Expect more power, a longer battery life and a greater choice of rechargeable options from this year’s headlamps.
This is the distance in metres that the beam reaches. The range figures shown in this feature are for the lowest and highest light settings.
Comfort is key, so straps should be soft and wide enough to support the weight of the headlamp. Most straps use a sliding adjustment that can be tightened or loosened easily on the go. Straps can be removed to wash away sweat and grime without damaging the lamp.
Measured in lumens, light output can be adjusted for the conditions from a low 10 lumens or 25 lumens for reading or early-morning starts where you don’t wish to disturb others, up to 750 lumens for finding your way on the trail.
The torch should be simple to operate with either a button or twist-action to activate the light. Glove-friendly operation is essential for use in winter.
One on/off button that can be toggled through the various lighting modes is usual. By holding this button, the light can be dimmed or brightened. Many models have a brightness memory so it turns on at the last-used light setting. The headlamp should have a transport lock to prevent it from inadvertently turning on in your pack. Many headlamps have coloured lights to preserve night vision – useful for stargazing and spotting nocturnal wildlife.
Battery life is related to output; the more powerful the torch, the more power-hungry it is. Run times shown in this feature are for the lowest and highest light settings.
Water and dust resistance
Headlamps have an Ingress Protection Rating (IP) that measures water and dust resistance.
IP ratings come with two numbers (e.g. IP67). The first number rates solid protection (i.e. dust) on a scale of 0-6 where 0 offers no protection and 6 is dust-tight. The second number rates water-resistance between 4 and 8, where 4 means they can handle splashing water (10-litre/min) from any angle – that’s most rainy conditions – and 8 is full and continuous immersion up to and within the manufacturer’s specifications. If an X is used instead of the first number, it means the headlamp has not been tested for solid protection.
Headlamps in this feature meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) FL-1 flashlight standard which measures:
- Output: Total light output measured in lumens after the light has been on for 30 to 120 seconds.
- Run time: The time until the light output drops to 10 per cent of its original value.
- Range: The distance in metres at which the headlamp produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux (about the same brightness as a full moon).
BioLite 750 $229.99
Powerful rechargeable headlamp featuring constant mode, run forever pass-through charging, and eight different lighting modes. Dimmable rear red visibility light. Micro USB rechargeable 3000mAh li-ion battery, 3D SlimFit construction, IPX4. Output 750-lumens Range 130m Run time 7-150hr Weight 150g. e.ampro.co.nz
Petzl IKO CORE $199
Rechargeable, features an AIRFIT headband, reflective components, multiple LEDs for flood or mixed beam pattern and a pouch that can transform the lamp into a lantern. IPX4, ANSI-rated, transport lock. Output 500-lumens Range 100m Run time 2.5-100hr Weight 79g. www.outdoorestore.co.nz
Ledlenser H5R Core $159.99
Rechargeable battery, Advanced Focus System, stepless dimming, three light functions, transport lock, 160-degree tilting head, battery charge indicator. Seven-year extended warranty, IP67. Output 500-lumens Range 200m Run time 30min-50hr Weight 167g. www.ledlenser.co.nz
Black Diamond Onsight 375 $129.99
Purpose-built climber’s headlamp with dual-beam configuration including ‘climbing mode’ and ‘route-finding mode’. Runs on rechargeable lithium-ion or alkaline cells (included), PowerTap for easy toggling between light modes, thin construction, six light settings, brightness memory, transport lock, IP67. Output 375-lumens Range 85m Run time 26-100hr Weight 135g. www.southernapproach.co.nz
Ledlenser MH8 $199.99
Tiltable and detachable lamp, washable headband, five light functions, Advanced Focus System, transport lock, rechargeable battery, magnetic contact for USB charging, red, blue and green LED option, seven-year extended warranty, IP54. Output 600-lumens Range 200m Run time 7-60hr Weight 140g. www.ledlenser.co.nz
BioLite 330 $119.99
Proprietary 3D SlimFit construction, 9mm front profile, moisture-wicking fabric, 900mAh USB rechargeable battery, four lighting modes, battery charge indicator, IPX4, lock function, available in four colours. Output 330-lumens Range 75m Run time 3.5-40hr Weight 69g. e.ampro.co.nz
Ledlenser MH5 $119.99
Tiltable and detachable lamp, washable headband, two light functions, rechargeable battery, low battery indicator. Seven-year extended warranty, IP54. Output 400-lumens Range 180m Run time 4-35hr Weight 92g. www.ledlenser.co.nz
BioLite 200 $99.99
Minimalist design, 700mAh USB rechargeable battery, integrated electronics means no tangled wires, four lighting modes, battery charge indicator, lock function, available in four colours. Output 200-lumens Range 50m Run time 3-40hr Weight 50g. e.ampro.co.nz
Black Diamond Storm 400 $99.99
Ergonomic compact body, secondary switch for easy mode selection, six light settings, night vision lights, PowerTap for instant transitioning between full and dimmed power, brightness memory, constant light output, 4xAAA batteries, IP67. Output 400-lumens Range 100m Run time 5-200hr Weight 120g. www.southernapproach.co.nz