Headlamps are essential for any camping trip. The hands-free illumination they provide is great for setting up your tent, cooking, or finding the bathroom in the dark.
Most quality headlamps feature adjustable settings or red beam options so you won’t disturb the other campers at night.
Plus, you can use them for a range of other camping activities. The fun doesn’t have to stop just because the sun goes down.
Looking for a new headlamp to take with you on your next camping trip? We’ve reviewed five of the best models that are currently available for you to compare.
Just like a good headlamp would, this article is here to guide you in the right direction. To find the best option to suit your needs, check out our buyer’s guide for more information on what to look out for.
Alternatively, see our frequently asked questions section for answers to common queries.
Our Top 5 Best Headlamps For Camping Reviews
Elmchee Camping Headlamp
Where to Buy: amazon.com
If you need a light for every occasion, then the Elmchee camping headlamp is by far the best option.
With eight different LED modes to choose from, you can use this versatile headlamp for a wide range of things, such as cooking, reading, and exploring the campsite.
Bad weather doesn’t have to send you running back to your tent, as it has a waterproof rating of IPX4 and can withstand snowy conditions.
The headlight is made using aluminum alloy and durable ABS plastic. It’s both shockproof and dirtproof, so you won’t have to worry about dropping it either.
Easily flick through the settings which include high, low, red light, and SOS strobe lighting in order to suit the lighting needs of your current situation.
The lamp also has a 90-degree swivel range so it can be adjusted to illuminate practically any environment.
Six super bright LED lights are powered by a high-quality, rechargeable 1500mAh Li-polymer battery. This provides you with over 100,000 hours before the LEDs would need changing.
The extra LEDs and powerful battery pack do mean it’s a slightly heavier choice of headlamp, but a second strap supports the extra weight to ensure maximum wearer comfort.
For such an affordable price, you get a lot for your money with this Elmchee headlamp. It’s easy to use and surprisingly comfortable according to customer reviews.
It’s quite heavy-duty which you may not need if you’re only planning on using your headlamp for easy tasks, but you’ll be prepared for anything which makes it the perfect choice for camping.
- Durable and weather-resistant
- Rechargeable batteries
- Super bright LED lights shine stronger for better illumination
- Eight light modes to choose from including white and red beams
- Separate switch for red light mode which makes it easier to adjust the light settings
- Affordable choice
- Slightly heavier due to a large battery pack and multiple LEDs
GearLight S500 LED Headlamp
Where to Buy: amazon.com
The next option we looked at was the GearLight LED headlamp. It’s not rechargeable like our top pick and instead is powered by three AAA batteries.
The batteries do need to be purchased separately as they are not included. While this does mean that you’ll need to stock up on spare batteries, it’s also a more lightweight, comfortable choice at just 3 ounces.
It’s great for the more active camper due to its lighter design, and you can remove the strap of the headlamp for washing.
It fits both adults and children comfortably thanks to the adjustable headband and it comes as a pack of two.
There are seven light modes so you have plenty of choice, with a maximum output of around 200 lumens on the brightest settings.
The light modes include white beam (low, medium, high, or strobe) and red beam (low, SOS, or strobe). It’s easy to switch between the settings, but there’s no separate button for the red light beam.
It also has a narrower pivoting range at 45 degrees, although this still allows you to adjust the headlight to direct the light where you need it most.
This is incredibly useful in cramped conditions, and it’s not something all headlamps offer.
Come rain or shine, you’ll be able to use this headlamp without fear of the elements damaging it.
The weather and shock-resistant properties ensure that it can withstand even the harshest outdoor conditions which makes it perfect for camping.
- It comes as a pack of two
- Seven light modes to choose from including white and red beams
- Weather-resistant and shockproof
- Clean, bright light
- Narrower swivel range
- No separate switch for red light mode
Lighting Ever LED Headlamp
Where to Buy: amazon.com
As the most affordable headlamp we’ve included in this list, it’s to be expected that the Lighting Ever LED headlamp doesn’t have the same full range of functions as the options we’ve already reviewed.
However, while it only has 4 light modes, it still offers both white and red beam light which most campers find useful.
You can tilt the headlight up to 90 degrees for directional lighting which is extremely convenient when you’re trying to illuminate specific areas.
