Not all headlamps offer the same features. Here’s how to find a lamp that emphasizes brightness, low weight, or multiple settings to work best for your needs.
A headlamp can be used to light a trail while hiking and running, brighten a dim workspace, and serve as a versatile campsite light.
You may default to an all-around headlamp — they work well in many scenarios. However, more specialized lights can improve your experience, be it one with a streamlined design when weight matters or one that can throw a lot of lumens over a wide area when the terrain gets tough.
Below, we’ll run through some Fenix headlamps to show their different designs and uses for hands-free lighting outdoors.
First, you need to ask yourself what you’ll be using your headlamp for. And by that, we mean balancing the needs and wants of battery life, the distance and brightness of the beam, as well as its weight and whether it is adjustable or removable.
For instance, climbers and hikers may prefer a model that uses batteries for backup. That way, if a situation prolongs their outing, they aren’t left in the dark. We’ve heard it can be harrowing to descend a rock face with limited lumens.
People who work in low-light spaces or at night should look for high-output headlamps, especially if they have a power source close by. In contrast, trail runners may prefer more lightweight models with simple LEDs. Hikers may choose a lamp somewhere in between.
For general outdoor recreators, a light with low, bright, and red light modes should cover around-the-camp needs, like wanting to keep your hands free to carry essentials like a cookpot or fishing rod.
On the other hand, some of us may need more high-tech features. For example, hunters might use a bright light when unloading in the dark and then a red light for stealth in the field. And later, they may want to mount the headlamp or light to a chest strap.
Whatever the case, chances are there’s a Fenix headlamp built for the task.
Fenix upgraded its best-selling headlamp to max out at 700 lumens, while keeping the slim 2.2-ounce weight in place. It has four white-light modes and a red LED reading light as well. Additionally, you can remove the light from the headband to use as a right-angle flashlight.
Overall, it has a lot of the commonly desired functions in a headlamp, including a lightweight design and long run times — and this update just builds on that appeal.
Get a dialed fit (literally) with the patented SPORT headband’s click-and-twist dial adjustment. The secured headband helps keep it snug, but not tight, for trail runs or hikes. The HL18R-T headlamp weighs 2.2 ounces when using just the built-in rechargeable battery, but it can also be powered by AAA batteries if needed.
Similar to the all-purpose HM50R V2.0 headlamp, its big brother throws up to 1,200 lumens and boasts a 300-hour run time in Eco Mode. The light itself can also be removed from the headband for use as a right-angle flashlight or mounted to most metal surfaces via its magnetic base. That’s two hands-free options!
Another headlamp with Fenix’s adjustable SPORT headband is the HM65R-T, designed for more rugged use. Its magnesium alloy body can resist drops up to 2 m despite being lighter than its aluminum counterpart.
Additional lighting modes include an independent spotlight and floodlight that combine for 1,500 lumens. The floodlight casts a warm neutral light to allow for better color rendering, rather than the cool light of a standard LED.
Fenix Headlamps: More Versatility, More Styles
This roundup of four headlamps shows the variety of styles and design intent but is by no means exhaustive. There are dozens of more styles, and in-between models, that fit a balance of lumens and battery run time.
If you find yourself longing for a mix and match of models above, check out the Fenix website and see if there’s another headlamp that’s right for you.