Rather than sit around counting down the days until hunting season officially begins you need to take advantage of the time to go through your hunting gear. Carefully go through your hunting gear, look for anything that needs to be replaced or repaired, especially your headlamp. Having the best headlamp for hunting doesn't just affect your hunting success; it also affects your safety and comfort on the hunt.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List:
Best Headlamps For Hunting on the Market:
- Best Budget Headlight For Hunting: Nitecore NU32
- Best Lightweight Hunting Headlamp (Pocket Size): Nitecore NU25
- Best AA Headlamp For Hunting: Fenix HL30 2018
- Brightest Hunting Headlamp: AceBeam H30
- Best Headlamp For Hunting: Fenix HL60R
- Ultimate Headlamp For Hunting (High Dollar): Lupine Blika X4
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
What To Look For
When looking for the best headlamp for hunting, you need to consider the type of beam the headlamp provides. Ideally, you want to opt for a headlamp that offers both a flood beam and a spotlight style beam. Never settle for a headlamp that only offers one or the other. Both types of beams are necessary for giving you a clear view of the path ahead, as well as lighting up the areas around you. Your spotlight should have a minimum beam distance of 250 feet, but further is good. A 250-foot beam distance will light up any hazards or obstacles in your path far enough in advance that you can avoid them altogether or at least prepare for them.
Lumen output is also crucial when purchasing the best hunting headlamp. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be. In hunting brighter is not always better, so you want a headlamp that offers different brightness levels. Moonlight mode is vital for preserving night vision, while high or turbo is ideal for finding your way back to camp in the dark.
What operational modes your headlamp offers is also important when selecting the best hunting headlamp. Generally speaking the more operational modes, your headlamp offers, the better off you will be. At a minimum, your headlamp should offer an SOS mode for any emergencies you find yourself in. Beacon and Strobe modes are also beneficial to have. Hunting headlamps should also offer different color beams, including red, blue, and green. These different colors can serve different purposes, but the most significant benefit to them is they won't scare away any game you are hunting and won't destroy your night vision when turned on.
When comparing different hunting headlamps you will come across IP ratings, but what do those ratings mean. IP ratings generally refer to how well the product is protected against dust and water. IP stands for Ingress Protection or International Protection. The higher the number, the better protected the product is. Something else to note is that “X” is a place holder for products that do not have a dust rating, so IPX-7 means there is no dust protection, but the product is waterproof.
Here is a closer look at the IP Ratings:
- IPX0 – no protection at all
- IPX1-3 – minimal water protection. Might withstand a few drops of water getting on the product from a specific distance away.
- IPX4 – can handle splashing water getting on the product.
- IPX5 – the product can withstand direct spray of water from anywhere.
- IPX6 – pretty much waterproof, but there is a slight chance of damage occurring from the water.
- IPX7-8 – fully waterproof and will continue working even if submerged in water for some time.
When looking for the best hunting headlamp you need something that is at minimum water resistant, so look for lights with an IP rating of 4 and above. Your headlamp doesn't have to be fully waterproof, but you want it to be able to continue working even after being exposed to wet weather. Where you will be hunting will play a significant role in determining how water resistant you need your headlamp to be.
Size and Weight
Hunting headlamps do not have to be big, but they need to fit and be comfortable to wear. A hunting headlamp should fit in the palm of your hand and come with an adjustable headband allowing for a snug fit. How big the headlamp is will depend on the features the light offers. Headlamps that offer adjustable beam focusing are a little bigger than other headlamps, but the focus ability is something many hunters find useful.
Weight also plays a role, but how heavy your headlamp is depended on the size of the headlamp and how many batteries it requires. The bigger the headlamp, the more it weighs. In terms of weight, you don't want something that is going to be too heavy to wear. Heavy lights can cause neck aches. The best hunting headlamps will weigh 7 ounces or less including batteries.
AAA or AA alkaline batteries are the most common power source for hunting headlamps. You can also find headlamps that use a CR123A lithium-ion battery. The best battery type for a hunting headlamp will depend on where you are hunting and how long you plan to be gone for. AAA and AA alkaline batteries are the most popular choice because they are easy to find and you can always carry spare batteries with you. CR123A batteries are nice, but you can run into a problem recharging them.
Battery life is something else to think about, especially while hunting. Battery life is often connected to lumen output; the higher the lumen output, the shorter the battery life. Some of your best headlamps offer a five-hour runtime on high mode, while others only run for 30 minutes on the highest setting. No matter the runtime, you should always carry an extra set of batteries as you just never know what is going to happen in the outdoors.