It can therefore be used for a wide range of uses around the campsite for portable, hands-free light.
It’s another lightweight option at only 3.2 ounces, which makes it easy to pack up and take with you on your next camping trip.
This also means it’s one of the more comfortable headlamps currently available which is great if you’re going to be wearing it for extended periods of time.
Adjust the headband by using the two loop buckles to either loosen or tighten it to fit the shape of your head.
This means it’s suitable for children as well as adults, and you can wear it over caps, helmets, or hardhats making it a versatile choice.
It’s also battery operated with an expected life of 2.5-10 hours, but unlike the last headlamp we looked at the three required AAA batteries are included.
Just remember to pick up some spares before you head off on your camping trip, as we doubt you’ll find a store that sells any when you’re deep in the woods!
- Most affordable option
- IP44 waterproof rating
- Offers both white and red beam light options
- Swivel range of up to 90 degrees
- Extremely portable and lightweight
- Only 4 light modes
- Not as bright as other headlamps
Where to Buy: amazon.com
Next, we considered this Foxelli headlamp which features multiple brightness options to suit your needs. This includes five light modes with a range of white and red beam settings.
It also has a tiltable angle of up to 45 degrees so there’s some room for adjustment if required.
If you’re planning on any vigorous activity while you’re camping or if you struggle to put up your tent at the best of times, then this is the headlamp for you.
It offers a secure, comfortable fit that is guaranteed not to slide down your head or move around as you do.
You’ll be looking around for your headlamp only to realize you’re actually wearing it, that’s how comfortable it is! You’ll practically forget it’s on your head as it weighs just 3.2 ounces.
Thanks to the innovative CREE 3W technology, the MX20 Foxelli headlamp can produce more light using less power.
As a result, it has a much longer running time and can last for up to 45 hours. Three AAA Energizer batteries are included, so all you need to do is pick up some spares.
It has a waterproof rating of IPX5 which means it can handle splashes from any direction. Combined with the durable construction, you’ll get long-lasting use out of this headlamp.
Even if there are any problems, it’s backed by a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
- Secure, comfortable fit
- Features CREE 3W technology for longer run-times
- Backed by a 100% money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty
- IPX5 waterproof rating
- Less light modes than other options
- The beam can spill over at eye level which can be quite harsh
EverBrite 2-Pack Headlamp
Where to Buy: amazon.com
Last but not least, we have the EverBrite headlamp which comes as a pack of two. They’re great for distance lighting as the beam reaches up to 20 meters ahead.
Each of the eight LED lights has a 30-lumen emission for even brighter light and has up to 5 hours of continuous run time.
Use the 90-degree adjustable swivel of the headlight to direct the beam where you need it. You can also alter the strap to ensure a comfortable fit which makes it suitable for both adults and children alike.
You can choose between four different light modes including a strobe light mode. The strobe option is bright enough to disorientate others, which is great in a dangerous situation but could frustrate your fellow campers.
It’s easy to use thanks to the simple design, and the on/off switch is conveniently located on top of the light for easy access.
It requires six AAA batteries which are provided with the purchase of the headlamp, but some customers report that it may be a good idea to buy your own as they’re not the best quality.
- Adjustable headband for user comfort
- 90-degree swivel range
- Easy to use
- Good budget option
- Requires more batteries
- Not as powerful as other options
Best Headlamps For Camping Buyer’s Guide
Brightness and Lumens
When you consider its purpose, it’s understandable that one of the first things you’d want to know is how bright a headlamp you’ll need for camping. This is measured in lumens and the higher the number, the brighter your headlamp will be.
The number of lumens you should look for depends on how you’re intending to use your headlamp.
Hikes or trails that you’re planning on doing at night will require a much stronger headlamp of 250 lumens or more, as the need for visibility is heightened.
However, if you’re simply looking for something that will help you get around the campsite at night without bumping into things, anything between 25 and 150 lumens should suffice.
While lumens can be a useful indicator of how bright a light your headlamp will emit, it’s not the be-all and end-all of quality.
The beam width and pattern will also play a part in how well your headlamp will illuminate the path ahead, as will the type of LED.
The majority of headlamps that are currently on the market feature multiple different modes of lighting. These can include spot, flood, colored, and strobe lights.
