Best Headlamps for Hiking & Camping – 2023 Review

From those late-night roadside pull-ups, to the midnight dunny runs – a headlamp provides a useful, hands-free lighting alternative for every outdoor endeavour. Choose from multi-feature designs with numerous modes, strobes, and patterned globes, or sleek, streamlined designs offering only the necessities.

Be it pitching your setup at sundown, searching for that spanner during roadside car repairs, or trekking the blackened tracks back to base camp – a headlamp is a true henchman, drenching darkness with daylight. Run time, power, comfort, and price point are all worth a little thought so you can determine the best headlamp for your outdoor adventure.

We’ve cast a spotlight on the 10 best-selling headlamps for this 2023 – and to shed some light on what’s ahead, all Petzl and Black Diamond models have been upgraded since last year!

Let’s turn it on, off the grid – starting with number 10…

Led Lenser H5R

10. Led Lenser ‘H’ Series

Lumens: H5R: 500 | H7R: 1,000 | H15R: 2,500 | H19R: 3,500

Ahhhh, Led Lenser. That’s four h’s in recognition of the four models in their ‘H’ series, with the H7R proving most popular!

For dynamic durability and a brightness that boasts up to 3,500 lumens, the Led Lenser H series are the true heroes of headlamps.

Advanced Focus System (AFS) offers precise flood and spot lighting, while up to four light modes are powered by a rechargeable battery for convenience and versatility on every lowlight, high-powered adventure.

With an IPX water and dust rating of 67 – and 68 for the H19R – these headlamps defy the outdoors from sundown to dawn. Perfect for both general and tactical use.

Petzl Swift RL

9. Petzl Swift RL Headlamp

Lumens: 900

It’s time to level up your lighting line-up with an all-round legend – the Swift RL Headlamp by Petzl!

Using reactive lighting technology, this head torch automatically adjusts both the brightness and beam patterns for easy, convenient use. Be it proximity, movement, or distance vision, the two-beam patterns enable lighting options for various applications in your outback hangout.

Enjoy knock-back lighting in the most ergonomic way, thanks to an adjustable and detachable headband – washable too, so you can beat the grub and grime of outdoor activity. Live life and keep track of you battery’s too, with a five-level gauge – and charge using the micro USB port for full-beam-ahead adventuring.

The Petzl Swift RL Headlamp is the light that packs a compact, lightweight punch.

Black Diamond Cosmo 350

8. Black Diamond Cosmo 350 and 350-R Headlamps

Lumens: 350

Calling all glow-getters – the Cosmo 350 Headlamp by Black Diamond is your beacon of light, now available in battery and rechargeable models. 

From the dark driveways to the blackened paddocks, this headlamp boasts red, green, and blue night-vision, plus full strength, dimming, strobe, and lock modes for ultimate illumination across both proximity and distance. Red night-vision alone offers both strobe and dimming modes, activating without the need to cycle through. Lock mode also prevents accidental use when stored in either a pack or a pocket, so you can ride the bumps of rugged scrubs without falling flat! Plus – a dual-fuel system allows charging flexibility and a battery meter monitors its status.

With an IPX8 rating and a Brightness Memory function too – the Cosmo 350 and 350-R Headlamps are a result of another Black Diamond lightbulb moment, offering the ultimate glow on the go.

Explore Planet Earth LENZPRO 150 Rechargeable Headlamp

7. Explore Planet Earth LENZPRO 150 Rechargeable and LENZ 100 Headlight

Lumens: LENZPRO 150: 150 | LENZ 100: 100

From campsite to hike track, the LENZPRO 150 Rechargeable Headlamp and LENZ100 Headlight by Explore Planet Earth are the most simple, affordable, bright bang-for-buck options to take your adventure to the next lumen!

With a total beam distance of 100m, the LENZPRO 150 offers high-impact brightness in 150 lumens from LED and 80 from COB. Thanks to a rechargeable lithium battery too, beat the dead batteries out bush and enjoy long-lasting illumination.

The LENZ100 Headlight is meanwhile ideal for beginners or budget-conscious campers, with push-button operation and an adjustable head strap for convenient comfort. Choose from high, low, or flash across all sorts of applications, operated by two included AAA batteries and delivering a total beam distance of 15m.

With an IPX rating of 4 and 5 respectively, these headlamps drench darkness with daylight while running, cycling, or camping.

Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp

6. Black Diamond Spot 400 and 400-R Headlamps

Lumens: 400

For all-round radiance that’s also compact in your rucksack – the Spot 400 and 400-R Headlamp by Black Diamond offer impressive illumination on those multi-use missions, now available in battery and rechargeable.

With a recycled elastic headband offering supple next-to-skin comfort – it’s the true henchman for your head! Achieve ultimate illumination across both proximity and distance with a range of light settings, including dimming, strobe, and red night-vision modes. Keep track of the battery capacity with the built-in battery meter, while red night-vision alone offers both strobe and dimming modes. Enjoy dim and full power with the PowerTap™ technology for instant transitioning, while a Brightness Memory feature retains your selected brightness even after switching off.

