Best Ultralight Hiking Headlamps of 2024

Best Ultralight Hiking Headlamps: Backpacker in a forest wearing an ultralight hiking headlight

In this post, we'll take a look at:

When setting out on a hike or a backpacking trip, every ounce matters. Carefully considering each piece of gear allows for longer adventures without unnecessary weight.

One essential item where lightweight design truly makes a difference is your headlamp. A dependable yet diminutive light source is key for navigating trails at dusk and dawn.

This guide will help you select the best ultralight hiking headlamp by comparing popular options based on critically important factors such as weight, brightness levels, battery life, and durability.

Let’s get started.

What’s are the Best Ultralight Hiking Headlamps?

  1. Most Ultralight: Black Diamond Flare Headlamp (0.95oz/27g)
  2. Best Overall: Petzl Bindi Headlamp (1.16oz/33g)
  3. Best Value: Nitecore HA11 Head Torch (1.27oz/36g)
  4. Most Powerful: Petzl Swift RL (3.52oz/100g)
  5. Budget Option: Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp (2.64oz/75g)

Dig deeper by reading on or check out the video summary:

1. Most Ultralight
Black Diamond Flare Headlamp

Ultralight Hiking Headlamp: Black Diamond Flare Headlamp

Key Specs


Weight: 0.95 ounces (27 grams)
Light Output: 40 lumens
Battery Life: High: 4; low: 15 hours
Water Resistance: IP67 (submersible)
Price: $

PROS


✅ Ultralight

✅ Waterproof

CONS


❌ Not very powerful

❌ Not rechargeable

The Black Diamond Flare is a great compact emergency headlamp. At only 40 lumens, it won’t overwhelm you with brightness but provides just enough light to effectively set up camp, navigate in the dark, or read a map if needed.

Where the Flare really shines is its versatility. In addition to a steady white light, it features red, strobe, and SOS flashing modes. The red light is perfect for late-night shelter tasks without ruining your night vision. And the strobe and SOS functions could help alert rescuers in an emergency situation.

Durability is also a strong point. Black Diamond rates the Flare to withstand submersion in over 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. So you can feel confident using it in rain, snow, or other wet conditions without worry of damage.

At only 2 CR2032 batteries, the Flare is incredibly lightweight and portable. Just clip it to your hat or gear for instant hands-free lighting in a pinch. Do note that the batteries are non-rechargeable, so you’ll need to replace them periodically.

Overall, the Black Diamond Flare is a perfect ultralight backup headlamp for unpredictable outdoor activities or travel. Just don’t expect flagship performance – for that, you’ll want a more powerful rechargeable lamp.


2. Best Overall
Petzl Bindi Headlamp

Ultralight Hiking Headlamp: Petzl Bindi

Key Specs


Weight: 1.16 ounces (33 grams)
Light Output: 200 lumens
Battery Life: High: 2; medium: 3; low: 50 hours
Water Resistance: IPX4 (weather-resistant)
Price: $$

PROS


✅ Durable

✅ Simple to use

CONS


❌ Red light is a bit weak

The Petzl Bindi is proof that big things can come in small packages. Despite its palm-sized dimensions, it manages to squeeze an impressive 200 lumens of brightness from its high setting – enough light to truly see in the dark.

Where the Bindi really shines is its versatility. In addition to the max 200 lumen white light, it offers lower 100 and 5 lumen modes for tasks that don’t require as much illumination. This allows for improved battery life. It also has flashing and red light modes, though the red beam is noticeably weaker than expected.

Where some tiny lamps have stiff uncomfortable bands, the Bindi uses a stretchy thin headband that wraps your head comfortably for all-night wear. The lamp pivots smoothly but stays locked in place during active use.

Charging is simple via micro-USB, and the Bindi is fully water resistant. An indicator also tells you when battery is running low so there’s no surprise shutdown.

For hikers, backpackers and campers who want a rechargeable headlamp that’s as unobtrusive as possible but still provides serious light, the Petzl Bindi is a great compact choice. 


3. Best Value
Nitecore HA11 Head Torch

Nitecore HA11

Key Specs


Weight: 1.27 ounces (36 grams)
Light Output: 240 lumens
Battery Life: High 4; low 10; ultra-low 60 hours
Water Resistance: IP66 (protected from water)
Price: $

PROS


✅ Comfortable when on

✅ Reflective headband

CONS


❌ Not rechargeable

The HA11 packs a surprising amount of brightness into its compact, lightweight design powered by just one AA battery. It produces an impressive maximum output of 240 lumens, along with lower 60- and 6-lumen modes for conserving battery life in camp. It also includes a convenient red light setting.

Despite its simple, no-frills construction, this headlamp is well-suited for 1-2 week adventures when heavy-duty lighting isn’t required. Carrying an extra AA battery adds minimal weight and bulk.