Best Budget Headlight For Hunting:
If you are looking for an affordable hunting headlamp that doesn't skimp on features, take a close look at the Nitecore NU32. With the Nitecore NU32, hunters will have multiple light sources for a variety of applications. The primary white LED features a CREE XP-G3 S3 LED that emits a maximum of 550 lumens with a maximum beam distance of 408 feet.
The Nitecore NU32 offers four brightness levels to choose from, as well as a red auxiliary LED. The Red Auxiliary LED allows you to track your prey without startling them with a bright white light, plus it protects your night vision. The Nitecore NU32 Headlamp also offers a CRI Auxiliary LED for with even flood illumination for up-close tasks. The Nitecore NU32 is controlled via a dual-switch located at the top of the headlamp. The dual switch provides access to all brightness levels and auxiliary modes, as well as a lockout mode, SOS, and Location Beacon.
Weighing only 3.51 ounces with the battery installed, the Nitecore NU32 is not only lightweight but comfortable enough to wear for extended periods. Nitecore claims the headlamp weighs 50% less than similar headlamps on the market. Manufactured from polycarbonate the housing of the headlamp can withstand impacts up to 3 feet and is waterproof up to 7 feet. Powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery the NU32 can run for 330 hours on its lowest setting and offers a micro-USB charging port. A power indicator light allows you to keep tabs on your battery levels.
- Lockout mode
- Power indicator light
- Multiple light options
- Strap can be tricky to install
- Weight: 3.51 ounces with battery
- Dimensions: 2.5 inches long
- Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 330 hours
- Highest Setting: 550 lumens for 1 hour
Best Lightweight Hunting Headlamp (Pocket Size):
If you are looking for something a little bit smaller than the Nitecore NU32, but with some of the same amazing features check out the Nitecore NU25. Using a CREE XP-G2 S3 LED the primary light offers a maximum of 360 lumens with a maximum beam distance of 264 feet. A 13-lumen red LED preserves night vision and is ideal for hunting as it won't startle the animals. The red LED also blinks for emergency signaling. Colors can be hard to see at night, but with the 20-lumen high CRI LED you will see colors and details like you would in natural sunlight. Controlled by dual switches located at the top of the light, the Nitecore NU25 offers hunters four brightness levels, 3 light sources, and access to three special modes.
It is powered by a single rechargeable Lithium-ion battery the compact light weighs in at just less than 1 ounce. The lightweight body paired with the hollow-carved head support makes this headlamp extremely comfortable to wear even over long periods. The longer you wear a headlamp, the more prone you are to sweating, but thanks to the silicone sweat diverting strip you won't have to worry about sweat dripping in your eyes right before you take a shot.
Continuous illumination can be had with the Nitecore NU25 as the light can be connected to a USB power source while in use. The USB power source allows of the continuous illumination even as the battery drains. Combine that feature with the high efficient constant circuit; hunters can rely on the light working when they need it most.
- Multiple light modes
- Continuous illumination
- Lockout mode
- Headband bunches up on light
- Weight: 0.98 ounces with battery
- Dimensions: 2.18 inches long
- Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 160 hours
- Highest Setting: 360 lumens for 30 minutes
Best AA Headlamp For Hunting:
Using a CREE XP-G3 White LED the Fenix HL30 offers a floodlight style beam with a wide-range. This style of illumination provides a wide viewing angle with a soft and smooth beam that is ideal for close range activities. The dual switches located on the top of the light provide quick and easy access to eight different lighting modes offered by the Fenix HL30. These lighting modes include five brightness levels, SOS, red light illumination, and a red flashing light for signaling.
Powered by two AA batteries the Fenix HL30 can use either Ni-MH or regular alkaline batteries. Take note though that runtime will be affected by the choice of batteries. Regular AA alkaline batteries have a shorter runtime than Ni-MH batteries. The body of the light is made from a tough aluminum alloy that resists rust and high-quality plastic. The light has an IP67 rating. It is fully protected from dust and other foreign objects and can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes without performance being affected.