Hardkorr 145 Lumen Head Torch

5. Hard Korr 145 and 155 Lumen Slimline Head Torch

Lumens: 145 Lumen: 145 | 155 Lumen: 155

Well known for their value-for-money LED lighting of a high-quality construction, Hard Korr’s headlamp range undoubtably reflect this reputation. As well as their 145 and 155 Lumen models, the Hardkorr headlamp range in its entirety showcases impressive value for money.

The most popular 145 Lumen model features high, medium, low, and SOS modes, as well as medium flood and low flood modes for broader beam dispersion. The IP66 waterproof construction bears the wild and wet weather, while a total 180-hour runtime on the lowest setting has this headlamp shedding light in the darkest of times for longer.

Following is the 155 Lumen model, slimline with red and white CREE LEDs, an IP66 waterproof rating, and modes across high, medium, low, and SOS. Plus, softer red lighting for late-night illumination can be adjusted to both high and strobe modes, all within an attractive, sleek, streamlined exterior.

The Hard Korr 145 and 155 Lumen Head Torches are for campers and tourers looking for low-budget LED on their lowlight adventures.

Petzl Tikka Core 450

4. Petzl Tikka and Tikka Core

Lumens: Tikka: 300 | Tikka Core: 450

The Tikka headlamp by Petzl is a dynamic blend of compact, comfortable, and reliable lighting, now available in both battery and rechargeable (Core) versions. A classic in the lighting industry, this solid, hands-free noggin globe has been on the market for years.

Red and white light options allow for versatile application during both evening and late night outdoor activities, while a glow-in-the-dark function is the light at the end of the tunnel when your headlamp goes rogue.

An IPX4 rating offers weather resistance, so it battles the outback brutality by your side – plus, there’s the option of both 3 x AAA batteries included or the rechargeable single battery.

The Petzl Tikka headlamp is ideal for both general camping and hiking use.

Coleman CHT4

3. Coleman CHT Range

Lumens: CHT4: 40 | CHT7: 70 | CHT10: 100

At number three, the Coleman CHT Headlamp range boast a simple design suitable for Scouts, school camp, or standard campsite lighting. Another affordable all-rounder!

Each constructed for general use, the most popular is nonetheless the CHT4, providing 40 lumens. Following is the CHT7 with a 70-lumen beam, while the CH10 boasts 100 lumens.

Tested to the ANSI FL1 Standard, the CHT range feature a robust construction, complimented by a positive-feel switch and a secure battery compartment. Sleek meets simple, owing to no-fuss AAA battery powering – having this head torch range the all-rounder for financially conscious camping families.

Petzl Tikkina 300

2. Petzl Tikkina 300

Lumens: 300

Owing to its impressive history of reliable lighting, the Tikkina 300 head torch by Petzl continues to rank highly in the Top 10 head torches for camping and hiking as a trusted classic – maintaining true Petzl quality at an affordable price.

Offering 300 lumens and an IPX4 rating for wild weather resistance, the Tikkina is compatible with either standard AAA batteries or a separately available CORE rechargeable battery. As always, Petzl cast a spotlight on convenience and user-friendly componentry, featuring a single-button operation for ease of use.

Through its evolution, the Petzl Tikkina retains its sleek, compact design, perfect as reliable proximity lighting for campers and hikers.

Petzl Actik Core 600

1. Petzl Actik and Actik Core

Lumens: Actik: 450 | Actik Core: 600

Be it tearing up the running trails, trekking the ups and drops, or skidding up the bike tracks, the Actik Core from Petzl is the most popular of the Actik range.

Available in a 450 or 600-lumen model, the Actik range provides flood or mixed beam patterns, and multiple lighting options including a red mode for protective night vision. Its reflective headband enables visibility for identification purposes, as well as versatility in powering options; standard batteries, or a Core rechargeable battery for convenience.

For the adventurers feeling in the dark about rugged lighting, or the outdoor entrepreneurs looking for the light – the Petzl Actik and Actik Core are fully prepared for every high-energy activity.

Knog Bilby 400

We’ve got to mention this one: Knog Bilby Headlamp

Lumens: 400

Ironically left in the dark yet innovative in design, this beacon of light takes hands-free lighting to a new level!

Its unique form is comprised of a USB rechargeable pod with a medical-grade silicone adjustable strap for comfortable wear. Offering 400 lumens in total across 5 strategically placed LEDs, benefit from high beam, red light, two downlights, elliptical beams for mid and wide-angle, and a boost mode – customisable via the ModeMaker app, while a water and dustproof rating of 67 withstands the wilder weather. Pop out the pod and plug directly into a USB-A port for four hours of easy recharging too.

The Knog Bilby Headlamp is designed for performance and comfort, taking on the demand of the outdoors.

What’s your preferred headlamp for your adventures?