight to your backpack.
Headlamp 3. Petzl Tikka
The Petzl Tikka is the best headlamp for travelling, with it’s smart adaption technology. The brightness will never decrease as the battery drains, with its constant lighting technology. My pet hate is when the light starts dimming when the battery gets low.
It’s light beam distance goes as far as 400m, so you’ll always be able to navigate around at night. This headlamp has 7 different light modes & colours that adapt according to your surroundings. So you don’t have to keep clicking buttons to find the right setting, it’ll do it for you.
The movement mode setting on the headlamp allows you to move around as you please without constantly changing from one setting to another. It also includes straps to allow for various actives like trekking or riding a bicycle & is waterproof.
Headlamp 4. Aennon Top-Pro-XS
The Aennon Top Pro XS is a sturdy little shock & water resistant headlamp. The adjustable straps allows it to fit around your head, helmet, bike or even wear it as a belt!
It’s fairly bright as it’s 220 lumens & has a powerful beam distance of up to 150m! This headlamp also has 4 light modes, so you can choose the level of brightness you desire.
The Aennon headlamp is USB rechargeable, so you don’t need to waste money paying for batteries. The LED lights in the head flashlight have a long lifetime of up to 30,000 hours, so you won’t have to stress about replacing the lights throughout your travels.
Headlamp 5. Sunbow Star Headlamp
The Sunbow Star Headlamp is an environmentally conscious headlamp. It utilises renewable energy from the sun to power the headlamp. Just in case the sun isn’t shining, they also include an AC charger, it’s always good to have a backup.
The battery never has to be replaced on this headlamp as it’s recharged by solar panel under sunlight. However the battery life doesn’t last long, only up to 5 hours. Pretty damn cool though since it’s solar powered – real handy on longer expeditions into the mountains where solar is the only source of power around.
The light’s beam distance is pretty good & the lamp even has a rotation of 90 degrees. Although the Sunbow Star headlamp has 3 light modes, it doesn’t have a red light which means you’ll be on the most wanted list for bugs & insects at night.
Overall Best Headlamp For Travelling
I couldn’t get past the Petzel Tikka as the best headlamp for traveling. It uses the latest technologies to deliver light that adapts to your surroundings & what you’re doing. It’s waterproof & durable, so even if it’s stuffed down the bottom of your backpack that falls off the boat on the way to an island, it’s all good.
It’s got an awesome beam distance of up to 400m, the battery lasts up to 18 hours & it includes an easy to use push button, so no matter how many layers you’re wearing, it’ll be easy to turn on & off.
The best headlamp- Petzel is also a really reputable brand, I invested in one about 3 years ago & haven’t looked back since. Petzl are one step ahead of their competitors with their innovative technology & 7 different light modes & colours.
That’s why I honestly think the Petzel Tikka LED headlamp is the overall best headlamp for travelling.
Best Value For Money Headlamp
When travelling you want a multi use headlamp that can adapt to whatever the heck you are doing – whether you are trekking, driving or camping. You’ll want something that suits every occasion & situation. The SmarterLife Ultra is the best headlamp for a traveler on a broke backpackers budget – it’s currently on sale for just $18 and offers spectacular value for money – It’s beam distance is up to 150m, the battery lasts up to 48hrs, plus it’s even lightweight & comfortable to wear. It has covers everything you need in a headlamp for traveling.
I know what headlamp I’ll be choosing on my next budget travel adventure…this one!
Headlamps are an essential item that most backpackers take with them travelling. Sometimes it can be hard to determine what is the best headlamp for you, especially since there’s so many to choose from.
Make sure you consider the weight, brightness, beam distance, battery life & price when determining what is the best headlamp for you.
Keep an eye out for the best headlamp brands who’re embracing new technologies. More than often they include headlamp features their competitors don’t have, like constant lighting, movement technologies & solar powered batteries.
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