The adjustable, reflective headband is lightweight and comfortable. The lamp can also clip to hats or backpacks when brighter lighting is needed elsewhere.

For basic camping needs on short trips, the affordable HA11 delivers strong performance from a single AA battery in a package that won’t weigh users down. It makes a great option for casual outdoor enthusiasts on a budget.


4. Most Powerful
Petzl Swift RL

Petzl Swift RL

Key Specs


Weight: 3.52 ounces (100 grams)
Light Output: 1100 lumens
Battery Life: High: 2; medium: 5; low: 100 hours
Water Resistance: IPX4 (weather-resistant)
Price: $$$

PROS


✅ Very powerful

✅ Smart light adjustment feature

✅ Reflective headband

CONS


❌ Expensive

❌ Weight

The Petzl SWIFT RL is an impressively lightweight headlamp that sets the standard for compact high-power performance.

Producing an outstanding 1100 lumens from its 3.52 oz (100g) package, it utilizes REACTIVE LIGHTING technology to automatically adjust brightness based on surroundings.

Its reflective headband enhances safety during nighttime activities. Multiple lighting modes include a useful red light setting. Dual adjustment points provide a secure and stable fit for dynamic use.

Operation is simple thanks to an intuitive single button interface controlling all functions. A rechargeable design and five-level battery gauge add practicality.

While the multiple steps to turn off could be more streamlined, the SWIFT RL remains a top choice for dependable illumination on outdoor adventures.


5. Budget Option
Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp

Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp

Key Specs


Weight: 2.64 ounces (75 grams)
Light Output: 300 lumens
Battery Life: High: 4; medium: 8; low: 140 hours
Water Resistance: IPX4 (weather-resistant)
Price: $

PROS


✅ Extremely affordable

✅ Supports rechargeable batteries

CONS


❌ Battery installation could be easier

The Black Diamond Astro 300 offers a no-frills headlamp that prioritizes simplicity and potency. Producing a strong 300 lumens, it works well for versatile outdoor use. It can run on either included AAA batteries or the optional rechargeable BD 1500 battery pack.

A single switch cycles through full-power, dimmed, and strobe settings for any situation. The Brightness Memory feature retains your preferred level between uses. A red light mode is also included.

The Astro 300 earns praise for its straightforward operation without extraneous features. While accessing batteries requires some adjustment to the cover, overall it establishes itself as a reliable and affordable choice.

While battery access takes some finesse, for dependable illumination without unnecessary complexity, the Astro 300 delivers.

How to Choose the Best Ultralight Hiking Headlamp

When picking a headlamp, think about these things:

Lumens: Consider the maximum rated lumens, which measure the light’s power output. For most regular hiking trips, aim for 200-300 lumens. Brighter options over 300 lumens are better for navigating tougher terrain at night.

Lighting Modes: Look for adjustable lighting modes like high, medium, low, and red light. Red light preserves night vision while allowing you to see maps and gear. Battery Life: Balance brightness with runtime – higher lumens drain power faster. Lighter weight headlamps often have fewer features that consume more battery.

Batteries: Decide between rechargeable (li-ion) or disposable (AA/AAA) batteries. Rechargeables offer convenience but aren’t practical if hiking beyond charging access. Carry spares of your chosen type.

Durability: Check the water/shock resistance rating in IPX codes. Higher numbers withstand more moisture and impacts. reputable brands are built to last.

Fit & Comfort: Adjustable straps distribute weight comfortably for all-night wear. Fit is important for steady light placement and hands-free use.

Consider your needs and buy from a trusted brand for reliable performance in any conditions. A quality headlamp pays for itself in safety and convenience on the trail.

And if you’re trying to decide between a hiking headlamp or a flashlight, you can explore our detailed post here for additional insights and guidance.

FAQ

Are there specific lumens I should consider for hiking headlamps?

For most regular day hiking on established trails, a LED headlamp with 200-300 lumens will suffice. However, if you plan on doing longer backcountry treks or navigating more technical terrain at night, consider options above 300 lumens for better visibility. When selecting your hiking headlight, balance the maximum lumens with additional factors like lighting modes, battery life, weight, battery type, durability rating, and fit/comfort.

How to find a comfortable fit in a hiking headlamp?

When choosing a hiking headlamp, ensure it has an adjustable strap that allows you to find a comfortable fit. The strap should securely tighten the light in a fixed position on your forehead while distributing the weight evenly, but without feeling constricting during all-night wear. Test out various fit options in the store if possible by making adjustments to the strap positioning and tightness. A comfortable strap that does not cause pain or fatigue over long periods will keep your light source steady and allow for hands-free use. This customizable and pressure-free fit is important for safety and enjoyment on nighttime hiking adventures.

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