Typically, an LED spot beam will be the default setting and you can flick through the others as required. Although it’s not necessary for every situation, spot mode is the most powerful source of light.
It’s great if you need to see more than just a few steps in front of you as it will illuminate the path ahead to a reasonable distance.
When you’re around the campsite, the floodlight setting will cast a wider beam of light to brighten the view that’s directly in front of you.
It’s not as harsh as the powerful spot beam which makes it the better choice when you’re around your fellow campmates. Similarly, colored lights will be less of a disturbance as they produce a softer light.
Your eyes won’t need to readjust after they’ve been turned on, so they’re perfect for midnight toilet trips when you don’t want to end up like a deer in headlights.
Strobe lighting is useful if you need to be visible yourself rather than improving the visibility around you.
For example, it can be used to alert others of your whereabouts when hiking or to signal for help in emergency situations.
When it comes to battery life, you have a choice between battery-powered headlamps or rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are encased in the body of the headlamp.
Both have their advantages, but ultimately it will come down to personal preference.
Rechargeable headlamps have grown in popularity in recent years as they eliminate the need for replacing your batteries.
Simply charge them back up and you’re good to go! However, you will need a power source to recharge the batteries in the first place, which isn’t always an option when you’re camping in the wilderness.
The great thing about LED lights is that they tend to have a longer lifespan anyway, so you won’t need to worry about replacing the batteries as frequently.
When you do need to stock up, the beauty of LED headlamps is that they tend to be powered by AAA batteries which are commonly available pretty much everywhere.
It doesn’t matter how many times you checked the weather forecast before you set off, as any camper knows that streaming sunshine can turn to pouring rain in a matter of minutes.
It’s the unpredictability of Mother Nature that makes camping so fun! It’s also the reason why you should pay extra attention to the durability of your equipment, especially your headlamp.
If you don’t want to be stuck in total darkness when you get caught in the rain, choose a headlamp that has a decent waterproof rating.
This can range from IPX1 to IPX8, with each rating denoting different levels of waterproof ability. For example, IPX4 can withstand splashes of water but would be damaged by prolonged submersion.
Comparably, a higher rating like IPX7 can handle approximately 30 minutes of being submerged in water up to 1 meter deep. For camping, you’d be good to go for anything between IPX4 and IPX8.
While you’re less likely to drop your headlamp than if you were using a flashlight, it’s still a good idea to look for one that’s been constructed using durable materials.
Aluminum is great as it’s long-lasting, and some headlamps will be encased by a thick plastic coating to protect the LED bulbs.
Anything you’re going to be wearing on your head needs to have some degree of comfortability, as otherwise you just won’t use it.
Or worse, you may be in pain if you do. Reading the reviews written by other customers is a great way to determine whether or not a headlamp is comfortable.
This will give you an unbiased opinion of someone who’s already tried and tested it, but there are other factors you could consider.
Firstly, heavy is the head that wears a weighty headlamp! If you’re planning on long hikes or anything that requires wearing your headlamp for an extended period of time, you should check to see how much it weighs.
Headlamps that have more powerful lights usually have additional batteries which makes them heavier, as does material such as aluminum.
Some headlamps do account for the extra weight of a more powerful battery by including a second strap.
This secures the headlamp while also providing better weight distribution across your head.
If you’re going to be using it for more vigorous activities, this will also prevent the headlamp from slipping down which can cause further discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are headlamps better than a flashlight?
Headlamps are preferred because they provide lighting while leaving your hands free to do other things, like search in your bag or cooking. They also tend to be less bulky and easier for packing.
How much money should you spend on a headlamp?
Headlamps are not an expensive purchase and typically range in price anywhere from $6.99 to $50 and above.
Bear in mind that you’ll often get what you pay for. Though if you’re someone who doesn’t go on a lot of camping trips, any headlamp will be fine.
The need to carry cumbersome, bulky flashlights with you on your next camping trip is gone.
So are the feelings of frustration when you accidentally drop your torch, leaving you to scramble around in search of retrieving your light source!
Thanks to the camping headlamps of today, lighting up the path ahead is much more comfortable and convenient.
From trekking the toughest trails to making the journey from tent to the toilet at night, whether you’re setting up camp or cooking, there’s a headlamp to suit every camping need.