- Sweat channeling headband
- Lockout function
- Reverse polarity protection
- Beam is not projectable
- Weight: 2.6 ounces without batteries
- Dimensions: 2.5 inches long
- Lowest Setting: 4 lumens for 200 hours
- Highest Setting: 300 lumens for 4.5 hours
Brightest Hunting Headlamp:
If you are after the brightest headlamp for hunting, look no further than the AceBeam H30. This headlamp is a little bigger than others we have included here, but at 4000 lumens it is one of the brightest headlamps in the industry. Powered by either a 21700 5100mAh battery or a 18650 battery the AceBeam H30 can emit 4000 lumens for 1.5 minutes before it steps down to 1000 lumens. The headlamp offers hunters the choice of three lights a white CREE XHP70.2 LED with the choice of six brightness levels and an SOS mode, as well as a CREE XPE2-R2 630nm red light and a CREE XPE2-G3 530nm green light to assist in hunting.
The AceBeam H30 offers two switches located at the top of the light. The square switch powers the light and allows users to switch between Ultra-low, red SOS, and Turbo-Max modes from memorized modes. The Round switch provides access to the rest of the options the AceBeam H30 provides, including red and green light and regular brightness levels. As a rechargeable headlamp, the H30 can be charged with any 5V/2A output device and can also be used as a power bank. Being a USB-C style light, the AceBeam H30 offers three times faster-charging speed than other rechargeable lights.
- IPX8 rating
- Multiple light options
- Memorized modes
- Silicone mount is fragile
- Weight: 2.8 ounces without battery
- Dimensions: 3.5 inches long
- Lowest Setting: 3 lumens for 200 hours
- Highest Setting: 4000 lumens for 1.5 minutes
Best Headlamp For Hunting:
With a maximum output of 950 lumens, the Fenix HL60R is hands down the best headlamp for hunting that we have found. Using a CREE XM-L2 U2 Neutral White Led the Fenix HL60R offers amazing color rendering on the darkest nights. Maximum beam distance is 381 feet on Turbo, while the High of 400 lumens has a beam distance of 249 feet. Hunters have the choice of five brightness levels, plus a supplementary red light to preserve night vision.
Powered by a single 18650 battery, which comes with the Fenix HL60R the light is directly charged through a micro-USB port. The light can also run off two CR123A batteries. The light offers an anti-dust cover and an IPX-8 rating. Even if the cover is left unplugged, the light is still waterproof. Unlike other headlamps we have featured, the HL60R offers a single switch operation. The switch is located on the side of the light and is responsible for switching between lighting modes, as well as powering the light on and off.
- Multiple battery options
- Activation sequence could be improved
- Weight: 4.3 ounces without batteries
- Dimensions: 2.18 inches long
- Lowest Setting: 5 lumens for 100 hours
- Highest Setting: 950 lumens for 48 minutes
Ultimate Headlamp For Hunting (High Dollar):
If you are looking for the ultimate headlamp for hunting, where money is no object you need to invest in the new Lupine Blika X4. Using two powerful CREE XM-L2 and an XQ-E HI the Lupine Blika X4 offers 4 white lights, a green light, and a red light giving you the lighting option for a variety of outdoor activities. Powered by a 3.3Ah Lupine FASTclick Battery the fully adjustable light offers six brightness levels to choose from, including a diffused reading light. Special modes included with this powerful light include an Alpine emergency signal, RVLR mode, and an SOS mode.
With an IP68 rating, the CNC-machined aluminum body with a hard anodized coating can withstand just about anything that comes its way without affecting performance. The Lupine Blika X4 can emit up to a maximum of 2100 lumens and features a newly developed operating system that is easy to use along with the Bluetooth remote. The new operating system features two push buttons that are independently assigned to provide access to all lighting levels and functions the Blika X4 has to offer. With the FrontClick quick-change system you can turn your headlamp into a helmet lamp or vice versa without any special tools.
- Multiple light options
- Weight: 2.99 ounces without batteries
- Dimensions: 1.37 inches long
- Lowest Setting: 55 lumens for 80 hours
- Highest Setting: 2100 lumens for 1 hour
As a hunter you are going to discover you need a headlamp more often than not. Headlamps are a great investment for hunters as they provide you with a hands-free light option with one handed operation. The best headlamp for hunting is going to be reliable, as well as comfortable and durable. Beams and battery type and battery life are a few other things to consider when choosing the best headlamp for hunting.
Every headlamp we reviewed in this post meet the requirements we outlined in the beginning. Choosing the best headlamp for hunting often means looking at the various features offered and selecting the ones that offers features that suit your specific hunting needs.
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